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STATEMENT OF THE BISHOP OF GRAHAMSTOWN, THE RIGHT REVEREND EBENZER NTLALI, AT THE CATHEDRAL CHURCH SQUARE, GRAHAMSTOWN ON THE 7TH APRIL 2017.
Reflecting on the patterns and blowing winds in the midst of different kinds of social ills, expressing unhappiness, of a crying society.
Greetings to all people of God gathered here today. It is a privilege from God that I have been asked to talk to you on this important day in the history of our country. We heard just recently that Johannesburg was shaken by a tremor. This caused great concern to the citizens and people were asking a variety of questions. One of those asked, ‘Could it be that God is angry with us?’ That question is relevant when you remember that in Hebrews 12: 26b ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven.’ This phrase ‘Yet once more,’ indicates the removal of what is shaken-that is, created things-so that what cannot be shaken remains.’ Our country and the world are in the grip of a ‘shaking’. We witness what is going on in the European Union, in America, in UK, in Russia, in Syria and in South Africa. All of these prompt people to ask questions but most of all it jolts people into action.
We are gathered here today because of the ‘tremors’ that are shaking our country and these have a potential to bring untold suffering to our people, especially the ‘poorest of the poor’. I have chosen to term these ‘winds and patterns’. This is because whenever a storm strikes there is a pattern of reaction from ourselves and from government. I am going to sight a few of these ‘storms’.
- State Capture. This was one of those moments where the Public Protector had to investigate the relationship that existed between the State and the Gupta family. Central to this was the power that this family had over the state. When that ‘wind’ blew the pattern of response was denial and the unleashing of sections of our community on the Public Protector. Citizens voiced their unhappiness with this but very little action was taken to protect the Public Protector.
- Fees must Fall. Children of our country sacrificed their education to fight for access to Higher Education. The cause was a noble one. It exposed the slow pace at which Government was addressing the issue of Higher Education. We congratulate Government for the increased allocation to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and the decision to absorb the 2017 increment for children coming from households with a total income or up to R600 000. A Commission was put into place to investigate. The cost of the Fees must Fall on the State, Families and children has not been quantified. Society was conflicted. Very little action was taken. An attempt to convene a National Convention for Education was disrupted. The question is who is benefiting from this, who might not be interested in finding a lasting solution to this challenge?
- The Social Grants ‘Fiasco’. This is one of those moments when the privileged few forgot about the poor. After the Constitutional Court had concluded that the Contract with CPS was illegal and a new process must be put into place to find a Service Provider, nothing happened. The same court’ in consideration for the plight of the poor, had to extend the illegal contract. This caused great anxiety to millions of grant recipients. We talk about 17million. It is more than that if you take into consideration people who depend on the grant recipients. The State offered excuses and denials. Citizens were angry for a while and no action was taken.
- Cabinet reshuffle. The Church acknowledges the prerogative that the President has to ‘hire and fire’ Ministers. Our concern is the manner in which it is done. It is ironic that a hard-working Minister is fired and those who are not so hard-working, to put it politely are spared. The impact of this action on the economy is huge. The country has been down-graded, Banks likewise. We have been told that Banks have lost R61billion. The cost to the country is unimaginable. The people who will bear the brunt of this, are the poor and the vulnerable people of our country. The Church believes that the matter of breakdown of a relationship between the President and the Minister should have been addressed and maybe a different outcome could have been achieved. Or is he a ‘stumbling block’? We are watching. Will the Nuclear deal be signed now? Will the dysfunctional State Owned Enterprises be recapitalised now? What is the reaction of the state? The same pattern, close ranks and move forward. Civil Society is mobilising. Maybe the ‘shaking’ has jolted us out of our slumber and we now believe that we can do something.
- Radical Economic Transformation. A new phrase, a new, strategy, a new phase and a new approach. We are still awaiting to get a proper and coherent of the real meaning of this phrase. The reaction of the State to challenges is coming up with new terms. This pattern confuses people as a new one is introduced even before the old one’s success and failures have been explained to the electorate. If this is aimed at, and will deal with, the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality it is welcome; if it will be used to enrich a few it will not be accepted and supported.
I have sighted these few ‘storms’ as an example of what we are faced with in our country. The question is what are we going to do about this. At this stage I wish I could have the eloquence of Mark Anthony at Caesar’s funeral. I chose to learn from what the Bible says in times like this. When God liberated His people from Egypt and took them to the promised land He warned them through Moses not to turn their backs on Him. They did and there was hunger, drought and they were bitten by snakes. When they came together and repented He promised to heal their land. That is why we as the Church of God make the following call to Government and Civil Society:
- Bring God back into our Government, work places, schools and even Churches.
- We call upon Our Government to root out all corruption at all levels.
- Civil society to mobilise themselves and report and deal with all forms of corruption and injustice in our communities.
- We call for the restoration of values in our Government and society as a whole.
- We call upon Government and the Governing party to note the warning issued by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, that the same way we prayed for the downfall of the Apartheid regime we are also capable to pray for the downfall of this government.
- Government must put the interests of the people first than that of a few individuals who continue to enrich themselves at the expense of the poor.
- We call upon the Almighty to help our country by revealing new leaders who will lead with integrity and honesty
- We call upon Churches, Traditional Councils, Schools, Universities, work places, NGOs etc. to be places of education and conscientisation of our people. These places should be places of debate on all matters affecting our lives our people have an understanding of what Freedom means and supposed to entail for the people; what is necessary is the creation of opportunities and platforms to debate. An empowered citizens are a vigilant society.
We would like to honour all those who laid a firm foundation for our freedom. We want to warn all those who are threatening to destroy our hard-earned freedom that our patience is running thin.
Now unto Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with rejoicing, to the only God our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory and majesty, dominion and authority, before all time, now and forever, AMEN.
I THANK YOU.
INVITATION TO THE NATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY EVENT
TO : THE BISHOP
: ALL CERGY
: ALL GUILDS
TO BE HELD AT THE GOOD SHEPHERD ANGLICAN CHURCH
ON THE 01 APRIL 2017 AT 9H30
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ
The Diocesan Gender desk led by Lay Canon Nontobeko Moletsane was launched during the 16 days of Activism by the Right Reverend Ebenezer St Mark Ntlali at Holy Cross in the year 2015.
After several meetings and trainings that have taken place in the Diocese, where some of the parishes were represented. The Gender desk has come to a decision that one or two of the Provincial Priorities of the church which are Women and Gender must be looked at before the 16 Days of Activism.
You are then invited to the International Women’s Day which is recognised on the 8 March in each year to be held at the Good Shepherd Anglican Church on the 01 April 2017 starting at 9h30.
You are also requested to attend or send representatives that will take this information and share with all the parishes and archdeaconries in the Diocese of Grahamstown.
Your assistance and co-operation in this regard is highly appreciated.
Lay Canon N Moletsane
COLLEGE OF THE TRANSFIGURATION CLASS OF 2017 GRADUATION CEREMONY.
Read the article on the graduation ceremony here.
DYG Opening Service 2017
The Diocesan Youth Guild had an opening service on the 28 January 2017 at St Mary Phumlani East London. Their theme was taken from James 4:8. The Guest speaker was Ms Mamela Nongayi Wontoti.
An Urgent Call to Prayer
No doubt, all of us are aware of South Africa’s ongoing drought. Some schools in the Johannesburg area have shut down due to the lack of water. The Eastern Cape is dry as a bone. In the Western Cape, we are facing a dire situation. Fueled by strong winds, fires are ragging in our mountains, and the Western Cape has less than 100 days of water supply. All of us as South Africans need to pray, and we are calling on our friends in nearby and faraway countries to pray for us as well.
Let Us Commit to Pray
Ds. Braam Hanekom from the Western Cape Ecumenical Forum is calling for people to commit each day for ten minutes to pray for rain. On Sunday, 5 February, the Western Cape Ecumenical Forum will be hosting a worship and prayer gathering for the healing of our land. This will take place at His People N1 City, 14:30-16:30. If you do not live in the Cape Town area, please consider coming together as a community to pray together as a Christian family on that day wherever you are.
We are asking all clergy to encourage their people to step up to the challenge of praying ten minutes each day for rain and to either advertise the prayer gathering at His People on 5 February or to help mobilise people to pray as a community on the same day.
Revd Trevor Pearce and the GtC Team
The Archbishop has called on the Church to pray particularly for the universities on Education Sunday. Here are some suggested areas to guide your prayers but please contextualize them to particular universities, lecturers and students and their families that you might have in your parish or in your diocese. Leadership of universities. Pray that the Vice Chancellors and their senior executive teams might be given wisdom as they lead. They hold the responsibility to keep the universities open for the ongoing academic programme and the responsibility about the safety of the students, lecturers and buildings. Please be particular to local universities in your area. Thank God for good leadership and for integrity and honesty. Lecturers and all academic and support staff at universities. Thank God for their willingness to support students and to help them with their academic progress, particularly in the face of lost teaching time. Pray for their safety in the face of angry protesting students who can be very threatening. Pray for healing for lecturers who are angry and traumatized. Pray also that talented lecturers will not leave the universities for other employment. Pray for students as they struggle to meet the financial challenges of a university education and pray that they will be given courage to stand for what is just and right. Pray that the “#FeesMustFall” campaign will lead to proper mediation and a just outcome that is fair and supportive of the students’ academic endeavor. Pray for student leaders that they will be given wisdom and integrity. Pray for healing for students who are angry, traumatized or intimidated. Pray that the government will find ways to enable and support economically poor, but capable students to get a free tertiary education. Pray that the government leaders and the public would stand against corruption and wastage of state resources that would enable the government to offer free tertiary education. Pray for parents that they be given wisdom in dealing with their children at university. Pray that they will listen to their voices and concerns and support their sons and daughters in their education. Pray for all Anglicans engaged in these difficult times in the universities – university chaplains and the Anglican Student Federation, staff and students, particularly those in leadership positions. Pray for bishops and clergy who have mediated in the conflict. Pray for their protection and that they might know God’s strength and wisdom as witness to the love of God. The Collect for Education Sunday Lord God, Your Son Jesus Christ sat at the feet of others to learn, and sat on the mountains to teach: Bless those who teach and those who learn, those who seek and those who find; So that our homes, schools, universities and churches may be filled with a longing to learn and to grow, to serve and to give; Through Jesus Christ our Lord; Amen
Kindly assist in passing on this information to as many people who were part of Rhodes Divinity Department in some way or other or other interested parties. You are welcome to put on social media to assist.
The event falls under the auspices of the Church Unity Commission.
We are wanting to celebrate the contribution made through the Faculty of Divinity at Rhodes and Fedsem to the churches and the countries represented in the work of these institutions.
The theme of these events is ' Remember, Rejoice and Renew.'
The event at Rhodes is on 21st January, at Alice on 22nd January.
The event in Pietermaritzburg is on 18th February.
The outline of the program flows the same structure for each event.
09h30 - Visit to the site with prayers meet at the old Faculty building in Somerset St Grahamstown
10h00 - Discussion which focuses on Ecumenical Theological Education its practice and effect. The discussion will reflect on what we have lost and how to regain what we have lost.
13h00 - Lunch
14h00 - Service with the Eucharist.
The intention of these events is to bring closure to the pain caused in the ending of this co-operation, healing and an envisioning of possible future co-operation.
The heads on churches will con - celebrate. The preacher at Rhodes will be Itumeleng Mosala and Donald Cragg will facilitate the discussion. John Suggit has designed the liturgy for the event.
Please don't hesitate to contact Bishop Paul Verryn cell 082 6008892 email firstname.lastname@example.org or me with any further questions.
NB. There are Vacant Parishes which are: St Matthew's Keiskammahoe, St Alban's East London and St Francis Mdantsane. for more information please click here
Please click here to download the request for donations
On The 19 of November, Sisters at the Community of Resurrection had their annual meeting closer to the birthday of their founder Mother Cecile. They started the day by the Eucharist Service presided by Bishop Ebenezer who was also a preacher. This service was blessed by the presence of Revd Dr. Isaias Chachine their current Chaplain, Revd Dean Hunter, Dr Claire Hunter, the former Chaplain who is now retired Revd James Hoyle, Friends from Port Elizabeth, visitors from England and congregants from various Parishes around Grahamstown. after Eucharist service, lunch was served then the second session of their programme continued. the gust speaker was Ms Sue Hennessy from England. Her Theme was Bistari-Bistari which means slowly and slowly.
OSB Conference 2016
On the 11 to the 13 of November, our Lay Minister had their Diocesan Conference, the Fruitful and regenerating one. this was held at East London Correctional Service. the House was well packed. Reved Bada the Chaplain opened with the Eucharist Service.Many presentations were made to equipped Lay minister.
Archbishop Thabo's lament for South Africa
Let us pray:
Lord, where are you in these trying and challenging times and amidst these great developments in our country?
Shakespeare said: “Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.”
Lord, we are living through a time of acute misery, amidst an unprecedented political crisis.
Lord, we know though that South Africa is not broken;
Because notwithstanding this orchestrated attack on the foundations of our country, we remain a constitutional democracy;
Our judicial system remains intact and plays a critical role in protecting these foundations.
We are thankful for this, Lord, and we are determined to work to maintain this.
Today, we gathered in silence at the footsteps of your Cathedral, asking you Lord to speak to us and help us discern your will for us.
While we cannot change the past, we must change the future. As South Africans we must hold ourselves up to a higher standard.
We are your children and the children of giants such as Nelson Mandela.
We long for a just, equal, fair and a moral and values-based state, which we know is possible to achieve in Africa.
Lord, we cannot afford the luxury of corruption, quarrelling and never-ending internal strife. We know there is too much at stake for us to allow that to happen!
We know Lord your that you have destined us to be a great society, an infinitely capable society, a hard-working society, a society which has the right to expect something from life.
We refuse to be a society in which, no matter how hard we work, the fruits of our labour are often corruptly stolen from us.
On this All Souls Day, what we see, what we feel, what we know, is that there is a New Struggle that every group in South Africa is beginning to embrace, a New Struggle to end inequality, a New Struggle to end the inequality of opportunity.
So above all, we express our renewed faith in you, God, in our society and in the outstanding, industrious, hard-working and decent people who call themselves South Africans.
We express our faith that this society will have a bright future, because it is we who will ensure that future, and we commit ourselves to pray and to work for such a future.
Our destiny is not a matter of chance, God, it is a matter of choice, your choice, our choice.
God bless you and God bless South Africa. Amen
The St Micheal and St George Cathedral welcomed Oystermouth Rowen Williams (the former Archbishop of Canterbury), at a full attended service of Choral Evensong on Tuesday 25 October. The Archbishop spoke relevantly and memorably on the subject of Anger and Passion, not condemning anger outright but challenging his hearers to ask these questions about anger: "what is it for?" and "who is it for?"
On Wednesday 19 October 2016, The Premier of the Eastern Cape Phumulo Masualle visited the Bishop of Grahamstown. This was the Pastoral visit.
South African Religious Leaders Warn of Constitutional Crisis
National church leaders and other faith leaders gathering in Johannesburg from 19-20 October 2016 at OR Tambo, for their annual meeting, issued the following statement:
Conference StatementPreambleWe, as religious leaders have reflected on the meaning of John 10:10 in the Bible of having “abundant live for all” in South Africa – that no-one should be excluded or left behind.The current crisis in South Africa has gone beyond the “fees must fall” and is in fact a constitutional crisis - noting especially the actions taken by the NPA against the Minister of Finance.
It manifests itself in leadership and political factional conflicts in public institutions – that creates instability and distract attention from the fundamental challenges: fighting poverty, creating employment and extending quality health services to all.The meeting expresses its serious concern about the phenomenon of state capture which is undermining the public good and national discourse and threatens our financial sovereignty. The meeting urged all role players to root out this phenomenon as a matter of national urgencyIt also noted the serious shortage of social workers (50 000) – and urgent need to finalize a National Social Development Act in line with the National Development Plan (NDP).We appreciate the co-operation with the National Health Department to fight TB, the main cause of death in South Africa, and further the national health objectives in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the NDP.The meeting discussed the challenges confronting the country in the following areas and took specific resolutions on each:EducationAn education system that is free, decolonized and of high quality, is a just and moral plea for our society to give content to the promise of freedom won in 1994.
We also acknowledge the fact that we are facing more systemic problems within the education system at large. If we don’t deal with that, the current crises will come back to haunt us again.As religious leaders we support the quest for solutions by the students, the vice-chancellors, parents and government. We acknowledge and applaud the work of mediation, prayer and peace efforts done by different faith leaders across our nation during these difficult times. In the days and weeks ahead this work may be even more necessary and we need to be more co-ordinated through the national ecumenical structures.We urge all religious leaders to work through established reference groups that were established by provincial council of churches and/or the local ecumenical structures.We believe, however, that some of the methods used by students detract from their noble struggle. We urge the students to conduct the struggle with the dignity and with due regard for human life and to our national public assets.We urge all role players to strive to conclude the 2016 academic year successfully.Social DevelopmentThe religious leaders noted the completion of the review of White Paper for Social Welfare.
Many issues raised in the report of the ministerial committee were also raised by the NRASD for many years for example the transformation towards a developmental approach, the funding of the social welfare sector, the expansion of social service delivery to reach every corner of South Africa, the shortage of trained social professionals and the partnership between churches, NGO’s and the Departments of Social Development.The NRASD is of the view that this report is opening a window of opportunity for a dialogue between all role players in the Social Development sector regarding the findings and proposals of the ministerial committee. The goal of this dialogue should be to agree on a framework for the social development of the South African society. Important themes that should be part of such a framework are the development of a common vision amongst all role players, the roles of the various role players in the sector, the establishment of solid partnerships, the funding of social development and the human resource needs of the sector.Economy of lifeWe resolve and propose that given that this is a Kairos moment with regard to the following:Theology, development, poverty- Use the economists in the faith communities to assist and help us to reflect on the economy- Conversation of theology and economy needs to be ongoing- Africa Day 2017 (25 May) be utilised to focus on poverty, economics and the regional dynamics of economic relations- The need to revisit previous resolutions by the SACC, Industrial mission and the current mining conversations which will inform the ongoing mission of the church- Establish a movement for critical engagement by theologians and economist for public discourse in the area of poverty and the alleviation there of.Leakage of public fundingWe as a group are sensing (after engaging with senior representatives of the national Treasury: We as a group are sensing that there are at present an enormous leakage of state funds. We urgently ask all relevant parties to dig deeper into this matter. We are convinced that this situation is aggravating the already desperate situation of the poor. We are thus saying this in solidarity of the poor and pray that justice will prevail.Clarify the role and contribution of international donors and partnershipsWe are concerned about possible regulation of international funding supporting civil society development initiatives. International funding contributes substantially to HIV and Aids Programmes, human rights programmes in South Africa.Health.
The meeting express its support for the guidelines of the WHO and the UN Sustainable Development Goals that quality health care is a fundamental human right and we have to overcome the inequalities that exist in this regard. Health is not only the absence of certain diseases, but a fundamental part of having life in abundance, holistically in terms of mind, body and soul.We welcome the opportunity to partner with the NDOH in the national TB and Aids Response, as well as the Global Fund, to fight TB in South Africa.We commit ourselves to regional co-operation (and on a Southern African regional level) in improving healthcare…We identify the following challenges:- Lack of respect and humane treatment of patients by some health professionals in public health system- Public private partnerships: difficulty of support for church-based hospitals- Difficulty of getting training licenses for nurses and doctors at private initiatives- SANAC – does not include strength of prevention and education programmes of faith communities; conflict with priorities of international donors/ support replenishment of Global Fund, but locally side-lined.Press FreedomThe meeting noted the 39th commemoration of Press Freedom day on 19th October and reaffirmed its belief in press freedom as one of the essential gains of our democracy which should be protected and defended.Our Religious texts“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Love your neighbour as yourself.” Matthew 22: 37, 39“Oh you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor, God is a Better Protector to both (than you). So follow not the lusts (emotions), lest you may avoid justice, and if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily, God is Ever Well Acquainted with what you do.” The Women 4:135 (Quran)
1. Archbishop Dr. Thabo Makgoba – Anglican Church of Southern Africa
2. Archbishop Dr. Zandisile Magxwalisa – Jerusalem Church in South Africa
3. Bishop Ziphozihle Siwa – Methodist Church of Southern Africa / SACC
4. Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana – South African Council of Churches
5. The Most Revd Lunga ka Siboto – Ethiopian Episcopal Church
6. Bishop Sithembele Sipuka – Roman Catholic Church
7. Bishop Nkosekhaya Dikana – Word of Life
8. Bishop Horst Muller - Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa
9. Bishop Melumzi Norhushu – Ebenezer Christian Church
10. Dr. Sipho Mahokoto – NRASD
11. Dr. Gustav Claassen – Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa
12. Dr. Emmanuel Tshilenga – International Church of Pretoria
13. Dr. William Van Der Merwe – Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa
14. Dr. Abraham Hanekom – Commission For Witness
15. Dr. Johan Beukes – In Harmonie
16. Dr. Renier Koegelenberg – NRASD
17. Dr. Robert Munthali - Uniting Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa
18. Rev. Vusi Mkhungo – Uniting Presbyterian Church of Southern Africa
19. Fr. Richard Menatsi – NRASD / Roman Catholic Church
20. Rev. Mkhuseli Dukwana – Presbyterian Church of Africa
21. Rev. Bongokwakhe Mkhize – Presbyterian Church Africa
22. Rev. Miranda Magxwalisa - Jerusalem Church in South Africa
23. Rev. Moss Ntlha – The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa
24. Rev. Hermy Damons – The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa
25. Rev. Cornelis Janse van Rensburg - Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa
26. Rev. Canon Desmond Lambrechts – Anglican Church of Southern Africa
27. Rev. Senamo Molisiwa – Council of African Instituted Churches
28. Rev. Yoliswa Mahinji – Salvation Reformed Church
29. Mr. Henry Jeffreys – Journalist and analyst
30. Ms. Frieda le Roux – EFSA Media
32. Sheikh Achmat Sedick – Muslim Judicial Council
Please Click here and read MEC P. Dyantyi speaking notes to the St Katherines Parish Health Expo-16 October 2016
Dr M. Nkohla Represented The MEC.
Here is the Lay Ministers account Number, :
Acsa Order of St Barnabas
FNB ACC: 62646780272
Kind RegardsRevd. Bada
On September 21-2016, Good Shepherd School celebrated 132 years Birthday
The Service was at the Grahamstown Cathedral, and the Officiant was Dr Claire Nye Hunter. Wwe were welcomed by Mbalentle Jebese and Trinity Prinsloo.
·Rev. Claire passed a wonderful message from the Book of James 3:2-12. Sandisiwe Dail and Athule Zabo made words of support as the former students. The Bishop of Grahamstown closed with prayers and made a final Blessing.