URCSA 25 Years Later

Sunday, 14 April 2019, marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (URCSA). On this historic day, in 1994 days before the first democratic election, a section of the Dutch Reformed Church in Africa and Dutch Reformed Mission Church would unite. This union would usher in the unification within the greater (Dutch) Reformed Church Family[1].

This warrants a reflection on what this anniversary (quarter of a century existence) means for us – both internally and externally – as the URCSA. Of course, this reflection is grounded in my position as student of theology and ministerial hopeful; in other words, one within the rank and file of the URCSA. Thus, I reflect on the URCSA as systematician. Meaning, my conception of ecclesiology is predicated greatly on dogmatics.

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A Dream Deferred

“What happens to a dream deferred?” questioned the Black American poet Langton Hughes, in the poem Harlem[1]. Reflecting on this poem of late — particularly aware of American and global politics — my thoughts have been captured by this notion of deferred dreams. More personally, my dream to be ordained as Minister of the Word and Sacrament within the URCSA has been deferred. This deferral is largely predicated on my decision to switch degree programmes; from a Master of Divinity (preparation for ministry) to a Master of Theology (which is more academic, and not recognised as preparation for ministry).

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When Stones Cry Out

“I tell you, if they were silent, the stones will cry out”, these are the words the Gospel of Luke places on the lips of Jesus (ch 19, v 40). For some years now, as a Queer person (who identifies as gay) I have observed the audible silence of clergy-persons regarding the experiences of LGBTIQA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, asexual) persons within the church.

Yet the present moment does not call for being “well adjusted to injustice, and well adapted to indifference” (Cornel West). Rather, our time reminds us of the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” Therefore, I pen a response to the recent discussion on “Homosexualism”, hosted by the Presbytery of Wellington (Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa, Regional Cape Synod) on 28 February 2019.

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Weeks ago I spent a some time at the Volmoed Retreat Centre. The focus of this week, of course, was spirituality and how this informs one’s theology. During this time, particularly influenced by a friend, I was confronted with dogmatics. I was also reminded of a Credo I wrote during my third year of study. So, I thought it helpful and informative to share it here.

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I Can’t Give Up

I Can't Give Up

More than previously before, since coming out to the church community – particularly the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (URCSA) – I have been charged with an incessant question. “Why not just leave the URCSA?” Or more pointedly, “Why even go to church?” These questions, no doubt, stem from a sincere heart; those posing them care far too much about my well-being. Continue reading “I Can’t Give Up”

Hope for Theology at Stellenbosch

Theology, Hope

Written in honour of those who have and continue to work for Hope at the Faculty of Theology — may you be comforted by anger and challenged by courage.

The sun of justice (righteousness) illuminates us. These are the words found in Hebrew text, Malachi the fourth chapter. It is only the words emboldened on the façade of Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Theology. For the past four years I have navigated my way around this building — with all its pain and pleasures. The conclusion of my first degree, a Bachelor of Divinity, has compelled me to reflect on this experience. Continue reading “Hope for Theology at Stellenbosch”

Russel Botman


Written as creative assignment for the module Systematic Theology 444, Modern and Contemporary Theology: Thinkers and Themes.

Later this month the fourth annual Russel Botman Annual Lecture will be held at Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Theology. This commemoration nudges the South African religious community to reflect anew on the life and work of Hayman Russel Botman (1953–2014). Continue reading “Russel Botman”