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Vol 23 No 6


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


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 •  A quick look at Synod

A quick look at Synod

Diocesan Synod met at the Church of St John the Baptist in Walmer from Thursday 24 to Saturday 26 May.

On Wednesday evening 23 May the opening Eucharist had been held at the Cathedral Church of St Mary the Virgin where Bishop Bethlehem delivered his Charge to the Diocese (see page 3). Many leaders from other churches honoured the Anglican Diocese and our Bishop by attending.

Each day Synod began with Morning and closed with Evening Prayer. Retired Bishop Philip le Feuvre gave very inspiring addresses in the morning and these were discussed in the Bible Study groups which followed. The theme was around discerning the Signs and the Times. He challenged Synod members to repent of running away from God’s plan for them, to stop conforming to the world and to go out and be seen as Christians living and doing the Word of God. He asked why the church takes the most exciting person who has ever walked this earth and makes him so pale that people prefer the world to the anaemic Jesus being presented. He closed his final talk by saying, “God did not give us a Spirit of timidity so don’t be a timid diocese, be powerful with the power of the Holy Spirit and take Jesus into the world.” CDs of his talks are available from St John’s at R20 for the set.

The business of Synod seemed to be a bit slow in the beginning with the usual hurry to get through on the last day. For the first time in a PE Synod the members were allowed to clap if they felt someone had made a good point. There was also some very light –hearted banter between various members which helped to make everyone very much more relaxed.

The resolutions, together with the Bishop’s Charge and a press release concerning the motion on ‘Seeking justice and peace in Israel/Palestine’ are on the ‘news’ page of our website for all to see what Synod has decided for the diocese. Besides that debate, Synod debated the implied support of abortion on request by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu in appearing in an advert for the Mary Stopes Clinic and is to send a delegation to meet with him for clarity. Other Motions passed included: Congratulating Dr Neil Littleton, Ingazi and DOH in establishing the first stem cell transplant unit at Provincial Hospital in PE; Crimes against Children; Church Planting; the Koinonia Signature Campaign; and the Southern African Mission Society.

Also on our web site are the three daily Synergys - in full colour!

Cub reporters
At the press desk as observers were three ‘cub reporters’ from the Media Workshop - Thami Nyondo, who attended all of Synod, and Nosizwe Mali and Nelissa Mafa who, because of work and youth group commitments were only able to be there for some part.
Part of Thami’s report on the last day: It’s amazing to see the energy that people still have to look at the interests of the church - very interesting Motions that affect our day-to-day lives and serve as petrol/paraffin to keep the fire of the church burning as strong as desired. Thank you Anglicans for your determination to complete all the business.

Top - Synod at worship
Bottom - The three ‘old’ clergy! Synod bid farewell to Terry Beadon, Welile Kani and Ruthell Johnson who will have joined the ranks of pensioners before next Synod.

Diocese has New Vision Statement
One of the two banners used to launch our new Vision Statement. Each parish was given a laminated copy of the Statement which, hopefullly, they will display in a prominent place in their church building.

A prophecy from the Lord given to Synod during the Saturday morning service

“I am the Lord, I dwell in unapproachable light,
I am holy, I am holy.
You are my people, I have called you for my own possession – you are mine.

My people I want to use you but you are not ready –
You are not ready for what is coming upon the world, you must prepare yourselves for times are coming, times that you do not know, times when you will tremble, terrible things are coming, there will be great troubles and suffering – people are going to be confused, they are going to be unsure, even among you. A terrible time is coming – many will be running, many will be terrified, many will fall.

In the midst of this I want you, my people, to stand out like lights and beacons of hope, but you are not ready. You are not ready!

Prepare for this by coming close to me, by studying and knowing my Word, by following my guidance all the time. Then you will not only survive what is coming but will draw many to me through your witness. But you must be ready, my people.”

The Prayer for Synod
as given to us by Major Margaret Stafford of the Salvation Army

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression and the exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection and starvation, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done. Amen

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