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Barry said, “Besides my normal parish work as assistant priest at St John’s in Walmer, I have the mandate of setting up the Centre at St John’s. This involves arranging a timetable of various courses and events which parishes can tap into as a resource. This will include prayer courses, worship using contemplative, Celtic and Taizé
traditions, contemplative prayer groups, quiet days and retreats and the establishment of a resource library. Teaching on the Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts and worship will be included in the Centre’s programme.
The Centre will run with the existing leadership under its umbrella, including: Christian Listeners, New Wine, St Francis Third Order, Spiritual Direction, Quiet Gardens, Christ Healing Fellowship, Intercessory Prayer, Retreats. Barry has had discussions with George Irvine, a well known Methodist minister heading The Institute for Spirituality, Wholeness and Reconciliation at Humewood Methodist Church, for possible links there.
Barry will also find out from parishes what some of their needs are, and then try to link them up with people and programmes that have been identified as resources in the Diocese. Below are two events to diarise now, so as not to miss them :
6 - 12 August “The Inward Journey”, A prayer course led by Trevor Wood
(pic) A time to be silent - Barry Sendall takes time to be quiet with the Lord in the garden at St John's, Walmer.
Mike McCoy is a self-supporting priest who uses his time and expertise to serve two organisations concerned with theological education. In between, he runs a small business as an editor, proof-reader, and consultant on written English. (He proof-reads iindaba as a free service to the Diocese, for example).
Mike (“I prefer people to call me by my name, not ‘Father’,” he insists) is Corresponding Secretary to ANITEPAM – the African Network of Institutions of Theological Education Preparing Anglicans for Ministry. As the rather breathtaking name suggests, ANITEPAM links Anglican theological education (TE) colleges and programmes throughout Africa.
Mike helps them to stay in touch with each other and with the wider Anglican and ecumenical world, and to share resources wherever possible. He does this partly through a quarterly Bulletin that he mails to every Anglican college, TE programme, and diocesan bishop in sub-Saharan Africa, and to several hundred other people around the world. He also manages the organisation’s web site, and encourages African seminaries either to develop their own web sites or to let ANITEPAM host their page at www.anitepam.org.
Books for Africa!
Mike’s work in theological education also has a very local side to it: he is a course coordinator, writer, tutor, and marker with the Theological Education by Extension College (TEEC). The Johannesburg-based college has nearly 3 000 students all over Southern Africa. TEEC hired Mike in 2004 as a part time “extension” staff member, so he does most of his work for TEEC via e-mail. However, he also meets face-to-face with TEEC students in the PE area. He is part of a team of tutors organised by TEEC’s regional coordinator, the Revd Howard Lancaster, to support local people studying theology by extension.
The wider connection
He describes the TEAC gathering as “a great opportunity to make contact with other Anglican theological educators from around the world, and to make the work of ANITEPAM better known globally”.
He will write about TEAC’s work, and what it means to Anglican laity and clergy at parish level, in the next issue of iindaba. Meantime, reports on the TEAC meeting can be found on the Anglican Communion News Service web site, www.anglicancommunion.org/acns/index.cfm. (Look for news items ACNS 4095, 4097 and 4101.)
The parishioners gave the Nongauza family a very warm welcome during Zandisile's institution service, which had all the ritual that accompanies a High Mass. Zandisile is seen with Bishop Bethlehem and his chaplain, Shane Fraser, during the service.
Unfortunately, there is a similar tendency within the Church itself. People flock to big-time healing crusades, despite the fact that many self-appointed healers simply do not stand up to critical scrutiny. Many people come away from these extravaganzas unhealed, if they get to meet the pastor/prophet at all.
In an issue of iindaba shortly after the 2004 tsunami, a miracle was claimed because the Bible Society prayer list targeted Indonesia on 26 December. To evaluate this, we would have to analyse the many prayer-lists produced world wide, and count how many ‘hits’ there were in terms of major crises occurring in countries on the date that they were prayed for. Is it more than could be expected by chance? In the case of the tsunami, no provision appears to have been made for prayer for other countries which were seriously affected. Nor did it disclose any information which could have saved lives. Was it really necessary for God to prepare his people for prayer for the victims in this way? When the news broke, there was a torrent of prayer and assistance from around the world. I attended an inter-faith service (a strange idea for some) for victims a few days after the event in St George’s Cathedral, Cape Town.
The article in question correctly states that no astrologer predicted the tsunami at the beginning of 2004. But the same can be said of the Christian world. The hard fact is that there is no convincing evidence that anybody received supernatural foreknowledge of the 2004 tsunami.
It is not my intention to suggest that miraculous events cannot or do not occur in our time. But I do appeal to Christians to be discerning. Unfortunately, there are many who are willing to accept the most amazing claims uncritically. I have heard claims of dead people being raised in the Far East. The obvious question, “What is the evidence for this claim?", meets with blank stares that probably betray a concern for the questioner’s lack of faith! If we are too credulous, we lay ourselves wide open to both human and not-so-human deceivers. When Jesus healed a leper (Luke 5:12-14), he sent him to be examined by the priests in accordance with the Law. He was not afraid of critical, even hostile scrutiny. We should apply the same standards to claims of miracles today.
Lawrie Wilmot wisely exhorts us to ‘trust only in the Lord’. He is here whether or not there are miraculous signs. Our faith should not be dependent on them. As the risen Christ said to Thomas: “Because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (John 20:29).
4 days : Monday – Thursday
About the course
Training dates for 2006
Contact: The House of Resurrection Haven on 041 481 1515 or 041 481 5585
Diocesan Synod to meet, 25th - 28th May
more information about iindaba,
contact the editor at email@example.com
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