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Vol 18 No 2


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

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 •  Lent 2007
 •  Year of Mission launched
 •  Mission workshop in Humansdorp
 •  Almost half-way there

Lent 2007

Christian, dost thou feel them,
How they work within,
Striving, tempting, luring,
Goading into sin?
Christian, never tremble;
Never be down-cast;
Smite them by the virtue
Of the Lenten fast.

Year of Mission launched
Over the next three years I hope this diocese will become a mission orientated diocese.
 - David Stansbury, the mission portfolio holder for the diocese.

The Bishop of the Diocese of St Mark the Evangelist, Martin Breytenbach, launched our diocesan "Year of Mission" at Holy Trinity on Sunday night 28 January. 

Bishop Martin had been invited by Bishop Bethlehem to launch the mission which he did with the service on the Sunday night followed by workshops in the various areas of the diocese over the next four days. Clergy and two or three lay representatives from most of the parishes in Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage, together with those from the Parish of Alexandria and the Good Shepherd, gathered at Holy Trinity in Central for the service.

Bishop Bethlehem welcomed everyone saying, In obedience to Matt 28:16-20 the people of the diocese need to ‘Go, make disciples’. He said we exist for mission and called upon the diocese to take upon ourselves the seriousness of the challenge, and the Lord will bless us.

The two Bishops read the Mission Pledge, with the people making a commitment on behalf of the diocese.

A mighty river

Bishop Martin said that Christianity in Africa was growing like a mighty river, getting wider and wider, but in some places it was only an inch deep. He said 79% of the population of South Africa said they are Christians, and yet …! Like so many “Christian” countries in Africa there is corruption, crime, conflict, stigma for those living with HIV/AIDS and much more. 

 Over the past 90 years, since statistics were recorded, the percentage of Anglicans in South Africa has dropped from 0ver 20% to 5%. However the Anglican Church of Southern Africa has two very alive dioceses, those of Niassa and Angola, where the bishops are baptising over 100 adult converts at a time. Meanwhile the African Independent Churches have grown from nothing in 1921 to over 40% in 2001.

Plan of growth

Church growth does not happen by itself, we need to evangelise, make disciples and equip Godly leaders. We need to remember the vital healing ministry, the youth and that we are ministering to the whole person. 

He said, “We need to look at what it means to be an Anglican:

  • What are our essential values that may not be changed?
  • What changes do we need to make?


  • What will it cost to become a Church in Mission?”

He went on to say that the Anglican Church in Southern Africa has set up a steering committee to look at the church becoming “A God-centred, vibrant church which is clearly growing spiritually, numerically and holistically.” He spoke about what the committee are doing and said that mission will take commitment and hard work.

“Are we ready? How deep will we venture into God’s river of life? (Ezekiel 47:1-12)”,  and will we say “Here am I, send us.” These were the challenges left with us by Bishop Martin.

Pic 1:  Pledging ourselves - Bp Bethlehem and Bp Martin Breytenbach read the Pledge to Mission.

Pic 2:  A time to laugh - Enjoying themselves after the Mission launch were Shane Fraser, Bishop Martin and David Stansbury.

Mission workshop in Humansdorp
Pam Brown reports on the workshop held at Humansdorp.

The Mission team led by Bishop Martin Breytenbach visited the Parish of the Good Shepherd on Monday 29 January to launch our Diocese’s first year of mission. In attendance were Bishop Bethlehem and David Stansbury.

Bishop Martin held two workshops which were well attended by representatives from all the churches of the parish. ‘What is our mission?’ and ‘The results of an effective mission’ were some of the topics discussed. We looked at priorities and how to achieve them.

We were challenged to:

  • Plan for Growth,
  • Make disciples and
  • Equip Godly leaders.

Bishop Martin’s wonderful keyboard playing and some enjoyable hymns complimented Evensong and a finger supper between programmes. The parish would like to thank all those who made this occasion such a success. "Go and make disciples of all nations." 

Pic:  Getting to know you - Bishop Martin joined Fiona Estherhuizen and Jackie Trollip during a break

Almost half-way there
Rod Greville, rector of the Parish of Sundays River Valley writes that the new church building for St Barnabas, Nomathamsanqua, is almost half-way up.

Their Patronal Festival will be celebrated on Sunday 17 June and Rod has asked parishes to please diarise the date and to come and join them in their big celebration. Funds are being raised to complete the building of this 250 seater church building in a rural area. More next month!

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