Christian Police Association (CPA) members from all over South Africa, shared their faith in Jesus Christ as they made a joyful noise during a street parade in downtown East London on Saturday, September 8.
The event was the highlight of the four-day annual national congress of the CPA which was held in the Eastern Cape for the first time since the birth of the association in 1994. Members from Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Gauteng, Free State, Western Cape and Eastern Cape attended the congress. They were joined by a delegation from Lesotho and 52 members from Swaziland.
The CPA parade through Oxford Street — the main street of East London — was led by two bands, reports CPA Eastern Cape Chairperson, Captain Leonie Peters.
The first group (green t-shirts) were led by the SAPS Band, followed by members in uniform, led by marked SAPS vehicles. The members spontaneously started to pray as they walked, while the band played the song ‘Onwards Christian Soldiers’.
” Wow, what a feeling this created!!” writes Peters.
Immediately after the uniform members, Lt Col Jan Swanepoel from the Western Cape carried a cross, symbolising the purpose of the march. The cross was a silent reminder of the sacrifice of the cross, allowing each one to reflect on his and her own life. The slogan on marchers’ t-shirts said “Cops coping through Christ”. Whilst waiting for the second group to arrive, members from the first group prayed with bystanders and shared the Gospel with them.
The second group of the march (grey, blue and white t-shirts) were led by the 2nd Company Boys Brigade of East London, led by the Brigade Captain Anthony Daniels. They were followed by the Mounted Unit of the SAPS on horseback.
After the parade members assembled in a side street next to the City Hall and Executive Director of the CPA, Rev Why Duvenhage explained the purpose of the march to the bystanders. He also thanked the march organisers. A prayer was said and Duvenhage’s favourite CPA song, “Igama Lenkosi Malibongwe”, which means “The Name of the Lord must be praised” was sung to the fullest. After the crowd dispersed, the visitors were taken to Nahoon Beach for a few hours.
Earlier in the convention, on Friday September 7, various speakers encouraged members on the theme “Courageous”. The Courageous DVDS was shown and crosses cut from reflective tape were handed out, to encourage members to spread the Gospel throughout Africa.
A Gospel Gala evening was held on Saturday evening. A small candle was handed out to everyone who entered the hall. Two local gospel groups, The Gospel Flames and Joy Singers entertained the crowd. However, reports Peters, members from the CPA, Uncle Edgar from Western Cape, Capt Mark Alexander also from Western Cape, two Captains Deon and Werner from the Free State, a friend of the CPA Fanie from Limpopo were amongst our own who sang to the joy and fulfillment of the crowd.
After the last item, Past Stef Davi from the Stirling Worship Centre, East London, also a friend of the CPA, explained that the candles that were handed out earlier symbolised that members’ light must shine wherever they went.
The Chairperson of the CPA, EC then called the EC Organising Team to the front, where their candles were lit. Then team members lit the candles of the people in the front row who lit-up the row behind them and so it continued until everyone’s candle was lit.
“Our in-house Pastor and Worship Leader for the conference, Past Berty Cloete sang his song “God is on our side” while the candles were being lit. The emotions of that moment cannot be put to paper,” says Peters.
Cloete conducted a touching concluding church service on Sunday morning “where one could sense the Healing power of the Holy Spirit at work,” says Peters.
“Many tears were shed at this service. Members walked out rejuvenated, recharged, healed, touched, blessed and inspired after the service. May God grant us peace, joy and love until we meet again next year in Bloemfontein….
“After this congress, we can truly say God is on our side….. Everyone was blessed beyond expectation!”