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Vol 17 No 6


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

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 •  Our synod news
 •  Charity work earned Nora from PE an MBE
 •  Global Day of Prayer blessed

Our synod news
Young people, a gender desk, an HIV/AIDS coordinator, orthodoxy, clergy training and diocesan structures were among the many subjects debated at our twentieth session of Diocesan Synod held from 25 to 27 May.

Setting the scene
The opening Eucharist was a colourful affair with the bright copes worn by the archdeacons and canons, and many members in their ‘Sunday best’. Bishop Bethlehem delivered his Charge to the diocese and the worship was uplifting. Points from Bishop Bethlehem’s Charge are on page 3.

The synod dinner was a delicious banquet put on by the members of St John’s, with very efficient 'waitrons' to make sure nobody went hungry. St John’s had even taken Ruthell Johnson, rector of St Paul’s, at his word. He had written on his list of ‘Special dietary needs’ “A seafood platter”, not thinking he’d be taken seriously! St John’s took him at his word ... and behold! A tin of pilchards on a platter!

Synod hall
St John’s hall was a beautiful venue for holding synod, and the tables were not too cramped for reasonable access to seats. As so often is the case, there was an abundance of food, and many a beggar was made happy with food parcels after each day's eating. The weather was cold but people were praising God for the recent abundant rain. The fellowship over meals and during tea breaks was a wonderful time of meeting new people and catching up with others.

Andrew Symes of St Nicholas in Charlo said of Synod, “I was encouraged by the affirmation of orthodox doctrine, the support for the Bishop and for the commitment to assist the poor and needy.”

Pic 1 - The youth must be heard - Wezo Bloko, one of our students at BIEC and a member of St Matthew's in KwaMagxaki, spoke on the importance of the youth being included in diocesan structures.

Pic 2“Sir, You did order a Seafood Platter?” - Allan Anderson presents Ruthell Johnson with his request.

Charity work earned Nora from PE an MBE
From humble beginnings in the town of Walmer, as it was then, Nora (née Wing King) Whitham was invited to Buckingham Palace  where Queen Elizabeth II invested her as an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for all her charity work.

Nora visited St John's Church in Walmer on Tuesday 30 May, and captivated her audience with her story of early Walmer days and her work in the UK. She spoke about making pounds and pounds of fudge and cake to raise funds for St Francis Xavier Church. “This gave me very good training for the fund-raising for charity which I’ve had to do over the many years of living in the UK,” she said. It was for this charity work that the community of Bradford, where she now lives, honoured her when they nominated her for an MBE.  The nomination took two years to prepare, and at no time did she suspect that it was
going on.

Nora moved to the UK when she wanted to train as a nurse and was unable to do so in this country because of the apartheid laws. Her greater involvement in the church began when she was made churchwarden of St Barnabas in Heaton in 1981. Today she is the HIV/AIDS advisor to the Bishop of Bradford, the deanery representative on Diocesan Synod, the archdeaconry representative on Diocesan Council, and a lay-canon of Bradford Cathedral, besides being on many secular boards.

Other than revisiting childhood memories and friends, one of her other pleasant duties while in PE was to present the House of Resurrection Haven with a cheque from people in the UK.

With the cash constraints the Haven has at present, this was a very welcome gift.

Read more about Nora's visit on page 3 in The view from pulpit and pew.

Pic - A well-earned medal - Angela Brown (right), assistant priest at St John’s, with Nora and her husband John. Nora put the MBE medal on especially for this photograph.

Global Day of Prayer blessed
A very blessed time was had by about 300 people from all over the Western suburbs who came together to join in prayer at the Westering Primary school hall, reports Lawrie Wilmot.

The gathering was a small part of the Global Day of Prayer held on Pentecost Sunday, 4 June. Intercessions were made for our Metro and nation in the following areas: repenting and overcoming prejudice in whatever forms it takes, whether racist, social, or political; for maintaining Biblical standards in everything pertaining to sexual morality, especially concerning HIV and AIDS; against crime; and for the protection and nurturing of our nation’s children - that our homes should always be havens for the children that live there, with Christian parents living up to Christian standards and loving them as Jesus would. The worship was truly awesome, and the people broke into threes for the prayers on the various themes. During the Prayer for Africa and for the world, I had a vision of the Lord with His arms round the globe in such love. It really was awesome to think we were making history on this afternoon as we became a tiny part of the biggest prayer meeting in history! An estimated 500 million Christians praying the same prayer on one day! Last year was the previous biggest,  with 200 million believers. Wow!

The 'boiler room'
In one corner of the school hall was the 'boiler room’, a prayer room designed by young people for young people of all ages. Wonderful! Such a sense of the Lord’s presence there. The 'room’ was in fact a tent and each side had a different theme or purpose: for example one 'wall' is the 'wailing wall' - for repentance!

The pace was lively: definitely no danger of being bored! We had a sense of the Lord wanting to bless us, and at one stage all the pastors were called forward to receive a blessing from their people present. I had such a sense of the Lord blessing us as we stood there: it was wonderful. It was all over far too soon, and so we came slowly back to earth for our evening services all over the Western suburbs, very conscious of having been in the Lord’s presence all afternoon.

A note from N. Ireland
iindaba received this short note from Belfast, Co Antrim, in Northern Ireland. “This Sunday being Pentecost Sunday there was another large outside prayer meeting on the front lawns, outside Stormont, the seat of the regional Government Assembly. It was part of the Global day of prayer, which originated in South Africa, and was happening in SA and other countries around the world. Thinking of you all in SA then!”

It is wonderful to know the world was praying with us!

Pic 1 - In the 'boiler room' - Lawrie Wilmot, priest-in-charge of Christ Church, Kamma Park, explains the concept of a 'boiler room' to Harriet Renze of All Saint's, Kabega Park.

Pic 2Praise and worship at the Global Day of Prayer - A group of the members of the Western Suburbs Ministers Fraternal enjoying themselves as they worship the  the Lord.

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