By Mark Spyker, Rector of St Alban’s
St Alban’s Church, East London, hosted a wonderful celebration on Saturday 14 July as Bishop Ebenezer ordained three new Deacons: Temba Skweyiya (Holy Cross, Mdantsane), Philda Njoli (Holy Trinity, Dimbaza) and Milton Quntu (St Philip’s, Grahamstown).
With more than 210 people present, including many clergy, members of Chapter, Dean Andrew Hunter, and Bishop Ebenezer, the singing was wonderfully led by the Choirs of Holy Cross, St Saviour’s, St Philip’s and St Francis. Archdeacon Mark Spyker preached from Luke 5:1-10, suggesting that all of us, as members of God’s ‘Royal Priesthood’ (1 Peter 2:9), should reveal certain characteristics of Christian leadership, including 1) a bias for action, 2) a willingness to follow direction, 3) an expectancy for the miraculous, 4) a willingness to give God and others the credit for success, 5) an acceptance of God’s wider vision that we ‘catch [people]’, and 6) a decision to leave everything to follow Christ.
After the new Deacons were ordained and presented with their families to the congregation by Bishop Ebenezer, the service was concluded with the Eucharist. The service was led by Archdeacon Thami Mhlana, and the Litany was well sung by Canon Simphiwe Magxwalisa, after Archdeacon Penrose Mpumlwana had presented the Deacons to the Bishop. The rehearsal for the service had been convened by the Revd Warren Bada, who also acted as MC.
The congregation then retired to the hall where everyone shared a packed lunch. This ordination was a particularly joyful celebration of our unity in Christ, our call to ‘catch people’ for Christ, and the strength of our Diocese at this time in our history, ably led as we are by Bishop Ebenezer. To God be all the Glory!
Three new Deacons rejoice with Bishop Ebenezer Ntlali. From left: Milton Quntu (St Philip’s, Grahamstown); Philda Njoli (Holy Trinity, Dimbaza), Temba Skweyiya (Holy Cross, Mdantsane).
Following the Bishop’s leading: New Deacons Milton Quntu and Philda Njoli join the assembled clergy outside St Alban’s Church after the service.
SpiritFest: bearing witness at the National Festival of the Arts
The Cathedral occupies such a central and visible position in Grahamstown that no visitor to the National Festival of the Arts can fail to see it. During the 11 days of the 2012 Festival from 28 June to 8 July, hundreds of visitors passed through the Cathedral’s doors, many of them just to look around. Others were drawn in by the varied and excellent events of SpiritFest, an initiative of the Grahamstown Churches which aims to celebrate the arts in the context of the Christian Faith.
This year for the first time the Cathedral Choir (pictured above with their Director Barbara Stout) presented a concert of sacred and secular music. This was particularly well attended and appreciated, as was the Festival Eucharist on the first Sunday, at which the choir and instrumentalists led the worship with “A Little Jazz Mass” by Bob Chilcott. Barbara Stout was about to step down as Director of Music, and to be succeeded by Dr Andrew-John Bethke, a talented organist who teaches at the College of the Transfiguration. He gave an organ recital, and the St Michael’s Marimbas performed in two concerts and at the second Sunday Eucharist. An innovation was the combining of films, lectures and book launches into a “SpiritFest Winter School”. Topics included a panel discussion on the issue of assisted suicide, and “Roadmap to Apartheid” a lecture by Terry Crawford-Browne followed by the film of the same name, about Israel/Palestine. Gospel music concerts and worship continued to prove popular. Sculpture and paintings were exhibited in the Cathedral and Christ Church Hall, and visitors competed eagerly for the chance to go up the bell tower (only 12 at a time!) to see how the tower bells are rung.
“Home from Home” with songs and poems by local poet Chris Mann and images by his wife Julia Skeen was presented in a lecture theatre, with special guest Janet Suzman reading the poems.
Man of many talents, Andrew-John Bethke has just taken up the part-time post of Director of Music at the Cathedral in Grahamstown. He teaches Anglicanism and Liturgy at the College of the Transfiguration, and has recently obtained a PhD in Liturgical Musicology.
Dear People of God
Who said we should give to the Church or to God in the Body of Christ, in the Kingdom of God? Ticket systems, pledges and planned giving are the human ways and commands which we are subjected to by the parish council. In the Old Testament we learn that God instructed Moses on Mount Sinai on how the children of Israel should give to Him through His priests. They were to give a tenth of their money, their livestock and a tenth of all the produce of the land (Leviticus 27:1-34). This is called the Lord’s Tithe; we must understand that whether it is grain, livestock or money it belongs to God.
God also warned His Chosen Nation through the Prophet Malachi that He does not accept being robbed and cheated! If they continue to rob and cheat them, He will curse them. However, if they pay their tithes and offerings He will open the windows of heaven and pour out on them in abundance all kinds of good things (Mal. 3:6-12).
The second form of tithing is called Harvest Tithe (Deut. 12:10-18) and it is done once a year. Israel would set a target for their harvest and if God has given them more than their target, from the surplus each farmer would give a tenth of that to God in the Jerusalem Temple. We also get a surplus in our harvest in the form of a thirteenth cheque or bonus. It is out of this that we need to tithe a tenth to God in thanksgiving of the surplus.
The Poor Tithe is only 4% and is used to support the welfare of widows and orphans. In Matthew 17:24-27, we learn that the Churchwardens of the Jerusalem Church challenged Jesus and his disciples on them not paying tithes. Jesus encouraged Peter to go fishing so that they would be able to pay the tithes to the Church. Jesus paid a total of 40% to God: a tenth of the Lord’s tithe and harvest tithe, 4% of poor tithe and 16% to the state. For all of us as Christian disciples we need to follow Jesus as our role model.
In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians 8:1-15, Paul teaches about God’s generosity: the gift of salvation and the gift of eternal life. Through Jesus He has freed us from the power of disease, sin and death and He has given us the status of being sons and daughters of the Kingdom of God and members of Christ’s Body. St Paul teaches the Corinthians about the Macedonian Christian disciples, that in their extreme poverty they were generous and joyful givers to the Lord. They did not only give as much as they were able, but beyond their abilities – they gave of themselves wholly to the Lord! They were cheerful givers.
I charge the parish councils to encourage God’s people to give to God generously, informed by the Word. Also, parish councils under the supervision of the clergy may teach the Christian disciples to open their lives to God’s Holy Spirit and be an environment in which they respond voluntarily to God’s abundant saving grace. In a nutshell, the parish councils must stop deciding for God and accept what God wants and follow God’s way, so that the people who they lead may be blessed by God abundantly.
By Mark Spyker
A small team of St Alban’s parishioners from East London organised a mission trip to the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. The mandate for the team was to reveal God’s goodness to Festival-goers.
One of the activities was to go ‘Treasure Hunting’. Each team member had a ‘map’ with clues that they felt the Holy Spirit had given to find a particular “treasure” (individuals that needed a touch from the Lord on that particular day). Divided in to teams of three and four they went into town, and were amazed at how they were led to person after person with very real needs, and were able to bring them words of encouragement, healing, and joy.
Messages from Heaven: Mark Spyker writing on the sketch-board as part of St Alban’s Church outreach at the National Arts Festival ... and some of those who gathered round.
The St Alban’s Team is available to run Training workshops in the Prophetic: Art, “Messages from Heaven”, and Treasure Hunting. We would love to help you activate your own teams. Contact Simone at:
072 753 0900, or Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org or 083 676 2310.
By Maureen Dabula
Visitors come and go: when you treat them well you give them the ability to share love and peace. This ministry was seen in action when the Revd P Xhallie of St Lawrence Anglican Church in Cape Town visited St Francis Mdantsane early this year. As a brother in Christ and a friend he identified a need in our church.
He facilitated the purchase of different coloured vestments for the church. This idea was taken up by the parishioners, and they felt that it was a proper way of celebrating Mothering Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Lent) by taking a special collection towards the cost of these garments.
The vestments were handed over on Pentecost Day. This act of kindness was highly appreciated by all at St Francis. Worship, joy and singing were at its highest peak on this day. Archdeacon P P Mpumlwana extended his gratitude to this man of God.
The parish expresses thanks to the Revd P Xhallie and his family. God has given him eyes that don’t look inwards at his own concerns but look outward to others.
Liturgical colours: Archdeacon Mpumlwana tries on the new chasubles for the "green season" (left), for Lent (centre) and Pentecost (right).
Life can be hard for children who have lost their parents to AIDS, or who are themselves infected. In Alice the Isibindi Safe Park is a place where children can be children again. Care Workers (CYCWs) with clients;
Children and CYCWs at play in the Safe Park.
By Nosipho Nzwana, Isibindi Co-ordinator, Grahamstown Diocese
Sinikithemba (“we give hope”), is a Church programme which operates at St Augustine’s Anglican Church in Grahamstown (Joza Location).
The programme was started in 2006 by the then Bishop of Grahamstown (now Archbishop of Cape Town) Thabo Makgoba, together with Mluleki Mize who was a Priest at St Augustine’s at the time. Its main focus is to give food to people who are infected with HIV/AIDS, as well as those who have chronic diseases like diabetes, asthma, hypertension etc. but have nothing to eat. Initially this was done once a week but due to the commitment of St Augustine’s congregants in giving through Church collections, and donations from surrounding business people, the feeding now happens five days a week. Some of the clients stay alone at their homes and have alcohol and drug abuse problems.
Sinikithemba operates an OVC Programme, taking care of Orphans and Vulnerable Children. These are children who have no parents, or whose parents’ lifestyle is not balanced, which makes them vulnerable to many kinds of abuse, and hunger. About 40 children are fed per day.
Workshops are organised for the clients, to teach them how to take care of themselves, working with the Department of Health. A recent successful workshop was led by Siyanqoba/ Beat It. Clients received certificates of attendance and participation. Sinikithemba works hand in hand with an NGO called Isibindi which is committed to assisting with home visits and care. Volunteers from the congregation have committed themselves to cooking and making home visits.
The project is supported by donations from Grahamstown business people like Fruit and Veg City who give fruit and vegetables from time to time, and Oatlands Bakery which gives bread once a week. Twice a month St Augustine’s Church collects money from the congregation which goes straight to Sinikithemba, as well as donations in the form of groceries. Old clothes are also collected, for children or for adults. Any kind of donation is welcomed because it makes a difference in the lives of hopeless people and children of God. Any Good Samaritan is welcome to make a difference, for as Jesus said, ”Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did that for me”. (Matt 25:46).
Winter warmers: Monica Vega and Heidi Schmidt handed over gifts of blankets to Sinikithemba volunteers. L-r front row: Nosipho Ndzwana, Mrs Nombomo, Monica Vega, Mrs Mahambehlala, Heidi Schmidt. Monica and Heidi operate Safe Parks in Ezebeleni and Ilinge (Ukhahlamba Diocese) and continue to assist in Grahamstown Diocese as well.
· A purpose-built hall. At present Sinikithemba uses St Augustine’s Church. The hall should include counselling rooms for one-on-one counselling, and a kitchen for cooking for the clients.
· Fencing for a garden in which to plant vegetables for feeding.
· Two 5000 litre rain-water tanks, since water is very scarce in Grahamstown, especially in Joza.
· Handwork lessons for the clients, e.g. sewing, beadwork etc.
Contact Person: Canon Lawrence Nzwana, 079 980 2006; 046 622 7449
From the Department of Education, Training and Ministerial Formation
By Abiaaza Kibirige, Canon Theologian
God’s interaction with mankind cannot be pinned down to a particular event, place or time because His ways are beyond human understanding and the little glimpse of what He reveals cannot make anyone an expert on the workings of the Divine.
However, Baptism is the landmark of answering God’s call, and is the mother of all sacraments and sacramental rites, which include those revealed and those yet to be revealed as we allow ourselves to marvel at the workings of our creator God.
Baptism marks the point of entry into God’s family, but most importantly it marks the acceptance of God’s intervention in one’s life. It is equivalent to the Blessed Mary’s “yes” to the angel Gabriel; the point of meeting that awakens the individual to God’s active life. It is a point of floor-crossing from Satan’s territory to life and peace (Romans 8:6).
The shift of allegiance affects and challenges day-to-day lifestyle by inviting the baptized to be in line with Christ’s life.
St Paul advises the baptized on how to keep abreast with Christ’s life: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). Taking heed of Paul’s words of wisdom helps the baptized not to be swayed by changing world standards. Paul’s command not to conform to the world should ignite a searching and questioning mind that doesn’t fall for everything but seeks the will of God at all times.
The baptismal vows seek to guide the baptized by identifying what needs to be rejected and in this, the mind is alerted and strengthened by the Holy Spirit in warding off Satan and his agents. The life of the baptized therefore, is a life that seeks the will of God amidst the wills of the world. It is a life of choices, that requires the baptized to stand and be counted. For example during mass demonstrations, the baptized would resist damaging property or causing injury to the bystanders. Though the world freedom may dictate that there is no need for the family to sit together at table and have a meal, the baptized will insist on sitting together because it helps to build the family, by listening to one another while eating. The baptized must resist the habit of littering by placing fast–food used packets in waste bins. There is a lot the baptized can do especially in a world of materialism that clouds our better judgment because s/he lives a life of glorifying God.
Reflection: What areas in my life need to be eliminated so that my mind can be transformed?
(To be continued)
By Margaret Fourie
As I write this at the end of June, the ANC is meeting in its policy conference, and one of the matters on the table for discussion is that of public holidays.
What is being suggested is that Good Friday, Easter Monday and Boxing Day (and perhaps Christmas as well) will be removed as public holidays and downgraded to “religious holidays” along the lines of Eid, Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah and others like them. That would mean that Christians would be entitled to take the day off, but without pay, and if a Christian were to work on that day, there would not be double pay.
Our first reaction is horror. “Remember that we are a Christian country!” we wail.
We are a country full of drunks, thieves, murderers, rapists, liars, adulterers, abusers of children, women, men and the elderly; selfish, greedy, corrupt, prejudiced, judgmental, violent … Need I say more? You can fill in your own vices here, and those of your congregation.
Yet it was for us sinners that Jesus died. For this very nation of depravity on every front. We South Africans are the ones Jesus valued above his own life. We are loved beyond belief; beyond imagining.
Perhaps the very best thing that could happen is for us to lose these holidays - often used only for drunken parties and crime - so that we can stand up and be counted. It is time we made some sacrifice for our faith. Perhaps those who attend church and continue unrepentant will either be changed or leave. The Church seems to thrive under persecution!
By Randall Gallant, Rector
The leadership of St John’s Church, East London, agreed that the building could do with some paint, as it is a very old beautiful church in which they come together to give “worth-ship” to the Lord. However to do such work would mean funding - and quite a substantial amount. This resulted in a great deal of fund-raising and commitment from all. Painting of the church started, and it was all the work of the parishioners from start to end. They began in November 2011 (Advent) and ended in March 2012 (Lent). They brought in the professional assistance of Darrin Varnfield, who helped in deciding on the type of paint as well as the colour. The result is a beautiful building covered in a protective layer of beautiful paint.
A labour of love: Parishioners of St John East London set to work to paint the exterior (above). (Below) Now look at it!
By T T Mgatyelwa, Media officer
Ngomhla we 23 ne 24 June zonke iindawo ezinamadodana bezibambe izikhumbuzo zomfeli wazo uBernard Mizeki. Ndinetemba zonke ziqube kahle. Ukwenjenje kukukhumbuza ukuba kuyiwa kwigqugula kufuneka ke siye sizilungiselele ukwenza iingxelo. Angalibali amalungu ekomiti kusondele igqugula leProvince makulungiselelwe ukuya bazalwana. Ndinovuyo ukwazisa uba ndibone into entle yokwanda kwabefundisi abangamadodana xa bendihambele kolunye usana olupuma kule dayosis. Ukhahlamba noPresident weProvince ebelapo pambili madodana. UAgnes uyasimema kwinkomfa yabo ekulenyanga izayo eAlbany ningalibali.
East London Cluster held its isikhumbuzo (commemoration) of Bernard Mizeki Guild at St Bernard Mizeki Anglican Church, Scenery Park, under the Revd Z Dlanjwa. New executive members were elected. The Sunday sermon was by the Revd Qoshe of St Andrew’s. The East London East Guilders held their own commemoration service at St Philip’s, Duncan Village. Members from the Provincial structure, Brother Tsika with Brother Squququ (the Diocesan Chairperson) and Brother Mgatyelwa (Media Officer) were present.
Dancing before the Lord!
Asking God’s blessing: Members of the East London Cluster Exec.
Members of the MU provided delicious meals over the weekend of East London East Archdeaconry’s first ever Bernard Mizeki Day commemoration, at St Philip’s Gompo.
By Maureen Dabula
St Francis Church, Mdantsane held a special event in honour of those in the parish who had recently graduated. This annual event was celebrated this year on 27 May 2012 (Pentecost Day).
The Deputy Mayor of Buffalo City Metro, East London, Mr M Msoki, was the Keynote Speaker for the day. His words of wisdom were based on the vision of our Church: “Kunyukwa kutyibilikwaxa sisiya encotsheni yentaba”, “As we climb up a hill, to rise and fall as you get on top of the mountain” . Certainly, today all the achievers had fallen and risen again in their course of study.
Mr Msoki complimented St Francis Church on looking beyond the spiritual development of society, to empower development: physical, mental and spiritual.
He pointed out that today a basic degree gives limited opportunities, because of demand and supply in the workplace. Even with a Master’s Degree they analyse the level of your Thesis and the University of Study. The world is growing and enlightenment is getting advanced.
In his conclusion, he raised a question for all, “What you do think about those in need when you give your child a Mercedes Benz knowing very well that children are impressionable?” He recommended organising motivational talks, to empower those in need and share experiences with your brothers and sisters. As a graduate you are challenged in our Society.
God has given you the promotion. Love your neighbour as you love yourself, show love to God’s people.
Graduates rejoice: Among those giving thanks at St Francis were, sitting in front row from left : Mrs L Geleba, the Revd P Xhallie from St Lawrence Cape Town (preacher), Deputy Mayor Mr M Msoki, Archdeacon P P Mpumlwana and Church Warden Mrs V. Matshaya.
The Diocese of Swaziland has made history by electing Ellinah Ntombi Wamukoya as their next Bishop, to succeed Meshack Mabuza. She is 61, and Chaplain to the University of Swaziland and St Michael’s High School, Manzini. The Elective Assembly was described as “particularly spirit-filled”. Prayers are asked for her as she prepares for her consecration as Bishop, probably early next year.
A number of clergy families have suffered bereavements recently, and are in our prayers. The family of Milton Quntu was preparing for his ordination as Deacon on 14 July, when the sad news broke of the death of his daughter Nomphelo. The family decided to go ahead with the ordination, and her funeral was on 19 July.
Prayers are asked for Nkosiphendule Matshaya and his family on the death of his brother Andile. Canon Pat Ncaca’s granddaughter Ntokozo Beja died in Durban on 27 June. As a result the celebrations for Canon Pat’s 90th birthday, due for 7 July, were postponed. Canon Lulama Ntshingwa and his family are mourning the death of Noqabaka Ntshingwa, a senior aunt, at the age of 94. She was a member of the Mothers’ Union, and Umshumayeli responsible for the Upper Gxulu congregation. The mother of Archbishop Emeritus Njongonkulu Ndungane, Tingaza Ndungane, died on 1 July. May their souls rest in peace.
Louis Flint, Rector of Gonubie, fell off a ladder in June. He landed awkwardly on a wall, broke several ribs, and had to spend time in Intensive Care. Please pray for his full recovery, and for his wife Pat, who required an unrelated operation.
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 September 2012
Return to the front page of the Diocese of Grahamstown