• RIP Nelson Mandela
• Being responsible to God – vote!
• Moving ahead with transformation
RIP Nelson Mandela
1918 - 2013
It is with great sadness we received the news that Tata Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, Aah, Dalibunga! has passed on to Eternal Rest on Thursday 5 December. He rests in peace!
He was a gentleman, a true patriot, truthful with integrity both in word and deed; and in his heart there was no guile. An outstanding reconciler as if fulfilling the prophecy of a Methodist isiXhosa poet who, inter alia, says: “…Both black and white must give thanks, together proclaim in songs and praises, worshipping the Lord. Merciful Father! Be gracious to us.” (P Sepamla: IsiXhosa Methodist Hymnody no 41 v3). His eye continued unceasingly looking after the welfare of the poor, the disadvantaged, children and adults alike, the less fortunate, the oppressed, the dying and refugees…fighting xenophobia, sternly rebuking anarchy, striving for stability, creating job opportunities and attracting investment to the country, thus putting food on many tables of the homes of our land, and beyond in SADAC countries, bringing peace to the world. He was a tonic to the drooping spirits of laxity and the depressed. He declared: “Never, never and never again shall there be domination of one group of people by another…”. By so doing, he built one nation, one family and one people of South Africa, and Africa as a whole within the global community. Much has been said, and still more is to be said about this stalwart of our struggle against apartheid.
Our condolences go to Mama Graca and children; to Mama Winnie and the whole family of aBathembu at Bumbane, Qunu and Mvezo, and to all South Africans at this time of mourning. Be comforted, we share your grief! He left us the legacy of love and embrace for all, learning to live with the unlovable, in all honesty and integrity, with a sense of the call of duty to God and country more than the claim to rights and entitlements. The best we can remember him for, in following his example all our lives in this passing world of sorrow, is good governance, stability, good delivery services, selflessness and accountability to God and one another.
God bless Africa!
Rest Eternal grant unto him, o Lord;
And let light perpetual, shine upon him! May he rest in peace, And rise in glory!
+Bethlehem, Port Elizabeth
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Being responsible to God – vote!
Professor Barney Pityana, the rector of the College of Transfiguration in Grahamstown, called on Christians to be responsible to God and to vote in a good Government at the next elections. Barney was speaking to about 40 people gathered at St Stephen’s in New Brighton on Thursday 29 November.
“Examine your conscience asking what will be the best for all the people,” he said. “Ask yourself, what is it that God tells me to do as I stand here and put this cross? You must take responsibility because you are called by God.” Barney said that when we say we are ‘in Christ’ it is a huge statement of faith. Being ‘in Christ’ we are free, but we are in danger of allowing ourselves to become slaves again as we did under apartheid. The time has come for us to stand up and be free. He said we need to live our lives as creatures of the Great God … Christ said, “I have come that you may have life …abundantly.” So we should be living in the abundance of life to which we are called.
Pointing out that the country is mostly Christian, he said that the task we have today is of how God lives in our midst for justice. It is important to realise that at the heart of democracy is the need to be good stewards of God’s grace. We must take seriously that we are vessels that are holy and we must live out holy lives. We need to recognise that there is a role for man to play – of good stewardship. We need to raise our voices to say this is the Word of God. Good values are important to us because we are moral stewards and we need to seek to entrench that goodness in execution. We must care about what happens in this country because it is God’s will and these are God’s people.
Saying that this is no longer a country of social values he continued, “Poverty is the worst of all crimes. The criminals are those who are making others poor – not the poor,” he said. All of us could be living better lives but instead many are living far beyond their means and inequality continues to grow. The elections therefore are an opportunity to reflect on the road we have travelled - we cannot carry on the way we are at present. It is a time to stand up and say how can our country be better? We need to do something about it. We need to ask ourselves where Jesus would like us to place our cross.
Pic: Top - Professor Barney Pityana, Bishop Bethlehem and Archdeacon Zweli Tom listen to a question after Barney had spoken.
Bottom - Some of the audience taking notes during the talk.
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Moving ahead with transformation
On Saturday 16 November the second Convocation of the diocese was held at St Paul’s in Parsons Hill where Dr Deon Pretorius, a sociology professor from NMMU, presented the ‘Transformation Plan’ which he and the working committee had put together.
The plan showed the beginning of the process on 20 July and looked at the vision of the desired future – by 20 July 2017. The analysis suggests that there are three key issues the diocese will have to adopt - a more professional leadership, management, and admin culture.
Post-convocation follow up
A follow-up meeting was held on Tuesday night 26 November at which the 14 people present looked at the way forward. A working group consisting of Bishop Bethlehem, the archdeacons and five ‘champions’ will listen, engage and refine the process and prepare the way for the parishes to begin to implement the strategy. Coordinated by newly priested Relton Groepe, this group consists of Mazoe Nopece (MUCFL), Lungsi Ntlokwana (AWF), Zukisa Jeyi (youth), Ursula Smith (churchwarden at St Luke’s). They have met once for a planning session and allocation of operational areas. The first meeting with the five representatives from each parish is scheduled for 8 February - the venue and agenda will have been made available by the time iindaba is published.
Pic: Bishop Bethlehem, Professor Deon Pretorious, assistant priest Relton Groepe, the rector of St Stephen’s, Zweli Tom and one of his parishioners, Lungisa Sihlahla at the Transformation Plan meeting.
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