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 Dear friends,    

Every other year the ELCA churchwide office invites an artist from a global companion church to design a Christmas card. This year several art students at the Evangelical Lutheran Church Art & Craft Centre at Rorke’s Drift in South Africa submitted ideas. A silk screen print of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus riding on a donkey by Mr. T. Mpanza was the one selected. 

At a time when the oppressive Apartheid system denied learning opportunities to black South Africans Rorke’s Drift was one of the few institutions that provided space for creative expression and study in fine art, textile tapestry weaving, pottery and silk screen print-making. Rorke’s Drift had a significant impact on the development of South African arts and crafts in the 1960s and 1970s and boasts several world famous artists as alumni.  

The ELC Art and Craft Centre continues on a smaller scale to produce tapestries, silk screen prints and pottery and is offering a one-year accredited certificate course in art for about 15 students.  

2020 has been a difficult and challenging year. The President of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), and Archbishop of the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria (LCCN), Dr Panti Filibus Musa put it well: “My hope and prayer is that state actors and governments will not retreat into themselves in this time of crisis. My call, if I can borrow the theme of the UN Sustainable Development Goals which we are also using, is that no one is left behind, as we begin to hope and see a post COVID-19 period.”          

Yours faithfully,

Rev. Dr. Philip Knutson

ELCA Global Mission Regional Representative - Southern Africa - Dec. 17, 2020