By THEMBEKA DLAMINI | 2018-12-09
Following a successful inaugural Pride March a few months back, a church accommodative of the LGBTIQ has relaunched and reopened its doors to provide a non-discriminatory place of worship.
The Pride March was held on the last day of June and saw close to 1 000 people in attendance during the multi-facet event which included a show held at the Prince of Wales after a march through the city.
This was the first public event of this magnitude in the country led by the cloistered Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Intersex and Queer community, which is heavily discriminated against.
The local branch of the Ark of Joy International Ministry, though not new, was relaunched last Sunday at a venue in Coates Valley where a sizeable number of members joined in worship.
The launch was conducted by a married couple, both men, who are ordained men of the cloth.
According to a deacon of the church, identified only as Nkambule, the ‘Church without Boundaries’ has been relaunched following its near failure a few years ago brought about by a few problems they had.
He clarified that even though they provide a sanctuary for the LGBTIQ as they have their own church leaders, they welcomed everybody, preachers and members, who want to worship Christ in truth.
“We preach the love of God and about the Trinity, God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
“Even though membership tapered off a few years ago, after consultation with those who are willing to be part of the church, we were able to gather together and have the founders present,” he said, adding how he could not provide their details as they had not sanctioned the interview. However, an Instagram post by ThabisoDube@_miss_tasha_ reveals that the founder Bishop J Makhathini led the relaunch together with his partner who also doubles as a senior partner, Sibusiso Makhathini.
According to the post by Dube, the two have been married for 10 years.
‘God created, gave us these feelings’
As a way of explaining how the LGBTIQ should be perceived, Deacon Nkambule stated that their acceptance should be based on their being God’s creation.
“We believe that God created us all for a purpose and he does not make mistakes.”
He said it was on that premise that acceptance should be made.
“I don’t believe there was a time when God mistakenly put such emotions and feelings in us for there to be condemnation,” he said.
He rhetorically asked as to what was currently older between people and history. For emphasis and as response, he stated that one should recall that even before the bible was written, there were people who were gay as per the account in Genesis of Lot and the visit from Angels which brought men from the town visiting his home. He said it was in this regard that he did not believe his orientation was as result of a mistake or malicious sabotage from other forces and emphasised that they could not be called demonic for their feelings. “My parents did not put anything in me to make me gay,” said Nkambule. He categorically stated that the LGBTIQ have been around since the beginning of time and they were gaining recognition and hence it looks like it’s a new thing. Further, he thanked Senator Princess Phumelele for mentioning them at Sibaya – People’s Parliament as even though what was said could be looked at as negative for them, it showed that they were getting recognition, and this will lead to their plight taking centre stage. During Sibaya, Princess Phumelele called for the country to be wary of welcoming conventions that are contrary to its belief such as those which legalise gay relationships.
Chastity, monogamy encouraged for Christian gay people
Deacon Nkambule says their church encourages chastity as well as monogamy.
He said they were aware of the bad rap and allegations of promiscuity within the LGBTIQ community and added it was in that spirit that they advocate for those in relationships to be level headed and remain mature.
When reminded that same sex marriage was not legal in the country, he said relationships were not essentially governed by government but by the two people engaged in them.
Thus, it was up to the couple to have parameters which would keep their relationship peaceful and showing the love of God.
Home affairs not aware of church
Minister of Home Affairs Princess Lindiwe said the ministry was not aware of the existence of the church and hence could not comment about it.
This she said when she was asked if the ministry was aware of the church.
“There is such a church?” she asked in wonder.
She asked to be given time to get to know about the church before commenting from an uninformed position.
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