• The Bishop writes ...
• World AIDs Day workshop
• The view from pulpit and pew
• Clergy on the move
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The Bishop writes ...
My Dear People of God,
Space for difference
The Primates met in January in Dublin. They discussed, inter alia, prayer, fellowship, study and reflection, caring for other primates and support, counsel, collegiality, consultative forums, acknowledging diversity and giving space for differences, prophetic spirit, authority and consensus building, and mutual discernment leading to persuasive wisdom. It becomes obvious that the ‘acknowledgement of diversity and giving space for the difference’ is geared to accommodate The Episcopal Church of USA (TEC) and Canada. How disappointing and disheartening!
What is disappointing is that the mandate of mission has not been re-emphasised at a time when our world needs to hear again and again, the message of salvation of our God, which has been given by Jesus Christ (Matt 28:16ff). Yet it is a clear observation that numerically the mainline churches of the North in this communion are dwindling in numbers, and authentic faith is deliberately being destroyed by the liberal mind which claims that the Bible is ‘not the word of God’. A few theologians have made observations that the Dublin meeting of primates is a ‘statement of purpose’, (David Virtue) to make Canada and TEC comfortable. Despite them having displayed arrogance, defiance and an unrepentant attitude towards the wider body of Anglican Communion, especially the conservative South, undermining Lambeth 1988 Resolution 1.10, the Windsor Report on discipline and moratorium on further consecrations of gay bishops and blessing of same sex unions (Dar- es-Salaam 2007). This disregard of the decisions of the wider body of Anglican Communion continues to cause great concern, and threatens unity of the church (Amos 3:3 cf Jn 17). The meeting indeed, is a descent into irrelevance (A S Haley); a comfort-zone Anglicanism (Archbishop Gregory Venables of the Southern Cone) and a sheer waste of resources when millions of our world do not even have one plate of food a day on their tables.
‘That they may be one’
Jesus prayed ‘that they may be one’ (John 17:11). St Paul says ‘in Christ there is no difference’ (Gal 3:26ff cf Rom 10:12). Now we decide to talk of ‘unity in diversity’ and ‘creating space for difference’. Is this a denial of the gospel imperative ‘to be one’ and/or refusal to repent and be united with Christ? (2 Cor 5:17). Where sin rules, there is dissension. When the Command ‘to love’ is truly and humbly obeyed, there is unity. It becomes clear therefore, that our Communion is gradually heading for a break up because of the failure ‘to love’, disregarding one another with arrogance and contempt. Fifteen Primates were absent in Dublin mainly for reasons of conscience. The 23 present continued with the meeting. What will be the next step? The Archbishop of Canterbury hopes to visit Africa and the East as a matter of urgency. I believe his hope is to mend relationships. Will this be possible when those responsible for the absence of the 15 Primates still receive a pat on the back? Pray fervently to the Lord of unity for a change of heart, transformation, a new character and a new beginning – the desirable fruits of the gospel. Homosexual practice can never be right. Scripture is clear about it. Further to this, a family without discipline usually falls apart. Pray that the Archbishop of Canterbury may take courage to call to order and into line with the rest of the Church, TEC and Canadian churches. Without this, the Communion falls apart on a matter which should have been no cause for division. Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.10 still holds for us to be able to reason together under God and seek his grace to pastorally look after those of homosexual preferences.
The Synod of Bishops has met to look at Pastoral Guidelines at their February 2011 meeting in Mariannhill. This is coming to you for further prayerful discussions and comments. As you will realise the Bishops are moving with the rest of the Communion on this matter. Anything further than this threatens unity which is becoming more fragile as a result of radicals and personal agendas.
Tell the story
This year is a year of teaching. We teach, train and mentor disciples to tell the ‘story of long ago’ which is ‘our story’- the good news of salvation of Jesus Christ. We seek to enable you to communicate this news to those still far off, and call them to the kingdom of God and his love in Jesus Christ our Lord. Get yourself a copy of the Bible and a notebook. Take notes when you listen to the sermons in church. Ask questions of the preacher so that you may be empowered to tell the story of the good news with confidence, both at home and the market place. We are opening a Bible school at the Cathedral that is open to all parishes. It is our business. The ‘brand’ is Jesus Christ. He must be known to the world by the word of your testimony (cf Rev 12:11).
With all our love and blessings as you grow from strength to strength in the Lord.
Yours in Christ,
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World AIDs Day workshop
[ Linda Ncaca ]
Last December the Diocesan Health Team delegated the World AIDS Day Activities to the Youth Organisation to drive.
The youth organised two days of a workshop and a service. The workshop was on 4 December at St Stephen’s in New Brighton. The service was held on Sunday 5 December at the Cathedral.
On the Saturday the emphasis was on prevention, know your status and fight against discrimination and stigma. We also launched HCT Outreach Programme in Partnership - 25 clients were tested and two were positive and referred to the nearest clinic. The figures were recorded in one of my clinics - Missionvale.
Pic: A group of young people who attended the AIDs workshop held at St Stephen’s, New Brighton.
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The view from pulpit and pew
- ‘Thou shalt not steal!’ So reads the 8th Commandment. However that didn’t prevent Rob Penrith’s cell-phone from being stolen from St John-the-Baptists property in February. Fortunately Rob had an old cell-phone at home (who doesn’t?), and equipped with a new sim-card is back on air. Fortunately, and unfortunately for the thief, the old phone has been blocked.
- iindaba is sad to record the death of St Hugh’s oldest parishioner, Flo Beeson, who died at the ripe old age of 102, shortly before her 103rd birthday. Flo was born on 31st March 1908 in England. She live with her widowed daughter, Ann Button, formerly a sister at Maranatha Frail Care. Her only son died last year.
- Now that most of our Matrics have settled down at work or at a tertiary institution, their school days seem far away. Amongst the proud grandparents is Frances Beckley form St Alban’s, Draaifontein, whose granddaughter Tracey Beckley got 8 As, including 100% for Maths!
- A former rector of All Saints’, Kabega Park and his wife, David and Glennys Scott, paid a flying week end visit to Port Elizabeth in February. Whilst here they stayed with their good friends, Ken and Frankie Simpson.
- iindaba is sorry to hear that retired priest John Dunn is not at all well. Suffering from Parkinson’s disease, John is not able to do his beautiful artwork and writing. It was he who designed the lay ministers’ medallions; and he also designed and did most of the writing for the Order of the Diocese, an honour proudly received by members of the diocese who have given exemplary service to the diocese.
- One of our Diocesan Trustees has resigned. Terry Knott-Craig has relocated Durban. In response to his letter of resignation, the bishop wrote thanking him for many years of faithful service and wise council. iindaba joins the bishop in wishing Terry and his family every happiness in their new home, province and diocese!
- In spite of having retired at the end of 2010, the bishop’s ‘old’ secretary Jenny Cowling is still much in evidence in the Diocesan Office. She is helping the bishop’s ‘new’ secretary, Debbie Vencencie, as she learns the ropes of her new responsibilities. Jenny is also evident in the front office as she helps with incoming calls, as Busiwe Gwentshu has now taken Val Heath’s place as assistant to the (non-existent) Diocesan Secretary!
- The previous Diocesan Secretary, Ruth Brandt, has also been in the office giving helpful advice and information and keeping some of the wheels rolling. - Thanks to Ruth and Jenny for going the extra mile!
- iindaba has heard that two of our diocesan clergy have been boarded – Sipho Tokota and Luyanda Tuku. Both have been in ill health for some time, and iindaba is sure they are both greatly relieved, as are their families. We wish them well in their retirement.
- After the ordination at the Cathedral in December, retired priest Christopher Holmes attended a reception in honour of newly-ordained priest, Sipho Bodlani. At the end of the happy evening, retired priest Mcebisi Xundu came up to Christopher and said “Have you noticed, you and I are the only white people here!”
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Clergy on the move
- Graham Soudien, deacon at St Mark and St John’s in Parkside will be moving to Christ the King, Gelvandale, on Ash Wednesday.
- We will be welcoming Dave Doveton, at present Canon Theologian and Director of the Training Centre for Ministries and Community Development in the Diocese of Mauritius, to our diocese in April.
- Barney Pityana has been appointed interim rector of the College of the Transfiguration in Grahamstown which has lost its accreditation (their qualifications no longer carry the SAQA endorsement). He said he was asked to assist the college in meeting its goals to attain “statutory recognition” of their offered qualification - this based on his experience as former vice-chancellor of Unisa.
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Life isn’t about
how to survive the storm,
But how to dance
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