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Ruth spoke to Iindaba about her excitement when she heard shed been chosen to attend the conference. She said, I feel I have learnt a lot that I can use within my parish and within the diocesan youth structures. However, it was not all classroom type learning - the group visited the House of Commons and the House of Lords (Parliament), and the Home Office as well as other places of interest. This was Ruths first time of being away from her very closely knit family, So I was very nervous in between the excitement, she told Iindaba.
When asked about how Ruth came to be chosen to go on the trip, Shane Fraser, the rector of St Michael and All Angels said, Bernice Alexander, a former member of this parish, works at the Home Office in the UK. The opportunity arose for her to sponsor a young person from South Africa to attend the Future Leaders for Tomorrow Conference in London. She approached me and asked me to choose some young person with leadership potential who would not normally get the opportunity to travel to such a conference. I feel confident that Ruth is the right young person to have gone to London. Bernice is hoping she can raise funding for an annual grant to enable one young person to attend a conference to gain leadership experience.
On Friday 24 September, 92 young people from different parishes attended the first day, when six different workshops were run concurrently - dance; drama; Bible study; activities and programmes for youth meetings; peer counselling; and how to plan, organise and set goals for youth groups. The message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was central in all the workshops and the responsibility on every youth group leader to live this out as well as to spread it was emphasised. The day ended with a plenary session where all groups reported back on what they had learnt and experienced. There was great excitement as the day closed with everyone dancing, and enjoying the short drama put on by the group from Christian Drama Workshop.
On the Saturday a powerful and Spirit-filled address was given by Siphiwo Kiti, a laypreacher from New Brighton, and lecturer at The Bible Institute, on How to be a Christian in South Africa today. Eight young leaders gave their lives to Christ - what a wonderful time! I had asked the Lord for one person to turn his/her life to Him and He gave us eight! There is no measure to Gods Grace and Mercy and Goodness!
Diocesan Youth Constitution
Sadly, there was a drop in numbers on the Saturday, mainly because many youth leaders are not encouraged by their parishes to be part of Diocesan youth structures. This is, unfortunately, the result of bad experiences in the past. I am praying that we will overcome these barriers and that all young people in this diocese will want to serve Christ beyond parish boundaries and have the Kingdom of God at heart.
Many more please
I sincerely trust that a great deal more discussion and a lot of prayer and fasting will confirm that the ultimate authority in the ministry and life of the Lords Church is Gods Holy Scriptures. Any attempt to replace the Scriptures as the ultimate authority within the Lords Church, or any human manipulation that attempts to override the authority of Scriptures, deserves to be treated with deep concern and disapproval. If the Inspired Word of God is no longer accepted as authoritative, then the Church of God has lost its way!
From Anglican Mainstream Southern Africa
A group of Anglicans in South Africa have publicly expressed their unhappiness with the churchs leadership over the controversy about homosexuality.
In an open letter to the Bishops of the Church of the Province, a group called Anglican Mainstream Southern Africa points out that the image of the Anglican Church has been harmed by the crisis over homosexuality. Many people &ldots; regard Anglicans as either having already departed from Christian orthodoxy, or are confused on what constitutes &ldots; Christian faith and behaviour, the statement reads.
The official position of the Anglican Church remains no to homosexual practice among Christians, and no to church blessing of same sex relationships. But the AMSA Open Letter points out that this position is constantly being undermined as pro-gay Anglican leaders make frequent media appearances, and also set the curricula of clergy training colleges, The letter also highlights the danger of Anglicans in Southern Africa finding themselves aligned with the shrinking Anglican churches of North America, who have recently been criticised by the international Windsor Report for consecrating an openly gay man as a Bishop. Meanwhile South African Anglicans find themselves out of step with the fast-growing Anglican church on the African continent, who stay closely to a traditional Christian position on sexual ethics.
AMSA concludes by calling on its Bishops to act more decisively in
support of the churchs official position. The full text of the
letter can be read on:
During the early service on Sunday 3 October Bishop Bethlehem presented Meryl (usually known as Hebe) Usher, Richard Gillies and Roger Schärges with the citations and badges for having been active within the diocesan structures for over 25 years. As each citation was read, there were incredulous faces, especially among the younger folk who couldnt conceive of anyone serving so faithfully for such a long period - a combined period of service of well over 100 years.
Richard Gillies has served on various diocesan boards, councils and committees as well as having been the parish treasurer for 45 years.
Roger Schärges, the Diocesan Registrar, has been a member of Provincial Synods, Provincial Standing Committees as well as diocesan and parish structures for 30 years.
Hebe Usher has served the Lord with zeal as lay minister, parish councillor, pastoral care co-ordinator, part of the worship team, and much more within St Johns parish over the 34 years she has worshipped there.
Bishop Bethlehem delighted the congregation with his warmth, and delivered an entertaining sermon in which he stressed that the Order of the Diocese is not a reward for service, but an award which recognises and acknowledges the service that has been offered.
Together with St John's, Iindaba congratulates Richard, Roger and Hebe whose lives are an example to all.
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