Letter from Revd Andrew to the People of St Pauls

Greetings in Jesus’ name!

Lockdown experiences

I think that our parish members are coping well during these trying times, drawing on spiritual resources and disciplines from their past church experience.  Thank you very much to those in our groups and guilds who have distributed food parcels to those most in need among us, and beyond.

Alison, Dominic and I are well. We are grateful for the opportunity to exercise (between 6.00 and 9.00) – we walk/jog most mornings in our neighbourhood. We are starting to get fit. We pray together each day the midday prayer, suggested by Archbishop Thabo, for the world and those fighting the pandemic.

Appointment of Revd Mduduzi to St James

Yesterday the Church Wardens informed the parish of Revd Mduduzi’s appointment to be priest-in-charge of St James, Morningside.  I will miss him as a discerning and caring person, thoughtful theological thinker and supportive colleague.  I know that he will also be valued in the new context into which God has called him.

Covid-19 Social Relief Grant

SASSA has updated their procedures for applying for a Covid-19 R350 Social Relief Grant.  The conditions and process of application are as follows:

Who can apply?  An unemployed person, over 18 years old not receiving any social grants, UIF or NSFAS stipend.

What you need:  ID, Banking details, contact number – Cellphone number

Apply via   Send message to 082 046 8553        USSD Code  *134*7737#

email  srd@sassa.gov.za

Payments will be made through direct payments into bank accounts or a money transfer to a mobile phone.

 “Message to the Clergy and Lay people from the Vicar General”

We received this letter from the Diocese yesterday.  As well as encouraging us he focuses particularly on domestic and gender-based violence with some valuable contact details for those in need of them.  We reproduce his letter in full at the end.

 Mothers’ Day

We also received the following message from the Dean/Vicar-General, which we share with you: “To all women in the Diocese of Natal: Happy Mother’s day to all of you. We sincerely appreciate the positive role you play in building stable Christian families.  Families that are anchored on the unconditional love of Christ.  May your homes be the signs of Christ’s peace and reconciliation and where children are nurtured in the values of the Kingdom.  Be assured of my prayers for you especially today.”

International Nurses’ Day

Tuesday was international nurses’ day (the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth). We are thankful to those who have taken up the vocation of nursing within our parish and elsewhere, and together with other health workers pray for God’s protection of them at this time and strength in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Elizabeth Paul

Talking of special days, as you know our liturgical calendar commemorates certain people for their faithful Christian witness.  From time to time new people are added.  There have been a few new additions this year, including those of the first Bishop of our Diocese, John Colenso (20 June) and Steve Biko (12 September), “martyr of hope.”  I particularly like the commemorations of people from our continent.

On 13 May we commemorated Elizabeth Paul, a new commemoration in our lectionary.  When I attended the College of the Transfiguration in Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown) I became aware of the strong devotion many people have for Elizabeth.  Born in Tsolo in the Eastern Cape she came to exercise a remarkable preaching and healing ministry, which extended to people of all denominations. For further biographical details see the website of Mthatha Diocese (http://www.mthatha.anglican.org/ElizabethPaul.html)

Collect for Sunday 17 May

O God, you reveal yourself in love:

pour into your hearts such love towards you,

that we, loving you in all things and above all things,

may obtain your promises,

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.

Amen.

We are still the church

One of our lay minsters, David Hughes, offered the following comment on our current situation:

Just the other day a Mission To Seafarers (MTS) supporter reminded me that the Reverend David Schooling, who is a past Durban MTS Chaplain, once commented that we “do not have to be in Church to find God!” How very true. Often something that is remarkably evident to MTS Chaplains.  God is with them and ship visitors when they operate “Car Boot Ministry” within the harbour, visiting seafarers around the port in this manner. Or they may sit over coffee aboard ship in the seafarers Mess, talking about things that effect our daily lives. We know God is with them at that moment, supporting them.

Therefore the same reflection can be made, even when we are “not in church” and missing our normal services and special Anglican ambiance!

I would like to conclude by offering a special Prayer in this time of Covid-19, which was issued this week by The Mission To Seafarers, but it  is a Universal Prayer…….for Everyone!

“KEEP  US GOOD LORD

UNDER THE SHADOW  OF YOUR MERCY

IN THIS TIME OF UNCERTAINY AND DISTRESS

SUSTAIN AND SUPPORT THE ANXIOUS AND FEARFUL

AND LIFT UP ALL THOSE WHO ARE BROUGHT LOW……….

THAT WE MAY REJOICE IN YOUR COMFORT,

KNOWING THAT NOTHING CAN SEPARATE US FROM YOUR LOVE.”

IN CHRIST JESUS OR LORD………..AMEN.

Finally

“Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong.”  (1 Corinthians 16:13)

“Cast all your anxiety on God, because God cares for you.” (1 Peter 5: 7)

 

Yours in Christ

Revd Dr Andrew Warmback

Rector: St Pauls, Durban