In the early 1990s, The Basilica adopted a parish vision taken from the bible verse Jeremiah 29:7: “Seek the well-being of the city to which I have sent you. Pray for it, says the Lord, for in its well-being you will find your own.”
This vision has propelled parishioners beyond the pews into the city, to put their faith in action. Like our parish, the South African group New Hope International Exchange (NHIE) also draws inspiration from the prophet Jeremiah, as they focus on learning from the past and building bridges to a new future.
Sharing messages of reconciliation with a cultural music exchange, New Hope International is celebrating the 100th year celebration of Nelson Mandela’s birth. Mandela was the first democratically elected leader of South Africa. To celebrate Mandela, NHIE’s singing group known as 29:11 is embarking on a year long journey called the Reconciliation Music Exchange Tour. The group took its name from the bible verse in Jeremiah 29:11: “I know well the plans I have for you says the Lord. Plans for your well-being, not your woe. Plans to give you a future full of hope.”
Why music exchange? Coming together around music helps us to celebrate what we have in common. NHIE is committed to a full year of exchange concerts and culture and learning partnerships with churches, schools and others. They see music as the “universal unifier and a catalyst for change we wish to see in the world.” In the Twin Cities, they are partnering with Bethel University, Luther College, the Minnesota Chorale, the National Baptist Convention, the Leadership Institute-Minnesota Honorary Council to South Africa and the Minnesota Orchestra. Their goal is to reach tens of thousands to open dialogues on reconciliation.
The group 29:11 describes their music as “food for the soul.” Their instrumentalists and vocalists will offer traditional South African music and original pieces. For a taste of 29:11’s music join us at the 9:30am Mass on Sunday, June 10. 29:11 return to The Basilica at 7:00pm Thursday, June 28 for an in-depth collaboration with our parish including a concert and program in partnership with 16 Basilica parishioners and friends who travelled to South Africa last January.
Trip participant, Susan McGuigan said her challenge is “to use what I learned to make me a better person and my community a more loving and just place to live. Parishioner Joan Prairie described her striking memory of visiting a Cape Town township and learning about their water shortage. “They’ve experienced extreme drought and have been rationing water for 3-4 years. We learned some communities were facing a total shut off of water this spring,” said Joan. Linda Atwood shared that “The South Africa post-apartheid truth and reconciliation journey challenged me to reflect beyond my familiar cultural comforts and political viewpoints.”
New Hope International Exchange (NHIE)
Originally from South Africa, Brendon Adams and his wife Gaylene co-founded NHIE and operate from their Eden Prairie home. Gaylene visited South Africa in 1996, returning in 1998 for work in children and youth ministry in Cape Town. Brendon and Gaylene met and married in 2000, and ran New Hope International Exchange in Elsies River, a Cape Town Flats township created by the mass removals of blacks from their homes during the Apartheid era. Twenty five years after the end of Apartheid, people in communities like Elsies River still struggle with poverty and high rates of unemployment, crime, gang activity and teen pregnancy.
NHIE offers opportunities to individuals and groups to put hope in action by serving and supporting communities in need within Cape Town, South Africa through volunteer missions and foreign exchange.
29:11 CONCERT AND RECONCILIATION PRESENTATION
THURSDAY, JUNE 28, 7:00PM