Xenophobia, violence, poverty and inequality will all be targeted at a mass Pentecost celebration prayer rally at Ellis Park Rugby Stadium, Johannesburg from 1pm on Pentecost Sunday, May 24.
The event, which will be hosted by the South African Council of Churches, the Premier of Gauteng Province, David Makhura and the Executive Mayors of Ekurhuleni, Tshwane and Johannesburg, will also celebrate Africa Day, which this year falls a day after Pentecost Sunday.
People attending are encouraged to bring their country’s flags to be on display “as we pray for a common African identity under the gracious cloud of the Holy Spirit”, says Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana, SACC Acting General Secretary in an invitation to church leaders and congregations.
The three Gauteng Executive Mayors are providing buses to collect people from key points in all Gauteng townships. Churches are asked to contact the SACC by 10am on Monday May 18 to advise estimated numbers and locations of people who need buses. They should call or email Sannah Shale at 011 838 9041, 072 471 5460, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bishop Mpumlwana says those at the stadium on May 24 will pray “for God to empower us collectively to stamp out xenophobia, to stamp out violent solutions to our problems, and to collectively seek solutions to poverty and inequality in our society.”
“We are driven by the gospel of Jesus Christ who was a baby-refugee with his parents in Africa; and are compelled by biblical concerns and care for those considered as foreigners or strangers. We therefore call for prayers for the Holy Spirit to power up our efforts to recover our moral bearings and work together for the peaceful integration of our society, living the Post Apartheid Promise of South Africa: Of a just, reconciled and equitable society; Free of racial, tribal and gender prejudices; Free of corruption and deprivation; Enough food and shelter for every citizen; Of each child born to grow to their God given potential,” he writes.
‘I am Africa’
He says the hosts aim to convene a rally that “brings together diverse South African Christian Traditions, their congregations and pastors in the townships, suburbs, city flats and hostels; diverse representations of African Migrant Communities, their organizations, their worshipping communities and pastors; to celebrate the theme of ‘I am Africa;, in the spirit of ‘We are Africa; launched by the Minister of Arts and Culture, this in prayer and praise, to experience spiritual healing”.
He continues: “We gather to pray the rain of the Holy Spirit on Africa, that it may experience God’s limitless blessings: Of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa: With good stewardship of its God-given resources; Of Good Governance, Democracy, Respect for Human Rights, Justice and the Rule of Law; With upright leaders and free of tyranny and corruption; Of ‘The Great Africa We Want’, to become a reality for Africa’s 1.2 billion people.
“We gather to pray the 1897 prayer of Enoch Sontonga: Yihla Moya oyiNgcwele, usisikelele thina lusapho lwayo (iAfrika); Come Holy Spirit and bless us children of Africa!; • Morena boloka sechaba sa heso.”
The first part of the prayer rally will be focused on Africa Day, with Premier Makhura welcoming the people and giving his charge, followed by prayers for the peace of Africa, followed by a programme of worship “calling on the Holy Spirit in song, prayer and supplication”.