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Vol 23 No 2


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


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 •  Hit by cash crunch
 •  Earning too much to tithe
 •  Churchwardens' School starts its work
 •  Lent

Hit by cash crunch

The diocese is experiencing budgetary constraints and one of the cut-backs is that they are no longer able to subsidise the iindaba which was being charged to subscribers and parishes at R2,40 per copy and, as from January, it is now being charged at R4,00. This also means that those parishes who have not paid for their copies will no longer receive and sadly, the sharing of news around the diocese is stifled.

Congregants ask what happens to their money … why does the diocese take so much? Simply, we are an Episcopal church within a Province of the World-wide Anglican Church. As such we first have to cover our clergy’s stipend (at present R9 323) and travel allowance R5 200 as well as the ‘package’ – house, lights, water, etc of our rector; then we have to cover our portion of the cost of our Bishop and the running of an office to look after salaries, pensions, medical aid, buildings, synods and many more aspects of running a diocese … including our portion of the costs of being part of a ‘province’ which organises and has to pay for a Provincial Standing Committee (PSC) meeting once a year and a Provincial Synod every three years, a portion of the Metropolitan’s costs plus much, much more. So yes, a big chunk of the money we give goes there – but that is the nature of our believing we need a bishop to fulfil our biblical structure for ministry.

We look around and see other churches growing and building bigger and better buildings and having lots of ‘pastors’ and some ask how they manage to do so. Simply, the congregations believe in tithing their income – God blesses you with a job and a salary BUT he expects you to give him 10% of your salary to run his church and to evangelise. The Word of God speaks clearly on tithing, and obeying God about tithing is the only time he challenges one to test him - because he is angry at the lack of obedience of his people to do so.

Malachi 3:8-10
“Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me.
“But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’
“In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse – the whole nation of you – because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”

So, are we as a diocese going to joyfully obey God and bring in our tithes – and yes, and neither Jesus, nor the apostles said anything about not tithing (maybe because they were all Jews and obeyed God with tithing).

Someone once said that if every Anglican in South Africa tithed we would have so much money we would have no problem feeding and looking after the ‘widows and orphans’ as the bible tells us to do, and evangelizing and doing so much more. Oh, and tithing to God means to the church and does not include ‘giving’ to Animal Welfare, Red Cross or wherever else!

Pic: Our Diocesan Secretary-Treasurer, Peter Hopper, who received an overwhelming commendation from the members of the Finance committee for the good work he is doing with the finances of the diocese.

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Earning too much to tithe

The late Bishop Bruce Evans during the 1980’s told the story of a member of a congregation who joyfully told of giving his tithe of R1 a week out of the R10 he earned. However, a few years later he asked the Bishop whether he still had to actually continue giving the whole 10% tithe now that he was earning R1 000 a week because, after all, R100 was a lot of money to be expected to give every week. Bishop Bruce replied, “You can always go back to earning R10 a week because you didn’t find giving R1 every week too hard to do.” Was this why the rich young man found Jesus’ request too hard to obey? Is it harder to give to God when you earn more? The poor widow in the Temple gave her everything to God.

... and you, the members of this diocese? … especially now that so many are no longer ‘disadvantaged’ … are you going to continue to rob God by holding back on your tithes?

If every Anglican in this diocese joyfully gave his/her tithe we would have no need to hold back on the essential work of the Lord.

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Churchwardens' School starts its work
[ Relton Groepe ]

The Diocesan Churchwardens’ School had its first workshop in Cradock on 4 February. The school was initiated by the Churchwardens’ Forum to develop the churchwarden’s and councillor’s leadership skills and to instil a sound foundation of the Constitution and Canons of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa and the Acts of the Diocese of Port Elizabeth. This first workshop was well attended by churchwardens and chapelwardens of the Karoo Archdeaconry. We had a Holy Spirit filled engagement grounded on the biblical foundation of 1 Timothy 3 which provides insight regarding the qualifications for overseers (churchwardens) and deacons. We work-shopped the various sections of the Diocesan Churchwardens’ Handbook. The churchwardens were very responsive and we were encouraged by the zeal demonstrated for the work of the Lord. We are planning three more workshops for the Karoo Archdeaconry and hope that we can encourage more individuals to accompany Relton Groepe, the canon to the ordinary, on future visits to the Karoo.

The next workshop will be during the month of May in Middelburg.

Pic: Relton Groepe, the lay canon holding the education portfolio is seen with the group of churchwardens who attended the school in Cradock.

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“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be
tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights,
he was hungry. The tempter came to him ...

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.”

Matt 4:1-11


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contact the editor at iindaba@anglicandiocesepe.org.za

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