• Listening to God afresh
• Keeping it in the family
• Mentored for their futures
• Something to think about!
Listening to God afresh
[ Zwelidumile Tom ]
On Monday, 26 April 2010, a group of church leaders in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro met in a symposium at St Stephen’s, New Brighton, at the invitation of Archdeacon Zweli Tom, with the view to listening to God afresh.
The three keynote speakers were Dr Eddie Daniels, rector of St Saviour’s, on ‘The Lordship of Christ,’ Prof Henry Thipa on ‘God’s governance’ and Prof Piet Naude on ‘The Church and state in the new South Africa,’ followed by plenary sessions where the talks were discussed, facilitated by the Revd Gill Bowman.
As we met to discern together the word from God for the church during our time, it transpired in this symposium that the church has become silent in speaking out on the country’s problems and has thus become ineffective as a result. In the light of this country’s problems, the question that was asked is “where has the prophetic voice gone to”? We are being challenged by God not to let these problems go unaddressed. Because of this realisation and our discussion, we invited input on the following issues that were raised:
- What makes the church’s witness ineffective?
- What are the causes of the suffering of the majority of our people?
- What solutions can we as a church offer our communities?
Other issues that were identified as needing continuing debate are:
- The prophetic voice must not only be negative but also be positive in its prophecy
- Did apartheid unite the church and have we lost this unity?
- Was the church co-opted during the struggle against apartheid?
- Is the church currently being co-opted by the current government?
- How can ecumenism assist in dealing with these challenges?
- How can we empower the current church leadership to minister effectively?
The symposium unanimously decided that this discussion needed to be taken further to seek God’s voice in these matters.
The iindaba reporter was present on Monday 24 May when about 25 clergy and lay-leaders gathered for a second meeting at St Stephen’s, again facilitated by Gill, to discuss the issues raised. By the end of the meeting the feed-back from the three small discussion groups showed that it was felt that further meetings were needed and that an Assembly of PE Church Leaders should be held. It was felt that the way forward includes:
- The need to create space for people, especially the poor, to be able to talk about their situation;
- The church needs to be where the people are;
- It needs to empower the people by teaching on budgeting etc.;
- A theology of “engagement” is needed ... a local contextual theology of engagement with social and political structures forming from the leaders and one ‘from the ground’ by the lay people.
It was felt that all this should be a forerunner to a Christian Leadership Assembly.
Pic: Zweli Tom (back left), Archdeacon of Kariega, with members of one of the discussion groups at the follow-up to the Symposium.
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Keeping it in the family
[ Jackie Trollip ]
The Arnolds family of Jeffreys Bay recently celebrated a very special event - nine of its young members were welcomed into the Church in the sacrament of baptism. Their uncle Randall Arnolds, his wife Renae and their small daughter Joel have long been faithful members of St Francis Chapelry in the Parish of the Good Shepherd. Some time ago Randall began bringing his nine nieces and nephews to Sunday School every week. These youngsters, aged between two and thirteen years, soon became a welcome addition to the congregation. When it emerged that none of them had been baptised, assistant priest Jackie Trollip broached the subject of baptism to parents and children. All agreed with alacrity. So began preparation classes, and on 7 March the young people were baptised and admitted to Holy Communion. It was a truly joyous occasion. The children have continued to attend Sunday School regularly and are growing in their faith.
Pic: All nine newly baptised youngsters with Randall and Renae and their daughter Joel (2nd, 3rd and 4th from the right), Sunday School teacher Kim Schoeman and her son Richard (on the left), Jackie Trollip (extreme right) and a few of the parents.
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Mentored for their futures
[ Nzwaki Magxaka ]
When Julia Williams of St Mary Magdalene parish received The Order of the Diocese of Port Elizabeth during a service on 11 April, many members of the Anglican Women’s Fellowship were present to congratulate her.
Julia has been honoured for 50 years of dedicated mentoring of young children in Sunday School. She has taught right through to the grandchildren of some of her first pupils.
Julia is also a very active member of the St Mary Magdalene branch of the AWF which is why the presidents of some of the other branches were there to congratulate her. Teaching the young is one of the AWF objectives and their members have been called on to ‘Go out and mentor the young people’.
Pic: Bishop Bethlehem hands Julia Williams of St Mary Magdalene her citation of The Order of the Diocese of Port Elizabeth. At the right is her rector, Fumanekile Kula.
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Something to think about!
If you are one of those people who say, “I cannot afford to tithe,” I say to you, “You cannot afford NOT to tithe.”
Dr Michael Cassidy.
Malachai 3:8 - 10
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