Letter from Revd Andrew to the People of St Pauls 19 February 2021

Lent

We journey together in this season of Lent towards the cross and beyond.

We will not be holding services on Wednesdays in Lent but use the Wednesday evening time of 18.00 to run our Lent Bible Study Course over Zoom, starting next Wednesday. Follow this link for the meeting. Meeting ID: 848 4572 7007 Passcode: LentCourse

Here is the link to the Bible Study course on our website.

For information on using Zoom please see

Please contact me if you struggle to connect.

Through the generosity of one of our wardens, Yolisa Mapasa, the parish has acquired a licensed copy of Business Zoom, a video conferencing platform which will allow multiple users and unlimited time for meetings. It is available for use by groups within the parish; please book through the parish office.

During the continued need for ‘on-line’ ministry this facility will enhance our ability to communicate and connect with one another within the parish.

The Zoom account is for church-related activities only and not for private use by individual parishioners.

An Approach to Lent

While we are encouraged to work at our spiritual disciplines during Lent, we need to be aware of how we feel and what we need. We should not be putting extra burdens on ourselves. I agree with these words by Dr Annemarie Paulin-Campbell of the Jesuit Institute in approaching Lent, especially this year:

“We can make the mistake of thinking that God is demanding more of us when, in fact, God wants to offer us something. As Jesus says to the woman at the well who is drained, depleted and thirsting for something more, he says to us: “If you only knew what God is offering; and who it is that is saying to you, “Give me a drink,” you would have been the one to ask and he would have given you living water.” (John 4:10).

Perhaps God is longing to do one of these things for you this Lent:

• To give you a renewed sense of hope

• To allow you to rest into his love

• To console you in your grief

• To provide you with peace amid the uncertainty

• To reignite a sense of purpose in you

• To draw you into deeper intimacy with God’s self

Ask God for what you need and desire in these days of Lent. Let it be a time to receive and be filled so that you can reach out to others from that place of renewed strength. God knows that we are carrying the strain of collective trauma. The physical, emotional and spiritual toll that the pandemic has taken on us is significant.

This is, I suggest, a year to give attention to practising some of the lesser-known disciplines of self-care, spending time in nature; setting appropriate boundaries and taking time to simply ‘be’ in the company of God.”

Lent Resources

The follow are some resources that you may find helpful to use during Lent:

Seed of Hope

These 40 Lenten devotions in honour of Bishop Ellinah are seeds of hope, a tribute to her life. Reflections on 40 different scriptures come from a wide variety of people from Archbishops to lay ministers, from different parts of the world.
May these seeds sown in love grow to bear fruit!

Pilgrims in the Modern World. A course written by Frances Correia and Raymond Perrier of the Denis Hurley Centre and published by the Jesuit Institute South Africa.

Lent Course on Prayer: Notes from a previous Lent at St Pauls:

Postponement of Vestry Meeting

Because of government regulations restricting the numbers of people who can gather, permission has been given to postpone annual Vestry meetings (which need to take place before 15 March each year). Meeting this week, our Parish Council agreed to this postponement.

The Dean/Vicar-General wrote that “You have my permission to postpone your Annual Vestry Meeting indefinitely for 2021, if no in-person meetings are possible due to the government regulations. The 2022 Annual Vestry Meeting shall be the next statutory meeting to be held.” This was followed up by the Provincial (ACSA) guidelines which stated that “The need for an annual vestry meeting has been suspended for 2021.”

These guidelines further state that “Parish Councils, including wardens, are to be retained en bloc, unless sound reason exists for this not to be the case;” and “Any vacancy on the Parish Council to be filled by co-option by the executive. Under these extraordinary circumstances, such co-opted members will have the right to speak and vote in order to see to the effective functioning and management of the Council.”

Annual Financial Statements and Wardens Reports are still required and will be distributed to parish members.

Rector Sabbatical Leave

With the support of the Parish Executive and Parish Council and with the permission of the Dean/Vicar General I will be taking sabbatical leave, together with the some annual leave, from after Easter until the end of June this year. During this time we will invite retired/visiting clergy to assist with services.

Sabbatical leave is designed to give the cleric an opportunity to rest and a chance for reflection as well as to prepare for the on-going ministry.

Baptisms

We have been appealing for candidates for confirmation. We also intend to hold baptism preparation sessions so that baptisms may be done before Easter. If you or a child in your family would like to be baptised please complete a baptism form and send it into the parish office (paulsdbn@mweb.co.za).

The following are some of the ACSA guidelines relating to baptisms.

  • The parents to hold the child being presented for baptism.
  • The water of baptism to be blessed once and a special receptacle be used
    to catch the water that flows from the baby’s (generally) head into the
    receptacle, so it does not return to font.
  • Priest to sanitize hands before and after anointing each child.
  • Candles to be set out individually for each child so no additional touching
    or handing out. Parent or godparent to take assigned candle and light it
    from the Easter candle.
  • Parents to bring paper towels for use after baptism, which will be
    destroyed after use so special receptacle to be made available for this.
  • Photographs not to be permitted as they make maintaining of social
    distance impossible.
  • Church to appoint a single photographer with correct equipment to take
    pics at required social distance for close-ups.
  • Again, priest to stand back and only parents to remove masks for single
    photo in church. Other photos to take place outside.
  • No clergy to be seen in photos without masks being worn by all parties in
    picture.

Financial Giving

Some of you did not get the opportunity to renew your financial giving for 2021. If you are able to attend services forms will be available there for you to fill in.

Otherwise you can access the Planned Giving form on our website.  It can be emailed to the “Parish Recorder” at paulsdbn@mweb.co.za.

Election of a Bishop

As you know the election of a bishop for our diocese has been postponed. In line with Canon 4(11)(a)(vi), which states that the Chair of the Elective Assembly Advisory

Committee may “invite any member of the Advisory Committee to submit, not later than twenty (20) days before the day Elective Assembly convenes, one or more candidates in terms of subsection 11(a)(iii)(aa) and (cc),” the name of another candidate has been added: that of Canon Bellina Mangena.

Giving

We are grateful to those who have continued to give their Planned Giving directly into the church bank account and to those who have also given loose plate collections and donations in this way. This enables us to continue to pay staff salaries, our assessment and most of our accounts. Please continue to give. (The St Paul’s banking details are: Account Name: St Paul’s Church; Account Number: 50854628623; Branch Code: 221426; Bank: FNB.)

“6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Matthew 6:6-8

Yours in Christ
Revd Dr Andrew Warmback
Rector: St Paul’s, Durban
Cell: 083 693 6745
E-mail: warmback@dionatal.org.za
Office: (Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 9.00-16.00): 031 3054666; paulsdbn@mweb.co.za
Website: www.stpaulsdurban.org.za
Facebook: @stpdbn
Instagram: stpaulsdurban
Twitter:@StPaulsDbn