Nomgqibelo Mtonga, Zola Gana, Asanda Nyanga, Victoria Dlamini and Nophumzile Gampe discuss a biblical passage during their return to Bethany Bible School classes after the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in South Africa. Photographer: Reuben Mgodeli

By Reuben Mgodeli
Monday, May 24, 2021

As South Africa relaxes its COVID-19 restrictions, Bethany Bible School is beginning classes after a 15-month pause.

The weather was rainy and cold on May 7, but Bethany Bible School students had a wonderful day of learning together at our Lusikisiki, South Africa, location. This was our first opportunity to study together since February 2020, when we had to suspend classes due to the COVID-19 lockdown in South Africa.

I taught three lessons to 28 students who braved the weather; eight of them were first-timers. Together, we engaged in courses on how to be a faithful church leader, an introduction and history of biblical literature, and the doctrine of the Trinity.

Bethany Bible School students come from many different denominations. The school, which was founded in Mthatha, has provided biblical education and leadership training for African Initiated Churches in South Africa's Eastern Cape Province since 1982. Before the pandemic, the school was expanding into new regions.

When teaching these lessons, I used an inductive methodology, having small groups of about five students read a passage and discuss it. Then, each group presented their findings to the whole assembly. To my amazement, some of what they presented was in my teaching notes! This made it easy for me to summarize the lesson that the students had already taught.

At Sondela Centre in Mthatha, we had a challenging situation with the electricity when we held our first classes, the weekend of May 14-15. The electric box had been stolen two months earlier. The 22 students had to study by candlelight, but their flexibility ensured that the classes that weekend still went well.

Classes were held at the Elliotdale location on May 21-22.

We have filled two positions on the Bethany Bible School executive committee, which were vacated due to COVID-19 deaths. Rev. Enoch Gampe of New Church of God in Galilee has been named as the chairperson and his deputy chair is Bishop Victoria Dlamini of Holy Paradise United Church in Zion.


In addition to serving as Bethany Bible School's coordinator, Reuben Mgodeli is an ordained bishop, founding pastor of Healing Fountain Church and a published author.



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