100. Honoring Soul Home on our 19th anniversary – April 2019

Rev. Steph

On Easter Sunday 2000, I founded the first New Thought multi-racial spiritual community in S. Africa.  We called it Soul Home.  I was the Senior Minister until 2005 and then I passed the baton to my three practitioner graduates. Gerd Pontow was appointed as the leader and he was magnificently supported by Anka Daly and Penelope Gottlieb for the next 10 years.

SH Blessing Gerd and Gerd's testimonial about8-300x225

Rev. Gerd Pontow being blessed as a new practitioner by Rev. Steph  – 2005

Gerd even trained his own class of practitioners and his graduate student, Melanie Hall, joined the leadership team.  Melanie is a school teacher and runs her own successful counselling practice as a practitioner and non-violent communication facilitator.

BL with Team SG IMG-20180616-WA0003

Team Sex Goddess at my birthday book launch on 16 June 2018. From left to right: Penelope Gottlieb, Melanie Hall, Rev. Gerd, Rev. Steph, Anka Daly and Miriam Nunes. (Miriam was also a practitioner student of mine. She moved to Cape Town  where she helped Gerd to set up a monthly Science of Mind classes in the Mother City.)

In 2015, after 10 years away in Europe, I was guided to return to S. Africa to care for my elderly mother and step-father.  Gerd and I began partnering as co-facilitators of the Sacred Gatherings.

In 2016, everything changed. Penelope moved to Cape Town, Anka retired as a practitioner and Gerd graduated as a minister after completing a very demanding online training over many years and flying to America at least once per year to participate in the ministerial student retreats.

SH 10 July 2016, Soul Home Ceremony

Soul Home ceremony in July 2016 on the occasion of Penelope’s departure for Cape Town, Anka’s retirement and Rev. Gerd’s graduation as a minister.

The vision of Soul Home continues to unfold in its own right and perfect way.  The right people show up at the right time to offer service or funds or participate in the Sacred Gatherings. The  power of Unconditional Love is forever being more deeply anchored, providing a prototype for what is possible in S. Africa between the black, colored and white races.  We are the living demonstration of healing in the aftermath of Apartheid, proving that Oneness is the Divine Reality!

On the occasion of Soul Home’s 19th anniversary, which we will be celebrating on Sunday 28 April, 2019, at our Sacred Gathering, I am sharing the following (slightly edited) post from Facebook written by my friend and colleague, Bishop Jackson Khosa. It was posted on Saturday 23 March 2019, two days after the Human Rights Day Summit on 21 March 2019 which focused on honoring the LGBTQ+ community.  Also on 21 March, at Muzi Cindi’s evening event – a Gala Dinner honoring the Legends & Generals in his life -Bishop Khosa was ordained as a Metacostal (i.e. Metaphysical and Pentecostal) Bishop – the first one in S. Africa!

LGBTQ Eve Bishop Jackson being blessed at the ordination 55887841_10218340429684812_128875239655342080_n

Bishop Jackson receiving his ordination blessing

LGBTQ Eve Bishop Flunder confers Metacostal Bishop title on Bishop Jackson 55621042_10218340454485432_7926798801208082432_n

Bishop Yvette Flunder and Bishop Carlton Pearson – two metacostal bishops from the USA – led the Ordination Ceremony for Bishop Jackson Khosa

REV STEPH WRITES:
Thank you, Bishop Jackson Khosa for this touching tribute to the Soul Home ministry which I founded in 2000 and which my former student, brother and colleague, Rev. Gerd Pontow, now directs.

For my non-S.African friends, the Africa word UBUNTU is best translated as “humanity”. It is often translated as “I am because we are,” and also “humanity towards others”, but is often used in a more philosophical sense to mean “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity.”

The Bishop’s joke at the end of this tribute re my “Lobola” being too high may not be funny to my friends outside S. Africa. “Lobola” is the African concept of a dowry or bride-price.  You see, God gave me great legs. I flaunted them at the Human Rights conference on 21 March. This might have been both stimulating and confusing for some Christian pastors and the Bishop wants to advise them that I am not up for sale in marriage. 

LGBTQ Bishop Jackson on stage 55529939_10218340469845816_8570217088633798656_n

BISHOP JACKSON KHOSA WRITES:

“There are very special reasons why I want to singularly honour these two beautiful souls for having blessed my ordination yesterday.
1. I have known Reverend Gerd Pontow for many years~I use to buy New Thought books from him e.g.THE SCIENCE OF MIND textbook etc.
2. Rev Stephanie is the founder of Soul-Home, South Africa’s first multi~racial New Thought Center, where my friend and the host of the Human Rights Summit, Muzi Cindi, found a spiritual home during the darkest night of his soul.
3. These two beautiful souls are nurturing Muzi’s spiritual life in a manner that is humanly inconceivable.
4. Rev Stephanie is my sister, my coach, etc. We are working together on many empowering projects~[check my Facebook space soon].
5. The foundation for me to be ordained as a Metacostal Bishop came after Muzi officially re~introduced me to Rev. Steph and Rev. Gerd.

JFDA Gerd Steph and Muzi, really the best 48420820_10217579176133949_3195250046664704000_n

Rev. Gerd, Rev. Steph and Muzi Cindi at Muzi’s book launch of “Jesus for a Digital Age” – December 2018 

On the NEW THOUGHT side of things I totally submit to their leadership and counsel.
They will be my two visiting professors at THE METACOSTAL INSTITUTE in Sandton City, Johannesburg, very soon.
6. The African Continent is blessed to have these two New Thought Leaders.
7. New Thought Spirituality is the only spirituality that embodies UBUNTU AND RADICAL INCLUSION – second to none.
8. There is no religious or spiritual movement that promotes WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP and openly affirms same gender loving relationships like NEW THOUGHT.
I SALUTE YOU MY BROTHER AND SISTER.
I BLESS AND SUPPORT YOUR MINISTRIES WHOLEHEARTEDLY.
I think it will be proper to say I dedicate my Metacostal Bishopric to you two, Muzi and the whole SOUL-HOME FAMILY.

On a lighter joking note!
Any African man who is chasing my sister Rev Stephanie must understand that the LOBOLA is far too high!
BLESS YOU ALL!”

 

Appreciating the miracle of global communication via technology.

All blessings,

Rev. Steph

Author of “The Sex Goddess: Debunking the Mythology of God & Sex”

“The Miracles of Earth are the Laws of Heaven” – Johann Richter

No. 99. The Human Rights Summit 2019, and the LGBTQ+ community – Part III

Rev. Steph

In last week’s blog post, I relayed to you how the morning unfolded at the Human Rights Summit, 2019. Now we come to the afternoon.

LGBTQ Nothabo 55453751_10218340455085447_6707591932450701312_n

The beautiful Dr. Nothabo Ncube, originally from Zimbabwe, joined us from Toronto, Canada, to speak to the millennials.  Her speaking slot was supposed to be in the late morning, about one hour after she landed in Johannesburg from London, UK.  However, her flight was slightly delayed.  Spirit knew that, of course, and so the whole event ran “late” to accommodate these airline delays. 🙂 Nothabo inspired us all with her passionate speech about the importance of living our dreams.

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Celebrity Comedian, Celeste Ntuli, was hilarious. She spoke so honestly about the challenges of being a 40-year old, overweight, professionally independent woman trying to meet a suitable male partner to date and eventually build a relationship with. With her blunt and down-to-earth humour, she spoke to everywoman’s longing to find a mate with the capacity for intimacy, romance and a partnership based on equality.

And now we come to one of the most memorable moments of the day….  Nono, one of the panelists, had asked Muzi ahead of time if she could make a surprise proposal to her girlfriend, Dumi, from the stage.  Muzi agreed. As time was speeding by and we had accomplished the work of two panel sessions during the longer morning panel, Muzi asked me to get up on stage and summarise the essence of the morning panel and then facilitate the marriage proposal.

The brave Nono came on to the stage and, in front of everyone there, declared her love for Dumi on bended knee and with a ring.  We all exhaled when Dumi said “Yes”.

This proposal was revolutionary in terms of same sex marriage in S. Africa.  Regular heterosexual proposals usually happen in private but at least the couple can be openly in relationship without threat or judgement.

LGBTQ Thipo and Dumi proposal embrace 55473451_10218340460685587_2150926558208983040_n

In the case of same-sex relationships, the individuals have, historically, had to hide their sexual orientation and hide their relationships too.  Same-sex marriage has only recently been legalised (the Civil Union Act came into force on 30 November 2006) and despite that, social criticism based on antiquated biblical “morals” remains strong so same sex couples have to be careful about publicising their engagement or marriage and they have to choose carefully whom they can celebrate with.  That is not freedom!

Well done Nono and Dumi for proudly agreeing to be together in front of an audience of at least 1500 people!  That took huge courage AND it symbolized the essence of the Human Rights Summit: i.e. the right to choose an intimate partner, regardless of gender, without fear of persecution.

LGBTQ Steph facilitating the blessing on the proposal 56119788_10218340456325478_1293819367041007616_n

I called four of the bishops present up on to the stage to bless this Holy Union between Nono and Dumi.  What a surge of spiritual energy was unleashed, creating a springboard for their relationship to soar and thrive.

Lekgowe Nono Thipe and Dumi after betrothal 54798645_2187122458000842_6455222355672170496_n

Just engaged!

Next up was our keynote speaker, Bishop Yvette Flunder, who had joined us from the USA.  Such a beautiful lady of great depth, compassion and wisdom.  Bishop Yvette has been in a lesbian relationship with her beloved partner for over 30 years and is the voice of spiritual leadership in the USA, representing the LGBTQ+ community. She absolutely lives the love that she preaches.  What an honour and a privilege to have her in our midst!

LGBTQ Bishop Yvette Flunder 55624267_10218340436884992_4868394671816048640_n

Bishop Yvette Flunder

Before I finish this blog post, let me mention that another highlight of the day was the entertainment from Majeste Amore, the daughter of Rev. Gina Gauthier Pearson and Bishop Carlton Pearson from Tulsa, USA. Majeste is the most amazing singer with a depth and quality to her voice that is far more mature and developed than one could ever have expected from a 22 year old.  Every time she sang, I was moved to tears.  Soul Home member, Malefane Monyane, filmed her.

And now we come to the end of the Summit and the fulfillment of its holy purpose – the reconciliation with the LGBTQ+ community.  This section was led by Muzi’s friend and mentor, Bishop Jackson Khosa, a wise and humble man who has years of experience leading rituals for forgiveness and reconciliation amongst warring groups, particularly racial reconciliation and gender reconciliation.

LGBTQ Bishop Jackson on stage 55529939_10218340469845816_8570217088633798656_n

When Bishop Jackson got up on stage, he immediately admitted that, in his past, he was one of the narrow-minded, prejudiced church leaders who rejected the LGBTQ+ community.  He asked all the pastors in the audience who were willing to admit to their own prejudice to join him on the stage in order to apologise and to ask for forgiveness from the LGBTQ+ community.

LGBTQ Bishop leads reconciliation process (2)

Bishop Jackson Khosa welcomes the pastors and ministers to the stage to lead the Reconciliation process.

Muzi had asked me to write a prayer for Reconciliation which he had had pre-printed on cards and distributed to everyone present.  I then stepped forward on to centre stage and read the prayer out, asking the audience to repeat it after me line by line.  (The prayer has been included in full below.)

LGBTQ - REv Steph leads healing prayer 2 (2)

Rev. Steph leading the audience in the prayer for Reconciliation

I sensed that even though many people present might have been uncomfortable with the unfamiliar wording and format of my affirmative prayer, nevertheless they joined in with willing hearts and minds.  Jesus said that it only takes two or three gathered in agreement for the Christ Consciousness to be present. In this case, on this Human Rights Day 2019, there were 1500 people affirming the truth of their divinity.  I KNOW we caused a cataclysmic shift throughout the universe and no-one at Birchwood was left unchanged!

A deep bow to you, Muzi Cindi, for being obedient to the call and creating this grand and glorious event. May all the blessings that you give return to you pressed down, shaken out and running over.

LGBTQ Prayer for reconciliation on a card 55782420_10218340443805165_727060383218532352_n

AN AFFIRMATIVE PRAYER FOR HEALING AND RECONCILIATION

for Human Rights Day, 21 March 2019

by Rev. Stephanie Clarke

RECOGNITION OF THE ONE POWER – GOD

There is One Power. We call It God, Life, Divine Mind, Holy Mother-Father or Universal Consciousness.  This Power is Omni-sexual – It embraces the polarities of Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine. It joyfully creates every variation on the spectrum of gender and sexuality with infinite combinations of chromosomes, cells and gender characteristics for Its own pleasure and delight. This All-Knowing Creator make no mistakes, no rejects, no aberrations nor any abnormalities.

MY CONSCIOUS UNIFICATION WITH THE ONE POWER

I AM that Holy Power, created in the image and likeness of Wholeness and Perfection.  As God/Goddess embodied in the flesh, I speak this Word of Truth for myself and the world.

MY DECLARATION OF TRUTH

I declare that I and everyone present here now, takes a quantum leap in their awareness of sexual identity as a perfect path to Spiritual Development and Awakening.

I claim that a most magnificent healing is occurring this day:  a healing for all those who have ever felt or been persecuted for their gender identity or sexual orientation or expression.  And a healing for those who have ever consciously or unconsciously played the role of persecutor.

I know that the Spirit of Life within could not violate another and has, in Truth, never been violated. I forgive all others for their ignorance.  And I am forgiven for any thoughts words or actions born of fear.

The old wounds of seeming division between Spirituality and Sexuality, Binary and Non-Binary, Oppressor and Victim are now mended and healed forever!

I declare that the bonds of stigmatisation are now being loosed and released.  Acceptance, Tolerance, Inclusivity and Divine Justice are the new laws of my being and of humanity.

I claim perfect freedom and transcendence for all those whose pathway included HIV AIDS.  I know they are forever welcomed into the arms of love in their transition to the other side of the Veil.

The past, with all its secrets and lies, shame and hiding, is now dissolved.  I am set free to be the god/goddess I was born to be and to fulfill my divine purpose on earth as it is already in Heaven.

I stand on the leading edge of Evolution, deliberately co-creating a world that works for everyone.

THANKSGIVING

I give thanks for the release of the pain of the past. I give thanks for the forgiveness of all errors of judgement and for all thoughts, words and deeds spawned in ignorance and fear. I give thanks for Love and Acceptance, the Celebration of Diversity, now being established right where I AM.

RELEASE

I release this Word into the outworking of the Universal Law and know it is manifesting now! It is done!  And so it is!

LGBTQ cartoon 1554627071352

Appreciating the miracle of global communication via technology.

All blessings,

Rev. Steph

Author of “The Sex Goddess: Debunking the Mythology of God & Sex”

“The Miracles of Earth are the Laws of Heaven” – Johann Richter

No. 98. The Human Rights Summit, 2019, and the LGBTQ+ community – Part II

 

Rev. Steph

Human Rights day on 21 March 2019 was magic.  I covered a little about the history of Human Rights Day in S. Africa in my last blog post as well as why Muzi specifically wanted to honour the LGBTQ+ community at this particular event.

In this blog post, I want to share the day with you, mostly through pictures because words cannot capture the explosion of love and joy and honesty that we experienced and witnessed.

At 9:00 am on 21 March, my colleague at Soul Home, Rev. Gerd Pontow, came to pick me up so that we could travel to Birchwood together.  We found the right street address but realised that Birchwood was so huge that we did not know which entrance to pick.  Just then, as we were wondering where to go, Muzi drove up in the lane next to us and we were able to follow him. 🙂

I had a ticket in my bag for my friend Marcia.  I had told her I would leave it at Reception for her to pick up.  But where was Reception?  As I wondered about that, I saw Marcia’s car driving past us in the opposite direction.  So I stopped her, gave her her ticket there and then and told her to turn around and to follow us to the VIP parking area. Her prayer was answered because she was not sure where to go either and it would have taken a while for her to find us in the crowds.

LGBTQ Steph and Marcia 1 55458183_10218340466405730_687641499793358848_n

Steph and Marcia – soul sisters

Once inside the VIP lounge, we connected with the other speakers and the Empowaworx team.

LGBTQ Gerd, Steph, Somizi and Muzi IMG-20190323-WA0015

Rev. Gerd, Rev. Steph, Somizi Mhlongo and Muzi Pontow gathering in the morning before the event started.  What a buzz in the air!!

Muzi and I gathered the speakers and MCs in a circle to pray.  Muzi said he wanted transformation and healing to happen on such a huge scale that this event would still be having its ripple effect 500 years from today.  He asked us to be spontaneous and funny so that people would be healed while they were laughing and not even know that the healing was happening.  Then I spoke a prayer for the event and we were off!

Birchwood Conference Centre is so huge that golf carts are provided to move people around. Here we are setting off for the main event space from the VIP lounge

My beloved colleague, Rev. Gerd Pontow, did the opening meditation and prayer and created a beautiful sacred atmosphere in the room.

Muzi greeted his audience and then did something most unexpected: he grabbed Somizi as if he wanted to hug him but instead he picked Somizi up!  As you can see, Somizi was totally in the flow and seemed to enjoy it. 🙂

LGBTQ Thami and Somizi 55795189_10218340466365729_669695429918588928_n

Thami Ngubeni and Somizi Mhlongo, our two MCs, singing and vibing together on stage as if they had been working together all their lives.

LGBTQ Rev Gina Pearson on stage 55514053_10218340464165674_5200558440237236224_n

The lovely Rev. Gina Pearson was our keynote speaker in the morning.  This was an answer to prayer for me as I had seen that this slot on the programme was empty until shortly before the Summit started.  I prayed that Gina would be asked to fill it and sure enough, she was the one!  Rev. Gina spoke about the courage to live an authentic life and be true to oneself no matter what the world thinks.  She set the tone perfectly for the next item on the programme: the LGBTQ+ panel that I would be facilitating.

So there I was, on the stage, but we could not start the panel discussion because my panel members were making their way over and the event staff were setting up a couple more chairs on the stage.  I had not prepared a talk, even though I always have plenty to say about religion and sexuality so, naturally, to keep the audience entertained, I did what any irreverent reverend would do and I told a naughty religious joke.  “There were three nuns…..” 🙂

Finally my panel joined me so I prayed us in and we got started with our conversation.

My panel members: Top L-R: Moi, Mpho Malepo, Somizi Mhlongo.  Bottom L-R: Dr. Love, Rev. Gerd Pontow and Lekogwe Nono Thipe.

Let me give you a bit of background to this panel experience:  I was terrified!  I have facilitated plenty of small groups in my time but never an LGBTQ panel and never in front of an audience of approximately 1500 plus!  The chances of bombing were high in my rabid imagination.  Plus I am white.  Would my black panel members, whom I had never met until we were up on the stage, even talk to me?

Well, Spirit had gone ahead to prepare the way.  First to join me on the stage was Mpho Malepo, a human rights lawyer, who knew me intimately because she had read my book “The Sex Goddess: Debunking the Mythology of God & Sex”. And when I asked my first question about the panel members’ experience growing up and what they learned about masculine and feminine genders, there was an initial elongated silence of about 3 seconds and then Mpho spoke up and got the ball rolling.

For the most part I was very present with my panel but then I had a moment outside my body where I was observing my experience and thinking “Wow, this is juicy!” I knew I was in my groove and that the panel discussion was unfolding perfectly.  The panel members were stellar, each one sharing so honestly about their sexuality and their experiences of shaming and rejection as well as acceptance and inclusion.  I even jumped in and started sharing some of my own experience which was a little unorthodox as the panel facilitator.  Then Muzi cried out from the audience “Steph, tell them the story of how you lost your virginity!”  He had heard me tell the story at my book launch and, since it is in my book anyway and available for public consumption,  I obliged.

After nearly 1.5 hours (instead of 1 hour), I wound up the panel discussion and opened it up to the audience to share and comment or ask questions to the panelists.  In the spirit of inclusivity, I asked the audience to share from the perspective of identifying with the speakers rather than engaging in a debate. The sharing that occurred was magnificent – so real and profound.  People had clearly been moved by the honesty of the panel and felt a sense of permission to be their authentic selves.  Tears were shed. Hearts were opened. And after all that, it was time for lunch.

LGBTQ Shile sharing after the panel 56164127_10218340463685662_6060246043461681152_n

Beautiful heartfelt sharing after the panel

More about the Human Rights Summit on 21 March 2019 in the next blog post.

Appreciating the miracle of global communication via technology.

All blessings,

Rev. Steph

Author of “The Sex Goddess: Debunking the Mythology of God & Sex”

“The Miracles of Earth are the Laws of Heaven” – Johann Richter

 

 

No. 97. Human Rights Summit 2019 and the LGBTQ+ Community – Part I

Rev. Steph

Today’s blog is about the recent Human Rights Summit which my friend and colleague, Muzi Cindi, hosted at the Birchwood Conference Centre in Johannesburg on 21 March 2019.  It was the most amazing conference – so full of love and joy and profound healing and transformation. I was privileged to have a leading role as the facilitator of the LGBTQ+ panel alongside some S. African A-list celebrities, some international speakers from the USA as well as my beloved colleagues in Johannesburg, Rev. Gerd Pontow and Bishop Jackson Khosa.

LGBTQ Human Rights Day, Muzi with black speakers and entertainers 54437199_10218256648190327_3623103861079670784_nLGBTQ Human Rights Day 21 March 2019 50827396_10217885979123832_628973492070514688_o

LGBTQ pre-conference line up 53660863_10218294460735617_2524851552074596352_n
Pre-conference line-up. Left to Right: Thami Ngubeni, Rev. Gerd  Pontow, Rev. Steph, Somizi Mhlongo, Bishop Yvette Flunder and Muzi Cindi

21st MARCH – HUMAN RIGHTS DAY

For my non-S. African readers, 21 March is a major public holiday in South Africa known as “Human Rights Day.” On this day, we commemorate the Sharpeville Massacre which occurred when S. Africa was still under Apartheid.   On 21 March, 1960, the S. African people of colour staged a peaceful protest, unarmed, against the racist Pass Laws.

In the years pre-1994 and the beginning of democracy in S. Africa, blacks and coloreds were required by law to carry passes.  These were ID documents which had to be produced upon demand, if ordered by a white policeman, and which indicated who the bearer was and where s/he had the right to live and work.  If the bearer was in the “wrong” area or if s/he was not carrying their pass, s/he could be arrested, jailed and tortured.)

Sharpeville Massacre, crowds fleeing from bulletsCrowds fleeing from the bullets at Sharpeville, 21 March 1960. 

Photo from Baileys African History Archive (BAHA)

The Sharpeville protesters were either killed or wounded by the Apartheid police force as they ran from the gun fire. This protest led to the banning of “subversive” political organizations in S. Africa and the subsequent arrest of Nelson Mandela in 1962, which resulted in a life sentence for him and his fellow freedom fighters in 1964.

Nelson Mandela, 1962

Nelson Mandela, sentenced to life imprisonment in 1962

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela, the first black President of South Africa, 1994 -1999

MUZI CINDI
Muzi is a visionary, a truth-seeker and a wayshower.  Walking in the footsteps of Jesus the Christ and Nelson Mandela, he is a role model for the practice of radical inclusion. In his own personal search for Truth, he has bravely allowed all his antiquated and conditioned, fundamentally patriarchal, concepts of God to be destroyed and, in so doing, has established an inner relationship with the Divine Presence.  This is what he generously shares with others on his mission to empower those who have been rejected by the mainstream.

LGBTQ Muzi Intro 55653329_2332928043404971_2207196277668577280_n

Muzi Cindi welcomes the crowds at the Human Rights Summit, 21 March 2019

DIVINE FEMININE CONFERENCES
In August 2014 and in August 2017, Muzi hosted conferences on the theme of the Divine Feminine. In 2017, he invited big name speakers from the USA – Dr. Rev Michael Beckwith and Lisa Nichols (both made famous in “The Secret”) – to speak to the mostly female S. African audience about the power of the Feminine.  I spoke too on my favorite theme of “God & Sex.”  It was a day of confrontation, awakening, reconciliation and laughter and a radical departure from the old, out-moded, divisive and destructive ways of thinking based on a misogynistic, patriarchal, religious mythology.

THE LGBTQ+ COMMUNITY

At the recent conference on 21 March 2019, Muzi shone the spotlight of love on the LGBTQ+ community. South Africa is one of the few countries where same sex marriage is legal under the Democratic Constitution and yet the LGBTQ+ community is still culturally marginalised and experiences some of the most vehement prejudice from the traditional Christian Church. Fortunately, and despite the intense cultural bias towards heterosexuality as the “norm”, some openly gay media personalities have risen to celebrity status in S. Africa and two of the more famous ones, namely Somizi Mhlongo and Dr. Love, participated in the recent conference.  Somizi co-hosted the event together with Thami Ngubeni and Dr. Love was on the LGBTQ+ panel which I facilitated.

LGBTQ Somizi Mhlongo propic-somizi

Somizi Mhlongo

lgbtq DR. MVELELI GQWEDE 51OPGQgO_400x400

Dr. Mveleli Gqwede aka Dr. Love

OUR LAST TWO BATTLES
The late Evangelical Scholar, Dr. Phyllis Tickle, said that the last two battles to be contended with were:  1. LGBTQ+ Human Rights and 2. Evolution.   She believed there would be no more battles after these two!  And FINALLY, thanks to Muzi, these critical conversations are being held and we are moving through the mass illusion of separation towards the radical inclusion that Jesus the Christ preached and lived.

LGBTQ Steph and Somizi Mhlongo IMG-20190323-WA0018
Rev. Steph with Somizi Mhlongo

Somizi and I had only just met when we had this photo taken but we had an instant rapport. I just noticed that the heterosexual, white, British woman is wearing all black and the gay, black, S. African man is wearing all white and we have our arms around each other. That’s deep! 🙂

Appreciating the miracle of global communication via technology.

All blessings,

Rev. Steph

“The Miracles of Earth are the Laws of Heaven” – Johann Richter

96. Launching “The Sex Goddess” – Part V

Rev. Steph

Launching “The Sex Goddess” was a lot of fun as the event went completely off-piste!

I had asked my MC, Bishop Jackson Khosa, to help me find the section in my book about how I lost my virginity.  He was a fabulous MC but in this task, he did not succeed.

Suddenly, Deborah du Plooy yelled out:

“But you should know the story, Steph.  You don’t have to read it. Just tell it!”

Wow!  What a concept!  She was right!  And she spoke for all the audience members there who were wondering why I was so fixated about reading the story from the book when I could just tell it from memory.

But before I could tell the story, I had to remove some clothing – as you do when you are launching a book called “The Sex Goddess”… !  Plus, I was feeling rather hot in my thick black robe.

So I began to slowly unzip my ministerial robe but could not finish the job because – oh no! – my zip got stuck! Not erotic.  In an awkward moment like that, what is a girl to do?  Well, I was inspired to ask for help from the Bishop.  He happily obliged and finished the job of undressing me. You can watch it here.

So, once relieved of my black ministerial robe and standing in front of my audience in a black lace see-through dress, I told the story of my first drunken sexual experience.

Skoobs Launch, Steph in black lace dress IMG-20190227-WA0005

You can listen to the story here:

Finally, we are reaching the climax of the event with the Forbidden Fruit. 🙂 Yes, the bit you have all been waiting for.

I am not so sure Eve tempted Adam with an apple…. Sinking one’s teeth into a firm apple and chomping on it is not that sexy.

The forbidden fruit might have been a pear?

Or a mango?

Or a banana?

Skoobs Launch, in holding peeled banana, with bishop IMG-20190227-WA0008

Rev. Steph wielding her banana while she tells a naughty joke

But would the Irreverent Reverend really suck on a banana in public?  Watch the video and find out!

 

Hope that was a satisfying read.:)

Enjoy some other photos from the launch.

Appreciating the miracle of global communication via technology.

All blessings

Rev. Steph

“The Miracles of Earth are the Laws of Heaven” – Johann Richter

No. 95. Launching “The Sex Goddess” – part IV

 

Rev. Steph

Continuing with the slow build up to the climax of my launch, I asked my audience if they wanted to hear the story of how I lost my virginity.  They were very keen. 🙂

I forgot to tell them that that section of the book is entitled: “All it takes to cure virginity is one small prick.” You can check it out for yourself on p23.

Since I was launching my book, I thought I should read aloud to my audience – y’know like a normal author at a normal launch.  But no such luck! I had to look long and hard for that section of the book and simply could not find it.

IMG-20190227-WA0035

Rev. Steph looked long and hard for the chapter on how she lost her virginity

Eventually, I surrendered and asked the Bishop to look for that section while I donned my witch’s hat and launched into a feminist herstory of witchcraft.  Some members of the audience who had been raised in a traditional Christian religion were very shocked and maybe a little scared, proving that we have been well trained to perceive witches as evil.  This was part of the patriarchal plot to vilify women.

When a single male god began to replace the Great Mother Goddess in the heavens and correspondingly, the male priests began to take over from the priestesses in the temple, the women were forbidden to carry out their rituals or prayers or healing work on the temple grounds.  If they had been caught, they would have been tortured or put to death.  So the priestesses simply went outside into the woods to gather herbs to make remedies and to do their praying, chanting and rituals.  And that is when the women became known as witches.  Nothing more. Nothing less.  Nothing to do with evil although I bet some of the priestesses were enraged at having their power usurped by the priests and may have, indeed, been tempted to curse the the imposters who even had the cheek to wear the priestesses’ ceremonial robes as a sign of divine authority!  This is why today we still see the Archbishop of Canterbury and other high-up religious dignitaries doing their Christian ceremonies in long gold brocade dresses…..

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More next week!

Appreciating the miracle of global communication via technology.

All blessings,

Rev. Steph

“The Miracles of Earth are the Laws of Heaven” – Johann Richter

No. 94. Launching “The Sex Goddess” – Part III

Rev. Steph

In the last blog post, I told you about the beginning of the launch.  In this post, we might get to the meat in the middle….But we also might not. 🙂

The Bishop asked me about the cover of my book as it is very controversial but also very compelling – especially to potential male readers 🙂 .

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I wanted Adam and Eve on the cover but I wanted to present them in a very different light with Eve as a  semi-naked Sex Priestess and Adam as her chosen consort.  On my cover, Eve is holding a red apple in one hand and she has a snake coiled around her other arm.  Clearly she is in control of the snake and not the victim of its evil manipulations.

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The priestesses of old were familiar with snakes.  Snakes were seen as the repositories of wisdom and the symbols of eternal life in that they could shed their skin and not die.  Snakes impressed the priestesses with messages of healing and upliftment for the temple communities in which they were revered.  Eve and her relationship with the snake was twisted by the patriarchal myth makers in the Garden of Eden story, making the snake evil and woman evil too for listening to the snake and “tempting” Adam into “sin”.  I would call that Holy Hogwash!

Next the Bishop asked me about the message of my book.

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Well, the message is definitely FREEDOM from all the religious mythology we have been taught and believed to be true.  The book takes the covers off the lies we have been told about our sexuality and our bodies and sets us free to enjoy sex without a sense of sin or shame or guilt.  In the Goddess religions  pre-Judaism, pre-Christianity and pre-Islam, the ancient people celebrated sexuality and life.  The Christian interpretation of the Bible spurned sexuality and celebrated death and made up the notion that death is the punishment for the sin of sexuality.  Preposterous!  But if we hear something often enough, we tend to start believing it.

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In the following section of the programme, I shared with my audience that, as well as being a proponent of the Divine Feminine, my work as a spiritual teacher in the New Thought philosophy is about helping people change their beliefs in order to change their life experience.  I talked about affirmations as an anti-dote for the negative beliefs we have all been conditioned with.  Affirmations are statements of truth.   They should be repeated often to reprogramme the subconscious mind and change the dominant content of our consciousness.

There is a long list of affirmations in the back of my book and I selected a few at the launch. I then asked my audience to stand and repeat these affirmations after me.

Skoobs launch, Steph in black robe at Skoobs launch

They did it willingly and happily and I am sure many of them were shaken up in the process.  Here they are.  Try them for yourself and see if they give you a thrill!

  1. I AM BORN OF DIVINE ENERGY!
  2. I AM BORN OF DIVINE SEXUAL ENERGY!
  3. I WAS BORN TO BE SEXUALLY ALIVE!
  4. ALL THE NON-CONSENSUAL SEX ACTS OF MY PAST ARE NOW FORGIVEN!
  5. ALL THE SEXUAL ACTS COMMITTED IN IGNORANCE TO ME OR BY ME ARE NOW FORGIVEN!
  6. I AM A PURE CONDUIT FOR CREATIVE SEXUAL ENERGY!
  7. I EXPRESS MY SEXUALITY JOYFULLY AND PLAYFULLY!
  8. IT IS NOW SAFE TO EXPLORE MY SEXUALITY!
  9. SELF-PLEASURING IS PLEASING TO GOD AS ME!
  10. MY SEXUALITY IS A BLESSING TO THE WORLD!

More about the launch next week.  The climax is coming very slowly…. 🙂

Appreciating the miracle of global communication via technology.

All blessings,

Rev. Steph

“The Miracles of Earth are the Laws of Heaven” – Johann Richter

No. 93. Launching “The Sex Goddess” – Part II

Rev. Steph

In preparation for my book launch of “The Sex Goddess: Debunking the Mythology of God & Sex” at Skoobs, I had created an altar with candles, a rubber snake and some items of fruit which I kept hidden under a cloth napkin.  In order to surprise my audience, I had a red apple (like the one Eve, the Sex Priestess, is holding on the cover of my book), a juicy pear, a ripe mango and, of course, that wicked banana! 🙂

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As soon as my MC, Bishop Jackson, arrived, I dashed into the loos for some rapid transformation: I changed out of my goddess dress

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I had to buy a professional black robe for my ministerial graduation at Agape in Los Angeles in 1998 and I picked this particular robe especially for its erotic potential – it unzips completely from the V-neck in the front all the way to the hemline.  Finally, after 21 years of lying dormant,  the erotic nature of this robe would be realised on the night of my launch at Skoobs!

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Underneath my robe, unbeknownst to my audience, I was wearing a see-through dress of black lace with a black belly dancing belt tied around my hips. Luckily, the coins on my belt did not jangle as I walked.  No-one guessed.  Nor could they have guessed that I was only wearing my robe so that I could strip it off later in the programme… 🙂   I was certainly not wearing it so that I could come across as “holier than thou” or, in this case “holier than them”. ⛪

The Divine Deborah, the Events Manager at Skoobs, gave me a fiery passionate introduction and with that, the Bishop and I took our seats and began our conversation.

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Oh yes, I did do a prayer to set the tone for the event.  That was my most spiritually lofty and serious bit of the whole evening. It went deliciously downhill from there… 🙂

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The Bishop asked me why I wrote my book.  There were a number of reasons:

  1. It was a book whose time had come: it had to be written to mend the divide between Spirit and Flesh and expose the misogynistic mythology of scripture.
  2. When I got off the stage, after my debut talk on “God & Sex” at the “Birthing Our Divine Feminine” Conference in 2017, I heard that there was a rush to the book table to buy the book on “God and Sex.” Unfortunately, it had not been written at that time but the enthusiasm shown to me for my topic was my motive to get the book completed and published.
  3. In South Africa especially, we frequently hear media reports of women being raped and murdered.  I began to question why?  Why are women typically the victims of male aggression? And why are women still being treated as 2nd class citizens, even in the first world of the 21st century?  My questions and my research showed me that our Bible, the so-called Holy Word of God, is a major contributor to the unequal relationships between men and women, the concept of women as evil, the notion of the flesh as “unspiritual”, and therefore corrupt, and the perception of sex as something sinful that will take us straight to Hell!

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More to come in the next blog post.  We are building up slowly towards the climax of the launch. 🙂

Appreciating the miracle of global communication via technology.

All blessings,

Rev. Steph

“The Miracles of Earth are the Laws of Heaven” – Johann Richter

No. 92. The Launch of “The Sex Goddess” Part I

Rev. Steph

My latest book, “The Sex Goddess: Debunking the Mythology of God & Sex” was first launched in June 2018 on my 60th birthday.  The following weekend, after a Soul Home Sacred Gathering, we were celebrating practitioner, Penelope Gottlieb’s, birthday and I met her friend, Anita.  Anita told me I should launch my book again at Skoobs bookstore in Montecasino.  If I were to do that, Anita told me she would be happy to attend the launch as she was on the Skoobs mailing list and would get the necessary info re date and time.

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I had never heard of Skoobs but I followed Anita’s suggestion and had the good fortune to meet Deborah du Plooy, the Event Manager at Skoobs.  Deborah loved my book – “You smashed it!” – were her words.  She applauds controversial authors and goes out of her way to support us to get our message out into the world.  She found my non-stick-up-my-butt-ministerial style refreshing and so we set the date for the launch of “The Sex Goddess” on 27 February, 2019, in the month of love.

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Deborah being her fabulous self

As soon as we planned the launch, I swiftly moved into denial about the event. When you write a book called “The Sex Goddess” and it is mostly autobiographical, the pressure is on, whether real or imagined, to present to the public as a sexy woman.  Would I be able to pull it off or would I be laughed off the stage as a pathetic ageing frump by my audience of two?

I know, I know, I should not listen to my mad head but I am human and I that festering bog of lies has often sucked me in.  Finally, on Monday, 3 days before the launch, I snapped into action and the creative juices began to flow:  I had the cheeky idea to do an erotic number with the forbidden fruit on my altar.  It was a great idea, but I was not sure I had the metaphorical balls.  I mean, who has ever witnessed a minister talking about sex and going down on a banana in public?!

My lovely colleague and friend, Bishop Jackson Khosa, offered to be my MC and he came over the night before to plan the launch with me.  I ran my idea by him.  He got excited and intuited that it would be tricky for the men in the audience to stand up after they had watched me perform that sacred act…. 🙂

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The day dawned and I was not nervous at all.  Very excited though.  I could feel I was in my flow and all would go well.  BUT I did not count on traffic being so heavy and only having a handful of guests there 5 minutes before we were due to start.

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Wonderful assistance on the registration table from Juan Odendal and Rev. Gerd Pontow

The atmosphere was very quiet and subdued plus the middle-eastern background music was so far in the background that it was almost inaudible because our speakers were not working.   Hmmm, not what I had imagined.

The Bishop had called me a couple of times from the road to give me updates: he was stuck in traffic and would definitely not make it in time to start by 7 pm.  He suggested that I get started on my own. Deborah told me it was OK to wait for the Bishop and start later but we still had to finish our programme by 8pm so that people could buy their books and get them signed before the shop closed at  9 pm.

I really did not want to start without the Bishop and started thinking of ways to shorten the programme. We served snacks, I began talking to the audience members I had not met before and suddenly I saw the Bishop arriving followed by more and more guests, many of whom he had personally invited and others who had been similarly stuck in traffic. By 7.30pm nearly every seat was filled.

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Interestingly, Anita was not there.  Clearly, she was simply a messenger of the Goddess to help me connect with Deborah du Plooy.

I will tell you more about the launch in the next blog.  This was just a little teaser. 🙂

Appreciating the miracle of global communication via technology.

All blessings,

Rev. Steph

“The Miracles of Earth are the Laws of Heaven” – Johann Richter

91. A Survivor’s Miracle Story

 

For many years, I have had the intention to meet a Holocaust survivor in person and listen to their testimony.  Tonight I attended the monthly speaker event at my mum’s retirement village.  The speaker was a diminutive Jewish woman, in height only but certainly not in soul.  Her name is Irene Klass and she is a survivor of the Holocaust.

Irene graced us with the moving story of how she was a young girl of 8 living in Lodz, Poland, when World War II broke out.  At first, Jews were forced to wear white armbands showing a blue Star of David. Later that was changed to the more well-known yellow star.  Her father did not look Jewish and he spoke fluent German.  He made the hard decision to leave his wife and daughter and pose as a Polish citizen in the hope of being able to help them all to escape from the Nazis.

When a convoy of German trucks came through the ghetto area to round up the Jews and take them to the death camps, Irene’s father spoke to one of the German guards and asked if his wife and daughter could go on the last truck. It was understood that the Jews on the last truck would be able to escape.  The German guard agreed and turned a blind eye when Irene and her mother jumped down from the truck and hid.

Irene’s dad got false identity papers drawn up for his daughter.  He came to get her 2 years after he had left the family.  There was a building on the edge of the ghetto that had a door on the Jewish side and another door on the Polish side.  Irene’s dad had to bribe the German guards to let her pass through that building and meet him on the Polish side.  Irene had to say goodbye to her mother, not knowing when or if she would ever see her again.  Her mother looked too Jewish and Irene’s father had to make a different plan to help his wife escape and then keep her hidden.  Irene was so happy to see her father after 2 years’ absence and naturally wanted to hug and kiss him but he told her sternly not to show any affection otherwise they would arouse suspicion.  She had to call him “Uncle” not “Dad”.

Irene’s dad took his daughter to a French woman he knew who was willing to take care of the orphans of the war and offered to pay her for Irene’s keep.  Posing as Irene’s uncle, he told the woman that Irene had lost both her parents in the bombing.  If the woman had known Irene was a Jew, she would probably not have taken her in as the Nazis  shot anyone who was caught hiding Jews.

By this time Irene was 10.  Her new foster mother naturally took her to the Catholic church every week to pray.  Irene had never been inside a church before but she learned quickly how to behave at the Mass.  Her father would visit her once every 2 or 3 weeks.  And then his visits stopped.  To this day, Irene does not know where or how he died but she believes his circumcised penis was discovered during a random Nazi inspection of Jewish suspects.

Before he died, Irene’s dad was able to help his wife escape from the ghetto via the sewer.  The Germans knew about this escape route and were often waiting at the mouth of the sewer outside the ghetto to shoot Jews who tried to escape. Irene’s mum had to walk through the sewage up to her neck but her escape was successful and her husband took her to a hiding place in the attic of a house in Warsaw.  Just like Anne Frank in Amsterdam, she had to keep quiet all day and only move around or use the toilet after dark.

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Anne Frank – Photo is from the exhibition at the Holocaust Museum in Johannesburg

The Nazis did not only round up Jews; they also put the local Polish people in camps where they were set to work for the Germans.  Irene and her foster mother were taken to a camp. They had not been there long when Irene’s aunt suddenly appeared at the gates of the camp.  She also did not look Jewish and had been able to pass as a Pole.  On this particular day, she showed up in a nurse’s uniform. She was not a nurse. In fact, she knew nothing about nursing but she convinced the guards that she had been sent to the camp to find the children with typhus and remove them from the camp before they infected the others.   The Germans bought the story and let her in.  She immediately went to Irene, took her to one side and rubbed white flour on her face to make her look sickly.  She told Irene to pretend that she was really faint and could hardly walk and Irene let herself be dragged out of the camp by her aunt and taken to a safe hiding place – a farm outside the city where her mother was waiting for her.

By this time, the Russians had begun to liberate Poland, except that they were violent and had a reputation for raping the women whom they were supposed to be liberating.  The Jewish women were still not safe.  They continued to hide, this time from the Russians, not the Germans, and managed to survive until the end of the war was declared.

After the war, Irene went to England and then to South Africa where she settled got married and had a family.  At the age of 87, she still works tirelessly as a volunteer at the Holocaust Museum in Johannesburg and regularly gives talks to a variety of audiences, including many school children, warning them of the horrors of prejudice.

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Listening to Irene was a moving experience and it was inspiring to hear about all the miracles that happened in concert with her will to survive.  Her life is a tribute to the strength of the human spirit.

Appreciating the miracle of global communication via technology.

All blessings,

Rev. Steph

“The Miracles of Earth are the Laws of Heaven” – Johann Richter