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South African Partnership Update


When we refer to Covid-19 as a “Global Pandemic”, we are very seriously reminded that our sister congregation in Madedeni, South Africa battles the same disease we do.  The South African Partnership Task force has been keeping in touch with our brothers and sisters in the Newcastle Congregation over the past several months and we want to share updates with you. Following is a recent report from Thembi regarding life and their congregation:

“We give thanks to the Almighty who have protected us as church members up to this far. There were few people who were tested positive but fortunately they have recovered. There are also changes regarding regulations in South Africa. As from today 21 September, we have now moved to level one. That brought many changes which may also boost economy. SA Tourism sector has been impacted negatively since international boarders have been closed. From 01 October 2020, international boarders will be opened. Travelling to or from countries with low rate of Covid-19 infection will resume. There are still strict rules regarding travelling and issuing of visas. There are separate rules regarding travelling to or from areas with high rate of Covid-19 infection and transmission. All commercial sea ports will be re-opened. 

Teachers older than 60 years of age, who applied for concessions and those with comorbidities who have been working from home, returned to work as from today. Due to the change of season there is also a change in climate. We now experience warm temperatures. We hope that there will be a lower risk of infection. Though that does not mean that the virus is no longer a threat. We hope that the death rate will continue to decrease. 

Yesterday, 20 September the church leaders attended the church service. More than 30 members attended. After the service we attended a meeting, preparing for the re-opening of the church. We are now ready to re-open but considering the rules set by the South African Council of Churches, UPCSA and other relevant structures. Our  official re-opening service will be held on 04 October 2020. We may have 2 sessions depending on the number of attendees. The duration of the service will be one and a half hours. 

(Note: They did resume in-person church on October 4 and Thembi wrote: “  Last Sunday we officially re-opened our church. The attendance was satisfactory. We still wear masks. Precautions are still taken to protect members. We thank God that all NPC members were saved from the pandemic. Even those who were infected, ultimately, they recovered. That was great! We also commend our minister Rev. Masikane who have been encouraging congregants to adhere to the state regulations in order to safeguard themselves.”)

We continue to pray for the Newcastle Congregation and work on ways that we can help them over the next year.  If you are interested in becoming part of the South African Partnership Task Force, please contact Karen Karkuff at or 717-802-2067. 

Last Published: October 12, 2020 1:44 PM