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More than 3,500 Christians ‘contend for the faith’ at southern Africa lectureship

Thousands of church members from 17 nations attended the Southern Africa International Lectureship. (Photo by Stanley Shereni)

For the people of southern Africa, the name “Soweto” sparks images of poverty, suffering and brutal, racially-charged violence.
The urban area, in western Johannesburg, was the scene of mass protests against South Africa’s white-led government in 1976. At least 200 people died in the resulting riots. The first killed was a 12-year-old boy named Hector Pieterson, whose memorial now stands in Soweto.

A memorial for Hector Pieterson in Soweto. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

Nearly 37 years after the riots, Soweto still is troubled by crime, said minister Stanley Shereni.
“But to the Christians in southern Africa, it was an opportunity to be united with fellow brethren from other countries,” Shereni added. “That is the reason this place was chosen.”
More than 3,500 church members, representing congregations in 16 African nations and the U.S., gathered in Soweto for the recent Southern Africa International Lectureship.
“Regardless of their nationality, colour, wealth or poverty, the brethren shared one thing in common — the love of Christ,” said Shereni, a minister for the Avondale Church of Christ in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Here are a few more details from Shereni’s report on the lectureship:

This year’s theme was “Contending for the faith — Jude 1:3,” delivered by brother Jack  Evans Jr. from U.S.A. (vice president for public relations for Southwestern Christian College in Terrell, Texas).

Minister Chris Burke at the Southern Africa International Lectureship (Photo by Stanley Shereni)

Throughout the lectureship, all who where there experienced the love of God — who said in his Word that there should be no Jews or Gentiles, but followers of the Word. Comments obtained from the participants praised the advisory committee for having such a platform that encourages oneness.
Many lessons were delivered during the three-day event, such as: “The role of the Holy Spirit in Christians’ lives today,”  “Men and women contending together for the faith,” “Who do people say we are? Who are we?”
According to Dennis Malepa, a longtime minister in Gaborone, Botswana, and chairman of the advisory committee on the lectureship, this year’s meeting was the biggest since they started holding lectureships in 1969. The first one was held in Mpumalanga, a province in the eastern part of South Africa, and was attended by just over 200 delegates. This year saw more than 3,500 Christians coming together on the last day.
The reason we have these lectureships was to strengthen, edify and fellowship with one another from all nations in Southern Africa.
The one for next year will be In Gaborone, Botswana, during the Easter holidays. Any Christian brother or sister is most welcome. It is not for Africans only, but it is for all Christians.

Thanks for the invitation, brother Shereni. Count me in.
I recognize a few faces in the crowd, including Chris Burke, a minister and instructor at Southern Africa Bible College in Benoni, South Africa. Burke and his family graciously hosted me during my brief stay in Johannesburg in 2010 — and introduced me to malva pudding. I came to his lovely home in Benoni from the small nation of Swaziland, where I met Shereni, then a student at African Christian College.
He and a fellow student, Ruregerero Nyahore, gave one of the most thought-provoking interviews I’ve ever conducted in 11 years with The Christian Chronicle. The subject: U.S. support of African preachers.
By the way, we just posted a photo of Shereni’s work in a prison ministry sponsored by the Avondale church.

Stanley Shereni, center, watches as prison inmates clap and share smiles with guards during a recent baptism service. (Photo provided)

(Since my favorite part of traveling to Africa is gospel singing, I can’t help but include this snippet from the South African Christians who traveled to Badagry, Nigeria, in 2008 for the Africans Claiming Africa for Christ conference. Enjoy.)
South Africa song, 2008

  • Feedback
    Hi Brethren,
    This was one of the most important moments that we so God moving in our midst.
    To God be the glory. Looking forward to 2014 Botswana Interanational Lecturship.
    God give me everything needed to the Lecuturship and stir more people to attend.
    Pious Chavula
    April, 16 2013

    In the 80-‘s my husband (Don Horn)and I worked with the Aftican Bible School in Swaziland, now South Africa Bible College. It was so good to know how the love and knowledge of God’s word has multiplied there. Thanks for posting this article in the Christian Chronicle.
    Loyce Horn
    April, 17 2013

    I am very much happy in hearing about all these conferences and gatherings of the Churches of Christ � especially in Africa. Its encourages my mind and gives me hope. Though it looks as if that the only Lord’s Church in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea and the saints that God has in this country is forgetting. But we only pray for God,s remembrance.
    April, 18 2013

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