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The youth, our future
It was amazing to see that the youth are still involved in the church ministry. The service was really inspirational and we as Christians should take a stand and not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ!
The future looks promising
Like soldiers off to war they marched, arms swaying, feet stomping, banners and flags flying, in a glorious procession about 150 metres long, winding its way through the street of historically significant buildings to the cathedral. What a glorious sight, what an awesome experience being part of the throng of vibrant, young people on a mission to proclaim that We are here! We need to be counted! We are ready to fight the evils that plague our communities and we are here to pledge our love for God and our support to the call of the church - melt us, mould us, use us.
The service, to the glory and honour of God, was a sight to behold. It was beautiful to see the cathedral packed to capacity with bands and worship groups occupying every nook and cranny. The young and the not so young had a chance to contribute to a service with a difference. The talent of those who performed was truly inspirational.
The Revd Tim Marshall of St Johns Methodist Church appealed to the youth to build their lives on the rock which is Jesus Christ, in a sermon that called for everyones participation. The magic book trick was breathtaking and left the children with many Ooohs and Aaahs.
The drama production put on by the Seeds of Faith group from Christ the King left one feeling that, "Yes, there are many evils in the world out there facing our youth; yes, the church must speak out against theses evils; yes, the youth are the future! But, we are the church, and we, as adults, were once too the future of the church. What future have we left for the youth of today? In what condition have we left the world and the church for our young people to take over as the future leaders in the church?"
For me, if the Youth Day Service is anything to go by, I am convinced that the young people are going to heed the call of Bishop Bethlehem to say an emphatic NO to drugs and to sex before marriage. We, the people of this diocese, are the church, and we must support our youth, who will definitely be the proud leaders of the church of tomorrow.
Well done young people! The diocese is certainly proud of all of you.
One of the items on the programme at the cathedral for the Youth service was the play Freedom Minus Peace Means Chaos put on by the Christ the King "Seeds of Faith" group. It was so successful that some of the churches have asked the group to bring the play to their parishes. The Seeds of Faith group are made up of members of the youth, Sunday school, MUCFL and parish council.
Proud new members of the clergy of the diocese are: Maria Allens of St James in the Great Fish River Parish, Mtutuzeli Belu of St Steven's, Musawenkosi Daba of the Cathedral Church of St Mary the Virgin, Nontsikelelo Memese of St Matthew's and Anna Plaatjies of St Thomas' in the Parish of the Karoo.
The service started with a procession of witness through the streets of Palmridge, led by Bishop Bethlehem, a few clergy from the northern areas, choirs from St Lukes, St Michael and All Angels, St Matthias and a large group of parishioners from the various parishes.
The music, under the direction of Charles Jantjies and the St Lukes Gospel Group, contributed to a wonderful, Spirit-filled atmosphere, and an awareness of Gods loving presence and infinite mercy. The Spiritual dancers were sensational and a psalm sung by the choir added to the atmosphere of intense awe and wonder at Gods greatness. Even the Bishop seemed to get caught up in the moment of the worship and seemed visibly overwhelmed by the vibrancy of the churches in the area.
We serve a truly amazing God, who loves us and has plans to prosper us, was Bishop Bethlehems inspired message. He further encouraged the clergy in the area to keep on spreading the Word of God amid trying circumstances, and to reach out to all those who are marginalized and in need of Gods love. People of God need to really start worshipping Him in Spirit and in Truth. If My people, who are called by My Name, humble themselves and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chron 7:14)
The combined Pentecost Service can now be regarded as an institution in the northern areas and God seems to be really moving among His people.
Never stop celebrating
He encouraged the people to celebrate in all circumstances, even if they are alone, or far away, or very busy. Present at these celebrations to hear Bishop Ziphozihle speak were many present and past members of the Thornhill congregation. The original building, of wood and iron, was erected in 1884 on ground donated by a local farmer, Isaac Newton, and served as an interdenominational church for the first fifty years. At that time it was called the Van Stadens River Undenominational Church. The picturesque brick building was erected in 1947 and, because of tremendous growth in numbers recently, an extension was added (see report Iindaba Sept 2003). The parish also includes Woodridge College.
Bishop Ziphozihle spoke on John 2: 1-11, the wedding in Cana, pointing out that the first of Jesus miracles happened at a celebration. He said, We celebrate our communion with the Living God who transforms our lives, even as Jesus trans-formed ordinary water into the best wine. God is a God of celebration. Right back in Genesis He celebrated His creative work, saying It is good.
He went on to say that Jesus had obeyed Gods mission when Mary, who had brought the need to His attention, had stood back so Jesus could do Gods will. The Bishop challenged the congregation not to fill their lives with small things but with big things, like Gods mission for their lives and His church.
The consultation was under the leadership of Canon Dave Doveton from the Diocese of Zululand and delegates from the dioceses of Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Natal, Zululand, Johannesburg and St Marks attended, most of them senior clergy. Also present was a UK visitor, Alan Purser of Crosslinks.
The opening address was given by Bishop Bethlehem who welcomed the delegates to our diocese. He gave them his views on the crisis in the Communion, particularly his personal experiences in the house of Bishops of the CPSA. Without betraying confidences, he gave an insight into the dynamics of the house of Bishops, particularly on the sexuality issue. This was especially helpful, as many bishops have been silent about their particular personal stand on this issue.The first morning's input was given by Alan Purser in which he gave an overview of the events which precipitated the formation of Anglican Mainstream leading up to the current situation in the Church of England (Cof E) with the appointment of an openly gay man as the Dean of St Albans.
During the consultation delegates broke into groups and discussed the issues (ecclesiastical, biblical and theological) confronting members of the CPSA, following the events in the Episcopal Church of the USA (ECUSA) , the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) and the Cof E.Bishop Bethlehem attended the final session in which group discussions were drawn together and goals set, and he made some helpful suggestions, especially regarding AMSAs relationship with the CPSA house of Bishops. There is no doubt where Bishop Bethlehem stands with regards to the authority of scripture, and he is willing to stand up for his beliefs.
Throughout the consultation the times of worship were deeply moving and powerful with an incredible sense of common purpose and mutual support. The overriding consensus is that the church needs to get back to its Anglican roots, ie to the pattern of life envisaged by Cranmer in which daily worship, prayer and the orderly study of scripture informs and moulds lives. There was also agreement that there needed to be more concentration of the systematic teaching and preaching of scripture. Leadership training needed to be reviewed - more resources could be offered to the church at large - and theological education was much discussed.
The AMSA vision is for a mission minded church under the authority of scripture, and delegates felt the CPSA had a lot of catching up to do with the rest of Africa in this regard.It was felt that AMSA could promote regional clergy schools in centres such as Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Johannesburg. Prominent orthodox theologians could be invited to speak on a topic such as The Authority of Holy Scripture in the Church Today, and other issues to help inform and promote biblical teaching in the church.
If readers need more information on Anglican
Mainstream, they are encouraged to go to the web site:
We are seldom aware of what happens behind the scenes in the womens organisations as far as the ministry of their members is concerned. There are, however, many who minister faithfully and unselfishly, caring for others physically and spiritually. Such a remarkable person was Mary Williams, a member of St Lukes in Palmridge, and a staunch member of the AWF from 1978 until her death in April this year.
When the AWF branch at her parish was closed in May 2003, Mary shed tears of concern about not being able to be a member any longer. However, the AWF have a Link Member system for women who are in parishes without branches, and Mary joyfully joined this group of women. Although one of her feet was badly infected with gangrene, and she struggled to walk, she attended the AGM on 20 March. Sadly, within a few weeks she died when that foot was amputated.
Both Mary and her late husband, Lionel Williams, a member of the CMS, had actively served the Lord within their organisations at both branch and diocesan level.
Doctors, Specialists and nursing staff were at a loss in ICU trying to stabilise me after an emergency operation early in March. One of the nursing sisters told Angela Brown, who was at my bedside when I came out of surgery, This man needs lots of prayer
Whilst Angela was getting the prayer chain into action, Rosemarie, my wife, and Rob Penrith had been called to ICU. As soon as Rose held my hand, I felt her strength and love flow through me with this wonderful warmth. I then realised that Rob was holding my other hand.
Having to have another two operations in the next three days meant 15 days in ICU, 12 of them on the ventilator and thereafter a further 7 days in a general ward. All this time, God was in control healing me and giving Rose strength beyond all understanding. Only when I started on my daily readings and my quiet time with God, in the general ward, did my strength start returning.
I had been fitted with a colostomy bag for 3 to 6 months, but after two months this was removed. Praise the Lord.
When thanking the Specialists for what they had done, I was told that it was someone greater than them who had carried me through and it is Him that I must thank. I visited the ICU to thank the sisters there and they said the same but added that it is a blessing that I have no memory of the first 12 days in ICU. What a mighty God we serve.
Rose and I did not realise how many people were praying for us and how we were covered throughout the Diocese and we want to thank you all for your love and your prayers.
Above all, we have to thank our Gracious Lord for hearing your prayers and the love, strength and healing He has performed. By His grace I am able to testify to you of his power. To Him be all the glory.
God bless you all.
There is something almost weirdly unnerving about having to be totally dependent upon God for daily provisions. It is the lot of many retired priests, and others, living for the most part on small pensions, and especially if some crooked lawyer has pinched all your savings! Give us this day our daily bread takes on real meaning if there is some doubt and anxiety whether daily needs are going to be met!
Recently, my nebuliser, which I have to use three times a day and which keeps me active for whatever service I can render to the Church, packed up. Due to the immensely kind provision of a parishioner pharmacist I had been able to acquire, almost ten years ago, what is called the Rolls Royce of nebulisers, so I knew that repairs were not going to come cheap.
Knowing that I cannot function without it, [I need at least 15 minutes before a choir practice!] I prayed earnestly for help. First off, a kind local pharmacist loaned us a similar machine, and eventually charged us half what we should have been paid. For a month I awaited anxiously for the axe to fall. St. Saviours Church, out of the blue and unasked, had enabled me to pay for medication which initially our Medical Aid refused to pay - a cool R600 a month - and hadnt paid for four months.
And then the dreaded phone call came. Your nebuliser is ready and good for another ten years, said the bright representative for the Pharmaceutical Company agents. I coughed nervously and said Thank you so much, but how much? One thousand two hundred rands was the reply as my stomach turned over. There was a long silence. But hey! says the Rep dont worry, it wont cost you - weve paid it
I had a hard time trying to mumble profound thanks, holding back the tears, but that evening in my prayers, I was not only thankful to the Lord, and to my benefactor, but repentant of my failure to hear Him clearly when He says Do not be anxious Now, we take just a day at a time.
Last year the Haven sold the winning ticket! Maybe it's your turn to win!
The Bishop writes ...
The joy of an earthly home
My Dear People of God,
When we pray for our homes, Prayer C in the APB often reminds me of the experiences in love and care that our Lord Himself had in His earthly home. It is true that apartheid has caused us great pain in breaking up family life with all the unacceptable laws which sought to systematically destroy the ideal that God has set up for human life in the Theology of Creation.
In the first two chapters of Genesis the expression it was very good (Gen 1 : 25, 31) comes only at the end of the work of the sixth day, when humans existed male and female. In vs 25, God sees creation as good, but the creation of humans marks the climax of Gods joy in the making of His deputies in His very likeness. It is only at this point that the divine intention of creation and its cultural programme begins to unfold to its genealogical fullness. A woman made for the man, not as his slave-girl but as his queen in a long lasting fellowship of love. A helper suitable for him (2:18) suggests primarily a correspondence or likeness (2:20 & 23), just as man is the image and glory of God; so the woman bears that same resemblance of the glory in man.
In Ancient Near East literature, the Yahwist (the worshipper of YHWH or God) sees man and woman to be reflecting an interpretation of the woman as derivative from, and hence of the same kind with the man. Then for the human being Adam, the triangle of a lasting relationship and fellowship of love and commitment is complete in the leaving, cleaving and one flesh. The leaving, and cleaving and one-flesh points us to maturity, companionship or fellowship and sexual expression.
The love and care of an earthly home is fully achieved when we recognise and accept the presence of God in our lives, and in everything that surrounds us. It is only when we come to Christ and experience His love and forgiveness that we are able to love and render the necessary care. For Jesus Christ, marriage is a divine institution which needs not to be broken (Mtt 19 : 1-12). Anything which seeks to destroy this union does so because of the hardness of hearts (Mtt. 19 : 8). The interpretation of Deut 24 : 1-4 varied between two schools of Shammai, which held that unchastity means something indecent and could be the ground for divorce; and Hillel which emphasised that the clause who becomes displeasing to him" would allow the husband to divorce his wife for anything he disliked - even the burning of food while cooking,. Jesus took the side of the Shammai - no divorce except for unchastity.
For Paul marital relationship hinges on two words viz obedience and love. The mystery of marriage refers to Christ and His church. Love for ones wife and respect for husband is tantamount to living daily in union with Christ as Gods children in a covenant of love.
An ideal home is where a husband and a wife live in love for each other and their children. That love is then taken to the community as they seek to make a contribution to make life worth living for the underprivileged. Care and concern is expressed in such a relationship for all who live there. People should interact at home with love, care and welfare for one another to plant and uphold the ideals enshrined in the philosophy of UBUNTU. This will help us produce good citizens in our land. Always remember the old wise saying : The Family that prays together, stays together.
Finally, our homes are wrecked by divorce, abuse and HIV/AIDS. In the pews of our churches we have many battered and wounded people both physically, mentally and emotionally. We need to bring the ministry of love, care and concern to homes orphaned by death. The AWF/MUCFL have begun a commendable ministry of adopt-a-family and bring joy to many. I wish to encourage you, especially young people and Bernard Mizeki Guild members to join hands in bringing Gods love to many in our diocese and metropole. This should be part of our outreach programme. Let us not lose heart, but continue to bring joy to many homes in our land.
Yours affectionately in the service of Christ,
It had all begun with Bev Shepherd of the Zwartkops River ValleyParish sharing what she called a very unusual inspiration with Ann Booth. The idea was that the women of the parish collect sponsorship to float up the river on a variety of inflatables (anything that floats) from Settlers Bridge, on the incoming tide, and ending at Tippers Creek.
The float began at 14h00 on 6 March with a rather chilly breeze making the float not too pleasant. However, all the participants stoically walked into the river and began their journey. A group consisting of men and the not-so-brave females cheered them all the way along the riverbank. However, one of the men opted to swim alongside the women to make sure they were safe. At Tippers Creek all were treated to a well deserved cup of something hot to drink and delicious things to eat in one of the riverside homes.
At church with a combine harverster
The church consisted of about 80 farm workers and children from four farms in the area and they had come to hear the missionaries, Samuel Radebe and Simon Fietz, whom the farmers have brought in to minister to their staff. Samuel gave a powerful evangelistic message in Xhosa, which Simon translated into Afrikaans, so that all could understand.
Each Sunday Samuel, his wife Maureen and Simon visit a different farm so that all the farm's workers will get a chance to have Sunday service on their farm. They also have the chance to attend Bible study and follow-up teaching as the missionaries visit the farms during the week to work alongside the staff, pray with them and counsel them when needed. All three are trained evangelists, Bible teachers and counsellors.
Twenty farmers in the Hofmeyr/Schoombee area have joined together to invite the two missionary families from Mobile Evangelization Trust (MET) to minister to their staff and eleven farmers in the Tafelberg/Conway area are financing Joe Kohen to reach out and minister to their staff.
The farmers have taken a very large step in faith as they need to house, feed and provide transport - the Schoombie group have bought a little bakkie - for the missionaries who will be there for seven months. After the seven-month period the farmers will renegotiate with MET as this is a long term project with the aim/vision of training someone from this area to carry on the work
The monthly costs are in the region of R4 500 and this is what the farm holiday auction, reported on in the last Iindaba, was all about. Farm workers are also being encouraged to buy their own Bibles at a cost of only R20 each. The balance of the price is being subsidised by the fund.
The vision given the farmers is of staff empowered with the love and joy of Jesus and not overpowered by drink and non Christian forms of worship. Already some breakthrough has been made in the area of ancestor worship, and many of those who have attended the teachings have bought Bibles and are asking questions about giving their lives to the Lord. Another breakthough is the request for teaching on marriage, as so few of the couples are married. It is early days yet, just two months since it all began, but things are happening and some changes are taking place.
Soaking prayer is needed for the missionaries, the farmers and all involved in this outreach. Prayer warriors are needed to cover this wonderful project. If readers would like to intercede for this work then a prayer update list can be obtained from Trish Southey: 049 842-1612
The brick building was erected in 1973, but over the past 15 years many of the bricks have deteriorated. During that time bricks were replaced but more and more bricks crumbled away. Last year the parish council decided that a start had to be made towards a comprehensive solution. Experts were called in and options were looked at. Finally, on the recommendation of Raymond Drake of Thembela Architects, it was decided that Neutron Neuklad, with appropriated preparation of the walls was the best choice for the job. The process has taken quite a few weeks to complete as many stages had to be implemented to ensure that the 15 yr guarantee will stand, and now the building looks really good.
At the same time it was decided to have the roof cleaned and painted and many other necessary repairs were also done, landing the parish with a final bill of around R90 000. Fund raising events have been held over a few years, such as the Food Fair on Friday 25 June which brought in over R2 000. A Fête will be held on 27 August 2004.
In her report to the meeting the chairman, Nobantu Makunga, spoke of the various changes that have taken place during the year and of plans for the future. With the office having been relocated back into the main building, the building which housed the office and the missionarie's flat will now become a male patient ward. Commenting on this later during her report the matron, Maggie Williams, said, This is not meant to be discriminatory to the women, it is simply that HIV/AIDS affects the women much more quicky than the men. Our female patients are, on the whole, more ill than the men, and need to be in the Care Centre.
Longer term expansion envisaged is the building of a childrens dormitory for about 16 children. Negotiations have commenced with Caring Truckers Aids and Firestone/Bridgestone, but has to be subject to the receipt of the anticipated grants and donation from the Lotto to establish a solid financial base, said the Financial Administrator, Clint Morris, in his report. Earlier he had pointed out that the Haven had had to dig into its reserves to cover a deficit of R179 586 for the year, and that the maintenance of either an adult or a child patient is in the order of R85 per day.
In her report Maggie thanked all the volunteers, both local and overseas who have helped so much during the year saying, They are doing the same work as the paid cleaners and carers. They are an example to us all and an inspiration. In speaking of the training she said that the Wellness Management Course has changed from 5 days (with two afternoons off) to 4 full days.
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