HTS Theological Studies
On-line version ISSN 2072-8050
NELL, Ian A. Service delivery in Belhar? Leadership challenges between the real and the ideal. Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2013, vol.69, n.2, pp. 01-09. ISSN 2072-8050.
In the discipline of practical theology, one finds a long history of linking the name of the field to diaconiology, in which you find the Greek word diaconia, directly translated as 'service'. For good and scientific reasons, the field changed its name to practical theology in some Faculties of Theology but that does not take away the fact that this field of research is still very much engaged in the broad area of 'service of all kinds'. The purpose of this article was to do a descriptive investigation into the problems and challenges of service delivery in the suburb of Belhar (Cape Town), specifically looking at the role of leadership during a (new) time of struggle. As part of the normative task, the researcher took a closer look at the Belhar Confession as a prophetic stance in this regard. In an ironic twist, we see in these events the struggle between the real and the ideal that is typical of many places in the country facing problems with service delivery. The Church often thinks it knows what the world wants from it - inspiration, 'leadership,' clear teaching. But surely what the world is most hungry for is the simple knowledge that healing is possible - not by forgetting or minimizing outrages and sufferings but by sheer, obstinate, costly commitment to work with the grain of grace. (Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, in Lapsley 2012:i)