Kairos SA update no 8: November 2011

Dear Kairos Friends,

 As we move towards the end of the year, let me begin by wishing all those who will read this Kairos update a blessed Advent and Christmas. What a year this has been! We have wished the “Arch” well on his 80th Birthday and wrote a letter of support for him after he expressed his disappointment at the way he and the Dalai Lama were treated by the SA government. If you have not read our statement, it can be found at http://kairossouthernafrica.wordpress.com/2011/10/05/kairos-sa-statement-in-support-of-archbishop-emeritus-tutu/

One more Kairos event will happen from 4 – 10 December 2011. This will be a gathering in Bethlehem in Palestine to focus on a Global Kairos for justice. The Southern Africans who will be present at that gathering (representing Kairos Southern Africa) will be Zwanini Shabalala and Solomon Nxumalo from Swaziland and Stiaan vd Merwe, Luleka Nyhila, Emily Mnisi, Jenni Samdaan and Marthie Momberg from South Africa. This is a strong delegation and they will represent us well, and will come back to share with us what they have learnt from Kairos Palestine, Kairos USA, Kairos Europa, Kairos Netherlands, Kairos Sri Lanka, etc.

 Some of our members will also be at COP 17, and we wish them well as they attend this very important gathering.

Dr Boesak has mentioned to us that he will speaking at one of the COP 17 events. We still hope that, instead of working in silos, those focussing on the environment/ecology and those focussing on social and economic justice, will see that this is one kairos moment that we are all facing together, and that we will see this not only as a theoretical reality, but practically work together to deal with this kairos moment, even though from time to time some might prefer to focus on a particular aspect of this kairos. Hopefully in 2012 we can spend some time reflecting on the Kairos events and COP 17 and craft a joint strategy for the way forward.

 Over the past few months

  • We worked with the University of Johannesburg to host Dr Allan Boesak to speak about his forthcoming book on “New Frontiers in Liberation theology”.
  • We welcomed people from the Alternative Tourism group (ATG) to South Africa. They focus on alternative pilgrimages to the Holy Land and would like to work with us to ensure that as many South Africans as possible take part in these kinds of pilgrimages.
  • We addressed the Anglican Church’s Provincial Standing Committee and we also met with Dr Isak Burger as well as with Juan Minnie (who leads these kinds of pilgrimages) and then they visited the Free State before coming to Cape Town. A big thank you to Fr Mokesh Morar for an excellent programme for them in the Free State.
  • I was then asked to be the Event Manager for the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, where we listened to the testimonies of both Palestinians and South Africans about apartheid and also to some other expert witnesses. It found that “Israel subjects the Palestinian people to an institutionalized regime of domination amounting to apartheid as defined under international law.” The full report of this Tribunal is available at www.russelltribunalonpalestine.com .
  • Together with Peace for Life and the Beyers Naude Centre, we hosted a “Christian-Muslim solidarity on Palestine” conference at Stellenbosch on 8 and 9 November. The full report on this will be available soon, but Prof Farid Esack has written a Muslim response to the Palestine Kairos document. He is busy working on it after receiving initial comments and we will distribute this as soon as it becomes more publicly available.
  • In the Western Cape, we have animated some discussions about the call by Arch-emeritus Tutu for a wealth tax. Braam Hanekom of PASSOP has led us in some excellent meetings to think through this matter and we will soon think of ways to ensure that this is a truly national conversation.
  • There is still a desire in some of our hearts to reflect on what the ANC’s centenary might mean for the Church in South Africa (since it was born from within the church) and, time and will permitting, we will see what can still be done before the end of this year about this matter.

SOME DATES FOR 2012:

Already there are so many possibilities for 2012 and while we cannot do everything, perhaps some of you want to be part of one or two of the events listed below. Please let me know:

 A group of 9 Palestinians and 9 Israelis from BADIL and      DOCHROT will be visiting Cape Town in late January to early February      2012 to reflect on the issues of refugees and displacement. Those who      would like to connect with them can contact me. I will ask those in the      Western Cape to play a role in welcoming them….

  1. March      5 – 9, 2012: “Christ at      the Checkpoint” conference in Bethlehem www.christatthecheckpoint.com      : This conference is mainly for      Evangelicals. If you wish to participate in this, you can email Isaac      Munther at munther@bethbc.org ,      but please copy me in. You can ask them about the financing for your      travels, etc.
  2. 17 – 20 April      2012, Assissi: Please see http://www.assisi2012.com/.      Mark Braverman has arranged that there be a panel on Kairos Southern      Africa, Kairos Palestine and Kairos USA at this very important gathering.      John de Gruchy will also be addressing this conference, but on another      topic.
  3. We might, together with some friends from the      Netherlands, arrange a Southern African church delegation to Palestine in      the first part of 2012. We have not yet decided on the details for      this, but perhaps some of you can share your thoughts with us about this.      Given the in-roads that Israel is trying to make into the churches in Africa,      it might make sense for our delegation to be mainly from the rest of      Southern Africa (in other words, excluding South Africa, since there are      already similar initiatives in this regard from South Africa).
  4. September 2012:      The Russell Tribunal on Palestine in New York – This will happen in      September 2012: more information to follow.
  5. October 2012:      Liberation theology meeting in Brazil in October 2012: more information to      follow

God bless, as we continue to put our trust in the one who came to share in our humanity so that we all might share in God’s divinity.

Rev Edwin Arrison (kairossouthernafrica@gmail.com )

 

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