Western Cape Ecumenical Network
Our focus is on Jesus Christ.
The Western Cape Ecumenical Network's (WCEN) mission is to promote dialogue and action. Initiated primarily from within the Christian community, including church and para-church structures, with the purpose of playing a meaningful role with regard to the identification and implementation of practical transformational initiatives in consultation with relevant stakeholders - within the context of reconciliation, restoration, and restitution.
We want to promote trust through relationship building. We are a unified prophetic voice. And we respect our diversity and see it as an asset.
WCEN General Meeting | 7-8 September 2021
Numerous church and community leaders gathered for the Western Cape Ecumenical Network's (WCEN) annual meeting at In Harmony in Franschhoek. WCEN's mission is to promote dialogue and action. Therefore, their agenda was filled with relevant topics that they believe should be priorities and focus areas for South Africa.
Preachers' mental health, the church and COVID-19, poverty, education, and the crisis of homelessness were put in the spotlight. Furthermore, the guest speaker at the event's gala dinner, Major General Oswald Reddy (the newly appointed Western Cape police ombudsman) spoke about the church, crime, and violence.
The chairman of WCEN, Mbulelo Bikwani, says that the church's role in the broader South African society should not be underestimated. "It is always important to focus and reflect on what the church is, in essence, and how we can adapt our core being to our objectives. We are not an NGO or a large corporate organization. We are the Body of Christ. We work in his Kingdom and bear witness to his truth.”
Highlights of discussions
Mental health, the clergy, loss, and grief - Quinton Adams. What do Ministers do with all the grief and loss that they encounter?
Quinton helped the members to gain insight into their own response towards grief. Grief/shock becomes less threatening to our health when it is exposed, addressed, understood, relieved, and released. It is important to know the difference between being stressed, burning out, and emotional exhaustion. View his complete presentation in the document below:
The church, violence, and crime - Major General Oswald Reddy. Reddy officially started his position as Ombudsman on 1 September in Cape Town and is looking forward to the new challenge.
"This new opportunity will extend my service to the nation with another five years. I am always up for a challenge - always - and I'm looking forward to it. I've interacted with most of the organisations and institutions who work in collaboration with Government. To hold the police accountable will be part of my duties, and I am up for that challenge. I know the ins and outs of the organisation and I believe in a good working relationship for the benefit of the nation and stabilising and reducing crime to make the province safe and secure," he said. Listen to highlights of his speech here:
Homeless and housing crisis - Carlos Mesquita and Ilse Maartens. We are in a desperate housing crisis. The government ran our of money. We need new policies, models, management structures, and partnerships.
We believe homelessness can be solved, but the government has no strategy in place. We just need to start conversations with the right people. Listen to podcasts of this important discussion below.
Poverty and Education - Pieter Grove. We discussed the reasons why South Africa is struggling with poverty and a lack of proper education:
Population growth, entry of women to the market, the structure of the economy, mechanization, COVID-19, the core sectors of our economy, lack of skills, inequality, labour laws, bureaucracy, red tape etc. What should the church's role be?
Newly elected WCEN Exco members
We like to congratulate the new WCEN Exco committee members who were elected at the WCEN General Meeting on 8 September 2021 (find their details in the document attached below).
WCEN EXCO MEMBERS 2021/2023
CHAIR: Mbulelo Bikwani
VICE CHAIR: Joy Chetty
GENERAL SECRETARY: Braam Hanekom
While we are all waiting for the Concourt ruling regarding the date on which the local elections will be held, it might be interesting to note the following:
276 political parties and 944 independent candidates will be contesting the elections throughout the country.
59 272 names have been submitted as candidates contesting the elections on behalf of the parties and the independents.
257 municipalities will be electing new Councillors.
By September 7, the final lists will be available. The IEC will advise parties in the event of any candidates appearing on multiple party lists as this is not allowed. Parties may amend their lists by 2 September.
There will be 23 000 voting stations around the country.
There are 58 000 registration officials and on the voting day an additional 207 000 personnel will be required, at a cost of R500million.