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Vol 25 No 9


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


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 •  James Haya remembered
 •  St Paul's turns 160
 •  New BEO
 •  Healthcare Sunday 19 October

James Haya remembered

Over 300 people gathered at the Lillian Ngoyi Sport Centre on Saturday 6 September to hear Prof Barney Pityana present the inaugural Canon James Mbokothwebomvu Haya Memorial Lecture.

The Gala Dinner was organised by Holy Spirit Church in KwaZakhele in aid of their many social programmes.

Barney spoke on “Effective Christian Ministry in the continuously changing South African context.” He began by saying the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA) had recently affirmed the Anglican theological identity - that as Anglicans we have a responsibility to present Christ afresh to our generation and to bring men and women to faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. He said, “It is a good thing to be an Anglican … to be a Christian in Africa … to be an African praising God for our diverse cultures and rich heritage. It is as an Anglican priest that today we celebrate the late James Haya.”

Pic: Professor Barney Pityana with Jessie Haya and Bishop Bethlehem.

Having spoken of the limitations placed on black priests in the past, he pointed out that Anglican clergymen were at the forefront of the struggle and mentioned James Calata at Cradock, and others, going on to say, “The first lesson to learn, I believe, in such circumstances, is that there can be no religion without politics. In other words, ministry itself was a political game. Both religion and politics were unavoidable.”

He spoke of the task of an Anglican priest being, among many things, the visible presence of Christ in the community - living a life modelled on the life of Christ. He said it can be a problem when the priest associates only with the moneyed and powerful in the parish or spends too much time in undesirable places - the life of a priest is a sermon in action.

He went on to say, “Sadly in recent years the training, education and formation of parish clergy has been neglected. We have reduced our formal residential training and formation of clergy from four seminaries to the current one.” He said that at one level, clergy in the parishes are no longer able to inspire men and women by their preaching, teaching and spiritual example and that he does not accept that we are called to grow the church in mere numbers – rather we are called “to make disciples” of Christ (Matthew 28:19). What we should aspire always to do is to help God’s people to a deeper knowledge of God.

He spoke of the dilemmas about our culture and practices which have not been resolved sufficiently. He said people continue to practise our cultures, including polygamy, rites of passage etc and that many have never resolved the questions of traditional healing in relation to our Christian beliefs - many become initiated as traditional healers, and we have no idea what the church teaches about those practices. Quoting Timothy 1:2 he said, “No culture must be ‘absolutised’ but must be subjected to judgment or scrutiny in the light of faith.”

Barney ended by saying, “For all the above reasons you will understand why it makes so much sense for us as the church to invest in the training of our clergy … It is very risky to unleash untrained and untested personnel into the life of the church.”

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St Paul's turns 160
[ Lionel Heath ]

St Paul’s, Parson’s Hill, the second oldest Anglican parish in Port Elizabeth after St Mary’s, turns 160 during October this year.

The first St Paul’s Church was built between 1854 and 1856 at the corner of Govan Mbeki Street and Albany Road – at that time called Main Street and Cooper’s Kloof respectively. The foundation stone was laid by the first Bishop of Grahamstown, John Armstrong, on St Luke’s day, 18 October 1854.

The rector of the parish from 1859 to 1893, the Revd Samuel Brook, established St Paul’s School and 68 of its old boys served in the military during the First World War. The centenary of the start of the war has been celebrated widely during the course of this year.

In 1960 a new church was built on Parson’s Hill and the old church was demolished. A link with the old church building was retained as parts of the old church were incorporated into the new church. These include various stained glass windows, a number of memorials, the teak pulpit and prayer desks for the rector and curate as well as the lectern. The lectern is carved from a solid piece of oak and depicts an angel, the bringer of God’s word. Of particular historical interest is the gravestone of Charles Cooper who owned the lower end of Cooper’s Kloof and who gave the land for the original church.

Although the 160th anniversary is not as important as the 100th or 150th, the people of St Paul’s, always keen for a celebration, will get together for a dinner on Friday 17 October in the parish hall and there will be a special combined Eucharist at 08h30 on Sunday 19 October in the church.

All those with connections to St Paul’s, particularly former parishioners, are welcome to attend these two events. Those wishing to attend the dinner can purchase tickets by contacting the parish secretary, Madelene Lunt, at 041 374 3124 during morning office hours (Tuesday to Friday). Tickets will not be on sale on the evening of the dinner.

Pic: The old St Paul’s building on the corner of what are now Govan Mbeki Street and Albany Road.

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On Tuesday morning 9 September Mark Derry handed over the reins as the Bishop’s Executive Officer to the Provost, Sharon Nell.

Bishop Bethlehem thanked Mark for his time as BEO and went on to say that in replacing Mark he had looked for someone trustworthy and in whom he could have faith as well as fellowship. He said he had found someone worthy of that position in Sharon who steps down as chaplain to the AWF, Server’s Guild etc.

Pic: Bishop Bethlehem discusses some of the work of the BEO with the Provost Sharon Nell while the outgoing BEO Mark Derry looks on.

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Healthcare Sunday 19 October

Initiated by the Christian Medical Fellowship of South Africa (CMF) and Healthcare Christian Fellowship International (HCFI).

A brochure is available for use by churches and fellowship groups.

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