All my life I was taught the importance of church and being a part of the church family. It was until I went from merely attending church to being an active member of the church that I began to notice that church was not all that it was cut out to be. I began to see individuals for what they really were as opposed to how they portrayed themselves on the pulpit or in the pastor’s presence, I learnt with much disappointment how the church functioned and I suppose that my greatest discontent was in the lack of response and action by the church, on the issues that I felt were important, not just to me personally, but to scores and scores of communities of black families as well as other marginalised people. I also came to the shocking realisation that Christians, were just human beings as opposed to what I had previously thought. I suppose I had been naïve, growing up thinking and believing that being a Christian meant that you were somehow Superhuman, that was until I got hurt, judged and betrayed by them. For these reasons, I have to say that I have not belonged to a church in about 5 years.
Besides my own personal circumstances, there was brokenness everywhere in the communities, drugs, violence, single-parenthood, unfair government policies that impacted on the wellbeing of people, you name it, yet the church turned a blind eye and gave reasons (made excuses) about why they ought not to be involved with restoring goodness actively. My pastor at the time felt that the church had a different mission and should not be political and I disagreed. I moved from one church to the next and finally realised that this notion was shared by most Black Churches that I tried to be a part of. I felt that the churches wanted to be like Jesus whilst totally misunderstanding who Jesus was.
As a theological student, I knew better and I got tired of trying to educate and discuss about what the church’s responsibilities were. So I left. I decided to move away from a body of people that claimed to value the souls of human beings yet failed to show up for those people in the physical. I felt that whilst prayer was an important aspect of ‘being church’, merely praying was not enough. We needed to be out there in communities, befriending, lending a hand, advocating, campaigning, protesting and so on. But the pastors and the elders said it was not for the church to carry out such actions. That’s how I left the church to go and work in the community. As I felt I had the power to make my own decisions, I also felt that I had the power to make some changes and lead by example. By making myself an example to the church, I hoped that they would follow suit but they didn’t.
As the years went by whilst doing community work, I realised that I didn’t need to belong to a church in order to facilitate a relationship with God. Moreover, I discovered my potential as woman standing on her own and I realised that women are fully capable of leading, be it at home with their families, in communities and even in churches. I became active on behalf of the less fortunate, I have made it my life’s mission and I feel content.