Iwill now describe and analyse two events which deal with the relationship between families and members of the congregation, both of which incorporated a strong element of ritual and performance. The first of these, dubbed ‘God's Show’ by its main organiser Pastor Moema, was a luncheon to which parents of HUMCC members were invited. The second was a thanksgiving service held for Reverend Thandekiso, attended by members of his own family. These two events, as we shall see, demonstrate some of the central problems and solutions in reconciling parents and their gay or lesbian children.
‘God's Show’ — The Parents’ Luncheon
At the time that the Lavender People's Convention was held, the HUMCC formed five church commissions. The formation of the commissions, each headed by a member of the church board, marked the growth of the HUMCC from an informal fellowship to a more organised structure. One of these, the five-member Diakonia Commission, was formed to address the welfare needs of the congregation, to assist the pastors in what was becoming an unmanageable task of tending to the spiritual and material needs of the congregation. As Reverend Thandekiso explained it:
The Diakonia Commission is a commission that will take care of our problems. Mphumi said it this morning that there are people who might have been hit hard by life, hurt by life, frustrated by life, and you cannot handle these things alone. You need to talk to somebody, you need to trust somebody. You need to reach out, or cry to somebody, just talk to somebody. And we thought, we are calling you as pastors. But the word is growing as you can see how many people are here. We are dealing with people who don't come to the church. Many people don't come here whom we are servicing, so we cannot handle that, myself and Pastor Moema, particularly because we are not full time, we are part time. So those people who don't have food, who don't have a place to stay. People who don't have place to sleep for a night, for a week, for a month. People who are bashed, people who are frustrated, by police, by family, by friends.