• Empty promises
• Happenings near and afar
• The view from pulpit and pew
• Clergy on the move
• Tag lines!
[ The Bishop writes ... ]
My Dear People of God,
Greetings in the name of the Risen Christ, Alleluia!
At the writing of this letter there were only about eight days left before the Municipal Elections. It is my hope that you have responsibly exercised your democratic right. These are heavily contested elections around the issue of delivery. Characteristic of the period are incessant strikes and friction within the political parties, particularly the ANC and COPE. DA has come up vigorously in their campaign to the discomfort of some, to the joy of democracy lovers. Yes, indeed, it should be so in a democratic society to take everyone out of their comfort zones and face up to the reality of service delivery on the ground and the plight of the poor.
Lies upon lies have been told. Promises are not fulfilled. Self enrichment is a vivid phenomenon. Fraudulent acts are in the public arena, hampering service delivery heavily. The Auditor General Report concludes that more than 60 percent of the Local Municipalities have failed dismally in financial accountability. The government is not publishing the report, let alone doing anything about it. People have appealed to the Public Protector. Elections are around the corner. More lies are yet told 17 years into the new dispensation. Blasphemous and irresponsible statements have been made by the ANC leaders against the Holy Trinity, Jesus and entrance into Heaven. Yet what Jesus requires of those who utter his name is not done. His name is called upon in vain. Everyone seeks to ride the gravy train by hook or by crook, by false means and empty promises. Once on board the train, all that has been promised is in fact not done. May God vindicate his church from such reckless talk!
For more than half of the population of this country, political freedom means nothing. It has brought no change in the quality of their life except woes worse than the time of the previous regime. At least the four-roomed houses were built with privacy of two bedrooms. The RDP houses are the worst of low income housing, below human dignity for settlement. One room where all are dumped in -- both old and young -- is the feature of a cheap, insensitive accommodation. All they hear is the past history of conquests which is irrelevant to their daily life and struggles for survival. These poor township dwellers provide the stronghold of ANC votes not so freely or at will, but by threats and intimidation. Those who tell their stories to the Bishop or to Mfundisi do not wish to be identified for fear of intimidation from the so-called comrades. The governing party must win to create more bigwigs and fat cats from among black people. The race card is still prevalent in swinging the pendulum of apartheid to the other extreme. The legacy of tata Nelson Mandela and other political freedom pioneers, let alone what is laid down in the ANC Manifesto, is a mere lip utterance. Things are left grossly undone and promises empty.
These are the people who come to worship in our churches at least once each week. Poverty and misery is written on their faces every morning. They are frustrated and angry. Woe unto you, if you still enclose yourself in affluent suburban churches and do nothing about the plight of the poor and the oppressed! The poor according to the mandate of Christ the Risen Lord is our priority concern (Mtt 10:8-10). All I know and am ashamed of is the fact that even our budget reflects nothing of the care of the poor as a result of knowing too much and talking too much, yet without any experience of knowing how it feels to go to bed without anything to eat. May the Lord open our eyes all the more to the plight of the poor, bringing to them sustainable projects for the long lasting fight against poverty, rather than mere handouts to soothe our conscience. We must aim at teaching God’s people how to catch a fish rather than always trying to provide a fish or soup kitchen once a week only, just like the fraudulent and collapsed government feeding scheme programmes and transport services, leaving our children at school still worse off.
Salvation through the Risen Christ brings promises, inter alia, to seek God’s kingdom and its righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto us (Mtt 6:33; 7:7-8 cf Jn 14:14). Further to this, salvation is not salvation of the soul only, but of the whole person and everything that surrounds us (Jas 2: 14-26). Salvation should provide for people to eat three meals a day; to have jobs and work to be kept out of mischief; to have decent homes to rest in with the family after each task of the day; to have clothes and blankets; education for children; access to medicine and social security and safety in the land of our birth. The promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit was fulfilled on Pentecost to give birth to the church. The church, then, must begin to live for him who died our death, and do so at this God’s kairos time vigorously.
Blessings to you all,
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Happenings near and afar
Jean Underwood, the CEO of Blue Crane Hospice, is very thankful for bags of
clothes and blankets from All Saints’ in Kabega Park.
“The Somerset East area is very poor and there are not lots of churches, as in
town areas, to support our work so we are very thankful for every parcel and
donation we receive.”
Bishop Bethlehem instituted Rodney White as chairman of the Church Mens’ Society, Nontembiso Nogaya - President of the St Mary Magdalene Guild, and Sipho Bodlani as Missions to Seafarers chaplain.
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The view from pulpit and pew
- In the May iindaba, it was stated that Jogra Gallant was a self-supporting priest. She was for a long time, especially when she was a teacher in a school, but now she is stipendiary, which means she is paid by the Church.
- The iindaba editorial is glad to report that people read iindaba, hence those who noticed another ‘glitch’ as we referred to Nicolette Leonard as Chaplain to the House of Resurrection. We do apologise for these two slips.
- Sharon Nell, rector of Zwartkops River Valley Parish leapt a few feet in the air when a rat jumped out at her – a real one – in her home during April. As the law of gravity brought her back to earth, she damaged her left knee, which required surgery. On Easter Day she took one service on crutches, as she was unable to put any weight on the leg. She is due to go overseas in June, and iindaba trusts she makes a full recovery. Her comment? “Oh rats!”
- Congratulations to retired, but very active, priest, Eric Kleb,who recently celebrated his 80th birthday. Eric, who is assisting priest at St Cuthbert’s, lives in the St John’s Cottages, and continues with a very effective ministry. He is also president of Rotary Club of Port Elizabeth South, the oldest president in the Rotary District. He celebrated his birthday in the St Cuthbert’s Hall, where his son Clifford, an art teacher at Alexander Road High, provided the musical entertainment.
- On a sad note, the Bishop’s secretary, Debbie Vencencie, lost her beloved grandmother, Nettie Booysen. Nettie, who turned 90 last year, was a worshipper at Christ-the-King in Gelvandale, died after suffering a stroke.
- We also report on the recent death of Mary Glanville from St Saviour’s, Walmer – a faithful parishioner for many years and well known by many in the diocese.
- After the death a few months ago of Flo Beeson shortly before her 103rd birthday, St Hugh’s in Newton Park has just lost another parishioner, Evelyn White, also a few months short of her 103rd birthday. Evelyn was in the Frail Care section at the Stella Londt Home in Sunridge Park.
- As we remember before God those who have died, our thoughts and prayers also go out to those who are not well at this time, including Busiwe Gwentshu from the Diocesan Office. Busiwe, whose father Ronald was a priest in the diocese, lives with her mother Ellen in Walmer. We also remember Ron and Anne Thomson from St Saviour’s in Walmer, who recently moved to Fairhaven. Anne is receiving chemotherapy. Also receiving chemotherapy at present is Margaret Durham, wife of retired priest Ben. We pray for them, and indeed bring all who suffer before a gracious and loving God.
- Last month we reported on the new Diocesan Office book-keeper, Jacqui J van Rensburg. Unfortunately, due to health issues, she has declined the job. Miriam Stiemens has now accepted the position. We wish her well as she joins the staff.
- The editor will be on sabbatical during October and November. Next month we will publish details on deadlines for iindaba before she leaves and during her time away. - Also, in response to many requests the editor will be running a morning gathering one Saturday for all parish reporters who would like to know more about writing for the newsletter. More later.
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Clergy on the move
- Dominic Dube to St Peter’s as rector
- Churchwarden Mgedezi to Good Shepherd as assistant priest
- Rory Middlecote released to Diocese of Bloemfontein
- Sipho Bodlani Missions to Seafarers chaplain
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The value of a man or woman
resides in what he or she gives,
not in what they are capable of receiving
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