Sermon Series by Reverend Dr Scott Couper, United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA)

Reverend Dr Scott Everett Couper (BA, MDiv, PhD) is a Senior Honorary Lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics in Pietermaritzburg (RSA).

Couper also is the minister of the Bethel Congregational Church (United Congregational Church of Southern Africa) in Sydenham (RSA), the Academic Coordinator of the School for International Training’s (Brattleboro, Vermont, USA) Social and Political Transformation Programme in Durban (RSA), Adjunct Lecturer at the Seth Mokitimi Methodist Seminary in Pietermaritzburg (RSA), resident historian at Inanda Seminary in Inanda (RSA) and long-term volunteer for Global Ministries in Indianapolis, Indiana and Cleveland, Ohio (USA).  Couper also serves on the board of Cluster Publications (Pietermaritzburg, South Africa).

Dr Couper has made his two sermon series available as resources here. The series is informed the vision statement of the Bethel Congregational Church, United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA):

We at Bethel Congregational Church (UCCSA) strive to “show our faith by what we do” and to “go out” and share “God’s love for all” by preserving God’s Creation as the focus of our church ministry to our community.

The first sermon series was largely foundational, that is, theological.  The second sermon series was largely contextual, that is, practical.

First sermon series: Sunday Times: ‘Signs of the Times’ (macro, mega-trends, global issues)

Theme for sermon series: Moving from an anthropocentric theology to a cosmocentric theology.  “Cosmocentrism is the new anthropocentrism.”

By preserving the environment, we preserve ourselves as human beings and the generations to come.

We asked ourselves, “Do we have the courage to face the realities of our time and allow ourselves to feel deeply enough that it transforms us and our future?”

I, Introduction to cosmocentricism

II, Overpopulation

III, Pollution

IV, Over-consumption (income inequality)

V, Re-defining sin (by abusing and not preserving the environment, we sin)

Second sermon series: Lifestyle Magazine: Our Daily Lives (micro, local, community issues)

Theme for sermon series: Moving from a ‘Come and See’ to a ‘Go and Be’ church.

We asked ourselves, “How, in what style, do we live and express our faith?”

I, Introduction, Culture

II, Property and Travel

III, Home and Garden

IV, Events (ministries)

The remaining two sermons were follow-up messages, pertaining to the drought (Conservation of Water) and further call to action (“For the Beauty of the Earth”).

I preached the eleven sermons in total for the following reasons:

  1. I believe the environment is the greatest single issue facing Christianity today;
  2. I believe the environment and its preservation can be considered a ‘calling’, a mission, for the Bethel Congregational Church (UCCSA).
  3. I believe that the implementation of an environmental mission will enable the church to be relevant in a very practical manner to the local community and thus revitalise the church.