Update on RENEW Africa from Sr. Marie Cooper
Launch in Johannesburg
Amidst a rainbow of colors around the arena, voices lifted high in song, symbols from different cultures, and the movement of dance, Archbishop Buti Thagali led the Archdiocese of Johannesburg in the celebration of Eucharist on Sunday, October 7, 2012 to officially open RENEW Africa and the Year of Faith.
The choir in white stood out among the deanery sections in their different color shirts and hats. Deacon Neil Philippson, a member of the RENEW Africa Diocesan Management Committee and Diocesan Core Community assisted the bishop. Fr. Barney Meehan, Director of the Office of Evangelization for the SACBC (South African Catholic Bishops’ Conference) addressed the assembly before Mass and Fr. Anthony Thule, OFM, Archdiocesan Vicar for Evangelization, presented the reflection after Mass on the RENEW Tree – the Lancea (Searsia Lancea), also known as the Karee - which was given to each parish as a symbol of putting down strong roots of faith through small Christian communities.
Sister Marie Cooper of RENEW was interviewed by Radio Veritas, which recorded the celebration, broadcasting it throughout Southern Africa.
Anglican Church Effort
The seven Anglican churches that clustered together to implement RENEW Africa are entering Season V: The Church in Africa Today at the Service of Justice, Peace and Reconciliation. Over 60 Parish Core Community members and Small Community Leaders gathered on October 8 for the introductory workshop. The parishes reported that as of Season IV parish missions were extremely successful; youth were challenged and responded by getting involved in outreach ministries; personal testimonies led to greater involvement and a plan to follow up RENEW Africa with the Alpha Course; small communities supported one another within parishes; some members who had initially been uninterested eventually became very involved.
Pictured here are Lionel Heath and Carol Brand from St. Paul’s in Port Elizabeth. Lionel is the Parish Core Community leader for St. Paul’s, and also coordinated efforts among the seven churches to assure good organization and continuing involvement.