Oct 23, 2012

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MEDITATION: A special gift

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all (Romans 12:18)

This week the Centre said farewell to one of its most appreciated team members, Christoph Baumann.

Christoph and his family will return to Germany at the end of this month, since his contract with the EED (Evangelische Entwicklungsdienst), who seconded him to the Centre three years ago, came to an end. During his time at the Centre, Christoph founded Imbadu, a project to help and empower men to discover and embrace their true identity in God. He also launched a similar initiative in Pollsmoor prison.

The large number of people who attended the farewell function was already a telling testimony to the impact of his ministry. Also of the respect and admiration he enjoyed with people from different cultural spheres and communities during his stay. But it was especially what people shared so honestly about him that highlighted his special talents and contribution.

Apart from his never failing enthusiasm for his work and his remarkable spirit of enterprise, he also had the gift and courage to constantly cross new boundaries. He could bring people from the most diverse contexts and interests together.

A black colleague expressed his appreciation for this special gift in a moving way. Pointing to some of us in the room, he remarked touchingly: “You are my unlikely family – I would never have come to meet and know you if it was not for Christoph.  Where he came and worked, people from different walks of life almost always discovered and embraced each other as a brother and a sister. I will always be grateful to him for this”.

Not many people have this gift of socialising and of mediating between groups and people – helping them to meet, share and live a more relaxed and conciliatory form of life.

Christoph Baumann had this very special gift. Not only did he help people cross significant boundaries in this way. By doing this he contributed significantly to improve relationships in our country. He exemplified something of the Biblical message which calls us to live peaceably with all (Rom 12:18).

We wish him and Elsje and their two sons, Simon and Sebastian, all of the best for the future – also the blessings of our Lord where Christoph now enters a new phase in his ministry as a pastor of a German Lutheran congregation.

Carel Anthonisssen

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