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Transgression and Transformation conferencehttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6444Transgression and Transformation conferenceMarita Snyman<h2>​​​​​Transgression and transformation: the role of feminist, postcolonial and queer biblical interpretation in fostering communities of justice​<br></h2><h2><span lang="EN-ZA"><br></span></h2><p><span lang="EN-ZA" style="line-height:107%;font-family:"times new roman",serif;font-size:11pt;">On March 13-15, 2019, the Gender Unit, Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology, in collaboration with the Center for Theology, Women, and Gender of Princeton Theological Seminary hosted a successful Transgression and Transformation Conference.</span></p><p><span lang="EN-ZA" style="line-height:107%;font-family:"times new roman",serif;font-size:11pt;"></span><span style="line-height:107%;font-family:"times new roman",serif;font-size:11pt;">Keynote speakers to this conference included Prof Jacqueline Lapsley, Princeton Theological Seminary; Prof Christl Maier, </span><span lang="EN-ZA" style="line-height:107%;font-family:"times new roman",serif;font-size:11pt;">Philipps University Marburg, Germany; Prof </span><span style="line-height:107%;font-family:"times new roman",serif;font-size:11pt;">Dora Mbuwayesango, Hood Theological Seminary; Prof Linda Thomas, Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago, IL; Prof Charlene van der Walt, University</span><span lang="EN-ZA" style="line-height:107%;font-family:"times new roman",serif;font-size:11pt;"> of KwaZulu-Natal. </span></p><p><span lang="EN-ZA" style="line-height:107%;font-family:"times new roman",serif;font-size:11pt;">This conference formed part of the Core Module of the MTh Gender and Health as well as the MDIV class and were attended by between 60-70 participants.</span><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>
Responses to the Naming of Jesus as a Victim of Sexual Violence, a colloquium led by Professor David Tombshttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6511Responses to the Naming of Jesus as a Victim of Sexual Violence, a colloquium led by Professor David TombsMarita Snyman<p>​<strong style="text-align:center;">COLLOQUIUM: </strong><strong style="text-align:center;">Responses to the Naming of Jesus as a </strong><strong style="text-align:center;">Victim of Sexual Violence</strong></p><p><strong style="text-align:center;"></strong><span style="text-align:center;">​P</span><span style="text-align:center;">rofessor Tombs' paper was followed by responses from </span><strong style="text-align:center;">Shantelle Weber</strong><span style="text-align:center;">, Senior lecturer: Practical Theology and Missiology, </span><strong style="text-align:center;">Ashwin Thyssen</strong><span style="text-align:center;">, senior student leader and activist and </span><strong style="text-align:center;">Jeremy Punt</strong><span style="text-align:center;">, Professor: Old and New Testament, </span><span style="text-align:center;">all Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University.</span></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong></strong><strong>Professor David Tombs is the Howard Paterson Chair of Theology and Public Issues, at the University of Otago, Aotearoa New Zealand. He has a longstanding interest in contextual and liberation theologies and is author of </strong><strong><em>Latin American Liberation Theology </em></strong><strong>(Brill, 2002). His research is on religion and violence, and his current writing focusses on crucifixion. </strong></p><p>Pictured are Dion Forster, Shantelle Weber, David Tombs, Ashwin Thyssen and Jeremy Punt<br></p>
Dr Chris Jones’s book wins most downloaded book awardhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=8780Dr Chris Jones’s book wins most downloaded book awardMarita Snyman<p>The BNC congratulates <strong>Chris Jones* and Juri van den Heever</strong> on winning the following award:</p><ul><li>Most downloaded book during 2020 in the <strong>Humanities & Social Sciences AOSIS Scholarly Domain</strong></li><li>Book Title: <a href="https://eur03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https://books.aosis.co.za/index.php/ob/catalog/book/114&data=04%7c01%7c%7c1ba09e175cb144e9d1fa08d9b00885ad%7ca6fa3b030a3c42588433a120dffcd348%7c0%7c0%7c637734372912194577%7cUnknown%7cTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7c3000&sdata=CrwyxqgKuuk7HTLsQUrGsnMAembp2FtnB5fGmGz9PBM%3D&reserved=0"><strong>Moral Issues in the Natural Sciences and Technologies</strong></a></li></ul><p>*Dr Chris Jones is the head of the Moral Leadership Unit of the Beyers Naudé Centre<br></p><p><em>This book reflects academically on important and relevant natural scientific disciplines, important technologies, and related media to determine and communicate the moral issues and challenges within those specific fields of study, and how to deal with them morally and from a multidimensional South African context. It aims to add scientific, technological, and ethical value, locally and globally, by reflecting mainly from the viewpoint of specific scholars, writing about the most pressing moral issues or challenges raised by problems within their specific field of study</em>. – Chris Jones & Juri van den Heever</p><p><em>This collected work reflects, in a multidimensional fashion, on moral issues that arise in scientific and technological work. It resembles the South African heritage and circumstances of the authors. Let me state unequivocally that this is a very professionally conceived and completed project. That it is multidimensional is a given</em> – Prof Michael Ruse, Department of Philosophy, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, United States of America. </p><p>More about the AOIS Laureatus Awards:<br></p><p>The annual <a href="https://eur03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https://aosis.co.za/laureatus-awards-2021/&data=04%7c01%7c%7c1ba09e175cb144e9d1fa08d9b00885ad%7ca6fa3b030a3c42588433a120dffcd348%7c0%7c0%7c637734372912184619%7cUnknown%7cTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7c3000&sdata=1gPTEPW9sRIJra3UaLEdzsReV2E%2BFS8qZdz5kNL5BxU%3D&reserved=0"><strong>AOSIS Laureatus Awards</strong></a> is a prestigious awards ceremony where we acknowledge the hard work and dedication of authors and researchers who are making an impact in our scholarly community. Due to the ongoing pandemic, we have adapted with the times to bring you the 2021 awards ceremony <a href="https://eur03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v%3DRNqFBA1MGk8%26t%3D43s&data=04%7c01%7c%7c1ba09e175cb144e9d1fa08d9b00885ad%7ca6fa3b030a3c42588433a120dffcd348%7c0%7c0%7c637734372912184619%7cUnknown%7cTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7c3000&sdata=zHsjb0MMkFSjJiCKlaXqnaC1GRYSy2ryB97ezbc%2B7UE%3D&reserved=0">virtually.</a> </p><p>  It is with great pleasure that we give well deserved recognition to all the winners. View the complete list of prize winners: <a href="https://eur03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https://bit.ly/30U7tJZ&data=04%7c01%7c%7c1ba09e175cb144e9d1fa08d9b00885ad%7ca6fa3b030a3c42588433a120dffcd348%7c0%7c0%7c637734372912194577%7cUnknown%7cTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7c3000&sdata=Wl9E4fGYd8/mQGM8QAn2V9uC%2B73nmXLbGKSFfB3tmoU%3D&reserved=0">https://bit.ly/30U7tJZ</a></p><p>Click <a href="https://eur03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v%3DRNqFBA1MGk8%26t%3D3s&data=04%7c01%7c%7c1ba09e175cb144e9d1fa08d9b00885ad%7ca6fa3b030a3c42588433a120dffcd348%7c0%7c0%7c637734372912204535%7cUnknown%7cTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7c3000&sdata=rzA%2Ba7iIyJTQyUy3diymsRlNV/zAHlbFh0tJYNL%2BLF8%3D&reserved=0"><strong>HERE</strong></a> to watch the <a href="https://eur03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v%3DRNqFBA1MGk8%26t%3D3s&data=04%7c01%7c%7c1ba09e175cb144e9d1fa08d9b00885ad%7ca6fa3b030a3c42588433a120dffcd348%7c0%7c0%7c637734372912204535%7cUnknown%7cTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7c3000&sdata=rzA%2Ba7iIyJTQyUy3diymsRlNV/zAHlbFh0tJYNL%2BLF8%3D&reserved=0"><strong>Laureatus Awards.</strong></a></p><p>​<br></p>
Conferences on Church and Unityhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6449Conferences on Church and UnityMarita Snyman<h3>​Conferences on Church and Unity<br></h3><p><br>The annual conferences of the Synodical Commission for Doctrine and Current Affairs of the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (Cape Synod) and the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology, focus upon the broader theme of Congregations and Public Life. Together we explore the potential of congregational practices for the transformation of all walks of life. <br></p><p>In 2019 the focus of the SKLAS – BNC conferences was on Church and Unity. </p><p>The following rationale for the 2019 conferences was: Biblical theology encourages unity within the Church and among the Churches. This forms part of the Church's witness to the world. It testifies to the reality that even though life is complex, and there is real diversity among persons and communities, we are one body that should coexist in humility and love. However, the reality in the South African churches at present suggests that we find it difficult to overcome our differences in language, culture, race, ethnicity, economic class, and understandings of our broken past. The 2019 SKLAS conferences will focus on a variety of perspectives on unity and disunity in society and the Church. Our aim is to equip attendees with theological insights and tools to engage the complexities of our current social reality and to help them to serve their Churches and communities in working for greater unity. </p><p> CONFERENCE DATES AND LOCATIONS: </p><p>11 February 2019 Malmesbury; 35 participants </p><p>4 March 2019 George; 30 participants: 30</p><p>8 April 2019 Port Elizabeth; 54 participants: 54​<br></p><p>​<img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/_DSC8482.JPG" alt="_DSC8482.JPG" style="margin:5px;width:796px;height:528px;" /></p><p>Dr Sipho Mahokoto, Rev Rineke van Ginkel, Rev ​​Mzwandile Molo, Dr Koos Oosthuizen and Rev Janine Williams, who participated at Goedgedacht Farm, Malmesbury as speakers and facilitators</p><p><br><img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/_DSC8508.JPG" alt="_DSC8508.JPG" style="margin:5px;width:800px;height:540px;" /><br></p><p>Ms Leona Loff, Rev Glenda Fredericks, Dr Koos Oosthuizen, Rev Peter Veysie, Rev Rineke van Ginkel, Dr Eugene Fortein and Prof Dion Forster (Director: BNC) all participated at Carmel, George<br></p><p><br></p><p>Note: In the photo on the title page the partipants were: Dr Koos Oosthuizen, Dr Sipho Mahokoto, Rev Rineke van Ginkel, Dr Eugene Fortein, Rev Bulelani Vete, Ms Pinky Sifuba and Rev Mzwandile Molo<br></p>
Eighth Winter School at Theologyhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6603Eighth Winter School at TheologyHelette van der Westhuizen<p style="margin:0mm 0mm 0pt;text-align:justify;line-height:normal;"><font color="#000000" face="Calibri" size="3">​​The Winter School of the Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University, was recently presented for the eighth time. The Winter School is an initiative of the faculty, Communitas, Ekklesia and the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology, which aims to create a dialogue on contemporary issues affecting communities and congregations. It also provides an opportunity for additional theological training of spiritual leaders, and empowering members of the congregation.</font></p><p style="margin:0mm 0mm 0pt;text-align:justify;line-height:normal;"><font color="#000000" face="Calibri" size="3">Prof Anita Cloete, coordinator of the Winter School, says: “This year we reflected on 25 years of democracy in conversation with religion. The keynote speakers highlighted the theme from different perspectives and emphasized the public role that the church plays. On the first day, Prof Nadine Bowers-du Toit focused on identity politics and how, on the one hand, it promotes polarization and, on the other hand, is often intertwined with religion. Former Statistics General Dr Pali Lehohla outlined the story of democracy on day two using statistics about South Africa. Prof Allan Boesak concluded the Winter School with an emphasis on the important contribution of religion in the fight against apartheid, also outlining the role for religion in South Africa’s future democracy. " Follow the link for a copy of his address. <a href="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Prof%20Allan%20Boesak.pdf"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/15/images/icpdf.png" alt="" />Prof Allan Boesak.pdf</a></font></p><p style="margin:0mm 0mm 0pt;text-align:justify;line-height:normal;"><font color="#000000" face="Calibri" size="3">“The parallel sessions that took place in the morning and afternoon followed the main themes of the day. The Winter School was very well attended with more than 200 participants. One of the highlights of the Winter School is that it brings people together from different denominations, cultures and generations. This diversity also adds depth to our shared sense of community and conversations because it allows us to learn more about each other, crossing boundaries. Each day began with participants joining together in a moment of stillness to read the Word. In the feedback after the course, many participants described it as one of the most valuable moments of the Winter School. "</font></p><p style="margin:0mm 0mm 0pt;text-align:justify;line-height:normal;"><font color="#000000" face="Calibri" size="3">“We hope this initiative will continue as a way of communicating hope to congregations and communities. "</font></p><p style="margin:0mm 0mm 0pt;line-height:normal;"><font color="#000000" face="Calibri" size="3">The dates of the 2020 Winter School will be announced soon.</font></p><p><br> </p>
We’ve stopped caring because of compassion fatiguehttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7706We’ve stopped caring because of compassion fatigueDion Forster<p>Compassion fatigue during abnormal times such as the COVID-19 pandemic can cause people to care less for others, writes Prof Dion Forster from the Department of Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology in an opinion piece for Mail & Guardian (26 Sept).<br></p><ul><li>Read the article below or click <a href="https://mg.co.za/subscribe-and-support-independent-media/"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">here</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong>for the piece as published.</li></ul><p><strong>​Dion Forster*</strong><br></p><p>In recent weeks I have noticed that even the most cautious members of my family, circle of friends and colleagues, have started to relax their stringent adherence to COVID-19 safety measures. They are arranging social gatherings, travelling across the country, returning to work, shopping with greater freedom, washing their hands less frequently, and even leaving their homes without wearing a mask. </p><p>This is a stark contrast to the vigilance we exercised in the early days of our national lockdown. Remember when you would wash every item you brought back from the grocery store? Or when no more than two persons could travel in a vehicle, and the passenger sat in the back seat? Or, when we <a href="https://www.timeslive.co.za/sunday-times/lifestyle/2020-03-27-a-marathon-during-lockdown-yes-its-possible--you-dont-have-to-leave-your-house/"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">ran circles</strong></a> on our balconies and backyards to get our exercise? Being careful seemed so important and necessary! After all, we were protecting ourselves, and others, from being infected with a possibly deadly virus.</p><p>When South Africa went into <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-africa-52055161"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">lockdown</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong>on the 26<sup>th</sup> of March, we had only 218 reported cases of coronavirus infection. The first two COVID-19-related deaths were <a href="https://sacoronavirus.co.za/2020/03/27/latest-confirmed-cases-of-covid-19-27th-march-2020/"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">reported</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong>a day later. Understandably, we were shocked and afraid. I am sure that all of us can remember the first time that we heard of a close relative, friend, or co-worker who was infected with the coronavirus? Some of us have also had to suffer the loss of family and friends who succumbed to COVID-19. And of course, some of us are among the nearly 585 000 persons who were infected with the virus and have recovered (approx. 655 000 people were infected).</p><p>The pandemic is not only a health tragedy in South Africa. It is also an economic disaster, putting further strain on an already faltering economy. The media have reported  <a href="https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-04-17-the-biggest-lockdown-threat-hunger-hunger-everywhere/"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">large scale suffering</strong></a> from hunger, the brutality of increased gender-based violence, the loss of job security for many South Africans, and the failure of our education system that has left teachers vulnerable, and learners even further behind in their schooling. It is likely to take decades to address some of these problems. This will almost certainly be hampered by ongoing corruption in both the government and the private sector.</p><p>Yet, for the majority of South Africans life seems to be 'returning to normal'. We have numbed ourselves to the images of frontline workers dressed in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) caring for desperately sick persons in hospitals. We hardly seem to notice when the daily news reports that another 100 or so persons have died as a result of COVID-19 overnight, and that the death toll now sits at around 16 000 persons. These are no longer the faces of persons – they are just a number.<br></p><p><strong>Why have we stopped caring?</strong></p><p>The short answer is that we are suffering from a condition known as '<a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328049042_Affect_Empathy_and_Human_Dignity_Considering_Compassion_at_the_Intersection_of_Theology_and_Science"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">compassion fatigue</strong></a>'. Compassion fatigue is common among persons who are constantly exposed to unresolvable suffering. It is most often reported in the so-called 'caring professions' (e.g., nurses, doctors, social workers, religious leaders). Research has shown that when a person is constantly confronted by suffering, their response to the suffering becomes <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/1049909109354096"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">less pronounced</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong>over time. This is the body's way of coping with the pain and trauma of witnessing and experiencing the suffering of others. </p><p>When we see someone suffer, or hear about someone suffering, a part of our brain is activated that causes us to <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328049042_Affect_Empathy_and_Human_Dignity_Considering_Compassion_at_the_Intersection_of_Theology_and_Science"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">recreate the experience</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong>of the other person in our own imagination. We feel something of their pain. This is a pre-cognate reaction – in other words, it happens in that deep part of our brain that responds to pain without thinking. This capacity is believed to have evolved in all mammal brains (to different degrees) in order to evoke the responses of care and the avoidance of danger. </p><p>When we imagine the suffering of another, we are instinctually motivated to avoid it ourselves. We also tend to shield those that we care for from facing harm. Similarly, when we see someone suffering, we are also instinctually prompted to help them ease their pain. The offering of care and the avoidance of pain have served to preserve life and so they have become 'hard-wired' into the functioning of our brains.<br></p><p>However, my research, and that of others shows, that while our brains are 'wired' for survival and the avoidance of pain and threat, they also <a href="https://journals.lww.com/nursing/Fulltext/2015/07000/Compassion_fatigue__The_cost_of_caring.15.aspx?casa_token=YjKnyScHBx8AAAAA:uQryqaM_I0rBCKSAeviSUrlXfoZiSPSRMNq3TMFVA5DXE4rpISQk2OAC6v412oRb-siXd6IVdpcS2sao243dKiLa9PZ1l6Tb5Q9_"><strong>a</strong><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"><strong>d</strong>apt to avoid emotional pain</strong></a> and psychological threats. Over time, as we are exposed to ongoing pain and suffering of others, we become less and less sensitive to it. Our emotional reaction to their pain is less severe. We rationalize what we hear and see, moving from the emotional center of the brain to the cognitive and rational functions. Over time we are no longer shocked to hear that 100 persons died in the last 24 hours from a virus that each one of us could be infected with. We are no longer thinking about 15 000 individuals – mothers, fathers, sons, daughters – who have died; we are thinking about a number, a statistic.<br></p><p>Research further shows that compassion fatigue can also occur in groups – such as communities, or nations. For example, a community may become accustomed to certain forms of suffering, or abuse, and normalize them. Gender activists frequently <a href="https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-06-18-gender-based-violence-is-south-africas-second-pandemic-says-ramaphosa/"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">point out</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong>the abnormally high rates of rape, femicide and gender-based violence in South Africa. In <a href="https://www-jstor-org.ezproxy.lib.gla.ac.uk/stable/10.5749/jcritethnstud.2.1.0073"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">America</strong></a>, for example, the frequent mass shootings, or the killing of black persons by the police, are rationalized and diverted from painful experiences into political debates. </p><p>Compassion fatigue on a personal and a structural level can lead to a loss of perspective. It may cause us to miss-recognize the humanity of others, hindering us from adequately and effectively responding to suffering and pain. Just as we would not want to be treated by an uncaring doctor or nurse, we also should not want to live in a society which does not care about the suffering of its fellow citizens.<br></p><p>In his 1947 novel <a href="https://books.google.co.za/books?id=3qCOmB8EYigC&dq=editions:G--JUyAmT1oC&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjp54HkvO3rAhWNN8AKHWnDD3sQ6AEwBXoECAAQAg"><em class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"><strong>The plague</strong></em></a>, Albert Camus tells the story of the arrival of a plague in the Algerian city of Oran. After facing great tragedy and hardship, the citizens of Oran start to normalize their lives. Camus, however, uses his novel to illustrate how <a href="https://www.counterpointknowledge.org/when-a-pandemic-makes-the-impossible-possible/"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">abnormal</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong>some aspects of their normal lives actually are.</p><p>It is important that we recognize when compassion fatigue starts to set in. We must guard against it in our closest relationships, and also name it when we see it in our communities and social systems. To show compassion requires an ongoing choice to recognize the humanity of those who suffer. It requires the courage to face pain and discomfort. To create a more compassionate society, we will have to face the reality of our shared humanity, our shared frailty, and our need for one another. We will have to avoid the instinct to escape or simply ignore what causes pain and suffering. In these difficult times, we could all do with a little more care, a more humane and compassionate society.   <br></p><p><em>*Prof </em><em>Dion A. Forster is an Associate Professor in Systematic Theology and Ethics and the Chair of the Department of Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology at Stellenbosch</em> <em>University (SU). He also serves as the director of the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology at SU. </em><br></p><p><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>
Memorial service for Prof Plaatjies-Van Huffel on 29 Mayhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=7388Memorial service for Prof Plaatjies-Van Huffel on 29 MayMarita Snyman<p>​<a href="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Memorial%20service%20MAP.jpg"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/15/images/icjpg.gif" alt="" />Memorial service MAP.jpg</a><br></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>