Contributions* by Reverend Johannes Jacobus Ulster2 to the development of the Moravian Mission Station, Elim, 1965-1974
Van Breda, Maynard J
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The Reverend Johannes Jacobus Ulster (1922-2012) was called by the provincial board of the Moravian Church in South Africa to serve the mission station Elim from the start of January 1965 as its first indigenous minister of religion and “Voorstaander” or mayor. This was his maiden appointment as an executive head of a congregation in his church. The period that immediately preceded Ulster’s term of service in Elim was characterised by increasing conflict and tension between his predecessors and members of the local community over various management, social and educational matters. These states of affairs threatened the stability of the mission settlement to large extent. Within the context of the local mission community as well as the broader Moravian Church, this article, which is a historic literature review, attempts to illuminate the significant transformation introduced by Ulster in the management and leadership approach of Elim. It considers his meaningful contributions in ameliorating the quality of the spiritual lives of the local congregation in line with the worldwide motto of the Moravian Mission: “Our Lamb has conquered, let us follow Him”. Furthermore, the article explores Ulster’s contribution in promoting the social wellbeing of the local community through initiating the establishment of sustainable secular, socio-cultural and various community development projects locally as well as in the surrounding district. The article concludes that Reverend Ulster made an immense contribution to the stabilisation of the spiritual welfare and socio-educational infrastructure of the community. This continues to be valued as a ‘golden period’ in the rich history of the rural mission settlement.