Letter from Revd Andrew to the People of St Pauls 4 December 2020

Greetings in Jesus’ name!

Ordination under Lockdown: Welcome to Revd Sabelo Mthimkhulu

Originally planned to take place on 6 June this year, the diocesan ordination service took place on 28 November in the Cathedral of the Holy Nativity.  I was privileged to be among the about 120 people who attended the event at which Archbishop Thabo Makgoba presided.

Livestreaming of the service on Facebook allowed many more to share in it.  Revd Sabelo Mthimkhulu, who arrived four months ago at St Pauls as an ordinand, was among the twelve people being ordained.  Sabelo was made a deacon.  We welcomed him in this capacity in our services this past Sunday. Please continue to pray for him.

Strict Covid-19 protocols were observed, including the taking of temperatures of all who attended.  Out of the need to keep social distancing, at the point of the prayer for the person to “receive the Holy Spirit” the Archbishop refrained from laying his hands on the heads of those being ordained, a departure from a strong tradition in the church when new ministries are being commissioned.  Children and a staff member from St Nicholas Diocesan School played the marimbas and a steel drum in the place of congregational singing.

Go to our website for some photos and the Archbishop’s sermon and Ordination.

Thanksgiving Offering

Our thanks to the following:

Nwaeme Onyeka- R100; Myrtle Ryan- R1000; Neela Laban-R1000; G.S Manyathi-R100; Beryl Fynn- R100; Carole Spies- R20; Gelinda Lebrasse- R100; Kennneth Fynn- R100; Anonymous R100 & R50

All Souls

S.N Mancotywa- R1000 (in memory of her family especially husband, mother in law & daughter); Busisiwe Mlaba (R200) in memory of the Mqadi & Mlaba Family

 Looking ahead

With the curfew still in place there will be no Christmas eve service this year.  The Christmas morning service on Friday 25th will be at 8.30.

There will be no New Year’s Eve service.

Lectionaries

The new lectionaries are available for sale for R35 each.

From the wardens: Staff Bonuses

“We have appreciated the work done by our church staff this year under difficult circumstances.  While we have been able to pay our staff their salaries we are not able to afford to give them a bonus, as has been the practice in the past.

If anyone would like to donate towards staff bonuses please do so by putting your contribution in an envelope marked “Staff Bonus” and putting it in the collection box or  drop it off at the parish office. EFTs may be made with the same reference.  Donations in kind, such as food stuffs are also welcome.  The proceeds will be divided among the staff.  Thank you”.  The Church wardens.

 Need for continued vigilance

We continue to live in uncertain times.  We are strongly encouraged to take every precaution we can to prevent the spread of the virus.

Anglicans and Covd-19

Convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Anglican Primates (archbishops) recently met with senior directors from the World Health Organization to learn together about the current coronavirus pandemic. The Anglican Health and Community Network and the Anglican Alliance will continue to receive updated technical briefing from Doctor Sylvie Briand, Director, Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness at the World Health Organization, who presented at this Primates’ Meeting. For an interesting summary of this initial meeting .

16 Days Campaign against Gender Violence

We continue to mark this important campaign.  The following Statement was issued by the Dean/Vicar-General at the start of the 16 Days:

Today begins a period of 16 days (ending on 10th December) when we once again focus on the scourge of gender-based violence. We have read the statistics so often. We have heard the names of those who have been subjected to unspeakable horrors of physical and sexual violence and then forgotten them again, as another name comes to the fore.

We have “done” the 16 days once or twice or twenty times before. And yet gender inequality and gender-based violence remain. It is easy to grow “weary and faint” as the prophet Isaiah describes it (Is 40:31). It is tempting to turn away and pretend we don’t see, or that the problem is not ours. However, we are one body and violence against any person is violence to the whole body. The whole body of Christ suffers.

So, what is to be done? Fortunately, there are some really wonderful resources available to assist the church to respond. I commend to you:

  1. A set of webinars being offered through the Anglican Communion office.
  2. A series of twelve Bible Studies entitled “Hand in Hand” which look at sexual violence, but which also offer practical responses.
  3. A set of Bible Studies designed by Dr Miranda Pillay (formerly of the University of the Western Cape) for each day of the 16 days.
  4. The Advent resources attached to an email sent out by our communications officer, Lynda Wyngaard, last Friday (20th November 2020)
  5. Our Diocesan web page for multiple different resources.

I would like to challenge each of us to commit ourselves to one action, or one prayer, or one bible study, or one webinar, each day of the 16 days. As we do so, we might hold in our hearts and minds the words of Matthew’s gospel which we read last Sunday: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did it for me” (Matthew 25:40) and, tragically: “Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me” (Matthew 25:45).   Dean/Vicar-General

Growing the Church News

Their latest newsletter may be found at this link.  (A picture of our church member, Mandisa Gumada, is on the front page)

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.)

As you continue your Advent journey may God sustain and guide you. God bless.

Yours in Christ

Revd Dr Andrew Warmback

Rector: St Paul’s, Durban