Schools not appealing against OGOD judgment

FOR SA says schools should not be intimidated into not exercising their rights to practice faith, invite Christian ministries

Attorneys acting for the six public schools that were targeted by activist group OGOD over their religious practices have advised that they will not be appealing the judgment delivered by the Johannesburg High Court on June 27 2017, reports Freedom of Religion SA (FOR SA).

In a commentary on the decision posted on its website FOR SA writes: “This means that the judgment stands, and that (in terms of the declaratory order made by the court) it is illegal for a public school:

  • to promote or allow its staff to promote that it, as a public school, adheres to only one or predominantly only one religion to the exclusion of others; and
  • to hold out that it promotes the interests of any one religion in favour of others.

“Since this judgment will affect all 24 000+ public schools in South Africa, it is important both for public schools and religious practitioners or ministries working into public schools, to understand the practical implications. In this regard, see a blog prepared by FOR SA.

“Since the judgment, OGOD’s Hans Pietersen has delivered letters of demand on 29 more public schools across South Africa, demanding compliance with (his interpretation of) the OGOD judgment. As a result, some schools are turning away Christian ministries who have been working with them for some time.

“However, neither this judgment nor the law prohibits religious observances per se. We therefore advise all public schools not to have a knee-jerk reaction based upon fear of non-compliance based upon what is typically a misunderstanding.

“FOR SA has prepared a guideline for schools and religious practitioners or ministries working into schools, to advise what the OGOD judgment practically means and how they can make sure their religious policy or rules fall within the boundaries of the law. For a copy of the guideline, please e-mail us at legal@forsa.org.za,”

In another post FOR SA reports it has been participating in a Department of Basic Education task team on drawing up and implementing a charter on rights and responsibilities for religious conduct in learning environments.

It says the department hopes to finalise the draft charter by mid-August whereafter it will be presented to the Minister for consideration. Once the minister is satisfied with the draft, it will be published for public comment and will be available on the FOR SA website.




WATCH: Prayer strategy for Christian students on campus

SA Back to God’s Janet Bram-Hollis offers Christian students some prayer pointers they can apply while on campus to win back the Gate of Education:




Just cause no excuse for violence and destruction, say PE church leaders

nmmu-protestsNo matter how just the cause behind student protest sweeping the country there is no justification for the loss of life, destruction of property and injury to students and others currently taking place, say Port Elizabeth church leaders.

“It is now enough” and “unintentional as it [violence and destruction] may be — [it] is at a point at which we must draw the line,” say the leaders in a press statement released on their behalf by the SA Council of Churches (SACC).

The leaders pray for God’s comfort for the family of Celumusa Ntuli, a contract cleaner at Wits University, who died last Friday after inhaling chemicals from an extinguisher that had been released by protesting students at the Jubilee Hall residence. .

Regarding the Freedom Charter whose promise of free education is emphasised by #FeesMustFall protesters, the church leaders point out that while South Africans are familiar with the charter’s declaration that  “The doors of learning and culture shall be opened” many do not know how it continues —  “The aim of education shall be to teach the youth to love their people and their culture, to honour human brotherhood, liberty and peace.”

“Shutting down universities closes the doors of learning. There is no honour, no brotherhood (sic) to be found in the running street battles between students and police; in burning buildings; in throwing rocks and in intimidating others to join the protests. It is not an act of loving our people and our culture when we embark on tactics that destroy peace and take away others’ liberty,” say the church leader.

“If the current academic program is halted and universities close due to the ongoing protests it will result in thousands of students not completing their studies. It will also prevent thousands of students from taking up the opportunity to study further. This is a double burden that the country cannot afford. If change is to come; if the poor are our mission; if social justice is our cause, then we need those graduates in our societies using the skills that we, as a society, have invested in.

“So we call upon those engaged in violence and intimidation to stop. You do not have our blessing,” they say.

The statement continues: “There can be no doubt that the issues of access to, and affordability of, university education has been a matter raised by student body after student body. There is no doubt that the acts of destruction are the actions of the few who have hijacked a legitimate protest. There can also be no doubt that the ongoing presence of police and private security on campuses will potentially exacerbate an already tense situation.

“Thus we call upon our students, our parents, our lecturers and our administrators to engage constructively on the issues faced. We call upon those within government responsible to deal with these matters to reconsider your approach. Our students (and administrations) have raised legitimate concerns – find creative and constructive ways to respond.

“No country can prosper if the doors of learning and culture are closed.

“We pray that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all.

Leaders represented by the statement are: Bishop Lunga ka Siboto, Bishop Vincent Zungu, Bishop Bethlehem Nopece, Bishop Andile Mbete, Apostle Neville Goldman, Pastor Patrick Douglas-Henry, Ds Danie Mouton, Rev. Rory Spence, Pastor Daan Botha, Archdeacon Zwelidumile Tom.

 




This school grabbed the chance to serve on the Logos Hope for 10 days

Special Report by Desiree Joubert principal of Fountain of Life Christian School in Uitenhage

Feedback from the 10 students and 7 teachers who signed up

Luxolo & Romano

Luxolo & Romano

Towards the end of May, I met two of the Logos Hope Advance Team members at our local Ministers Fraternal meeting. Hearing them share about the opportunities for volunteers to serve on board the mission ship for 10 days whilse it was docked in Port Elizabeth really stirred me.

Because our school uses the Accelerated Christian Education system, our students work individually, at their own pace, and are therefore more at liberty to pursue ministry opportunities during school time – as was the case with the Logos Hope – and I knew that I absolutely had to make this opportunity available to my high school students.

Luxolo & Yoneza

Luxolo & Yoneza.

Mickey Song, one of the Advance Team members came and spoke to my high school students and staff – and within a day 10 students and 7 staff members signed up and were approved for service on the ship from June 9 to 19 2016.

The students range between the ages of 17 and 19, and are: Amoré Nel, Lifalakhe Kungwayo, Luxolo Lize, Yoneza Lupondwana, Nelisa Tshayana, Romano Surtie, Farai Nyoka, Dean Carter, Immanuel Gordon and Ajoke Ogunbire. The staff members are aged from 34 to 52, and are: Masimba Mupinga, Deon Jaffa, Jacqui Tiger, Lynette van der Merwe, Louise Moos, Christine Nyoka and Vee Louw.

Lynette & Deon

Lynette & Deon

This is some of their feedback regarding the experience:

Why did you volunteer to serve on the ship?
Yoneza
: So that I could help others and also spread the Word of God. Also for experience.
Lifalakhe: I volunteered because I wanted to do God’s work by helping people.
Ajoke: I was told about the ship at school and was really interested in getting to know more about the ship and doing God’s work.
Lynette: I volunteered because I wanted to be obedient to God. The Holy Spirit spoke to me twice about going, and I had a dream. In the natural, I had no desire to go on the ship.
Nelisa: I wanted to explore and be of service to other people.
Deon: I went on a mission trip before and was curious to see how it was done on the Logos.

Ajoke & Romano(1)

Ajoke & Romano.

What were your expectations before you went?
Masimba
: I expected to see many people being saved. I wanted to get a hands-on experience on strategies to win lost souls.
Luxolo: I wanted to see godly, loving people that love the Word of God. I wanted to get closer to God.
Deon: To meet people and to serve at the lowest level possible and learn how to be humble.
Lynette: I didn’t know what to expect and to be honest, I was scared at times. I did go with an open heart, mind and spirit to go and serve in any way.
Ajoke: My expectation was that I would be a blessing, and my experience lived up to my expectation and more.
Lifalakhe: My expectation was to make international friends. I wanted to grow in my relationship with Christ.
Yoneza: That [we would] get a lot of people saved, and I knew by doing that God will reward me.

Lifa, Deon, Nelisa & Romano

Lifa, Deon, Nelisa & Romano

What was it like serving on the ship? What were your greatest challenges and your greatest blessings?
Nelisa
: It was such an awesome experience. Being on my feet for hours was quite a challenge. My greatest blessing was all the discipleship training sessions we had, and God spoke to me through all those people that trained us.
Masimba: It was serious business. I was always on my feet and busy with delegated tasks. My greatest challenge was dealing with people who did not want to cooperate with orders given. My greatest blessing was listening to, and being motivated by the testimonies, devotions and training programmes.

Louise

Louise

Jacqui: It was a God-send to work on the ship. I learnt things there that will stay with me all my life. God wants us to do more. I think I will be able to do more for Him now that I saw what the crew members have given up just to serve the Lord. One of my challenges was learning about the death of a family member as we were on our way to the ship on the Saturday — yet sticking to what I believed God called me for.
Immanuel: It felt like I was at home when I was on the ship. My greatest challenge was talking on the microphone, because it was my first time ever. My greatest blessings were to spread the gospel to people and getting to know their background. Because everyone has a story about their life.
Amoré: It was hard work every day. Challenges were having to stand all day with a smile and fold clothes, which is not my thing. It blessed me meeting so many people from different backgrounds. Just to be there was a blessing.
Dean: Challenges: Connecting with foreign people. Humble servanthood. Blessings: Food. Warm welcoming. New foreign friends. Devotions. Bonding with the team.

Amoré & Farai

Amoré & Farai

Luxolo: Serving on the ship was a wonderful experience. My challenge was getting things done on time and in order. My greatest blessing was that I got to get closer to the Lord and our relationship is strong.
Vee: It was a wonderful experience. My challenges were being on time, and having so many people around you all the time. We are all different, and for me not to have my own space was a great ordeal. My greatest blessing was to experience how people function in unity, and all the love they share. And to hear everyone’s life-story, and to be able to share mine.
Deon: To serve on the ship was a great honour, to be part of a great diversity of people, with one goal. My challenges were to endure to the end, and to keep my fruit at all times. My blessings were to receive answers to questions I had, and to work with a fine girl, named Reiske, in the hold.
Lynette: My greatest challenge was to persevere every day, to have a good spirit and a good attitude. I was sick most of the time we were on board.  My greatest blessing was to see and experience the love and care of the crew while I was so sick. It was also a blessing to minister to other volunteers about intercession and prayer.
Lifalakhe: Serving on the ship was life-changing. My greatest challenge was coming out of my shell to connect with the visitors. My greatest blessing was my buddy – he is a man of God.

Christine

Christine

What did you learn during your time on the ship? (Spiritually, emotionally, physically and socially?)
Masimba
: I learnt that we should always seek God’s will first – and even in sharing His Word with others, to ask for the right message. I discovered that God can heal emotional hurts in different ways. I discovered I do reasonably well in talking to people – and that physically I need to stay fit!
Christine: My time on the ship really touched me and changed my perception regarding being a volunteer. Serving other people draws you closer to God. You really search your heart to find your position in your journey for life.
Jacqui: I took away a greater awareness of how to love, to give and to serve the Lord with everything I have in me. I look at everything with new eyes.

Logos Hope
Immanuel: I am not patient, but when I went to the ship I learned patience and to love people for who they are. Because I worked in events I had to greet and welcome people. When I came back home, I saw each person differently, because some are rushed, others are not. But everyone should hear about Jesus.
Amoré: Spiritually – Please God, not others! Be for God, not against God. Emotionally – Do not base your actions on feelings. Physically – Climbing stairs is very good for weight-loss. Socially – Share your testimony more, it inspires others.
Luxolo: I learnt that I should take time and soak in the Lord’s presence, and have faith in the Lord. I learnt to share the gospel with others, and give my worries to the Lord.
Vee: Spiritually I still have a lot to learn before I can become a missionary. Emotionally I had to cope with realising things are not always as one expects them to be. Physically it was hard work, but it was rewarding once a task was completed. Socially, I learnt a lot about working together as a group.

Immanuel, Lifa & Yoneza(2)

Immanuel, Lifa & Yoneza.

Deon: Nothing I do is in vain, and will be rewarded accordingly. I must be content with every job I am given to do, because they put you anywhere, and you must still smile. I learnt that mission work physically drains you and tests your endurance. Socially, I learnt to mix with everyone, even if we differ in opinion. I learnt to take orders from people younger than I, and enjoyed it, because at the same time I was a blessing to them.
Lynette: Spiritually – it is never about self, but always about God and how you can serve in His Kingdom. To win the lost and serve His children. Emotionally – I am a very punctual person. Being late most of the time was not good. I had to work very hard to control my emotions. Physically – the stairs were a great challenge and driving to PE and back every day was also very tiring. Socially – I met good people, and will always remember them.

vee et al

Simba, Jacqui, Vee and Christine.

Ajoke: I learnt and discovered a lot about myself and God. I learnt to be patient, and whatsoever I commit myself to do, I should do it wholeheartedly. I have learnt that life is not about me, myself and I. I have learnt that the little I do matters. It has also helped me to grow spiritually and relate to people more.
Yoneza: I learnt to have more faith in God, be committed in everything I do, and when I do it, to do it right the first time. I also know what the words “volunteer” and “flexibility” mean now.
Nelisa: I have learnt that I have so much to give the world. This experience has made my faith in God stronger, and I want to do more for Him. I want the Lord to use me and place me where He wants me to be.

Farai, Luxolo, Nelisa, Simba & Ajoke(2)

Farai, Luxolo, Nelisa, Simba & Ajoke.

What would you tell someone who would like to serve on the ship?
Christine: I would advise everyone to go serve on the ship, to get a touch of the presence and work of God.
Jacqui: I will say go for it – it’s the best thing you can do for your life. It’s a nice way to serve the Lord and find yourself in His love, and to do what He wants you to do.
Amoré: God loves a cheerful giver. Give your everything to God, and He will do the same.
Dean: Do it! Don’t allow the world to speak evil over you because of it. Trust God to help you gather resources for the mission.
Lynette: Your heart must be committed to Jesus Christ. To be a servant of Jesus is a heart-thing.
Nelisa: If you feel God has called you to serve on the ship, go ahead and do it. You will be a blessing, and those around you will be a blessing to you too.
Luxolo: They should be prepared to learn more about God, and be committed to what they are doing.

Christine telling someone about Jesus

Christine telling someone about Jesus.

Would you do it again? And would you like to become a missionary, or give a year or two of your life to serve God in a similar way?
Immanuel: Yes I would! I would love to serve others and show them who Jesus Christ is, because He loves us all.
Amoré: I would do it again, but not become a missionary or serve on the ship. God called me to join the medical field, and doors are opening for me to do so.
Dean: No, I do not believe I have been called to missions.
Luxolo: Yes, for one or two years. I want to help others understand the gospel.

Lifa, Luxolo, Jacqui & Yoneza

Lifa, Luxolo, Jacqui & Yoneza.

Deon: I certainly will do it again, but in short trips. Missions give me satisfaction and fulfillment. I can finally live out who I am.
Lynette: Yes, I will do it again. I know that missions is my calling – God already spoke to me in a dream.
Ajoke: Yes, I would do it again. I would like to serve God in a similar way, because it is an experience out of my comfort zone. It also brings satisfaction and joy.
Nelisa: Definitely! My 10-day experience was life-changing, and how much more would it be if I served longer?
Masimba: I would like to be a missionary, but not on the ship, due to family reasons.
Jacqui: Yes, I’ll do it over and over again. I think these two weeks saved my life.

FOLCS LOGOS TEAM(1)

THE WHOLE CREW: T = Teacher / S = Student
Front row, from the left: Deon Jaffa (T), Lifalakhe Kungwayo (S), Jacqui Tiger (T), Luxolo Lize (S), Louise Moos (T), Vee Louw (T), Nelisa Tshayana (S), Farai Nyoka (S), Amoré Nel (S), Christine Nyoka (T)
Back row, from left: Masimba Mupinga (T), Ajoke Ogunbire (S), Romano Surtie (S), Yoneza Lupondwana (S), Immanuel Gordon (S), Dean Carter (S), Lynette van der Merwe (T)




How the church is changing England with free educaton

childreninclassroom_si

(PHOTO: CBN News)


Originally published in CBN News

The Church of England is making new waves in the country by opening more than 100 free Christian schools.

England’s new initiative to open 500 free schools for underprivileged children has been derided by many critics as a poor decision, but the Church of England sees it as an opportunity to teach children the Christian faith.

The free schools are funded by the government but can be set up and run by charities, parents, trusts, businesses, teachers, or religious groups.

That is why the Church has set it’s sights on opening some 125 new faith schools across the country during the next four years. The Church currently runs just 10 free schools, but soon that number will rise exponentially with potentially millions of new students.

“This is a moment to be bold and ambitious and offer more than an apologetic for church schools but a vision for education,” said Bishop Stephen Conway, chair of the Church’s board of education at the General Synod in York.

A report at the General Synod says the government’s free education program was a “unique opportunity for the Church of England to renew and enhance its contribution to the education of our nation’s children, an opportunity which should be seized wholeheartedly.”

The new schools will be a way for the Church to have a voice in an increasingly secular government, a voice many secular leaders want diminished.

“The significant changes we’re seeing in the country’s religion and belief landscape means the Church’s role in state education needs to be diminished not expanded,” Stephen Evens, campaign director for the National Secular Society, told The Telegraph UK.

Despite the push-back from secular groups, Bishop Conway says the Church vows “to ensure that church schools continue to develop their distinctive Christian character.”




School bucks gloomy academic trend and glorifies God

matric academy study groups

Study groups are a core ingredient of the success of the Matric Academy of Excellence.

When you enter the gates of the Matric Academy of Excellence it is apparent that there is something different about this school on the outskirts of Zwide township, Port Elizabeth.

The newly planted garden, neat lawn, clean environment and air of expectancy as students greet each other with “On top of the world, choose life level seven” all make you wonder what is happening there.

Schools usually focus most on getting good results but while academic improvement is one of the key goals of the Matric Academy of Excellence, its main aims are to enable students to find their self-worth, realise how valuable they are in Christ, and fulfil their God-given potential, says the principal, Mart Janse van Vuuren.

Apparently the school’s model is working. Van Vuuren says she is proud of their 2015 academic results. In a year in which matric results in South Africa and the Eastern Cape declined significantly, the Matric Academy of Excellence achieved an overall improvement of 10 to 15%, crowned by a 28% improvement in physical science and mathematics results.

matric academy top performers

Top performers are recognised and photos of every student are displayed.

“We are thankful to have Mr Toy van Vuuren [science and maths teacher] on our staff and we are so grateful for his excellent and dedicated work. He is one of a kind,” said the principal who attributes much of the school’s success to having fully qualified, experienced and dedicated Christian teachers who are passionate about educating young people to become first class citizens with high moral values and integrity based on the school’s seven foundational pillars: integrity, honesty, diligence, humility, discipline, love and caring, and respect. Each of the school’s classrooms in named after one of the foundational pillars.

Van Vuuren says that a daily student development class is an integral part of the school’s curriculum.

Biblical truths and principles
“This period is of utmost importance and nothing will interfere with these classes. God directed us to teach biblical truths and principles. We look at the total development of a person. But accepting Christ as their Saviour remains their choice,” she says.

Students who choose to accept Christ are give a bible and taught how to read and meditate on it.

“Many students however face difficulties and we assist them during our counselling programme. One of our Educators, Mrs Patricia van Niekerk is a qualified Famsa counsellor and helps us a lot. We are ever so thankful to have her as part of our unique staff.”
The Matric Academy of Excellence caters for students who want to improve their Grade 12 results in certain subjects, for those need to rewrite certain subjects in order to obtain a Grade 12 NSC certificate, and others who are under the previous syllabus (ASC) who study from June and write examinations in June the next year in order to obtain a matric certificate.

matric acadmey integrity

There is a strong focus on biblical values.

Most of the students are local and from a disadvantaged background. Some come from as far away as Polokwane and Cape Town, and a number are from top schools in Port Elizabeth.

“It can only be the Holy Spirit who sends them here. How else would they know about the school when they live so far away?” Van Vuuren says.

The academy opened in 2011 with clear instructions from God. It uses classrooms from the Sakhisizwe Senior Secondary School in Zwide, which it upgraded at its own cost.

Study groups
Academic subjects are presented from Monday to Thursday and on Fridays all students participate in study groups which play an important part in the success of the school. Top study group performers of the month are appointed as group leaders.

“It is so wonderful to see how they develop individually. The shy one’s gain more confidence and start to develop and even become the next leader of the group. Students are very keen to become leaders. Students are happy in this school. You hear lots of laughing and see lots of smiles,” says Van Vuuren.

A number of students from study groups are chosen as guest speakers at an annual year end function.

“We normally have 10 speakers, but at the end of 2015 there were 23 speakers sharing amazing testimonies,” says van Vuuren, adding that it is all part of student development.

The atmosphere at the school is relaxed and caring but strict discipline applies.

Changed lives — and habits
“We not only want to change lives, but work to change habits as well,” says Van Vuuren.

“We teach students when you do something wrong the first time it is a mistake. The second time it is a choice, but the third time it becomes a habit.”

Students interviewed by Gateway News about their experience at the school acknowledged that they have changed their behaviour, and are not lazy any more, and study hard. But they say it is the change that God has made in their lives that has had the biggest impact.

When asked how they are, students reply brightly and without hesitation: “On top of the world; choose life level seven [referring to excellence]” — a response taught to them by Van Vuuren.

New projects and developments are always on the school’s radar, to meet the students’ development needs and their unique circumstances. A chess club for maths students has proved popular. The school also has a design for movable computer tables for laptops which it hopes to introduce in the near future.

An add –a-bathroom-to –your –house campaign is an ongoing project, though a lack of running water at some homes makes this impossible.

“This is a basic need with which we try to uplift students’ lives” says Van Vuuren. “But when they live in a shack, they are not permitted to have a water connection and walk long distances to get water in a bucket”.

The school recently started a grocery cupboard for needy students.

“Sometimes students attend classes without having eaten for days. During the day we now have bread and peanut butter available so they can make themselves sandwiches. Because we teach principles such as honesty and integrity, only those who are really in need will make use of it,” says Van Vuuren.

She says the school needs donations of groceries for those who have no food at home. About a third of the students do not have parents and either live with grandparents or alone, with limited or no income. These students also need sponsors for their school fees. The school hopes to find Christian businessmen or individuals to sponsor a needy student for a year.Every sponsored student signs a mutual agreement which requires specific obligations to be honoured. These include academic performance, class attendance and others.

“We are so blessed with amazing teachers from different walks of life, who are dedicated and called to do God’s work,” says Mrs. van Vuuren. We are also so blessed with the handpicked students that are part of the academy this year. We give God all the glory.”

More information about the Matric Academy of Excellence is available on the website http/matricacademy.weebly.com or on its Facebook page, Matric Academy. Information on sponsorships or grocery donations can be obtained from Mart van Vuuren at goshenexcellence@gmail.com or tel. 083 922 3234.




Gap Year with a Purpose

advertorial

generationimpact2016

GIBC’S Gap Year with a Purpose is a fun-filled and life changing Gap Year for those Matrics who are unsure of which path to take once leaving school. As a student you receive a lot of pressure to make a good decision concerning your future. Everybody just wants the best for you, but sometimes you just don’t know which path or study route to take. Statistics show that over 60% of Matrics do not complete their first year of university. It is most discouraging to make a rushed decision, choose something that you aren’t passionate about, and end up dropping out because you realise halfway through that it isn’t for you.

frostsWhat do I want to do?
If you are asking yourself,”What do I want to do after school?” or “What should I study?” then consider Gap Year with a Purpose. Our specialised courses have been guiding Matrics into their future career paths successfully since 2003. GIBC’s Gap Year is designed to assist in helping students to discover their natural as well as their spiritual giftings. Through various courses we uncover the different natural and spiritual giftings that each student has. God always equips us with the giftings needed to fulfil our assignment. Discovering your purpose will help you to understand your God Given Purpose and giftings. Another benefit of the Gap Year with a Purpose is that it lays a solid Biblical foundation in the student’s life. This will ensure that the foundation of your future success is firmly established.

Two paths
Upon completion of this year, students will follow one of two paths: Corporate or Full Time Ministry. Corporate means that the student will understand their purpose and know what God is calling them to do as well as know which area they are best suited to further their studies in.

Full Time Ministry means that the student will have discovered the area of Ministry God has called them to for Full Time Ministry. From 2nd Year, personalised ministry plans are compiled to assist with the student’s training in their specific area.

GIBC Gap Year has great resources. Topics and examinations have been structured in easy, accessible pdf and MP3 to listen to whilst at the gym, travelling or going for a run. Gaiining confidence about your future, saving time, saving resources has never been more fun, exhilarating and life changing!

For more information, contact Dr Arthur Frost on 082 659 2224 or email register@gibc.co.za  Enrol on our website www.gibc.co.za

gap2 2016

 




The high but worthy cost of keeping God in schools

jesusfieldKeeping God in schools is a costly cause but it is well worth the price says civil rights organisation Afriforum which to date has spent more than R2-million towards the legal costs of six South African schools that are opposing a court application to prevent them from maintaining their Christian ethos.

The legal preparation to oppose the High Court application launched by OGOD (Organisasie vir Godsdienste-Onderrig en Demokrasie) in September 2014 is taking a long time because each school is being treated individually, said Carien Bloem, Head of Education Projects of Afriforum in an interview this week. She said they hope that the case will be heard around March or April next year but the timing is up to the court. She said it is quite possible that the case which has serious implications for religious freedom in SA could go on for years and eventually be decided in the Constitutional Court. 

After the schools decided to oppose the application by OGOD which wants religion to be banned from schools, FEDSAS, the Federation of Governing Bodies of South African Schools approached AfriForum which offered to contribute to the legal costs of the six schools,  Laerskool Randhart (Alberton), Laerskool Baanbreker (Boksburg), Laerskool Garsfontein (Pretoria), Hoërskool Linden (Johannesburg), Hoërskool Oudtshoorn and Langenhoven Gimnasium (both in Oudtshoorn).
 
Bloem said that Afriforum feels strongly that all school communities need to retain their freedom to practice their religion at school. Currently school governing bodies have the legal right to determine the religious ethos of schools.
 
Schools play a vital role
“I know there are a lot of people who say religion should be practiced only at home and at church. But there are a lot of children who don’t have a functional home and don’t go to church, so they don’t get that exposure to Christianity except at school. So schools play a very vital role. However we feel strongly that we don’t want Christianity to be forced on any one; children [at a school with a Christian ethos] need not be forced to attend Christian stuff and they should not feel victimised for not attending.”
 
She said that most of the R2m legal costs had come from monthly subscriptions paid by Afriforum’s 150 000 members.
 
“So if people feel strongly about this campaign  and want to support us it is best for them to join Afriforum and know that they will be supporting us for as long as it takes to win this case,” she said.
 
During 2015 Afriforum in partnership with various supporters participated in a number of fundraising and awareness campaigns in support of its Keep God in Schools campaign. Early in the year Pretoria dominee Henk Stavast and his friend Derick Francis cycled 6 000 kilometres, visiting 100 towns across South Africa over a period of 11 weeks, creating awareness of the court case and religious freedom issue. In October actor Hykie Berg and Jacobsdal Primêre Skool embarked on a two day hike in the Drakensberg to create awareness for the preservation of religion in schools. Recently Ds Stavast launched an exercise bike challenge at schools. So far he has visited three primary schools in Pretoria. The campaign will be extended to other schools in Gauteng during the first term of 2016 and may also be extended to other regions.
 
Bloem said the awareness campaigns showed that many schools were aware of the court bid to ban Christianity from the six schools but often they did not feel it was something they needed to worry about. This highlighted the importance of the awareness campaigns.
 
In addition to joining Afriforum, people who would like to support the Keep God in Schools campaign can do so by donating R10 to the legal costs by sending their name by SMS to 38315. Supporters who would like to make a personal donation to the campaign should email Carien Bloem at carien@afriforum.co.za to receive relevant banking details. More information about the campaign is available on the Afriforum website at www.afriforum.co.za.
 



Video ministry launched to raise awareness of occultic games danger

darknesslight

A wall fell over and kids became sick. These were only some of the occurrences at a Uitenhage school in the Eastern Cape recently, after some pupils played an apparent innocent game called ‘Charlie Charlie challenge’. The game has since been banned at the school.

The game however, is not as innocent as it appears to be, due to its occult nature.

To raise awareness of the dangers of this game and similar games, a free downloadable video called Darkness2Light, is now available on the website www.darkness2light.co.za . It can also be watched on YouTube: https://youtu.be/6zT_E96-KLg or DARKNESS2LIGHT THE DANGEROUS TRUTH ABOUT OCCULTIC GAMES (PRIMARY SCHOOL EPISODE).

The production of the video is part of the recent Switched On mission that took place in Port Elizabeth and is aimed at primary school children, parents, educators and as a tool for churches. A video for high schoolers and a more open-ended documentary is also in the making.

Darin Jonker

Darin Jonker.

Darin Jonker, who compiled the Darkness2Light video, says:” I have been in ministry for years, starting with doing talks at schools concerning the dangers of the occult. Sadly, I have personal experience in these phenomena and was myself drawn into it as a teen through games like Charlie Charlie”.

The purpose of the video, he says, is two-fold, “Firstly, it exposes the darkness of the occult for what it really is, since it’s all about lies and covering up true design, intention and consequence. And then I want to have a reason to talk about my Jesus, my Saviour, the One who loved me even when I verbally rejected Him to engage in this occult business”.

According to him, the game, which involves two pencils indicating a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ on a piece of paper, “does not end when the pencils are broken and the paper is burnt. This is what I want to educate people about,” he says.

“Satan is real. Thinking he does not exist works in his favour. Acknowledging his existence though, does not necessarily empower him. If managed responsibly, it can shine a light in the darkness and vaporize it. In fact, people need to understand that the minute the door to the supernatural realm has been opened, the player is no longer “doorman”. Once the door is open, untold damage can be done and often times it is not noticed because people assume satanic operation must look a certain way. This is where the greatest danger lies for me.”

Since leaving the occult practices, Jonker had deliberately avoided any contact with it, other than the occasional encounter through ministry where he was called in. He says he had forgotten what it felt like to brush shoulders with that side of the supernatural until the time he stood up to take the lead with the Darkness2Light video through the Switched On mission. He says there were “encounters” which clearly indicated they would be hitting a nerve.

Schools
“If the Citywide Church in Port Elizabeth was going to make a mark, we needed to stand with our schools who, at the close of the initial Switched On mission, immediately felt the backlash spiritually with the Charlie Charlie game hitting us. I can say this because this game is not new.  The timing of it coming to Port Elizabeth was anything but coincidental”, he says.

According to Jonker, the biggest problem in talking about these things, with parents in particular, is the blind eye people turn to issues of the occult. “Some claim their faith is so strong in Jesus they have no desire to talk about it and so shut it down, but this is not as noble a position as it seems,” he says.” Ignorance is not bliss. On the other hand, too many parents are not aware of what their children are involved in and so this opens the door to all kinds of opportunity for young people to make monumental mistakes”.

He also says there is a danger with parents who will readily tell you they played similar games in their past with no real lasting effect. “I worry about these people in particular because they may be aware of the serious nature of the game while thinking ‘I got through okay’”.

He says others may go to the opposite extreme, banning all kinds of activity and entertainment for their children.” In this case I fear we may push the investigative teen deeper into the dangerous zone. We need a balance; our goal with this mission is to educate people with a balanced view of the entire story, to provide resourcing, training and support for all groups of society”.

There is much speculation about the origins of the game, but with the rise of the Internet and the world being online, the spread has multiplied exponentially. “There are literally millions of views on YouTube of videos with people playing this game. I am currently in Kuwait in the Middle East and even in this censored society the kids have played this game,” he says.

 “Teens are at a pivotal point in their journey into adulthood; as such they want to break free from the ‘kid’ stigma and want to prove their grit. They seek out opportunities to prove themselves. They want to experience and feel something serious. This is the main reason a game like this will remain popular. I would love to say that the more shocking stories surface, the less teens will play, but the reverse will be true. We need the Holy Spirit to work with us to bring this to an end through education and deliverance,” he says.

Being involved in online media design, Jonker says he would like to see the Dark2Light videos become a resource for homes, schools and churches for years to come. 

He says: “We must know Jesus is the ultimate Supernatural power so to speak and we need to bow our knee to Him. When we responsibly stand in that position, we have no need to fear the darkness but again, not fearing does not mean not being informed about it. We need to know what we are dealing with if we want to win the war”.

Jonker’s personal experience
Remembering his time with the occult is still very difficult for him. “I don’t often talk about it. The whole point of these videos, since there will be more, is to show the long lasting effect of entanglement with these ‘dark arts’. In the primary video I mention two specific stories from my experience; the one was a lasting effect, namely a fear of the dark. Besides this there are other residual effects for me. I for example cannot watch movies of an occult nature. The pull in that direction is still too strong. Again I don’t often get into this because it gets too real. In the high school video and the open ended documentary film, which is coming under the same banner, I will explain more of my story,” he says.

To make the video was also not an easy process. “It was incredibly emotional to relive the past in this context. I had to talk to my wife and family about the fact that it would be viral within a couple of months. I had put my parents through a difficult time while I was involved in this, so I did feel the need to inform them too. My son, who is now 16, did not know about this part of my history, so I had to talk to him as well”.

For more information, to get assistance, to download the video or to access a small publication on the phenomenon, visit the website www.darkness2light.co.za.




Religious freedom wins as Zizipho reinstated and MP apologises

ziziandrew

SRC Vice President Zizipho Pae and FOR SA Founder and CEO Andrew Selley at UCT on Tuesday (August 4, 2015) after Pae’s expulsion from the SRC was declared invalid. (PHOTO: Facebook).

Religious freedom was the winner this week as University of Cape Town Vice Chancellor Dr Max Price ordered that “expelled” SRC Vice President Zizipho Pae be reinstated and DA MP Marius Redlinghuys apologised to her for comments he made to her in response to her Facebook post reacting critically to the legalisation of same-sex marriage in the USA.

Price who last week condemned intimidation of Pae by offended LGBTQIA+ protesters announced this week that Pae’s expulsion at a chaotic SRC meeting onJuly 21 was procedurally invalid. He consulted the Constitutional Court and the UCT Faculty of Law after Pae asked him to review the SRC decision, saying that in the absence of appropriate steps she would take the matter to court.

Redlinghuys today apologised to Pae for his series of comments on Pae’s Facebook page which he says were not intended to cause any harm, reports the Cape Times. Redelinghuys’s apology followed a meeting last night with DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen whose intervention followed a call by the Christian View Network for the DA to dismiss Redelinghuys for “a long series of mocking, insulting and other pro-homosexual messages which amount to harassment” and a call by the ACDP for the MP to apologise for his remarks.

Making his apology today, Redelinghuys said: “I hold that freedom of expression and freedom of opinion, belief and conscience are fundamental and inviolable Constitutional rights afforded to every person.

“I also hold that our constitution provides for the right to be and live the life we value, gay or straight.

“While I differ significantly with Ms Pae’s views I respect her right to hold them and to express them freely…”However if Ms Pae felt my remarks were harmful, abusive or , I apologise. This was not my intention.”

Freedom of Religion of SA spokesman, Advocate Nadene Badenhorst, said on behalf of Pae: “FOR SA respects Mr Redelinghuys’ rights to choose his beliefs and the life he wants to live, and is grateful for his acknowledgement that we live in a pluralistic society where people should be respectful, accommodating and tolerant of each others differences,” reports the Cape Times.

Meanwhile, despite the setting aside of the invalid expulsion of Pae from the SRC, SRC President Ramabina Mahapa told the Cape Times the SRC sticks with its reasons for expelling her. He said the SRC supports the “queer community” and condemns Pae for inflicting hurt by her conduct.

Pae’s Facebook post on June 28 “We are institutionalizing and normalizing sin. May God have mercy on us” sparked a storm of protest from the LGBTQIA+ community at UCT including vandalisation of her office and a barrage of vitriolic and intimidatory remarks directed at her. 

Badenhorst condemned the SRC’s failure to accept responsibility for the invalid expulsion of Pae and said:”It is clear the SRC is not an environment where difference of belief and opinion is welcomed or accommodated. 

“As such the SRC is not representative of the pluralistic nature of our society and also does not hold true to the values of our constitution.”

Pae told LifeSiteNews this week: “My biggest regret is that I have lost friends within the LGBT community. … Homophobia is the hatred or the fear of someone because of their homosexuality.” This does not describe her views at all, she said. “We need to draw a line between homophobia and being a Christian.”

She said: “The fact that I was kicked out at the request of a group of 50 people says a lot of about the strength of democracy on campus.”

She said though tiny, the campus’ “Queer Revolution” has dominated campus discourse all year with its “transformation” agenda. They have even proposed a “Transform Religion” initiative aimed at re-educating Christian and Muslim students about the morality of homosexuality. Lately they are even offering counselling to anyone “traumatised” by the Pae controversy.

Pae said she was disappointed that Christians on campus, who she believed greatly outnumbered the homosexual lobby, had not come to her defence publicly. “Christians are too quiet.” She said the controversy had strengthened her faith. “I’ve seen on a small scale what persecution of Christians is like. People are offended by Christianity and offended by the Gospel.  But I’ve seen the Lord’s faithfulness. He has sustained me.”