Thursdays in Black

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On Thursdays I dress in black to stand in solidarity with women who are trapped in abusive relationships.  I mourn for women who have been killed at the hands of their partners and I raise awareness on Violence Against Women and Children.

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Graduation 2012

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Robed in scarlet and seated in the front row – seat number 8 – when collecting my seat card I was asked “Do you mean number 08?” by the helpful assistant at the desk.  Yes, this time I am not number 289 or sitting among the sea of black gowns in the middle of the hall.  Am I really here?  The years of hard work, hours of doubt, tears of frustration and many conversations with the best supervisor I could ever have hoped for, have brought me to this moment.

“For Healing and Transformation”

A feminist ecclesiological study on the gap between gender policy and practice in the Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA)

Then it is my turn – my supervisor reads out the citation of my thesis and my degree is conferred!  It has been accomplished!

Now the hard work actually begins.  Can the gender policies of the MCSA be implemented effectively?  Only time will tell.

Reconnecting!

I have moved to WordPress.com from my first blog at http://aquarianmeandering.blogspot.com but, as we all know, things change and the blog sites have improved immensely since 2007. I look forward to utilising this new space to engage and share views with colleagues, friends and even with strangers.

I shall import those old posts so they won’t be lost.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2007

My Ordination

Sunday, 23rd September 2007, was a momentous occasion for me. After many years of theological studies and five years of probation, I was finally ordained into the ministry of Word and Sacrament of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. The service was held at the foot of the majestic mountains in Stellenbosch on a cool and rainy Spring morning. It was a splendid affair!

10 comments:
digitaldion said…
Hi Jenny!

Congratulations on your Ordination! It was wonderful, wasn’t it? In some ways (and note the emphasis on SOME) it was worth waiting a year just to be Ordained with this group, in this setting, and with the wonderful organisation of the Cape Town committee! Then again, maybe not?

Welcome to the blogosphere! It is great to see that you have staked your portion of the internet!

I look forward to reading what you write in the months to come.

Rich blessing,

Dion   October 2, 2007 4:50 AM

Aquaria said…
Yes Dion, I said the same to Ulinda. It had to be Cape Town – the Retreat was so good and as you said, Michel and his team did a splendid thing! We were thoroughly spoilt and the service was everything I could have asked for. Even with some of the ‘chaos’ during the presentations!!
Thanks for being the first one to comment!
Blessings,
Jenny Sprong    October 2, 2007 9:46 AM

Aquaria said…
May 2009 – This is obviously not something I have the ‘Internet Savvy’ for! 🙂 It has taken me eighteen months to return to this blog. Crazy!
I do wish to engage with others who also grapple with the issues of feminist theology but I seem to have so little time to surf the Internet.
I participated in two excellent lectures by Robert Jensen on ‘White Supremacy’ (in the USA) and on ‘The Struggle to Claim our Humanity’. An interesting aspect, when it comes to gender justice, is that if we look at some of the earliest traditions of humanity (approximately 100,000 years ago) we note that the women organised their small communities – not the men! How long will it take for women to regain their full and worthy status in our broken world? For the benefit of everyone.
May 24, 2009 6:41 AM

Aquaria said…
Female and Male They Were Created

Our challenge is to create a world where churches and organisations view women and men as of equal value. This is my aim as we present gender workshops and offer briefings, on stimulating issues around diversity, for Diakonia Council of Churches’ member churches.

The patriarchal system, a dominant social structure in the world’s civilizations, has been dreadfully successful throughout modern history. This convinces both men and women to believe that men are superior beings to women.

Scientific research and in-depth studies of the Christian faith point to the contrary. If women are created equal to men then society needs to re-evaluate the way we currently relate to one another, at every level of our human relationships.

Our campaigns, to raise awareness about violence against women, need to be taken seriously and men need to recognise that they can make a positive difference.

Women are very comfortable with swinging incense and men can become as at home with changing diapers as any woman is. It is all about celebrating our diversity.

A helpful tool for developing gender sensitivity is a gender policy. We offer a model to churches that is being tried and tested by members of staff within the organisation.
July 3, 2010 1:19 AM

Aquaria said…
Communications Workshop at Diakonia Council of Churches …
Where did I grow up?

Go for Gold … Yes, Egoli – that’s where I was born. A western sky – streaked with bright orange, gold and red sunsets above the yellow mine dumps. That’s what stands out for me when I remember overlooking the City of Gold from the water-tower at the edge of the koppies near my home in the south. I wasn’t allowed to go into the koppies by myself even though the best stamvrugte were to be found there – sweet and warmed by the summer sun.

This vibrant city had a fascinating bus station – Vanderbijl Square – where I spent many hours waiting for a bus – wondering where the people were going to. I used to make up stories about them while I waited. Eloff Street was the main road linking the city with the south. Many car dealers operated there and as the double decker bus went past I could look into their offices and imagine them doing business with famous people. The train station, on the other end of Eloff Street, was a most significant building for me, as a child, as it conjured up all the joy of holidays – I can still smell the coffee and pannekoek aroma coming from the little tearoom on the concourse.
July 3, 2010 1:21 AM

Aquaria said…
I am back – after seventeen months!
January 10, 2012 11:54 PM

Aquaria said…
I would like to commit myself to blogging more regularly in 2012.
Since the middle of 2010 so much has happened in my life and in our city (Durban, South Africa).
March 2011 …
I presented a workshop on the Thursdays in Black Campaign (raising awareness on Violence Against Women) at the Journey Towards Wholeness and Healing Conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The experiences at the conference reminded me that ‘The Troubles’ of Ireland are not yet over and that South Africa also has a long way to go towards full equality and justice for all.
June 2011 …
I celebrated my 60 birthday with friends and family – quite a milestone to reach!
August 2011
The World Methodist Conference was held in Durban at the International Convention Centre. I worked on the local organising team, taking responsibility for worship, liturgy and music. Meeting and working with Swee Hong Lim and Jorge Lockward was a stimulating experience and I look forward to the worship workshops Jorge plans to lead within the next 2 years. Some of the speakers at the WMC were outstanding and the conference gave many visitors their first glimpse of South African culture and beauty.
Kevin (my spouse) also celebrated his 60th birthday on the 9th August – yes, on National Women’s Day!
The biannual Diakonia Council of Churches Social Justice Season was also held in the month of August and this was an ecumenical drive to get churches to commit to doing Bible Study and follow sermon series on the theme: “Towards a Transformed Society” for four weeks during the month of August. More than fifty congregations participated – not only doing the Bible Studies but also participating in the various exposures, organised around each week’s sub-theme.
Week One: ‘Attitude – God and Self’
Week Two: ‘Theological Reflections on Governance and Leadership’
Week Three: ‘Sharing Resources’
Week Four: ‘Moving Forward in Hope’
September …
Study leave!
October …
Diakonia Council of Churches celebrated its 35th anniversary. This was a month packed to the brim with activities, including a two-day conversation on ‘Prophetic Diakonia’ with Kjell Nordstokke and what that means for us as people of faith.
November …
COP17 (The Conference of the Parties) – this environmental conference took place at the ICC in Durban and Diakonia Centre was the hub for the Faith-Based delegates. Diakonia Council of Churches hosted the Faith Secretariat and our team was fully involved during the conference. I met some dynamic people and made some valuable contacts.
December …
Advent and the 16 Days of Activism Campaign both overlapped with COP17and I ended the year stimulated by all these activities but also feeling drained and exhausted.
January 2012 …
I started the New Year with a short break on the North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal and reading Riaan Manser’s book about his solo adventure: “Around Madagascar on My Kayak”.
I am back at the office and feeling in the right frame of mind to once again continue to work for social and gender justice in our communities.
January 11, 2012 12:28 AM

Aquaria said…
As a Methodist I value the tradition of renewing our Covenant with God at the beginning of each year. This year the Covenant Service I led was a remarkable time of worship. The congregation responded to the message and the ritual, which leads into Holy Communion, was meaningful for many. It was one of those moments that needed to be journalled for reflection upon during the dry spiritual periods in my life.
January 21, 2012 9:01 AM

Aquaria said…
25th January 2012
This is the first pay-day of this year. How far the money is going to stretch (for our Faith-Based Organisation) in this economic down-turn is the big question on everyone’s mind at Diakonia Council of Churches. The first month is almost over and the work is piling up despite the depression hovering over the offices.
Creative and innovative fund-raisers are needed and we are encouraged to think up new ideas for completing our tasks on a shoe string.
Today I shared a post on Facebook and on the Methodist Ministers’ e-Forum from the Emergent Village’s Website on the statistics of gender injustice across the broad spectrum of the world:
Theology needs transformation …
* 65% of the work in the world is done by women;
* 12% of the paid salaries in the world go to women;
* 2% of properties in the world are on the hands of women;
* 1 in each 6 women in the world is a victim of incest;
* 1 in each 4 women will experience some form of sexual violence in life;
* 75% of people that die of hunger are women and children;
* In all the world, women do not earn the same salary as men;
* In all the world, the education level of women is lower than that of men;
* In countries where women have more diplomas than men, the tendency is for less educated men to hold higher positions, changing, therefore, the criterion of promotion;
* 98% of structural decisions are made by men;
* In all the world, women are more dependent on the land than men;
* In many places of the world, the majority of abortions is of girls.

Given that, the lesson that Feminist Theology teaches us, is that before worrying about explaining reality, theologies must pay attention to an unjust reality that needs transformation. This situation must be taken as a theological challenge that requires an urgent answer seeking changes.
– Felipe Fanuel Xavier Rodrigues

May I do all I can to change this in my sphere of influence.
January 25, 2012 9:23 AM

Aquaria said…
The first Circuit Quarterly Meeting for 2012 was concluded in record time today! An hour and fifteen minutes and that included TEA!
Two young people among the representatives for Synod and a balanced team with regard to gender.
I met the two new ministers in our Circuit and there was a good response to the invitation to the youth to attend the Youth Forum at Diakonia.
Great time to rest and reflect today.
January 28, 2012 7:04 AM