"Men at the Gate"
(Pinetown, South Africa)
An exciting recent development in South Africa is the holding of meetings especially for brethren and known as `Men@TheGate'. Conceived in imitation of similar meetings held for sisters (`Women@TheWell'), these male gatherings were at first held over a couple of days at a central venue. Problems of cost and logistics, however, led to a decision this year to plan regional meetings instead.
The first of these was held mid-August on the east coast in KwaZulu-Natal and was hosted by the Pinetown ecclesia. Here just short of fifty brethren, ranging in age from eighteen to eighty, came together to discuss particularly the responsibilities of men in the Truth in the 21st century.
The speaker was Bro. Richard Polling, of the Spalding UK ecclesia, but at present located in Durban. He considered the topic in four parts: the importance of the Word of God as our foundation; the divine prototype of what God required of Adam; the example of Abraham in a world flawed by sin and idolatry; and, finally, the significance in every age of the work of the watchman.
All four sub-themes drew attention to the divine requirement that men have a special role in spiritual nurture and protection. Each talk emphasized that these responsi- bilities are to be exercised at different levels: first in the home, then in the wider family of the ecclesia and finally by holding out the Word to a perishing world outside.
The all-day programme included a time of group discussion, followed by reports-back which enabled all the delegates to benefit from the work of each group. One of the most encouraging features of the day was that one in five of those present were young men still investigating the call of the gospel before making a commitment to it.
In the coming weeks, other similar meetings are planned for other parts of South Africa: Gauteng, the Eastern Cape and the Cape Peninsula. In thanking our loving Father for this initiative, we pray that it will fulfil a much-needed encouragement for brethren at the close of the age.
Bro Robin Lamplough