Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
It is my privilege to take you through the last year with gratitude, as we discover together, how God led us, guided us, comforted us and inspired us as a congregation.
It is not possible to lead a congregation as a Council, without leaning heavily on God’s grace, His providence and His guidance. It is a journey of faith and trust, that is not always easy, but the journey draws us again and again into reliance on God, rather than our own ability or strength.
But, apart from that, one can also not lead a congregation without the involvement of its members. The fulfilment of where God leads us, is only possible when members stand behind their congregation with their time, talents and finances. So, when invitations are sent out to attend breakfasts and training courses – come! When requests for involvement in ministries are made – respond! When concern about money is raised – give! Only when we come, respond and give can we succeed in fulfilling our purpose as a congregation. Until that happens, we will always fall short of where we could and should be…
I would like to put this report under a scripture from Psalm 16:11 and it reads as follows: “God will show me the path of life.”
In this spirit we introduced the Alpha course in 2015. In order to keep the momentum of the Alpha course going, we introduced quarterly breakfasts in 2016, with fellowship and teaching at the core of the events. We had four wonderful, blessed breakfasts with speakers in 2016.
We further elaborated on our need for getting to know each other better, by introducing services which revolved around the lives or experiences of our congregation members. We introduced these services in the second half of 2016 and held two services.
In July 2016 our congregation hosted the Contemporary Music Festival in New Germany. All congregations from our circuit, the Southern Circuit, were invited to attend. About 50 musicians attended and it was a special time of worship using contemporary music, with tunes and lyrics that spoke deeply into the soul. A bigthank you to our musicians for blessing us with their music. It was the first event that was organised by the Hospitality Ministry, led by Gisela Fechter (formerly the Ladies Guild). A big thank you goes to the many willing hands who helped make this Festival such a success. There was such a positive response from those
people who were asked to help. Hospitality, is another way in which we worship God…
A Council decision was made for all councilors, irrespective of language, to be included in steward duty in the German services in a spirit of solidarity and unity. A sincere thank you to our, honourary Germans, our Zulu councilors, who so willingly stood behind this decision.
As a Council we agreed on the importance of everybody involved in a ministry at NGLC to realise the importance of preparation and giving of their best. We put up posters around the church building and distributed the leaflet, called “My Best for My God” via ministry leaders, so that everybody could be informed and commit to what it means to give our best. Pastor Ron also held a service using this topic.
In terms of financial giving to the congregation it is important that EVERY congregation member gives regularly, intentionally and generously. Financial giving has to become second nature for every congregation member – not an obligation, but a response to God’s outpouring of love into our lives.
And that brings me to the kitchen renovation. As a congregation we are indebted to very generous donations that enabled us to undertake a much needed kitchen renovation. The cost of this renovation was R100 000 and this money was donated by two individuals and the pre-primary school. The outside area, behind the kitchen, where the soup is cooked for the Christian Care Soup Kitchen, was also beautifully renovated and could only be done because an individual donated R15 000 for this purpose. Another individual raised R16 000 towards a carpet in our church. Please know that your generosity and effort is much appreciated!
The 2017 confirmands are Ben Lüdemann, Sandile Ndlovu, Owethu Lugomo, Siphe Dladla and Hannah Buhr. They will be confirmed on Palm Sunday this year.
Three new members meetings were planned for 2016. One was successfully held, but no one responded to the other two invitations. The one that was held on 8 May, was a valuable, interactive meeting where people were informed about how NGLC runs and they could in turn ask questions and get to know other people joining the congregation. It is an important tool to get to know your congregation, so if you are quite new and haven’t been to such a meeting, please respond to the next invitation.
Eight children from our congregation benefited from the church camps held in Port Edward – five children attended the Kailager camp for children aged between 9 and 12 and three attended KT Camp for children aged between 13 and 16. One (?) teenager attended Rüstwoche in December 2016. All camps are worthwhile for our children to enjoy fun time with other Chrisitans and to grow in their faith. Please consider sending your children next year, it is a wonderful opportunity for children to grow in many ways. The camps are organised by our church, ELCSA N-T. Children from across the country attend and it is valuable when our children realise that they belong to a bigger church family. Children from up-country sat on the bus for 11 hours to get to the camp!
Our church, ELCSA-NT, offers an annual retreat, called E-Quip, at the beginning of each year. Three families from NGLC accepted the invitation and what a blessing it was. As 2017 marks 500 years since the Reformation led by Martin Luther, the topic for the Equip Retreat was of course “Reformation”.
A most significant new development for NGLC in 2017, is the departure of Pastor Ron and his family and the arrival of our new Pastor, Martin Büttner. We trust and pray that it will be a fruitful time for both Pastor and congregation. At the end of the meeting, I will read a letter of introduction which he wrote for our AGM.
Finally, Pastor Ron and Liska, we thank you for the dedication and heart with which you serve this congregation. You meant a lot to many people. It is our heartfelt prayer that the next chapter in your lives will be a time of growth and fulfilment, where you experience God’s guiding hand and “life in abundance”. You will be missed by many people at NGLC, but we know that you will also mean a lot to many new people as you journey on with God.
May I send you three and your other three children, Ralf, Lenard and Inke, into the next chapter of your lives with a verse from Proverbs 3:5-6 “I trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. In all my ways I acknowledge Him and He directs my paths”.