TO ALL IN THE UPCSA
Please receive the statement from the UPCSA Gender Desk on an incident that took place over the last weekend, where a poster advertising a service of the preaching of seven words of Jesus Christ on the cross made rounds on the social media. The poster had faces of some UPCSA ministers, and an elder – as preachers, with their permission – of course. However, the design of the poster caused great consternation in that it portrayed an image that that was a UPCSA service. If it was to be a UPCSA service, further anomalies were observed, including a bad reflection of the demographics of the denomination, especially nationality, gender, race, ethnicity, and former denominational lines. That was a great error on the side of the compiler of the post. The service, in its original form, was initiated by a structure operating as Evangelism Explosion, which was born under the auspices of the then Men’s Christian Guild and is made of volunteers who committed to promoting evangelism as a mission priority of the UPCSA; hence the male domination and the former denominational aspects. The service was intended for a specific audience; hence the ethnicity aspect. The Gender Desk attended to and settled the matter. Please read the statement from the Desk.
The Gender Desk met on Monday the 15th March 2021 at 18:45 to discuss, among other agenda items, the poster that was circulated on social media on Friday the 12th March 2021, suggesting that the UPCSA was to host the 7 words of Jesus Christ on the cross service, on the 28th March 2021. This poster attracted much discussion and attention, as it was blatantly lacking a true representation of the UPCSA.
The Rev Tati who is hosting the event was invited to this meeting, as the Gender Desk needed to understand the background and context to the event, as there was much controversy . The following was the outcome of the meeting:
1. The poster was misleading as it stated that the UPCSA was hosting this service, which was neither true nor accurate but rather it was being hosted by a congregation, as an evangelism event.
2. The Rev Mpetsheni who had been approached in his capacity as a minister and not as the General Secretary to participate in this service, has subsequently decided to withdraw his participation.
3. The Rev Tati apologized sincerely for the misrepresentation of the poster and the lack of proper reflection of the demographics of the UPCSA in the forthcoming event. He shared with the committee the background and the context to the upcoming service.
4. The Gender Desk calls upon all members of the denomination to refrain from using the name and logo of the UPCSA, on events that have not been authorized or condoned as events of the UPCSA.
5. The Gender Desk encourages members to verify the information communicated on unofficial platforms about the UPCSA with the Central Office.
6. The Gender Desk states that it supports the service of the Word, and encourages initiatives that bring Good News, hope and fellowship to members and beyond; but calls upon the administrators of such services to be sensitive to the demographics of the UPCSA and at every opportunity to be inclusive.
The Gender Desk wishes to commend the UPCSA family for their vigilance, willingness and patience when addressing issues of gender inequalities and patriarchy. Let us continue to work together in uprooting all forms of injustice in our beloved UPCSA.
Any uncertainty and situation of disequilibrium caused by the poor design of the poster is regretted. Let us work together to be a reconciled community of Christians.
Rev Dr Lungile Mpetsheni
Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa
TO ALL IN THE UPCSA