South African Church Leaders Call for Prayer and Support

Jul 07, 2003 04:09 AM EDT

Senior church leaders in South Africa have called on the international Christian community to uphold the South African church in prayer next week, 7-11 July, when Christian leaders from all walks of life meet to attend the South African Christian Leadership Assembly (SACLA), in the nation's capital, Pretoria. SACLA promises to make history as the most denominationally representative church assembly ever held in South Africa, and possibly even Africa. SACLA will bring together thousands of Christian leaders, from all sectors of society and the church, to look at ways of tackling HIV/AIDS, crime, violence, poverty and unemployment, racism, sexism and the family crisis. These giants are the major problems facing South African society and any of them, unchallenged, could bring the country to its knees.

SACLA, a joint project between the South African Council of Churches (SACC), The Evangelical Alliance of Southern Africa (TEASA) and African Enterprise (AE), is co-chaired by Methodist Presiding-Bishop, Mvume Dandala, and Michael Cassidy of African Enterprise. It will see an emphasis on interaction, between Christians of different denominations, races and professions; and ongoing action, birthing structures and relationships that aim to continue to impact South Africa in a positive way for years to come. In this way SACLA is seen as just the beginning of a process of cooperation and unity as the churches grow and work closer together.

Because of the high levels of poverty and unemployment in South Africa many underprivileged Christian leaders are struggling to afford the conference fee (food and accommodation included) of US$205. As a result South African business has been approached and has made a huge effort to sponsor these individuals to make sure the whole of the church, rich and poor, black and white, is represented.

Speakers at the event include: the first-lady of Uganda, Mrs Janet Museveni; Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Njongonkulu Ndungane; Catholic Cardinal, Wilfred Napier; Presiding-Bishop of the Methodist Church, Mvume Dandala; International Team Leader of African Enterprise, Dr Michael Cassidy; founder of Walk Through the Bible and author of 'The Prayer of Jabez', Dr Bruce Wilkinson; professor emeritus of Sociology at Eastern University, Pennsylvania, USA, Dr Tony Campolo; Chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission, Mrs Brigalia Bam; and the current secretary-general of the Assemblies of God, Pastor Colin LaFoy.