Letter from Revd Andrew to the People of St Pauls 30 January 2021

Greetings in Jesus’ name!

Patronal Festival

The combined St Paul’s service last week was appreciated.

Confirmation

At this time last year we invited people to indicate their willingness to join the confirmation preparation process.  While some people did come forward we did not start the preparation.  We again appeal to those who wish to be confirmed to indicate this to us (by submitting your name to the Parish Office by 12 February).  Following diocesan guidelines the minimum age for confirmation is for those who are at least 15 or would turn 15 in the year they are confirmed.

This year we will hold the course “online” through the distribution and discussion of material through WhatsApp.  We are not sure when a bishop may be available to confirm candidates.

Lent

Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on 17 February.  We are not sure if church services will be taking place at that time.  Details will be provided as things become clearer.

As we have mentioned before, the Archbishop, backed by the Provincial Standing Committee resolution last year, asked that all Anglican churches to focus on the issue of Gender Based Violence this year during Lent.  This week the Archbishop announced the following course that is available for use, called “Living Holy and Healthy Relationships”.  We can look at how to use it within the parish.  We are also exploring other ways to respond to this other “pandemic.”  The Archbishop wrote:

Dear People of God

We enter Lent this year at a time of unprecedented suffering as a consequence of Covid-19. But while, thanks to medical science and collective action, we can be confident that this pandemic too shall pass, the “hidden pandemic” of our times – gender-based violence – remains deeply rooted in our society.

It is with that in mind that Provincial Standing Committee commissioned “Living Holy and Healthy Relationships” as the Lent Course for 2021.  As the introduction says, “Given that GBV brings such deep devastation to individuals, families and communities, we are often overwhelmed by the disastrous effects of this violence.” But just as we can overcome Covid-19, so too can we overcome GBV if we dedicate as many resources, both spiritually and through collective action, to uprooting this evil.

I commend warmly “Living Holy and Healthy Relationships” and appeal to you to engage earnestly with it, mustering all the energy you can to working among those in your patch of God’s Kingdom to bring about the changes in outlook and behaviour needed to end permanently this scourge.

To the Provincial Liturgical Committee and the Parish of St Francis of Assisi Parish, Parkview, we extend our thanks for the fine work they have done.

God bless.

†† Thabo Cape Town

Vestry

Parish Council are looking at options on how to conduct this year’s vestry meeting; considering too its possible postponement until conditions are more conducive to holding it.

Donations

We are most grateful to those who continue to keep up their regular giving to the church.

We thank the follow for donations received:

Noloyiso Mancotywa  R500 for prayers for the ending of Covid-19

Dr Hlubi Zibi R500 as “loose plate” collection.

 Diocese – RIP

  • Mrs Florah Ngubane the wife of our retired Priest the Revd Canon Theophilus Ngubane passed on on Sunday 24th January. She was a former President of the Diocesan Mothers Union.
  • Mr Finbar Mosdell, Archdeacon Paul Mosdell’s father who passed on on 27 January.

St Martin’s Children’s Home  A contribution from Dr Claudine Hingston:

St Martins Children Home has sent out an appeal for funds for stationery items and uniforms for the children in their care. St Martins Children Home is one of the oldest children’s homes in South Africa and it provides a safe home, schooling and other required support for abused, abandoned and neglected children.  There are currently over 75 children between the ages of 6 – 16 years living at the home. We are kindly requesting for donations towards this appeal.  It would have been easier to donate gift items, but with the current Covid-19 pandemic, it will be better to give cash donations.  Please donate towards this appeal. Any amount will be appreciated. Donations can be done individually or per guild.  All donations should be made to the following account with St Paul’s Church as the reference.

Account Name: St Martins Diocesan Home For Children NPO

Account Number: 50871208581

Branch Code: 220226

Bank: FNB

Branch: Davenport

Thanks in advance. God bless you all.

Parish contributions

Last week I asked for contributions from parishioners…here is one below. Thank you.

REFLECTING ON COVID

There are 6 things that have intrigued me around Covid since the first lockdown:

  1. The origins of Covid-19?  Was it human engineered, made somewhere on a laboratory table? Is it a weapon to depopulate the world? Is it related to mobile network 5G wireless technologies? Is it deliberately created to sell vaccines/ make us dependent on vaccines? There are more conspiracy theories that continue to flood the social media space.
  2. Is mother Earth revolting? : Outside the conspiracies, I was intrigued by the causal link between Covid 19 and environment.   The assertion is that the earth is revolting against its abuse and degradation by human activity. The earth is “tired “of assault and mistreatment of her essential life systems and is revolting? (I find this theory plausible. We have already experienced the effects of climate change – e.g. catastrophic droughts, wild fires, floods etc-).   On can also listen to ANGLICAN ALLIANCE “Prophetic Indigenous Voices on the Planetary Crisis” videos for a good glimpse!
  3. Are the herbal concoctions useful in fighting Covid- 19? Since the first lockdown, we have been inundated with hundreds of expert advice on concoctions and practises to keep Covid-19 at bay.  Typical grocery lists these days will include some of the following concoction items:  lemons, ginger, garlic, turmeric, cloves, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, bicarbonate, onions, umhlonyane and steaming items like Vicks, eucalyptus, and gumtree leaves etc etc!!!  .   A Minister of Health in South Africa at the height of HIV and AIDS pandemic once advised the nation to use some of the listed herbal products.  The only missing item is beetroot!  Any way I continue taking the concoctions. At least they kept the flu at bay last winter!!!!
  4. Covid and heat issue. We have been convinced (via social media) that Covid-19 and heat are enemies. The 2nd wave in mid-summer must have come as a real surprise!!
  5. Wearing /not wearing of masks.  Most people wear masks. They understand that mask wearing is an essential component to stopping the spread of the coronavirus, including social distancing and hand hygiene. Masks can be uncomfortable. Also, have you noticed that masks also mask our expressions? They hide the facial expression of joy/ pain/anger/friendliness/spite/anguish etc,).  In some cases, it is difficult even to recognise the people you know when they are masked!!!  But we can forgo all these if masks help us to be safe.
  6. While most people (I think) are responsible and wear their masks, we sometimes see people without them in public spaces. What do you do if someone without a mask comes closer to you? Should you remind him/her to be responsible?  Or do you just move away??  Or do you yell at him/her???? Do you sometimes wonder what could be the reasons??  Is it defiance? Is it ignorance? Is it something else?? I remain curious to know. I never gathered courage to ask!
  7. Then comes the Vaccine debate.  The debate has been on the table but it reached a crescendo in November/December 2020.  Anti-vaccine sentiments and doubts are expressed about the speed at which it has been developed, the efficacy, safety, the intentions (conspiracy theories again!).  The debate made me wonder if our parents (I am talking about parents of over 55 -year –old adults here!!) were equally anxious and apprehensive of our first vaccines in the 1950-60’s (remember there was no social media then, even landline telephone was something out of reach for many!!?) I asked a few friends and  here are their unedited direct responses  :

Siwa : “ I do not know how my parents felt about it, however, I do not have any recollection of them anxious about the vaccine. We as children just loved that round stamp on our upper arm after BCG.”

Nelo  “ We got sweets after the stamp—very exciting times for us!!.  Even after the polio drops on our tongues, there was always some reward!!

Rapu :  “ without looking down upon our parents, if something was compulsory according to authorities, they did what they were told. Compliant people those, not too many questions especially if it was sold as something that would help. ( at least I am reflecting on my parents)!

 We will see when the vaccine hits our shores . How many  will want to jump the queue???

May God bless and keep you safe!

Pumza P Tuswa

St Pauls Environment Action Team & Mothers Union

I have written for us the following in support of the Covid-19 vaccine

 Vaccines for All

Yesterday I came across an article in the US based Sojourners Magazine which was entitled “Can Faith Leaders’ Vaccine Selfies Rebuild Public Trust?”  It reminded me of the recent widely distributed photo of the Archbishop of Canterbury receiving the Covid-19 vaccine in his capacity as a hospital visitor.

Whatever the impact of these pictures may be I feel the church should support the roll out of Covid-19 vaccines in this country and that we should be encouraging our members to take up the offer of receiving them when offered.   In my own ministry, I would certainly feel much safer if I received the vaccine.

For the rest of the article see our website.

Birthdays

Please note that David Hughes’ birthday is on 23 February.

 Prayer Diary

The Diocesan Prayer Diary for February may be accessed on our website.

 Giving

We give thanks to those who have returned their giving envelopes for the past few months. Thanks too to those who are giving into the loose plate collection when they attend services. 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.)

God bless you and your families in the New Year.

Yours in Christ

Revd Dr Andrew Warmback

Rector: St Paul’s, Durban