Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae]]> vol. 37 num. 2 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>The Church as a peace broker: The case of the Natal Church Leaders' Group and political violence in KwaZulu-Natal (1990 - 1994)</b>]]> Moves by the state to reform the political landscape in South Africa at the beginning of 1990 led to increased tension between the Inkatha Freedom Party and the African National Congress in the province of Natal and the KwaZulu homeland. Earlier efforts by the Natal Church Leaders' Group to end hostilities through mediation had yielded minimal results. Hopes of holding the first general democratic election in April 1994 were almost dashed due to Inkatha's standoff position until the eleventh hour. This article traces the role played by church leaders in seeking to end the bloody clashes taking place at that time by engaging with the state and the rival political parties between 1990 and 1994. Despite the adoption of new strategies, challenges such as internal divisions, blunders at mediation, and the fact that the church leaders were also "political sympathisers", hampered progress in achieving peace. While paying tribute to the contribution of other team players, this article argues that an ecumenical initiative was responsible for ending the politically motivated brutal killings in KwaZulu-Natal in the early years of 1990. <![CDATA[<b>"The upholding of the sap from the tree": The reminiscences of Sister Monica Fanny SSJD</b>]]> This article explores the life and work of Sister Monica Fanny of the Society of St John the Divine (SSJD), an Anglican religious community for women which was founded in Pietermaritzburg, Natal in 1887. The biographical text itself is a unique document, since records of religious communities tend to focus on the work of the community as a whole rather than on the life of an individual. The article examines Monica Fanny's own representation of her life, as well as the particular personality and ministry of a woman in the context of the largely educational work of the community as a whole, and explores themes of race, class and gender both in the Anglican church and in colonial society in the first four decades of the 20th century. While the article indicates that membership of a religious community enabled women to exercise a more public ministry than that allowed to lay women, it also shows that this was not accompanied by the gender consciousness which would lead the sisters of the community to seek greater freedom of ministry for all women in the church. <![CDATA[<b>On a bumpy road: Historical survey of (unity) talks between the Dutch Reformed Church in Africa and the Dutch Reformed Church before 1994</b>]]> The events prior to and after church unity between the former Dutch Reformed Church in Africa (DRCA) and the Dutch Reformed Mission Church (DRMC) in 1994 are perplexing because the white Dutch Reformed Church (NG Kerk) was influenced by apartheid ideology in its response to church unity within the DRC family.┬╣ Unsuccessful unity talks were previously held with the white Dutch Reformed Church (NG Kerk) and the Reformed Church of Africa (RCA), but minutes of these talks reveal that a biblical concept of church unity was problematic, especially to the NG Kerk, which created a language that made the issue of Christian unity elusive. This article gives a brief survey of the developments that shaped the unity process with the DRMC and the DRCA from 1986 until 1994, when the two churches eventually united. The role played by the white DRC and its motive to frustrate the unity process is analysed. The change of the leadership of the DRCA in 1987, the DRCA General Synod in Umtata and the momentum this change gave to the process of church unity between the DRCM and the DRCA are investigated. The internal struggles within the DRCA's Northern Transvaal Synod┬▓ are also discussed. The gender inclusivity in the ministry of the church, property ownership and the inclusion of both in the new Church Order are investigated. After seventeen years of democracy in South Africa, church unity among the Dutch Reformed family of churches (the RCA, NG Kerk and URCSA) has not yet been realised. This article sketches the DRCA's road to unity with the DRMC in 1994 without the NG Kerk and RCA, reading church history backwards to shed light on why it was so difficult for the NG Kerk and RCA to unite with the URCSA. <![CDATA[<b>The birth and growth of the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians in Malawi 1989 - 2011</b>]]> Although two Continental Coordinators of the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians (hereafter the Circle) are Malawians, the Malawi Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians had a slow start and has had limited growth. The Malawi Circle was started in 1990, a year after the official launch of the Africa-wide Circle in 1989. This article describes the contributions of the two Malawian Circle Continental Coordinators to the genesis and growth of the Malawi Circle and the contributions of the current Malawi Circle Coordinator. Since its inception, the Malawi Circle has been influenced either negatively or positively by various factors. This article indicates and evaluates some factors in terms of whether they have had a positive or negative impact on the development of the Circle. While the picture of the Malawi Circle shows a relatively dark past, there are opportunities through which the Malawi Circle can attain a brighter future. <![CDATA[<b>Control, secede, vested rights and ecclesiastical property</b>]]> In this article I argue that the Church has a strategic responsibility for property and finance. Three modes of ecclesiastical property exist, for example movables, offerings and funded property. Parallel to the possession of property, although distinguishable from it, is the right of the Church to receive offerings from the faithful for its own maintenance. In this article I will reflect on the fact that the law in apartheid South Africa required different procedures for the Dutch Reformed Mission Church and the Dutch Reformed Church in Africa regarding property and finances. Attention will be given to the principles in ecclesiastical law and common law with regard to ecclesiastical property. Secondly, attention will be given to who has the right to control ecclesiastical property, as well as to the quest of vested rights in the case of schism, unification and dissolution. Lastly, I propose that ecclesiastical property and financial matters require basic knowledge of ecclesiastical law and common law.