Text by Lerato Dumse
Photos by Nqobile Zungu
Members of Victory Ministries Church International (VMCI) spent their weekend at camp Jonathan, Camperdown in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu Natal. Perched up on a mountain, the camp is about an hour from Durban. It provides tranquility, and is a good choice to spend the Easter weekend.
The service started with the introduction of a new member, Zenande Zungu. Pastor Zungu and her wife were happy to announce the successful adoption of their two (2) year old daughter with the congregation.
The first service was on the 29 of March (good Friday) morning, the church’s vibrant choir started the service with a worshiping session.
The “seven words service” saw different members of the church delivering scriptures in relation to the crucifixion of Jesus.
(1) Luke 23:34 “Father forgive them…”.
(2) Luke 23:42 “I will be with you in paradise” the verse was delivered by Mr Chauke who urged the people to emulate Jesus and do good even when faced with difficulty.
(3) John 19:26-27 “Mother, behold your son…” Magwaza encouraged people to take care of children even if they are not theirs.
(4) Matt 27:46 “Eloi! Eloi! Lama Sabathani?”
When bab’ Mkhize delivered the message people got on their feet applauding hard. Speaking of betrayal by those we trust, Mkhize advised the congregants to stay close, cry and trust in the Lord at all times.
(5) John 19:28 “I’m thirsty…”
(6) John 19:30 “It is finished…” Here Chauke reminded everyone that
Jesus died for us and our sins.
(7) Luke 23:46 “…unto your hands…” Pastor Hazel who has her own church in Mpumalanga concluded the scripture reading. She reminded people that they can’t commit their spirits to God, without living for him.
Saturday was started with a 5am prayer followed by aerobics before breakfast was served. Workshops were presented by both baba and mam’ Zungu. Presenting first, Pastor Zungu spoke about the principles that govern the church. Emphasizing that VMCI was not a gay church but God’s church with homosexual members.
“People who want to pursue a romantic relationship must follow the correct procedure of paying lobola or getting engaged then marrying before they can be open about their relationship “said the Pastor. Reiterating that the church doesn’t support vat ‘n sit (cohabiting) as she believes that creates a bad impression.
I must also admit that in all homosexual events or gatherings I have attended, I’ve never seen so many of those attending spotting wedding bands as is the case at VMCI.
When mam’ Zungu presented she spoke about lesbian mothers, focusing on butch lesbians.
As a mother herself, she told the mothers to embrace it “all kids are a blessing from God, some things start bad and end beautifully. Even those who conceived their kids through rape or hate crime” she said. We were then treated to a friendly game of soccer, with the youngsters challenging the older members of the church. The Saturday evening service was also headed by mam’ Zungu.
She told of the pain she endured as a young person and how those experiences have made her a better person. In her sermon she spoke about how she was desperate for love and even searched for it in the wrong places. Her story touched many, especially a young woman who got the strength to share her own story of looking for love and three failed suicide attempts.
The final service was on Sunday morning, everyone came looking stylish to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Pastor Zungu preached about how a new person was born in all who were at the camp and they should live their lives as new beings.
About the author and photographer
Lerato is a young journalist, activist who is passionate about documenting LGBTIs lives in KwaThema and surrounding areas. Lerato studied Journalism at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT). Also worked as a reporter for Ekurhuleni News; Springs and Brakpan Advertisers.
Nqobile is a photographer, activist currently documenting various activities for Inkanyiso. She studied Aircraft avionics and qualified as an aircraft instrument mechanic. Previously worked for National Airways Corporation (NAC)
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