• What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley
  • Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission
    Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley
  • Christ at the centre - Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths
    Christ at the centre - Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths
    by Dion A Forster
  • An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity
    An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity
    by Dion A Forster
Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling. by Dion Forster and Graham Power.
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Entries in Cape Town (23)


Wow! So I will be attending the World Economic Forum on Africa next month!

I am not quite sure what 'qualified' me to be invited to participate in the World Economic Forum on Africa that is to be held in Cape Town next month (3-5 June 2015)? However, I am grateful and a little nervous to attend!

I was sent an invitation once before (about a year ago), but was not able to take up the invitation at that time. I felt then, as I do now, that there were others who could serve better in that realm and so I suggested that they invite some other South African academics and business leaders that I have worked with. Sadly the invitation is not transferable. So I thought that was it!

But recently I received another invitation to next months meetings. After checking with my HOD and our Dean if I could be released to go (which they enthusiastically agreed upon!) I completed my registration and received a confirmation of attendance on the same day!

I am not entirely sure what the 3 day meeting will entail. However, I am excited to participate and look forward to learning and bringing a perspective on economics that is shaped by the common good, informed from the ethics of my Christian faith. I have done some work in recent years on economics and justice, written a book and a number of articles on issues such as poverty, inequality, corruption and suffering, but also on faith and work and the responsible purpose of wealth.

I would appreciate your prayers.

You can read about the meetings here:

I will post information and details here as I receive them.


Cape Town Cycle Tour 2015 Argus

Off to school! My darling Megan and I are heading out for a shorter Argus Cape Town Cycle tour this year. Because of fires that have devastated the Cape peninsula the race has been shortened from 109km to just 47km. So we are planning a fun little spin off to Muizenberg and back. I am riding my Alex Moulton small wheel bike this year. Normally I ride my Brompton, but this year I decided to do something different.

We are looking forward to a fun ride!


A wonderful Father's Day!

I have travelled a little less this year than last year. It is just awesome to be home for Father's Day!

I got breakfast in bed. At Church they had a special focus on dads - Liam said he loves me because I take him to school on my Vespa sometimes! Ha ha!

After Church we came to the Strand beach for some lunch and enjoyed a rare day of perfect winter weather!

A perfect day! I am so thankful for my wonderful children. They are an immeasurable gift. I am equally thankful for my wonderful wife, Megan.


A beautiful day in Cape Town!

Today is Human Rights day in South Africa - a bank holiday! After the pressure, long days, early mornings, late nights, back to back flights, and many meetings, we took the day to do some sight seeing around our city. It is awesome to live here! I feel so blessed!

The day started by taking a friend to the airport, then a lovely Mountainbike ride (I did a radio interview for EXPOSED from up in the mountains), and then around to Cape Point, Camps Bay, Hout Bay and finally home.


The 2013 Cape Argus Cycle Tour (with Megan and my Brompton M6L)!

Yesterday my darling Megan and I rode the Cape Argus Cycle tour.  The weather was just perfect (perhaps a little hot, but beautiful!) the secenery was awesome, and it was just fantastic to spend the time with her!

My seeded start time was 6.48 (K group), however, I started with her and a friend from Church in PA group at 9.28.  We got lots of comments on the Brompton as we rode - it was an absolute star.  Not a single hickup, small wheels around the coast! 110km of pure bicycling fun.  

Here's a picture of us at the start of the race.

The hills were not too bad - although I do realise that I am a little fitter than many other riders. The lowest gear was not quite low enough for an easy spin up Edinburgh Drive or Smitswinkel, and since I was giving my darling wife a 'little push' it took a little more energy.  By the time I reached Suikerbossie I was having to dig a little deeper!  Ha ha! But, we passed lots of riders with BIG wheels and LOTS of gears!

Here's a picture of me with the folded Brompton standing on the side wall about 3/4 way up Chapmans Peak. I had been poking fun at the other riders for 'cheating' with too many gears and wheels that were too large!

I am so proud of my darling wife! She rode very well.  This is her second Argus (she last rode almost a decade ago).  It was my 11th ride. Megan was strong and didn't complain at all. It was so special to share this time with her, both the training and the actual race itself.

We both commented that we just don't spend enough time enjoying the beauty around Cape Town! We live here! But, we tend to get busy with everything else.

You can check out the race route and a few other details on my Endomondo data below.


Looking towards home! Malaysia to Cape Town

This week in Malaysia with the good people of Malaysian Care has been another one of those blessed 'God encounters' for me.

Malaysia holds a very special place in my heart. I have visited this country more than any other. Each time that I come here I discover a new level of blessing, and of course some added layers of complexity in the Malaysian social, political and religious context. This week was no different.

Because of some scrutiny by the security police on a previous visit I have been somewhat cautious about sharing the names of people and places that I visited this week. I can say, however, that I met with old friends, made a myriad of news friends, and heard some absolutely amazing stories of hope and courage.

I was privileged to share this trip with my colleague, Amanda Jackson, from Micah Challenge International. Amanda is an experienced campaigner, activist, and a wise and trusted friend. Her gifts of discernment and gentle grace were a God send in the meetings we had with senior Church leaders, sometimes jaded activists and campaigners for justice and freedom, and particularly as we met with some very senior political figures. I have learned a lot from her!

One of our speaking events took place at DUMC (Dream Centre, a Methodist Church). This was the Church that was raided by the security police last year, and a number of the staff and workers were arrested on charges of sedition [Update 18 July 2012 - I was contacted by DUMC to indicate that in fact none of their staff had been arrested during the DUMC event, and it was not the sedition act that was enforced.  To find out more information about this event please see the official statements on the DUMC website at ]. I'm pleased to say that the sedition act, which was the act under which we and our hosts faced police 'interest' in 2011, has been repealed. These are some concerns that the act which has replaced it is not much better. Still, I am comforted by the courage of these sisters and brothers who are willing to be imprisoned simply for feeding the hungry, educating and clothing the poor, and advocating for the rights of the disenfranchised.

I was asked, by a friend last night (who was arrested last year for advocating for the rights of fellow citizens) what my impression is of Malaysia. I have considered that question a great deal. I am encouraged that the Church is so active, understanding that our relationship with Jesus supersedes national laws. I am encouraged by the fact that members of Churches and their leaders understand that serving Jesus requires taking responsibility for the freedom and rights of all of the nations citizens. I am encouraged that the Church is not so narrow-minded that it ignores sisters and brothers from different denominations and faith traditions. Churches and religious groupings are standing together to see God's justice established.

I am particularly encouraged that the Christians that I met with this week love Jesus passionately, and from that love flows a myriad of responses to the question what does the Gospel look like in society? and what should the good news of Jesus' love feel like for the poor, the stranger, the weak, the oppressed?

We made significant headway for the 'EXPOSED - Shining a light on corruption campaign'! There will be a good witness, a strong light, showing just how much God loves Malaysia.

So, I will be praying for all of my unnamed friends. I am encouraged to act, with passion and commitment, once again for the land in which I live - South Africa. We have some significant challenges when it comes to corruption. A lack of transparency, the abuse of political power, racism, and moral decay. It is time for me to once again become an advocate and an activist in my own land!

Thank you for reminding me of that calling my Malaysian friends!


Tips for the Cape Argus Pick n Pay cycle tour

This Sunday I will be riding my 10th Argus (I think it is 10). I have been looking forward to it for ages! I love this race, it is one of the highlights of my cycling year, one of only 3 road rides that I do each year.

Last year I did my 'competitive' ride - I was 39 years old and wanted to do a fairly good time. I managed to do the 110km Argus cycle tour in under 3.30 hours. It was fairly tough since I was riding with a cracked rib, having done the Argus Mountainbike the week before. I left in group R, if I am not mistaken. There were a lot of serious cyclists around me! I felt quite inspired and a little competitive. This year I will be setting off at 6.51am in group J. I will be aiming for a comfortable 4 hour ride - no racing this year!

In part it is because I have just returned from a week in England where I did no riding (except for a short jaunt on a 'Boris Bike' from Waterloo along the South Bank of the Thames up past Tower Bridge). In part it is also because I just want to enjoy my 10th Argus and have fun among the riders, enjoying the scenery and the company. Riding a sub 3.30 means chasing the clock, not stopping to get extra water, and certainly not stopping to chat or admire the view.

But, regardless of planning a slower ride here are a few tips for this week leading up to the race:

- Taper down your training: I did a 25 km light ride this morning from 5-6am, just spinning out my legs. I'll do another one of these on Thursday morning and then rest my legs for Sunday.
- Rest well: If you plan to ride this week don't do anything strenuous after Wednesday. But, more than resting your legs also remember to sleep well this week - try for 7-8 hours a night. You'll be amazed how much it helps!
- Watch what you eat or drink: certainly don't drink too much alcohol. In fact, don't have any alcohol this week if you can help it. Also watch what you eat. You don't want to pick up unnecessary weight this week while you're training less.
- Don't try any new supplements: be sure to make use of trusted supplements this week, and also during the race! Avoid the temptation to pick up the newest fad supplement at the the Argus Expo - you may just end up with a sore stomach and no power in your legs!
- Test your bike, then don't mess with it: Make sure everything is OK on your bike by Tuesday. That way if you have a problem you still have time to get it fixed, even if you need to order a spare part. Once it is working don't mess with it!
- Drink lots of water: I would normally drink rehydrate once a day from Thursday to Saturday to make sure I am well hydrated for the race.
- Relax and don't stress about the ride: this is more important than you may realize! I know a few folks who jeopardize their chances for a good, fun, cycle by getting all panicked and stressed out. It is what it is, a fun ride! Go out to enjoy it!
- Pack your kit for race day on Saturday: yup, pack it, check it, then make sure you take it! The last thing you need is to arrive in the City and realize you've left your helmet or your cycling shoes back home.

Those are my basic tips. What do you do in the week leading up to the Argus?


The first day of summer in Cape Town!

Today was the first summer's day that we've had in Cape Town! It is amazing that summer has come so late - last weekend the last day of the Wines2Whales ride was cancelled (much to my disappointment) because we had snow in Grabouw and they couldn't get the emergency personnel onto to the route from Grabouw to Hermanus!

However, I woke up at 5.30 this morning to glorious sunshine and joined some friends for an awesome ride on Lourensford farm. As I left my gate and rode up Lourensford road towards Erinvale it was quiet, cool and clear!

We only did about 25km - I'll confess it hardly felt like a worthwhile ride. But it was great to be on the trails, climbing the jeep tracks an whizzing down the single track. I didn't have a single fall in last week's race. Today, I took a gentle little tumble rounding a hairpin bend.

The picture a above was taken with my iPhone as we were climbing towards the first piece of single track (I think it is called Eagles View).

I love this place! I give thanks to God for the beauty, safety and opportunity to ride!

Bring on summer! Let the South Easter begin to blow... And it will!


Back to Cape Town - 27 March 2011

Our time in the US ended on a high note - the two day conference on our book, 'Transform your work Life' and our Unashamedly Ethical campaign went off extremely well. Both Graham and I were well received by the 180 people in attendance, we ended the weekend with the establishment of a UE community in Palos Verdes and another in Hollywood. We also had close to 90 persons commit themselves to the Unashamedly Ethics commitment to ethics in personal and business life.

LA was wonderful! It is such beautiful place, and our hosts, Dave and Kristen Wendorff were just wonderful. I feel that I have made friends in them that will last me a lifetime!

I am truly grateful for your prayers, the Lord blessed us in so many ways. I look forward to being back in the USA in June. But for now I cannot wait to get home! Our flight goes from LA to Washington (5 hours), then Washington to Johannesburg (via Dakar, which is 16.5 hours) and then Johannesburg to Cape Town (which is another 2 hours). Together with the airport lay overs it is almost 2 days in transit, but for the joy of being with the wonderful friends in Jacksonville, San Francisco, San Jose and LA, AND for the joy of getting home it is worth it! I cannot wait to see Megie, Courtney and Liam! They will collect me at just before 10pm.


The official press release for the Third Lausanne Congress in Cape Town

Here is the official press release for the Third Lausanne Congress in World Evangelization that began this evening.


The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization opens in Cape Town this weekend, Sunday 17 October 2010. It draws together 4,000 invited participants from 197 nations, and extends through GlobaLink sites to 90 countries. The Congress theme is 'God in Christ, reconciling the world to himself' (2 Corinthians 5:19) and how to bear witness to Jesus Christ and all his teaching in every region of the world and every sphere of society.

The Lausanne Movement, founded by Billy Graham, is uniquely placed to gather evangelicals for a common purpose. The Congress will reaffirm the primary truths of biblical Christianity, and engage with critical issues set to face the Church over the next decade. These issues have been identified through consultations around the world. Doug Birdsall, Chairman of The Lausanne Movement, said: ‘We have worked to engage evangelical leaders on all continents. This is the first Congress of its kind in the digital age, and we’re praying it will herald a new moment for the Church.’

In this information age, traffic on the eight-language Congress website is expected to be high, and radio networks will relay programmes across Africa and Latin America, on the themes of the Congress.

The 1974 Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization produced The Lausanne Covenant, widely regarded as one of the most significant documents in recent church history. Reflecting on this, Archbishop Henry Orombi, Chair of the Africa Host Committee, declared: ‘Under God, the legacy of The Third Congress is up to us!’ The Cape Town Commitment: a statement of belief and a call to action, will be published out of the Congress. Dr Chris Wright, Director of Langham Partnership International, is the chief architect of the new statement, working in partnership with senior theologians from all continents.

Each of the six days of the Congress will begin with a study in Ephesians, led by pastor-theologians from around the world. ‘We will be studying Ephesians as a global community,’ said Blair Carson, Congress Director. ‘We want it to be a grounding for a whole new movement of communicating the gospel of Jesus Christ.’

John Stott and Billy Graham have sent personal greetings, assuring the Congress of their daily prayer. Both are now becoming frailer, but have lost none of their passion for Christ and his gospel. Billy Graham, reflecting on the huge scale of changes in the world, wrote from his home in North Carolina,   ‘One of your tasks during Cape Town 2010 will be to analyze those changes, and to assess their impact on the mission to which God has called us in this generation.’

John Stott expressed his particular pleasure that the Congress is being hosted in Africa: ‘I pray that you will be able to share richly in the blessing God has poured out on the Church in that continent, as well as sharing in the pain and suffering of his people there.’

Participants in the Congress truly stand on the shoulders of giants.



The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization starts in Cape Town

I have just taken up my seat in the main hall of the Cape Town International Convention Centre - what a glorious moment! There are more than 5700 persons at this Congress, 4500 of them are participants from over 200 cow tries. The remainder are volunteers and there is a small contingent of staff. The major of the participants are from the majority world!

It is going to be an awesome time together! Please follow the congress on our Twitter feed at

I'll also be posting updates here as often as I can find the time!

Please also interact with other persons from across the world at

We are called to share the Gospel with all!


Welcoming address to the Lausanne Congress Leadership 11 October 2010

Yesterday morning (11 October 2010) the Churches of Cape Town welcomed the leadership of the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization to the City.

The Rev Peter Langerman, who is the chairmain of the Consultation of Christian Churches in Cape Town - an eccumenical body of Christian Churches for the City - welcomed Doug Birdsall, Blair Carlson, and Jomo Mchunu at the gaterhing which was held in Brackenfell, Cape Town.

Rev Langerman's superb welcoming address (see below) set the scene for the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization that is set to start on Sunday the 17th of October 2010 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.  Rev Doug Birdsall responded to the welcome by sharing his excitement for the Congress and telling the story of how the Third Lausanne Congress came to be held in Cape Town.

At this particular gathering I was one of the representative leaders of the Churches of Cape Town.  Although I serve on the volunteer staff of the Lausanne Movement and will also be one of the 50 South African participants at next week's Congress.  It is set to be an incredible time of interaction, strategy, theological discourse and most importantly worship and prayer as just over 5000 persons from more than 200 countries across the globe gather in Cape Town.

If you would like to follow the events of the Congress we shall have a team of 'social networking' volunteers who will post updates on the @CapeTown2010 twitter feed and the Lausanne Momement Facebook page.  I would encourage you to join the Global Conversation to make your voice heard!  You don't need to be in attendance at the congress to have an input into the discussions!  This photograph shows some of my social networking team (Stephen Murray in green and Aaron Marshall with the white T-Shirt... If you look REALY carefully you'll see me behind the camera ;-), meeting with the head of Digital Communications (Naomi Frizzel) and her team (Andrew Brumme and Casey Newmeyer).

Here is Peter's wonderful address - it scetches a wonderful picture of the relationship between South Africa (Africa), the City of Cape Town and the misisons movement.

Lausanne Church Leaders' Lunch - Monday 11th October 2010

Doug, Blair, Jomo, Cape Town Church Leaders, Friends

On the 14th February 2007, the Consultation of Christian Churches, on behalf of the broader Christian community in Cape Town, extended a formal invitation to Blair and the International Lausanne Committee for the 3rd Lausanne Congress to be hosted in Cape Town. This 3rd Congress follows the 1st held in Lausanne in 1974 and the 2nd held in Manila in 1989. Fortunately, history records that the invitation was accepted and now we stand just days away from the official opening of that Congress.

By hosting the Congress in South Africa in 2010, we will be righting wrongs, correcting errors, and redressing injustices that occurred 100 years ago.

In 1910, there was a very famous and significant mission's conference in Edinburgh, Scotland. The organisers of that conference understood the need to hear other voices and they understood that the locus of Christian activity was not confined to the Continental USA or Europe. Consequently, the organisers invited participants from other parts of the world, significantly, Asia and South America to take part. But, they didn't invite a single African. This is the first injustice that shall be addressed as in 2010 Africa will welcome the world.

The year 1910 was also a significant year in that the four semi-autonomous South African republics formed the Union of South Africa, a further step in the disenfranchisement and subjugation of people of colour in South Africa. This was yet another step towards the marginalisation of the majority of South Africa's people which culminated in the scourge of Apartheid and the suffering of millions of people. This is the second injustice that shall be addressed by our hosting of the Congress in the Western Cape in 2010 on behalf of all the peoples of South Africa.

The formation of the Union of South Africa entrenched the seclusion of South Africa from the rest of the African continent that lead to a sense of arrogance and superiority that marked our relationship with our brothers and sisters from other African nations. This is the third injustice that shall be addressed by hosting the Conference in South Africa in 2010 as we will have an opportunity to serve our sisters and brothers from Africa.

Yet, not only will we be privileged to serve our African family. We are conscious that for many years Africa was the recipient of missionaries from many different countries and we can testify that the gospel has borne fruit in this continent. African Christianity is vibrant and strong today partly because of the obedience and sacrifice of missionaries over many years from many different nations. Africa is now in the process of becoming a missionary-sending continent, eager for the opportunity to minister to the nations of the world. This Congress, and the partnerships that will flow from it, are our opportunity to respond by taking the good news of the gospel to many nations, including the nations who served us in the past by bringing the gospel to our shores.

The introduction to the Lausanne Covenant says, "We ... praise God for his great salvation and rejoice in the fellowship he has given us with himself and with each other. We are deeply stirred by what God is doing in our day, moved to penitence by our failures and challenged by the unfinished task of evangelization. We believe the Gospel is God's good news for the whole world, and we are determined by his grace to obey Christ's commission to proclaim it to all mankind and to make disciples of every nation." 

The same document, talking about the role of the church says, "... World evangelization requires the whole Church to take the whole gospel to the whole world. The Church is at the very centre of God's cosmic purpose and is his appointed means of spreading the gospel. ... [The church] becomes a stumbling block to evangelism when it betrays the gospel or lacks a living faith in God, a genuine love for people, or scrupulous honesty in all things ..."

As representatives of the church in Cape Town we must confess that these words continue to challenge us. We are deeply stirred by God's work in these days as we see living evidence of God's kingdom extended to the ends of the earth in the Lausanne Congress participants who will arrive in a few short days in or city from every nation on the earth. We are moved to confess our sins in the light of our failures and inaction, especially in our inward-looking, maintenance-driven focus that characterises much of modern church life. We are challenged by the task that lies ahead for us, even in our own country where there are many thousands who have yet to hear the good news of the gospel. We want to be part of the whole church taking the whole gospel to the whole earth. Hosting the Congress is a reminder and a challenge to us. A reminder of the part we are called to play in Godís cosmic purpose and a challenge to our structures and that sometimes become stumbling blocks to evangelism. We trust that we will not forget our responsibility, that we will rise to the challenge. History will judge whether we have been successful or not.

As a token of our appreciation, we would like to present you, Doug, with a small gift and a letter signed by all those who have shared in this event today. This Congress marks another step in a process that began on a mountaintop in Galilee when the resurrected Christ gave his disciples a commission and will be completed when the glorified and ascended Christ returns to stand on the Mount of Olives. This Congress will hopefully stand out as a landmark between those two epochal moments.

Rev Peter Langerman (Chairman of the CCC).

There is great excitement in the air!