Die Ligdraer as a Grassroots Engagement on URCSA’s Church Unification and Reconciliation between 1990-1997

Eugene Baron


One of the pre-occupations of God’s mission on earth (missio Dei) includes unity and reconciliation. This is well documented in the work of the catholic missiologist, Robert Schreiter (reconciliation), David J Bosch (unity) as well as the ecumenical World Mission Conferences (New Delhi, 1961; Athens, 2005). Unification processes of all the South African Churches (especially between traditionally/originally black and white race-based Churches) coincided with the transition period since 1990. The Churches, including the DRMC and the DRCA, went on a path of unification. This did not come without a wide range of “stumbling blocks.” Die Ligdraer, as the official newspaper of the DRMC, announced the date of the founding Synod between 14-17 April 1994 using the metaphor of a ‘wedding’ to reflect on the union between the two separate, racially-based Churches (NGSK, 1993). From a missiological perspective, this paper deals with the case of the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (URCSA) in presenting the perspectives and sentiments on the ‘stumbling blocks’ experienced, particularly the informal conversations and discussions that are mostly presented in the Church’s newspaper (Die Ligdraer/Ligstraal). It focuses specifically on the 1990-1997 period of the Church, where most of the letters from members of the congregations, emotions and sensitive issues on the road towards unity were discussed. The paper limits itself to the newspaper of the DRMC, with a focus on the discussions and voices from members at the grassroots but also ministers that were listening to members in congregations to reflect on the ‘sacrifices’, compromises, accommodation and mutual trust that was at play and the strategies of the leadership of these Churches to facilitate reconciliation.


URCSA, DRCA, DRMC, reconciliation, unity, Die Ligdraer, Ligstraal, racism, multilingualism, missio Dei

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7832/48-1-383


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