We, the Bishop in Chapter of the Diocese of Grahamstown met and issued the following statement:
The whole family of the people of God under our charge in this Diocese have received with greatest consternation and shock the unbelievable and sad news of the gruesome killing of a Female Final Year Law Student allegedly by her live – in partner at the university of Fort Hare - as it came to the fore on Friday last week - in East London.
The world -wide Anglican Church Communion community of which the Anglican Church in Southern Africa[ACSA] - and consequently our diocese is an integral part – has long taken a stand and made our position public through serial resolutions culminating in the establishment of the Safe and Inclusive Church Commission as regards its abhorrence of the scourge of Gender Based Violence and Femicide [GBVF].
We therefore condemn in the strongest possible terms all acts of violence and including the taking of human life; particularly cowardly acts perpetrated against women. Such conduct flies in the face even of our cultural norms which dictate that men be protectors of women and girl children.
This incident was closely followed on its heels by yet another of also a Final Year Law Male Student this time - who is reported to have mysteriously plunged to his death from a fall from the 12th floor of a student residence building in the CBD, on Saturday afternoon - again in East London.
Each one of these incidents is a case of a loss of life one too many. Just as the entire community of Buffalo City Metro and the rest of the Province of the Eastern Cape is reeling under the numbing shock of such a callous and inhuman act, we are left speechless at the unprecedented senselessness and insensitivity of this murderous act.
The extent of emotional harm and hurt occasioned the family of this young woman whose life has been snuffed out at its prime is just beyond imagination. Our most profound condolences to the family of Nosicelo Mtebeni, who we learn hailed from Matatiele in the Alfred Nzo District. The manner of her death can never be deserving of any child of God.
We commiserate with her family in their bereavement and frustration at this trying time. And we commend the soul of the faithful departed to the mercy of God to be granted eternal peaceful rest, with light perpetual shining upon her; and may she rise in glory. We pray also for comfort and strength for her family and circle of friends in their distraught. This whole thing is a double tragedy and a twist of the worst irony.
We say so, because this horrendously tragic occurrence happens during the month of August – a month during which in our country we celebrate God’s creation and gift to humankind - our women and girl children, with an emphasis being on restoring their intrinsic value and innate dignity of which they have been stripped off by a demonic force that has attained to pandemic proportions in our land; namely, GBVF – against which we also fervently pray for its total eradication from the midst of our society!
Yet, year after year it is during the same month that not only do acts of GBVF escalate; but also, simultaneously, the most drastic and horrendous incidents of this demonic manifestation seem to surface.
Also, during the same month, we the community of believers dedicate as a Month of Compassion – with compassion understood ‘as being close to the one who suffers’, preferring to say; “you are my sister, I will not leave you alone and I will hold on to you for as long and as well as I can. In spite of there being so much grief in our lives, but what a blessing it is when we do not have to live our grief and pain alone. That is the gift of compassion! ” - rather reciprocating the favour of that gift we received from God with the gift of compassion.
Where then is compassion when we kill our loved ones?
We join all sane, sober - minded and people of compassion in condemning, roundly and squarely such dastardly acts of cowardice; as well as also real men in saying; “No to GBVF, Not no in our Name!” We uphold God’s Law as to the sanctity of life, and the Commandment; ‘Thou shall not kill!’; as well as the Constitutional imperative of the Right To Life For All – with women being no exception! We therefore join the clamour of voices that say; “No to Violence, Abuse and Killing of women!.” We abhor such acts and decry same with disdain.
For these and many other reasons, as the people of God in the Diocese of Grahamstown we fully support and in solidarity with the aggrieved enjoin our priests, members of guilds and all worshippers to come out and join the prayer meeting and march in protest against this unheard- of calamity; that adds to the stain blighting our democracy.
We uphold to the grace of God the families connected to the perpetrators; regard being had of the sense of shame such acts bring upon them. As well as that, may the transforming power of the Holy Spirit impact perpetrators and including all those with a predisposition to committing such transgressions; for them to desist therefrom!
In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who heals all diseases and has power and authority over demons and forces of darkness; we command such influences out from the midst of God’s people! We commend to the Almighty all who at this time are in mourning, that they may be comforted.
Our trust is in the Lord , and we have a confident hope that by the power of our God of Infinite Goodness, Him that raised the Lord Jesus from the dead, even this shall pass.To God then be the Glory, the Power, the Splendour and Majesty forever and ever! AMEN!
Grace and Peace
COMMUNIQUE REGARDING ADJUSTED ALERT LEVEL 4 – COVID 19 REGULATIONS
Dear people of God
We greet you all in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We are well, wishing you the same.
We +Ebenezer are ruling in love as follows in order that you are part of the programme in saving lives:-
1. We, the family of the people of God and worshiping community of the Diocese of Grahamstown, have taken note of and acknowledge the announcements made by the President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency the Honourable Cyril Ramaphosa last night, with respect to moving the country to Adjusted Alert Level 4 in accordance with the Disaster Management Act. We also want to add that the Archbishop and Metropolitan of Southern Africa the Most Revd Thabo Makgoba and the Synod of Bishops have also endorsed the fact that we need to consider to adjust our situation during this stage the pandemic.
2. This, on account of the spiralling new infections and the rapidly increasing number of people losing their lives from Covid -19 during the current surge of the Third Wave, where the Gauteng Province is at the epicentre thereof. Coupled with this is the fact that a new strain, called the Delta Strain - over and above the previous Beta strain - is preponderantly the dominant strain driving this current wave in the country. This is a new strain that is known to be highly transmissible from person to person, and thus calling for doubling up of efforts in ensuring the containment thereof as far as is humanly possible
3. To this end, we would like to reinforce our guidance and further implore all to adhere strictly to the preventive measures comprising the Four W’s:
a). Washing hands regularly with soap and water
b). Wearing masks, covering both the nose and mouth whilst in public spaces
c). Watching the social distancing of 1,5 meters apart from the next person in public gatherings including worship services, always
d). Keeping Windows open for cross ventilation where people are assembled in large numbers such as in public gatherings and religious services
4. As will be appreciated, all public gatherings are prohibited during the 14 – day - period from Monday 28th June to July 11th, the exception being only for funerals with a cap at 50 people attending.
Anglican Church of Southern Africa
Diocese of Grahamstown
The Bishop of Grahamstown
The Rt Reverend Ebenezer St Mark Ntlali
5. We, Bishop of the Diocese of Grahamstown therefore direct that contact divine services, parish council and EXCO meetings as well as all other Diocesan Meetings be suspended during this period in compliance with the regulations. These could be conducted virtually.
6. Such Meetings should only be conducted through virtual platforms until such time as the measures imposed have been lifted. This should not then be misconstrued to mean that clerics should be on holiday. Services and offices are to be conducted regularly and shared with your flocks via social media platforms as directed in our last Ad Clerum as these are particularly most needed during this time of being overwhelmed by helplessness and hopelessness!
7. Similarly, the administrative machinery at the parishes should not grind to a halt. The revenue collection streams should be kept alive. Parish Councils, Church Wardens, Pledge Secretaries, Treasurers, Bursars and Guild Executives have to discover creative ways of ensuring that the life of the church is sustained so as to meet recurring monthly commitments.
8. Specifically pertaining to home and or hospital visiting during this Covid -19 era, these are strictly prohibited, quite understandably so. Clerics are advised then rather to administer their pastoral ministrations using technology, such as voice contact or even a combination of both like video whatsapp call. This is intended to ensure protection of both the Cleric and the congregants equally.
9. In this regard we would like to remind all our clerics. and in particular the Archdeacons, to exercise vigilance and oversight with respect to observance of protocols and strict adherence thereto. The Churches under the umbrella of the South African Council of Churches with both the ACSA and our Diocese in concurrence issued COVID – 19 Guidelines pertaining to issues such as Holy Eucharist to be served in one kind and only the Celebrant partaking of the Blood, the handling and conduct of Baptism, as well as ashes on Ash Wednesday and Anointings. Notwithstanding this, there are regrettably witnessed incidence of gross violation of these guidelines. We implore you all to ensure the desisting from these dangerous practices
10. Please be reminded constantly that all forms of contact are prohibited at this level as well as that during the Covid-19 era, sanitizing is paramount where contact may occur, including that where anointing is unavoidable sanitizing using wet wipes in between candidates is mandatory!
11. The Chapter Meeting scheduled for the 08th July, which would have taken place at St Bernard Mizeki, Scenery Park in East London, will now take place through a virtual platform. The Office of the Dean of Grahamstown will be issuing proper guidance in this respect soonest.
12. All what we have guided you with, will be evaluated again after the 14 days and the address of the President. We will communicate what our position would be.
We wish to advise that the office will operate everyday but on skeleton staff during this 14-day period.
Grace and peace
The Bishop of Grahamstown Diocese is encouraging all people over 60 years to vaccinate. He has taken his second jab, it is the last.
We congratulate Mama Anna Mangaliso as she was elected the President of the Diocesan Mothers' Union for the second time.
Lenten message of 2021
Dear people of God, we are grateful to God that irrespective of the challenges of lockdown that were accompanied with sickness and deaths of our loved ones, closure of some businesses and very low turn-over for most businesses that remained in operation, God has miraculously sustained us.
Indeed, the Covid-19 pandemic has created a legacy of its own. We have to learn to co-exist with it until the whole population is vaccinated. And we are indebted to God that a vaccine which we prayed for has been secured. We appeal to you to get the jab but before that, endeavour to adhere to the Covid-19 protocol. We know, it is an inconvenience but let us resolve to protect others by protecting ourselves.
The holy season of Lent is here and we are certain that most of us squeezed time to attend the services of Ash Wednesday and the services that happened after but still in honour of Ash Wednesday.
Our pastoral appeal to us all during this Lent is to keep meditating on the words of Joel 2:1-2, 12-17, Psalm 51:1-17 and Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21.
Joel is inviting us as a Church but more so as individuals to an authentic conversion of heart that seeks God’s constant intervention. Instead of calling upon his listeners to tear their clothes and anoint themselves with ashes, he invited them to tear their hearts so that whatever was ungodly; pride, greed, anger, corruption; the list is endless; examine yourself and let it out. The Lenten call is to turn away from sin and believe the good news; repentance. No wonder, the worshipper of psalm 51 pleaded for a new heart and a renewed spirit. The worshipper condemned his heart and requested a new heart from the Master Cardiologist. Lent is about intentional developing of Christ’s character within each of us. And in Matthew 6:1-2, 16-21, Jesus is showing us a self-heart transplant through payer, fasting and almsgiving.
(i)Prayer shifts our mind to Christ. St Paul insisted; …we Christians actually have within us a portion of the very thoughts and mind of Christ [1 Corinthians 2:16, Living Bible]. Prayer unites us to Christ which enables us to be His agents of healing, compassion and lots more.
(ii) Fasting is self-denial of usual privileges for a time. The body and mind participate in the sufferings of Jesus and the less privileged. Reduction of food or completely going without food for a certain time, helps one to understand the plight of the poor and more so, look for ways that can alleviate suffering. It the ills in society; dependence on material things, worship of power and all that hinders our union with God” [APB page164 #10].
(iii) Almsgiving is charity work that involve spending time and money towards worthy projects and needy individuals. Therefore, money saved through fasting should assist in this area.
Lent, is the season of spiritual renewal that affects the individual in his daily encounters with others. As the Bishop of Grahamstown Diocese, we appeal to you to carry forward the spiritual gains of Lent throughout your life. Get accustomed to prayer, fasting and be compassionate to others. Christ invites us to proclaim Him before people through the good works that evangelise others who join us to praise our Father in heaven [Matthew 5:16]. We call upon you as a diocese in your fast to follow the law of gradualism to become love until you are God’s love (Kaufmann CSsR 2019)
Wash us clean O God almighty and send the Holy Spirit to guide as we follow Jesus Christ throughout this season. Amen
BISHOP OF GRAHAMSTOWN
By: Dean Andrew Hunter
After 13 wonderful and memorable years in this special place and community, Andrew,
Claire Nye Hunter
are relocating to Cape Town. Covid has made a big farewell gathering impossible. So I take this opportunity, and this virtual space, to greet and thank you all.
It has been for me one of the greatest privileges of my life and ministry to serve here as Dean of the
, within the
Diocese of Grahamstown
. We are so glad to have been here in Grahamstown/Makhanda – a good place to be; the centre of the known world, as some of us call it; a place like no other. We leave with very mixed feelings: gratitude for our years here; sadness and tears as we say goodbye to you all; thankfulness for the special place that Grahamstown/Makhanda has become for us, and always will be.
There is so much that I treasure about this place. So many gifts. I treasure and savour this small-town community; the networks that help us along; the relationships, the awareness of one another; our vibrant civil society that keeps our town going; I treasure the culture and music of this place –
Makhanda Kwantu Choir
Pro Carmine Choir
, University Chamber Choir, Saeculum Arium, all so wonderful and rich; I treasure our relationship with
, Vice Chancellor Dr Sizwe Mabizela, students and staff. I treasure our schools,
GADRA Matric School
school and the commitment to education here. I treasure my personal links to
St Andrew's College
, and with the
The Diocesan School for Girls - Senior School
Diocesan School for Girls - Junior
, as special spaces for my daughters, as well as
Kingswood College, South Africa
and the Good Shepherd School with their links to the Cathedral. I treasure our Christian life and witness that we share with our sister churches and our church schools. I treasure the beauty of this place. I treasure the Karoo beetles – those little glimpses of wonder and beauty and giftedness that make this place so special; our tradition of prayer and parties; the gold I see in the calibre of those around me, the treasure in clay pots; the witness to justice that is part of what we are. I treasure the people of this place, each one of you, all whom we have met and count as friends. And the groups and networks, formal and informal, that mean so much: our happy dog-walking community; the
- so ably led by Nicola Brown;
Rotary Club of Grahamstown
and our wonderful
Grahamstown Residents’ Association
as the chair;
Gift of the Givers
National Arts Festival Makhanda
; the Community of the Resurrection of our Lord (the CR Sisters); the Order of the Holy Cross (now based outside Hermanus); the
College of Transfiguration NPC, Grahamstown
I enjoy (!) the donkeys and cows wandering down High Street on a late Saturday afternoon. I treasure the gift of this place, with its quirky, wonderful sense of being. Thank you all for the past 13 years. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
The Seasons of Christmas and Epiphany
Dear People of God
Warm greetings and a wonderful Christmas to our Diocesan Family. God has blessed us with another opportunity – another year to experience the joy of Christmas. This year has unfortunately been such a strange and challenging year with so many deaths of loved ones.
So many people were very sick. We are grateful for those who recovered and also thank God for the wonderful health workers who have been taking care of the sick and dying. Although we are still not out of the woods yet, we continue to trust and hold on to our Shepherd to guide us through. Time continues to move forward and so the liturgical year brought us through Advent to the new season of Christmas which is soon followed by Epiphany.
During the season of Christmas we are reminded of the incarnation of Christ – of the wonderful, mysterious story of baby Jesus being born in simplicity and poverty. During Epiphany the focus of the readings are on the wonderful way in which Christ was “manifested to humankind, to the world and to the entire creation” (Lectionary 2020:15). However, this time around, the covid-19 has turned our lives totally upside-down. We have been confronted with the uncertainty of life and we understand so much more about our vulnerability and the frailty of life. As we celebrate Christmas this year, we listen for the good news about the incarnation for each of us. Richard Rohr a Franciscan monk reflects on the incarnation and writes: Looking at how Mary gave birth to Christ, we see that it’s not something that’s done in an instant. Faith, like biology, also relies on a process that has a number of distinct, organic moments.
What are these moments? What is the process by which we give birth to faith in the world?First, like Mary, we need to get pregnant by the Holy Spirit. We need to let the word take such root in us that it begins to become part of our actual flesh.Then, like any woman who’s pregnant, we have to lovingly gestate, nurture, and protect what is growing inside us until it’s sufficiently strong so that it can live on its own, outside us. . . .Eventually, of course, we must give birth. . . . (Rohr: 2020)Rohr is encouraging us to look at our own lives during this past year and become aware of what God has stirred in our hearts and what took root in us.
What have we been receiving from God, through the Holy Spirit that have been growing in us? Our faith has been challenged in different ways, but hopefully it has been growing and developing. What is the gift we have been receiving and God is calling us to share with the world – with our family and friends, our community? In which way is God calling us to serve? Like Mary, we are called to become aware of God within - nurture and take care of the small voice until God leads us to share that good news with others.
We are called to hold this tension between what is happening on the outside and what is happening on the inside in love. We cannot only focus on the world with its challenges and noises and be unaware of the small, gently voice of God calling us closer every day. Our awareness of Christ needs to grow within so that the light of God can shine through us into the world which so desperately needs light and love and peace.
Advent Pastoral Letter
Dear People of God
Advent Sunday introduces not only the beginning of a new season in the church calendar, but also the beginning of the new liturgical year of the church. At some level it feels good to be able to have a beginning of something new because the year 2020 has been a very challenging year with covid-19 and lockdown. It has been a year with many losses – jobs, opportunities, people, good health and so much more were lost. Therefore the start of Advent is a positive reminder that nothing stays the same and that time moves on. There is an end and a new beginning. It is a hopeful reminder something new is coming…
“Bernard of Clairvaux (d. 1153) summarises the theology of the Season of Advent as the three comings of Christ, past present and future” (Lectionary 2019/2010: 70). Advent is the season we remember the birth of Jesus and the coming of salvation to the earth and we are reminded that Christ will come again and we need to be ready.
During this year, the pandemic brought us all in different ways in contact with our own vulnerabilities. We had and continue to experience loved ones getting sick and even passing-on. These experiences encourages us to look at our own lives and ask ourselves whether we are ready to meet God face-to-face. Looking at one’s own vulnerability is no easy task and could create lots of anxiety and fear. Fear about leaving our loved ones behind and fear about death. The season of Advent encourages us to remember that Christ has come and will come again. Through a process of life, death and resurrection, Christ saved us and offered us the opportunity to experience God’s love for us anew and live lives which are intimately connected to God. This process is a process of transformation. Jesus took some of his disciples with him and allowed them to witness his transformation – his transfiguration (Matthew 17:1–8, Mark 9:2–8, Luke 9:28–36). Rowan Williams (2001:670) explains, “Transfiguration is one of the true and legitimate descriptions of the Gospel entrusted to us and of the Christian life which we are called to be living and leading others in the living of.” When we enter the Church through our baptism, we go through a process of death to live – we leave behind our old life and start a new life with Christ. We are reminded in scripture, “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” (2Corinthians 5:17). This is what we read in scripture and what we hear in sermons and what we know by heart. However, the pandemic has challenged us to check how much of this a reality in our lives is. Do we live like people who are “new creations” in Christ and therefore we do not live in fear but in hope?
This Advent we are all called to spend time with God in silent waiting and allow God’s Spirit to whisper in our hearts. In order to be able to hear God, we need to stop being anxious and worried and stop running around. We need to stop. Become aware of God – the light of the world. God’s interaction with us is gentle and soft. God does not force or aggressively proof a point. God is love. God is light. John O’ Dononhue reminds us that “light is generous and gentle”. into the darkness May we use Advent to be more aware of the gentle presence of Christ in us anew.
Please take note of the following important dates and diarize them:-
Thursday, 15 October 2020 Chrism Eucharist (renewal if vows) at Bernard Mizeki, Scenery Park for priests and deacons. Starting time 10h00;
Sunday, 22nd November 2020 Diocesan Family Day (somewhere in East London West). Precise venue, more detail about targets and time to be announced in due course.
Wednesday 16th December Ordinations to the Priesthood at the Grahamstown Cathedral. More details will follow closer to the time
The beloved Archbishop Desmond Tutu celebrates his 89th birthday today. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate and anti-apartheid activist has dedicated his life to making South Africa a better place for all, and we look back on his incredible journey.
Tutu was born in 1931 in Klerksdorp, Transvaal. He was a high school teacher for three years before he began studying theology. He became an ordained priest in 1960, and spent the next few years in England working on his Masters in Theology.
In 1975, he became the first ever black person to be appointed as Dean of St Mary’s Cathedral in Johannesburg. He was also Bishop of Lesotho, and in 1978 became the first black General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches. Tutu acted as Bishop of Cape Town from 1986-1996, becoming the first black person to lead the Anglican Church of the Province of Southern Africa.
In 1984 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his untiring effort in calling for an end to white minority rule in South Africa. He became the second black South African to be listed under Nobel Laureates after Albert Luthuli.
He retired from the Church in 1996 to focus solely on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), and was later named Archbishop Emeritus. On his last address as the Archbishop of the Province of Southern Africa, he was awarded with The Order for Meritorious Service (Gold) for his outstanding service to the country.
While bestowing the award, then President Nelson Mandela said: “He is renowned for selfless commitment to the poor, the oppressed and downtrodden. With his colleagues he remained an effective voice of the people of South Africa when so many of their leaders were imprisoned, exiled, banned and restricted.”
Since Apartheid’s fall, the Arch Emeritus Tutu has campaigned for gay rights and spoken out on a wide range of subjects, among them the Israel-Palestine conflict and his opposition to the Iraq War.
His historic accomplishments and his continuing efforts to promote peace in the world were formally recognised by the United States in 2009, when President Barack Obama named him to receive the nation’s highest civilian honour, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
He now lives in Cape Town with his wife Leah, and together they run the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation.
INVITATION TO CHURCH WARDENS-ZOOM MEETING 2020-08-11
Pentecost greeting in the name of our saviour Jesus Christ.
We are well, wishing you the same. We are all in lockdown situation and live in, it is unfortunately that it has been disruptive in more than one way to the life of the Church; such that meetings and therefore communication in fellowship as is customary in the Church has been adversely affected.
For us in the Diocese, the Month of August is not just only the Month of compassion and Women’s Month, but also for Family Fellowship, where we congregate at Diocesan Family day. Covid-19 has robbed us of that opportunity this year! In spite of all such adversity we will not be distracted, nor the wind taken out of our sails! As soldiers in the army of Christ we soldier on!
To this end we call on all Church wardens in our Parishes across the Diocese to please avail themselves for am update and strategic meeting for the Diocesan Family Day Collection Co-ordination.
This will be by a zoom meeting that will take place on Tuesday the 11th August at 17h00. Here is the Meeting ID: 790 9321 9879 Passcode: 3tBFM8. May God enable you to participate creatively in your meeting, wishing you God’s Grace as we are partners in God’s Mission. If you are unable to connect please contact Revd Dr. Beja (Chair of the Fundraising Committee)
On 084 657 6193 or Revd Canon Dr Beja (Chair of Diocesan Family Day) on 083378 1113.
Grace and Peace
DRAFT PRESS STATEMENT
The Anglican Diocese of Grahamstown, through the Bishop of the Diocese, the Rt Rev Ebenezer Ntlali, would like to register abhorrence at the escalation of incidents of inhumane acts of manslaughter. Such acts have been manifest in the senseless snuffing of life, particularly women and girl children -with the toll of these incidents taking a sudden surge with the easing of Lockdown during Level 3; as well as the targeting of the white farming community, particularly in the Province of the Eastern Cape.
The abuse of alcohol has been singled out as a contributory factor in these gruesome and horrendous acts of Domestic and Gender Based Violence perpetrated against women. The President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, has correctly characterised this as a second pandemic; given the proportions to which this detestable human conduct has attained. This statement accrues from a recent Zoom meeting of the Cathedral Chapter made up of the Dean, all Archdeacons and Canons of the Diocese.
The Bishop ventilated his vehement abhorrence towards this and by the Diocese, as well as on other matters of concern confronting the people of God in these turbulent and trying times. Paramount amongst such is the havoc and devastation brought on by the COVID 19 pandemic on the lives of ordinary people as well as the economy of the country. The predictions pertaining to the escalation of joblessness and unemployment amongst people of a Province that is amongst the poorest in the country is devastating to say the least.
The Diocese of Grahamstown and its constituent worshiping community subscribes to the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ; namely, that of Love of God and Love of neighbour, which constitutes the foundational tenets of the Christian Faith; as well as the Commandment on the sanctity of Life. We also take seriously the injunction to be our brother’s keepers. To this end the Diocese reiterates its stand against all forms of violation of the right to life for all by all! We therefore decry all forms violence and invasion that constitutes a threat to the preservation of life for all God’s people! We add our voice to the clamour calling for taking individual responsibility for doing the right thing right, the first time and all the time. The trend that is being established in the country where the life of the next person appears to be of no value needs to be nipped in the bud. The Killing of Women and Farmers must cease and desist!
For our part as the Body of Christ and His ambassadors on earth, we will continue our militant mission in proclaiming the Good News of Eternal Salvation for the transformation of humankind and join forces with all engaged in the battle eradicate such scourges from within the ranks of society
ISSUED BY THE BISHOP OF GRAHAMSTOWN – The RT REV EBENEZER NTLALI THIS 25th DAY IN JUNE 2020
Please download the Bishop's Letter about the Coronavirus (CONVID-19)
OFFICE OF THE BISHOP OF DIOCESE OF GRAHAMSTOWN IN CHAPTER: GUIDELINES FOR MANAGEMENT OF CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)
The whole world is on alert as we face the outbreak of the coronavirus and, therefore we, together with Chapter, have met on Wednesday, 18 March 2020, to prayerfully seek God’s guidance. As Christians we trust God and continue to pray for an end to the spread of this virus. Let us use the rest of the Lenten season as a time of fasting and prayer - praying for God’s mercy and guidance and a special awareness of God’s presence. If we are not able to fast throughout, we ask that Fridays at least be kept as a day of fasting and prayer. The South African Government has announced preventive measures through the statement of Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, our President. Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, the Metropolitan of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa has also responded with some general suggestions for our services, worship and pastoral care. Please read these and make yourselves aware of the content. However, our contexts are different, and it is therefore important for the Diocese of Grahamstown to reflect on our practices in consultation with measures and suggestions already shared in our communities. God has blessed us with the ability to think and understand and blessed us with science in order to be wise and find methods to protect ourselves. As the Body of Christ we therefore work together with the wider world in taking care of ourselves and listen to what the scientists and health workers tell us about Covid-19. We work together to protect especially the vulnerable – our elderly, our young children, those who are not well and the poor. We are called to do everything in our power to minimise the spread of the virus. The following are some guidelines to assist us in taking better care of ourselves: General 1. It is important to follow our rules on personal hygiene (e.g. regularly wash hands, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and throw the tissue in a closed bin). 2. We encourage parishioners who are not feeling 100%, to stay at home and recover. 3. When showing signs of flu, rather have it checked by a doctor. Make sure you have the hotline 0800 29999 handy. Clergy and all in leadership positions We need to stay informed with the latest information in order to check the validity of information that is shared through social media. Fake news often causes more anxiety. It is also important to keep the parishioners informed of the latest information. Anglican Church of Southern Africa Diocese of Grahamstown The Bishop of Grahamstown The Rt Reverend Ebenezer St Mark Ntlali 2 We need to find our strength in God and allow the peace of God, which passes all understanding, to guide us and keep us grounded. The parishioners look to us for guidance. Diocesan Conferences and Gatherings Due to the 100 people rule, all conferences planned until the end of April be cancelled or postponed until a later date. Alternatively, gatherings or meetings planned at Diocesan level e.g. the Diocesan MU Lady Day, should rather be celebrated at parish levels where groups of people will be smaller. Services, especially Sunday Services 1. As we journey through Lent towards Easter and with the outbreak of the coronavirus, people are looking for ways to be encouraged and supported. Services are especially important at this time. Services will continue. 2. If we hand out books during the service, disinfection measures should be used. Where numbers might be more than 100 people, we suggest that more – and smaller - services (with less than 100 people) for the day, or for the week, be implemented. 3. Rectors need to be creative in finding ways to minister to our people without having situations which could encourage infections. 4. During all services, alcohol-based sanitisers need to be available at the entrance/ in the foyer of the church building for people to clean their hands before they enter the rest of the building. 5. Where only water is available, a mixture of water and Jik can be used, poured over the hands of people outside the church building, with disposable paper towels used to dry. 6. We encourage all people to avoid physical contact as much as possible. (e.g. wave to greet, no touching during blessings) 7. During the sharing of the Peace, rather avoid contact and find creative ways to make contact with others without physically shaking hands (e.g. waving). 8. There needs to be sanitiser available at the sanctuary, so people are able to clean their hands after touching public objects and surfaces used by different people (e.g. altar rail, lectern) 9. During Communion: Stand to receive rather than kneel. Using communion in one kind only, is the safest option and is recommended. Intinction by the priest (if chosen to do) needs to be done with the utmost care. Accidents can happen easily. Funerals As we minister to bereaved families, we need to encourage people to look at alternative ways and divide the services in order to create opportunities for more people to attend in small groups. E.g. a memorial services, a requiem mass and then the funeral service with burial. Weddings Reduce the number of people who attend services 3 = 2 = Baptisms If possible rather postpone the baptism. When baptising, allow the parents to hold the child themselves or if an adult, s/he should stand close to the font without touching anyone. Do not pour water over the person into the font and then use the same water for the next person. Rather, use a sterilised container to scoop the blessed water from the font and pour it over the person away from the font. Have a separate container to catch the water poured over the person being baptised. Pastoral Visits It is important that people feel supported and we find ways to connect with our parishioners. Isolation is difficult for most of us. All people involved in pastoral care need to take all precautions in personal hygiene before and after pastoral visits in hospitals and homes of parishioners. If people are not able to attend services, or if places of worship are closed Let us use creative ways to connect with parishioners, e.g. video clips, live streaming, and social media. We continue to trust God and hold on to our Shepherd. Jesus was not afraid to do things in a different way. May we be more aware of God’s love calling us to new ways of meeting God and “doing church”.
Grace and peace BISHOP OF GRAHAMSTOWN