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Bishop David said at the workshop held during April that a trust had been formed called the Anglican AIDS and Healthcare Trust, and that the ministry had been restructured into four portfolios run by programme 'directors' to give it autonomy and because funders prefer it that way.
He reminded the coordinators and field workers that their work among people living with HIV/AIDS is done because Jesus Christ came and dwelt among us and he knows our present-day sicknesses.
The four portfolios are:
This restructured programme needs constant monitoring and evaluation and closer ties need to be forged with ecumenical partners.
To date about 300 people in our diocese have been
trained to care for, and work with, PLA's.
Continua – fighting HIV/AIDS
During the five days they gave a capacity building workshop to supervisors from the piloting parishes in the Port Elizabeth diocese: St Simon of Cyrene in Uitenhage, Church of Ascension, Cradock, St Augustine’s Walmer, St Matthew's, Kwa-Magxaki and Sundays River Valley Parish, and in the Grahamstown diocese: St Matthew’s, Keiskamma, St Andrew’s, Queenstown, St Michael’s in Sterkspruit, St Chad and St John, King Williamstown and St Augustine’s, Grahamstown. Specific focus was on leadership, team building, counselling and planning. Bishop Bethlehem, together with both diocesan HIV/Aids chaplains joined the workshop and conducted a Eucharist Service on the Wednesday. Bishop Bethlehem encouraged all present, together with church leaders and parents, to continue teaching children sexual abstinence until marriage. He also spoke of the vision of ACSA of having an HIV/AIDS free generation.
During February ACSA Siyafundisa facilitators had visited the diocese to re-launch the project and had trained peer educators.
Pics: 1) On-going training - Supervisors from piloting parishes in PE and Grahamstown dioceses who attended the Siyafundisa workshop, and 2) Bishop Bethlehem with Sipambo Ludidi (right) and two of the facilitators.
Bishop Bethlehem said he had invited the clergy to encourage and affirm them because this ministry demands a compassionate heart and brings stress and tears. He thanked the spouses for their support of their clergy partners. He urged the clergy to be generous in their judgement and said, “Don’t lose the vision in all you do. St Barnabas saw the vision of the Kingdom when he saw the Gentiles. The Lord can carry on with the bigger vision for the Kingdom when we take out the ‘my parish / diocese’ and replace it with ‘our’. Then God will bless his people.”
The dinner was hosted by St Mary Magdalene who laid on a wonderful spread.
Pic 1: Mine host and hostess - Bishop Bethlehem and Mazoe with Welile Kani.
Pic 2: From the host parish - Fumanekile and Tembela Kula. Those priviledged enough to get a taste of the rector's special nqushu were impressed with Fumi's prowess in the kitchen.
The slogan for the day was ‘A strong woman versus a woman of strength’. The rector, Zandisile Non-gauza, was present with invited dignitaries who included the president of the diocesan MUCFL, Nomonde Qoto, the vice-president, Nomfundo Tuku, the president of the women of the AME Church, Vidah Mayana, the president of the Presbyterian Church women, Nozizwe Bashman, and the Keynote speaker Nontsikelelo Komani, who is a priest in the AME Church.
Nomonde Qoto gave an account of Ntsiki’s contribution in the MUCFL saying Ntsiki was never challenged by her physical disability. She served the MU with a vision, becoming the diocesan minute secretary and also represented the diocese at the MU Provincial Conference. She always had consecutive ideas and would motivate members towards the development of the MU which has a trophy contributed by Ntsiki to motivate attendance at MU Conferences. The St Matthew’s MUCFL regards Ntisiki as ‘A woman of strength’ who is an inspiration to all.
Nontsikelelo Komani, the keynote speaker, stressed that God only calls one person to lead his people, just as he did when he called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. According to Nontsikilelo, the church today is being challenged by some members in congregations who make it difficult for the priest to play the leading role. She welcomed Ntsiki into the ‘world of female priests’, wished her well and encouraged her to listen to God’s commands.
Pic: Welcome to our world - Nontsikelelo Komani, welcomes Ntsiki Memese into the ‘world of female priests’ at St Matthew’s, KwaMagxaki, watched by the rector, Zandisile Nongauza and Nosimo Mlonzi.
Rodney Koen testified to the power of the Holy Spirit enabling him to speak out in the small group discussion time. He said, “I thought of being quiet, but could not. I spoke up and shared my view, and I strongly believe it was the power of the Holy Spirit empowering me to speak. I spoke with confidence and a feeling of authority. During the six week course I felt a sense of excitement within because I realised what our mission for God is.”
Rodney and Caroline Gibson said, “It was most enlightening and beneficial. We felt that we had grown spiritually and learnt to know fellow parishioners more intimately. A surprising thing was that people, who before were shy to voice their opinions, learnt through the small discussion groups not only to voice their ideas, but the depth of their spiritual commitment was brought to the fore. We saw people blossom as a result. We never expected such enthusiasm as we found among our little group and were heartened that Jesus is truly adored by our parishioners and there is a lot of hope for us to grow as people of God and future ‘fishers of men’ in his name and to his glory.”
Each Wednesday evening was quite challenging in terms of the topics on hand. Attendances at the study varied between 20 and 30 per week. I firmly believe that those who attended were blessed through this experience, and especially at the challenge on mission as written in Matt 28:19, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” The challenge is evident by the experience of those who attended, and we thank God for working in their lives, by the testimonies given above.
Bishop Bethlehem conducted the service, which was very
joyous, drawing all present into an awareness of our responsibility to
each other under the guidance of our rector, and our need to support
him. We felt blessed that his family were present to support him as we
became his new family. Our good wishes and love go with him in his time
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