Diocese of Grahamstown

Umbuliso/ The Greeting

Newsletter of the Diocese of Grahamstown

Lent 2012: Vol. 35 No 1

Lent appeal 2012:

"No hands but ours"!  

Deadline for next issue: 20 March 2012


Death of Archdeacon Mzikazi Mfenyana

Mzikazi Mfenyana, the Rector of St Philip Gompo, who had recently been installed as Archdeacon of East London East, died on 15 January 2012 at the age of 58. On 16 December 2011 she had preached at the ordination in the Cathedral.

Thousands attend Archdeacon's funeral

By Bill Gould

In a moving, powerful and dignified ceremony, representatives from all over the Diocese of Grahamstown, led by Bishop Ebenezer Ntlali assisted by Bishop Bethlehem Nopece of Port Elizabeth and Bishop Mazwi Tisani of Ukhahlamba, together with many dignitaries and visitors, bade a glorious tribute and farewell to the life of service of the late Archdeacon Mzikazi Mfenyana.

Attended by several thousand people in the Christian Centre in East London, the service began with tributes from her family, her children and siblings, as well as by the Dean of Grahamstown.

In his sermon. Bishop Ebenezer focussed on Mzikazi’s life as having been built on a rock rather than on shifting sands. He observed that her life had been one of service and love, always leaving people enriched after meeting her. She let people see the “not yet” in them and helped them achieve it. The Bishop closed by asking all present to reflect on how they are building their lives, whether on sand or on the rock of Christ.

Farewell Bhelekazi, while you are already missed, your legacy will remain for ever. Requiescat in pace.


Archdeacon Mzikazi Mfenyana

Mzikazi Mfenyana was born in 1953, one of four daughters of the late Canon N M and Mrs A N Mfenyana. She obtained teaching qualifications at St Matthew’s Training College and Vista University, and a BA in Music at Fort Hare. She taught and lectured for many years. At the same time she was active in the parish of St John and St Chad Zwelitsha, especially in the areas of church music and the Mothers’ Union.

After studying theology through TEE, she was ordained into the self-supporting ministry in 2004. Later she spent a year at the College of the Transfiguration. In June 2010 she became the full-time Rector of St Philip, Gompo, and a year later Bishop Ebenezer appointed her Archdeacon of East London East. She died on 15 January 2012, leaving three adult children and her siblings.

Paying tribute to her at her funeral, her brother Canon B T M Mfenyana described her as a loving “people’s person”, resilient, ready to suffer quietly, but one who “pursued her dreams even in the face of criticisms and injustice”. He said she had the “gift of seeing what other people could not see in people.” “She was sent to parishes that needed a ‘builder’ and she did just that. Many people have benefited from her ‘building’  skills and today they are forever grateful to her.”

At her funeral the Dean, Andrew Hunter, also paid tribute to Mzikazi Mfenyana:

“Mzikazi was brave; she was wise; she was loving. She had this wonderful ability to motivate, to inspire, to draw others around her into a team. People respected her, followed her. She drew out the best in others. On visiting her in her parish, I found it to be superbly administered – among the best I have ever seen. Perhaps it was the teacher in her. She set high standards for herself, and expected high standards from others. During her year in Grahamstown, at the College of the Transfiguration, she did her parish placement at the Cathedral. In that time, people across the board came to love her and value, and to appreciate her ministry and her witness. When she was posted as rector to St Philip’s Gompo, I said to the Bishop, ‘They are lucky to have her’ – and indeed we were all lucky, fortunate, blessed, to have had her amongst us, to have known her, to have received her ministry. She was a great gift to us all.”

As her brother said, she had “a good root system … anchored in God.”

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December 16 Ordination

Ordained deacon: Bishop Ebenezer with two of the deacons just ordained on 16 December 2011, Monde Makhandula, licensed to St Clement, Grahamstown (left) and Tsepo Moletsane of Holy Cross Mdantsane. Also ordained Deacon were Wezo Bloko (licensed to St Augustine Grahamstown), and Pen Schultz of St Paul Port Alfred.


Those ordained priest were (l-r) Pat Wells (St Andrew Bedford), Kazeka Somhlahlo (Holy Cross Mdantsane) and Thato Monaheng (St Peter Sidbury). To see more photos of the Ordination click here.

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Bishop Ebenezer writes….

Christmas, Epiphany and Lent

Dear People of God

It is amazing how time keeps running out of our hands. While thinking of wishing you a blessed 2012, we are already approaching Lent.

However, without Christmas and Epiphany, we cannot have Lent. The Church fathers and ultimately the ACSA liturgical committee which we are very proud of, help us to move within the rhythm that helps us to grow in Christ.

The birth of our Lord and Saviour demonstrated that God was serious and is committed to the welfare of humanity. God-incarnate took on human nature to appreciate and save His creation.

Matthew’s Gospel employs the name Emmanuel for Jesus, meaning; God is with us (1:23). God’s presence is what humankind needs and that is what I want to assure you of. When we feel abandoned because of the abuse we see, hear and endure, climate change, crime and corruption and all the atrocities in the world, we need the Church to remind us of God’s presence and once we have it, we shall never get moved by anything. God is no longer distant. He is with us, giving us hope to live and embrace one another.

Jesus’ birth inspired the learned of the learned (the magi) and the common people (the shepherds) (Lk 2:8ff; Matt 2:1 ff). They both brought to a halt their routine duties, and went to seek the newborn King. In the same way, as we commemorated His birth and manifestation to humanity, we need to use this season of Lent to pause, take stock and like the shepherds and the magi make an informed move of seeking the Saviour. Christ came to help us to put our priorities right. He told his listeners to seek first the Kingdom and the rest would follow (Matt 6:33). Lent invites us to repeat that exercise.

Lent is a time to be with the Lord Jesus in the desert; a place where you cut yourself off from the world and desire to have company with the Saviour. This Lent unlike the ones before I am planning to visit you in your parishes and journey with you. Please hold me in your prayers so that as we worship and meet, the Lord Jesus will reveal Himself to us as He was revealed to the magi and shepherds.

During this Lent, let us pray that God gives us the grace to seek first His Kingdom irrespective of what is going on around and within us. We cannot change anything but He can change everything. Therefore, let us seek his face so that we can enjoy what has been prepared for us in this New Year. I want to imagine that when the shepherds found and saw baby Jesus, they experienced joy; the joy that is not brought about by anything but the presence of God.

2012 has come with challenges, but in Jesus’ Name we are sure that Christ has already sorted it out. Our job is to follow and trust the Guide. The shepherds and the magi followed the star and they found Jesus. I appeal to each one of us to read the scripture and pray daily. Let this Lenten season assist us to observe the Synod of Bishops’ suggestion as found in the AAPB pg 434, number 82. Discussions could be conducted in meetings of youth, Mothers’ Union, Anglican Women’s Fellowship, Bernard Mizeki, F.O.V., Mary Magdalene, altar servers etc. and seek to know what it means; to come to God in prayer every day which is one of the Lenten season activities; the other two being fasting and almsgiving. 

Grace and peace


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St Augustine’s Grahamstown reaches out to local school

By Gwen Mvula

The parish of St Augustine Grahamstown continues to reach out to the community. On 10 November 2011 Makana Public School had a service conducted by Rector Lawrence Nzwana, praying for the learners before they sat for their exams. In his preaching he alluded to the “Adopt-a-School” project, which was recently adopted at the last Diocesan Synod, commenting that the school was lucky to have Gwen Mvula as a link between the parish and the school. He promised co-operation between the school and the Church, and assistance by the parish in improving the quality of learning and teaching.

A blessing before the exams: Rector Lawrence Nzwana prayed for each individual learner.

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New Rector instituted at St Gregory’s

By Ntshukumo Zantsi

On 20 November 2011, Ntshukumo Zantsi was instituted as the Rector of St Gregory’s Anglican Church, Mdantsane. The service was attended by Archdeacon Mpumlwana who is a mentor of the Revd Zantsi, Archdeacon Thami Mhlana of East London West Archdeaconry, the family of the Revd Zantsi and his friends.

In his sermon, Bishop Ebenezer conceded that there may be times in our life together as a Church when we do things that resemble a school or a club, or a social service organization. But Christ has issued a blueprint that defines the heart of who we are and empowers us to do it.  It is a Great Commission: “We are those who make, teach and baptize followers of Jesus Christ”.

Immediately after the sermon, the wardens took Ntshukumo Zantsi to the Bishop to begin the institution, starting to commit the new Rector to baptism at the font and ending in his stall where he recited the Lord’s Prayer. The church keys and the church’s register was handed to the new Rector by the wardens.

Among those present were parishioners from St Francis, NU 8 under Archdeacon Mpumlwana, and people from the Diocese of Port Elizabeth who advised the parishioners to journey with their new Rector, as they have their own personal experiences of working with the Revd Zantsi.

The wardens welcomed their new rector and he gave out his notices, quoting the qualities of a leader from a book by John Maxwell, Think about these things.

1. A leader must have a vision.

2. A leader plans in advance.

3. A leader makes a mistake and learns from the mistakes.

Those were the qualities of ordinary leader, yet an ordained person should have these qualities and more. He quoted a book written by Prof. J De Gruchy, Theology and Ministry in Context and in Crisis. “The primary task of an ordained person is to enable the up building of the church such a way that it is always pointed beyond itself to the reign of God in Jesus in the midst of the world.”

He concluded with the words of St Gregory the Great on the occasion of his enthronement as the Bishop of Rome: “This is the supreme art to which Jesus has called you. The supreme art is direction of souls therefore endeavour to be artists of pastoral work”.

The day ended with lunch.

Commissioned: The new Rector of St Gregory’s, Ntshukumo Zantsi, receives a blessing from the Bishop of Grahamstown, Ebenezer Ntlali.

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Parish of St Philip Gompo assists fire victims

By N Diko, Social Responsibility Co-ordinator, St Philip’s

St Philip’s Gompo on the 18th December 2011, visited the community of C-Section in Duncan Village to deliver food-stuffs and clothes to about 40 families who were victims of fire that engulfed a section of that area. The parish was led by the late Rector, Mzikazi Mfenyana. The visit was organised by the Social Responsibility unit of the parish, which is tasked with facilitating the social responsibility programmes of the parish. The food and clothes were donated by parish members.

The visit was in time to make sure that they had a warm festive Christmas season. The Venerable Mfenyana emphasised the importance of empathy for Christians towards those in need, saying that was the way of Christ. Christians are called to love their neighbours and to care particularly for those in need.

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Lent appeal 2012: "No hands but ours"

Education, Training and Ministerial Formation

"The Bishop through the Department of Education, Training and Ministerial Formation invites you as an individual, family and parish to assist in Jesus Christ’s ministry of spreading growth in spiritual strength to all the baptized."

So writes Abiaaza Kibirige, Canon Theologian of the Diocese of Grahamstown,  in the leaflet which is being distributed throughout the Diocese this Lent, appealing for generous gifts to result from the Lenten self-denial of Church members.

Gifts this year will again go to the Department of Education, Training and Ministerial Formation, to assist with training ordinands, clergy and laity in the diocese.

Bishop Ebenezer writes:

We give thanks to God for you and your tireless efforts which you have shown in the fruits of your 2011 fast and contribution which you have made to Education and Training.  This is what amaXhosa will say: “nangamso!”, meaning do it again. We call upon you to fast during Lenten time with two purposes. Firstly, for your spiritual growth in the Lord and secondly, to contribute towards Education and Training. As you know, it is crucial to have theological sound leadership as well as knowledgeable laity.  May God bless you abundantly as we fast together in 2012.

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From the Department of Spirituality

Our Covenant with God

By Margaret Fourie

It has for many years been the tradition with Methodists to make their Covenant with God every year, on or about the third Sunday of January.  This Covenant service, in its original form, was first held in London in 1755.  Since then it has been revised and updates. Nowadays it is used not only by Methodists, but by many other Christian Communities.

The full service prepares us to make this covenant consciously and prayerfully, with our full commitment to keeping each article. We are painfully aware, however, that we will fail most miserably unless we commit ourselves and our minutes and hours of each day to our Lord’s most gracious mercy and help.

Here is the Covenant as it stands:

I am no longer my own but yours.  Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will, put me to doing, put me to suffering; let me be employed for you or laid aside for you, exalted for you or brought low for you; let me be full, let me be empty; let me have all things, let me have nothing: I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal.

And now, glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are mine and I am yours.  So be it.  And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven,


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Youth Guild launch at Christ Church Amalinda

By Sinethemba Hoshe

The Diocesan Youth Chairperson, Nolusindiso Cindy Laxa, was at Christ Church Amalinda on 20 November, as 20 “new”  members were inducted to the youth guild. Cindy was also the guest preacher, taking the scripture text Matthew 25:34: “you have my father’s blessings; come, take possession of the kingdom of God that has been ready for you since the world was made.” She instructed the newly inducted youth members that they are now custodians of God and representatives sent from heaven. The way they walk from now on, the way the talk, the normal spots they hang out at, must now change, because they are ambassadors of heaven.

She firmly stated that the Youth Guild is not a joke. It is like all the other guild structures of the Diocese and is a path leading path to many opportunities. She mentioned that from among the newly inducted youth members, she would like in future to see more lay ministers, clergy persons and perhaps even Bishops to come.

The day ended with a great lunch at the church hall.

No joke: These new members of the Christ Church Youth Guild were encouraged to take their commitment seriously.

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St Francis’ ladies reach out to senior citizens

By Sommie Vellem
The ladies and mothers at St Francis’ Mdantsane, despite what seemed a long and hectic 2011, and financial difficulties, held a Christmas function to honour older members of the congregation.

Looking at Christ’s miracle of feeding the multitude with two fishes and five loaves, they noted the meal He provided was not from His pocket, but  a young boy sacrificed the little he had. The ladies and mothers of St Francis in Mdantsane did the same, remembering that the Anglican Church in that Archdeaconry was fundamentally established by people who belonged to the “Old Age” category. Our churches are mostly supported by Old Age parishioners out of their social grants.

Good Samaritans donated fleece blankets, nightdresses, slip-on shoes, cosmetics from Johnson & Johnson, crockery, and all sorts of Christmas groceries. These items were shared among the aged people present. The donations were blessed by the Revd Zamuxolo Kilana, who conducted a Eucharist, which was followed by breakfast. The senior citizens were reminded of their earlier days, dancing, watching DVDs, and taking part in praise and worship. Before lunch one of the Senior Citizens, a retired nurse, Lulama Geleba, took them back to their olden days. Sommie Vellem asked them to tell the young mothers and ladies about what is expected from “Umanyano”. Inene inyathi ibuzwa kwabaphambili.

After such a long programme for senior citizens, Lulama Geleba administered massage and rubbed them with oils. Gifts were given out by Sommie Vellem, Welekazi Kupiso and Buyiswa Manzi, after which ladies and St Agnes girls assisted in serving lunch. The proceedings were closed with prayer by the Revd Kilana.

The co-ordinators of the event wish to take this opportunity to say Ukwanda kwaliwa ngumthakathi and Maz’enethole to those who contributed in this occasion. Some were not members of Anglican church but we say thank you for their generosity. God knows your needs. He will bless you so abundantly together with your families. To those who benefited it will be engraved in their hearts and they will always remember that day, you have done something good. Keep up the good work, this is the way of educating our youth, coming generation, to take responsibility of the old people. Some of them have no family to take care of them, but they do pray for our developments and success.

Sithi mabakhule bangakhokhobi siyabathanda.

Sharing gifts at Christmas: Zamuxolo Kilana, Assistant Priest at St Francis Mdantsane, blesses the gifts which were to be distributed by the ladies of the congregation to senior citizens.

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AIDS news

Ecumenical youth service held for AIDS Day

By Mxolisi Sonti

Given that South Africa continues to experience one of the highest national rates of HIV infection in the world, the South African Council of Churches Youth Forum in the Eastern Cape (SACCYF–EC) commemorated World AIDS Day by hosting an Ecumenical Prayer Service in Port Elizabeth on 29 November. This was organised in collaboration with the Eastern Cape Provincial Council of Churches (ECPCC), Eastern Cape AIDS Council (ECAC), Nelson Mandela Metro Regional Council of Churches, and other stakeholders. It was one of the Build–Up activities which have taken place since the national commemorations which were honoured by the President of South Africa.

The ecumenical prayer service was one of the main activities of the SACCYF–EC, because of the decision taken at the Provincial Youth Consultation that was held in East London from 14-16 October 2011 to highlight health issues.

Ecumenical youth get-together: Delegates at the Provincial Consultation of the South African Council of Churches Youth Forum (SACCYF—EC) which met in East London from 14-16 October. At this Consultation it was agreed to highlight  health issues  as one of key programmatic areas of the work of the SACCYF EC. Mxolisi Sonti, Eastern Cape Provincial Secretary of the SACC Youth Forum, is second from the right, back row. He is a member of St David’s parish, Ncera.

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“A Generation rising up”

International Anglican conference planned for Johannesburg, 3-6 October 2012

Anglicans Ablaze, which includes ARM, IVIYO, Growing the Church, New Wine PYC, SOMA, and Soul Survivor, is planning an Anglican International conference, to take place in Johannesburg from 3-6 October.

Speakers will include the Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop Ben Kwashi of Jos, Nigeria, Grace Samson-Song of Call2all, and Miles Giljam of African Enterprise SA, among others.

After the Conference, international Sharing of Ministries Abroad (SOMA) teams will be available for ten days to lead missions in parishes. Parishes are encouraged to book early to secure a team, and individuals and groups to “mark your diary and book your seat” for the Conference.

More information:

Contact Archdeacon Mark Spyker (a director of Growing the Church) 043 726 2467 (office); 083 676 2310 (cell);
or Jonathan Meintjes, 011 726 2488 / 082 377 5128, email office@growingthechurch.co.za, 
or see www.growingthechurch.org.za.

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Administrative upgrade for St Luke’s:

Appeal for computer

The parish of St Luke, Nxarhuni, covers a rural area of about nine villages. Zukisa Mabuya writes that unemployment is high. As well as making plans to start projects to keep young people off the streets, e.g. perhaps a marimba band, the parish has an immediate need to upgrade and strengthen its administration. To this end, the parish is appealing for the donation of a computer (PC) or laptop. In the longer term, St Luke’s Parish hopes to have its own website.

Anyone who is able to help with the donation of a computer can contact Zukisa Mabuya on 072 127 3979.

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St Bernard Mizeki Guild news

By T T Mgatyelwa, Media Officer, Diocesan Guild of St Bernard Mizeki

The St Bernard Mizeki Guild held its Provincial Conference in Jabavu, Johannesburg, in October 2011. Two members from Grahamstown Diocese were elected to the Provincial Executive, Mongezi Kuze as Secretary and Mxolisi Tsika as legal adviser. The Provincial President is the Revd Masoka from Port Elizabeth Diocese. The Diocese of Natal won the trophy.  

On the 12 of November a Portfolio Workshop was held at St Matthew’s, co-ordinated by the Revd Wulana, training officer of the Guild in the Diocese of Grahamstown.  

The Diocesan Conference will take place in April 2012 in King William’s Town (date and venue to follow). The Diocesan Guild asks for prayers towards that conference, and has invited sister dioceses to offer support and prayer. Elections will take place, for leaders to take the Guild forward for the next three years.

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Umbuliso uyakubulisa ...

Stephanie Hendrickse joins Cathedral Chapter

Umbuliso greets Stephanie Hendrikse, who has been elected as a Lay Member of Chapter, and was installed on 16 December during the Ordination service. She is a member of the congregation at Good Shepherd East London, where she is a Lay Minister.

Priests join foot-stomping group at St Augustine’s Grahamstown

At St Augustine’s it is not only worship and praise that make the parish vibrant and dynamic. The parish recently held a talent show. Rector Lawrence Nzwana and Assistant Priest Lindile Somandi joined the group of gumboot dancers entertaining parishioners. Umbuliso learns this priestly prancing was sponsored for church funds!

Clergy move

Richard Goodfellow, incumbent of Christ Church Grahamstown, and his wife Hazel, Rector of St Clement’s, will be moving to Port Elizabeth in March. At Christ Church Richard is to be succeeded after Easter by the Revd Terry Mitchell, who is at present Chaplain to Uplands College, a school in White River, Mpumalanga.

Diocesan AWF continues Christ’s ministry

By Kokela Siqendu

The Anglican Women’s Fellowship closed the year 2011 with sad news when two members passed away and we started 2012 on the same note. Again, this Christ-centred Guild comforted the families of the deceased AWF members. Ladies organized and led memorial services. AWF members helped one family with funeral arrangements and provided groceries for the funeral. The AWF Chaplain Simphiwe Magxwalisa delivered a sermon at the late Ms Ratazayo’s funeral. As if this was not enough, AWF ladies with the help of Chaplain Magxwalisa organized boarding school for the little Avuyile Ratazayo, and paid for all school requirements. She is now a scholar at St Matthew’s, Keiskammahoek. The Guild thanks God for the Revd Magxwalisa’s leadership who is always with us during these sad times. 

For Prayer

Vivien Cooper, widow of the late Revd John Cooper of East London, died on 18 December. God answered prayers for a speedy illness so that she did not suffer too badly. She was reportedly quite ready to die, and looked forward to meeting Jesus and reuniting with her beloved John.

Prayers are asked for Fanele Simanga, Assistant Priest at Ginsberg and his family, on the death of his daughter, and for Philip Howarth, Methodist Minister at St Nicholas United Church, on the death of his mother, Cynthia Howarth, on 18 January.

For the Bishop's engagements, see the 2012 Year Planner.

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Umbuliso is your diocesan newspaper!

Contributions welcome

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P O Box 181, Grahamstown 61400
Tel: 046 622 7803;  Fax 086 685 3968
E-mail: umbuliso@diocesegrahamstown.co.za

Dead-line for next issue: 20 March 2012

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