• A positive look at the Anglican Communion
• School partnership brings praise
• Lent 2014
A positive look at the Anglican Communion
Answering the question, “Where is the Anglican Communion at the present time and how does it impact the local church?”
Canon Vinay Samuel took a positive stance when speaking on “GAFCON and the future of the Anglican Communion” at St Saviour’s in Walmer on Saturday night 25 January. He said that unfortunately the Anglican Church in Southern Africa was very like the church in America where the bishops and people are not working together but are pulling apart and breaking up the church.
Vinay looked back at the build-up to the two GAFCON Conferences and what motivated the Anglican bishops and lay people of the Global South to gather and debate issues such as the ordination of gay-lesbian clergy and bishops, which has taken centre stage for so long. However, in many countries the state has pushed the issue out of our (the church) hands and it has become a social issue - as has the Religious Education Bill in the UK. He said that unfortunately the church has become weak and is unable to fight bad laws that are against Christian beliefs.
However, he said that with the advance of the ‘gay issue’ having been stopped by the state taking over, the church is looking at Church growth and outreach once more. On the positive side, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Church of England are working together despite differences and looking at such issues as how to teach the poor to move from a culture of debt to one of credit and how to grow the church.
Vinay went on to say that in South Africa we need to be training lay people to make the church grow. Even people in their 70’s have about 15 years in which to run cell groups and build them up to where new churches are planted. The focus must come off the clergy running the church but should be on the building of a strong lay leadership. He also said that bishops need to realise that it is the lay people, and not them, who should be the focus. The bishop is merely the shepherd and not the CEO of a business. This change in attitude needs to take place - then growth can happen without the clergy and bishops.
Dr Vinay Samuel is an Internationally renowned Missiologist, and cofounder of the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies.
Pic: Internationally renowned Missiologist Canon Dr Vinay Samuel with Yvonne Ward-Able and Rosemary Joubert of St Saviour’s at the talk he gave on “GAFCON and the future of the Anglican Communion.”
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School partnership brings praise
The partnership of St Stephen’s in New Brighton with Cowan High School was praised by former Gauteng education MEC Professor Mary Metcalfe. She was the guest of honour at the Education Sunday service on 2 February.
Mary had spent two days at Cowan High and was impressed with the wonderful improvement in results of Matric passes over the past four years - from 32% to 75.4%. She said, “Education is very important. We cannot be the society we need to be, without education ... Good quality education must be available to all, no matter where they live.”
She went on to ask whether society was there for the children who fail, those who eventually give up and fall out of school and those who keep trying in spite of perhaps failing up to four times. The church needs to renew a love for learners and to care and bring love and healing to them. The church also needs to build good qualities, discipline and moral standards in the learners and teach them to care for their resources.
During the service a R12 000 bursary was presented to former Cowan High School learner, Babalwa Mpolongwana, towards her studies at Wits University. Babalwa had an excellent pass in Matric last year.
The bursary fund was also boosted by a further R25 000 presented by Dr and Mrs Sipho Pityana.
The church was packed for the four hour service which included an address by the headmaster of Cowan High, Trevor Dolley, Councillor Dyantyi and Bishop Bethlehem, who emphasised the need for the church to nurture their members to be good disciples of good morals, good safety and good education. This he said can only be done if the priest visits each of his parish families and gets to know their circumstances. He also emphasised the Synod decision that all churches be open in the afternoons to enable learners to do their homework and be given something to eat.
Pic: Professor Mary Metcalfe with former Cowan High School student, Babalwa Mpolongwana who received the St Stephen’s Bursary to enable her to further her studies.
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As soon as Jesus was baptised, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.‘
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God ...”
Matt 3:16 - 4:3
... Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” Then the devil left him.
Matt 4:10, 11
May your Lenten fast be a wonderful time of drawing closer to the Lord Jesus as you set aside time to seek him with all your heart and mind. Then look forward to a wonderful celebration of the Risen Christ at Easter.
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