St Paul’s Epistle 5 August 2021

Dear People of St Pauls

Services on Sunday 8th at 7.30 & 9.15

This Sunday we will have our Women’s Day, celebrating the role of women in lives and in society.  With the service arranged by our MU and AWF, the preacher will be one of our lay preachers, Ms Linda Zama.

Pastoral Letter on Adjusted Alert Level Lockdown 3

On this past Saturday our co-Vicar-General, Canon Bellina Mangena, wrote to parishes. The full text of her letter is below:

“We are in a liminal space but it is more fashionable to call the time we are in,’ the new normal’. One of the features of this new normal, is the president addressing his fellow South Africans at intervals determined by the virus.

He did it again last Sunday and announced the move of the country to Alert Level 3 Lockdown. It is important to note that this was more to preserve livelihoods than just to ease restrictions, or a sign that the virus is getting any weaker.

What stands out for us is that we may have in-person worship under strict regulations, mainly keeping to the maximum of 50 people indoors and 100 outdoors per gathering.  While this is exciting to many, we need to accept and respect that many are rightfully scared. So let us continue with the electronic means of communication.

I urge the clergy and compliance officers to ensure strict adherence to our guidelines. We still cannot sing, must take communion in one kind and reduce group time. We do that partly by not having any other gatherings besides the worship service.

While all these restrictions go against our norm of fellowship, let us always remember that they are in place to protect and save lives.

The other means of saving lives is with the vaccination programme. While the vaccine is not guaranteed to prevent infection with the virus, it does reduce the severity of the virus in the body. While most of us have had the vaccine, some are still scared and that has to be respected. I urge all people to get the vaccine as they become eligible.

May we continue to pray for those who have been infected, lost family members and those who have reacted to the vaccine. My own prayers are especially for all medical staff who face this invisible enemy every day and run the risk of bringing it to their homes.

May we never lose sight of the fact that we are Easter people living in a Good Friday, this too shall come to pass. Amen.

B.Mangena (Co Vicar-General)”

Parish Notices

Assistance:  Following the looting in recent weeks, we had continued to assist parishioners who were badly affected.  Our thanks to Doreen Senoge for her donation towards these efforts and for our Churchwarden, Keith Mbambo for visiting parishioners to deliver food.

Confirmation: Preparation classes, which will be mostly online, will start soon.

Vaccination: For your own protection and certainly in the best interests of the parish we encourage all our members to be vaccinated against Covid-19.  Today we received from the Archbishop’s Covid-19 Communications Team the following link about vaccine hesitancy. “Here’s what you need to know about vaccine hesitancy | Health24”

Birthday: Our deacon, Revd Sabelo Mthimkhulu, celebrates his birthday this Sunday (8th). We give thanks to God for this life and ministry among us.

Wedding Anniversary: This coming week on 12 August, Alison and I celebrate our 32nd wedding anniversary.  We are grateful to God for God’s love, guidance, provision and protection throughout our marriage.

Dates for Province and Diocese

Provincial Synod: I will be attending this virtual synod to be held from 21-24 September. We are encouraged to pray for its preparation.

Missions to Seafarers AGM: This will again be held by “Zoom videoconference” on Wednesday 22 September, at 17.00.

“Sunday in Black” Sunday 29 August at St Pauls

Following the worldwide campaign of “Thursdays in Black” in which people are encouraged to wear Black on Thursdays “towards a world without rape and violence,”  over the last few years there has been a growing momentum to hold a “Sunday in Black” during the month of August, praying against violence and especially Gender-Based Violence.  At St Pauls we will have this on Sunday 29 August. Those attending the services are asked to wear black that Sunday.

Rest in Peace

We continue to pray for one another as our church members continue to lose members of their families to Covid-19, and to other causes.

The Diocese has informed us of the passing of Mother Londiwe Manqele, Mother Superior of the Community of Jesus’ Compassion, New Hanover.  Co-Vicar-General Sibisi asked that we “pray for the Sisters of the CJC Community during their time of bereavement and as they mourn their loss during this difficult, sad and painful time.”

Some former bishops have recently passed on:  Former Bishop of False Bay, Merwyn Castle, of whom Archbishop Thabo writes, “Bishop Merwyn was known to us all as a gentle, caring soul who loved the Church deeply and cared for her people tirelessly. In various capacities, including Dean of Johannesburg, Chaplain to the then Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Bishop-Suffragan of Cape Town, he was an example of humility and self-sacrifice. Persecuted at times for an aspect of his identity which he did not choose – his sexual orientation – he bore the resulting suffering with dignity and forbearance.” For a full tribute.

Former Bishop of Port Elizabeth, Eric Pike. In a tribute to him the following paragraphs caught my attention: “Introducing Bishop Pike’s book, “Who do you say I am?” at a function in Port Elizabeth in 2011, the Revd Robert Penrith said when he first met “this amazing evangelist Eric” at St Andrew’s Church, Mdantsane, he “expected a rather loud and in-your-face evangelist, but instead was greeted with the deepest warmth by this humble man.”

In acknowledgement of the fluency of Bishop Eric’s isiXhosa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu used to jokingly pronounce “Pike” as if it was African, putting the stress on the “e”….

In his early 80s, he and his wife, Joyce, hit the headlines when they embarked on the “Nehemiah Prayer Walk”, a 200 km journey through all 60 wards and 126 informal settlements in Nelson Mandela Bay.” For the full tribute .

Financial Giving

Thank you for your faithful giving.  A reminder of St Paul’s bank account details: Account Name: St Paul’s Church; Account Number: 50854628623; Branch Code: 221426;  Bank: FNB.)

Jesus says: “Come to me, all who are weary and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Yours in Christ

Revd Dr Andrew Warmback

Rector: St Paul’s, Durban