Letter from Dean Ndabezinhle Sibisi
Dear family of the Diocese of Natal “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…” (John 1:12)
Greetings in the Name of Jesus, in whom we have the right to be called children of God.
If as Christians we are children of the living God, then our Diocese is a family: a large complicated, diverse, opinionated, and often argumentative family, whose members sometimes make mistakes, and sometimes do and say hurtful things to each other.
As with most families, there are occasions when we disagree and end up falling out. As we are all aware, 2019 has been a challenging year in the life of our Diocese. The reality of our fragile financial situation has become painfully obvious. And attempts to plan a way forward have been hampered by a sometimes debilitating leadership vacuum.
As we have tried to come to terms with the implications of our financial situation – and have wrestled with the difficult decisions that must be made to restore the financial health of our parishes and diocese – we have not always acted or communicated with each other with the simple kindness, consideration and generosity of spirit that should characterise all our interactions within the church.
Our call is to have the same attitude as Jesus (Phil 2:5): to treat each other with love, to regard each other’s needs as more important than our own, to act with humility and to offer respect and forgiveness. Many of these qualities seem to have been absent at times over the past year. We are a family, and we have clearly fallen out. But the truth of this season reminds us that our membership of the family of God, is not earned or dependent on our own worthiness.
Likewise, the church family is not established through our hard work and human wisdom. Rather, it is the gift of a gracious, loving God, bestowed on those who simply “receive and believe” in his name (John1:12). And so, Christmas calls us back to worship the One in whom we find our true identity and in whose strength and example we find forgiveness, restoration and unity.
Healing of the Diocesan family, starts with you and me. It begins when each one of us chooses to seek, as our priority, a renewed relationship with the Head of the family: a passionate, deepening, transforming, lifegiving, Spirit-filled relationship with the God who reveals himself fully in Jesus, and in whose birth we rejoiced again this Christmas!
DIOCESAN DAY OF PRAYER
VENUE: CATHEDRAL OF THE HOLY NATIVITY
DATE & TIME: 25JANUARY 2020 : 10am to 2pm
THEME: “LORD, HEAL OUR DIOCESE AND BEGIN WITH ME”
A MESSAGE FOR THE DIOCESE: MICHAEL CASSIDY
MUSIC CO-ORDINATOR: MELVIN PETERS The day will incorporate a program of worship, reflection, a time for penitence, a Biblical message and intercessions. Please diarise this significant event and pray for it.