Ga il Wo o ds Jesus”; or to the Ephesians that “[Christ] is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility.” These are the recurring themes we heard in the chapel and offices of Khotso House, the headquarters of the South in downtown Johannesburg. The Council represents Lutheran, Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist, Congregational, and some non-white Dutch Reformed churches. Until he became Anglican bishop of Johannesburg recently, Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu was Executive Secretary of this organization, which is in the forefront of the battle against apartheid. Bishop Tutu spoke of the dream of a new kind of society which would be non-racial, truly democratic, and just. The Council has daily morning devotions. These devotions are an integral and important part of the Council’s work and are rarely missed by the staff. Black, white, and colored South Africans, church leaders from other parts of southern Africa, and foreign visitors gather in the chapel to hear the Scriptures read, to sing hymns of praise and supplication, to pray, to express hope and, yes, even joy under the cross. The language switches back and forth from English to one or another African tongue \(but never to AfriWe attended such a devotion the morning that Bishop Tutu preached and celebrated communion for the last time as Executive Secretary of SACC. He is indeed a charismatic figure, charming and gracious, dancing around the room when the “passing of the peace” was shared by the participants. His sermon was serious and exact. Basing his words on a text from one of the Prophets, Tutu spoke of the dream of a new kind of society which would be non-racial, truly democratic, and just. He said that goal could be arrived at in two ways: the way of negotiation and dialogue or the way of bloodshed, violence and chaos. The South African Council of Churches, he said, was committed to working for the first option. But he warned that the chance for the success of this option was slim as long as the international community \(my feeling was that he was drawing a particular bead on the American policy support the black efforts for non-violent change. I sat next to the Rev. Beyers Naudd, who is the successor to Bishop Tutu as the Executive Secretary of SACC. Naudd has been called “the most dangerous man in South Africa” by the South African government. He doesn’t look dangerous, this white Dutch Reformed pastor. But, as far as the government is concerned, he is so dangerous that in 1977 he was banned and the Christian Institute of Southern Africa, which he and others had founded, was outlawed. The Institute’s program was to unite South African Christians and to find ways of making Christianity a more vital force in society. Above all, it was making progress in bringing together persons of all races to oppose the government’s apartheid policy. Naturally, it came under attack from the government, which established the so-called Schlebusch Commission to investigate the Christian Institute and a number of other organizations opposed to apartheid. Naudd is an Afrikaner. He is a former member and son of a founder of the Broederbond, a secret society that regards the Afrikaners as supreme in South Africa and helped shape the nation’s present apartheid policy. Naudd was also, before his “conversion” to anti-apartheid activity, moderator of the Southern Transvaal Synod of the White Dutch Reformed church. His background and birth, in contrast to what he now thinks and does, add tremendous power to his words. Beyers Naudd, through words and actions informed by his theology, personifies the non-white churches’ struggle to bring about a just society in South Africa. I spoke at length with Dr. Wolfram Kistner, another “convert” to the church’s role in bringing about change in the social system. Kistner comes from a conservative Lutheran background. He now heads the Division of Reconciliation and Justice at SACC. Dr. Kistner not only has to furnish biblical and theological bases for the Council’s anti THE TEXAS OBSERVER 13
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