Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae]]> vol. 43 num. 3 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Grant me justice! reading the chronicle of the ordination of women in the MCSA as the making of a patronage ministry</b>]]> In 2016 the Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA) celebrates 40 years of the ordination of women, which signifies a milestone in the ministry. While this calls for celebration, it is also important that we lament the challenges women ministers are still facing in the church. The chronicle of how the church came to ordain women as ministers in the MCSA cites tensions and debates as well as theological arguments for and against the ordination of women. This paper reads this chronicle with a hermeneutic of suspicion. The paper holds that the decision of the church to ordain women has not translated to women being ordained ministers like men within the church, but rather that the decision created a patronage system within the ministry where male ministers (and their wives) are patrons and female ministers their clients. The woman minister in the MCSA joins the woman in the Luke narrative who continues to go to the judge (the MCSA) and laments: "Grant me justice!" <![CDATA[<b>The YCW moves into Soweto and other Black Townships: 1952 to 1965</b>]]> The Young Christian Workers (YCW) movement in South Africa officially began in Johannesburg in 1949. Within a few years the movement expanded into Soweto and then other surrounding emerging black townships of Johannesburg. The YCW was a movement of the working class: by workers for workers. The young workers were the leaders of the movement. As a movement led by lay people in the church, the YCW is a movement of "Catholic Action" and this dimension will be clarified in the text. The specific focus of this article is an examination of the early history of the YCW in Soweto. This was initiated through the work of a young worker, Eric Tyacke, who was appointed to this mission by the local bishop in Johannesburg, William Patrick Whelan OMI. Missionary priests in the townships, especially those from Belgium and Ireland, facilitated the establishment and development of the movement in their role as chaplains. However, the main means of the primary activity of mission to workers, was carried out by the young worker leaders of the YCW themselves in their places of work and their communities. For this reason a major part of the data collection was through oral history, where possible from those former YCW members still alive, as well as other written sources. This missionary activity will be analysed in terms of a model of method in contextual missiology previously developed by the author. The social context of this period is also examined, as this was the time of establishing racially defined suburbs in Johannesburg as well as restrictions on trade unions, in a time when the apartheid policy of the new nationalist government began to grip. <![CDATA[<b>St Paul's Anglican Theological College during the transition towards a democratic South Africa, 1986-92</b>]]> St Paul's Theological College was established in Grahamstown, South Africa, in 1902 to train white Anglican students for the ministry. During the last six years of its existence, from 1986 to 1992, the college went through rapid changes: emerging new trends in theological training and ministry raised questions on the relevance of traditional patterns of training in which St Paul's College had been established and operated from. Although the College was originally intended to exclusively train white students, during this period, the numbers of black students started to balance off with those of white students, just as the number of women ordinands also started to rise. On the other hand, financial challenges facing some dioceses also adversely affected the college. In the dying days of apartheid, the college became more involved in the sociopolitical issues of Grahamstown. Moreover, its enduring image as a "white" college in the emerging new South Africa seemed an embarrassment to the church authorities. The closure of St Paul's College, and its merger with St Bede's College on the premises of St Paul's College, paved the way for a new College of the Transfiguration (COT), which was an attempt to respond some of these challenges. <![CDATA[<b>The Bantu Presbyterian Church of South Africa and ecumenism: 1923-1939</b>]]> The Bantu Presbyterian Church of South Africa (BPCSA) was birthed out of a quest for union amongst Presbyterians, which began in the 1890s more than 30 years before it was actually established as the fruit of the mission of the United Free Church of Scotland in 1923. From that date onwards church union hardly ever disappeared from the agenda of the highest court of the denomination, the General Assembly. During the twentieth century such discussions involved two of the three other Presbyterian churches and the Congregational Union of South Africa. In addition, the BPCSA has maintained a high ecumenical profile in both the South African and global contexts. The main thrust of this article describes and analyses the vicissitudes of Presbyterian conversations during the period 1923-39. <![CDATA[<b>Towards a reform of the Christian understanding of Shona traditional marriages in light of ancient Israelite marriages</b>]]> As we celebrate 500 years of the great reformist, Martin Luther, among the most memorable and cherished ideas about him were his calls for a return to the Bible as well as reforms in the understanding of marriage. Departing from the traditional sacramental theology of marriage, Luther convincingly argued that since matrimony existed from the beginning of the world, and still continues even among unbelievers, there are no reasons why it should be called a sacrament of the church alone. Tapping from his reformist ideas, this paper argues for the place of Shona traditional marriages in light of celebrated traditional biblical marriages. The argument here comes against the past and current onslaught against African traditional marriages. Evaluated against the European white wedding, African traditional marriages have been rated as living in sin unless a marriage had been blessed in church. Had it been just a colonial ill-thought it could have been tolerable, but what is quite disturbing is that most pastors today continue to ridicule those who are traditionally married but not yet married in church. Engaging a pragmatic approach to the biblical text, this paper argues that if God blessed such marriages as Isaac to Rachel, Jacob to Leah and Rachel, Boaz to Ruth and others- which were contracted traditionally-there is no way His hand could be seen as short when it comes to African marriages. Since biblical marriages which were contracted traditionally were not sinful in nature, one can use such examples as a leverage to appreciate and defend Shona traditional marriages.