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The Bishop writes ...
Mission goes on ...
My Dear People of God,
Greetings in the name of Christ, our Lord and Saviour, Amen!
It is joy to be back among you after a long Sabbatical Leave. We went to the Diocese of Sydney per kindness of Archbishop Peter Jensen. Many thanks for your prayers when I suddenly found myself hospitalised for what I thought was minor ailment. We are very grateful to the staff at the hospital for the promptness of attention and care I received. How I wish that our hospitals would do the same! My experience in Sydney hospital reminded me of the time when most hospitals, especially in the Transkei, were run by missionaries - Anglicans, Presbyterians, NG Kerk in Africa, amongst others. Everybody carried on with their tasks with great joy and fulfilment to the help of the poor and the needy, never turned away after long waits and distances travelled.
Our visit to Sydney aimed at achieving four things, namely consultations with the Church, study, time to ourselves and rest. Indeed we had very fruitful consultations which, hopefully, will bring us a lasting friendliness and partnership as fellow workers in the propagation of the gospel in our world as was passed on to us by our forebears (1 Cor 1:9).
I am writing this letter on the day of Transfiguration of our Lord (Lk 9:28-36). This commemoration reminds us of two
things, namely, the presence of God, and engagement in mission.
The Presence of God in our lives and in everything that surrounds us is the core of our existence as followers of Christ,
worshippers, witnesses and ministers. This is the integral business of the church from ages past. It is the mandate we
carry from the Lord of all abundant life and redeemer of the world. It manifests itself in the United Nations Millennium
Goals. Sadly, the passion to pursue these obligations is far too slack. We have let Christ down in things we do and endorse as reasonable rather than scriptural. May God save us from pride of reason and new age thought at the expense of preaching the gospel and the cross of Christ for human salvation (1 Cor 1:17ff).
In the South African calendar we celebrate women during August. We should praise God for this kind of focus in what we need to be aware of and engage in. Women have suffered a lot of different kinds of abuse at the hands of men. Still these atrocities continue and, sadly, even from the hands of those men who are simply churched. What a shame on us! Both women and children, together with the elderly, are vulnerable in our society at large, let alone those who are widows and orphans. They need to be surrounded by the love of God in Christ our Lord. This love is a transforming love, from ‘one degree of glory to another’ which comes from the Lord who is the Spirit (2 Cor 3:18). Women (with all of us) need to pull themselves up and not allow being subdued in their self esteem. God loves them! They must accept this all-embracing love and rise up to transformation by raising an alarm should there be any kind of abuse. God did not create us for misery but for everlasting happiness, a foretaste of which is here and now. In his Word he has set up rules and standards to aspire to by those who believe (Eph 5:1 cf Jn.3:16ff). Every ideal community is made up of an ideal home, where the fear of God, the honour of authority and the respect of the elderly is always in the forefront of daily operations. This is what mission pursues.
Engagement in mission strategies entails a commitment to Christ first and foremost. It is imperative to commit our lives to him for the Holy Spirit to cultivate a passion in us for salvation of people within all their situations. Without this passion, mission and evangelism cannot bear fruit. The ‘Growing the Church’ programme remains the ‘talk show’ as numbers
continue to dwindle in many parts and areas of our church. We have a mandate to passionately carry, that of ‘making disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’, in other words
bringing them to commitment to Christ; and to teach and train them not only to articulate the faith, but to abide by Biblical standards and to defend that faith. Prayer is the key.
Pause as you read this letter. Ask yourself whether you are ‘in Christ’ (2 Cor.5:17ff) or just a churchgoer, a good Anglican. God demands faith, not “churchianity”. Then pray for the mission of the church to flourish as is the case with the Nigerian church amidst Moslem hostility.
Lord renew your church by your Holy Spirit;
Begin with me.
Make her holy and without blemish by the blood of the Lamb,
Defend her from all assaults of the enemy;
And bring us to commitment to Christ. Amen.
Mission goes on in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Yours affectionately in the love of Christ,
Pic: Bishop Bethlehem speaking at the Ordination Service
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The view from pulpit and pew
- iindaba is sad to record the death of retired priest, Ewart Collett, who died in St George’s Hospital in August. Ewart exercised his ministry in the Grahamstown Diocese, and moved to Bushmans’ River Mouth on his retirement a few years ago. Ewart’s late parents, David and Joan, farmed at Dunblane near Middelburg, and were faithful members of the Middelburg parish. Ewart never married, and leaves his brother, Andy, to whom we extend our condolences.
- One of the cathedral’s most colourful characters, Hilary Davies, died after a short illness last month. Hilary was the widow of Roger Davies, organist and Choirmaster at St Mary’s many years ago. Hilary was a much loved teacher, actress, mother and friend.iindaba extends condolences to Churchwarden Mgedezi, rector of St Peter’s, Zwide, on the recent death of his brother in the Transkei.iindaba also records the death of Anne Berning in Grahamstown. Anne was the widow of Mike Berning of Cory Library fame. Anne, the former head sacristan of Grahamstown’s cathedral, was the daughter of Donald and Nihta Leavey, who herself died recently in Cape Town at 102. Donald was a former rector of St Saviour’s in Walmer, and a former editor of SEEK, the newspaper of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa. In her latter years, Anne was tenderly cared for by the CR Sisters, who were very kind to her.More proof that clergy ‘carry on’ after retirement – many will have been saddened by the theft of millions of Rands from the George diocese. The Archbishop asked our own retired Diocesan Secretary, Keith Rae, to go to George under his authority to do a ‘paper chase’, and it was mainly due to his expertise that the ‘can of worms’ was opened and identified. Please pray for the Diocese of George.
- A notice has been issued saying the bishop will be going to Alexandria for their 150th anniversary, and he will unveil a plague! Wow – it’s Old Testament theology for the 21st Century – iindaba knows Alexandria is in Egypt, but is surprised a plague will be visited upon the people again.
- Two of our clergy have been ‘under the knife’ recently - Nelson Nongauza, Rector of St Matthew, KwaMagxaki, recently underwent surgery to his back in East London. At the time iindaba was being ‘put to bed’, Nelson was up and about, but, under doctor’s strict orders, was taking it easy. Richard Taylor, from All Saints’, Kabega Park, is also recovering from a hip replacement he had at the Mercantile Hospital last month.
- Can any of our readers please help a friend get in touch with Rosalie Wallace. Andrea Radomsky, now living in Canada, lost touch with Rosalie and has asked our help in locating her. e-mail iindaba with details.
- Speaking of Canada, there was much rejoicing in the home of recently-retired priest, Christopher Holmes and Susan, on the return of their daughter Katharine who has spent 15 months in Canada as a Rotary Exchange student. Amongst other things, Katharine wrote their version of Matric, and obtained the highest marks in the school for three of the six subjects, and missed another by 0.3% Katharine is willing to share her experience with youth groups, as she was very involved with the church in Canada. She can be contacted through her father on 083 459 3334.
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More pulpit and pew news ...
- Last month, iindaba mentioned the largest plane to fly into Port Elizabeth was piloted by former head choirboy of the cathedral, Peter Meyer. This month, another former St Mary’s choirboy has also been in the news – Simon Shaw. Simon sang in the South African Idols programme on M-Net, and reached the last 50. Simon’s grandmother, who recently died, was Clemency Atkinson, a widow of retired priest Cyril Shaw. Strangely, as is Peter Meyer, Simon is also a pilot. So is Simon’s sister Amy who is flying supplies and medicines into Central Africa.
- Burness Lear, secretary to †Philip Russell and †Bruce Evans has recently had two spells in hospital, which finally resulted in having gallstones removed. Burness had been in a great deal of pain, so was much relieved when it was all over. iindaba wishes her good health. Please keep her in your prayers.
- Also in hospital recently was Keith Adams tssf, former churchwarden of the Cathedral. He is recovering well after an Aorta operation in his abdomen and leg. After his previous cancer scare he was naturally fearful of this procedure.
- Diocesan Council member Jenny Watson and her husband Mike recently went on a sea cruise to our link diocese St Helena. They had a most enjoyable stay, and attended church where the bishop, John Salt, presided. After the service, Jenny said as there was no church hall, tea, coffee and wine were served in the church! Jenny said what was most interesting is that the Roman Catholic church has given its members permission to receive the sacrament in the Anglican Church, as there was no RC church on the island.
- Retired priest Eric Kleb is certainly not resting on his laurels from July this year to June next year. He was recently inducted as the President of the Rotary Club of Port Elizabeth South. Congratulations, Eric.
- Nicolette and Myron Leonard have an addition to their family. No – Nicolette has not given birth to another child, nor are she and Myron grandparents! They are fostering a little girl, Owam, who ‘has turned their lives upside down’. This has brought much joy and laughter into their home, and Owam was due to be baptised on her 2nd birthday in August.
- There was a service of baptism in the Eucharist at St Francis Xavier last month – not one, not two, but triplets – two sons, Noah and Evan, and a daughter, Kayla. They came from Johannesburg with their parents Darren and Pauline Karfor. Proud grandparents, Mervin and Judy Karfor of St Francis Xavier feel they have a triple blessing with their first grandchildren!
- The Rector of the College of the Transfiguration, Bill Domeris, has announced that he will be retiring from that post at the end of 2010. He and his wife Shona will not be leaving the Diocese, but will be moving to their retirement home at Cove Rock. Bill looks forward to the opportunity to write, and to travel as a guest lecturer.
and a thank you ...
- Our condolences to Kathy Hardnick on the death on 19 June of her mother who was 85 years old. May she rest in peace. Kathy’s husband, Johannes, is one of our retired priests.
- Johannes had a triple by-pass operation on 22 February and is recovering very well. He thanks all the people who prayed for his recovery and especially all the priests who visited him in hospital. He told iindaba, “Their visits meant so much to me because this was my first stay in hospital. Kathy and I appreciate the care and concern from all the family, clergy and friends.
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