A service of “lament and hope” will be held on Sunday over the decision of the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC), or NG Kerk, to reverse its acceptance of same-sex relationships.
The Cape Town event is being hosted by Inclusive and Affirming Ministries (IAM) in collaboration with the Centre for Christian Spirituality, Good Hope Metropolitan Community Church, the Groote Kerk, and Central Methodist Mission.
According to the organisers, the service “is held in grievance to the Dutch Reformed Church’s decision to recall their 2015 decision, that all people were celebrated as equal, during an extraordinary General Synod in November 2016”.
They explained that the initiative “aims to bring together parents and family of and friends in solidarity with, the LGBTI community in a sacred space, to voice our pain and hope” in light of the recent decision.
In what was then seen as a historic move in October last year, the General Synod of the DRC voted to let individual church councils recognise and bless same-sex relationships, and to drop the prohibition on non-celibate gay clergy.
However, earlier this month, after a year of delaying the implementation of the vote, the General Synod shocked the South African LGBTI community and walked back the decision.
It reconfirmed that marriage was only possible between a man and woman and proclaimed that any sexual relationship outside of this form of marriage “does not meet Christian guidelines”.
The reversal was described by Laurie Gaum, the spokesperson for a group of LGBT and LGBT-affirming theologians, as “disappointing, disgusting, regressive and tragic”.
The service of Lament and Hope takes place on Sunday, 27 November from 18:00. It will start at Central Methodist Mission on the corner of Longmarket Street and Burg Street, Green Market Square, and take a short pilgrimage to Groote Kerk at 3 Adderley Street in Cape Town. Refreshments will be provided.