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The final (published) version of the Acts of Synod 2006 is available as a single PDF file here.
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Address by Br B Veenendaal
Response to the Address by Rev Retief
18 July 2006, Synod West Kelmscott, Western Australia, 2006 (Acts Article 96)

Thankyou Rev Retief for your words, your greetings on behalf of the Free Reformed Churches in South Africa, and indeed for even being here!

I have the pleasure to respond to your address to synod. We are certainly glad that you could make it here in person, given the delays that you were experiencing with visas for you and your family. Yet the Lord guided your way so that you could be here already last week in time for this synod. May He continue to bless the efforts to pave the way for a visa for you and your family, so that in due course you may be able to work among the church in Kelmscott as anticipated.

Yes the Lord is good in all His ways. He has led us, in our respective bonds of churches on either side of the Indian Ocean, closer together and the ties between us have certainly been strengthened. Your presence here is proof of that. There has been increasing contact between South Africa and Australia with a quite a number of people travelling back and forth between our churches and even a number of families moving into our midst, and I hear there are more to come! I'm sure that evidence is also apparent among the audience we have here tonight. Just look at all the Aussie South Africans! ...or is that the South African Aussies?

You mentioned the large influx of South Africans into Perth...40 000! That is a considerable number. I am aware of some informal discussions in our midst as to how to reach out to these persons, for obviously nowhere near that number has joined our churches. Your input and advice here may also be beneficial as we, together, continue to witness of God's church gathering work and find ways and means to call out to them to seek the assembly of God's people together with us, in faith.

As you are already aware from this synod, we struggle with the theological training as you also do. We have just extended the mandate of our Deputies for Training For the Ministry to also liaise with your deputies. Even though our contexts are not entirely the same, there is much that we can learn from your situation, for you have progressed much further than we in providing theological training for your students. Your bond of churches, although even smaller than ours, has had to train white, black and coloured students, and you have had to do so in multiple languages, including Afrikaans, Suthu and English. You are also considering the potential of online technologies as one complementary means to achieve this, and I'm sure there will be more discussions with our deputies on this. At your synod last year in May in Pretoria, and in the continuation of your synod this year in March, you struggled with how to move forward with your Training for the Ministry, and you have not yet come to a decision. May the Lord also give you the guidance and wisdom that you need to decide how to proceed and may it be to God's glory for the equipping of those who proclaim the gospel of good tidings.

The Lord's ways are not always our ways....that is evident also among the events in your church life. Indeed it was a sad development to hear that the church at Springs had to be dissolved. We know that especially for you as God's servant called to that church, the whole matter was very dear to your heart and hurt very deeply. Even though you worked diligently and faithfully in difficult circumstances, yet the Lord in his infinite wisdom and sovereign good counsel decided to build the churches in South Africa in a different way.

This has occurred largely via the mission posts. And we are very thankful together with your churches that Mamelodi and Soshunguve North could be instituted as churches within the bond. And not only that, but the Church at Mamelodi could itself establish a mission post in Nellmapius. How marvellous and wondrous are God's ways. Nothing can stop His church gathering work...not culture nor colour, not language nor race, not political circumstances nor the leftovers of apartheid...all is subservient to Him, and Him alone!

We understand also that the work among the disenchanted in other reformed congregations (eg. Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerk and the Dopperkerk) continues, with persons and families joining your churches. Our South Africa Support Committee, which has been appointed by the church at Kelmscott, continues to have contact with some of your churches, and I understand that some real requests for assistance are forthcoming and imminent. May God bless all your endeavours in this regard.

As deputies, we have received from your deputies' information on your mission work and the opportunities for us to support this. As per your request, we have already passed this on to our churches and printed in our Una Sancta your introduction to the Mission Work in South Africa. May your churches receive the means, financially as well as in manpower, to be able to continue and expand this work to address the opportunities that arise, yes to respond to challenges that the Lord has placed right on your doorstep. We still hope to be able to have an information evening in which you, Rev Retief, will be able to present to us the situation in your churches in South Africa, and enlighten us regarding the mission work being undertaken.

We pray for God's blessings over your churches, also in the uncertain economic and political circumstances which South Africa faces. For above all is our sovereign God and King of the church, and He will use also those circumstances for the Glory of His Name and for the wellbeing of His church in South Africa.

With the words of Paul in Rom 16:25-27, "Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith - to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen."

Bert Veenendaal
On behalf of deputies

last updated 25 Jul 2006
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