“Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4)
By Revd Albert Chaoana.
This part of the Diocesan Theme was brought to life by The Rt. Revd. Allan John Kannemeyer – the Bishop of Pretoria on the 28 August 2016 at the Rustenburg Cultural Centre in his sermon during the Western Region of the Diocese Family Day celebration. The Western Region is made up of two archdeaconries – Madibeng under the Venerable Alan O’Brien and Rustenburg under the Venerable Joseph Dhladhla, who is also the Rural Dean.
Bishop Allan blessed the occasion by his presence as both the preacher and the celebrant of the day. In his sermon, the Bishop brought to life the diocesan theme by relating it to his experience with the life of fishermen from his home town Mossel Bay, where he has learned that the work of a fishermen does not end by putting out the nets for a catch; but with the sorting out the fish after the catch. “The unwanted fish are thrown back into the sea, only the wanted ones are kept” said the Bishop; accordingly, those in attendance might resemble both the caught and the selected fish which are kept for greater things to come.
Challenging the region on its readiness to becoming a diocese he asked “Are you ready?”, and the overwhelming response of the endless “Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes….!!” was echoed through the walls and the corridors of the Centre as if it was a long awaited challenge.
The family spirit was not only felt during the service – the sharing of food and entertainment activities brought in the spirit of oneness and unity. The Rustenburg Cultural Centre was so conducive that swimmers could not wait for a green light from anywhere but threw themselves into the swimming pool in response to the scourging sun of Rustenburg.
The clergy and their spouses felt extra ordinarily blessed while sharing their meals, stories and jokes with both the Bishop and his wife, Mrs Connie Kannemeyer. Suffice to indicate that the Western Region is more than ready “to grow as a Christ-Centred Church so that each parish can support a rector and become a forming Centre of spirituality.”
A BIBLICALLY WORTHY WOMAN
By Khumo Modutla addressing the Parish of St Paul, Saulsville during Woman’s Day Celebrations
“She opens her mouth with wisdom and on her tongue is the law of kindness”
In 1956 women marched to the Union Buildings, all in an effort to fight for women’s liberation. Their efforts were not in vain. Today women occupy key positions at work, own businesses and houses, have permanent jobs, walk freely in the streets and free of all bondage.
Today we are calling ourselves liberated women. But do we have testimonies that attest to us being liberated?
Our life picture is that of a cracked landscape.
I am confronted by an imagery of a crack that swallows our nation, the crack that swallows our society, our community and worst of all, the crack that swallows our children. This crack is a representation of the social ills. We are confronted on a daily basis with the disastrous impact of substance abuse, poverty, child headed families, child trafficking, child abuse and neglect, unemployment, children who live in the streets, corruption, immorality etc.
What are we doing about this reality?
Are we the kinds of women who sleep well at night knowing that there is a child somewhere who sleeps in the streets because there is no place to be called home, or a child who goes to bed on an empty stomach because there is no one to feed her/him?
Women of worth are the only ones who can rise up to the above challenges, because they are selfless. Their target is to mend the crack that is so violently growing and covering the whole landscape.
My wish is that we as women could also come together with a common goal: to mend our cracked landscape. If we can extend our hands and give this landscape a womanly touch, surely we will have a story to tell. We will also have a legacy that we will pride ourselves on.
We need to strife to become worthy women of God to reach the finishing line. There are two categories of worthy women: the socially worthy women and the biblically worthy women.
A socially worthy woman: Mends the social cracks at all costs and against all odds; takes care of the social ills even if she is not directly affected; is content with what she has; serves as a stepping stone for others’ successes; appreciates and takes pride and delight in other women’s successes; steps in to rescue others without expecting any rewards or praises; her standards are better than her own; takes criticisms positively and uses them to better her standards; criticises others constructively; is patient and she does things diligently without cutting corners; and has a vision.
A biblically worthy woman: Is set apart especially for God’s purpose; her light shines and beams; is filled with grace and love; is filled with blessings from above; is crowned with the Lord’s beauty, the beauty that cannot be bought; her beauty is unfading; glorifies God with her beauty; is worth far much than gold; her words are filled with wisdom; does not rely on the wealth of this world; knows that the world is not her home so she plans for eternity; she knows that serving Christ is of great value; and is a steward of God’s creation.
Remember “Charm is deceptive, beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Proverbs 31: 30).
Let us go beyond the beauty of our skins and faces, let us take our rightful positions and do what is right by the Lord. Let us take care of God’s creation: in that way, we would have
proven that we are worthy women of God. I am also reminded of worthy women who proclaimed the gospel, who took care of the poor, who saved lives, who were faithful believers, who were true servants of the Lord and women whose love was practical and unconditional. Women such as Mary – Mother of Jesus, Ruth the Moabite, Queen Esther, Priscilla wife of Aquilla, Elizabeth – John the Baptist’s mother, Mary Magdeline, Abigail, Naom and Deborah.
This is the time when we should do an introspection, reflect deeply and evaluate our own contributions. All these biblical women contributed significantly in keeping the social landscape intact.
Khumo Modutla on the left and Morongoa Bangu
during Women’s Day celebrations
at St Paul’s Parish, Saulsville
A worthy woman of God is also described in Matthew 5:13 – 16: 13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
REPORT ON THE BIENNIAL CONSULTATION ON URBAN MINISTRY WITH THEME: #WE MUST RISE: HEALERS-DREAMERS-JESTERS, WHICH TOOK PLACE ON 17 — 20 AUGUST 2016 AT ST ALBAN’S CATHEDRAL
By Fr Jonathan Londt
The Consultation had a thought provoking opening with young people of all walks of life, tolling their life stories which echoed through the Cathedral of St Alban. The sub-theme was ’Wounded but Healing’, which made me realize that; ’we are a nation in need of healing‘. The questions one would ask, is the Church or Society ‘going to listen to their stories, what is to be done for them, will the church become agents of healing for a wounded nation?’
Lovely Nwadeyi, a student leader, #FeesMustFall, at the University of Stellenbosch, uttered her dismay at the Consultation, that churches/priests are out of touch with the reality of the ongoing protests at Universities and that they were not proclaiming from the pulpits how the church could get involved in the lives of the students.
Above, enthusiastic children at a crèche in ‘Alaska’, a Mamelodi informal settlement
We heard from young people horrendous stories of sexual abuse, violence, forced prostitution and abandonment from home and society. These young people were deeply scarred by those whom they trusted and loved. There were those in their daily lives, who were faced with many challenges, such as social evil, gang violence, drugs, rape, unemployment, homelessness, hopelessness and poverty. Gangsterism was still rife in the townships. Human life has become cheap. Those in the townships have no protection from crime. Young people felt they had no support base at home from parents.
Young people encouraged us that others should stay positive, ‘do not let circumstances define you’, ’God has a plan’, ‘it is what you do about life’, ‘inspire others to rise’, ’I believe that I can and will make it’ and ‘we all have to make choices’. There is ongoing healing taking place in their lives and they have turned their lives around with the assistance of others and institutions.
Bishop Allan’s story in his address to delegates was to go to ‘the other side’ and have an encounter with those who are being marginalised. Delegates were transported as pilgrims to sites such as Mamelodi, Diepsloot, Marabastad, Salvokop, Contested Spaces, Shoshanguve, Hammanskraal, Nellmapius, Moreletapark, Olievenhoutbosch and Echo Youth Developtment.
Fr. Mariri and I went on a pilgrimage to ’Alaska’, a Mamelodi informal settlement. When we arrived there we had conversations and consultations with a support group Vie, who assisted women and children who have experienced sexual abuse. They were passionate about their job and had the community on their hearts. On the site was a créche with enthusiastic and happy children. These volunteers were young people who have turned their situations and the communities around. Pilgrims had a first-hand experience of the daily activities of these young people.
Picture on left, Fr. Meshack Mariri on a pilgrimage to ’Alaska’, a Mamelodi informal
Settlement where together with Fr Jonathan Londt, in a jacket on right picture,
visited a safety home for abused children and women
The walk-about in the community was an eye-opener where people built their own infrastructure such as electricity, electricity poles, underground water pipes, gardens and homes. All they lacked was economic and financial assistance from the authorities.
Participants were encouraged to ’rise with courage’ in their different contexts. How do we now engage possibility in our context? The Consultation was thought provoking and delegates were faced with many challenges in their communities and how to ’see’ these challenges differently. Networking with NPOs was important, so that projects are not duplicated. We all came to realize that we need to rise above our circumstances.