Cape Town reverend June Major is on day three of a hunger strike, aimed at protesting the Anglican issues. Major claims she was fired from the Anglican Diocese, allegedly for her activity in the Palestinian solidarity movement. But she has brought to light allegations of abuse in the church, which the Bishop has refused to address.
Major is stationed outside the Zonnebloem school precinct, a busy hub for learners at the local primary and high school. In her diary post on Facebook on Thursday, she reported that she was experiencing nausea and headaches, but was “okay”.
“Some of the Grade 11 learners from Zonnebloem High came to chat with me and one of them asked if she could pray for me. She held my hands in hers and prayed a prayer that made me cry and say a loud, ‘amen’. A kind resident brought me a rain coat. And so many people came over to spend time with me,” she wrote.
But she added that her protest action has not been well received by others, accusing her of tarnishing the image of the church.
“A teacher at Zonnebloem came and said that the message that they received from the Diocese is that I’m a trouble maker,” she said.
“I’m not angry. I find my strength in God. I know that many will speak against me but I’m ok with that…freedom of speech.”
Major said she wanted to highlight the reaction to Palestinian oppression within the Christian church community of South Africa, which she says ejected her from the church due to her continued support for Palestine.
The hunger strike is in response to gender discrimination within the church and is an extension of her support for the Palestinian cause.
According to Major, she had desperately sought work in Australia, but could not relocate without papers signed by her bishop. The Bishop refuses to hand over the documents. She claims this has left her in a state of despair and she has been essentially homeless for the past few months.
It’s uncertain how the Anglican leadership is addressing this matter internally. Major reported on on Wednesday that Archbishop Njongonkulu and parishioners from St. Aidan’s and St. Matthew’s churches had visited her.
“It was a very positive comment. I also received a message of support from another St. George’s parishioner and one from a female priest in another diocese who has also experienced abuse within the church,” she said.
“Thank you to all the people who come out night and day to keep me company. I have received so many phone calls and messages of love and support from Muslims and Christians, it brought me to tears so many times. I thank God for all of you.”
VOC News has made contact with the Bishop’s office, but was informed that he would not comment. VOC