• The urgency of the hour
• Recalling the past
• Celebrating women
The urgency of the hour
On a visit to our diocese on Wednesday 11 July, an Arab Christian leader, whom we will call ‘Timothy’, spoke of what is happening in the Arab countries of the world today and the ‘urgency of the hour’ for Christians to pray daily for that area.
He spoke of the chaos in Egypt that began the ‘Arab Spring’ uprising in December 2010 and has spread through the Middle East. It is said that as many as 250 000 Christians had fled these countries because they were afraid. However, Timothy said, “For the first time in history all the churches in Egypt came together to pray for peace in their country and for the church to persevere. They also opened their doors to anyone who was wounded and to the Muslim doctors who were able to treat them. Things are happening as never before and there is a long list of firsts but, we urgently need your prayers.” He warned that, while democracy appeared to be the desired outcome of the uprisings, Islamist leaders seem to have made the most of the opportunity to strengthen their political positions. Islam in itself does not allow for democracy as we know it in the west, but calls for a single-religion theocracy that seeks to extend its power and influence on a global scale.
Timothy went on to warn that news coming out of the Middle East is always slanted and one needs to look at what is behind the reports. He also asked South Africans to commit themselves to fervent prayer and get involved because what happens in the ME and north Africa will affect all of Africa.
Timothy and his family have been living and working as Christian ministry leaders in a ‘closed country’ for the past five years. After the Arab Spring, although they are accustomed to serving in life-threatening ministry contexts, they opted to stay in this country despite the risks posed to Christians. A number of years ago, he led an outreach group that was ambushed by Islamist extremists after screening the ‘Jesus’ film in a rural area. Three of the team members were killed but this has not caused Timothy to scale back his ministry efforts. In fact, he is part of a group planning to return to the area in which the ambush occurred.
Mike Burnard, founder of INcontext Ministries, who brought Timothy to SA, says the following of him, “For this faithful servant who has witnessed the martyrdom of friends and still continues to labour for the Kingdom, sacrifice is not a theology nor is service a theory ... As the church, we need to take Jesus at his word, and that includes obeying his instructions to stay awake, alert and informed (Mark 13).”
Timothy was the keynote speaker at the 23:59 Conference held during the day at St John’s.
Pic: At St John’s to hear ‘Timothy’ speak were Pat Ferguson and Roger Hewitt, with daughter Tracy Botha.
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Recalling the past
An evening of nostalgia was enjoyed by a full St Philip’s Church in Richmond Hill on Friday night 3 August.
A slide show of the past was followed by six speakers who brought alive the rich heritage of what life had been like when they had all lived and worshipped in the area, before being forcibly removed during the 1960s. They spoke of the sports clubs, dances and picnics they had enjoyed, the fellowship and fun, and had everyone laughing at some of their anecdotes. Advocate Daryl Newton spoke of the Trust Deed and the fight to keep the church buildings.
Afterwards everyone enjoyed eats in the hall while they viewed the photo gallery.
Pic: Four of the speakers who reminisced about St Philip’s past were Westy Yon, Mervyn Rousseau, Hilda Shovell and Theo Thomas pictured with his wife Rosaline at his right.
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Elective Assembly in Swaziland, held on 18 July, elected Ellinah Ntfonmi Wamukoya as their Bishop and history has been made in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.
So what road did women travel to have their ‘calling’ to the ordained ministry recognised by the Church?
The journey in the then CPSA began at Provincial Synod in 1985. After much debate the resolution was passed allowing for the ordination of women to the deaconate. Then Synod of Bishops in 1990 decided that they would not call into question any Bishop who allowed women priests visiting from other Provinces within the Anglican Communion to Preside at the Eucharist as long as they had the support of their Chapter. This opened the way for Bishop Michael Nuttall of Natal to allow the Revd Mary Au of the Diocese of Hong Kong and Macao to preside at the AWF Conference held in Kloof, Natal on 6 October 1990. She was followed by Christina Oosthuizen of the Diocese of Western Newfoundland, Canada - who was the first South African born and bred woman priest to celebrate in her own country - to preside at an AWF Thanksgiving Service in July 1991.
At Provincial Synod held in Swaziland in 1992 it was resolved that women be ordained to the priesthood and Nancy Charton on the Diocese of Grahamstown was the first woman to be ordained a priest in CPSA during December. And so history was made and now it has been made once more (Please read the Bishop’s letter!)
And we in our diocese? We’ve made history again by appointing the first woman Provost of a Cathedral - Sharon Nell.
We salute all the women who have been called to the ordained ministry and pray the Lord will continue to use them to his glory. As Mary Au said in Kloof, “A dove has two wings, it cannot fly with only one and I feel that the ministry is like that. Both male and female priests are needed.”
Pic: Bishop-elect Ellinah Ntfonmi Wamukoya
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