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• The Bishop writes ...
• St Peter’s, Kinkelbos, is 99
• The view from
Pulpit and Pew
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Bishop writes ...
My Dear People of God,
Greetings in the name of Christ, our Lord and Saviour!
Gafcon-Jerusalem / Lambeth, 2008
Both Gafcon-Jerusalem and Lambeth 2008 presented a great opportunity and
a rewarding life-time experience. All praise and thanks to God and his
Church! A special gratitude goes to the organisers of both these
gatherings, and to those who spent many hours and sleepless nights for
the love of Him who died our death. The experience gained was wide as we
explored and trod in Jesus’ foot prints in the Holy Land, including
Bethlehem, the Mount of Olives, Gethsemane, the Temple steps, the Tomb,
the Sea of Galilee, Mount of the Beatitudes and Capernaum, amongst
others. These were some of the inspiring places we set foot upon. Then
it was on to England where the Canterbury cathedral stands visible and
presents a spectacular view from the University of Kent, having stood
there for a 1 000 years of mission and ministry. At Lambeth, I also
attended the march for global poverty titled, “Halve it by 2015”, as
promised by the world political powers in the Millennium Development
Goals; lunched with the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace and
ended up having tea with Her Majesty the Queen at 16h00 of that same day
– all of which were unforgettable moments.
Pic: Bishop Bethlehem with Buyelwa Hobo (left) and David Ngogela on Father’s
Day at St Stephen’s.
These conferences happened at a time when the feeling has been that the
Church, particularly the Anglican Communion, is at cross roads. The
homosexuality controversy has brought up various disagreements and
different perceptions. All these spring up from the notion that “a new
thing” must happen and that the church should bow down to the winds of
social and political changes. It is a time when people pursue what the
heart desires in terms of power, money and sexuality. The many aspects
of human sexuality are complex and are issues that must be addressed by
Christian theology and practice in all Christian communities nowadays.
We all grapple with questions like: How do we understand humanity as
created by God as imago dei, finite, fallible, but beset by the effects
of sin? (Anglican Theological Review, vol. 90: Editor’s Notes, p.417).
These debates have a bearing on our Christian faith, especially how we
relate to God and to one another.
At both conferences, the conservative and liberal elements of the debate
were discerned. Gafcon, where the free spirit of worship flowed from a
conservative view of biblical understanding. A viewpoint was that
Article XX was a pre-requisite to deliberate on the issues of concern,
including homosexuality. This brought out a great sense of unity of mind
and purpose among the participants. This is a Fellowship of Confessing
Anglicans whose intention is not to break away from the wider Communion,
but nevertheless that needs to be taken seriously, with an aim to be in
closer fellowship with those who missed the opportunity to go. To the
people in the pew, it is comforting to note that within our church there
is still a great sense of taking the Holy Writ seriously, rather than
the preference given by many to the theological debate of the
“revisionists”. For all intents and purposes, amidst anger and
frustration, Gafcon is calling us back to the acceptance and obedience
of the Written Word.
While Lambeth started on a rather tense and suspicious note, thanks be
to God for the decision to start with a retreat, led by the Archbishop
of Canterbury. Exposing the bishops to the Word in the addresses, eased
the tensions and hurt to some extent. Yes, I must admit that as a Body,
the Church in the USA and Canada, may not have helped the Fellowship by
taking a decision on the ordination/consecration of a practicing
homosexual bishop and blessings of same sex unions. Their unilateral
action was seen as patronising, disrespectful and undermining - typical
of colonial powers. The Lambeth Conference sought to capture
conversations and reflections in indaba groups on two Themes, namely
Equipping the Bishops for Mission and Strengthening Anglican Identity.
The aim was seeking to develop a document which is:
• faithful to the Gospel;
• faithful to the process of indaba and listening to one another;
• faithful to the Bishops and their context;
• faithful to the unity of the Communion with respect for one another.
Where to from here?
First, we wish to commend both the Gafcon Statement on the Global
Anglican Future and Lambeth Indaba to you for study and comments. The
archdeacons are taking charge of the process.
Secondly, we need to work towards unity of the church. Pushing our own
ideas on such a controversial matter as homosexuality just because we
are frustrated, does not help us and the Communion as a whole. The
cracks that have appeared are going to take a long time to heal.
Thirdly, we have been called to love one another within the fellowship
of the baptised. Let us bear with one another in
that love which brings a new character (Rom 12, 2Cor 5:17).
Fourthly, in our journey with the Lord we struggle with the realities of
sin. It is in that struggle that God’s grace comes to our aid, provided
that we are obedient to His Written Word. Remember, God has sanctified
and justified us in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the power
of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:11).
Finally, we love the unlovable by the love of Jesus Christ, whereby we
bring an embracing and transforming fellowship for a new beginning.
Sisters and brothers pray for us as we pray for you.
Yours in the love of Christ,
St Peter’s, Kinkelbos, is 99
[ Rosemary Newcombe
St Peter’s recently celebrated its 99th birthday with a joyful service
of thanksgiving to God, supported by our friends from Nanaga Methodist
and led by Christopher Holmes.
The service was followed by a happy time of fellowship and good food
during lunch in the Hall. Having had a thorough clean and paint, the
buildings were sparkling for this auspicious occasion! The first
recorded services in the Kinkelbos area are around 1891, on the farms
Hopehill, Devonshire Park and Oakhill, so our “church” is really 117
The ministers came by horse and cart from Grahamstown or Christ Church,
Alexandria, every three months and stayed over. Later on they caught the
train to Kinkelbosch station.
Tea and scones were sold at this station to raise funds for a building.
Bazaars were also held, well supported by the Methodists and DRC folk,
and a wood and iron church was erected, serving the community for 31
years until replaced by the present brick building. Farmers mostly made
up the first congregation, but the denuding of the platteland has
changed that and only two families remain, the rest coming from
Colchester and Cannonville, bringing fresh outlook and talents which are
St Peter’s is now attached to St Hugh’s and this has been a special,
blessed time which is deeply appreciated. Unity with Nanaga Methodists
is now being worked towards with much prayer and discussion, but first
both churches will be celebrating their centenaries in 2009! Our oldest
member, Joy Lake (87) joined in 1946 when she married a local farmer,
Jack Lake. There are usually four generations of her family in church on
Sundays - the matriarch, her sons and daughters, their children and
16-month old twin great-grandchildren. She is still game for almost
anything and especially enjoys a jolly good sing in church! Much of St
Peter’s friendly, welcoming atmosphere is thanks to her ministry and we
praise and thank God for her faithfulness and perseverance throughout
the past 62 years.
Pic: The congregation with Joy at front right.
view from pulpit and pew
- iindaba expresses its condolences to:
- Bishop Bethlehem on the death of his eldest brother, Hamilton Mokwana
- Angela Hambury on the death of her mother Violet, who died eight weeks
after her father, David Japtha
- Lynette Axcell on the death of her father, Joseph Chong Hing.
- Angela is an assistant at St Katharine’s in Uitenhage, whilst Lynette is
wife of Brian, assistant at Holy Trinity in Central, and sister of
Ozzie, lay minister at St Paul’s.
- In the ‘good old days’, churches could be left open during the day, but
no more, as we all know. However, a thief broke open the security gate
at the Diocesan Office, and helped himself (presuming it’s a he) to
Debbie Vencencie’s handbag, which contained her purse, ID, bank cards
etc. This took place one morning whilst the staff were saying Morning
Prayer! The gate has since been reinforced.
- Congratulations to the Grand Old Lady of the clergy widows, Ruth Harker,
who turned 96 on 18 September. Both Ruth’s husbands were clergy – her
first being Dean Beaufort of the Grahamstown Cathedral; whilst the
second was the retired chaplain of St Andrew’s College in Grahamstown,
Hugh (Horse) Harker. iindaba congratulates her on reaching this milestone.
- News from outside the diocese, but involving former members here –
Adrian Green, for many years rector of Middelburg – is retiring at the
end of this year. After leaving the diocese, he and his wife Ros moved
to Graaff-Reinet, and then to George where he is currently the dean. He
is to be replaced by Fred Pitout, formerly rector of St Hugh’s, Newton
Park, and currently dean of cathedral in Pietermaritzburg, at the end of
this year. Fred’s wife, Anne, has her own business, Jubilate, which
makes clerical vestments. iindaba wishes Adrian and Ros a happy and
productive retirement, and Fred and Anne every blessing in their new
- We are sure that Adrian will find being ‘retired’ can be very busy, as
seen in the very active retired clergy in this diocese. St Michael and
All Angels is being cared for by retired priest, Rudi Marais (pronounced
Marays); whilst St Francis Xavier in Kabega Park is being cared for by
Peter Evers, a retired self-supporting priest from East London. Both
come from the Diocese of Grahamstown!
- Well it’s now official. The acronym for The Anglican Church of Southern
Africa is TACSA. ACSA was not suitable, being the name of the Airports’
company. So our bishops decided to make the change, so now TACSA it is!
- Thembeka Tom, unlike other self-supporting clergy, does not live very
close to the parishes in which she has permission to officiate, St
Barnabas in Sydenham and St Philip’s in Central. Believe it or not, she
now works in Cradock – as a chaplain for Correctional Services
Department. She travels down every weekend to fulfil her duties, and to
see her children who are staying in Port Elizabeth.
- iindaba recently thanked Mark Derry for the work he did in producing the
latest Clergy Directory – mea culpa, mea culpa! Our apologies – it was
produced under the direction of the Diocesan Secretary/Treasurer, Keith
Rae, who informed iindaba that much of the work was done by the diocesan
office staff. Thank you, ladies, and thank you Keith - who,
incidentally, had the brain-wave of putting all clergy into the same
Truth can walk around naked. A lie has to be clothed.
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