FREEMAN BAVUMA CONGREGATION
WESTERN CAPE PRESBYTERY
13 &14 AUGUST 2011
The Moderator of the General Assembly, President of the Youth Fellowship, the Youth Committee of the General Assembly, all the Ministers here present, delegates to this workshop, all the distinguished guests and all the general membership of the youth fellowship - allow me to greet you once more this year in the Wonderful Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen .
Once again we are gathered here in this fashion as the Youth formation of the RPCSA, not in our usual way but in a different stature and form . The situation that we find ourselves in, is not an accident of history, but a hurdle that God has put before us in an attempt to test our strength as the Youth Fellowship in this church. It is in times like these that the true soldiers of the Cross need to prove that God is able to take us through all the trials and tribulations that we will constantly encounter on our way to the Promised Land.
This is not a report of the work done during our term of office but just the notes to guide us through as we progress with our programme of the day. Secondly, these notes serve to give a brief background and the rationale behind this day and try to answer some of the questions that the members may have.
It was in our 2009 Youth Assembly that the total slow-down in the youth wing of the church started to become evident. This conference was held in Rainy Congregation at the last moments as if looked impossible to convene because of lack of activity from all levels of the youth formation in our church. In that conference we could not get a single report of work done by our committee because the lower structures could not support the National Executive Committee. It must be remembered here that if the lower structures decide not to support the national committee, then our association is doomed to die. Sister Dlakiya, who was the General Secretary at that time, tried all she could, to seek support from the Presbyteries but that was all in vain.´The same unfortunate situation occurred in 2010 and 2011 as these years were also characterized by lull and doom from the lower structures. This bad trend triggered the intervention of the church through the General Secretary, Rev Z, Futshane who advised that we need to have a session where we shall do some introspection and situational analysis so that at the end of the day we pick up from where we left off.
THIS WORKSHOP THEREFORE RESULTS FROM SUCH INTERVENTION.
As I end this background I wish to draw your attention to the 2010 secretarial report which touches in detail on a number of these problems that we face. For the sake of reference and for emphasis on this background, I have extracted some sentences from that 2010 secretarial report as follows :
"In 2004 we agreed to resuscitate the youth wing of our church which had subsided and was in comma due to the then attempted murder of our church by the rival forces who purported themselves to be uniting our churches to come up with one Presbyterian church. During that time of resuscitation it was acceptable for us as the youth to have some shortfalls in the buildup to the formation of a viable youth structure. The number of congregations by then was so minimal but the level of commitment was pleasing and the support from the ministers and the elderly people was superb. I´m giving all this background because I am noticing a backward movement in as far as the life and work of the youth fellowship is concerned. I´am further perturbed when I take stock of our previous successful conferences that we hosted as this youth formation in this church.
This is our second year of instability in this association. In 2009 we were saved by the intervention of the Moderator for us to have managed to hold our Youth Assembly.
The same intervention by our Moderator is the one that caused us to gather in this fashion, for if it was not for his support we would not have managed this conference.
I am opening my report with this sad note because it is the main issue that I would like the conference to resolve for we shall never be able to move forward as ´the youth without first resolving it."
3. THE WORKSHOP
The purpose of this workshop, as I have already alluded to, is to bring together all the youth members in a session where everybody will be given a chance to air out their views on what they feel is the root cause of this low morale. At the end of this exercise we must be able to reclaim our status as the youth in the church through active participation as congregations and presbyteries and thereby go back to what we used to be, and beyond. But before we can achieve such a noble objective, we need to first resolve the following challenges as outlined by the 2010 secretarial report. That report further went on to cite the challenges as follows :
• The non-willingness to take up leadership positions in our association
• Our failure to build a second layer leadership
• Using the same people in our national leadership
• Young people are engaged in other social commitments in their quest for greener pastures.
• Inability and lack of commitment to raise funds for our association even through the normal member subscription method.
• The differentiation between an association in the church and the one outside the church.
• Lastly, very little culture of tolerance among the members of the association which results into unnecessary tensions within our church.
As a matter of fact, I may not have mentioned all the challenges that we face as the youth but I was just breaking the ice for the workshop to add on. All this is done with the purpose of re-aligning and revitalizing our association. Secondly, we need to pay attention to these problems so as to minimize tensions and to maintain our dignity and integrity as the church in general.
In conclusion, I wish to appeal to all the members of the Youth Fellowship at all levels within our church to come together and redefine their primary purpose of joining and being part of this delicate association. It will be through that revision of purpose that we will be able to advocate peace instead of petty squabbles; that we will support and nurture each other instead of destroying each other; and lastly, that we will be able to serve our Lord Jesus Christ with added zeal and power borne out of absolute faith. Lastly, I must appreciate the stance taken by the Moderator and General Secretary for advising on this workshop. This really shows the commitment and concern they have on the youth of this church.
THE FUTURE OF THIS CHURCH IS IN OUR HANDS - WHAT WE ARE TODA Y
IS WHAT THIS CHURCH WILL BE TOMORROW!!!
GOD BLESS YOU ALL
Youth General Secretary Mr A Matiso