Revd Dr A Warmback, Rector

Letter from Revd Andrew to the People of St Pauls 19 June 2020

Dear People of St Paul’s

Greetings in Jesus’ name as we approach 21 June, traditionally mid-winter!

Firstly, from the Archbishop:  Racism – below is a statement from the Archbishop about concerns about racism in some diocesan schools that have been highlighted in the media recently. It’s an issue we all need to grapple with, as we will within our own parish too.

Corpus Christi – The Archbishop used his Corpus Christi sermon last week  to again address the issue of the reopening of churches for worship, stating the same approach that our Diocese has adopted:  “we as a Diocese through Chapter have chosen to demonstrate our solidarity by deciding that for as long as one church cannot re-open for worship, none will. That’s a beautiful Pauline principle.” (More about this below)

In case you missed the Archdeaconry Corpus Christi service last week you can find it here.

Death of Mrs Nomthandazo Cynthia Sithole.

Last week we recorded the letter from the Dean/Vicar-General on the tragic death of Nomthandazo, the wife of our one our stipendiary clergy, Revd Sandiso Sithole.  Her funeral was held this morning at St Pauls, Nkwenkwe, Melmoth in the Diocese of Zululand.  Please pray for Revd Sandiso and their families.

The Collect for this Sunday is:

Lord Jesus Christ,

you tell us not to be afraid:

challenge us to abandon our selves,

encourage us to risk the sacrifice

that we may find the abundant life you promise;

for you live and reign

with the Father and the Holy Spirit,

in the unity of the Blessed Trinity,

one God, for ever and ever.


Parish News

Prayers for those who are not well: 

Portia Nodangala – A meeting was held this week with her medical team.  They are happy with her healing, rehabilitation and recovery process, but agree that the road ahead is still a long one.  Portia is strong and very positive.  Your continued prayers are much valued.

We give thanks to God that Blair Phillip, has now tested negative for Covid-19.  Please continue to pray for the other members of her household especially those who still have Covid-19.

“Perspectives on the Pandemic

This week Stuart Talbot continues our series on “Perspectives on the pandemic,” with a contribution entitled “I Can’t Breathe.”

“Covid Team”

The Parish Covid Team has produced a comprehensive preliminary report on our readiness to re-open services as well as on our response to Covid-19 more generally – how we can be more supportive of one another during this pandemic.  We thank them for this.  Parish Council are giving further input into it.  Next week we will put the report on our website so that everyone may have a chance to comment on it.  There are still a number of precautionary steps we need to put in place before we will be able to welcome people back to services.  In the meantime the church remains closed, as does the parish office.


We are not in a position to reopen our soup kitchen.  In the meantime if anyone would like to volunteer to assist with food preparation/distribution the best avenue would be to link up with the feeding programme at the Denis Hurley Centre, who continue to work with the Municipality to serve those who are homeless.  Please contact me if you are available to assist at the Denis Hurley Centre.

Looking ahead

We will not observe Music Sunday next week, but later.

We will have our usual Sea Sunday focus on 12 July.  There will not be the regular service at the harbour this year; instead there will a service made available by the various port chaplains on YouTube.


Emmie de Billot, who celebrated 102 years yesterday is in good spirits and feeling positive.

Irene Marchant is 100 next week, and not 99 as I mentioned last week.


Alpha, originating from Holy Trinity, Brompton, an Anglican Church in London, is a well-known teaching and discipleship training programme that has been used by different denominations around the world, including in St Pauls.  We have had an offer for it to be run “on-line,” starting probably in August.  We will soon give more details of the weekly sessions that will be offered over about a 9 week period for people to indicate their interest in participating in it.

Bishop John William Colenso

Tomorrow for the first time in our liturgical calendar we remember the first bishop of our Diocese.  Below is a brief description of his life and contribution to church and society.  Known as a “Colenso Church,” we at St Paul’s take a particular interest in his ministry, one that challenged injustice in its various forms.  I would like us to explore further the positive legacy left by Bishop Colenso, including his theological views. (see more below)


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 in this way. (The St Paul’s banking details are: Account Name: St Paul’s Church; Account Number: 50854628623; Branch Code: 221426;  Bank: FNB.)


I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you.” (Philippians 1:3-4)

Yours in Christ

Revd Dr Andrew Warmback

Rector: St Pauls, Durban

Monday, 15 June 2020

Transforming Anglican schools – Statement by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba

The Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA) acknowledges the anger of some in our schools who have once again challenged the church to face the pain of experiences of racism and of feeling that they do not belong.

They urge that we address with new urgency the processes of recognition and reconciliation which have occupied our church and its schools over many years in our journey towards  integrity in our Christian identity, ethos and witness.

We affirm those school leadership teams which have been addressing these painful issues over time. We regret the inequities and consequent pain which continue. We recognise that the pace of both recognition and change needs to be accelerated in many contexts.

We urge schools and dioceses to ensure that policy and practice designed to foster institutional cultures of healing, inclusion and justice are set forward in any place that bears our name.

We ask the Anglican Board of Education to help strengthen oversight and support for journeys of recognition and reconciliation embarked upon by our schools towards transformation and integrity in our identity and witness.

Bishop John William Colenso

Bishop John William Colenso

John William Colenso (popularly known as Sobantu, or “father of the people”) was a controversial figure and a tireless champion of justice and peace.  His commitment to the truth set him on a collision course with the conservative bishops of the Church of England, and with the devious schemes of British imperialism and corrupt colonial officials.

He was born in Cornwall on 24 January 1814.  Despite a lack of funds, he studied mathematics at St Johns College Cambridge.  In 1846 he was made rector of a parish in Norfolk, and in 1853 he was appointed as the first bishop of the newly created Diocese of Natal.

He was soon criticised for using the Zulu name for God (Nkulunkulu) and for baptising members of polygamous families.  The white settler community was increasingly hostile to his work amongst the Zulu people, which included developing an orthography, publishing a grammar book and dictionary as well as educational materials in the Zulu language, and translating parts of the Bible. He denounced the unfair imprisonment of Chief Langalibalele, and then of King Cetshwayo.

In 1863 he was found guilty of heresy for denying that God the Father tortured Jesus to death in payment for our sins (the penal substitution theory of the atonement), for arguing that all people are justified by Christ whether or not they receive the sacraments, for saying that he did not believe in everlasting punishment, and for demonstrating that the Pentateuch cannot be treated as the literal word of God.  He was deposed by Archbishop Robert Gray, and when he challenged this he was excommunicated.

Colenso appealed against his excommunication to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in England, which upheld him on the grounds that colonial churches were voluntary associations in which no-one had the power to enforce obedience.  This caused a constitutional crisis in the colonial churches, and ultimately led to the formation of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa, independent of the Church of England.

He died at Bishopstowe (near Pietermaritzburg) on 20 June 1883, and is buried in front of the altar in St Peter’s cathedral, Pietermaritzburg. His daughters, Harriet and Agnes remained committed to his ministry of teaching and advocating justice.”