Moravian Church in South Africa (MCSA)
The origins of the Moravian Church in South Africa (MCSA) go back to the work of the Moravian missionary Georg Schmidt, who entered the country in 1737. He founded the mission station Genadendal. When missionary work extended to the Eastern Cape, the General Synod in Herrnhut decided in 1867 to divide the areas of work into a Xhosa-speaking region in the Eastern Cape and an Afrikaans-speaking region in the Western Cape. From these two regions, two church provinces of the Moravian Church developed in South Africa but were reunited in 1992.
Church management is formed by the delegates of the twelve church districts and an executive office elected by the Synod which consists of three people. Unifying the two churches poses a big financial and organisational challenge to the MCSA - not least because of the great distances in the country. The MCSA has about 35,000 members in 90 parishes and tries to live a holistic creed by combining preaching, social work and education. The church is severely affected by the economic problems of the country. Especially the parishes of the Eastern Cape are very poor. The church lives off the associations for men's work and gender work, Sunday school and youth organised by the church as a whole. Music plays an important role. There are many choirs and trombone bands.
Important welfare and social institutions and programmes by the church include the "Elim Home", a home for multiple handicapped children in the Western Cape and the "Masangane AIDS Programme" with locations in Shiloh and Matatiele. Masangane in the Xhosa language means "we embrace each other". This title is also the agenda. The project focuses on caring for orphans and looking after people infected with HIV.