Bishop’s Circular Letter - August 2013
Dear Sisters and Brothers
I greet you in the name of Jesus, our hope and salvation.
We are already in the second half of the year, it is amazing how quick this year has gone so far and that so much has transpired in our parishes and in the Diocese.
We have had a blessed Diocesan Synod, which I believe was a turning point for us as a Diocese. I have had a sense that there were on the part of those present a deep desire to lay the events of our immediate past to rest and a willingness to embrace the present with its challenges and together face the future with its many opportunities. Throughout the proceedings of Synod I have also been aware of a real sense of our interconnectedness as sisters and brothers in Christ, of a people belonging together and bound together by bonds of mutual caring and concern for each other. I was particularly encouraged by the readiness of both laity and clergy to engage the complex and sensitive issues of our day, specifically as it relates to our life together as a faith community. I trust that your clergy and parish representatives have reported back to you by now (see the attached write-up of Synod, which Reverend Ginny Cormack kindly, on my request wrote for us, this will give you a snapshot view of what happened at Synod).
After our Diocesan Synod myself and the Administrator, Mrs Sharon Robberts, attended a workshop to which we were invited on “Business and Property Management for the Church” in Kumasi, Ghana, which was the latest in a series of workshops that Trinity Church, Wall Street, New York, organized at the request of African partners. The purpose of these workshops is to help dioceses to embark on development projects that will ensure financial sustainability for them in the future.
We also had the visit of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, from the 4th to 7th July 2013. We thank God for the wonderful way in which He used the Archbishop during his visit to our Diocese. When he met with us, as clergy, on the Friday, at St Albans Parish in Pacaltsdorp, the Archbishop reminded us of what a privilege it is to be a servant of God and of God’s Church. He also shared with us some of the spiritual wisdom and practical insights that he gained from his experience with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, specifically as to how best we as clergy can deal with our own hurts and pain. On the Saturday he led a Diocesan Healing Service at St Paul’s Parish in Conville. He preached a challenging sermon in which he continued to build on the theme of healing. He reminded us that there is no future without forgiveness and challenged us to be a people of forgiveness. One of the moving moments in the service was when the liturgical dance group of St Simon’s Oudtshoorn performed a special dance in honour of the Archbishop, as they ended their dance they handed over to him a candle that was lit. At that moment the whole congregation rose to their feet and put their hands together in applause. He extended an invitation to all of us to come forward to be anointed for healing. He anointed and prayed for a number of us as clergy and we in turn then anointed and prayed for the rest of the congregation. On the Sunday he preached at St Mark’s Cathedral where he pleaded with us to make ourselves available to help God to heal our land. He said: “God, says: my dear children, please help me, please be my partner for I have no hands except your hands, no feet except your feet, no eyes but your eyes to look out into the world…”
Throughout the Anglican Church in Southern Africa, August is designated the Month of Compassion. It is my sincere prayer that throughout the Diocese, in all the parishes, we as God’s sons and daughters will find exciting ways to CELEBRATE THIS MONTH, by doing something gratifying that should grow us and benefit others.
Please pray that the Holy Spirit will anoint us with power as we continue to witness to the good news of Jesus Christ.
For our partnership in the Gospel, I thank God.
By God's grace, yours in service of Christ.
The Right Reverend Brian Marajh (Bishop of George)