Thursday, November 6, 2008
A report from South Africa about an Anglican congregation embracing diversity in a healthy way.
In the pews I find white and black Tukkies students, some of whom provide the youth leadership at St Hilda’s . There are working-class whites in those pews alongside African immigrants. Black and white, middle class and poor, South African and foreigner, young and old worship freely in this church.
Are there struggles here? Absolutely, for I am asked to talk about racism and community. Transformation means grappling with difficult issues, and the leadership of St Hilda’s is up to the challenge. These are the places where people try to make sense of our apartheid legacy even as they insist on building a hopeful future. Their faith is practical: it means finding ways of living together in ways that capture the meaning of that sacred word, the church.
My next shock comes with the announcement: “The church offering will be given away.” What? Imagine millionaire preacher Benny Hinn or one of those other fake American evangelists saying: “Everything we collect today will be going directly to the women’s prison as a gift.”