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Rectors Desk 19 June 2021

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and His Son Jesus Christ.

Therefore, I urge you in the love of Christ to commit yourselves to the work of disciples of Jesus Christ. Sow hope, peace and joy into the lives of those around you, as your wear your masks, sanitise your hands and keep social distance. Avoid crowded places (of which church is not one, our numbers are well below 50 and I encourage you to attend services); and get vaccinated. This will be counted as righteousness, by the Lord and His people.

My dear friends I thank God for you and for your commitment to the Gospel. To all who are diligently paying their tithes, at great sacrifice, I thank you. Our Diocese is struggling under the strain of the Pandemic and the massive loss of income of our members, many of whom have lost their jobs or are on reduced incomes.

I ask you to remain fervent in prayer as we approach the Electoral College of the Synod of Bishops which is to be held on the 9th of July. At this meeting, a Bishop will be appointed for the Diocese of Natal. This new Bishop will have two immediate challenges: 1) the sustainability crisis (the Diocesan contribution from parishes is not big enough to cover the Stipends of the Priests) and 2) the Multiplication of the Diocese. This means leading a process of discussing the option to split into two or three smaller more manageable Diocese’s. This is quite an emotionally charged conversation, but it is necessary to consider reorganising ourselves to be more effective in our mission for the Kingdom. The Diocese of Natal is too big and too complex an organisation to have the flexibility to deal with the challenges of the modern world, there is simply no way that one person can deal with the volume of decisions that have to be made.  The Archbishop has called us to be Mission minded as we approach this and ask ourselves “how we can do better in reaching out to a broken world.” I look forward to robust conversation around this issue and your input will be most appreciated.

Please keep an eye on the notices and respond to the opportunities coming up to deepen our relationship with God. The threat of the third wave continues to impact on activities and once the July holidays are over and we have as a province (KZN)  self- isolated for 10 days after the influx of visitors has subsided, I think that calm will be restored. Remember that we have a vibrant online ministry, to support your spiritual journey.

Call to Lay Ministry – I am appealing to you to carefully and prayerfully consider the need for Lay Minsters in the Church of God. Perhaps you have had a spiritual awakening during the Lockdown and wonder what you can do for God – why not consider exploring your ministry? A Parish needs a number of ministries to be functional in order for the Parish to accomplish its mission. Some of these are online – some telephone ministry – some sacramental, some pastoral. What is God calling you to?

Be assured of my love and prayers.

Fr Andrew.

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