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Hallo Lutherans in South Africa, You can now order Bulk calendars for 2017. The theme is 500 years of reformation. If you order more than 100 you will receive great discounts. Please contact 0832724176 (D. Nxumalo) Please only contact him after 18h00!
Leaving South Africa
It must be one of the most difficult decisions we have taken as a family, but in July we’re leaving beloved South Africa and ELCSA-SED. It’s time to say to say good-bye, salani kahle and Auf wiedersehen.
You would think that going back to Germany would be easy, because we have lived there and it supposedly is our home! But it is not the case. Our children only know South Africa as their home and Steffi and I have long fallen in love with this country and its people, and it has been our home for 12 good years. (I actually have lived exactly half of my life in Germany and in South Africa). Our children and maybe even us, we’re going to be foreigners in country we previously called home!
Many people have commented on our leaving, some questioned our decision others were very understanding. Some have thought that we are leaving, because of certain issues we’re facing in South Africa, others asked us if we were unhappy in ELCSA. But that is not the case, we love this country and our ELCSA in its entirety, with its diversity in language and people, with its problems and quirks and with its huge potential and our vibrant church. We are leaving, because part of our family lives in Germany and we see the need to be close to them in difficult times. We also want that our children experience the other part of their heritage, but we are leaving with a heavy heart.
From our congregations we have felt so much love, especially in the past year. They have made this leaving very difficult for us. We’ve heard many times that we will be missed, all I can say is: You are losing one family, we are losing many more! ELCSA has been our home. In Endlovini and Richards Bay we always felt welcome and needed, and that is a wonderful feeling! I wish that many more South Africans would feel what we have experienced in this beautiful country. Instead of focusing on things that divide us, we often experienced that through our faith we were united and had more things in common.
Leaving ELCSA as Mfundisi, is going to be a hard pill to swallow. I will miss so SouthAfrica much. I will miss that Mfundisi is called to open with a prayer of every celebration. God and faith in him is truly still part of lives in ELCSA. I will miss the choruses and the incredible alive church services. I will miss the “Amen’s” during my sermon and I will miss the love we’ve felt in this church. I will miss my church council; which members I consider more as friends than elected officials. I will miss being called to pray for the sick and to visit my congregants in their homes and the hospital. I will so dearly miss bringing the Holy Communion to my elderly in Elomoya, it always was a highlight of the month for me. I will miss having theological discussions at church or even better at a Braai or at Mugg and Bean. I will miss surprising my fellow Zulu speaking people, by greeting and talking to them in isiZulu to the best of my ability. (I have always said that if fellow white South Africans would experience, what difference the learning of one African language means for life in this country, they would have all learned at least one. Sadly, many South Africans will never taste the warmth and acceptance which comes through truly trying and committing to learn one indigenous language.) I will miss playing baseball with my youth and going to youth camp! I will miss Richards Bay Parish …
I will miss so much; I could truly go on forever!
We are leaving so much behind; leaving somehow doesn’t make sense! But before we came to South Africa, our coming to South Africa was equally senseless for many and sometimes even us. And I’ve learned that in faith meaning and sense sometimes only becomes visible in retrospect!
For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans of welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer.29,11)
I’ve learned so much more that I have taught. I have gained so much more than I have given. I have experienced so much more than I have shown others. And I will forever be indebted to this country, our church and so many friends and congregants.
For those that we leave behind, I want to say:
If I have disappointed you, I’m sorry.
If we have become friends, I’m grateful.
If I have come late to a meeting, don’t take it personal, I was just trying to adjust to the local style.
If I refused to eat inhloko and usu, it wasn’t out of disrespect, but I tried it and it didn’t go down well the first time.
If my presence was a thorn in the flesh for you, you can relax now the thorn is gone.
If you will miss me, rejoice because these days there is Whats App., Skype, Email, Facebook, so you don’t really have an excuse not to keep in touch.
There is one thing left to be said: Thank you, for 12 incredible years!
Rev S. Gensicke & Family
Sunday, the 12th June the congregation of Richards Bay bid farewell to Rev. S. Gensicke. The service was a both a blessing and a sad event attended by approx. 500 members. We want to thank EVERYBODY who made this day special. A cow was slaugthered and we had a feast after the service. Dean JS.Ndlovu, pastors of the Circuit and representatives of Enkanyisweni, Richards Bay, eNdlovini, the ELM and the Richards Bay Fraternal gave words of gratitude to Rev. Stephan and Family. It was a moving event which will stay in our hearts for a long time!
On the 12th of June, Richards Bay Parish in joint effort with Enkanyisweni Parish will bid farewell to Rev. S. Gensicke. The service will start at the usual time at 09h00 in Richards Bay Lutheran Church. We invite all who had a connection to Rev. S. Gensicke in his 12 years of service in ELCSA, to come and join in this farewell service. Rev. S. Gensicke will be ending his service in South Africa end of June to start serving as a pastor in Germany in the Hannover Diocese.
Hallo to all visitors of our website. In the past three days we had an incredible response to our website and to our facebook account!
We had 7000+ hits from 250 visitors. That is amazing! Thank you for visiting our website and taking part in the life of Richards Bay Lutheran Church!
Kind Regards Rev. Stephan Gensicke
Thanks to Mr MSZ Mahaye we have received beautiful pictures from our church opening ceremony. Thank you especially for the pictures of our speakers and the “behind the scenes pictures”! Just click to enlarge the pictures.
It’s a wonderful day, …(singing) …. it’s a wonderful day!
What an incredible day we had in the life of Richards Bay Lutheran Church! The day has finally come, we are officially opening our church and the Bishop is there to dedicate it!
Our church was filled to capacity 750, with many of our women busy in a tent preparing lunch. So our estimate is that there were approx. 800.
The service started at 08h30 with a procession around the new build church, led by the bishop (P.P. Buthelezi) and the pastors of the Lutheran Church.
Our bishop then officially opened the church and proceeded inside. The church service started with the blessing of the altar, pulpit and the baptismal font. After three readings our bishop preached on John 13,31-35 and the importance of love towards our neighbours and ourselves. He asked the Richards Bay congregation to be a source of this love to the community. What a wonderful theme to preach about on the day of the opening of our church: LOVE
After that the choir sung and the official service ended with the Holy Communion.
The second session was opened by our MC’s L.Dlamini & D.B. Nxumalo.
All VIP’s were introduced by M.M. Msane: Deputy Major Vera Gumbi, our Bishop P.P. Buthelezi, Dean J.S.Ndlovu, M. Schultheiß representative of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission from Germany, Retired Pastor P.G. Braun also from Germany, Greg Hendricks from TJ Architects, Rob Shepherd from Unicorn Sholoza who helped us so much in building this church.
Then Dean JS Ndlovu introduced all other pastors. In whole there were 32 pastors all from the Lutheran church and the Priest from the catholic church. What an awesome response from our Circuits pastors. Thank you very much for coming!
The choir again sang (like angels I may say and then we had three speeches. One from M. Schultheiß representative of Evangelical Lutheran Mission from Germany (the ELM had sponsored our church with approx. R268000), Pastor Joe Lüdemann representative the Evangelical Lutheran Mission in South Africa of Retired Pastor P.G. Braun also from Germany. Rev. Lüdemann reminded us that the entrance of our church is so important, because coming through the entrance you get into the church and are blessed with wonderful services. But he also reminded us that the entrance is also an exit of the church. He said that we shouldn’t keep the gospel in church, but we should take it outside and preach and show love to others outside the church. Thank you fro that message!
After the speeches Rev. S. Gensicke gave a speech and power point presentation on the history of the congregation and a summary of the whole building process with acknowledgements of builders who helped the church.
Our Honourable Deputy Major Vera Gumbi ended the speeches session with a word of thanks to Rev. S. Gensicke and Richards Bay Lutheran congregation for building such “a beautiful church” and greetings from the Mhlathuze municipality.
Council chairperson ended the whole celebration with words of thanks. Thanking all VIP’S, companies & visitors for coming, thanking the congregation for making this building and celebration possible. He then presented all VIP’S and Pastors with gifts of gratitude. All participants then proceeded to lunch, which was prepared for them in a tent on the same premises.
All in all, we finished at 15h00.
We the congregation of Richards Bay we want to thank everyone who attended this wonderful service with us! EVERYBODY. Special thanks goes to:
Bishop P.P. Buthelezi, Dean J.S. Ndlovu, honourable Deputy Major V.Gumbi, Rev. M. Schultheiß, Rev. J.Lüdemann, Rev. P.G. Braun, all Pastors from Empangeni circuit and visiting pastors who attended, the Circuit Council members, the Parish Council members under B.B.Biyela, Enkanyisweni Parish who showed up in their numbers, our builders, especially Rob Shepherd, our wonderful Choir, our building committee members under leadership of D.B.Nxumalo, all our Mama’s who prepared the day and the delicious food for us and oBaba, Young Adults and Youth who helped so much! Thank you!