The Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

 

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer for todayhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4234Dietrich Bonhoeffer for todayMarita Snyman<p>For three years now, the Bonhoeffer Consultation has brought together scholars, pastors, and students for a close reading and discussion of a portion of Bonhoeffer's writings. This year's Consultation focused on Bonhoeffer's dissertation, <em>Sanctorum Communio, </em>which he completed at age 21. In it, Bonhoeffer offers a description of the church as a social entity in which separate persons are brought into community by encountering difference in one another. Participants spent each morning reading through <em>Sanctorum Communio</em> and discussing its implications for theology, sociology, politics, personhood, and a fresh vision for the church's role in a diverse and reconciling South Africa. The discussions were supplemented by public lectures, including an address by the renowned theologian and Bonhoeffer scholar, Prof. John de Gruchy, on Bonhoeffer's prophetic example for a global Kairos theology.</p><p>Photo: Prof Robert Vosloo, Director of the Bonhoeffer Unit at the Beyers Naudé Centre with Prof John de Gruchy<br></p>
Launch of Gender Unit at the Faculty of Theologyhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4786Launch of Gender Unit at the Faculty of TheologyHelette van der Westhuizen<p>Prof Juliana Claassens, Professor of Old Testament and Head of the Gender Unit, shared the story of the unit and said, "We want to offer a creative space for interdisciplinary research on an intersectional understanding of gender where we bring together students and scholars, locally, nationally and internationally to help us think differently about gender. Within this Gender Unit, we want very much to adhere to a feminist ethos that can be described as honouring all voices, interrogating power relations and reconstituting community."</p><p>The Vice-Rector for Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies, Prof Eugene Cloete, who played an important role in the establishment of the Gender Unit, said the unit stands for human dignity. "Human dignity is the number one priority. The second is creating an inclusive environment and a space where people can talk to one another. The idea is to work towards a common good."</p><p>Prof Amanda Gouws, who wished the Gender Unit well on behalf of the wider SU campus, talked about the importance of partnerships, and how essential it is to work together across departments and faculties in terms of issues of gender.</p><p>According to Dr Charlene van der Walt, Research and Programme coordinator of the Gender Unit and the very successful MTh Gender, Health and Theology programme, the unit already collaborates closely with various NGOs working on gender-based violence and minority sexualities in Africa, and they look forward to including other interested partners. Dr Funlola Olojede is the first postdoctoral fellow at the unit. She is making a valuable contribution with her focus on Africa women reading the Bible in terms of the challenges and opportunities in our contemporary context.</p><p>Prof Claassens concluded her address with a quote by<strong> </strong><em>bell hooks:</em> "I want there to be a place in the world where people can engage in one another's differences in a way that is redemptive, full of hope and possibility." May the Gender Unit be such a place.</p>
Beyers Naudé Centre welcomes Rev Rineke van Ginkel, new coworker from the Netherlands https://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4636Beyers Naudé Centre welcomes Rev Rineke van Ginkel, new coworker from the Netherlands Marita Snyman<p>Welcome Rineke! FLTR: Prof Dirkie Smit, outgoing Chair: BNC Board; Dr Dion Forster, incoming BNC Director; Mr Patrick Mengers, Rev Van Ginkel's husband; Rev Rineke Van Ginkel; Ms Marita Snyman, BNC Programme Coordinator; Rev Stephen Pedro, SKLAS Committee member; Dr Ntozakhe Cezula, Chair: SKLAS Committee</p>
Beyers Naudé: The Thug life of an Afrikaner domineehttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4091Beyers Naudé: The Thug life of an Afrikaner domineeMarita Snyman<p>The Beyers Naudé Archive houses many good protest artworks especially in the Pro Veritate collection and the Belydende Kring (literally: "Confessing Circle") which offered theological commentary on relevant social matters. Botha included some of these artworks in his powerpoint presentation to point out that many of the causes Beyers Naudé pursued are stil relevant in the South Africa of today where they keep society divided.</p><p>Among the topics discussed were reconciliation, migrant labour, economic injustice and racial segregation -  issues that are still prominent in society today, especially in Stellenbosch. The aim of the talk was for the audience to think critically about the society they live in and help maintain. Beyers Naudé's message was firstly that there should be an awareness of the prevailing injustice. Secondly that each person initially as an individual then as a community should together take responsibility for a future non-racial, more equal and free democracy where everyone's dignity is acknowledged, not only constitutionally but also by the people and institutions in the country.</p><p>Botha told the audience that it was both an honour and challenge for him to allow Beyers Naudé's words to challenge him as a Christian in the NG Church.</p>
Be mindful of the next seven generations – US indigenous leaderhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5172Be mindful of the next seven generations – US indigenous leaderDeborah Hendriks and Zenzile Khoisan<h2 style="text-align:center;">Be mindful of the next seven generations <br></h2><p><strong>Pearl Means</strong>, a writer, producer and indigenous rights activist in the United States, struck a raw nerve with the audience at the University of Stellenbosch on 21 September 2017, when she recalled the terrifying experiences that Native Americans had to endure. She shared how, despite relatively small numbers, they were putting up a valiant defense against US corporations and government putting an oil pipeline through Indian land and sacred sites. <br></p><p>Means delivered the keynote address at the 2017 annual Institute for the Healing of Memories lecture, jointly sponsored by the Institute and the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology at Stellenbosch University. She observed, “The Native American is like the miner's canary" sending out a distress signal in a world, where failure to take action against injustice could imperil the future of the next seven generations. <br></p><p>“We are here today because of a painful past, one that the invader made certain no one would know about, and we are almost gone. There is one percent of us left in America, the most powerful nation in the world. This country knows nothing about us, therefore, is able to commit the atrocities, the genocide that continues today through their policies," Means stated.</p><p>She celebrated the power of activism to stop corporate greed and government policies that lead to war, plunder and the undermining of the environment. <br></p><p>Indigenous activists in America recently stopped the completion of the 1 886 km Dakota oil pipeline that would transport nearly half a million barrels of oil a day from the border of Canada, through five states to the holding and distribution centre in Illinois. The mass campaign at the Standing Rock reservation in South Dakota successfully resisted attempts by energy companies to drill and install the pipeline under Lake Oahe, a reservoir on the Missouri River that the indigenous peoples proclaim as a sensitive heritage area. The contention of the indigenous peoples, she noted, was that the water sources of the indigenous clans could become poisonous.</p><p>“We are under attack, with our lifeline, our water and the desecration of our sacred ancestral burial sites," Means claimed, explaining that the current violations were part of a pattern of historic abuse, reaching back to colonial times. <br></p><p>Means called for urgent action to secure future generations a sustainable legacy: “If we do nothing we will be charged with the next seven generations. We are all part of the human family and we need to preserve life. We made a stand with four women and one man, set up a camp a year and a half ago and said no more. What we didn't realise is that we would have the solidarity and support of over 10 000 people from all over the world – 500 members of the clergy came and stood with us and in a ceremony burnt the Doctrine of Discovery to show their solidarity. Over 400 indigenous nations came and stood with us: from the Maoris of New Zealand to the Amazonian indigenous of Ecuador. They filled our hearts with pride, with love." <br></p><p>“We have over 500 years' experience with the invader. We have no choice. We followed the mandate of our Creator. We know our time here is that of a drop in the bucket in comparison to the lifetime of a rock," Means added. <br></p><p>The indigenous leader noted that the current violations of indigenous rights and sovereignty stemmed from pronouncements by the Catholic Church more than five centuries ago:</p><p>“In 1493 the Vatican under Pope Alexander VI issued a Papal Bull (edict of the Pope in the Vatican) that essentially said that all non-Christian-owned land was available for the taking for the Crown and for the Church. It gave them the moral and legal authority for the slaughter, for the raping, the pillaging of our homelands and our peoples". <br></p><p><strong>Patric Tariq Mellet</strong>, a South African liberation activist, author and social historian, was the respondent to the keynote address and reflected on contemporary events in South Africa.<br></p><p>“In the old days before modern technology, a caged canary was taken down the mines because its demise provided a warning to miners of dangerous levels of poisonous atmosphere. It was a signal to miners to take action or die… to leave immediately for fresh air at the surface. As a metaphor, the plight of the canary can be likened in our societies to the assault on the most vulnerable, marginalised and oppressed in our society. The call to wake up and to resistance action shouts out from the overcome canary. This is a warning that a toxic wave – a period of threat – is about to sweep over others in our society," Mellet stated. </p><p>He noted that the metaphoric 'miner's canary' became a case of the testing of the resolve of the Native Americans at Standing Rock – “shouts out that race supremacism is on the rise – people of colour beware, other identities beware, all who are demonised beware."</p><p>“Our miner's canary as a warning of the corruption of our struggle gains, and of neo-colonialism in modern day South Africa stands out most starkly as the Marikana massacre. This was our Standing Rock… and so much more," Mellet added. <br></p><p>Photo: Patric Tariq Mellet, Pearl Means, Prof Nico Koopman (Vice-Rector: Social Impact, Transformation & Personnel) and Father Michael Lapsley (Director: Institute for the Healing of Memories) <br><br></p>
MTh with a focus on gender and healthhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5040MTh with a focus on gender and healthSelina Palm<h2>​​MTH with a focus on gender and health<br></h2><p style="text-align:justify;">The Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University, in cooperation with the Church of Sweden is offering a unique opportunity for interested students to complete a Masters in Theology with a focus on gender and health. The masters can be registered in any of the existing theological disciplines (Old Testament, New Testament, Ecclesiology, Systematic Theology, Missiology & Practical Theology). Students will thus complete a Masters in their chosen discipline by pursuing research within the intersection of gender, health and theology. Themes include (but are not restricted to) physical and mental health, HIV and AIDS, sexuality and sexual orientation, reproductive health, gender-based violence and sustainable livelihoods. Ten selected students will be eligible for scholarships in this special focus Master's program for the study period January 2018 to March 2019. A four-year theological degree or a Post-Graduate diploma in Theology (from SU) serves as a prerequisite for application.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">This special focus Masters will consist of a core module (gender, health and theology), two additional modules (in the chosen main discipline) and a 120-page thesis. The program will require students to attend a three-week course at the beginning of 2018 (core module and research methodology workshop) at the Faculty of Theology, followed by two workshops in the first semester designed to assist students in the research proposal development process. Attendance of the Core Module and workshops are compulsory for all students in the program. Thereafter students will be required to be in a position to have regular access to research resources and contact sessions with lecturers and promoters. Oral exams must be completed by July 2018, and thesis submitted by 30 November 2018 in order to graduate in March 2019.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Ten scholarships of R75 000 per student are available, divided across the various disciplinary groups in the Faculty. The bursary will be paid out to successful candidates in four instalments, subject to satisfactory progress made by the student in the course of the program. The program consists of a series of strict deadlines and implies dedicated commitment due to the fast pace.  These funds are subject to final donor confirmation from the Church of Sweden in December 2015.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The program has a dual application system:</p><ol><li>All prospective candidates have to complete the official application in accordance with the procedure and requirements for MTh applications at Stellenbosch University. First-time students to Stellenbosch University can apply online at <a href="/">www.sun.ac.za</a>. A full academic transcript will be required of all prospective applicants. Students who are currently enrolled at Stellenbosch University can request the relevant application form for further study from the Faculty Secretary Mr Shirle Cornelissen at <a href="mailto:shirle@sun.ac.za">shirle@sun.ac.za</a>.</li><li>Besides the application through official University channels, a detailed bursary application should be submitted to Dr Selina Palm at spalm@sun.ac.za by 1 September 2017. Bursary applications consist of a full CV, academic records/transcript, a letter of motivation (stating research motivation and aims) and a completed additional information form. Please submit all relevant documents in a single PDF document format via e-mail. For further enquiries please contact Dr Palm via e-mail or on 0767 800 456 from 1<sup>st</sup> August.</li></ol><p style="text-align:justify;">All applicants will be notified as to the success of their bursary application by the end of October 2017. Unsuccessful scholarship candidates, who qualified for acceptance into the Master's program in the selected discipline, will then have a choice to either pursue a discipline specific Masters without the Gender and Health focus or to retract their application.  <br></p><p><br></p>
New Gender Unit at the Beyers Naudé Centre, Faculty of Theology https://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4783New Gender Unit at the Beyers Naudé Centre, Faculty of Theology Marita Snyman<p> </p><p><br></p><p><img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Gender%20Unit-89.jpg" alt="Gender Unit-89.jpg" style="margin:5px;width:800px;height:541px;" /></p><p><span class="ms-rteFontSize-1">Caption: Prof Amanda Gouws (Guest speaker); Dr Charlene van der Walt (Gender Unit); Prof Julie Claassens (Gender Unit) and Prof Sarojini Nadar (Main speaker) during the launch of the Gender Unit on 28 March 2017</span></p><p>Maternal health and infant mortality are two of the United Nations' Millennium Goals. In SA and the rest of Africa, women and children are particularly vulnerable in the face of the following:  HIV/AIDS (which can be described as a gendered pandemic); caring for the sick and the elderly; poverty and sexual violence.</p><p>The Faculty of Theology at Stellenbosch University, together with partners in South Africa (University of KwaZulu-Natal), in Tanzania (TUMA University) and Ethiopia (Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology) took up this challenge and each institution developed a unique Master's program in Gender, Health and Theology/Religion that sought to address the grim reality. Unique to this program is also the association with NGO's that markedly strengthens the academic program's social impact.</p><p>At Stellenbosch University, the MTh Gender and Health since 2013 has seen each year 10 diverse and very interesting Master's students from all over the country as well as beyond its borders come together in order to grapple with the complex intersection of Gender, Health and Theology.</p><p>The impact of this program is evident in the many beautiful success stories since its inception. Most of its students are church leaders in a prime position to effect change in their respective communities. Moreover, this program also draws some non-traditional students. To mention but one example: Renate van der Westhuizen is a schoolteacher at a private school that caters for children experiencing learning difficulties in traditional schools. As the Deputy Head of the school, she spends quite a bit of time counselling students and over the years has seen a great number of children who were victims of rape and sexual assault, leading her to her thesis topic "Rape as Torture: Re-reading the Rape of the Levite's Concubine in Judges 19." It was inspiring to see how this study has transformed her, and in some significant ways the school setting where she is teaching. She regularly started to address the topic of rape into her classes. Her continued commitment to educate students and colleagues on the reality of sexual violence in schools is evident in that for the first time a sexual violence workshop was held in 2016 for teachers in her school. She was invited to attend a Department of Higher Education workshop where she was asked to give a presentation on possible curricular changes with regard to addressing the reality of sexual violence in schools.</p><p>The success of the MTh Gender and Health program has led the personnel to explore new opportunities for teaching and research on the intersection of Gender, Health and Theology that already has exhibited a definite social impact in faith communities as well as in the society at large. Stellenbosch University Vice-Rector: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies, Prof Eugene Cloete, initiated the Gender Unit at the Faculty of Theology. The Head, Prof Juliana Claassens, as well as the Research and Program Coordinator, Dr Charlene van der Walt hope to contribute to the formation of a world where racism, sexism, homophobia and the dehumanizing reality of poverty is no more by amongst others:</p><ul><li>Raising funds for PhD scholarships for research on Gender, Health and Theology and so helping to cultivate thought leaders who can go back to their respective communities in order to serve as agents of change.</li><li>Creating a community of scholars who, through their research, contribute to the establishment of a centre of excellence that contextually explains the intersection of Gender, Health and the various sub-disciplines of Theology. Courtesy of Prof Eugene Cloete, the Gender Unit was able to appoint its first postdoctoral fellow, the very talented and experienced Dr Funlola Olojede, born in Nigeria.</li><li>Building networks on campus, with FBO's, NGO's and faith communities, and with scholars nationally as well as internationally in order to stimulate discourse on various aspects of the intersection of Gender, Health and Theology with the goal of cultivating an ethos that affirms the dignity of all people and resist all forms of discrimination</li></ul><div><br></div><div><br></div>
The Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology and Faculdades EST, Brazil strengthen partnershiphttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4276The Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology and Faculdades EST, Brazil strengthen partnershipDion Forster<p>The Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology in the Faculty of Theology at Stellenbosch University has been engaged in a rich and fruitful partnership with colleagues from Faculdades EST since 2007. Faculdades EST is a Brazilian institution of research and academic training in the fields of human sciences and applied social sciences, linguistics, languages, arts and health. The partnership has focussed predominantly on issues of Public Theologies in the respective contexts. Prof Dr Rudolf von Sinner from Faculdades EST and Dr Dion Forster from the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology serve as the coordinators of an ongoing research project on the nature and content of Public Theologies from Brazil and South Africa. This has been a very fruitful collaboration over the years with the exchange of staff and students, participation in conferences in Sao Leopoldo and Stellenbosch, and shared publications. <br> <br>On the 14th of September 2016 the Faculty of Theology (Stellenbosch University) and the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology presented Prof Dr Rudolf von Sinner with an artwork for the Centre for Ethics at Faculdades EST. The artwork, which was created by Prof Daniel Louw (Emeritus Professor - and former Dean - of the Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch) is entitled '<em>The Cursed and Wounded Healer</em>'. It symbolises the frailty and brokenness of human persons and society as a result of sin. Yet, it points towards the hope of healing and restoration that the cross of Christ brings, expressed in Pauline terminology, as wholeness (<em>parrhesia</em>).</p><p>We look forward to many fruitful years of South by South collaboration between these two Southern hemisphere institutions. In this picture Dr Donald Katts, Stellenbosch (left) is presenting the artwork to Prof Dr Rudolf von Sinner (right) at a special service at Faculdades EST.</p>
Engaging "radical economic transformation" and land ownership in South Africahttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5601Engaging "radical economic transformation" and land ownership in South AfricaMarita Snyman<p>​The Faculty of Theology commemorated the beginning of theological education in Stellenbosch when the first classes were conducted on 3<sup> </sup>November 1859. The BNC facilitated a short but rigorous discussion of a topic that is relevant for our society as a whole and that will assist in focusing, challenging and informing the Faculty's Public Theology. Keynote speakers included Ms Bokang Mpeta, lecturer in Economics, Stellenbosch University and Dr Aninka Claassens, Director: Land and Accountability Research Centre, University of Cape Town.<br><br></p><p>Photo: Dr Dion Forster; Dr Aninka Claassens; Ms Bokang Mpeta; Prof Reggie Nel; Prof Hendrik Bosman<br></p>
Gift exchange between the Beyers Naudé Centre and the Institute of Ethics of the Faculdades EST, Brazilhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4462Gift exchange between the Beyers Naudé Centre and the Institute of Ethics of the Faculdades EST, BrazilMarita Snyman<p>Exchanges of significant gifts are signs of friendship, partnership and koinonia between brothers and sisters in Christ. As such a sign, the Beyers Naudé Center for Public Theology gave to its partner Institute, the Institute of Ethics of the Faculdades EST at São Leopoldo, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, an artwork by Professor emeritus Daniël Johannes Louw of Stellenbosch University. The artwork under the name of "Derelictio: Christ the cursed and wounded healer" was brought to Brazil and handed over in a worship service during the third International Congress of Faculdades EST in September by Dr Donald Katts and put in place in the Institute (photo). Made with broken glass, it shows how Christ assumed our human vulnerability and suffered for our sake. In the rising sun behind the cross we can see the light of the resurrection.</p><p><img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Faculdades%20EST.jpg" alt="Faculdades EST.jpg" style="margin:5px;" /><br></p><p>This light is also visible in the Easter candle that was brought in return to the Beyers Naudé Centre in October, following the fourth Meeting of the Global Network of Public Theology held at STIAS in Stellenbosch. Prof Rudolf von Sinner, Director of the Ethics Institute, handed over the handmade candle to Dr Dion Forster, Acting Director of the BNS (photo). Whenever we shall look at these tokens, we shall be reminded of our partnership and collaboration in the work of God's reign, justice and love in our respective contexts. Both countries are among those with the highest economic and social inequalities in the world and well know the positive, ambiguous and questionable contributions of churches towards the common good in society.</p>