27.02.17 | News, Three questions for

Three questions for...

Godfrey Cunningham, the new president of the Moravian Church of South Africa
Reverend Godfrey Cunningham

Together with his church, Godfrey Cunningham wants to address social issues within the South African society. (Photo: EMS/Lohnes)

Since 2011, Reverend Godfrey Cunningham leads the Elim congregation South East from Cape Town. His wife Lesinda is manager of Elim Home, a home for disabled children and young adults. Beforehand, the Cunninghams have worked as Ecumenical Co-workers in Germany for the Protestant Church in Baden. In October 2016, Godfrey Cunningham was elected new president of the Moravian Church of South Africa (MCSA). In this interview he talks about his new tasks and the challenges of the MCSA.

Which challenges do you face in your first months as president of the MCSA?

The Moravian Church of South Africa faces many difficult challenges. Our church is in a critical financial situation and our budget needs to be restructured. But together with EMS and the Moravian Church we are heading in the right direction.

Another challenge regards the vision and mission of the church. We have developed a slogan called "Back to the roots". We want to be a church that is known for spreading the gospel and addressing the social issues within our country. And there are many social issues! We want to strengthen the operations that are already there like Elim Home or the programmes which are run by the local congregations and assist as a provincial board wherever we can.

What is the situation of the congregations in the MCSA?

In certain congregations - for instance in mission stations - we have two categories: children and elderly people. The economical viable group of people from the mission stations has moved to the cities where they have better sources of incomes. They come home on the weekends or two or three times a year depending on how far away they live. Meanwhile, the grandparents take care of the children. Once the people are on pension they return to their mission stations.

In the city congregations, we have developed strategies to include the youth in the ministry. In some congregations, you will find that the youth is very active within the congregation structures.

What challenges do you face including the youth in the congregations?

We are a traditional church and come from a traditional background but nowadays that is changing. We allow praise and worship in the church and the youth like these services. Nationally, the youth structure is not functioning that well but on a local level the youth is really engaged in specific programmes.

The interview was conducted by Regina Karasch-Böttcher.