God's timing is always right. It was so for me
when retirement was imminent and I felt a call to serve in the
church. Leaving the well loved familiar path and contemp-lating the
way ahead had brought uncertainty and apprehension.
Then I heard Esther de Waal speak on her book
"Seeking God" (the way of St Benedict). As I listened I
found my heart both challenged and encouraged by the thinking
underlying St Benedict's vows of stability, openness and obedience.
Here it seemed was a path I could take when the way ahead seemed
unsure and daunting. Not to become dependent on a set of rules, but
to be guided into recognising the moment's need and respond.
For St Benedict stability meant the need not to
run away: that instinc-tive response of flight when I find myself in
difficult or unpleasant circumstances. I may not run physically, but
the temptation is to escape into unreality, to wish it away with the
"If only" syndrome or some other means. Into this
situation, St Benedict says, "Stand fast!" When
circumstances of life cannot be altered then our freedom lies in
accepting them as our way to God and to face reality with Him.
More important than stability of circumstance is
that of our hearts: the need not to run away to look for God
somewhere else. Christ Jesus tells us that He and the Father make
Their home within us. If I don't find Him here within me, I will not
find Him elsewhere.
While stability asks me to stand fast and face
life, it never means being static or rigid. St Benedict gives the
counterpoise, openness to change, to be always moving on, to grow.
Change in all of life is inevitable. All creation and our own bodies
reflect that pattern. God's Word teaches the recurring theme of death
and new life. The way no longer seemed dark but a joyful entering
into the new.
And obedience? The first word of the Rule is
"Listen" - a faithful, sensitive listening to God's Word,
to those about us, and to ourselves, and to act on what we hear. That
is the most difficult part. But obedience is also about love - my
"Yes" to the infinite love of God.
Stability, openness to change and obedience is
what God offered me as my guide, not only to answer the need for the
moment but for all life. All rest on the steadfast love of God who is
in control of every circumstance and every change. Our trust is in
Him who called us in the beginning and who will sustain and support
us to the end.
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There has been a lot of controversy about
homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people who have
recently been allowed to marry and attended churches.
The Bible does not look favourably on same-sex
unions. The Bible actually teaches that homosexuality is a sin. I am
not saying that gay people should be banned from church; instead they
should be encouraged to attend. Only by being in church and being
loved by Christians, will they realise their sin and so reach salvation.
The church has never favoured homosexuality and
same-sex unions. In the last century homosexuals, whose sexual
orientation was made public, were arrested and sometimes banned.
Oscar Wilde, a well-known English writer in the
19th century was arrested, exiled and later died in disgrace after
his affair with an English lord was made public. Today, singer George
Michael is famous for his encounter with a male prostitute in a
public toilet. Has morality taken such a turn for the worse in the
last hundred years?
Today gay partners are getting married and
adopting children. Is it fair allowing a child to grow up with gay
parents? Allowing a child to grow up in the ridicule of others,
despite how loving its parents are, could never be. God did not want
same-sex unions, which is why a man cannot reproduce without a woman,
and reproduction has to take place for the survival of the human race.
I would like to thank Bishop Eric for his support
in prayer and visitation as well as requesting support in prayer from
fellow clergy and parishes. These events have served to confirm my
belief in the power of prayer. Each person combining in prayer has
assisted in my recovery. I cannot stop thanking each of you as you
supported me in my illness. The situation in which I found myself
reiterated the fact that we serve a loving God. Through His love I
was able to develop the strength to make it through a difficult time.
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The Women's Theology Group in Umtata has released
10 very good booklets each costing only R5. Nine of them are also
available in Xhosa.
Women, the Bible and the contemporary church - an
introduction to women's theology.
- Matriarch, Judge, Foreigner and Liberator -
Four women of the Old Testament
- The other disciples of Jesus - Women in the
- Towards a theology of sexuality - pregnancy,
abortion and contraceptive, rape and battering.
- God, our loving parent - Bible studies on AIDS
- When two become one - Bible studies on marriage
- When two become more - Bible studies on parenting
- When one is alone - Bible studies on
singleness (not yet available in Xhosa)
- When two part ways - Bible studies on
separation and divorce
- When one grows old - Bible studies on ageing
Send order to: Co-ordinator, Women's Theology
Group, P O Box 550, Umtata, 5099.
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What's the purpose?
Palesa Mbele attended the Diocesan Youth
Leadership training camp and reports back.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge
Him and He will direct your paths" Prov 3:5-6
The second youth leadership training camp hosted
by Youth For Christ (YFC) was once again held at Landela Farm. The
question that we, the potential youth leaders had to ponder was:
"Why does our ministry exist, and what is the purpose?" We
were taught that youth groups are not about numbers, but about
purpose. The five Biblical purposes that a youth group should be
centred around are: worship, ministry, evangelism, fellowship and
discipleship. The next step was for each church group to prepare
their own youth purpose statement and this gave us an idea of why our
Of course, what is an effective youth group
without an effectively planned youth group programme? In groups we
had to plan and present our own programmes in front of all the
leaders and fellow campers.
The whole weekend helped me realise that a youth
group functions on team work. The camp was not all work. There was
time for relaxation and friendship were relit and fellowship shared.
Thank you once again YFC for a wonderful camp.
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Iindaba prints an edited version of the
PEChurchnet Youthforce report by Ashleigh Henderson on the Soul
Survivor Conference which was held from 27 to 30 March.
So there I find myself, this near 22 year old, at
a youth conference and the first thing that enters my mind is,
What am I doing here? Im too old for this. Then I
remembered that Mike Pilavachi, the pastor at Soul Survivor, is
virtually double my age and so I felt more relaxed.
Port Elizabeth was the third and final leg of
Soul Survivors tour to South Africa, which was really cool
because the best is always saved for last.
Worship was lead by Matt Redman and team. The
really amazing part about worship is taking a few moments to think
about what you are singing. I mean, what on earth does Nana
nana nana hey mean? No seriously, we are singing such beautiful
songs to a really awesome God and sometimes we dont actually
realise what we are saying because we are too busy having fun.
Then of course there were the High Fibre evening
celebrations where God moved sovereignly amongst His people. It is
just so amazing to know that God wants to heal people, set them free
and equip them to do works for Him. Every message that was brought
was so relevant and I just thank the speakers for being so obedient
to what the Lord was saying.
The theme for this years conference was,
For the audience of one. In other words, its all
about God. Mike, with some help from Matt, led a seminar with the
same title which was very interesting. It was basically aimed at
worship leaders, but although I'm not a worship leader, I learnt a
lot from it.
There were also various work-shops which people
could attend. The ones I attended were very interesting and very
challenging and from what Ive heard of the other workshops,
they were also very good.
Later each evening there were bands doing gigs.
They were: The Benjamin Gate; Eminent Child and Tree. So that was
that and Soul Survivor came to an end.
My advice to everyone is that you come next year
and experience Soul Survivors for yourself!!!
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A time of encouragement
During May Shaun Gouws of PE Church Net
attended a meeting by Michael Cassidy and reports.
My wife, Diana, and I were privileged and blessed
to be part os a large gathering of ministers, pastors and ssorted
Christian workers on Thursday 18 May at Walmer Methodist Church. Dr
Michael Cassidy, the Founder of African Enterprise, shared on our
place as Christians in a post- modern society - why the world thinks
and acts the way it does and what we need to be doing to impact it
with the Gospel message. We went away challenged, with much food for thought.
Dr Cassidys keynote passage was John 17:8 As
You have sent Me into the world, even so I have sent them into the world.
- the words as/so. In a world suffering from information
overload, we need to go beyond the mere facts of the Gospel
message in a vivid demonstration of Gods love to those around
us, and by showing them that Christianity really works! He drew our
attention to the way this is modelled in Jesus own ministry -
He was a great story teller. And ultimately history is His Story.
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