A year ago today, we went into hard Lockdown. I’d encourage you to spend a few moments reflecting on that. How God has been faithful, how you have faced those challenges, dealt with the losses, given thanks for the wins, and how you have adjusted “Pivoted” is the word the world is using – your life has changed more in the last year than you have been able to assimilate and some things still need to be adjusted to. Make sure you spend some time managing your revised expectations and reordering that which you can control.
The uncertainty and rapid rate of change make community life complex, the usual mechanisms that we use to address issues and manage our corporate life have been disrupted.
Priorities were forced to change dramatically because our physical ability to do things and the demand to do things differently has an impact on what we need to do daily. I have tried to keep things as interactive and in the present as possible, opting for interactive as opposed to recorded services, keeping a sense of presence as much as possible. This naturally has had mixed success, but I do hope that we can build on that going forward.
There is great uncertainty over what will happen in the next few weeks around the Regulations on COVID 19 and too much speculation. We need to take it one day at a time and deal with things as they unfold. It is not business as usual, and we need to be patient and forgiving and make compromises for the greater good.
I need to share with you that in my efforts to support and grow the ministry of the church I have been drawn into a lot over the last year and I am having to reorganize my life a great deal. My life and ministry has changed dramatically during this period. Moving to an online ministry has been and continues to be a challenge and creating daily content has been a pleasure but a big undertaking. I am grateful to Vanda for her huge input in this regard.
I am the proposer of Revd. Sithembiso Ntshangase to the Elective Assembly where we will elect our new Bishop, which should have been completed last year already and is still dragging on with the new dates being 17 and 18 May and there are many threats that we are facing with the 3rd wave and the need to do Elective Assembly differently.
My Environmental ministry has not just been in the community but in the church and I was able to achieve greater integration with the provincial Environmental Network and was blessed with Provincial and all Africa interactions. The Diocese of Natal Creation Care Network has developed and done some good work and we have a major campaign planned for 2021. Being appointed to the Theological Education and Training Committee as a facilitator for Education “for and in the world” is part of that and has also opened some doors to rekindle my work with the Diaconate.
I am part of the team that designed our Restructuring model (Cluster Parishes) and as such agreed to assist Scottburgh/Pennington in their transition and was just getting going when I was appointed as Senior Priest of eThekwini South Archdeaconry, and this has dramatically affected my ministry. And we will be entering conversations around restructuring the Archdeaconry, the elective assembly will have a big bearing on this as three candidates for Bishop come from our Archdeaconry (2 for Natal and 1 for Zululand).
I ask for your continued prayers as we restructure ourselves to address our Diocesan sustainability challenges. Central to this is the reduction in Stipendiary clergy which puts enormous pressure on the remaining Clergy. As you know I will be acting Priest in Charge of Wentworth for the moment as we work through these issues, and there are challenges in all 12 Parishes that require attention. I am grateful to Revd Peta May and Bishop Monument, who are assisting in such a big way in the parish.
I share this because it does affect us all, and I need your support as we move forward into the busiest week of the Church calendar, with that as a backdrop trying to focus on our Spiritual journey through Passion week and as a Church continue to be Kingdom builders, ambassadors of reconciliation, with Christ and in Christ and Through Christ, bringing salvation to the world.
We need to be aware of the bigger picture here and be willing to make sacrifices for the common good.
My prayer for you is that you will enter into Passion Week and allow the Holy Spirit to move you and teach you and mature you in your faith. May you progress from being like the wilted Crosses that we burnt on Ash Wednesday, into a rejuvenated and refocused proclaimer of Jesus the King. It is a hard journey to Calvary and the Resurrection, but in each step that you take may you grow closer to our Saviour.
Love and peace