By Bahle Gama | 2018-12-11
Rock of Hope has expressed its joy and gratitude over the relaunch of the Ark of Joy church for gays and lesbians this past weekend.
“The (re) opening of the Ark of Joy church, in Eswatini, is clearly music to our ears. Not only is this in line with our objectives, which is to bring together all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in order to build a strong, healthy, proud and mutually supportive community of the LGBTI community, but it’s also in line with the declaration of human rights, which is the freedom to associate and the freedom of assembly. We take a step closer to social cohesion, if we continue to respect the Human Rights of all citizens, in the kingdom. As we celebrate Human Rights Day, today, we in the same spirit celebrate the zeal to come together as a constituency and gather to sing praises to the Lord,” said Melusi Simelane, Communications & Advocacy Officer from the Rock of Hope.
Simelane stated that even though they are not an inter-faith or religious organisation, they respect and hold dear the freedoms and rights of those wish to worship their creator, and do so within the arms and provisions of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Eswatini. For that reason, they have partnered with another church, in Manzini, which has in the past demonstrated the love and acceptance of all persons, as illustrated by the Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, when He said, "Vumelani Abantwana Bete Kimi, ningabancabeli".
“It is worth noting that many in the religious circles, continue to spew hate speech and show utter disregard for the deeds of the Lord, by being judgmental and expelling some of the LGBTI community from their places of worship. It is for that reason, we welcome the opening of such churches as those that show the love of God, and preach the spirit of oneness and togetherness.
“We are currently in the process of engaging the Church leadership in the country, to ensure that there is an understanding on human sexuality, and what it means for a human being, which is the most dynamic species there ever is,” Simelane added.
He also mentioned that their hope is not for the church to bend their rules, rather to remind the church that within the rights of one individual, there is the responsibility not to oppress the rights of the other. They would love for the church to preach about comprehensive human sexuality, and to accept the diversity of the human, and continue preaching the gospel of Christ, which is love.
He added that history has taught them that making such conversations in public has the risk of getting people and individuals emotional, and as such annihilating the other. However, this time around, they will continue to invite the church leaders through their various structures, and engage them in a very matured and intellectual way with the hope to bridge the gap and the division that exists between the church and the religious fraternity.
“There is a need for continued psychosocial support within the marginalised, which the LGBTI falls under, and the church stands to be the most ahead, in terms of offering such support, when the ministry of health is failing to cover all the corners of the country. Such are issues that we require the assistance of the church with. And what we do not need, is for the church to refuse us entry, and deny us the comfort and warmth of the every church, as promised in the scriptures,” he concluded.
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