Thixo! ongumDali woxolo nomthandi wenkolisano,
obuthi ubomi bethu obungunaphakade bube kho ngokwazi wena, onkonzo ilukhululeko kanye. Uze usilwele thina zicaka zakho ezilulamileyo, kuko konke ukulwa kweentshaba zethu; size sithi, siqinisile ukuthemba ekusilweleni kwakho nje, singoyiki amandla aabo basuka beyimpi kuthi, ngenxa yamandla kaYesu Kristu inKosi yethu. Amen.

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2015 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 80,000 times in 2015. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 3 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Young Men’s Guild History

YMG was founded by G. Baqwa at Elukholweni circuit at Ethembeni society. Superintendent minister was Charles Pamla, one of first three blacks to be Methodist ministers in 1867 Mzimkhulu district. Rev. Gideon Baqwa collected men for prayer. They called this “Imbumba”. Name came from the concept first pronounced by the Prophet Ntsikana kaGaba, that black people will need to organize themselves against European domination. Emerged during the time of DDT Jabavu when he formed the first organization to represent the aspirations of black people Imbumba yamanyama. To maintain the status of African men as leaders at home, church and society. A safe space for African men faced with European onslaught on their culture. A place of catharsis for the African men who were depressed by the socio-economic and political conditions that were against them. To bring unity amongst African men some of who were divided by tribal wars, religion and politics. To evangelize and preach the good news to all the African people. To escape the trappings of ignorance, illiteracy etc. To seek opportunities that came with the whites man’s religion and way of life.
Aims and objectives:- To achieve a position of social status in society, where people could only achieve this through the clan name they held or the blood that ran through their veins.
– The Christian religion promised all men success and dignity, no matter whom they were and where they came from.
– To mobilize Christians men to fight for the liberation of themselves and their country against oppression.

The general mandate of the Young Men’s Guild is to: Promote loyalty to the teaching of Jesus Christ, habits of prayer, Bible study, purity of life and general acceptance family values;
– Encourage members to serve better the Kingdom of God here on earth;
– Promote abstinence from all evil such as, but not limited to, the usage of intoxicating liquor and drugs, gambling, swearing and the desecration of the Lod’s day;
– Develop its members evangelically, devotionally, educationally and socio- economically.


What is life?
Scientists refer to all living organisms in our planet as life, Christians refer to life as a true gift from God “the supreme being who created and rules everything” , they believe for life to start and for it to end it is solely in the intention and mercy from God. John Lennon defines life as what happens to you while you are busy making other plans, this condones the opinion that as human beings we claim to live our lives even though it is uncertain to what extent is that true. This is explained by our belief in living life by our different and unique actions and or experiences. To what extent is this true? Are we in control as much as we believe ourselves to be? Do we really live life or life just happens to us? The following passage attempts to unpack and answer the above questions while outlining the value of our lives as people.

We often mistake our ability to initiate processes or what happens to us as our proof of control over our lives, e.g. like having sex to initiate pregnancy and create new life, causing conflicts to initiate violence which then leads to harm or even death, going to school which leads to being literate and thus living better in the future, creating medications which lead to healing and victory over diseases or infections and enable us an extended period of life etc. This should not be confused with us being in control because; even though we have sex not all of us initiate pregnancy, even though some do, it is a fact that not all of us do long enough to yield new life, even though we cause violence and attempt to end each other’s lives, it is still by chance that we do, most of the time we fail. People still die when their time has come, we still go through schooling but not all of us end up educated or living better in the future. If so can we really say we are in control?

To the wealthy life means working to have more, to the poor life means working to survive. In a general point of  view what is the value of life? Why does it hurt so much to us when it ends for people close to us? I would say the true value for life is that it ends and we have no idea how, why and when will it end. The memories we make with one another, be it childhood memories since kindergarten as brothers or sisters or just friends, our schooling, the first crush, the first kiss, matriculation, graduation, adulthood, marriage and so on. All these memories hold little value or no power at all, they are just flashes of past fun and hardships until life ends for one of us. This is when they often become powerful enough to drop tears from our faces. This justifies the fact that the value of life is in the fact that it ends and there is nothing we can do to change that. The important thing is what do we learn from those we love that have already passed on? What do we learn from their lives? Did we learn to appreciate our loved ones that we still have more than we did before because of the feeling that we should have loved those that passed on more?

If you love somebody, love him or her well even though you are blind from the true value of their lives in yours as it is always clear when they have left, for as long as you have somebody be it a friend, lover, family etc. It is imparative that you love them well and know that life ends sooner or later. This therefore also implies that even though we may not be in control we have nothing to fear or try and run from. We are like cattle, cattle have no idea nor control over what happens after they get set free from the kraal everyday but they sure do their part walking with their heads held high facing forward and never ever going backwards, they do what they have to do when they have to without minding or worrying about what they do not know.

Just like cattle we are not in control we do not know what each day brings for us but we hope, we do not live life, life happens around us, to us and with us. Why is it that we cannot do what we have to when we have to and enjoy life to the best of our abilities? We often worry about when it will and how it might end and what people would think if it ever ended? Why do we have to fear and worry about what we cannot change? Wouldn’t it be better if we took more chances, made more mistakes and learn from them, experience the world more, trusted more, believed in ourselves and others more and make as many memories with one another for as long as we possibly can while we are all still breathing?

Life will end for all of us someday but while we still here, what better way is there to enjoy life and each other? What better way is there to experience life?

What is Life? Life is whatever you make yours out to be.

Mine is just one giant adventure and no matter what hardships come my way, that’s what makes the adventure adventures I Am Going to Enjoy Mine and let nothing and no one take that away from me.

A Post By : Mkhize SN…


history of lay lead ministry.  Whereas some churches and denominations are run by clergy, such as ministers, pastors and priests, the Methodist Church has always recognised the rich and valuable contribution of lay persons in its ministry.

In this chapter we will consider a couple of important elements of the theology that lies behind this very important lay ministry in our Church.  We will begin with a brief examination of the complimentary role of the three orders of ministry that exist in the Methodist Church or Southern Africa.  Then, we shall go on to consider some of the historical and theological background to the notion of ‘stewardship’, i.e., what it means to be a steward.  Finally we will consider character, gifts, and abilities, that a Christian steward should seek to cultivate in order to honour God and effectively perform this very important task within the Church.

A general introduction to the ministry of the laity in the Methodist Church of Southern Africa.
As a society steward, or circuit steward, you have an essential and critical role to play in the ministry of the Church.  Let’s start by asking the question, “What is the ministry and mission of the Church?”  If we can understand what the ministry of the Church is, we should be able to understand what role each of us plays within that overall ministry.  This question will no doubt raise many very valid and insightful answers.  However, I am sure that we will all agree that the ministry of the Christian Church is to carry on doing the things that Jesus himself did!  In other words, the Church must do the same ministry that Jesus does.  So, that leads to the next question, “what is Jesus’ ministry?”  The answer to this question can be found in such verses as Matthew 3:2, Mark 1:15, and most clearly in Jesus’ own words “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to other towns also, because that is why I was sent”(Luke 4:43).  What does Jesus mean by this?  Well, we can catch a glimpse of what Jesus understands this to mean by reading Luke 4:18-19:
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour. So, Jesus ministry is to establish God’s kingdom here on earth.  God’s kingdom is a kingdom of justice, mercy, peace, wholeness, true and abundant life, and blessing.  Here’s an example of what God’s kingdom should look like from the Old Testament:

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling [a] together; and a little child will lead them.  The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.  The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest.  They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.  (Isaiah 11:6-9 NIV)
Here is another glimpse of what God’s kingdom should be like from the New Testament: And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:3-5a NIV). So, the ministry of the Church is the same as the ministry of Jesus, that is, to establish God’s kingdom here on earth, in recent years we have understood that to mean that we are called to “proclaim the Gospel of Christ for healing and transformation”, and to work towards a “Christ healed Africa for the healing of the nations”. 

This means that everything that the Church does should not only proclaim God’s good news, but also make that good news real for people (as Jesus said, it must be good news to the poor, freedom to those who are enslaved, sight to those who cannot see, liberation for those who are oppressed and make know the year of God’s favour for all the earth).

Thankfully, this important task is shared by all the members of the Church, both the laypersons, and those who are ordained to ministry. 
The Methodist Church of Southern Africa upholds a model for ministry that is based on the doctrine of the Trinity.  Christians believe in one God who is a community of three equal, yet distinct, persons.  In other words, each person of the Holy Trinity is equally God, yet is a distinct person with unique and special attributes, functions, and ministries (namely, the person of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit).  In the Trinity none of the persons is more, or less, valuable than the others.  This same principle applies to the ministry of the Church. Together laity and clergy bear the responsibility for participating with God in God’s mission of working for a “Christ healed Africa for the healing of the nations”.  As a result the Church’s structures and models of ministry are to reflect this mutual responsibility and high calling as shaped through the 7 “continuing transformation calls” and “four mission imperatives”.

The Biblical background for the ministry of the laity.

The first place that we should turn to in order to understand the importance of lay ministries in general, is the Bible.   We shall look at how the ministry of lay persons is described, and explained in both the Old and New Testaments.

The Old Testament

The Old Testament makes a clear point of including all people in God’s covenant of mercy and grace (c.f. Genesis 9:12-17).  However, it is worth noting that in the Old Testament there are a special group of people, referred to as the “people of God”, who are called into being for a very special purpose.  “These are commonly referred to as ό λάος, the laos, from which the word ‘laity’ is derived.”  This special group of people were set aside to be a sign of God’s healing and liberation for all humanity (Isaiah 42:6-7), and they were called to communicate God’s grace and healing in a special and unique way (Zechariah 8:20-23).

The New Testament: The Gospels Of course God’s gracious saving activity in the world is carried as a dominant theme throughout the Bible.  However, it is most clearly seen in the ministry of Jesus.  As we have already mentioned, Jesus comes to proclaim, and enact, the reality of God’s kingdom reign on earth, he immediately calls disciples to share with him in the proclamation and expression, here and now, of the sings of God’s kingdom (c.f. Matthew 1:14-3:35).

As has already been mentioned Jesus identifies himself with God’s mission and work as expressed in the Old Testament (Luke 4:16-21).  However, he also identifies the work, mission, and calling, of those who follow him with his own ministry (Matthew 5:13-14). Attwell explains that: He commissions twelve (Luke 9) and then seventy (Luke 10) to be instruments of God’s healing, liberating and saving work. Jesus empowers them with the Spirit that empowers him and identifies their calling with his and Israel’s calling: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you. Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (John 20: 21-23).
This apostolate (“commission”) directs them towards the healing, liberating and salvation of all humanity (Matthew 28: 18-20).

The New Testament:  The Epistles In the Epistles (often called ‘The letters’) we read about the continuing history of this ministry and mission that began with God in the Old Testament, is brought to its height in Jesus, and then continues through the life and work of the early Church.  Of course the purpose of these writings in the Bible are to show us how we ought to do the work that God began and showed so clearly in Jesus’ ministry.  Attwell explains this most clearly when he writes that, On the basis of this calling and commission, the Church comes to understand itself as participating in Jesus Christ’s intercession and mediation with God for all humanity ( 2 Corinthians 5: 20; 1 Peter 2: 9-12). It is in this sense that the Church as a whole is understood as “priestly” and collectively exercises a priestly function, in partnership with Jesus Christ, in the relationship between God and the world. It is in this sense that “the priesthood of all believers” is best understood and should be distinguished from “the priesthood of each believer.”
The notion that the whole church, together, is God’s Priest is most clearly expressed in 1 Corinthians 12:27 “Now you are the body of Christ”.  Thus, both ordained persons and ό λάος, the layity, have equally important functions to perform in order to achieve the plan that God has for God’s Church, the plan of establishing God’s kingdom of justice, mercy, peace, and grace, here on earth.
I certainly hope that you can see that your role as a ‘lay minister’ is just as important as any other ministry role in the Church!  Each of us is called to express God’s calling upon our lives in different ways, however, the goal is the same – the goal is obedient discipleship and service to establish God’s kingdom on earth.

As a steward you have a particular responsibility to ensure the overall welfare and mission of the society in which you have been called and set aside to service.  The following extract from the booklet “Your ministry as a Steward” shows how your ministry relates to the other ministries in your society or circuit: The role of Circuit Stewards involves matters relating to mission, maintenance and ministerial staff within the Circuit. In close consultation with the Circuit Executive they will help to set the mission agenda for the Circuit. They will arrange for the effective financial administration of the Circuit. They will invite the ministers to serve in the Circuit, and will take responsibility for caring for the needs of those ministers.
These responsibilities will be spelled out in more detail later. Society Stewards fulfil a similar role at Society level. They will normally work closely with the local minister in seeking to discern God’s will for the Society. They will help to ensure that the general management of the Society, including the financial aspect, is efficiently run. They will be a support group for the minister, but will also see themselves as part of a ministry team with the minister. What is a steward in the ministry of the MCSA?  Where does the term come from? You may have been wondering what the term ‘steward’ means, and where it comes from. 

The Methodist Church has some rather odd terms in its vocabulary; these include names such as ‘society’ to refer to a local church, ‘circuit’ to refer to a number of churches that are grouped together in a geographic area, and of course this term ‘steward’, that refers to a senior lay leader in the life of a local society or circuit. These strange terms all find their beginnings in the late 18th century in England.

The father of the Methodist movement, the Revd John Wesley, did not wish that this new movement should cause any division in the Church of which he was an ordained minister, namely the Church of England.  Rather, he had hoped that this movement would bring renewal within the church of his day.  Hence, he chose terms to describe the functions and offices of this new movement that would not create any confusion.  The terms he used were deliberately different from those used in the church so that no one could think he was trying to establish a new, or break away, church.  However, once a separation from the Church of England became inevitable the terminology had become so commonplace among Methodists that it was retained, and still remains with us today.  Whilst the term we use for lay ministers, ‘steward’, does not have any biblical equivalent it certainly models the New Testament pattern of lay ministry. From the very beginning Methodists recognised the central, and necessary, role of lay ministry in the mission of the Church.  When Methodism began to spread in England in the 18th century many people joined what John Wesley called ‘societies’, deliberately avoiding the use of the word ‘church’ or ‘congregation’, to grow and deepen their holiness and devotion to God within the existing Church.  Senior laypersons were appointed to oversee and maintain the work and life of these ‘societies’. 
A steward was thus the person who had the ministry of maintaining facilitating the practical functioning, and spiritual character, of the early Methodist societies.  In many of our Methodist churches today we have mistakenly believed that this is the sole mandate of the ordained minister or deacon.  Nothing can be further from the truth!  God calls believers to be intricately involved in achieving the purposes that God has set out for the Church to achieve.

The following wonderful definition describes the central thrust of Christian stewardship very succinctly and clearly: “Stewardship is everything you do after you say yes to Jesus Christ.”  — Clarence Stoughton This definition expresses the notion that true stewardship is a faithful and obedient response to Jesus.  It has to do with the way in which we live our lives and engage with the world around us.  The Presbyterian Church in the USA has this wonderful definition that explains the concept a little further: “Stewardship is about making choices, as individuals and in community…. Stewardship is about being faithful disciples, caring for and managing all that God has given us.  Stewardship is not just one part of Christian discipleship; it involves every aspect of life in all the stages of life.” It is this attitude that should characterize the ministry of a steward in the MCSA. Within the MCSA the ministry of a steward is expressed through the following functions: To work with all members of the society, including clergy and other laity, to promote its smooth operation and spiritual welfare. To attend, and actively participate in, the leaders meeting of the society of which you are a member. To ensure that all collections of money are taken at their proper time, to keep accurate and responsible accounts of such collections, and to ensure that you pay them across to the relevant Circuit, District, or Connexional offices. To maintain the life of the local society by scrutinising and signing all notices for the pulpit. To ensure that proper arrangements are made for Baptisms within the society. To welcome preachers and pray for them before the service. To make alternative arrangements for the service if the preacher who is appointed does not arrive to preach. In addition to this Circuit stewards exercise the ministry of care and oversight by performing the following critical tasks: To ensure that the circuit operates effectively to achieve the mission of God as directed and discerned by the Circuit Quarterly meeting. To oversee and manage all circuit funds in accordance with the Laws and Discipline of the MCSA.  Where appropriate other skilled persons, such as a treasurer or accountant, may be appointed to assist the Circuit steward. To facilitate the adequate staffing of the local circuit so that the mission of the Church may continue to develop and grow. To offer pastoral care, support, and practical assistance for all ministers who live and labour in the circuit, ensuring that they have adequate housing and furniture. To attend the annual SYNOD when appointed to do so. To oversee and participate in the mission of the Circuit and be available for appointment to the Circuit Sunday School council. So, in short, one can see that the ministry of a Steward is of crucial importance for the overall running and functioning of both the local society and the circuit.

  However, since this is a ministry it needs to be approached with a particular character of servant leadership, which was characteristic of the ministry of Christ himself (Philippians 2:1-11).  In the section that follows we will investigate some of the characteristics and values that you should hold and strive for as a steward in the Church. What characteristics and attributes should a steward have, or strive for, to adequately fulfil their ministry in the church? The days when Circuit and Society Stewards were automatically the most senior active lay persons or long serving leaders are past. Leadership within the Church must be exercised on the basis of whether the person concerned demonstrates the qualities of Christian leadership, together with appropriate gifts for the task. Scripture is clear that God gifts different people in different ways with the intention that those people will exercise their service and ministry according to their particular gifts. There is little to be gained by appointing someone to a task that requires some administrative skill if the person has no gifts in that area – even if the person is the most senior person available. Christian leadership and service is on the basis of giftedness, not seniority. Gender is not a criterion for eligibility either. The days when Stewards were only appointed from the ranks of the male gender are surely long since gone! Stewards, whether of the Circuit or Society variety, are leaders. As such, we would expect to find in them the general marks of Christian leadership: A clear commitment to Jesus and his Church. One would expect a Steward to have an evident relationship with Jesus, to be a person of prayer and devotion, and someone who faithfully joins with the congregation of God’s people in worship on Sunday. A teachable spirit.

A Steward should be someone who is continuing to grow as a Christian, someone with a teachable spirit. The position of Circuit or Society Steward may be a senior and responsible position, but this by no means infers that a Steward knows it all. It is important that Stewards are constantly growing in grace, knowledge and experience. Integrity and morality. It should be taken for granted that Stewards will be people of integrity and high moral standards. At work and play, they will be known as Christians and their behaviour will reflect this. They will be dependable and people of their word. Since Stewards will often be called on to deal with money, there should be no question whatsoever in relation to honesty and trustworthiness. Loyalty. Stewards need to demonstrate qualities of loyalty, both towards the Methodist Church and to the minister, or, in the case of a Circuit Steward, the various ministers who serve in the Circuit. This does not imply unquestioning acceptance of everything the Methodist Church, through its officers and decision-making bodies, decides and does. Nor does it imply that ministers cannot be challenged or criticised. But there are constructive ways of doing this. Publicly criticising the Church or ministers is not constructive and will erode confidence and create ill-will, discontent and division. Stewards should have no part of anything which undermines the Church as a whole, or a particular congregation or minister. Problem areas and disagreements need to be dealt with sensitively, creatively and directly with the person/people concerned. The ability to handle criticism.
Stewards need to be people who can handle criticism. Because of their key position within the Circuit or Society, it is inevitable that at times they will be the target of criticism. Even if the Stewards themselves are entirely innocent, sometimes they will be criticised by association should it be that the minister or superintendent minister is perceived as having erred in some way. There have been times when problems have been greatly multiplied by an inability to respond to criticism in a gracious way. Servanthood. Clearly all of the qualities mentioned so far are unlikely to be found in equal measure in every candidate. But one quality that is essential for all Stewards (indeed for anyone called to leadership within the Christian Church) is the quality of servanthood. Servant leadership is what we are looking for. Anyone who sees the position of Circuit or Society Steward as an opportunity to exercise power, as a reward for long service, as a “promotion” within the ranks of church leadership, or as a way of becoming a “somebody” within the Church, has misunderstood the nature of the task and rather than being a blessing to the Circuit or Society is likely to become a problem. Thus Circuit and Society Stewards need a clear understanding that they hold the office for the sake of the Circuit and Society and not for the sake of their own pride. Wise Stewards will listen a great deal and consult regularly with others, rather than simply being intent on pushing their own ideas. They will demonstrate qualities of humility, recognising that the Circuit or Society does not belong to them and that they exercise their role on behalf of the members within that Circuit or Society.
They will be conscious that it is an honour and a privilege to hold the office of Steward, but equally conscious that it is a serious responsibility conferred on them by people who hold them in high esteem. Spiritual maturity. A Circuit or Society Steward, then, will be someone with a large measure of spiritual maturity. It is important to note, however, that maturity is not dependent only on age or the length of time one has been a Christian or been involved in the Church. There are established pillars of the Church whose immaturity becomes an inhibiting factor in the life of a congregation or Circuit. There are also younger people whose openness to the Holy Spirit and willingness to learn has resulted in a level of maturity and experience which ideally suits them for the office of a Steward.        In addition to the general leadership qualities so far referred to, Stewards should, ideally, have certain gifts and abilities: To dream dreams. Being part of a leadership team which has an important input to developing the culture of mission within a Circuit or Society means that a Steward should be able to dream dreams and envision new possibilities. Stewards should not allow themselves to be trapped into a “It’s always been done this way” mode of thinking. Wisdom and discernment. These gifts will always be important for a Steward. An ability to dream dreams is all very well, but it needs to be allied to the ability to discern what is wise and within God’s will. Reckless and hasty decisions and actions are not helpful. An understanding of Grace. A consequence of the spiritual maturity referred to earlier is the ability to understand the importance of grace above law. Rules and regulations will always be necessary, but within the Christian Church, people and relationships should take precedence. This applies especially when it comes to The Laws and Discipline (L&D) of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, an essential volume for Stewards. This sets out clearly the guidelines governing Methodism in Southern Africa. But there have been occasions when Stewards (and others) have tended to view the L&D as a weapon with which to score points, win arguments and bludgeon into submission those who disagree with them. There is an unhelpful legalistic, inflexible mentality in some Stewards that can create or deepen conflict. L&D is intended to liberate, rather than be burdensome. For this to happen, it needs to be applied sensitively to specific situations. The ability to discern when it is necessary for Grace to be the watchword, rather than law, is vital in the context of a Circuit or Society where, because of the variety and number of people involved, there will always be different expectations and interpretations. Administration and finance. In the case of Circuit Stewards, since part of their role involves ensuring that the Circuit functions efficiently and that the things which should happen in the Circuit do in fact happen, some measure of administrative ability would be helpful. Furthermore, Circuit Stewards have oversight of the Circuit finances, and this remains true even if, as is the case in more and more Circuits, there is a Circuit Treasurer. Circuit Stewards will be party to drafting the annual Circuit budget, and even if the Steward is not actually keeping the books and handling the moneys, it is important, at the very least, to have a basic understanding of how church finances work. Some financial acumen would therefore be an asset for a Circuit Steward. Pastoral. Circuit Stewards are the channels through whom invitations are normally extended to ministers to serve in a particular Circuit. Their personal involvement with the Circuit ministers continues once the minister takes up the appointment. To some extent the Circuit Steward may become a pastor for the ministers (as well as their families and other Circuit staff). Ministers, like most people, need encouragement and affirmation. The Steward is in a good position to offer both. The Circuit Steward, having a knowledge of the Circuit, is able to engage in a caring discussion with the minister about ministering in that particular Circuit. In addition, the Steward needs to ensure that the material well-being of the minister is catered for. This also requires a pastoral spirit, as many ministers find it difficult to raise the issue of needing new linen or new furniture or whatever. A Steward who is pro-active and sensitive to the minister’s feelings in this regard will be greatly appreciated. The simple fact is that ministers who feel cared for will be far more motivated to give of their best. A minister who feels isolated, not appreciated or misunderstood will find it very difficult to serve any congregation with joy and enthusiasm. And since some Circuits have devolved responsibility for many of the more mundane matters of manse maintenance and equipment to the Societies, some of this pastoral concern will need to be exercised by Society Stewards as well – who, in any case, ought to be seeking to care for and support their minister. (This pastoral concern should also extend to other staff within the Circuit, such as deaconesses, deacons, biblewomen and evangelists.)          The list of qualities and gifts is daunting and clearly no one person will embody all in equal measure. But since every Circuit has more than one Circuit Steward, and Societies have more than one Society Steward, it is to be hoped that the inadequacies of one will be counterbalanced by the strengths of others. If Stewards are able to see themselves as part of a team, which in the case of Circuit Stewards includes the ministers and other members of the Circuit executive, and in the case of Society Stewards includes the Leaders’ Meeting, their own shortcomings will not be exposed to the extent that might otherwise be the case. Some people, of course, do not function very well as members of a team. In some cases they may be very gifted people, but have an abrasive personality which makes it difficult for others to work with them. However, in the very nature of things, being a Steward implies working with others. An inability to do so may well disqualify someone from being a Steward. Thus we could add a final quality for an effective Circuit or Society Steward: the ability to work as part of a team. Conclusion. In conclusion, this chapter has sought to give you some insight into the valuable ministry that you perform as a lay minister within the church of Christ.  There is little doubt that as you grow and develop in this ministry you will learn many new things, encounter some challenges and hardships, and at times even question why you do this.  Always remember that our ministry is to be agents of healing and transformation for the sake of establishing God’s glorious kingdom here on earth

Questions for discussion and consideration:
What is the ministry and mission of the Church (see point 1 above for some pointers)?
What does the Bible say about the ministry of lay people (see point 2 above for some pointers)?
Where does the term ‘steward’ come from? 
What does it mean in relation to the ministry of the MCSA?
What are some of the common functions and responsibilities that a steward performs in the MCSA?
What characteristics and attributes should a steward in the MCSA have, or strive for? 
What areas in your own life can you point to in which you will need to develop or grow?  What do you commit yourself to do in order to develop these areas?

Umlando wezizwe ZamaZulu

Ezinyathweleni zokhokho baMangwe 

In the footsteps of our forefathers

1.The Uphongolo Region 1700-1830 :

The period between 1700 and 1750 in South East Africa (North Nguniland, now called KwaZulu Natal) underwent dramatic historical vicissitudes, which saw the formation and the development of the Mabhudu, Ndwandwe, Mthethwa, Qwabe, eMbo, (Mkhize-Hlubi) Dlamini-Ngwane, Ngcobo and, finally, the Abakwa Zulu kingdoms. Amangwe are/were part of the eMbo tribe.

 Amangwe of the AbakwaMazibuko under iNkosi Phuthini kaMashoba kaMgabi kaMafu occupied Ngcaka (Luneburg) area over the uPhongolo river and lived peacefully with its neighbours. On the western side of KwaNtabankulu there lived the Amangwane tribes under King Matiwane kaMasumpa Hlongwane, between Utrecht and uPhongolo. North of Ntabankulu lived and ruled the Zwane tribe under King Mangethe kaNdlovu Zwane. The establishment of the Zulu kingdom occurred under Shaka Zulu and kickstarted the beginning of the “Mfecane / Difaqane” wars, resulting in the forced migration of a number of tribes, including Amangwe.


When Shaka attacked AbaKwaZwane under Mangethe. Mangethe’s people left the Uphongolo area and settled across UMzinyathi River below the Drakensberg Mountains. (Izintaba zokhahlamba).Continuing battles between Shaka and Sikhunyana that took place between two historic mountains namely eNcaka and eZindololwane, forced Amangwe of the AbakwaMazibuko under Chief Phuthini kaMashoba to initially migrate to Utrecht. Other members of the clan migrated with Mzilikazi and years later, settled in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. The core of this group established Emangweni, in Zimbabwe as their core settlement. Others, migrated with King Sobhuza into what is today called Swaziland. Within the clan, others started calling themselves ngezithakazelo zakwaMazibuko, oMafu, oMwelase, etc.


Continuing wars and threats of war, forced AbakwaMazibuko to migrate deeper inland and FURTHER down south and saw them scatter around areas such as Newcastle, Harrismith, Ladysmith, Bergville, Loskop, Estcourt Speenkop and surrounding villages around these establishments (not in that order). Significant events such as the establishment of ikhanda called eMhlabaneni, later renamed eBaqulusini by uMkabayi kaJama Zulu at eNtsenteka, with the full blessing of King Shaka, ensured that AmaNgwe kept on the move.

Oral History: AMangwe eSwazini

A narrative by Mandla Mazibuko of Swaziland on the migration of some members of the Mazibuko clan to Swaziland as told by his Grandfather, many, many years ago.


My name is Mandla Vincent Mazibuko. I am the son of Maqondo kaLombanjane, kaMamilela, kaMpisi, kaMakhubalo, who is regarded as our Fore-Father in Swaziland. He is said to have taken residence in kaNgwane in 1850. I am the sixth generation after almost 161 years of the Mazibuko’s setllement in Swaziland. And I am pleased to share with you, how my fore fathers migrated and ended up taking permanent residence in Swaziland.

My grand father, Lombanjane Petros Mazibuko, told me that we are direct descendants of Mwelase from Emangweni in KwaZulu. Our praisenames goes like this:-

Mazibuko, Ncaphane, Mwelase,

wen’ ungaweli ngelitubuko, uwela ngesihlenge semfula,

wena waseMangweni,

wena wa luhhohho lwendlovu,


matfunga silulu sase Luyengweni,

indlov’ ejubela amagaga,

umunt’ogubhezela omunye ngehhemu lakhe.



My grand father said, ” Princess Mzamose, a senior sister to Mswati 11 (Swazi king 1840 – 1865) who was married to Langalibalele of the Hlubis, spotted a beautiful girl from one of the Mazibuko families in that area and picked her for marriage to the Swazi king. Unfortunately, the chosen girl belonged to a junior family within the Mazibuko clan. The senior family was jealous that the girl from the junior family was going to marry the Swazi king. Then there was division among the families with the Mazibuko clan.

As preparations were being made to have a bridal party (ludvendvwe) to take the girl to Swaziland, the other faction, mainly from the senior family made a plan to hide some where with the intention to ambush the girl together with her party on their journey to Swaziland. Fortunately, for the bridal party, the information leaked out. They got to know about the”‘ambush plan “before setting out on their long journey to Swaziland. The bridal party set out on their journey in the evening and avoided the route where the ambush party was waiting to pounce on them and kill all the members of the bridal party on that very night.

They walked safely away from the ambush party in the still of the night. The ambush party waited until the next morning, only to discover that the bridal party had long left. They tried to pursue them, but they were alraedy too late to catch up with them. They gave up the chase after some days.

The bride and her party got to Swaziland after some weeks of walking from KwaZulu. When they finally got to Swaziland, their feet were swollen and other members were sick. The bride and her party were warmly recieved by King Mswati who wedded the bride. After the wedding, the Mazibukos informed King Mswati about what had happened back in KwaZulu concerning the division that had occurred in the Mazibuko clan as a result of the bride’s marriage to him. They further told him that chances were very high that they (members of the bridal party) were going to be killed upon return to KwaZulu. King Mswati then instructed all the members of the bridal party not to return back home. He gave them a piece of land at Nokwane (Swaziland) where they settled. As the family grew bigger, it moved to other parts of Swaziland.

Before my grand father died, he had wished that one of us (his grand children) should trace our roots back to Emangweni. He was wanted the clan back in KwaZulu to know that we safely made it to Swaziland as his greateset worry was that the clan in KwaZulu thought that something bad happened on our way to Swaziland, hence our failure to return even after the wedding.

For more details, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Mandla Vincent Mazibuko: P O Box 7430: Manzini: Swaziland:

Cell: 00268 7604 3105: email:

Mandla Vincent Mazibuko CEO – Noble Expressions Development Consultancy, Manzini, Swaziland

Mandla Vincent Mazibuko CEO – Noble Expressions Development Consultancy, Manzini, Swaziland

Extracts from a Thesis

 Extracts from a thesis by Prince Bongani Shelemba Zulu (2002):


The Uphongolo Region 1700-1830

The period between 1700 and 1750 in South East Africa (North Nguniland) underwent dramatic historical vicissitudes, which saw the formation and the development of the Mabhudu, Ndwandwe, Mthethwa, Qwabe, eMbo, (Mkhize-Hlubi) Dlamini-Ngwane, Ngcobo and, finally, the Abakwa Zulu kingdoms. Amangwe are/were part of the eMbo tribe.

Whilst the above-mentioned tribes developed there were also small chiefdoms, in the interior and coastal regions that also had undergone a process of centrality though very small in size as compared to the Ndwandwe-Mthethwa powers. These polities were Qwabe, Ngcobo and eMbomkhize on the coast and the Hlubi, Ngwane, Dlamini, Shabalala, Hlatswayo-Kubheka Zwane-Mazibuko in North West of iMfolozi. These polities and their powers were less centralized and less stratified than those of the Mthethwa and Ndwandwe.19:

At the same time King Mashobana kaZikode was ruling the abaKwaKhumalo ca 1800. Mashobana was attacked and killed by Zwide kaLanga. Mzilikazi, one of Mashobana’s sons survived the massacre. He then subsequently gathered the remnants of his tribe and asked for protection under Shaka or voluntarily combined his forces with those of Shaka Zulu in defence against Zwide’s next imminent onslaught.48. Zwide in the course of his conquest attacked the abaseMantshalini. In that attack King Mlotha was killed. His tribe was ruled by Hlangabeza kaMabhedla and Khondlo kaMagalela all of them being chiefs of the Amantshali clans.49
On the western side of KwaNtabankulu there lived the Amangwane tribes under King Matiwane kaMasumpa Hlongwane, between Utrecht and Pongolo. North of Ntabankulu lived and ruled the Amangwe tribe under Kimng Mangethe kaNdlovu Zwane. They inhabited this area together with offshoot tribes AbakwaMazibuko at eNcaka under King Phuthini kaMashoba, Cebekhulu and AbakwaLinda.50
The years between 1800-1820 underwent violent historical vicissitudes; Shaka Zulu completed the wars of conquest begun by Zwide kaLanga Ndwandwe and Dingiswayo kaJobe Mthethwa.51 Having driven Zwide kaLanga out of the kwaNongoma area, Shaka, in order to secure the Northern border of his kingdom, placed Maphitha kaSojiyisa Zulu of the abaKwaMandlakazi collateral Royal House between eMkhuze and eMfolozi eMnyama near the upper Mona River. He placed Mathaka kaMpasa kaMnomo Zulu and Sithayi, kaMbuzi (alias Mavunula) kaNdaba and Ntshingwayo kaGanganana kaNdaba Zulu of eGazini collateral Royal House at Kwaceza on the source of the iThaka River.52 After these arrangements, Shaka subsequently attacked AbaKwaZwane under Mangethe. Mangethe’s people left the area later on and settled across UMzinyathi River below the Drakensberg Mountains. (Izintaba zokhahlamba).


This battle between Shaka and Sikhunyana took place between two historic mountains namely eNcaka and eZindololwane. The Hlatshwayo-Kubheka clan is situated in this area below izindololwane at eNtombe River, 174 and the Amangwe of the AbakwaMazibuko under Chief Phuthini kaMashoba occupies eNcaka area over the uPhongolo river.175

Chief Magonondo kaKhathide Kubheka should have been an eye-witness to these events as they were taking place in this region. What is known is that the three chiefs, Mathe Shabalala, Magonondo Kubheka and Phuthini Mazibuko submitted to Shaka’s rule and henceforth were paying tribute to the Zulu kings.176


The AbakwaMazibuko Clan under Chief Phuthini kaMashoba ca1800 -1848

Like other areas eNcaka had had its ancient inhabitants the Abathwa and Amalawu (the Qoyi-San). The origin of abakwa Mazibuko can be traced back to the Zwane, Ngwane, Hlubi and Ndwandwe clans who are commonly known as the AbaseMbo tribe. The eMbo in turn are distant relatives of the Amathonga (the Maronga people).218

AbakwaZwane were either closely related to the abakwa-Nkosi-Dlamini or the abakwaNdwandwe under Zwide kaLanga. However, what is certain is that when Ngwane or Sobhuza left Uphongolo area for Swaziland, the Zwane people did not migrate with him. They remained between oBivane and eMfolozi emnyama. They had the Ndwandwe clans on the southeast; the Amahlubi on the West towards the source of the UMzinyathi River and the North West had the Amangwane clan under Matiwane kaMasumpa hlongwane.219. Behind the Ngwane clan there were the Amagonondo and the AbakwaShabalala.

All these clans paid tribute to the Ndwandwe Kings after the conquest and supremacy of Zwide kaLanga.220. After the defeat of Zwide by Shaka’s forces, the Zwane clans were the next to be visited for they lived in close proximity to the Ndwandwe. They moved away to the West close to eMahlubini their distant relatives. Their place at eHlobane at Mangethe’s ikhanda known as eNtshenteka was henceforth occupied by Mkabayi kaJama Zulu. She built an ikhanda called eMhlabaneni. Later however, it was renamed eBaqulusini.

There are different versions as to the origin of the name eBaqulusini, (the place of those who display their buttocks). Bryant says this reference was to the Amangwe and the Amahlubi hitherto resident in those regions, which had the habit of exposing their buttocks, by wearing the Sotho breechcloth instead of the regulation Zulu umutsha (hanging girdle of skin). Such a costume in the Zulu’s estimation, was low and unrefined, hence they contemptuously nicknamed the abeSuthu iziNgadanqunu (people who run about naked).221 Bryant went on to say:


“Both these tribes, the Amangwe and the Amahlubi affected the same tartan because they were both of the same stock, and close cousins. They belonged along with the Ngwane-Swazis, Ndwandwe, Khuzes and others, to what we have termed the eMbo branch of the Nguni family. The Amangwe, along with the Zwanes and others, sprang from a certain common ancestor Ntsele, a different individual from Ntsele, father of Bhungane.”222

In the face of repeated attacks either during the battle of eZindololwane against Sikhunyana kaZwide (1826) or during Mzilikazi’s rebellion and escape 1822/3 the Zwane migrated once more; some with Mzilikazi, and AbakwaMazibuko remained behind the under iNkosi Phuthini kaMashoba kaMgabi kaMafu.

Tradition says AbakwaMazibuko-Mwelaseongaweli ngazibuko kepha owelangesihlenga somfula.224 AbakwaZwane adopted those who cross the river by using the raft. The AbakwaZwane, Mazibuko, Cebekhulu and Linda according to recorded oral tradition are all related to one another. Phuthini kaMashoba was the longest reigning King of the Mazibuko clan, his time ranging from Shaka to Mpande.

Mpande is said to have complained now and again saying, “why is Phuthini not dying”; All his contemporaries (kings) in power, had all died but he was then still living. Mpande said Phuthini must be the one who bewitched other kings,225 and Mpande also accused them of having stolen his cattle. In 1847/48 Mpande sent several expeditions to invade Amahlubi under Kings Langalibalele kaMthimkhulu kaBhungane Hadebe and Amangwe under Phuthini kaMashoba Mazibuko.226 Therefore the area in which they had been living, before they were driven to Natal was called eNcaka.
Langalibalele’s mother Ntambose was the daughter of Mashoba kaMgabi kaMafu Mazibuko. Langalibalele (who later became King of amaHlubi) grew up among AmaWelase.227. There was intermarriage among the AbakwaShabalala, Hlubi, Mazibuko and Kubheka-Hlatshwayo chiefdoms. Whenever these clans were pressed hard by a common danger or enemy they used to move together in defence against or in flight away from the threat. They fled for Natal and occupied the areas known as eMnambithi (Ladysmith) for the Amahlubi and Klip River for Amangwe.228


Mpande, having driven away both Amahlubi and Amangwe had one remaining encroaching enemy namely the Boers who by that time were in coalition with the Amaswazi. Malambule and his party had left Swaziland ngesilulu (en masse) driven out by Mswati after the eruption of the civil war 1846. From Mahamba Mission station, they left for Zululand and asked for protection from Mpande. They temporarily settled at eMbizeni and established eBhadeni homestead. Mpande took or rather commanded one of these Swazi princes Nciliba, father of Nyamayenja to move to the vacant area eNcaka. Henceforth the eNcaka area is ruled by AbakwaNkosi under Mhlabunzima (Mgedla), kaMakhehlana, kaLuphondo, KaMabukangengazi, kaMkhontowendlela, kaNyamayenja, kaNciliba, kaSamukezi.



Prince Bongani Shelemba Zulu: From The Lüneburger Heide To Northern Zululand: A History Of The Encounter Between The Settlers, The Hermannsburg Missionaries, The Amakhosi And Their People, With Special Reference To Four Mission Stations In Northern Zululand (1860-1913). (Master Of Theology: The School Of Theology: University Of Natal: Pietermaritzburg. December 2002) pp 76; 83; 95-97; 140-144.


19 Hamilton, C., Ideology, Oral Tradition and the Struggle for Power, pp. 156-160;

Bryant, A.T., Olden Times, pp. 404-5; Hedges, D.W., Trade and Politics, p. 176; Wright, J., & Manson, A., The Hlubi Chiefdom, pp. 9-11; Bonner, P., Kings, Commoners and Concessionaires, pp. 9-26;

48 Shooter, Joseph, The Kaffirs of Natal, pp. 186-193; Bryant, A.T., Olden Times, pp.172-175; 417-423.

49 Bryant, A.T. Olden Times, p. 162; Sithole, T., Izibongo nezithakazelo Zakwazulu, p.80.

50 Bryant, A.T., Olden Times, pp. 175-184; Msimang C., Buzani kuMkabayi, (Pretoria, 1982), pp. 183-190; Khumalo, R.S., uPhoko Vol. 1 pp. 147-149.

51 Hamilton, C.A., Ideology, Oral Tradition and the Struggle for Power , pp. 122-3;

52 Bryant, A.T., Olden Times pp. 128, 130, 660-661; Stuart, James., uThulasizwe,

(London, 1923, 1937), pp. 51-52; JSA., Vol. 1, p. 7; Hamilton, C.A., Ideology, pp.

175 Wright, J., et alia, The Hlubi Chiefdom, pp. 16, 27.33, 35-36; JSA., Vol. 1, p. 291; Vol. 2, pp. 4-6 per Mabindela kaNtuli Mazibuko 19-12-1910; pp. 27, 32-33, 40, per Mabhonsa kaSidlayi Kubheka, Interview 2-2-1909; Bryant, A.T., Olden Times, pp. 181, 182, 184.

176 JSA., Vol. 2, pp. 250, 261; Wright, J., The Hlubi Chiefdom, p. 22, 33; Bryant, A.T.,A History of the Zulu, pp. 2, 10; Bryant, A.T., Olden Times, pp. 308-334, pp. 586-594, Vide -pp. 91, 590; Duminy, Andrew and Guest, Bill, Natal and Zululand pp. 73-74; Phiri, P.D., FromNguni to Ngoni A History of the Ngoni Exodus from Zululand and Swaziland to Malawi,Tanzania and Zambia, (Popular Publications, Limbe, Malawi, 1982), pp. 52-53.

219-224; Hedges, D.W., Trade and Politics pp. 214-216; Guy, Jeff, The Destruction of the Zulu Kingdom: the civil war in Zululand, 1879-1884, (London, 1979), pp. 37,

174 Bryant, A.T., A History of the Zulu, pp. 2, 10; JSA., Vol. 1, p. 18, 201, Vol. 2, pp.

250, 261.

249; JSA., Vol. 4, pp. 278, 314, 318, 321, 357, 358; Wright J., Dynamics of Power, pp. 174-176. 133-35; 335; Wright, J., The Dynamics of Power, pp. 174-176.

218 Bleek, W.H.I., Researches into the relations between the Hottentots and Kaffir

races, (Cape Town, 1857), pp. 200-296; Report concerning bushmen 1873, Second report Concerning Bushmen, 1875; Fuze, Magema, Abantu abamnyama nalapho Bavela ngakhona,(Pietermaritzburg, 1922); Khumalo, R.S., uPhoko, Vol. 1, pp. 1-35; 42-59.

219 Bryant, A.T., Olden Times, pp. 135-184.

220 Bonner, P., Kings, Commoners and Concessionaires, pp. 9-26.

221 Bryant, A.T., Olden Times, p. 181.

222 Ibid., p. 181.

223 Msimang, C.T., Buzani kuMkabayi, pp. 183-190, vide p. 190.

224 Sithole, T. Izibongo nezithakazelo zaKwaZulu, p. 56; Bryant, A.T., Olden Times, pp.155, 181, 212, 417-424, 590; JSA., Vol. 2, p. 14.

225 JSA., Vol. 2, p. 27, Kubheka, Mabhonsa kaSidlayi’s evidence 01.02-1909; Zulu,

Cetshwayo, in A Zulu King speaks, pp. 14 – 15; Bryant, A.T., Olden Times, pp. 155, 181; Wright, J. & Manson, A., The Hlubi Chiefdom, pp. 32-36.

226 Ibid, pp. 32-36; JSA., Vol. 2, pp. 27, 33.

227 JSA., Vol. 2, p. 14.

228 Bryant, A.T., Olden Times, pp. 147-158, Vide, pp. 155-158; JSA, Vol. 2, pp. 27, 33.

229 Nkosi, Ntolozi kaSitimela Zondo, interview 16.01.1997, eNcaka; Zulu, Cetshwayo, in A Zulu King Speaks, pp. 14-15.






  1. The facilitators of the confirmation program and church leaders would like to congratulate you on the step taken in seeking spiritual maturity.
  2. “God the Father decided to choose you as his people” (1Peter 1:2).  God chose Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery and David to be the great king of His people.  God has also chosen you in order to use you to scatter His word throughout the forgotten corners of Durban and South   Africa.  Be happy that, of all people He could have gone to, He has come to you, and therefore, in whatever you do, do it for the glory of God (1Cor 10:31).
  3. Purposes if the class:-

à         Accompany learners/converts.

à         Facilitate spiritual life.

à         Grow disciples (Col 1:28).  The main purpose of Christian teaching and never-ending repetition of the gospel message is to ensure that believers believe more, obey more, understand more and become more like Christ.

à         Offer pastoral care.

  1. Focus of this class is on:-

à         Time with God’s word.

à         Prayer

à         Knowing your church and its teachings.

à         Fellowship

  1. We encourage the following from confirmands.
  • Take responsibility for their own growth.
  • Think critically/ question during the progress of the lessons.
  • Come forward with knowledge of benefit to class members and facilitators (not consider themselves empty vessels to be filled).
  • Answer the call of Christ with total commitment.  Jesus has made it clear to all those who want to follow him in Luke 9:57-62, that everything else must give way to your obedience to the Father.
  • Invite friends; parents and class leaders to share ideas (on spiritual maturity).
  • There must be an ever-deepening maturity (Hebrew 6:1).
  1. Theological background to confirmation in the Methodist Church:

Confirmation is defined by Rev Leon Klein of the MCSA, in lay language, as a time where young people are helped by adults to deepen their knowledge of faith and develop skills in adult-Christian living.

When Methodist movement first emerged, John Wesley would call people to commitment, and then place them in classes (irhamente) for their spiritual growth.  This was done so that they are, not tempted away from their faith.

The Methodist believe that God begins work in the heart of an individual long before a person recognizes that there is a God (Psalm 139:15; Jeremiah 1:4-5).  The Church therefore affirms the prevenient grace (spirit that goes before the seeker) in the Baptism of infants.  The moment of taking adult responsibility is expressed in Confirmation, which is in response to the continuation of the seeking activity of the Spirit of God.  This is also a moment that culminates in the individual or converts making a public commitment to God at a special service, often referred to as a “Confirmation Service” – held in August/September of each year at CCMYT.

Confirmation therefore becomes a special moment when the community of faith affirms the place of the believer- a place that was recognized at the baptism of the infant.

  1. Confirmation class does not replace the classes (irhamente) that John Wesley formed and instructed his lay preachers/pastoral leaders to nurture new converts in the Methodist Church for deepened spiritual formation.
  2. How does the confirmation class program runs at CCMYT:

à         Confirmation classes are held weekly on Wednesdays at 17h30 (till the confirmation service), unless otherwise specified of any changes. Should you experience problems with time, please discuss with the class facilitators in advance for an amicable solution.

à         The following topics almost constitutes the core of the class program: Prayer; church history; church structure; Mission of the MCSA; Trinity and Apostle’s Doctrines; Resurrection; conversion and Christian faith; witnessing/testimony; Christian giving and church membership; Salvation; Mission outreach/caring for the needy; Christian family; Introduction to Bible reading; etc.

à         Attendance and total commitment is of absolute importance (contributes 50% towards the end of the program mark).

à         Compulsory exercises/homework (written or group presentations) will be given to the confirmands to encourage diligence and full participation by everybody (contributes 25% towards the end of the program mark).

à         Written assessment (contributes 25% towards the final mark) will be given to confirmands who have attended well and also complied with their homework.

à         Confirmands’ breakfast with the church will take place the Saturday before the confirmation service.

  1. Please provide yourselves with notebooks, bible(s), Methodist hymn book and catechism in preparation for the classes.  Some study notes will be supplied to assist the confirmands.
  2. The confirmation class facilitators would like to congratulate you one more time and remind you that the Christian journey is a marathon, hence the emphasis of fellowshipping with other believers so that you will be strong to the end (1Corinthians 1:8).




I. History of Christian Church


Early spread of the church:  The Methodist church started in the 18th Century as a revival movement with the “Anglican Church” by John Benjamin Wesley.  He recruited workers who preached to “common people”, putting emphasis on salvation by faith.

–          The Christian Church began among the Jewish “converts” who used to gather at the Pentecost, the church in Jerusalem (Acts 2:42-47).

–          Emperor Domitian declared himself: divine” and ordered all subjects of the Roman Empire to worship him as God, Christians of course refused.  The Jewish and Emperor Domitian’s persecution forced Christians to flee to other cities, start new congregations in these places.  Through the discipleship of Apostles, the Gospel began to spread in Europe, North Africa and Middle East.

–          Emperor Constantine, 313AD became Christian and gave Christians their autonomy, but was invaded by wrong people who politicized and retarded its growth.  The Roman Empire was split mainly over doctrinal disputes into 2 factions, the Eastern governed by Constantinople (Istanbul) and the Western faction governed by Rome.

–          The birth of Mohamed (570-632AD) in Mecca (Saudi Arabia) was followed by the rise of Islam.  Armed Muslims swept through the Arab world persecuting and driving advancing Christians out of the churches in Palestine, Middle East, and Egypt.  Seven Centuries of Christian work development was destroyed, leaving the church concentrated mainly in Europe, Italy and Greece.

Reformation – By the early 16th Century, the Roman Catholic Church (from the Western stream) and the State were heavily intertwined.  Corruption and ignorance from Kings and politicians was rife.  Martin Luther [1483-1546) (Germany) and other religious leaders rebelled against those malpractices.

They began to teach about the basic truths of Christian faith i.e. (a) Salvation by faith alone, (b). The Bible is the supreme guide in the Christian religion and the church and wanted it available in common people’s languages (not only in Latin) and (c) “Priesthood of all believers”.



The Protestant Reformation – led to the formation of at least three church groups:-

à         The Lutherans (under Martin Luther).

à         The Calvinists (under John Calin in Geneva) – stressed on the doctrine of predestination.

à         The Anabaptists – believed in practice of adult or believers baptism.


The English Reformation – In 1534, Henry VII broke all ties wit home and declared himself head of the church in England.  This was partly because the Catholic Church had refused him to divorce Catherine of Aragon.  Their emphasis took a middle road between Lutherans and Rome.


The Evangelical Revival – This took place in the 1700’s, during the time of “English Industrial Revolution”, spearheaded by John Wesley (1703 – 1791), an Anglican priest.


The Anglican Church rejected this renewal movement (of salvation by faith) and banned preachers of the “new doctrine”.

à         After John Wesley’s death, the split of Methodism as a separate church happened.


II. Methodism coming to Southern Africa

–          Methodism came to Southern Africa in 1820 with the soldiers of the British garrison stationed at the Cape in the early years of the 19th Century.  In 1815, Rev. Barnabas Shaw and early Methodist missionaries started their work before the Great Trek (inland movement) and notably established famous Lily fountain mission.  Methodism became firmly established with the arrival of the 1820 British Settlers, many of whom were Methodists.

–          Rev William Shaw moved along the Eastern Part of the Cape, establishing the following mission stations:-

*        Wesley Ville (first mission in Ciskei; 1823);

*        MountCoke – 1824;

*        Butterworth – 1827;

*        Morley – 1829;

*        Clarke bury – 1835;

*        Shaw bury – 1835;

*        Maclear, Fletch Ville and Tsitsana -1864.

–          Rev Samuel Broadbent founded the mission station at Makwasi (1822) Free State, while Rev James Archbell and Rev John Edwards established mission stations in Thaba Nchu, Platberg, Lishuane, Mpukane, Mpherane (near Ficksburg).  The spread continued to Kwa Zulu Natal and Transvaal up to Mozambique.

–          The Methodist church received its autonomy from the British Conference in 1882.  The South African Conference exercised its jurisdiction and carried out its functions subject to the stipulations made by the British Conference until the year 1926 when the South African Conference resolved that it would be in the interests of both that the affiliation and control should cease.

–          Early mission stations had schools; printing presses 9e.g. Mt Coke, Platberg and Makwasi); hospitals (e.g. Moroka, Mt Coke, Manguzi and Bethesda).

–          The Methodist church in South   Africa had 2 factions viz.

*        Native (for the Africans).

*        Weslian (Europeans).


These 2 streams (result of apartheid) had different service books, hymn books and administration.  They later united to become one multiracial and multicultural church (MCSA).


III. Life History of John Benjamin Wesley

The Founder of Methodism was born the 17th June 1703 in Epworth, England.  His father was Samuel (Anglican Minister) and the mother was Susannah.  He was the 13th child (out of 19).  Each of the children had a special time each week alone with their mother during which their spiritual education was encouraged.

–          John was miraculously rescued from a burning rectory at an age of 5 and a half years, he often referred to himself as a “brand plucked from the burning—“(Zech 3:2).

–          He enrolled to ChristChurchCollege in Oxford University in 1720, where he obtained a BA in 1724.  He came from a very poor family, his friends often helped to pay his fees.

–          He was ordained into the ministry in He was ordained into the ministry in September 1725 following his mother’s encouragement.  While at Oxford, he underwent “religious conversion” with strong emphasis on good works and self denial.  He realized his previous lack of understanding of the evangelical faith or salvation and foundation of repentance.

–          Sally Kirkham was the main influence on his conversion, through literature and the discussions they shared.

–          In 1730, after three years ministering in rural towns, John returned to Oxford and joined hands with his brother Charles (and few other students) to form a small group called the “Holy Club”.  The aim was to help each other take their studies seriously, but expanded to include Bible study, weekly communion, obedience to church orders, prayer and visiting the sick, poor and the prisons.  Other students made fun of the Holy Club and gave them nicknames like “Bible-moths”, “enthusiasts” and “Methodists”.

–          The “Methodist” nickname came from their being strict with their time and order of doing things i.e. methodical.

–          In 1735, he was invited to Georgia (American Colony) as minister by a friend, his ministry was however a failure.

–          On Pentecost Sunday in 1738, his brother Charles (also an Anglican Priest) experienced conversion, and three days later on 24 May, John felt a “strange heart-warming experience, in Aldersgate Street where one was reading Luther preface of the Epistle to the Romans.  He felt he trusted Christ and him alone for His salvation.

–          He celebrated the special day in worship with his young brother Charles.

–          In 1739, John and Charles began to preach out-doors, a move the Anglican Church referred to as “wild enthusiasm” and closed their doors on them.

–          The Message of the revival was simple and clear:

I.  Salvation is by faith alone.

II. Assurance (of salvation)

III. Christian perfection

IV. Social awareness

–          The hymns of the Revival were written during that period; Charles Wesley wrote over 3000 hymns, 150 of these are found in our English hymn book.

–          John Wesley was a genius as far as organization is concerned.  When people responded to his “Societies” of the new Christians were formed in each place, each with their own leadership and organization.  Somehow the nickname “Methodist” became attached to these new “Societies”.  He always regarded these as Revival movements within the Anglican Church.  Members were encouraged to worship regularly and take communion at their local church.

–          In 1740, John Wesley started working with smaller groups within Societies called “classes”.  The purpose was collection of money to pay for a new chapel at Bristol, but leaders expanded them to provide pastoral care.  Bible study prayers, church discipline and communion teachings in class meetings saw Methodists growing in faith.

–          By 1742, he started training local preachers to hold and maintain the work in the local societies.  He traveled extensively on horseback preaching over 1000 a year for the 40 years of his ministry, he encountered active opposition from the Anglican Church of the time.

–          It was never Wesley’s intention that Methodism should separate from the Church of England (Anglican Church).  He referred to Methodism as ”raised up by God to spread scriptural holiness throughout the land.”

–          John Wesley died on the 2nd of March 1791 (aged 87).  Some of his last words were, “The best of all is that God is with us”.  Both John and Charles lived and died as Anglican priests.

–          In 1795, Methodism broke away from the Anglicans and allowed for its own ordination and the administration of the sacraments.





















The name of our church is the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, MCSA.  Central City mission Yase Thekwini (circuit 704) falls under the Natal Coast District (District 07).  The MethodistChurch of Southern Africa operates in six countries of the subcontinent-Botswana; Lesotho; Mozambique; Namibia; South Africa and Swaziland.  The current “formal” membership totals in excess of 500 000.


1.                Methodist Connexional Office (MCO)

Head Office of MCSA is in Johannesburg; MCO (financial dept.) in Durban, Musgrave.  The Presiding Bishop Ziphozihle  Siwa (successor to Ivan Abrahams) is the chairperson of the connexional executive.  His office is in the Church House in Gauteng.

The Connexional executive is the most powerful decision maker between conferences, which is held every 3 years (triennial).  The conference is the highest body of the MCSA and is made up of representatives of the Districts.


The MCO is the administrative body of the MCSA, its objectives are:

à         Caring for ministerial staff and their families;

à         Effectively administering connexional funds in accordance with missionary imperatives in an accountable and responsible manner.

à         Offering administrative and financial facilities and resources to the church.

à         Initiating financial resources for mission growth and development.

The MCO is made up of 14 districts:

à         01 Cape of Good Hope;

à         02 Grahams town;

à         03 Queenstown;

à         04 Namibia;

à         05 Kimberley and Bloemfontein;

à         06 Northern Free State and Lesotho;

à         07 Natal Coastal;

à         08 Natal West;

à         09 Central District;

à         10 Highveld and Swaziland;

à         11 Limpopo;

à         12 Mozambique;

à         13Clarkebury;

à         Connexional Departments and chaplaincies.


–          The World Methodist connexion (council) is a consultative body that links autonomous conferences if the Methodist church worldwide.

2.            District

The 14 districts of MCSA are each led by their own Bishop; the two districts in Kwazulu-Natal namely are the Natal Coast and Natal West.  Our Bishop in the Natal Coast is Bishop Mike Voster, who also chairs the District Executive and the Synod, manages the district and serves as a link between the MCO and the District.  The term of office of the Bishop shall be three years, renewable up to maximum of three times and Bishops are not ordained in the MCSA.

The current ministry of the Bishops:

A Bishop is an ordained minister who has been chosen by the Church to exercise a ministry of oversight and to be the focus of unity for the Church in a particular area of the Connexion called a District.  The word for Bishop is “episcopes” which means “overseer” (1 Tim 3:1-7), 1Peter 2:25, Phil 1:1, Acts 20:28).  This can also be seen as an aspect of the ministry of oversight exercised by the Apostles which includes:

  • spiritual leadership
  • mission leadership
  • the enabling and empowering of both lay and ordained ministry, and
  • Pastoral care of the Church.

Their ministry is always exercised under the Lordship of Christ, who is the true Bishop (1Peter 2:25).  In the MCSA, Bishops are inducted by the Church with prayer of laying on the hands and not ordained into this ministry; therefore, they do not retain the title when they no longer hold office.  It is not about status or the abuse of power, but has at its heart the same spirit of humility and servant-leadership which Jesus expects in all forms of Christian ministry.

A Synod is an annual special meeting held in each and every District, whose chief function is to provide spiritual direction and inspiration for the District.  It comprises the following ministries and lay members who reside in the District, such lay members having been members of the Church in good standing for at least the past 2 years.  One representative come from each Mission group appointed by the Synod, one circuit steward from each circuit and three other representatives of each Circuit.

The following are the functions of the Synod:

à         To provide spiritual leadership for the District, applying the lead provided by the Conference;

à         To determine mission priorities and activities in the district;

à         To allocate resources and provide material and other assistance to the circuits;

à         To consider and deal with the matters contained in the order of Business for Synods, subject always to the decisions of the Connexional Executive;

à         To enquire into the disciplinary behaviour of all ministers on the District;

à         Administration of the District and implementation of matters referred to by the Conference or Connexional Executive;

à         To determine circuit boundaries, divide or unite circuits and establish new circuits.

District executive hold office for one year from the rising of Synod and are eligible for re-election.  The following are ex officio members: Bishop; vice-chairperson (full-time minister of a circuit); District secretary; Statistical Secretary and Treasurer of the District.

A District is made up of a variable number of circuits.


3.            Circuits

Each circuit has a chairperson, superintendent minister.

The circuit is governed by the circuit quarterly meeting which has jurisdiction in both spiritual and material matters over the societies in the circuit.  Quarterly meeting (circuit and society leaders meeting) makes resolution of all decisions taken by circuit executive.


Circuit Management (executive) consists of the Ministers, Probationers, Supernumerary ministers, Deacons, Bible women and Evangelists, Circuit stewards, Society stewards, Circuit secretary (Lay member of the church), Circuit Treasurer.  Duly appointed leaders of all Classes (“abakhokheli”), junior classes, representatives of Local preachers, Circuit Women’s’ Manyano, Young Men’s’ Guild, Young Women’s’ Manyano, Women’s’ Auxiliary/ Association, and the Wesley Guild are members of the circuit quarterly meeting.


Minister conducts church services, trains and supervises lay preachers, conducts special services like Baptism / Holy Communion / Funerals / Weddings / Confirmation of new church members and organization members / gives pastoral care, and presides over church organizations.


Each circuit / society collects the mission fund (RONA) yearly and submits to MCO.

  1. 4.       Society

à         The Chairperson of each Society is the Superintendent of the Circuit with Society Steward deputizing.

à         Each Society consists of the congregation, classes (irhamente) and the leaders.

à         The Society supports its minister, their building and fellowship activities.

à         The Annual Society Meeting (class leaders and stewards) is the governing body of the Society, chaired by the Minister. The Society Leaders’ meeting shall be held as / and when the occasion demands, to oversee the life and mission of the Society and minister and the affairs of the Society.


  1. 5.       Class (Irhamente)

à         The MethodistChurch is made up of congregational members, some of

à         Whom “convert” to be the followers of Christ and will bring their names forward and become full members.

à         They are divided into small groups of about 12 and form a class. A class is a fellowship of believers ( Acts 2:42 )

Each class has its own leader who: Represents members in the leaders meeting

à         Keeps the class register

à         Collects tithing for the church and the needy

à         Organizes spiritual and social group events

à         Leads the group in bible studies and special   prayers

à         Visits class members as frequently as possible in order to watch over their spiritual life

A Class leader is appointed to have spiritual oversight of class members and should be trained for such for work.

The class should meet at least once a week.


  1. 6.       Sunday school

à         This is an important part of the teaching about Christ in the MCSA(Bavumeleni abantwana beze kum ngokuba ubukumkani bamaZulu bobabo)

à         Sunday school takes care of the young people in church at different ages (age3-14) and stages of development.

  1. 7.       Ministers in the MCSA

a)      Bishops – The ministry of oversight ( 1Tim 3:1-7; Titus 1:7-9)

b)      Ministers/presbyters – ministry of the word, sacraments and pastoral care(1peter 5:2-3)

c)       Deacons – ministry of service and the word ( acts 6:1-7 ; Phil 1:1 )

d)      Evangelists and Biblewoman – ministry of the word

Ministers – A candidate shall be nominated by the superintended in the quarterly meeting of the circuit in which a candidate is a member and a local preacher. The superintendent’s recommendation shall include the subjects of age, spirituality, involvement in the life and work of the church, moral character, suitability for ministry, knowledge of / and attachments of our doctrines and disciplines, health, freedom from debt, and where the candidate is married, the attitude of the spouse to being married to a minister.

All candidates sit for examinations, written and oral, provided by education for ministry and mission unit (EMMU) and the synod. Synods may examine and recommend for ordination and reception into full Connexion.

The normal course of probation is five years of which at least years shall be spent in circuit work

Probationer’s studies and work is supervised by the Circuit Superintendent and District Supervisor of Studies.


  1. 8.       Organisations

à         Uniformed organizations such as Women’s Manyano, Young Women’s Manyano, Young Men’s Guild, Wesley Guild, women’s Auxiliary / Association and other youth groups are concerned with social , moral and spiritual needs of people at different age groups.

à         Evangelists and Bible women are lay persons who after some training in evangelism ministry spread the word particularly in remote areas.

à         Lay Preachers are known as local preachers, they usually undergo a 2 years of training (part-time) and conduct services in the society in between visits by the minister.

  1. 9.       Print Services

The MCSA has its own publishing house in Cape Town, produces its own newspaper, The New Dimension, and many books.














The mission of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa


1.)MCSA Mission Statement: “God calls the Methodist people to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ for healing and transformation”

The Methodist church believes that the sufficiency of the gospel is demonstrated by the salvation and transformation (sanctification) of all nations.


2.) Our Vision:  “A Christ – healed Africa for the healing of Nations”


3.) We believe the church is called to (six calls)

à         A deepening spirituality

à         A resolve to be guided by God’s mission

à         A rediscovery of “ every member ministry” or e priesthood of all believers

à         A commitment to be one so that the world may believe

à         A re-emphasis of servant – leadership and discernment as our model for ministry

4.) The four pillars or mission imperatives of the MSCA

The basic pointers to what is practicable and needed to be done if our mission is to be accomplished are:

  1. Spirituality
  2. Evangelism and church growth
  3. Justice , service and reconciliation
  4. Economic empowerment and development

A Spirituality: connecting to the life giving resources of faith that make for moral regeneration and becoming holy people in the world. This pillar puts emphasis on our relationship with God and with other people, which is achieved through prayer; worship; communion; bible; giving; fasting; class meetings and caring. For Deeping spirituality, circuits and societies follow programs such as classes/cells, bible studies (in groups); alpha courses; Emmaus; discipleship and retreats.


B. Evangelism and church growth: Evangelism means inviting people to personal faith in Christ and his gospel and to belonging in the community of faith as disciples; planting new faith communities especially in informal settlements and new urban multi-cultural congregations. The methods used are preaching; campaigns (Invited speakers – evangelists, bible woman or church organizations) and


2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 150,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 6 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.