From the Rector’s Desk – 3 November 2019

As we Celebrate the feasts of All Saints and the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed, I am reminded by our prayer that we “rejoice with them in the sure hope of the Resurrection to the fullness of eternal life.”

We believe that eternal life begins with Baptism. Eternal life is not the afterlife of other philosophies but is “life in Christ” and it is now and, in the future, it is permanent.  Of course, we believe that, by grace, we will spend eternity with God in heaven through our faith in Jesus Christ, but this is not a reward for the way we live here, it is a gift from God which we receive because He loves us. The implication of this is that we no longer live just for the now, but we live within the context of all time, we are the communion of saints which means that our context is not just November 2019, but all of eternity. Today is not a standalone event, but a complex relationship of past present and future all expressed in the now. I think we would do well to be reminded of this. Our definition of “remember” is to recall the past into the present and reinterpret the present, and of course the future by putting our lives in context. Today as you think back on your life and the people in it who have shaped you, influenced you affected you, as you remember that you are “part of the Body” you are called again to forgive and to be grateful and to be humble and to honour those who God has blessed you with. Someone gave his life so that you could read a bible in your own language. Someone gave his live so that your ancestors could be freed from slavery, someone gave her life so that heathen natures could hear the Gospel. Someone lived and died and experienced life, so that you could learn from them, receive the benefit of their victories and the hindsight of their “lessons learned.”

We are all intricately woven into the fabric of life and we all have a part to play. Let us remember that what we do today will have eternal consequences. What we forgive will be forgiven and what we do not forgive will not be forgiven. What we tolerate will become norm and what we stand up for, will be treasured.

Each generation is remembered and loved (and blamed) for something. What do you want this generation to be remembered for? What are you doing towards the “life that you want” the world as you want it to be?

Christians have a huge responsibility to bear witness to God’s presence in the world. Christians need to be the symbols of the Hope that is in Jesus Christ. We have to be building a community within the Church if we are to be effective in living the resurrected life. We have to be creating an alternative culture, different to the world around us. We cannot stay in the world and its ways and follow Christ. That is a contradiction and brings conflict within. I have always believed that we “convert” to Christianity, not “amalgamate” Christian belief into our lives. How are you “dying to self” (converting) so that you can “Live in Christ?”

It is time for us as the people of God to change the conversation and realize that we are be called out of the world to serve God. This month we will focus on stewardship and thanksgiving for the privileges of being part of the Body of Christ through the local church. As we give thanks to God for our inclusion in the faith community past, present and future, as we give thanks to God for the inheritance of faith that we have received, let us all recommit ourselves to the work of being church. Let us recommit ourselves to the building of the Kingdom. The Kingdom is built when we give of ourselves to God’s purposes, when we live a life that is worthy of our calling when we act and respond as a community of faith bringing hope and peace and reconciliation to the world. In a body each part must fulfil its role! I encourage you to prayerfully consider what that role is, what is God calling you to? But at the risk of stating the obvious the primary function of any part of the body is to remain in the body, to work for the body’s well being. We need to stop seeing ourselves as separate. Life in Christ is personal but not individual!

We need to stop being a people who simply attend a church, we need to be a people who are the church.  We need to commit to living a life of gratitude for what Christ has won for us! We are not building a church for someone else, we are creating our own spiritual home, where we can receive love and support and guidance and help for this life. When we fulfill our role then the whole world will benefit. Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you!

I say this often and I repeat it now – Think about the thing that you most want to get out of being part of the church. What are you doing to make that part of the church? Do you want the church to be a place where you are accepted? How tolerant are you of others- how hospitable and open are you?

Do you want the Church to be a place where you learn about the faith? How committed are you to reading your Bible, joining a bible study, seeking guidance? You have to be part of making the Church what you want it to be. It’s not a supermarket where you come and buy what you want – it’s a farm where you sow your desires and nurture then and God provides a harvest.

We live in a consumer society where we go and get what we want and take it for ourselves, and sadly we can treat Church like just another service provider. But this is where we need a “conversion!” The way of God is not the way of the world, the church is not a spiritual service provider. It is a body, a family, a community of saints (forgiven sinners). It is a place where we receive healing through others, receive hope through others, where we find peace with ourselves and others, it’s about relationship; because Christ is all and in all and through all reconciling the world to Himself.

May we respond to Christ by being committed to building His community here on earth as it is in heaven.

Give yourselves to prayer, give yourselves to the task of seeking God’s will for your life.

Allow God to convert your thinking and draw all people to Him.

Is God known in your school, office block or home?

Is He worshiped there?

Is His hope evident there?

Wherever you are today – God is sending you to make it a place of prayer, a place that honours God!   You don’t have to convert the world around you, you have to live as one who is converted in the world around you. You need to live out the values and the ideals and the truth that our community lives by – you need to know Jesus and make Him known. For we are the Church, the Church in the community, and the community in the Church.

Rector.

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From the Rector’s Desk – 19.10.19

Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 

While studying Ephesians 6 this week, we were reminded that righteousness is our breastplate. It’s what protects us and what people see as our most prominent feature. We were also reminded that a breastplate only works when you are facing the situation head on! May we put on the armour of God and face life head on! God says, “be of good courage!”

My prayers for you is that your righteousness will surpass that of the Pharisees (Matt 5:20) and that you will walk in the knowledge of God’s protection and His will; having grasped how wide, and how long and how deep is the love of Christ (Eph 3:18). 

I have realized that we need to tighten up on our processes with a few things and be more diligent in our stewardship of the work that we have been called to. One area that we require an increased understanding is in our organizational and institutional cooperation. Spiritually we are a body that works together by the power of God’s design. Institutionally we need to provide the structure to coordinate the actions of that body so that they are cohesive and effective. As the Ministry grows so the need for better coordination and better processes also grows. I am therefore asking that we re-commit to the Church Council as our organizers and mechanism for accountability. 

We encourage people to get involved, but we all have to agree to follow due process and work in a cohesive fashion. To this end Parish Council will be implementing procedures for functions and fundraising. No fundraising or function may be arranged unless this procedure is followed as it is important to realize that everything that is done is done in the name of and behalf of the church and we need to show organizational accountability for what we do, and that we have multiple events being organized that need to take others into consideration. The procedures will assist with this.

I stress that this is not to limit what is done but in fact to facilitate more fundraising and events in the parish. I look forward to your cooperation. 

Our Monthly Bacon and Egg roll breakfasts are bringing in a good income and a very big thank you to those who are donating the ingredients to make this possible. Fellowship is such an important part of our lives together and we really appreciate those who donate time and cakes/bacon/egg/rolls and other items towards this.

Next month in each of the Parishes we will be having a Thanksgiving service to honour God for what He has done in our individual and corporate lives. At this service we will also be re-committing to our membership and our contributions to the Church Funds. We need to fund the ministry of the Church out of Member Contributions and therefore I ask you to prayerfully consider your contributions for the 2020 financial year and as per our Catechism – Consider the Claims of Tithing!

This Sunday is a celebration of our life as two independent but “in-communion” parishes and a celebration of the mutual support that we have for each other and how this has kept the two parishes alive.

May we continue to grow in love and obedience as is God’s will for us and may we find fulfillment in serving God in this place.

I end with a personal note as it is my birthday and the last time that I will be able to say “I’m in my forties!”

As I celebrate life and new life in Jesus Christ, I am grateful that I get to share life with each and every one of you. For those who I have had the honour of making a difference in your lives, I give thanks to God and for those that I have failed or disappointed I ask yours and God’s forgiveness. Our lives together are a gift from God, and we are most privileged to have a hope for the future but also a community for the present. Our lives together in Christ are most beneficial as we are a social creature designed to live in community with others. May our lives together edify the body of Christ, may our witness to the world be from an overflow of the gratitude that we have for what we have received.

A very big thank you to my family for the sacrifices that they make for this community. I am a very proud (in the correct way) husband and father and grateful to God for the family that He has blessed me with.

Be assured of my prayers.

Fr Andrew

Rector.

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From the Rector’s Desk – 12 October 2019

“We should daily renew our resolve and commit ourselves as if we had just received Christ for the first time and say” Help me oh Lord my God, to live well, and as a servant of God Most High, may I begin this day with my sins washed away and the sins of the past forgotten.”

{Thomas a’Kempis [translation (from old English) mine}.

Firstly, I’d like to thank you, the people of God, for making it possible for me to spend some time “on the Mountain.” My prayer now, is that, that which I have received from God, I will be able to impart more effectually to you, so that, that which Christ has won in me may be for your benefit.  

Every Eucharist we acknowledge that we live in the Peace of Christ – we in our conservative shows of affection – walk around the church hugging people and saying – “peace be with you – and also with you!”  We receive the blessing “The peace of God which surpasses all understanding…” and yet we are not embracing this peace – Jesus said “not as the world gives, I give to you, my peace I give to you!” Jesus says it does not have to be well with the world for it to be well with your soul! It has to be well with your soul for you to be at peace in the world, in all its tragedy and challenge.

We need to live in gratitude for what Christ has done in us! For the Hope He has won for us in the Resurrection. A hope that this world cannot rob us of. We need to reorder our lives and delight in the things of God. We need to reorder our lives and pride ourselves in doing things God’s way and not the world’s way.

Provincial Synod has brought some new direction to the Church in South Africa and we will need to deal with the “good and the bad” that these changes bring. We will be dealing with this at Parish and at Regional Council (which we are hosting) this month.

For me the commitment to Caring for Creation is a major positive step and affirms what I have been doing for the last 13 years as a Cleric in the Church. It is now a Canonical duty for Clergy to address Creation Care – (one can almost say it is in our job description). I was semi officially appointed as the Chair of the Creation Care Network of the Diocese of Natal this week. I have prepared a Motion to Synod in this regard.

I look forward to our combined service next week and encourage you all to make an extra effort to attend. This is to be a celebration of our life together “for we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” In this celebration we recommit to being the Church of God, and His people.

Let me conclude this week by saying how grateful I am to the living God for His great mercies and for the privilege that I have in sharing life with you. Together we experience God’s grace every day, as He sanctifies places for us to receive healing, as we receive that healing and that hope and that joy even in our sorrows. I urge you to be faithful in prayer remembering that Hope is believing in that which you cannot see and faith is having the “foolishness to believe. ” and our “foolishness” in the world’s eyes is of far more value than the Wisdom of this age (St Paul).

And now,

May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and Peace (which is beyond our understanding)

As you trust in Him.

And the blessing of God the Father – Creator of the World

God the Son – Redeemer of the World

And God the Holy Spirit who is with us in the world

Be upon you and fill you, today and always.

Rector.

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From the Rector’s Desk – 29.09.19

The Lord the God of Hosts, the Lord is His name! But as for you, return to your God, hold fast to love and justice and wait continually for your God. (Hosea 12:5 &6)

Hold Fast!

We have received communication from the Archbishop, stating that Bishop Dino’s resignation (ito Canon 14) has been accepted and that he will complete his term (until the end of the year) on sabbatical and that he will not be doing any ministry in that time. The Archbishop expressed that he was heartbroken over this development and its implications for the Diocese and assures us of his and the Synod of Bishop’s support during this time.

It is indeed a moment where we need to seriously pray for our church and a reordering of ourselves. I have expressed this before and without belaboring the point remind you that when we read scripture, we are presented with the situation and an outcome, but we do not have to endure the reality of the situation ourselves, but when we read scripture, we find that our history is no stranger to challenges and upheaval and changes in leadership and indeed in changes in direction. The difference is that in life we have to live the between the lines bits, those hard bits. But just as in scripture they had battles to fight, so do we. St Paul writes extensively of the suffering that he endured and that he endured it for the sake of Jesus who suffered for us. We must not lose heart but give ourselves fully to the work entrusted to us.

As the Archbishop stated. ” In summary, his (Dino’s) resignation was precipitated by the consequences of pressures on Diocesan finances. Those pressures do not involve any financial wrongdoing, but rather are the result of an ambitious growth protectory which could not be sustained.”

A polite way of saying that we the Diocese failed, and the Bishop took the blame.

It would be prudent to state at this point that we are a strong organization, that has endured many things and that at this point we need to get back to basics and follow the correct procedures to see us through this interregnum.  A Vicar General will be appointed to facilitate the Diocesan governance processes including Synod and the Elective Assembly (ito Canon 4), which will be called when the Archbishop decides to do so. (see the website for the Canons if you wish to know more).

Bishop Tsietsi will be moving to the Diocese of Umzimvubu, and so we will need to discuss the election of a new Suffragan Bishop as well.

And so, as you see, we have work to do. It is critical that you as parishioners understand that we are not like Woolworth’s where the workings of the Senior management are not our concern. The Bishop is both our elected leader and presides over the governance of the church and every confirmed member has a leadership responsibility. We need to acknowledge that we as Parishes need to show stronger leadership in our communities and in the Diocese. This is the time when we really need to step up and do what is ours to do, to strengthen the Church as God’s chosen vessel to proclaim his love for the world.

I will be spending the next week away and when I return I will have a process for us to follow to address the issues that I see before us. But I “beseech thee” pray for our church, pray for our Bishops, pray for our Vicar General, pray for the Chapter and the Synod Advisory Committee and the Elective Assembly Advisory Committee. Pray for the individual who God will raise up to be our next Bishop, pray for our Parishes and the Rectors of our Diocese that we will return to the Lord our God and atone for our wrongdoings in the governance of our Church and for how we have failed not only Dino, but God.

Pray for Dino and Elizabeth who have faithfully served God and have been failed by us, brothers and sisters in Christ. Lord in your mercy forgive us!

Having said this, I am exceptionally confident in our future. I believe in the Church, I believe in us! But most of all; I believe in God who has called us and who is faithful!

Be assured of my Prayers.

Rector.

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From the Rector’s desk – 23.09.19

May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him.

The Lord be with You!

The School holidays are upon us and we have been blessed to have a youth camp this weekend. I ask you to prayer for our youth especially those who will be writing their final exams in a short while.

We have a number of sick people in the congregation and I ask you to be fervent in prayer. Please remember that should you be ill or going to the hospital or Doctor for a procedure, the onus is upon you to notify me. (Directly please 082 3704702).

This morning (Friday 20th) as I write this we commemorate the first Bishop of Melanesia who was murdered in 1871, when he was mistaken for a slave trader, when he had in fact come to help the locals, I am reminded of the challenge that we have as Christians when the world cannot distinguish us from their own enemies. Like Bishop Coleridge Patterson we are called to faithful ministry, his death caused a major shift in thinking back in England and action against the Slave Trade was intensified. May we be as faithful in dealing with our own struggles against the slavery to fear that this nation is currently enduring.  May our prayer be:

“Almighty God, who called your faithful servants John Coleridge Patteson and his companions to be witnesses and martyrs in the islands of Melanesia, and by their labors and sufferings raised up a people for your own possession: Pour forth your Holy Spirit upon your Church in every land, that by the service and sacrifice of many, your holy Name may be glorified and your kingdom enlarged; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.”

Let us be committed to the work of our Saviour and work tirelessly for justice, peace and reconciliation. 

Be assured of my prayers.

Fr Andrew.

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From the Rector’s Desk – 15 September 2019

Socrates wrote, ‘the more I know the more I realize, I know nothing’ and Albert Einstein said ‘the more I learn the more I realize I don’t know.’ Both of them acknowledged what the modern era is unwilling to admit to, and that is that we don’t know it all. Ancient values and wisdom can teach us so much more than the age of reason and the enlightenment and postmodernism are willing to admit. It is true that we have more facts available at our fingertips than any age before us, it is true that we can virtually travel the world over and with goggle maps and the Discovery Channel, it’s amazing where we can go and what we can see. “Planet Earth” introduces us to a world of knowledge, like never before. And yet we would all have to admit that the pursuit of wisdom is severely lacking. We are able to find opinions on everything under the sun and we are able to use the scientific method to decide on which opinion suits us best, but deep down we know that wisdom is required. Deep down we know that data is insufficient for good decision making.

Now it is true that Christian wisdom has been ignored in favor of a historical approach to the life of a people from a foreign land in an ancient time and these historical facts have been compared to our lives and the Bible has been used as another source of opinion. An interpretation of life through an ancient culture. But I put to you today that the Bible is so much more. The Bible is a book of wisdom, a reference point for all that we know, see and think we understand. The more I study the Bible the more I realize that it is the wisdom that the bible teaches that is most needed in our world today. Now the wisdom of Scripture is not unique, many ancient cultures share values and principles that are found in scripture. Often we failed to realize that God is the God of all and His wisdom has always been available to all people. What is unique about the Christian faith revealed through the scriptures is the fact that God is on your side. All ancient beliefs share the idea that as mortals we must appease the gods. We must live in a way that will stop them from being angry with us. This is not the way of Christ. Christ came so that we would not live in terror of God, but in grateful awe of Him. Getting this balance right is not easy, but it is the true work of the church, to build relationship with a loving God.

My prayer for all people, is that we will all realize that we are God’s people and He loves us and He has plans for us and He has desires for us. We can choose to believe that or we can choose to ignore that.

The church is like a hospital, which includes a convalescent home. It’s a place where the broken can come and seek the love of God, and here we get “spiritual therapy,” and doses of hope, wisdom, guidance and love. The church is a place where we can interact with fellow seekers of truth, fellow pilgrims of faith. Drawing on the teachings of Jesus, the greatest purveyor of truth the world has ever known, here we reconnect with our Creator and realize that we are wonderfully and fearfully made, but that we are more than a collection of cells randomly assembled. We are created in the image of God and are filled with His breath of life and we get to live in and with and through our relationship with Jesus Christ.

We are the church, like adolescents we all seek to find our own identity and our own path, you don’t stop being family just because you are trying to work life out. On the contrary there is a God who loves us and just wants us to come home.  Being a Christian will not change the world around you; in the natural order of things there will always be evil and dangers in this world. But being a Christian can change the way that you live in the world. A relationship with Jesus Christ gives you purpose, gives you hope, gives you an eternal life. As with any relationship it is one in which you grow, you grow in wisdom and understanding. A relationship is not built on facts about each other, a relationship is built on shared experience, shared dreams, shared vision, a relationship is built on healing hurts and on forgiveness.

Today this relationship is available to you! Like after a first date, you think, “I need to know you more” and then you make a second date.  Jesus said “come to me all who are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” All you have to say is yes, I want to walk with Jesus and discover what life is really all about.

And here we provide a space for you to explore that relationship!

You are welcome!

You are loved!
You are sought out by God to receive His Grace.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you learn to trust in Him

Amen.

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From the Rector’s Desk – 06.09.19

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with

thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6 ESV).

The Lord be with you!

There are many burning issues in our lives today, but I would be remiss if we did not address this one among the many priorities.

It has been a week of hysteria and mania, and fearmongering. It has been a week where most of this is justified as a nation rages against the depraved state of the nation. It has been

encouraging to see the calls to prayer and we need to take these issues seriously to heart. We need to pray that we, as Church will provide the much-needed response – to the question, “what do we do about the crime and the hate and the brokenness of this land? How do we protect our women and children from the scourge of domestic violence and femicide?”

The Anglican Parishes of St Mary’s Kingsburgh and The Church of the Good Shepherd

Amanzimtoti commits to:

1. Being a safe space for women and children, and stands against all forms of gender       violence and abuse, the Pastoral standards of the ACSA, will be our guide;

2. counter the false teaching on male superiority and the flawed theology around the     submission of women and provide clarity on the Theological position of the role of men and women in the family and society;

3. safeguarding the integrity of families, and the inherent dignity of all God’s creation, and as people created in His own image;

4. working with all the organizations and groups in the church to address the fear and the uncertainty which the events in our country have caused even our youngest children to be concerned about;

5. every Man in the two Parishes proactively standing against gender violence and abuse in every form,

 6. prayerfully seek ways to address these issues in our society;

 7. working with other civil society organizations to address this scourge in our society, and

the ministry of reconciliation, developing a sound theology of forgiveness, compassion and accountability.

I encourage a spirit of dialogue. There are many platforms for this. Social media provides us with a wonderful tool for dialogue. I encourage you to use our new Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/473207723532489/

(the page is visible to everyone, the group only visible to Parish Members) to join the

conversation. Of course, the good old email with your thoughts or an appointment to see me or making it a discussion item in your groups is encouraged.

Be assured of my Prayers.

Rector.

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From the Rector’s Desk – 01.09.19

The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. (Psalm 24:1)

Welcome to the Season of Creation. Over the next four weeks among other things we will be praying especially for a change of heart towards the way we live in the world. In our “consumer” based society, we have become out of sync with God’s creation and His will. We are not tending the earth the way we should, and we are disrespecting God with our attitude towards what He has created and the life He has given us.

Over the last two months I have conducted environmental training for the Vuleka Center Staff (Vuleka is the Diocesan Retreat Center at Botha’s Hill owned by the Anglican, Methodist and Roman Catholic Churches. Our Diocesan Creation Care Network has adopted the Center as a project).

Two things that I covered there made a big impact on the staff and I share them with you, though we know this many people have not ever really thought about it. Earth is the only

planet in the Solar System that has water, and this water has been here since the beginning of time and will be here till the end of time. It changes form but water is neither created not lost. The

volume of water on earth 10,000 years ago and 10,000 years in the future will be the same, but 100 years ago there was a lot more usable water than there is today. Most of the fresh water on earth is trapped in the icecaps, as they melt this water mainly flows into the sea and

becomes saltwater. It’s the only water we have and its all the water we have, Contaminated water, is either very expensive to treat and in some cases cannot be treated and therefore is no longer as useful or at all useful. Water is precious -let’s respect it, water makes life possible! No wonder Jesus said – “I am the Living water!” Water makes life possible.

We met to discuss Synod and we are grateful to Archdeacon Forbes Maupa for the wonderful presentation he did for us to prepare us for Synod. It is going to be a challenging Synod this year and I pray that you will earnestly pray for our Synod.

Lord God

You have given your Holy Spirit to the Church that He may lead us into all truth:

Bless with His grace and presence the members of the Diocesan Synod

Keep them steadfast in faith and united in love that they may advance your glory and the peace and unity of your church;

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

As you know we continue to discuss our Diocesan Sustainability, keep these discussions in your prayers. I have begun a consultation process with the Parish Council as we look to our part in determining the future of the Diocese.

We have a number of events coming up – I remind you that these are fundraising events, but they are also outreach events which aim at bringing people from outside of the church to the church. We want to raise funds from people who are not members (otherwise we are simply circulating the same money) and we want to show them how wonderful life in the community of believers is. 

May our God in His infinite Wisdom guide you in all righteousness!
Rector.

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God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea. (Psalm 46 vs 1 & 2(NIV)).

The Lords is King and He Reigns.

As you should be aware the Diocese was called together last week and addressed about its financial situation.  We have the ability and the responsibility to prayerfully respond to our situation and look past our human frailty and seek God, His truth, His hope and His calling on our lives.

 The Leadership explained that our Stipends (Salary bill) need to be paid out of “member contributions, grants and donations,” which are made to the parishes. The Diocese is funded by the Parishes and this is collected from the Parishes as an “Assessment.” The Assessment is the money paid by Parishes (which is where the members are) into the Central Fund which is augmented by Investment income. The Central Fund pays the Priests Stipends, the Diocesan Administrative costs, contributes towards the Provincial Administrative costs and Provincial Funds. Therefore, the Assessments must raise enough money to pay the Stipends. As simple as that. As I am sure is obvious, not all parishes have the ability to cover the costs of the Stipend for their priest – but this has to be an objective. Every Parish should be striving to pay their priest’s stipends and the running cost of the parish.

Here at home we have already taken a step to address this issue by installing a “Team Rector.” Our Assessment was changed in 2017 to be in line with what the Churches could afford while still paying our Clergy Costs in full. In other words, we were not being subsidized by other parishes and were not contributing to any other parishes but were cross subsidizing ourselves. As an incentive to move forward the Bishop wrote off a portion of the outstanding Assessment owed (By St Mary’s) because we were keeping up to date with the current payments. Had we not run into trouble with the tenant at 81 Fyn Rd, all would have been well. But without that rental and with the services still having to be paid, we at Good Shepherd are not able to cover our Assessment at present. In Other words, my stipend is not being paid in full by the two parishes, and the Diocese covers the shortfall out of the Central Fund, the same fund that is not receiving enough funding to cover the Diocesan Salary bill.

Therefore, we need to be bold and strive to remain committed to the Mission as our primary objective.

We exist to be the Church in the Community and the Community in the Church – to know Jesus and Make Him known. We need to be more proactive, more focused and more dedicated to our mission. The Church is the means to the end not the end in itself. We should be so focused on our mission for God – “God Reconciling the World to Himself through Jesus Christ,”  that all the other things become insignificant and our passion lie in the living out of God’s love.

I am positive that we are going to come out of this stronger. We have two dynamic Parishes which are on a growth curve and can handle the challenges set before us. I ask you to remain prayerful and positive. God will show us the way.

May God in His infinite wisdom guide us across this Jordan into the promised Land.

Rector.

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From the Rector’s Desk – 18.08.19

“In all things we are more than Conquerors, through Him who loves us” (Rom 8:37).

The Lord is King and He reigns!

Some weeks are more encouraging than others. It is not dependent on the troubles that you face, encouragement is not just a sense of wellbeing, but a sense of God’s presence in every circumstance, every emotion every event. It is not surprising to me that we use the word “courage” as the heart of positivity – en-courage or negativity dis-courage. We are motivated by a sense of being able to endure, and we endure when we operate in the strength of God. 2 Cor 12:10 says:’ for when I am weak then I am strong,’ St Paul says – when I acknowledge that I need God to make it possible when I cannot do it in my own strength, then I am strong. In God we can do valiantly says the psalmist. (Psalm 60:12).

I have the overwhelming sense that God is doing something that will change our lives dramatically. That He is calling us to cross the river and enter a new phase, a new chapter of life in Christ. So, I plead with you to be fervent in prayer. May we like the people of Goshen sign the cross on our thresholds (I love the imagery of that – the people made a cross on the lintel and the doorframe that they would step through – a statement of in God we trust)!

Will you “gird up your loins” (An ancient way of saying – PULL YOUR SOCKS UP!)

In 1 Peter 1:13 we are encouraged to have minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed. St Peter is building on that great OT theme of girding up your loins. (Job 38, Jer. 1:17, Kings 2:4-9 etc.) pulling up your socks and doing what God requires.

And in the Words of the Prophet Micah (Micah 6:8) What the Lord requires of us is this.  “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

My dear disciples of Christ, if we live by the spirit let us walk with the Spirit (Gal5:25). Let us walk with Jesus doing His will, obeying His command and fulfilling His desire to love the world back to God.

Be of God courage, fight the good fight of faith that you may finish your course with joy, and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit be with you all, now and always.

A note to the Church of the Good Shepherd.

We have a gate at Good Shepherd for your security. It does not help that we leave the gate open and allow open access, as that defeats the purpose of having a gate, but that means that access is an issue. This problem could easily be solved if someone volunteered to come at 08h00 on a Sunday and open the gate when people arrived and control access until 09h00 when the service began, and we could arrange a similar setup for other functions. Until such time as that happens you will need to respectfully and patiently wait for the people who are busy inside, preparing for the service to open for you. Your safety and security is our concern.

It is our policy to have a fellowship time after service and serve tea, coffee and eats. We are very grateful to those who do tea duty and are in need of additional volunteers to support this ministry.

We are also looking for volunteers to set up the tables in the hall before Sunday Service. Fellowship after service is an important part of our lives together and having some tables and chairs to sit at for tea is needed. Please consider assisting and volunteering a few minutes of your time to make our worship time together a joyous and peaceful time. I implore you to consider assisting in the preparation for Sunday Worship and in tidying up afterwards, and not just leaving it to one or two people to do everything or expecting other people who use the church to set up for you! It can’t be the task of the community groups who use the church to prepare your church for your service, that is not a sensible  or reasonable expectation.

I ask for your co-operation in this matter!
Rector

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