The Lord the God of Hosts, the Lord is His name! But as for you, return to your God, hold fast to love and justice and wait continually for your God. (Hosea 12:5 &6)
We have received communication from the Archbishop, stating that Bishop Dino’s resignation (ito Canon 14) has been accepted and that he will complete his term (until the end of the year) on sabbatical and that he will not be doing any ministry in that time. The Archbishop expressed that he was heartbroken over this development and its implications for the Diocese and assures us of his and the Synod of Bishop’s support during this time.
It is indeed a moment where we need to seriously pray for our church and a reordering of ourselves. I have expressed this before and without belaboring the point remind you that when we read scripture, we are presented with the situation and an outcome, but we do not have to endure the reality of the situation ourselves, but when we read scripture, we find that our history is no stranger to challenges and upheaval and changes in leadership and indeed in changes in direction. The difference is that in life we have to live the between the lines bits, those hard bits. But just as in scripture they had battles to fight, so do we. St Paul writes extensively of the suffering that he endured and that he endured it for the sake of Jesus who suffered for us. We must not lose heart but give ourselves fully to the work entrusted to us.
As the Archbishop stated. ” In summary, his (Dino’s) resignation was precipitated by the consequences of pressures on Diocesan finances. Those pressures do not involve any financial wrongdoing, but rather are the result of an ambitious growth protectory which could not be sustained.”
A polite way of saying that we the Diocese failed, and the Bishop took the blame.
It would be prudent to state at this point that we are a strong organization, that has endured many things and that at this point we need to get back to basics and follow the correct procedures to see us through this interregnum. A Vicar General will be appointed to facilitate the Diocesan governance processes including Synod and the Elective Assembly (ito Canon 4), which will be called when the Archbishop decides to do so. (see the website for the Canons if you wish to know more).
Bishop Tsietsi will be moving to the Diocese of Umzimvubu, and so we will need to discuss the election of a new Suffragan Bishop as well.
And so, as you see, we have work to do. It is critical that you as parishioners understand that we are not like Woolworth’s where the workings of the Senior management are not our concern. The Bishop is both our elected leader and presides over the governance of the church and every confirmed member has a leadership responsibility. We need to acknowledge that we as Parishes need to show stronger leadership in our communities and in the Diocese. This is the time when we really need to step up and do what is ours to do, to strengthen the Church as God’s chosen vessel to proclaim his love for the world.
I will be spending the next week away and when I return I will have a process for us to follow to address the issues that I see before us. But I “beseech thee” pray for our church, pray for our Bishops, pray for our Vicar General, pray for the Chapter and the Synod Advisory Committee and the Elective Assembly Advisory Committee. Pray for the individual who God will raise up to be our next Bishop, pray for our Parishes and the Rectors of our Diocese that we will return to the Lord our God and atone for our wrongdoings in the governance of our Church and for how we have failed not only Dino, but God.
Pray for Dino and Elizabeth who have faithfully served God and have been failed by us, brothers and sisters in Christ. Lord in your mercy forgive us!
Having said this, I am exceptionally confident in our future. I believe in the Church, I believe in us! But most of all; I believe in God who has called us and who is faithful!
Be assured of my Prayers.