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Church as a healing agent.

I am a mother of three children, a widow/single parent and also a child of God protected by the blood of Jesus. My work as a Women's Desk Coordinator at ELCSA was to help the two groups of women to work together in the church; Women of Uniform and the other women's group who do not wear uniform but also members of the Church.

When the church decided to offer a central venue for women's issues it was resolved that the Women's Desk concentrate on the following:

1. To unite the non-uniformed women and the uniformed women to work together in the church.

2. To inform women of the church and social affairs.

3. To motivate and upgrade our women to match or compare well with women of other churches and societies both internally and internationally.

4. To appropriate a gesture in compliance with the "Decade of Churches in Solidarity with Women" as launched in 1988.

Mrs. Edith Khati was the first person to be in this office and I was the second.

Visions for the Healing of the World

As Christians it is our duty to see that the world is secure and is also safe. It will take both women and men working in partnership to sustain a healthy environment on earth. Principle 20 of 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development holds that women have a vital role in environmental management and development and that their full participation is therefore essential. We are in the forefront as women to make sure that our children, elderly people, youth, land, environment is taken care of. We are living in a changing world and need to be strong for one another to work towards uniting the families, neighbors, community, churches and society.

To be able to do that, we need to love and instill good example in one another and work together towards reaching our goals of being one. We need to pray for those who are in authority, or in broken marriages, for widows and for our families. There are a lot of misunderstandings between leaders and subordinates. The relationship between the leaders and subordinates must be healthy, if there is a misunderstanding between the two, they must create a platform where one can bring out the stumbling block and deal with it and move on. We need to dig deeper into the problem and find the cause of being sick, or the cause of the wound. Finding the cause gives us hope and direction and strengthens our faith. If we cover any wound without cleaning it, it will not heal well. Similarly, our hurts needs to be cleaned and brought out and then applied with talks of faith, welcome, and understanding the importance of working together. Otherwise, like the wounds that will not heal, anger and hurt will remain in one's mind.

I mention a few dioceses that are reaching out, preaching and healing wholeheartedly. Recently the Cape Orange Diocese made teddy bears for the Zambian refugee children and took them to Zambia, and the happy faces were shining when they looked at the toys they were going to get.

Now the Diocesan group is doing patchwork that they send abroad. The Central Diocese also has a project called "busy hands". They make shoes and prayers and mirrors. Western Diocese is focusing on elderly people by looking after their well being, what they eat, how they cater for their bodies and exercise but also make their hands busy making quilts for beds.

The poor needs to be involved and given opportunity to voice out their challenges. We often stand between the people and speak on their behalf but do not involve them in their projects. I would like to see that all people involved be included in all negotiations and emphasize that our security is from our Lord Jesus Christ.

We do not have to use money to give education on values, but can avail this from the elderly people in our communities and not to have them placed in Homes for the Aged but kept in their families. It is good for our children to know about their values and cultures. In the olden days there were less early pregnancy, crime, diseases, orphans, street children because together we cared for one another as a community.

We must develop a sense of being one big church combined of different denominations for the purpose of healing.

Separated we fall, but together we can move the mountains.

It is also about time the church rise up and stop being the object of charity. Let us overcome the fear of talking about all aspects of life that are affected by AIDS and bring them into the open because of the stigma attached to the disease. In spite of all these things, those affected by HIV/ AIDS belong to the community and the community is the church. The church should therefore open church buildings to be used for home based care during the day and for counseling.

Jesus announces good news to everyone who suffers the horrors of stigma, to everyone who feels they must hide, to everyone who carries the weight of guilt and shame, Jesus says: "Today salvation has come to your house because you, too are a child of God." Because Jesus came to seek and to save, he will not rest until he finds all those who need him. This Jesus, whom we name the Christ, will not stop searching until he finds us and makes us his own. This is our claim and this is our hope. But only if we do justice to all according to the word of God and do not judge one another. Our reward would be the satisfaction of knowing that our modest efforts can make a world of difference to the less fortunate members of our society.

NOSIPHO MAGUGA

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa
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Title Annotation:Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa
Author:Maguga, Nosipho
Publication:Women Magazine
Article Type:Column
Geographic Code:6SOUT
Date:Jul 1, 2003
Words:985
Previous Article:Affirmative practice of healing in the Nordic Region.
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