Saved to serve

We want to express our greatest gratitude for all of who has attended the Service and Vestry today. I would like to say thank you to all who have been serving as PC and churchwardens last year and who have re-dedicated themselves to serving again. Your hard work is not unnoticed. A big welcome to the new members of PC and churchwardens.

May God help us to start this journey with love and patience towards each other. May God help us as we embrace what it means to be *Saved to serve* May God bless you all.

Church Chatter · In other news. · Uncategorized

Alpha is hiring

We’re Hiring!
Dear Andrew,  We are looking for two new people to join the Alpha Sub-Saharan Africa Marketing Team and would love your help in spreading the word to anyone you know who may be interested. With a passion for creative excellence, the Marketing and Communications team of Alpha Sub-Saharan Africa leads all our marketing activities from social media to digital campaigns and creative projects, developing content for churches and organisations as they explore and run Alpha. Presently we are in search of two candidates for these critical positions: 1.      Head of Marketing 2.      Marketing & Communications Coordinator Please see descriptions of these roles, with more available roles, on our website. Grateful for your support, The Alpha Sub-Saharan Africa Team
 Head of Marketing Full time, South Africa (remote) We are looking for a skilled marketing strategist to oversee our marketing, communications and media projects for the region.   View the Job Description and how to apply 
 Marketing and Communications Coordinator Full time, South Africa (remote) We are looking for an energetic and skilled Marketing and Communications Coordinator, who will support plans to establish Alpha across Sub-Saharan Africa, driving digital marketing campaigns including web, SEO, email and social media.   View the Job Description and how to apply

Psalm 19:1-4

Journeying through the Psalms

Psalm 19:1-4

Both God’s creation and his Word reveals his greatness!

In this Psalm, David’s steps of meditation take him from creation, through God’s Word, through David’s own sinfulness, to salvation.

We are surrounded by fantastic displays of God’s craftmanship. The heavens give dramatic evidence of his existence, his power, his love, his care. To say that the universe happened by chance is absurd. It’s design, intricacy, and orderliness point to a personally involved Creator. As you look at God’s handiwork in nature and the heavens, thank him for such magnificent beauty and the truth it reveals about the Creator.

The apostle Paul in Romans 1:19-20 referred to this Psalm when he explained that everyone knows about God’s existence and power. While nature points to the existence of God, the Bible tells us about salvation. God’s people must explain to others how they can have a relationship with God. Although people everywhere should already believe in a Creator by just looking at the evidence of nature around them, God needs us to explain his love, mercy, and grace.

What are you doing to take God’s message out into the world?

Let us pray:

God, your glory fills the heavens
and all that you have made bears your mark.
We pray for this creation:
we ask forgiveness for the ways in which we have disfigured it;
we pray for those who cannot enjoy
the warm sun or the cool night,
those who are imprisoned or alone
those who are ill or infirm
those who mourn.
Use all of us, our hearts, our hands,
to bring your wondrous power into their lives.
Let us glorify you, O God.



30 September 2021 Luke 10:1-12

preach always and use words if neccessary ( St Francis)

1After this, the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of Him to every town and place He was about to visit. 2And He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest.

3Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4Carry no purse or bag or sandals. Do not greet anyone along the road.

5Whatever house you enter, begin by saying, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. 7Stay at the same house, eating and drinking whatever you are offered. For the worker is worthy of his wages. Do not move around from house to house.

8If you enter a town and they welcome you, eat whatever is set before you. 9Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’

10But if you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go into the streets and declare, 11‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off as a testimony against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.’ 12I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.

Today I want to challenge you to meditate on this scripture for yourselves. Jesus has sent you out. Do you have a “two by two” do you have a partner in the Gospel – a co-worker. You probably have many, one in each of the different facets of your life – who are they? Pray for them.

Are you praying that God will raise up workers, in your family, work place, social circle – this is where the harvest is plentiful – many people are dealing with life and death issues in this pandemic – are you speaking into them with hope and the peace of God?

Many people may well have been hostile to your “preaching” but Jesus sends you to overcome that – the world around you is full of wolves, but as scripture said – God’s desire is for the lamb to live at peace with the wolf (Is 11:6) – God wants you to be the maker of peace with the wolves in your lives. We are to Love our enemies and win them over with the Gospel.   vs 4 b, is a call to being resolute and not to be distracted along the way – do not deviate from the task ahead. Don’t stop for chitchat – get on with the work.

We are called to enter every situation in peace and find a home with people and interact with them, serve God there and work together. We are to give ourselves to bringing healing and Kingdom values into every situation.

Spend some time today thinking about how you are applying this Gospel message to your lives and how you can fulfil the command to go out and preach the Good News. As St Francis said – “Preach always and use words if necessary.” May our lifestyle, our attitudes and our willingness to forgive, speak into the lives of those with whom we live and work. Amen

Let us pray

Almighty Father you have made of one blood all the people of the earth and sent your blessed Son to preach peace to those who are far off and those who are near: grant that people everywhere may seek after you and find you; bring the nations into your fold; pour out your spirit on all flesh and hasten the coming of your kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord . Amen


Sermon preached at the Vestry of St Elizabeth’s Westville

Readings: Esther 7:1-6, 9-10, 20-22; Psalm 124; James 5:13-20; Mark 9:38-50

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and His Son Jesus Christ.

In the words of today’s Collect:

Mysterious God:

Reveal the narrowness of our blinded sight,

And make us aware of all who serve your purposes

So that together we will celebrate the glory of your reign;

Archdeacon Gumede, in my flesh I don’t know whether to say thank you for inviting me to preach today, it is no small thing to address St Elizabeth’s at their Vestry, at this time in our life together.

But – I come in peace to share from God’s word and this homily is just that. I would have preached this anywhere.  But I have contextualised it.

I don’t know if you here at St Lizzy’s follow the lectionary – but I do. If ever asked to speak I take the lectionary readings for the day – and often they challenge us way beyond what we could have come up with if we had chosen a theme that we thought would be contextual.  We didn’t read from Esther this morning, but we are familiar with the story –  – and that’s ok – the set reading is Esther 7: 1-6, 9-10, 20-22..and it is the basis for my homily…

And so, I merely preach that which was prearranged by the Lectionary to preach this day and pray that it will find you where you are and do what scripture is supposed to do – (2 Tim 3: 16) Rebuke, correct and train in righteousness.

And in that process restore hope, and bring healing – 

We turn to scripture and draw on our inheritance of faith to reconcile us to God, ourselves and our neighbour.

Scripture tells us that Israel was a divided nation for most of its existence, the Old Testament is one long story of infighting and power struggles, people who we revere in scripture, were often seen as the enemy in their own time. Very often when we read scripture, the story is presented as that of the King, the one with the power in the nation – and we have to dig a little deeper to think about how the little people felt in all of this.

When Saul and David were enemies – how did the people experience it, we read it and fondly remember the victory – the outcome, how God used those many turbulent years, to grow the Kingdom,

But people had to live it and suffer through it, they had to persevere. They carried the consequences of both Saul and David’s actions and the many others kings to whom they were subject.

Some caught up as soldiers, on either side, some as leaders, some as advisers and some just as innocent citizens, circumstantially positioned – just trying to live out their lives.

Mothers lost sons, in the battles between Kings – life has consequences, and God is not ambivalent, heaven has wept over every life that was lost in the futility of the affairs of people, and through the human condition of seeking power and dominance and their own will. 

When we read the scriptures, we believe that God cared about these people, we rejoice in the words of the Psalmist

if the Lord had not been on our side
    when people attacked us,
 they would have swallowed us alive
    when their anger flared against us;
(Psalm 124)

But we need to realise that these words were spoken after plenty of hardship – they were bigger picture words and while they were under attack – it felt like they were being swallowed – in all our interactions with one another there are casualties.

When we read scripture, we need to read between the lines and between the punctuation marks.  Life is not lived in the conclusions –

In the years to come, we will look back on 2020, 2021, and we will remember from the context of the bigger story, we will remember as survivors of the pandemic and strife of our time,

but right now, as it has always been,

 life is lived in the struggle, it is lived in the battle, it is lived between what is desired and what is done.

It is lived in the painful experience of daily life and death

But our battle is not against other people – it is against powers and principalities -attitudes, spirits…of  

Greed, jealousy, personal ambition, and the resulting power struggles, we see it at every level of society and in the Church.

fundamentalism, competing convictions, desires, ego’s, agenda’s, hopes and fears. We don’t live in the theory of godliness we live in the reality of “all have fallen short”  – God knows that these are all part of the story.

Salvation does not elevate us out of our humanness – The Church is not a haven for saints but a hospital for sinners, seeking the love, mercy and grace of God –

We tend to sanitise scripture when we just look at it as an historic encounter, read the scripture in a personal fashion and your own struggles and hurts and battles will make a lot more sense.

But just as you read scripture and conclude that God’s intention is healing and hope and life in abundance, read your life and see that the present struggles and suffering, are worth it – (St Paul) –

The hope and the abundance the crown of glory are the end product, but being shipwrecked, going hungry, being imprisoned, persecuted and constantly on trial, are the journey (St Paul)

10 plagues in Egypt, hard labour, constant fear of death –

and we see the point of it, now, and we delight in the exodus – and we jump to that part of the story – we quickly read over the hardship of making bricks without the provision of straw – but that is where we live – we live in the ever-increasing demands of the world – and the ever-decreasing provision of the means to live this life.

And often we say – Oh Lord how long will you delay (ps 90:13)

We acknowledge the psalmists words –  “if the Lord had not been on our side” – but do we see him on our side even now… in the midst of our trials.

our Gospel warns us:

49 Everyone will be salted with fire.

In the Levitical, Law salt represented the Covenant with God – ( Lev 2:13) salt is what preserved the offering – fire  – trouble hardship disagreements and how we conduct ourselves,  how we remain faithful to God in all our difficulties – how we be salt…..represents our covenant with God…how we preserve our faith and persevere…that is how the Covenant is represented to the world….

St Paul writes  – (Romans 5:3-5) suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.

‘Everyone will be salted with fire.’ (Mark 9:49)

to lose our saltiness would be to give up along the way – to abandon the faith because we have faced trials.

Again St Paul says we are persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.(2 Cor 4:9)

When things are tough, we are called to respond in humility, our New Testament reading says:

16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. ( James 5:16)

That’s how we stay salty – through prayer and forgiving as we are forgiven.

Our Old Testament reading today, tells a story about life and saltiness  about a means to maintaining our identity as SALT –

It is through using our position whatever it may be, to reconcile, through remaining committed to God, through all our trials. It is through reordering our lives that we retain our saltiness.

The story of Esther takes place in exile – the Jews were slaves to a powerful and ruthless King. King Xerxes. He had been offended by Queen Vashni – and so he made Esther, a Jewish girl of great beauty – His queen. But I think he took a slave girl to insult Vashni back, not because of any other noble intention.

Mordecai was a Jew who had foiled an assignation attempt against Xerxes, but he and his fellow Jews were still being persecuted. Haman was a man who felt that he had not been honoured enough and was bitter against the Jews, probably even more so now because the Queen was one. Haman set up for himself a series of events that he hoped would bring honour to himself and see Mordecai the Jew hanged, even building the gallows himself.  Haman had the ear of the King, he had the power, Mordecai had none, and Esther had to put her life at risk to ask the King to save her people.

We can see ourselves in this story – again not just here at St Elizabeth’s, this pattern of behaviour is evident in all our lives everywhere –

For we all like Hamon have set up a gallows for another – our attitudes our prejudices, our ego’s our self-centred desires – our actions, impact on others and bring them down to elevate ourselves – us getting our own way at a cost to someone else, is a human condition. And equates to setting up a gallows!

And we experience this and are all guilty of it. And therefore, we all need to repent of it. Confess your sins one to another. Stay Salty. 

And we all are pretty good at naming the Haman’s in our lives those who have set themselves against us and those whom we want to meet the same fate because they have done to us what Haman did to Mordecai.

But our battle is not against flesh and blood but against attitudes, and prejudices and the sinful character that seeks to use every opportunity to drag us down.

But we don’t need a Bible to tell us about the Haman’s of the world –   we don’t need a Bible to tell us how to wish ill upon our enemies or those who disagree with us – we can do that quite easily all on our own – we need a Bible to tell us of Esther – we need a Bible to find the Esther in us that overcomes the Haman in us and establishes the Mordecai – think of these as three spirits or attitudes or ways of being….

Don’t label others in your life as Haman – realise that the spirit of Haman in us, it is our common denominator – the ways of the flesh – and all have fallen short of the Glory of God.

We all want to elevate ourselves – we are Haman.

But likewise –  we all have a spirit or an attitude of Mordecai   – that in us which is wholesome but persecuted –  The spirit of Mordecai in us that seeks to bring peace – and maybe you acted in peace and got shot down for it – can you see this story in your own life?

We all have a spirit or an attitude of Haman – ego centrical and seeking power and prestige and we all, like Mordecai have tried to do the right thing – we have in our own way attempted to bring righteousness back into our situation, and maybe we feel that we have failed.

Those two characters in us are easy to find – but it is the third that we must seek for we all have a spirit of Esther – and it is the Esther in us that the Holy Spirit seeks to draw out of us all today.

Esther had been given a position that excluded her from the sufferings of her people. As Queen their plight was no longer her plight – she had a life of luxury and had no reason to rock the boat with Xerxes, but

At risk to all that, all that she had been given, she saw that her position, if used with humility, could have a positive influence on her people who were suffering. 

Each of us are given the opportunity to rise above our own circumstances and be set free from them. Salvation sets us free from the sin that insnares us,  forgiveness gives us power –it elevates us above the quagmire but like Esther, we must use that freedom, even if it is a risk – we must use that power to uplift and to empower others to serve God.

Like Esther we must commit to the healing of the suffering –  I know there is hurt here – let’s heal it, I know there is confusion here – let’s bring hope I know there is brokenness here, let’s bring healing.

This new council will have the role of preparing this parish for a new priest; this new council will be responsible for a transition from the past to the future; This Vestry must not just change the names of the role players  – it does not help to change the Names – we need to change our hearts  – we cannot just repeat the same pattern of events with different names on the doors… but all of you, all of us must today commit to reconciliation; all of us must confess our sins one to another and be released from what got us here. We must be set free to re-establish ourselves as a worshipping community that brings glory to God in this place.

In each one of us is an Esther – Salt of the earth…. so take heart and be an Esther among God’s people. Preserve the Covenant – persevere!

Because the God who has called you is faithful, and He will not fail you.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.