A new home for abandoned and orphaned children in Gowie Street officially opened its doors on Saturday 14 April. The home, to be known simply as “Ikhaya Lethu” (Our Home) was blessed by Canon James Hoyle, Chaplain to the Anglican Community of the Resurrection of Our Lord (CR), in the presence of local clergy and a crowd of friends of the CR.
In years past the CR Sisters were involved with the care of children in need, and some of those present at Saturday’s ceremony had themselves grown up in Bethlehem Home, then situated in New Street. Speaking after the blessing of Ikhaya Lethu, CR Superior Mother Zelma described how she and the Community had pursued their vision of once again opening a children’s home. “It wasn’t easy” she said. A major donation from friends of the CR in the UK, Paul and Mary Khan, and further gifts from the CR Associates in England, enabled the vision to become reality, and many others near and far contributed in different ways. Among these were the local Rotarians who provided a jungle gym and educational toys. The brother of the late Sister Judith CR, David Mashonga, gave his labour to paint and renovate the old house previously known as “Stonehenge”, and his sister Maria Bos made curtains and duvet covers with cheerful nursery designs.
The Home is able to accommodate six to eight children, and the aim is that these should be babies or toddlers when they arrive. But Mother Zelma is adamant that these children are expected to stay “until they go to college”, that is, they should make this place their real home. Asked what would happen if an infant was “dumped on the doorstep”, Mother Zelma pointed out that there are certain legal processes which must be gone through before a child can be officially assigned to a children’s home, which involve the police, the local hospital, and paperwork. That said, she stressed that children would be given temporary shelter at Ikhaya Lethu in cases of need, until the official process had taken place.
Following her vision: CR Mother Superior Zelma looks over the playground of Ikhaya Lethu Home while Canon James Hoyle pronounces a blessing.
The Order of the Holy Cross has announced that Br Daniel Ludik OHC has been appointed to take over as Prior of Mariya uMama weThemba Monastery, Hillandale, near Grahamstown. After the Chapter meeting of the Order in New York in June, Brother Timothy Jolley OHC will be stepping down, having been Prior of the Monastery since it opened 14 years ago. The new Prior, Br Daniel, will be the first South African Prior of the Monastery. Prayers are asked for him as he takes up this new responsibility.
Dear People of God
Pentecost is a historic event that took place on the fiftieth day after the resurrection in a house in Jerusalem. It was prophesied by Joel that God would pour out God the Holy Spirit upon men and women, old and young; to see visions and to prophesy (Joel 2:23; 2:32).
Pentecost helps us to appreciate that we are serving a living God who moves among us, guiding, encouraging, comforting and warning us in our day-to-day ministries to His people.
Bearing the good news can prove heavy, and communicating the same can become intimidating because of the attitude of the listeners. However, Jesus promised those who are committed to the proclamation, the power of the Holy Spirit who strengthens and comforts to all who witness to His saving power. The Holy Spirit enabled the Apostles to speak about Jesus Christ’s saving work boldly and publicly.
The importance of Pentecost is about a change of hearts in our communities and parishes, when conflicts and loss of morale are replaced by zeal to serve, and reconciliation. God’s presence within us penetrates our dark corners and exposes our shortcomings to God’s healing.
The Holy Spirit helps us to co-operate with God in His mission of saving the world. We may ask ourselves about the Church projects that are not moving. We may further inquire about the dwindling members in the pews. The common denominator is that we take decisions before invoking the Holy Spirit for guidance and counsel, and only after taking decisions, we then pray for the Holy Spirit to rubber-stamp our ideas.
I am inviting all the congregations to imitate Jesus’ disciples and stay in prayer, so that our ears may be enabled to hear God’s voice and our eyes be opened to the ills in our societies, so that through the love and healing of the Holy Spirit, we may appropriately address them.
The Catechism (1989 prayer book) states; “We recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit when we confess Christ as Lord and are brought into love and harmony with God, with ourselves, with our neighbours, and with all creation” (pg 430 #57). The moment harmony is absent; we need to go back to the drawing board. It does not matter about your position or title, just go back and ask: “where did I depart from The Holy Spirit’s counsel?” Retrace your steps and seek forgiveness so that peace may reign within you. Excuses and reasons do not help, just repentance. Trying to cover up our mistakes demonstrates the absence of the Holy Spirit.
Pentecost therefore, becomes a moment in a believer’s life when peace is experienced while executing God’s mission. The Holy Spirit unleashes power that transforms us from within; from an interior emptiness and despair to a spring of hope and healing which our societies and communities are lacking.
“Christ has no body on earth but ours, no hands but ours, no feet but ours. Ours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion for the world is to look out; ours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good; and ours are the hands with which He is to bless us now.”
Let the prayer of Mother Teresa de Avila be fulfilled and lived out by us all who dwell in the Body of Christ. In living out this prayer we need to come to a realization that having being bought at the tremendous sacrifice of Christ’s blood, we are at the Lord’s disposal.
By Ntombise Poswa
St Andrew’s Mothers’ Union celebrated Mothering Sunday on 18 March 2012.
Nokubonga Nweba of the Prayer and Spirituality Unit Committee explained to the congregation that Mothering Sunday was adopted by Christians, whereby it was made it a point that families visited their nearest big church, i.e. where each person was baptised. It is normally celebrated on the 4th Sunday of Lent. On Mothering Sunday children give their mothers gifts and cards as a thank you for all their care and love throughout the year. The importance of the family is emphasised. It is the UK’s version of Mother’s Day.
Mothers’ Union members with banners sang in procession around the church. Some of the members had bunches of multi-coloured flowers in their hands.
A big cake was put in front of the altar resembling the “Simnel Cake” which was traditionally made to mark this day.
Each member was given a flower as an indication of thanksgiving, and there was a slice of cake for everyone.
Say it with flowers: MU members stand in front of the altar of St Andrew’s Mdantsane with lovely bouquets in honour of Mothering Sunday.
By Graeme Deas
It all began one morning in the early 2000’s when Lorraine Rusch, the Anglican Hospital Chaplain to the Greater East London area, who is also Priest at the Mother Church of St Peter, West Bank, visited the maternity ward at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital in Mdantsane. She discovered a great need there, among indigent mothers who were having babies. Poverty had bitten so deep, that these moms had no option but to take their newly born infants home wrapped up in newsprint. Lorraine’s heartstrings were severely tugged and she resolved to do something about it: God had spoken to her, and Stork Support Ministries was born.
Lorraine went home and started to gather around her a group of people, mostly pensioned women residing in East London’s senior citizen complexes, who began to knit, sew and collect items suitable to clothe these newborns. Lorraine’s network of helpers grew to include many local churches and congregations, private individuals, local businesses and factories, schools and Rotary Clubs. She was ably assisted in all this planning and expansion by her husband James.
Out of this endeavour the Infant Starter Kit was born, for distribution to all needy moms in the labour wards of the hospital. The starter kit consists of a fabric bag containing a cap, bib, vest, jersey, baby-gro, bootees, a napkin, a baby blanket (generally handmade,) baby products, a cake of soap (when available,) a face cloth, and a fluffy toy or knitted teddy.
The ministry has grown. Since inception in June 2004 the project has been able to donate over 14,000 starter kits to indigent mothers in the labour wards of Cecilia Makiwane Hospital. Lorraine and her helpers visit the hospital twice a month distributing on average 230 bags per month. However, when the project has sufficient stock, visits are stepped up to three times a month, distributing approximately 330 starter kits.
Lorraine Rusch with one of the babies.
Stork Support needs help in cash or kind!
Contact Lorraine Rusch: 043 726 5058 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations in cash can be made into the Stork Support Ministries bank account handled by Margie Beaumont of PSG Konsult (Pty) Ltd; 072 174 5795 (all hours), 043 726 1344 (office hours), email@example.com.
Please supply contact details for acknowledgement purposes. Thank you.
By Ayanda Mfenyana
The King William’s Town East Archdeaconry Mothers’ Union, Presiding Member, Mrs A Mangaliso, gathered at St Luke’s Parish, Mdolomba, to commemorate “Lady Day” (the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary) on 24 March 2012. This day started with a Eucharist service conducted by Lungiswa Mkiva on behalf of Archdeacon Doda. The purpose of celebrating this day was to bring together all M U members and those who want to join. The key focus was to celebrate the MU’s patron saint and learn from her. The guest speaker was Lay Canon Nontobeko Moletsane, wife of the late Revd T Moletsane. In her address she rejuvenated and energized M U members to go out and put into action what Mary our saint has done. Her address focused on the following:
· Who is the blessed Mary?
· What happened to her?
· What are her characteristics?
· Why are we making her our saint?
She urged members to surrender their lives to God as Mary did, and to allow themselves to be used by God as vessels for this “Good News”.
Going forth: Members of the MU gathered at St Luke’s Mdolomba.
Inspired by St Mary the Virgin: Nontobeko Moletsane delivered a challenging message.
By Bill Gould
God smiled down with bright sunshine on St Luke’s Mission Church, Nxarhuni on Saturday, 28 April 2012 as the Laxa family, stalwarts in this parish, celebrated the dedication and unveiling of the tombstone of Masonwabe McFord Laxa, son and brother.
Following Holy Eucharist in the church, the family, invited guests and friends gathered in St Luke’s cemetery to witness their Priest-in-Charge Vuyani Mnqathu remind all of the Christian hope of resurrection and the communion of saints.
The scene evoked the immanence of God as described in Archdeacon Peter Mtuze’s seminal work on Xhosa spirituality. These rolling hills outside East London were the scene of much rich history in the nineteenth century. It was then that Chief Mhala bequeathed this extensive mission land to the Anglican Church in gratitude for its role in assisting in his struggle to preserve his ancestral lands from newly arrived and acquisitive settlers.
Vuyani Mnqathu, Priest-in-Charge of St Luke’s, blesses Masonwabe Laxa’s tombstone. 2nd and 3rd from left are his sisters Thunyelwa Laxa (a Permanent Deacon at St Luke’s) and Cindy Laxa.
by Bill Gould
St Saviour’s and Good Shepherd congregations combined once again on the Wednesday of Holy Week to hold a re-enactment of the Maundy Thursday Passover meal in which Jesus instituted the sacrament of Holy Eucharist which we continue to celebrate two thousand years later in memory of His sacrifice for us and the atonement of our sins.
Through the same chronological order of the recorded events in the words and actions of Jesus at the Last Supper, the 150 participants followed the same 18 steps as had our Lord.
The various dishes that were eaten, and the rituals that were performed, were all calculated to evoke the memory of the Passover and the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt.
While Jesus followed the same customary steps as the Jews had for centuries, He attached an entirely new meaning to the unleavened bread and the wine.
Jesus deliberately chose this moment for His death as it was that at the Passover the Jews believed they would witness the coming of God’s Messiah and the establishment of a New Covenant in accordance with the ancient prophecy of Jeremiah.
The meal was accompanied by an extensive commentary, including the involvement of all present and giving a very lucid understanding of the meaning of Jesus’ act of washing His disciples’ feet, of His giving the sop to Judas, and of the unleavened bread and the Common Cup of Blessing.
Importantly, the skeleton essence of this meal is preserved in the Holy Eucharist that we celebrate so frequently in our churches, which is the Church’s sacrament of unity.
Celebrating together, 150 members of the St Saviour’s and Good Shepherd East London congregation attended a “Passover Meal” in Holy Week.
From the Department of Spirituality
By Thami Mhlana , based on Phillip Yancey’s “ What’s So Amazing About Grace “
At the beginning of Holy Week this year I decided to change and stash away my “Passion of the Christ” that I usually watch at this time and decided that, gory and exaggerated it may seem, the actual thought and deed that has made me the child of God that I am is quite amazing and worthy of being constantly reminded about, so “ The Passion” exited and “ Amazing Grace ” the movie, entered.
We speak and sing of grace often, but do we understand it? More importantly, do we truly believe in it and, do our lives proclaim it as powerfully as our preaching or our singing? Our Anglican Prayer Book defines grace as “ God’s favour towards us, unearned and undeserved. By Grace, God forgives our sins, enlightens our minds, stirs our hearts and strengthens our wills. Grace for me is so overwhelmingly personal, God feels compassion for each one of his undeserving creations, why? Because:
· God cares – “ For God so loved the world…” (Jn 3:16).
· God wants to protect His Holy Name -“It is not for your sake, O house of Israel… (Ezekiel 36:22).
· God loves unconditionally - “God demonstrates His love thus, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” ( Romans 5:8).
In one of the chapters in this book, a world touched
by grace is amazingly described in this picturesque way, “ A world suffused
with God’s Grace, where the sun shines on people good and bad, where birds
gather seeds gratis, neither ploughing nor harvesting to earn them, where
untended wildflowers burst into bloom on rocky hillsides..”
In the parable of the lost son , we learn that where sin increased, grace increased all the more . St Paul knew better than anyone who has ever lived that grace comes undeserved, at God’s initiative not our own. Saul (later Paul) knocked flat on the ground on the road to Damascus, having recovered from the impact of “grace,” the word appears at the end of each of his letters.
For all who ask “ What’s So Amazing About Grace?” let us visit our Bible and examine the kind of people God loved and considered. If God loved and forgave that kind of person, then maybe God can love and save the wretch like me. My last word though: let not this “Amazing Grace” become “Abused Grace”. St Paul warns us against this abuse of God’s grace: “ Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means” (Romans 6:1).
The price, costly as it was, was paid, ours is to maintain the status.
Let us sing together:
I once was lost but now I’m found
Was blind but now I see.
By Desrae Lazarus - Good Shepherd Parish East London
In April-May I was blessed to have led 39 pilgrims to the Holy Land from the Diocese of Grahamstown, Mbhashe, KZN and Johannesburg together with other brothers and sisters in Christ from other denominations. Myself and 11 priests arranged the daily programmes of prayer and meditations and shared in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist in Galilee, Bethlehem and Jerusalem.
Our Lord Jesus was once a pilgrim in the Holy Land. We too were afforded the opportunity to journey with Him into the desert, to listen to the powerful Word of the God of Israel spoken into our own deserts. We followed Him into Galilee to experience His ministry of miracles and healing. We journeyed with Him to Jerusalem to join the crowd that came to meet him crying “Hosanna! Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord.” We walked with him on the road to Golgotha and shared in His passion. We journeyed with Him on the road to Emmaus and discovered Him in the breaking and sharing of the Word and Bread.
Indeed many lives have been impacted by the “ Bible coming to Life” and the group certainly will find everyday experiences taking on new dimensions. Christian fellowship is the main ingredient that makes this tour an experience of a lifetime. The Holy Spirit united us as we daily invited Him first thing in the morning to lead and guide us on our way. There were moments of awe, moments of great spiritual awakening, tears of pain and joy were released and certainly moments of great laughter.
One of the highlights was a first-time visit to the Sound and Light programme in the premises of David’s Citadel (a museum of Israel’s history) near Jaffa Gate. My words are few and cannot describe the action and music that was displayed on the entire wall area. The programme depicted the history of Israel in movement with people, crusaders on horses, animals etc that was so realistic one could hardly absorb everything that was happening everywhere. It left us all spell-bound and it was for me, the most spectacular show that I have seen.
We were blessed with an excellent Christian guide Roy, one chosen and set apart by God. We cannot thank him enough for his ministry – I have yet to come across a guide who brings the Land to life with such passion and we thank him for sharing his knowledge in such a profound way. It was truly awesome to stand and gaze over so many biblical sites, trying to fathom the layer upon layer of history unfolding.
To all those “angelic voices” in our group, thank you for your rendition of “Jerusalem” and “How great thou art”. Many pilgrims from all over the world stood in awe and were so blessed by your ministry of song.
All this is just a taste of exciting days spent with wonderful people and loads of fun and laughter, and above all deep moments of closeness with the Man who walked the Promised Land. May our good Lord continue to write his gospel upon our hearts, send us forth carrying the Good News and continue to lead and guide us on our Pilgrimage to the heavenly Jerusalem.
All nations shall come: Members of Desrae Lazarus’ group of pilgrims on the steps of the Church of All Nations, Garden of Gethsemane, Jerusalem.
By Bill Gould
Freedom Day, Friday 27 April 2012, was the day chosen by Philasande, second eldest son of Reverend Bafana and Mrs Thami Jolobe of Grahamstown, and Tandokazi, elder daughter of Mr Ndomelele and Mrs Ntombizine Madyibi of East London, to enter into the lifelong bond and covenant of holy matrimony.
Their nuptials were celebrated by Bishop Ebenezer Ntlali at St Saviour’s Church, East London and by their relatives and friends in very fine style afterwards.
This happy event had begun the previous evening at the bride’s home with the ritual propitiation of the ancestors with the slaughtering of a sacrificial sheep, the first fruits of which, the freshly braaied breast meat, were consumed by the elders shortly thereafter.
In his sermon, the bishop spoke powerfully of the necessity that one must have a love for God and for oneself before being able to have love for another, as outlined in Ephesians 5, and affirmed that God is the source of strength in the homes that acknowledge Him.
Many words of wisdom and thanks were shared at the reception which continued well into the night. The joyful event concluded the next day at the groom’s family’s home with the naming of the new bride, now fully a member of her new family.
Nuptial blessing: The Bishop, assisted by attendant clergy, blesses the new Mr and Mrs Jolobe.
By Ncumisa Sikunyana
On Sunday May 6, St Philip’s Gompo celebrated Workers’ Sunday in an outstanding way. With the parishioners clad in work clothes, there were construction workers, nurses, policemen and women, doctors, correctional officers, you name them. With students dressed in school uniform, the day was just full of colour. The idea of Worker Sunday dates back to the days of apartheid when black workers were terribly exploited and oppressed. The Church wanted to give support to the marginalized and disregarded black working class. The focus back then was on the promotion of justice and improved working conditions.
The sermon was delivered by the Revd Chuma Mduzana, who spoke of the challenges faced by the working class today and the country as a whole. The theme was taken from Psalm 118:25 “Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord; O Lord I beseech thee, send now prosperity”. He urged the congregation to view success from a Christ-centred view, as compared to the materialistic conviction that society currently has. God-given success breeds contentment, serenity, inner peace and giving freely without expecting anything in return. On the other hand materialistic success leaves people empty and unfulfilled regardless of their multitude of possessions.
The materialistic view of prosperity has not only led to the rise of corruption in our society but also threatens job creation and retards moral values. It is therefore our duty as Christians to re-evaluate our value system, and impose Godly values at work and at school.
The sermon also focused on the plight of the unemployed. The levels of unemployment have become an eyesore in our society and the unemployed are slowly being marginalized in these materialistic times. Paired to this sordid fact is the casualization of work which has robbed many of security and certainty in this ever-changing world.
It is imperative that as children of God we be guided by love in all spheres of our relationships and nothing else. This Worker Sunday the congregation of St Phillip’s Gompo prayed for economic freedom, employment, a Godly view of prosperity, patience in getting to our destinations guided by God, the ability to share resources with the less fortunate, giving freely without expecting recognition, putting less focus on earthly gains and being at all times ambassadors of God in how we live, speak and conduct ourselves.
Dressed for work: Members of St Philip’s Gompo congregation on Workers’ Sunday.
By Immanuel Ngubo
Dr Brigalia Bam (Former Chairperson of the Independent Electoral Commission) and Mrs N Ngewu (wife of the late Dean of Pretoria) visited St Philip’s Church Gompo on Mothers’ Day as guests. The congregation was excited about the visit. Canon P Makalima welcomed them in the “East London Cathedral” especially when Bishop is around. Dr Bam thanked the congregation for their ubuntu welcome and promised to come back in September again, because of the warm welcome they received at St Philip’s. She also appreciated the choir for lifting the service and agreed that it is indeed a Cathedral in waiting.
Umbuliso greets Brother Timothy Jolley OHC, as he steps down as Prior of the Monastery of Mariya uMama weThemba (see front page story). We wish Br Timothy well as he goes on a year’s Sabbatical, as he wrote, “to rest, pray and contemplate where God may be leading me next”, and look forward to seeing him again in Grahamstown, which he now considers his home.
The Bernard Mizeki Guild of the Diocese held its conference from 20-22 April 2012 at Dale College, King William’s Town. Thanks were expressed to the organising task team led by Lizo Sokopo, Priest-in-Charge of Breidbach, and to the King William’s Town Archdeacons, Peter Mtuze and Mziwoxolo Doda. The Bishop of Grahamstown, Ebenezer Ntlali, preached at the Sunday service and conducted elections. Those elected included the Revd Mluleki Mize as President, Bro S Mfenyana Chairperson, Bro Ngubo Secretary, Bro Mgatyelwa Media Officer, Bro Botile Social Responsibility, Bro Time Legal Adviser, Bro Hashe Training. Attendance was good, with clergy present and representatives from the sister dioceses of Ukhahlamba, Umbhashe and George. The Fund-raising Trophy was won by King William’s Town East.
The Bishop has announced the following moves, with effect from 8 May 2012:
· Nkosiphendule Matshaya: Rector of Good Shepherd East London.
· Chuma Mduzana: Rector, St Philip Gompo.
· George van der Merwe: Rector, St Clement Grahamstown.
By Immanuel Ngubo
St Luke’s Nxarhuni showed love on Mothers’ Day by organizing a farewell service for Father Flint and his wife Pat. They praised him for being part of developing the church structures, some thanked the father for being an good preacher because they joined the church whilst he was around. It was a day full of love; clearly they really enjoyed themselves.
Louis and Pat Flint moved to Gonubie last year, on his appointment as Rector of St Martin-by-the-Sea.
At the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown,
28 June - 8 July 2012
come and join us at SPIRITFEST, and celebrate the Arts in the context of the Christian faith!
Worship Gospel Song Marimbas Organ Bell-ringing Exhibitions
SpiritFest Winter School: Lectures Films Book-launches
Find us in the official Festival Programme or
For the Bishop's engagements, see the 2012 Year Planner.
Umbuliso is published by the Diocese of Grahamstown, edited by Maggy Clarke, and printed by Dupli-Print, Grahamstown.Dead-line for next issue: 20 July 2012
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