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A pastoral care model to refugees within the Metropolitan Methodist Church of Southern Africa of Pietermaritzburg.

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This research acknowledges the plight of refugees all over the world; it further affirms that there are many organizations which deal with the issues associated with refugees. Despite all the efforts invested by other organizations, the Church should have a role to play in the alleviation of this plight. Hence, the research proposes to enquire if the Church has a model that caters for the needs of refugees. The research chose to look specifically at whether the Methodist Church and in particular the Methodist Church in Pietermaritzburg, have a pastoral model which is specifically designed to help refugees. This enquiry adopted a qualitative research methodology and used the interview as a medium of enquiry as well as a theory by Holland and Henriot. This theory argues that the Church should be involved in the day to day experience of the people and identify with the social issues of the community and the world. It further argues that the involvement of the Church should go beyond the immediate experience by probing into the historical root and future implications of issues relevant to the people’s lives. These issues and experiences are explored in relation to the faith and Biblical perspectives embodied in the social teaching of the Church. Such an endeavour results in the model which guides the Church’s actions in this regard. The interview with the pastor revealed that the Methodist Church has a pastoral care model which caters for the needs of the people in general. What the Methodists specifically did not have is a model to cater for refugees. The study suggests that a model specifically meant for refugees is necessary. Its necessity is not based on the claim that refugees’ hardships are different from other foreign nationals. The argument of this paper lies in recognizing that refugees are not just foreign nationals who have left their homes, in most cases voluntarily, to look for greener pastures; refugees are men and women forced out of their countries under duress. Their displacement is not voluntary, hence they do not have a choice to go back home like other foreign nationals. Their displacement does not guarantee whether they will return home or not. In some circumstances they are forced to live in foreign countries for a lifetime.


M. Theol. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg 2015.


Pastoral care--KwaZulu-Natal--Pietermaritzburg., Refugees--Pastoral counseling of--KwaZulu-Natal--Pietermaritzburg., Methodist Church--KwaZulu-Natal--Pietermaritzburg., Theses--Theology.