CONNEXION CALLED TO COME TOGETHER IN A LAMENT PROTEST

Connexion called to come together in a Lament Protest

 

God will turn your feasts into mourning and all your songs into lamentation; I will bring
sackcloth on every waist and baldness on every head; I will make it like the mourning for an
only son and the end of it like a bitter day” (Amos 8:10)

 

The church and communities in and around South Africa are reeling from the
shock of the ever growing incidents of sexual and gender based violence and
femicide. This violence against women and children is a scourge that we all need
to deal with using all the tools and means at our disposal. Prayer, lament, liturgy
and voice as a means of protest, are tools at the church’s disposal.
Secondly, as people of faith, we are called to welcome the stranger and deal with
them justly. The MCSA is a Connexional church, drawing its membership from 6
countries in Southern Africa as well as from several other African countries
dwelling in our communities. We therefore condemn the violence being meted out
against the foreigners in our midst and their businesses. We are called to be a
church that loves everybody, nurtures peace, mercy and justice and walks
humbly with God.
On 12 September between 13H00-14H20 all members of the Methodist Church of
Southern Africa are encouraged to:
1. Wear black
2. Walk to your nearest post office or government offices and once there,
follow the liturgy provided for our Lament Protest or pray quietly.
3. All delegates to Conference 2019 and observers will march to the Clareinch
Post Office where Uyinene was murdered. (CE and Conference are meeting
just a stone- throw from this post office)

“Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence
are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never
prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted” (Habakkuk 1:3-4).

THE METHODIST CHURCH OF SOUTHERN AFRICA

A Vigil of Prayer and Lament

Held at Clareinch Post Office
(or any other post office/government office)

The Leader Gathers the People:
We have gathered in this sacred space,
This place of horror,
This place where innocence was brutalised
This place of brokenness and bloodshed
We have gathered in this sacred space,
To not let hate have the final word,
We join the voice of lost innocence and we cry,
How long, oh Lord?
How long?!

HYMN: (Any appropriate hymn)
Xhosa hymn 116

Lizalis’idinga lakho,
Thixo,nKosi yenyaniso!
Zonk’iintlanga,zonk’izizwe,
Ma zizuze usindiso.
Amadolo kweli lizwe,
Makagobe phambi kwakho;
Zide zithi zonk’iilwimi,
Ziluxel’udumo lwakho.
Law’la, law’la, nKosi, Yesu !
Koza ngawe ukonwaba;
Ngeziphithi-phithi zethu,
Yonakele imihlaba.
Bona izwe lakowethu,
Uxolel’izoono zalo;
Ungathob’ingqumbo yakho,
Luze luf’usapho lwalo.
Yaala, nKosi,singadeli
Iimfundiso zezwi lakho;
Uze usivuselele,
Sive inyaniso yakho. Amen

INVITATION FROM THE WORD OF THE LORD

(Spoken by two people, preferably male and female, one reading the plain and the second reading the
bold print)

Hear the Word of the Lord as it comes to us from Psalm 146:
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
2I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God all my life long.
3Do not put your trust in princes,
in mortals, in whom there is no help.
4When their breath departs, they return to the earth;
on that very day their plans perish.
5Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God,
6The Lord made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them;
The Lord keeps faith for ever;
7 The Lord executes justice for the oppressed;
and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
8The Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over foreigners;
and upholds the orphan and the widow,
but the way of the wicked, God brings to ruin.
10 The Lord will reign for ever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord!

LEADER
We gather in this place today
in light of the tragic rape and murder
of the late Ms Uyinene Mrwetyana
in this very branch of the Post Office;
in a supposedly safe City,
in a supposedly safe suburb,
in a supposedly safe government building,
at a supposedly safe hour of the day.
And we lament that in our nation
no woman is safe today,
no child is safe today,
no fellow-African is safe today,
and no place is safe today.

Yet, we gather as the people of God
We gather as a people of faith
We gather as a people of prayer
in somber, prayerful lament
We join with God, who is on the side off the innocent and the vulnerable,
The people who are brutalised by the abusive systems we create and perpetuate.

A bell rings and continues to ring throughout the vigil, at 30second intervals, reminding us of the rapes
that happen throughout this time.

A Woman’s Voice
In the South Africa of 2019 a woman is five times more likely to be killed
than the average woman around the world;
a woman is murdered by her intimate partner
every six hours;
a woman is raped
every thirty seconds.
In Cape Town alone an average of 10 Lesbian women
are raped every week.
And these are only the cases reported!
An ocean of agony is yet unknown.
I call on God’s people gathered here to pray in silence
with tears and broken hearts
for all the women of our nation to be protected and preserved
for all the women of our nation to be healed and restored
and for God’s justice to roll like a mighty river
and His righteousness like a never-failing stream.

Silent Prayer for a few Minutes, after which the Woman prays aloud prayer for women of our land

A Young Man’s Voice
In the South Africa of 2019
50% of our children will be physically abused
before they reach the age of 18.
Reports claim that a child is raped in South Africa
every 3 minutes.
Almost 10% of rapes in South Africa
are children under 9.
In most cases,
the perpetrator is a family member.
And these are only the cases reported!
An ocean of agony is yet unknown.
I call on God’s people gathered here to pray in silence
with tears and broken hearts
for all the children of our nation to be protected and preserved
for all the children of our nation to be healed and restored
and for God’s justice to roll like a mighty river
and His righteousness like a never-failing stream.

Silent Prayer for a few Minutes – after which the Man prays aloud a prayer for children

A Young Woman’s Voice (or a girl child if present)
In the South Africa of 2019, people are suffering and dying
merely for being from foreign African nations.
No African is ever supposed to be a foreigner in Africa
and yet they suffer and die.
Good people,
hard-working people,
pioneering people
of many tribes and tongues and creeds,
suffering and dying at the hands of those
called by the Creator
to protect the vulnerable
and honour the “stranger in the land”.
I call on God’s people gathered here to pray in silence
with tears and broken hearts
for all foreign nationals in South Africa to be protected and preserved
for all foreign nationals in South Africa to be healed and restored
and for God’s justice to roll like a mighty river
and His righteousness like a never-failing stream.

Silent Prayer for a few Minutes – after which the Young Woman prays aloud for all nations in our
member countries

A Man’s Voice
God have mercy upon us men;
for we men have been perpetrators
of betrayal
humiliation
shaming
abuse of trust
abuse of bodies
abuse of minds
abuse of emotions
and violence in all its forms.
We men have punched the faces we vowed to love
assaulted the hearts we vowed to protect
raped the bodies we vowed to honour, cherish and be faithful to.
We men have bullied and bashed
manipulated and controlled and enslaved.
Worst of all, we men have failed:
failed to intervene
failed to speak out
failed to step up and step in
failed to find ways to END the violence.
We have been silent in the face of abuse,
cowardly in the face of violence,
unwilling to risk our own skin
to save the skin of Your beloved.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ have mercy.

Silent Prayer for a few Minutes – after which the Man prays aloud for men

SONG : Thula Sizwe (Zulu)
Thula Sizwe, ungabokhala
uJahova wakho uzokunqobela
Inkululeko, Inkululeko!
uJahova wakho uzokunqobela
(Be still nation, don’t cry
Your Jehovah will conquer for you
Freedom, freedom!
Your Jehovah will conquer for you)

The Gathering is led in the Prayer of Lament by the Leader:
Hear us, Lord Jesus Christ,
when we cry to you for all the women and girls
who are victims of violence.
Hear us, Lord Jesus Christ,
for they are stripped and beaten as you were stripped and beaten,
they are humiliated and used as you were betrayed and shamed.
For the beaten girls and the battered women,
blamed and bruised by angry men,
We cry out to you: bring justice!
For the young girls given or sold in marriage,
and for unwilling brides with no way out,
Ons roep uit na U toe : laat geregtigheid kom!
For the women raped as a weapon of war
and for the children they bear in grief and shame,
Ramamus perante ti : traça justiça!
For the victims of rape who are killed or take their own lives,
and for the rape survivors who live with its scars,
Re hoeletsa ho uena : tlisa toka
For the girls denied access to education,
told they are stupid or worthless or expendable,
Siyakhala kuwe : Zisa ubulungisa
For the girls and women sold or tricked into the sex trade,
and for sex workers exposed to disease and violence,
Sikhala kuwe : Letha ubulungisa!
For the mothers whose children are taken away by armies,
governments, churches or family members,
Tinochema kwamuri: Unzai kururama
For the girl-children who are unwanted and rejected,
the first to be aborted or abandoned,
the last to be fed:
We cry out to you: bring justice!
For the women bashed in their own homes,
and for their children who see and hear the violence,
Ramamus perante ti : traça justiça!
For the women trapped in destructive relationships,
manipulated, controlled, justifying their abusers,
Re hoeletsa ho uena : tlisa toka
For the women who hide their bruises
and lie about their injuries for fear of the next attack,
Sikhala kuwe : Letha ubulungisa!
For the women bullied in their workplaces,
belittled, underpaid, threatened with losing their job,
Sikhala kuwe : Letha ubulungisa!
For the women in prison, abused and abusing,
beset by poverty, mental illness and addictions,
Tinochema kwamuri: unzai kururama
For the women attacked because of their sexual identity,
targets for physical or spiritual assault,
we cry out to you: bring justice!
For the women and girls denied religious freedom,
forced to submit by custom or law,
Ons roep uit na U toe : laat geregtigheid kom!
For the older women, frail in body or mind,
fearful of violence, manipulation or neglect,
we cry out to you: bring justice!
We cry to you, Lord Jesus Christ, for our sisters, our daughters, our mothers, ourselves.
Bring justice.
Bring healing.
Bring hope.
Amen.
The Leader places a wreath down onto the ground and invites all who are gathered to call out the names
of those who have been killed through gender based violence or Xenophobia. (The bell rings with every
name that is called.)

The Leader then calls for silence.

A single candle is lit symbolising Christ’s light that stands as a testimony to His presence even in the
darkest of corners.

HYMN : Who will heal our land and people?
Who will save our land and people?
Who can rescue us from wrong?
We are lost—faint, false, and foolish—
We have slighted God too long.
Save the people, Lord our Saviour,
Guide us home from country far;
Holy Fire, consume our rancours:
Thy Kingdom come—in Africa.
Christ enough to break all barriers;
Christ enough in peace, in strife;
Christ enough to build our nation;
Christ enough for death, for life.
Christ enough for old and lonely;
Christ enough for those who fall;
Christ enough to save the sin-sick;
Christ enough for one—for all.

BLESSING PRAYER
God Bless Africa;
Guard her children;
Guide her leaders
And give her peace, for Jesus Christ’s sake.

Amen

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