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• The Bishop writes ...
• The view
pulpit and pew
• Tag lines
• Our first woman rector
• RIP Yibi
The Bishop writes ...
My Dear People of God,
Greetings in the Name of Christ, our Lord and Saviour!
three months I have been away went by so quickly that I found myself
back into the routine business of the Lord again. I missed you. I was
very busy with some research on “stories yet untold” in my home parish
of All Saints', Ngcobo in the Transkei. With the kindness of the Bishop
of Mthatha, I was assisted by various priests and people. Most of them
were known to me, and were old acquaintances. I was in touch with my
roots again. What a fascinating experience! I visited the universities:
Transkei, Fort Hare and Rhodes, experiencing a wonderful welcome. The
work expanded beyond what I had hoped to limit it to. I did not finish.
I still hope to spend more time in collecting the data. The Lord
willing, I may publish soon.
The beautiful scenery of the
Transkei with its landscape stood out amidst constant rain. The dirt
roads became so slippery that they were impossible to drive on. At one
point, through the generosity of the Bashe family, I was lent a 4x4.
This made my travelling very easy and enjoyable, especially to my
homestead. Twice I got stuck in the mud. People came to my rescue even
in the middle of the night. Some, if not all, enjoyed a childhood mate,
who is now a bishop. It was jolly good to sit with them next to the
cattle kraal and listen to stories, ranging from childhood to real life
issues. Many thanks for your prayers and support.
move to a new house was prompted by the fact that St Margaret’s
Summerstrand wanted to sell their rectory at 4 Torquay Street in order
to sort out their financial problems. Having agonised over their
request in prayer under God, I was convinced that selling was not a
good proposal, especially for a church in a prime spt like
Summerstrand. We still look forward to future generations with this
church. Parochial finances increase by the generosity prompted by the
hearing of the gospel of Jesus Christ with love divine and
all-excelling. Mission and Evangelism is the solution (Matt 10 &
para//s; 2 Cor 8&9).
The long and short of it is, we moved
your Bishop’s home from 75 River Road to 4 Torquay Street, and sold 75
River Rd. We are enjoying the new home. We are sea lovers in our
family. The only room missing is the chapel for my prayers and
meditation. I am asking you to build it with me. I shall explain my
vision in this regard in due course.
Diocesan office and parishes
Anglican Diocese of Port Elizabeth is one entity. The parishes, though
different entities, form one single diocese. The Diocesan office is the
servant of the parishes to collect financial resources from parishes by
way of assessments, and distribute them. The Bishop’s office is part
and parcel of that, in a single united diocese which is part of the
Body of Christ.
There are some of you who subtly create a wedge
between the parishes and the Diocesan Office by slogans such as “us and
them”. I said to the wardens’ meeting that that must stop. There is no
“us and them”. It is “us” in Christ, as children of one heavenly
Father. It saddens me to continually experience this kind of thinking,
sometimes to a great inconvenience. Help me to stop this by calling to
order those who think in that manner. It is bad!
takes place from Ascension Day at 18h00 to the Sixth Sunday after
Easter (25 - 28 May 2006). The detailed information has been sent to
your representatives. Pray for us and your Diocese that God may guide
our deliberations.“What does ‘he ascended’ mean except that he also
descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very
one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the
whole universe, and gave gifts to people..” (Eph 4.9ff). We are not
alone. You have a gift. Pursue it, and end poverty, abuse and disease
in our diocese by doing something, and adding your voice to the
multitudes.May the Holy Spirit, poured out on the Day of Pentecost,
Yours in the love of Christ,
Bishop Bethlehem Nopece
Pic: Commitment to the Holy Eucharist - Bishop Bethlehem asks Sharon Nell to
provide joyfully for the frequent celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
His chaplain, Shane Fraser, holds the service book.
The view from pulpit and pew
- iindaba welcomes †Bethlehem back from his 3-month sabbatical. In
spite of his being on sabbatical, the Bishop made several appearances
at such functions as the consecration of the new Bishop of Namibia,
Nathaniel Nakwathumbah. Over 30 visitors, including members of
†Nathaniel’s family, attended the service in the Cathedral. Amongst the
special guests was †Nathaniel’s wife of two weeks! Just before Easter,
†Bethlehem travelled to Windhoek for the enthronement of the new Bishop
in his Cathedral.
- A letter from Ray Smithers appeared in the
last iindaba thanking all for their prayers and visits during her
illness. Unfortunately soon after her letter, Ray became ill again,
and died. Her funeral service, led by her rector, Robbie Penrith, was
held at St John the Baptist in Walmer, after which she was interred
next to her late husband, Archdeacon Ted Smithers, in the St John’s
graveyard. Our condolences to Nigel, Nanette, John and David and their
families, and Ray’s brother Vic and sister Vee.
- It was wonderful
to see so many members of St Paul’s, Parsons Hill, at Ray’s funeral.
She and Ted, with their four children, spent many happy years there in
a fruitful and blessed ministry. Included in the service was Wally
Johnstone, for many years a lay minister at St Paul’s from the time of
Ted. A former rector of St Paul’s, Peter Bowen, was there, as was the
present incumbent, Ruthell Johnson.
- Robbie Penrith has asked
†Bethlehem to relieve him of his duties as Dean of Studies and Canon
Theologian. Robbie will be missed on the Bishop’s Chapter, where he
served as a canon, and will be missed by those he so wonderfully
nurtured through their studies and preparation for the sacred ministry.
Robbie is obeying his doctor’s instructions, and will be able to spend
more time in his parish. A replacement for Robbie will be announced by
the Bishop shortly. The person who follows Robbie has some large shoes
- Congratulations are the order of the day for:
- Jacqui Brill, who was nominated for the SOS Children's Villages Woman
of Courage award. Jacqui runs the New Life Family and Pregnancy Crisis
Centre in Uitenhage, and is a member of St Katharine's;
- Estelle Fraser, wife of the Rector of St Michael and All Angels in
Schauderville, on being awarded a UNISA Certificate in School
- Denise Rae, who went to Johannesburg for her
graduation at TEE College. Denise, a deacon at St Hugh’s in Newton
Park, is the wife of Diocesan Secretary/Treasurer, Keith Rae, also a
deacon, and who serves as a Canon on the Bishop’s Chapter;
- iindaba Committee chairman, Neville Lobb, and his wife Christine, on
their Golden Wedding anniversary (50 years) which they celebrated on 5
April. Praise God also on the remarkable recovery Neville has made
after suffering a stroke earlier this year.
Greenshields, rector of All Saints' United Church in Somerset East, and
his wife Carolyn had a lucky escape last month when they hit a kudu on
their way home from visiting their daughter in Grahamstown. They are
fine, but the double-cab is very badly damaged. Dudley did point out
that the kudu was a member of the Diocese of Grahamstown and not our
In the end, we will remember
not the words of our enemies,
but the silence of our friends.
angels ... an apology
No, it was not the fault of the
proof reader, Mike McCoy, but entirely the dyslexic editor's!
the report on "St Michael's to St Michael's" on page 1 of last month's
iindaba, she changed an angel to an angle and not the angle to an
Our first woman rector
It was not an April Fool's joke when Sharon Nell was insituted as the first woman rector in our diocese.
Sharon has become the rector of the Parish of the Zwartkops River
Valley, and during the service Bishop Bethlehem said, "I am proud and
delighted that through my ministry I have been able to affirm Sharon's
ministry as a mother, a woman and a priest."
St Nicholas' in Redhouse was packed with parishioners, clergy and
friends who had come to affirm Sharon and pray for her ministry at ZRV,
which includes St Agnes in Swartkops and Wells Estate.
Bishop Bethlehem told Sharon she must be a good steward of her time,
and make time for her ministry to her family. He said, "You must raise
up leaders within the parish as you are not indispensable. You
must believe in possibilities, be a pastor and an evangelist." He went
on to speak of the need for prayer and fasting in her ministry, and in
that of all the clergy and lay people.
At the close of the service Sharon was instituted as the Anglican Women's Fellowship chaplain.
After the service a delicious spread of eats was served in the
community hall where parishioners were able to meet the Nell family and
visiting clergy. These included some from the Salvation Army where
Sharon had begun her Christian walk.
When someone asked, tongue in cheek, if Sharon was worried that it was April Fool's Day, she pointed out that it was past noon!
It is with sadness that iindaba
has heard of the death of Yibinathi Matthews, and our condolences go to
David and Joan in the UK.
Yibi was the second child to arrive at the House of Resurrection Haven
when the doors opened. He was not expected to live for more than a day
or two, but God ...!
He was legally adopted by Dave and Joan before they moved to Richards
Bay, where David became Mission to Seafarers chaplain. Then they moved
to England after Dave accepted an appointment as vicar in a parish
Praise God for the love Yibi received and the quality life he was able
to lead. Praise God for the ground-breaking work that Jean Underwood
did at the Haven in formulating the Wellness Management programme,
which enabled Yibi to become strong and able to live for the many years
he did - without the aid of anti-retrovirals.
Pic: Yibi January 2006 at PE airport
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