A crowd of over 100 clergy and laity, from the Dioceses of Grahamstown and Port Elizabeth, and other denominations, including the Bishops of Grahamstown and Port Elizabeth, gathered in Grahamstown Cathedral on 25 July to hear the Bishop of Maidstone in England, Graham Cray, describe the exciting growth that is happening in UK churches with the help of the Fresh Expressions movement.
Bishop Cray, who heads the ecumenical Fresh Expressions team, told stories and showed short films highlighting a wide variety of pioneering initiatives. Among these were a small Methodist church which opened its doors as a play centre for mums and toddlers, a church for surfers (which also ministers to children and business people), and a group which meets to bake bread on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and to worship on Sundays. Bishop Cray warned however that it was a mistake simply to copy a model that has worked elsewhere. Prayerful research is the key.
Steps to be taken in planting a Fresh Expressions church are:
In the UK, a country where 34% of the population have never in their lives been to church regularly, the average age of church congregations is 14% older than that of the population as a whole. Yet since the Fresh Expressions movement took off, the trend of dwindling congregations and closing churches is beginning to be reversed.
A training course for those interested in taking part in Fresh Expressions
has been devised. Called “Mission Shaped Ministry” it is being adapted for
use in South Africa by the ecumenical body Ecclesia.
Speaking at the end of the day-long presentation, the Bishop of Grahamstown, Ebenezer Ntali, made a pledge to initiate Fresh Expressions in this diocese.
Bishop Graham Cray
Inspired: 51 Clergy and 32 laity from Grahamstown Diocese, plus 13
clergy and 12 laity from Port Elizabeth Diocese and a few NGK friends, came
to the Fresh Expressions presentation.
Top of the page
At the National Festival of the Arts in Grahamstown from 27 June to 7 July, Spiritfest, the Churches’ initiative centred around the Cathedral, drew larger numbers than ever before. Events included vibrant worship, concerts from Gospel to organ, choir to marimbas, art exhibitions, meditations, demonstrations of bell-ringing, and the Spiritfest Winter School: a daily programme of lectures and films.
Personally signed: Fr Michael Lapsley SSM, an Anglican Priest who lost both his hands and an eye as a result of a letter bomb sent by the apartheid regime, preached in the Cathedral on the first Sunday of the Festival. He gave a lecture at the Spiritfest Winter School, and launched his book: “Redeeming the past: my journey from Freedom Fighter to Healer”. Click here for a Review.
Orthodox Church welcomed: One day of Spiritfest was devoted to highlighting the traditions of Orthodox Christians, and included a lecture, a film and a display of icons. The day culminated in a celebration of the Eastern Orthodox Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom. The celebrant was the Revd Fr Joachim from Port Elizabeth.
Dear Brothers and Sisters
It is a privilege from God and from Christ Jesus to write to you after a fruitful and enriching Diocesan Synod. Our six-week leave was a time of rest and quality time with our mom who has recently turned 80 years old. Most importantly, it was a time of spiritual feeding, introspection and reflection.
It is very important as Christian disciples to learn from our Lord Jesus Christ his way of inclusion, in making room for grace in practising ministry.
In Matt 15:21-28 we read the story of Jesus with his disciples, the Canaanite woman and her daughter:
Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting “have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon”, but he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us”. He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel”. But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me”. He answered “it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs”. She said “Yes Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table”. Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish” and her daughter was healed instantly.
The disciples in this story showed no compassion for, nor sensitivity to, the needs of the Canaanite woman and her daughter. Even today as Christian disciples we become so occupied with spiritual matters that we miss the real needs right before us. This happens easily, especially if we are prejudiced against needy people, and sometimes see them as causing inconvenience to us.
In our parishes as well, like the disciples we keep ourselves within our cultural, and sometimes geographical, boundaries and fail to respond to the call of the Gospel to extend our boundaries to include the outsider. The reaction from Jesus and the disciples to the Canaanite woman (a Gentile) and her daughter was that of indifference and of rejection, for example “send her away”, “she is shouting after us” and “it is not fair to take children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”
What is fascinating about this woman is her intense love for her daughter. She says to Jesus “help me” because her pain and agony does not separate her from her. She approached Jesus through her God-given faith in Jesus. What we can learn from the Canaanite woman as Christian disciples, is to set aside all the baggage that separates people from people with societal barriers. But she persisted in her humble request, needing to be helped irrespective of the delays of Jesus. He finally responded by healing her daughter for her great faith. Her daughter received God’s favour.
The divine love the Canaanite woman received from the Lord Jesus Christ opened the door to the reception of Gentiles into the Kingdom of Heaven. The ministry of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was for all people throughout the world. This applies in our own context to the baggage of our past, such as segregation, our safe zones, our enforcing of rules that we set for ourselves thinking that they are God’s rules. It is also worth noting that the crumbs resemble the abundance of the Grace of God.
Top of the page
By Bill Gould
Following much planning, St Saviour’s Gala Dinner emerged in full flight on the evening of Friday, 17 May 2013. With over 150 people present, all thoroughly enjoyed the mix of traditional and formal dress while being served a pleasant, and thankfully warm, meal on what was a very cool night.
Canon Simphiwe “Mag-X-Walisa” was an entertaining Programme Director, while Mrs Orie Pule introduced the Guest Speaker, the Revd Canon Professor Dr Barney Pityana who spoke on the topical subject of "Moral Regeneration in our Society. Jesus is the Answer!" Click here for a summary.
Sang for his supper: Prof Barney Pityana, Rector of the College of the Transfiguration in Grahamstown, was the guest speaker. He is seen here with St Saviour’s Rector, Canon Cynthia Webbstock.
By Maggy Clarke
This book by Michael Lapsley, Anglican Priest and founder of the Institute for Healing of Memories, is not simply an autobiography as the title might imply. Events are not presented chronologically, and the final quarter of the book is about the present work of the Institute all over the world, rather than focussing on the person of its founder.
The first three chapters give us a vivid description of the 1990 bombing which robbed Fr Lapsley of his hands and eye, and its aftermath. Then we are drawn into a “flashback” describing his early years. How did he, a New Zealander, journey via Australia to Southern Africa? Why was he in Zimbabwe when the bomb reached him? How did he, a priest, come to describe himself as a “freedom fighter”?
In the third part of the book the author describes developments after the bomb. Against the background of negotiations, the first democratic election, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Michael Lapsley worked as Chaplain to a Trauma Centre in Cape Town. His experience there led in turn to the founding of the Institute for the Healing of Memories.
This book, which won the Andrew Murray/ Desmond Tutu prize, is well worth reading, both for its reminder of what so many lived through and suffered in the years leading up to 1994, and for its description of the Institute’s work in the present.
By Gwen Mvula
Pentecost Sunday, 24 May, was a day to be remembered by all parishioners
of St Augustine Grahamstown, from the Junior Church to the elders. Dress
code was traditional and academic regalia, these both being symbolic of
going back to basics (buyela embo). This day was said to be
isivuno soMoya oyiNgcwele (harvest of the Holy Spirit). Jesus Christ was
a seed that was sown on Good Friday, we harvest Him during Pentecost.
The guest speaker of the day was Mrs Nokunga Lentsoane from St Andrew’s parish Mthatha. Amongst her teachings she stressed thanksgiving. We must do tithing so as to appreciate what God has done for us all. She pointed out that when we give thanks we should not consider materialistic things. We should teach young children to give thanks to God as well, and they must learn that even of their pocket money 10% belongs to God. She further alluded to the fact that by doing your tithing you can mend your relationship with God, and that you will be reimbursed through many things that you cannot even think of.
Graduates from different departments wore their academic regalia to
express their gratitude to the Almighty for blessing them. This was also a
way of motivating young children to invest their time in education.
Giving thanks: Graduates who attended the St Augustine’s Pentecost service wore academic dress as a sign of gratitude, and to inspire young people present.
A wave of prayer has gone round the world for former South African State
President Nelson Mandela. During the National Arts Festival, this corner of
the Cathedral in Gra hamstown was set aside for people to pray for Madiba.
Below is an extract from a prayer by Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town.
Lord Jesus Christ, you are a God who knows vulnerability, weakness and frailty, You are Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Lord of life and death,
Your power sustains us in life and death.
May your arms of love, stretched wide on the cross for us,
Now enfold Madiba, and Graça, with compassion, comfort and the conviction that you will never for sake them but that you will grant Madiba eternal healing and relief from pain and suffering.
And may your blessing rest upon Madiba now and always. Grant him, we pray, a quiet night and a peaceful, perfect, end.
The peace of God, which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.
By Zinzi Ntsoko
On the 10th of May 2013 St Francis Youth Guild held its Annual Stay Awake, it was held in St Francis Church from 19h00 to 06h00. The theme of the event was Fun in Christ, and the dress code was 60’s with glam. The youth came in numbers dressed in their 60’s attire.
The guest speaker for the night was Mr Thembinkosi Mnyamana from the Methodist Church, a Graduate from both Fort Hare and Rhodes University. The St Francis Youth paraded their 60s look followed by a beauty contest themed ‘Broad and Beautiful’ where fully figured contestants modeled wearing swimsuits. A concert followed later in the night which allowed parishes to show their talents.
One of the highlights for the night was a duet by the Revd Mkaulele Kuse and Nolitha Tshakeni with their beautiful version of Miriam Makeba’s Ntyilo-Ntyilo.
The purpose of the event was to show that there is a lot of joy that the youth can find in church through Jesus Christ of course. Another purpose was to uncover hidden talents and to build each other’s confidence. The event was a success, all the objectives were met and we are looking forward to next year’s stay-awake.
Groovy! The youth came in numbers dressed in their 60’s attire.
By N Barney Pityana, Rector of the College of the Transfiguration,
As churches it is very easy for us to point fingers away from ourselves and blame others for the state of our society, but as Christians and the Church we need to get into the habit of addressing ourselves. Census figures suggest that more that 80% of South Africans profess to be Christians.
That suggests to me that some 80% of those responsible for our political, social and economic life are Christians. It also means that some 80% of those in prisons, somehow manage to profess themselves to be Christians. Equally, some 80% of the victims of criminal activities. Christians cannot escape responsibility for the social maladies that we complain about. Secondly, however secular we may believe our country to be, the foundations of our social institutions are steeped in Christianity. Thirdly, the church remains a powerful instrument in shaping public attitudes and practices. Where these fail the church fails. It suggests to me that the church can be only as powerful and influential as the people at any one time allow it to be. This means that we have to learn to navigate a terrain where much that we believe is being worked out even as we speak. The church of modern times has to learn humility.
But the church is at its best when it can read the signs of the times, and in faith respond appropriately. The church can only do so informed by the example of Christ. It can only do so in boldness, not so much because it claims that it is right at all times, but because it is seeking the truth of Christ in all things, in engagement with the world and with our neighbours.
The so-called social justice movement depends on the belief that there is inherent in society a core of goodness and humaneness, an Ubuntu that just needs to be exploited for the benefit of all. Vivienne Taylor tells us that nothing could be further from the truth. Instead, the prevailing attitudes in society tend to suppress the poor and the marginalized. Avarice thrives, and the corrupt are powerful. It is no longer of any value to refer back to the golden years of the church in order to gain legitimacy for that which the church fails to do today. What matters today is the extent to which the values of that moral tradition inform the manner in which we engage with our reality today. What Vivienne Taylor therefore says is that we have a duty to create the present today, so that the poor and the marginalized can trust the church, and join us in creating a shared future.
For that to happen we need to be self–critical, and examine constantly who benefits from our pronouncements; how we organize and apply the resources of the church; who we are in alliance with, and on the basis of what principles.
We need a leadership rooted in the spirit of Christ that appeals to the best instincts of the people rather than pandering to their most base feelings. The church could lead the way in providing an example of leaders as community builders and not those who polarize and divide; leaders as public servants who truly serve, and bring people together for service in projects for the common good, instead of being power brokers or influence peddlers. Such leaders should populate all aspects of society from politics to business, education and sport. The brand of Christian leadership and Christian discipleship is the missional task: Leadership by design, and objectives that are clear, transparent, and with no hidden agendas, and communicated with absolute clarity. In this way I believe that the church could be a force for good in society.
By Kokela Siqendu
The AWF of the Diocese celebrated St Joseph’s day on 1 May 2013 at the
Cathedral of St Michael and St George in Grahamstown. This was at tended by
a large number of Diocesan Youth Guild members, and a few members of the
Bernard Mizeki Guild. Bishop Ebenezer gave a message which emphasised the
spirit of togetherness and love for one another, and respect for each
other’s views. Canon Magxwalisa celebrated. This was a three-in-one service.
Bishop Ebenezer and Canon Magxwalisa presented lifetime membership
certificates to the AWF members of the Cathedral who started AWF in 1986,
and were the first to launch AWF in the Diocese. They are old ladies. Mrs
Nomonde Mankahla spoke in appreciation of their unselfish service and asked
them to continue to serve God until the last hour. Bishop Ebenezer also
spoke about their service at the Cathedral. Mrs Magxwalisa (wife of the AWF
Chaplain) handed over life-time membership certificates to them.
Bishop Ebenezer inducted the AWF Executive, and commissioned all of them to go into the world and serve God.
AWF fundraising took place after the church service, and R22,151.44 was contributed. It was a joy to serve God with the Youth Generation, the church of today and future priests.
AWF conducted a Workshop on the AWF Manual, and on financial policies, on 13 April. Members were seeking ways and means of marketing the Guild in the Diocese. Issues that were dealt with included: an introductory service to new members, and how to keep members motivated. Other issues that will be dealt with are non-commitment and the disappearance of members. A committee was elected to take the process forward.
On 17 February 2013, the AWF Executive launched new branches of the AWF at Holy Trinity and Resurrection Church Fort Beaufort. The Diocesan executive urged members to listen to God and to be involved in outreach programmes.
School uniforms given: AWF donated school uniforms to scholars of Sinomonde Primary School. AWF adopted Simonde Primary School in November 2012. The event took place at All Saints’ Church in East London on 17 March 2013.
Help in an hour of need: Since AWF earmarked Sinomonde Primary School as a special project, a terrible incident happened there, when two little girls in Grade 6 were raped and killed. The AWF visited their homes and donated grocery items towards the funeral service, and also attended the memorial and funeral services. Chaplain Magxwalisa visited the school to comfort learners and educators.
The AWF Conference will be held on 27-29 September 2013 at Dale College in King William’s Town.
The Provincial Synod of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa is to meet from 1-4 October 2013. The Diocese of Grahamstown will be represented by three clergy and three lay persons, as well as the Bishop. We are all encouraged to pray for them and all the delegates, using the prayer (below) issued by the Archbishop’s Office.
Lord of all wisdom
you led your people through the wilderness
in the cloud by day and the fire by night:
grant to all who gather in Provincial Synod
the grace to listen to your direction
the assurance of the inspiration of your Spirit,
and the joy to celebrate your presence in prayer and praise
that all may be done to your honour and glory;
through Jesus Christ our Saviour
who reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever.
By Bill Gould
The East London Cluster of the Bernard Mizeki Men’s Guild celebrated the memory of Bernard Mizeki, Martyr of Mashonaland, with an isiKhumbuzo ceremony, held at St Saviour’s Church on the weekend of 22-23 June 2013. It was organised with that attention to detail that only the amaDodana can achieve.
St Saviour’s Hall was filled with standing room only, with existing members and initiates freely seated intermixed. Dr Giyose, addressing health issues, spoke intimately on prostate cancer and oral cancer, making clear the most prevalent causes, particularly the over-consumption of inyama (red meat).
Arising from the Annual Report, the Guild’s language policy was raised with the recognition that, as membership increasingly spreads to other home language groups, there is a need to accommodate non-isiXhosa speakers. It was recognised that this should be resolved by the Guild’s Diocesan Council. It was also recognised that, as the individual Archdeaconry Councils were being formed in conformity with the Guild’s Constitution, this was most likely the last isiKhumbuzo to be held under the longstanding cluster structure which East London had adopted many years ago.
In the evening, the highlight of a moving Memorial Service for late members was the Revd Matshaya’s powerful sermon, on giving thanks for those who had been faithful in God (John 6:34-40). This was followed by the excited induction of 22 new members, after which the celebration retired until the morrow.
Following the early Sunday morning breakfast, the men scoured the streets of Southernwood looking for new converts for the Lord, and returned to a vibrant service celebrated by Archdeacon Mpumlwana. It was highlighted by the thorough and erudite presentation on the life and times of Bernard Mizeki by Bro Madyibi.
The weekend concluded with a splendid lunch prepared by the St Saviour’s
Mothers’ Union and Anglican Women’s Fellowship and served by the Youth, with
everyone feeling both spiritually and organically fed.
Let your light so shine: Some of the 22 new members inducted into the St Bernard Mizeki Guild in East London.
By Bill Gould
Following a service in the packed Christ Church, Amalinda, East London, led by the amaDodana of the St Bernard Mizeki Men’s Guild, a select but very enthusiastic group celebrated the first mjikelo to be held by the parish’s newly-formed Men’s Guild on Sunday, 30 June 2013.
With representatives from several other parishes as well as from all the other Guilds and structures, including the Sunday School, from Christ Church bringing their ingxowa, the celebration was very successful, culminating in a deliciously prepared meal featuring braaied pork.
It is viewed as an unfortunate side-effect of the disbandment of the Greater East London Archdeaconry within the St Bernard Mizeki Men’s Guild, that these events are now so much smaller than they were. They are only at tended by a few other parishes rather than, as formerly, by all the East Lon don parishes with enrolled amaDodana. This has resulted in a loss of fellowship across Archdeaconry boundaries, hopefully to be replaced by a significant growth in the Guild’s membership as it expands into more parishes within the increased number of East London Archdeaconries.
Cheerful givers: amaDodana taking part in Christ Church Amalinda’s first mjikelo.
Umbuliso congratulates Zanele and Bangubukho Immanuel Ngubo on their 10th wedding anniversary, and especially on the birth of their first-born. They celebrated these two happy events with Bishop Ebenezer on 17 May, when the Bishop baptized the little boy Unako (= “God is able”).
Bongi Sokopo, a former teacher, now Assistant Manager in the office of the Deputy Director-General, Teaching and Learning Services, graduated with a Masters in Public Administration at NMMU on 18 April 2013. The focus of her study was on Governance in Local Government. Bongi is the daughter of Benson Sokopo, the Priest-in-Charge of All Saints Breidbach.
By Bill Gould
Nomakwezi Mabuto recently celebrated her 80th birthday at a large family function with many speakers paying tribute to a faithful life in the service of God and wishing her many more years of continuing as an example to many both at St Saviour’s and within the Diocese.
She joined St Saviour’s congregation in 1997 when she and her late husband Wellington, Rector of St Francis Mdantsane, retired. During the incumbency of Archdeacon Vincent Oram, Nomakwezi led the formation of the present St Saviour’s Mothers’ Union.
Ncediwe Kanise, a parishioner from St Gregory’s Mdantsane who was studying for the ordained ministry, died on 26 May. Please pray for her family, especially her children Sanda and Inga.
Prayers are asked for the following, who were recently bereaved:
Sandy Nyakatya, the priest in Adelaide, whose nephew Thobela died suddenly.
One of our Lay Canons, Stephanie Lee (nee Hendrickse) whose brother Barry
Dixon died in Dubai during June.
Lindile Somandi, Assistant at St Augustine Grahamstown, on the death of his uncle Jimmy Nzimeni Somandi.
The Rector of Fort Beaufort, Kolekile Twantwa, on the death of his father Washington Twantwa.
Lilitha Dyantyi, wife of the Sub-Dean of the Cathedral, on the death of her father David Sikampula. Pray also for Bishop Ebenezer’ wife Noncedo, who was his sister-in-law.
Philip Russell, Archbishop of Cape Town from 1980 to 1986, died in Adelaide, Australia, on 25 July at the age of 93.
Archbishop Russell was a former Suffragan Bishop of Cape Town, the first Bishop of Port Elizabeth, and then Bishop of Natal, before his election as Archbishop in 1980. We give thanks for his life and pray for his family, including his daughter June Walters, a parishioner of Grahamstown Cathedral, and her husband Paul, a lay member of our Cathedral Chapter.
Obituary in the next issue.
For the Bishop's engagements, see the 2013 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 2013
Return to the front page of the Diocese of Grahamstown