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Vol 15 No 10


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

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 • Diocesan churches celebrate
 • Back to our roots
 • "Holy Howard" writes matric

Diocesan churches celebrate
St Paul's continues to celebrate its 150th year, St Cuthbert's its 120th and St Alban's its centenary.

St Paul's continues to celebrate
The festivities at St Paul’s in Parson’s Hill to celebrate 150 years of existence are now drawing to a close with the final events of the year, reports Lionel Heath.

New offices have been built for the rector and secretaries and these were dedicated on Friday 8 October by Bishop Bethlehem. The form of service and nearly all the hymns were those used 150 years ago when the original church in Albany Road was dedicated. Also present were Bishop Eric Pike and Joyce who had come to lead a Mission at St. Paul’s. After the dedication an enjoyable parish supper was held in the newly upgraded hall. Both the church and the hall were beautifully decorated for the occasion.

The new offices were built by a group of parishioners and the rector, Ruthell Johnson, assisted by a mason and a painter, for a cost far below that of the cost projected by the architect. The builders were “capped” and awarded Master of Building “degrees” at the supper after the dedication.

The theme of Bishop Eric’s Mission was the question Christ put to St Peter, “Who do you say I am?” Bishop Eric wove his talks around the different answers he himself was able to give to the question at various stages in his Christian walk and those in the congregation could relate them to their own situations.

Picture: Testimonies - Bishop Eric Pike, St Paul's mission leader, with Ernest van Dyk, who gave a testimony on the Sunday evening.

St Cuthbert's celebrations
These take place at the end of October so the report will appear in the next issue.

St Alban’s celebrations
On Sunday 3 October the little church of St Alban on the farm Draaifontein was packed to capacity with about 140 well wishers who had come to join the centenary celebrations.

Although the church had been meeting since 15 July 1888, the first church building was only erected and dedicated in 1904, on land donated by JJ Beckley. The Old and New Testament lessons during the service on Sunday were read from a Bible presented to the church in 1901, ‘to be used when reading from the lectern’.

Many clergy who had formerly ministered at St Alban’s were present at the service and many others sent greetings. The Bishop was the celebrant and preacher, and he spoke on different stones, and the Christians’ need to be ‘living stones’ in the temple of the Lord. He also reminded the congregation that the Bible is, “The ideal book, for ideal people, for ideal homes.” He closed by challenging everyone to go home and visit their neighbours, invite them to a meal and become a more concerned member of their immediate community.

Picture: Make a wish - Frances and Athol Beckley cut the anniversary cake.

Back to our roots
When the rector of St Augustine’s, Walmer Gqebera, Zola Nanana, was organising a celebration for Heritage Day, he asked the guest speakers to ‘Look at our roots’.

Speaking to the audience of mainly women, Prof Thipa, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Culture at the University of Port Elizabeth, and Dr Mamisa Chabula Nxiweni, both chose to speak on the Xhosa tradition of circumcision. The response to their talks was very positive.

Prof Thipa said he was not an anthropologist but a linguist so he would not be giving answers, but rather posing questions. After looking at circumcision in the Bible, as the covenant between God and man, he asked whether African traditions are reconcilable with Christianity. As circumcision is the rite of passage from being a boy to being a man, the questions included, “Are we going about it (circumcision school) in the right way? As Christians, are we teaching the graduate appropriately - to be a good man? Can we reconcile circumcision with precepts from the Bible?”

Mamisa said, “Too often people misinterpreted some Xhosa traditions, such as saying people were worshipping their ancestors, when what we are doing is acknowledging them. If one looks at the Bible, it says ‘the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’, and that’s what we’re doing.” Discussing circumcision she said that the Xhosa forefathers really were great scientists, although they could not say, medically, why they used certain plants, but they knew which to use for sterilising, for healing the wound etc.

Prof Thipa is a member of St Stephen’s in New Brighton and his claim to fame is that he contributed very largely to the new translation of the Bible in the current Xhosa idiom. Iindaba hopes to bring readers an interview with him soon.

Pictures: 1) Dancing for joy - Proving that part of Xhosa culture is to dance for joy at celebrations, is Dr Mamisa Chabula Nxiweni, who was one of the Heritage Day guest speakers at St Augustine's.

2) Our heritage - Tshintshiwa Mtyaleka puts the final touches to the display of cultural work before the start of the Heritage Day celebrations. Some of the pottery was made by Tshintshiwa, who is attending classes at present, and most of the clothing and other work on display was done by her mother and members of the community.

"Holy Howard" writes matric
Few readers know that our brilliant Holy Howard cartoonist is a student and is at present writing matric.

Warwick Renard is a learner at Alexander Road High School in Port Elizabeth and Iindaba asks that, as readers pray for all the students writing exams, they lift him up very specially.

At present it is not certain whether he will be studying at a tertiary institution in PE next year or whether we'll lose him to another diocese - but, whatever his choice is, Iindaba is very thankful he has faithfully produced a Holy Howard cartoon for us for every issue since May 2000.

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