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Vol 15 No 11


The official gazette of the Diocese of Port Elizabeth:
Church of the Province of Southern Africa

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 • Christmas 2004 (message)
 • To us a child is born
 • Ceremonial verger
 • Bp Bethlehem attends AABC
 • House church has grown too large

Christmas 2004

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counsellor,
Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.
    Isaiah 9:6

Today in the town of David
 a Saviour has been born to you;
He is Christ the Lord.
    Luke 2:11

To us a child is born
Handel's "Messiah" at the cathedral was a wonderful prelude to the Christmas season.

The idea of an 'event' to help with St Mary's financial problems, conceived by Richard Cock, grew and gave birth to the production of Handel's "Messiah" on Sunday 31 October.

What a privilege to be among the 450 people who managed to get seats in the cathedral for this inspiring performance.

St Mary’s was a wonderful setting for “The Messiah” and Richard Cock was amazing as he changed hats, from conductor to harpsichord player, having to move from one place to the other within the confines of the entrance to the chancel. The four soloists, Jill Nock (soprano), Carmen Erwee (alto), Robert Leonard (tenor) and Musa Ngqungwana (bass) were superb as was the choir of nearly seventy singers which included members of the Cathedral Choir, the Port Elizabeth Oratorio Choir, the Cantata Choir of East London, “Variato” from Humansdorp, and the recently formed Nelson Mandela Metropole Opera Ensemble. The Chamber Orchestra was led by Donald Flint and included Eric Spencer the cathedral organist and Master of Choristers.

The diocese looks forward to many more such Spirit-lifting presentations.

Pictures: To some are given the gift of superb voices - such blessed ones are Jill Nock (photo left) and Musa Ngqungwana (photo right) who thrilled the audience at St Mary's cathedral. With Jill is Eric Spencer, the cathedral organist and Master of Choristers.

Ceremonial verger
Roy Saunders (86) was installed as the ceremonial verger of the Cathedral Church of St Mary the Virgin on Sunday 14 November.

Roy and his wife, Dorothy, joined St Mary's when they arrived in PE from Johannesburg 16 years ago. They joined the choir straight away and also sang in the Oratorio Choir for many years.

Very handy at woodwork, Roy has willingly given of his talent to make, mend and beautify whatever he was asked to do for the church. He has also been an acitve member in many other duties - as has Dorothy.

Bp Bethlehem attends AABC
Bishop Bethlehem was one of 300 African bishops who attended the All African Anglican Bishops' Conference held in Lagos, Nigeria, from 26 October to 1 November.

The theme of the conference was, "Africa comes of age - an Anglican Self-Evaluation", and at the close a Communiqué was issued by Archbishop Peter Akinola, Chairman of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa.

Some of the points made in the Communiqué are that the Anglican Church in Africa has gone beyond the stage of mission "from the West to the rest", to that of mission "from everywhere to every-where" and must, therefore, seek to work for the transformation of the continent. The bishops say that this means proclaiming the Gospel in full and making it relevant to the health and political needs of the continent.

They also say, "The church should enter into a creative phase of building relationships between Christianity and communities of other faiths for the purpose of fostering better understanding, respect and peaceful coexistence without compromising the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

They envisage setting up of their own network of theological colleges on the continent to promote a conservative interpretation of Biblical teaching. They reiterated their Biblical position on the ongoing controversy on human sexuality and intended to work towards a continent devoid of injustice.

The full text of the Communiqué, and a copy of all the motions and resolutions accepted and passed at the conference, are available from the Bishop's Office.

House church has grown too large

On Sunday 14 November members of the house church at Wells Estate were joined by two bus loads of parishioners from St Stephen’s for a rally of Christian witness.

Three groups of house church members and guests paraded from different parts of Wells Estate to converge on a tent, which had been erected outside Florina Phuri’s tiny house, for a service of praise and worship. Along the way they had been joined by people who wanted to know when and where this group of Anglicans met.

During June 2003 Solomon Nkesiga, rector of Parish of Zwartkops River Valley, having been advised to start a congregation in Wells Estate, was led there by the Spirit one afternoon. He went through the streets of the new settlement asking whether there were any Anglicans in the area. The inquiry led him to the home of Florina Phuri and an Anglican congregation in Wells Estate was born. With four family members worship began, and soon the neighbours joined in to create a visible and laudable presence that has since grown to nearly 50 members. This has made the group too large to meet in Florina’s tiny house for the weekly MU prayers and Sunday services. It has become a viable little church with potential for further growth.

Wells Estate is a vast RDP area and Solomon Nkesiga has heeded the challenge, given to him at his induction by Bishop Eric Pike, to reach out to the areas beyond the river and plant new churches. Over the past two months Solomon has been helped by one of the diocesan ordinand's, Zola Xuba.

Pictures: Those who meet in Florina's house - With Florina Phuri in her little house where the Wells Estate church began meeting are Zola Xuba, Solomon Nkesiga, the rector of Zwartkops River Valley Parish, and Welile Mabuya.
(Below) We are marching in the light of God - The marchers converge on the place of meeting.

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