Thursday, September 28, 2006

October 2006

Dear Friends

A (Compass) Rose by any other Name …

We are now officially “The Anglican Church of Southern Africa” (ACSA). This historic decision was ratified at a meeting of Provincial Synod held in early September. Gone into history is the more confusing name by which we have been known for close on 200 years: “The Church of the Province of Southern Africa” (CPSA). We remain closely aligned with the worldwide Anglican Communion, and committed to seeking unity within this diverse global community.

New rules for Election

At the same Provincial Synod meeting, further decisions of historic significance were passed in regard to the election of the Archbishop of Cape Town. Significantly, the electoral base of the wider Anglican Church in Southern Africa in the election of the Archbishop is dramatically increased, removing the control that the Diocese of Cape Town has previously had in the elective process (the recent division of the Diocese of Cape Town into three separate Diocese has also had an impact). The new rules recognise the increased ambassadorial role of the Archbishop, and allow the Suffragan Bishop of Cape Town greater powers of responsibility in helping govern that Diocese. Our present Archbishop, Njongonkulu Ndungane, has announced that he will retire during 2008. The new Archbishop will be elected during 2007 and will serve in a co-adjutor position until the office becomes fully his/hers during 2008.

Forging a Real-World Faith

I have just picked up Gordon MacDonald’s book “Forging a Real-World Faith” for a second time. This book had a profound impact on my world-view and faith-perspective five or six or so years ago. Gordon’s words in the introduction are profound:

“Real world: a paradox in words, for in the strictest sense the word world describes our global space, its peoples, and its natural systems. It’s a limited place, and reality is not limited. To a person who believes the Bible, reality expands far beyond the world, far beyond the limits of the universe, to a place called Heaven whose boundaries and dimensions boggle the mind. But that’s also reality.
So I did what poets often do. I created my own word – real-world – and I assigned three dimension of reality to it. First is the place the Bible calls Heaven where the Everlasting God, Creator of everything, dwells. The second dimension is the inner space of the human being with all its darkness and its potential beauty. And the third dimension is the streets upon which we live out our lives as we work, play, love, and struggle.”

These three dimensions are all real. So often we are tempted to consider real only that which we can see, touch and hear. Gordon challenges us to expand our perspective, and to discover a renewed, more whole, experience of God: to allow the spiritual dimension of our life to be as real as the physical, the emotional as real as the rational.

Giving & Receiving

Our focus on Stewardship has given us some important reminders of the principles that underlie our Christian lifestyles. We’ve been reminded of the importance of Trust, Submission, First-Fruits. All of these are difficult to practice, and I much appreciated Kevin & Diane MacGregor’s testimony to their personal journey in this regard during our services on Sunday 17 September. I value their courage in making themselves and their family vulnerable before us, and before God.
It seems that in practise it is so much easier to give, than to receive. I am personally struggling with our inability as a community to receive. To be specific, it is our unwillingness to make our needs known to each other. We have our “Good Samaritan” Group who are really keen to be of service to us, but have little or no opportunity. When Mary offered to organise meals for us when Dawn was in hospital, my immediate reaction was, “Don’t worry, we’ll be fine!” It took a major effort to say, “No, actually that will be wonderful, thank you!” and it was truly a blessing to come home in the evenings to a cooked meal. But it was VERY hard to accept the help offered, to admit that I (and we as a family) needed help from others. It was also a great blessing.
While I rejoice at the abundance of giving we experience at Corpus Christi, it is important that in addition to stewarding our resources, gifts, talents and time, we need to begin to steward our need as well. It is perhaps a greater sin to hoard our need than it is to hoard our wealth, because we disable others who desire to serve and help us. Expressing our need is not weakness, it is strength.


Please take seriously my request (in last month’s newsletter) that you interact in the process of electing Churchwardens and Councillors for 2007. Those we elect need to be representative of our parish on every level, and only your participation can help this happen.


Stewardship of our Resources 2006/2007

Dear Friends
Stewardship in essence is our God-given responsibility to be accountable for the resources – both material and spiritual – that God has placed into our care. These resources include our time, our talents and gifts, our skills, our possessions – our very lives.

The Church is one of many environments within which we live our lives, and is a specific avenue through which we can contribute meaningfully towards the growth of God’s Kingdom in the wider world. The generosity of spirit experienced here at Corpus Christi over the last year speaks to the importance and value we place on this in our lives.

We write to encourage you in your giving in the broadest sense, and to invite you to join us in a process of re-evaluating our lifestyle-priorities before God for the new year. How best can we each serve God with the resources he has placed in our care?

The attached form is designed to help you be specific in your intention, and to help us in our planning and budgeting. Please, after prayerful consideration, fill it in and return it to us.

Our Parish “Statement of Purpose” lays emphasis on broad-based parishioner involvement. Please take time to consider how you can be involved beyond just a financial commitment. Joining a Home Fellowship Group, offering your skill as a plumber, being available to help others in need or visit someone in hospital, are just a few ways we can steward our resource of time, skill and ability.

Finance is an important aspect of our commitment, and it is impacted on by our various responsibilities for home and family, work, recreation, and on behalf of others. As the Church, we are interested in that portion of your money that you spend on behalf of others, and we ask you to prayerfully reconsider the portion that you give for God’s work via Corpus Christi. We are blessed at Corpus Christi with a Rector to facilitate our spiritual and community growth, and to challenge us towards mission; opportunities to grow our parish, and to participate in the mission of our archdeaconry and diocese; buildings that facilitate worship, fellowship, and teaching opportunities. Your financial commitment to Corpus Christi will either inhibit or expand our ability to fully utilise these resources.

As you complete the attached form, prior to handing it in, we invite you to join us in asking the following question:

“Do these commitments honestly reflect the priority God has in my life?”

We invite you to join us on Sunday 8 October 2006 for our Stewardship Celebration at either the 07:00 or 09:00 Eucharist Service. If you are not able to join us, please return your commitment forms either via the collection plate on another Sunday, or directly to the parish office by hand, post, fax or email. Thank you, in anticipation, for your cooperation in building the Kingdom of God through our community.

Yours in fellow-Stewardship

Mark R D Long - Rector
Lex Jackson - Stewardship Coordinator
Peter Davies - Churchwarden
Mary Verryn - Churchwarden