Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December 2012 - Proposed Mission & Vision

Dear Friends

As you are aware, we have been exploring our mission and vision in the light of the Diocesan theme: renewed and empowered through baptism to be “servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Corinthians 4:1). In the November Magazine I proposed some wording for these statements, asking for further input. After discussion at both the Parish Council and Ministry Team meetings in November a few changes were made, and we will be presenting the following for formal acceptance at our Annual Vestry meeting at the end of January 2013:


Our vision: we are passionate disciples of Christ – committed, willing, disciplined, equipped – living our Faith in daily life.


Our mission is to be role-models and responsible risk-takers for Christ where we live, work and worship.


  • Inclusive participation in our shared vision and mission
  • Family and Youth development
  • Active in Social Media
  • Outreach to less advantaged communities
  • Faithful stewards of our resources
  • Explore the potential of a new Anglican community to the South East


“… make disciples of all nations, … teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28: 19-20)

We will obviously reflect further in the New Year as to the full implications of the above, but as we prepare for Annual Vestry we ask that you put these statements to prayer, and particularly in terms of our vision reflect on whether it is sufficiently challenging, futuristic and achievable for us as a Parish over the next three to five years. And most importantly, do these statements reflect God’s call on our lives at this time?


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

November 2012 - We are Disciples

Dear Friends

A Renewed Vision

I am pleased to announce that the vacuum is not total: there is some air! I have had two wonderful and thoughtful responses since last writing to you. Two members of Parish Council – re-elected for 2013 – have responded in the midst of their busy lives, affirming the input from our August workshop and highlighting aspects that we need to consider in formulating a new set of vision and mission statements that will both drive us and pull us as we seek to be Renewed and empowered by Baptism to be “Servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Corinthians 4:1).

The challenge of good vision and mission statements is for them to be succinct, easy to remember, implementable, and challenging. And yet they also need to say everything that needs to be said! We need to use words that point us to a reality beyond themselves and remind us of the volume of ideas we wish to capture. As a way forward I wish to suggest the following for consideration:


We are disciples of Christ – committed, disciplined, willing, qualified – living
out our Faith in daily life.


We are role-models and risk-takers for Christ where we live, work and worship.


        ·         Inclusive participation in our shared vision and mission
        ·         Family and Youth development
        ·         Active in Social Media
        ·         Outreach to less advantaged communities
        ·         Faithful stewards of our resources
        ·         Plant a new Anglican community in South East


“You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.”
(Matthew 5:14a; The Message)

Please reflect on the above and give comment. You may wish to refer back to the insights from the August workshop, and you can find this at or if you need a hard copy, then my article in the September Parish Magazine. This will be discussed and further revised at our Parish Council meeting on 14 November 2012. A final version will be presented to our Annual Vestry meeting in January 2013, and if accepted, will become the instrument that helps us review our core practices and direct our ministry as a Parish.


I will be taking three weeks leave from 19 November through to 10 December 2012. Dawn and I need to catch up with ourselves and with each other. In today’s world one tends to take a few days here and there, rarely enough to fully disengage and truly recreate. We are hoping to spend some time at a friend’s home on the Eastern Cape coast, ending in Cape Town for Dawn’s year-end function.

Fr Danny’s sermon this last Sunday made me realize that the noise of my “street” has dimmed my awareness of God, and that I need to find the space to reflect on how I desire to answer Jesus when I hear that profound question, “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus’ reply, “… let me see again” (Mark 10:51; NRSV) struck a chord for me. The last eighteen months have been energy-sapping on a number of levels. It is good to be busy, but easy to allow the noise of busyness to drown out the gentle whispering of God’s Spirit, and so I look forward to giving God the space to talk quietly to my heart.


Tuesday, October 02, 2012

October 2012 - Spectator or Participant?

Dear Friends

Vision in a Vacuum

I reported in detail last month on the progress made in reviewing our vision and mission for the Parish, specifically what had come out of our Parish meeting in mid-August. I have since wondered if we did actually print it, such has been the underwhelming response! I expressed my concern to Parish Council, and I reiterate it here, that this process of review should not be the Rectors’ vision and mission for the Parish, but ours as a collective. What are your thoughts on what I shared last month? Does what the August meeting came up with excite you? Demotivate you? Surprise you? Give you hope? Do you think the ideas shared touch on important issues or miss them? Do you see your experience of Corpus Christi, and your hopes for the Parish, reflected in what was discussed? Have we missed anything? Please, fill the vacuum!!


October is leadership month, and as you will see in the Diary section we will be holding elections for Churchwardens and Parish Councillors towards the end of the month. Having spent September focusing on Stewardship, we now have an opportunity to be good stewards of the gifts of Leadership. Standing for Churchwarden or Parish Councillor is an act of stewardship, a giving of our time and skills, a utilisation of these resources. All confirmed members of the parish are eligible. Please be prayerful and take time to encourage people you know and trust to stand for election.

What are we about?

Within the broad context of reviewing our vision and mission, our September focus on Stewardship, and our need to elect new Parish leadership for 2013 this month, along with the Synod of Bishops and Provincial Standing Committee meetings that took place last week, the upcoming Anglicans Ablaze Conference that will focus on exploring the Anglican Church of Southern Africa’s vision, mission and priority statements adopted in 2010, along with my own search for meaning and relevance, I am conscious of asking the question, “What is it that we are about?” … as Christians, as Anglicans, as South Africans, as Africans?

I spent some time today reading an address by Trevor Manuel, then Minister of Finance, to the Anglican Synod of Bishops in August 2004. In it he reflects on the need both in our wider society and within Government for the Church as an ecumenical movement to provide leadership, not by basking in the golden decade (1984-1985) when the Church was bold and articulate, and fully committed to bringing about democracy, but by embracing a sustaining and durable theology of reconstruction and development based on the premise of involvement and not spectatorship.

What are we about as Church? Manuel’s perspective back in 2004 was of the wider Church, largely uninvolved in the needs of society, occasionally attempting to broad-side government with accusations of failure from a spectator’s vantage point. I am wondering, reading this document in 2012, where the Church stands today on these issues? Do we continue to see responsibility for reconstruction and development as the preserve of Government, or are we acknowledging that we have a role to play, and are we playing it? Recent events at Marikana demonstrate that employers, Trade Unions, Government have lost the trust of the working class, and that they are even suspicious of the Church. Why is this? Is it, perhaps, because the wider Church has somehow lost its ability to be present to society? Manuel’s interpretation is that there is a powerful element – the Church Pty Ltd – in the wider Church environment that implores us to forget the concrete or contextual nature of incarnation, that leads us away from discovering our cause, our raison d'être, in serving the nations of Southern Africa, and the new South Africa in particular. In offering an alternative, Manuel identifies five pillars that, for him, needs define a Church with a cause. We need a Church that is aware of itself in the following ways:

  • A Church aware of what defines it – traditionally that of healer, intermediator, discoverer and uniter;
  •  A Church exploring its role as Convenor of itself and its congregation – re-motivating ourselves in order to lift the burden from the poor;
  •  A Church as keeper of values – building the norms of caring, campaigning against crime and corruption, helping society understand the difference between values and cash cost;
  • A Church as constructor of communities;
  •  A Church as the conscience of Society.

Manuel also quotes Thabo Mbeki, then president of the Republic, speaking to the South African Christian Leaders Assembly in July 2003, “… you bravely and at great cost to many among you, chose a path through the contextual understanding of your mission. Once again, your mission calls for a reappraisal on the basis of the real conditions that face all our people.” It strikes me that Trevor Manuel, a fellow Anglican and senior Government Minister, touched on key issues for us as a Church back in 2004, and that senior Church leadership has responded to these challenges, certainly within our Anglican context: the Provincial social development arm, Hope Africa, was expanded and better resourced; our Diocesan social development arm, Tumelong Mission, has been refocused; Bishops and Clergy throughout the Province have been exposed to social development training through courses run by Hope Africa; a vision, mission and priority statements have been adopted for the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. But how is this finding traction at grass-roots level in the wider Church environment? How do we experience a commitment to the reconstruction and development of our society in the more specific context, for example at Corpus Christi? Is our involvement with Louis Botha Homes, Iren Homes, Tumelong Mission, a sufficient commitment in this regard? How many of us actually pitched up and participated in the Environmental Clean-up day a couple of weeks ago?

An additional challenge is how we respond as the Church to the National Development Plan 2030 (see I have just read the vision statement, a powerful and profound statement of the Nation I believe we all want to be but are not yet, and I suspect, fear we will never be. It is written in the present tense and planted in 2030, and is a call to build our Nation. It proposes a powerful cycle of development approach to change designed to build social cohesion around three important cogs: active citizenry, effective government and strong leadership. I suggest that the Church, in a wider ecumenical context, can be a powerful force in encouraging active citizenry and participating in giving strong leadership. The vision statement begins with the words:

We, the people of South Africa, have journeyed for since the long lines of our first democratic election on 27 April 1994, when we elected a government for us all.

Now in 2030 we live in a country which we have remade.

We are suspicious of Government, often with good reason. But as God’s people we are people of Hope, people of passion, people committed to seeing the purposes of God, the goodness of God triumph in our world. Pre-1994 as Anglicans we sided with the politically poor and oppressed. In today’s world we need to side with the economically poor and oppressed. If we sit back and choose to be the spectator Church, the uninvolved Church, then we allow the Julius Malema’s of the world to set the agenda. As an involved Church we can participate with other committed parties, which include Government, in building up our communities and our Nation. As participants we can have a voice and we can make a difference.

In Conclusion

In the midst of all the above, who are we as Corpus Christi Anglican Church in Garsfontein? What defines us? What is our vision? What is our purpose? And how are we utilising our core practises of worship, care and fellowship, education and discipleship, service and witness to serve God in our world and serve those made in God’s image who populate our lives?


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

September 2012 - Towards a Renewed Vision

Towards a Renewed Vision

A group of around twenty parishioners met on Saturday 18 August 2012 to begin the process towards a new three to five year vision for the Parish.  We began by reflecting on the Diocesan Theme, then on the importance of having a vision and mission, and finally focused in a SWOT analysis on what we would like to preserve from the past and achieve in the future. This process also included looking at what we need to stop doing, and things we’d like to avoid happening. This process is not yet 100% complete as the Youth are doing the same exercise during their Sunday Teen Church time.

So far we have discovered the following:

In terms of the Diocesan Vision, “Renewed and Empowered through Baptism to be “Servants of God and Stewards of the Mysteries of Christ” (1 Corinthians 4:1) we need to BE disciples of Christ and shift from religion to Faith, which implies an increase in our commitment, discipline and willingness to follow Christ in living out and exercising our Faith. We need to be equipped and willing to equip others as we seek to be qualified Ambassadors for God. We need to GO and live our Faith in our everyday lives amongst whoever we meet, and our words and actions need to identify us as disciples and point to Christ. We need to seek spiritual growth so that we can reach out both into the Parish and into the community, acknowledging that we are “sent” Sunday by Sunday to wherever there is need and opportunity. What we are called to DO is make disciples through being role-models, willing to take risks and to stand up and be counted. We need to serve and represent Christ by being salt (preserve, clean, flavour), light (guide, dispel darkness) and yeast (transform, bring to fullness) as we seek to build dedicated, committed and sustainable discipleship. We need to be a community of committed, caring disciples who offer ourselves to participate in growing a community of disciples that is sustaining and sustainable.

In terms of the SWOT analysis we wish to PRESERVE our leadership and management structures, continue to cherish our diversity, our particular Anglican traditions including the variety of worship opportunities offered (i.e. the quieter 7am Eucharist, and the more noisy 9am Eucharist). Also the family ethos of the Parish, our Sunday School, Teen Church, Confirmation and other programmes. We also wish to continue caring for our facilities (buildings and garden). We wish to ACHIEVE a wide participation in a shared vision for the Parish. This includes a renewed focus on education through workshops and relevant courses (e.g. Lent),   the retention of youth (beyond Confirmation/Matric) by utilising focused Youth programmes (there are a number developed beyond the Church), a strong sense of community across age-groups and building relationships through fellowship (encourage wider participation and involvement), exploiting Social Media as a method of communication and marketing. We also wish to find better ways to utilise our space, and look to plant a new congregation to our South-East. There are things we need to ELIMINATE such as ignorance of our vision and what it is to be Christian and Anglican, a lack of involvement, complacency and apathy among the members, including the disrespect and lack of courtesy shown by those who arrive late for services and functions, also a desire to be comfortable and not take risks. We wish to AVOID such things as radical change, destructive confrontation and criticism, exclusivity and intolerance, and procrastination. We’d like to also avoid increasing the size of our Church building, and we don’t wish to lose any Church members.

We realise everyone was not able to be present, but may have things to add that are important to you about our community. Please feel free to chat with the Clergy, the Wardens or members of Council. Once we have received input from our young people, the next step will be to formulate the above into vision, mission and priority statements. It is our intention to have these finalised in time for our Annual Vestry meeting in January 2013.


Monday, July 30, 2012

August 2012 - New Vision

Dear Friends

A new Vision

Please join us on Saturday 18 August 2012 from 08:30 to 13:00 in the Parish Hall to reflect on Corpus Christi’s direction for the next three to five years. This workshop will begin a process that will then go to Parish Council, back to the Parish as a whole for comment, and finally be formally accepted at Annual Vestry in January 2013. It is vitally important that you give your input “from the pew” at the beginning of the process as it will guide our Parish life over the next few years. Please make every effort to join us!

In 2006 we developed a “Statement of Purpose” that acted as a powerful tool for a number of years at Parish Council level. Over the last two years we have been increasingly aware at this level that our Statement no longer drives us, and needs review. The Diocese has asked us to reflect on the Diocesan Theme, and review our Parish vision as part of this process.

Our present statement reads as follows: Corpus Christi is a Christ-centred, traditional Anglican community guided by the Holy Spirit. We offer inclusive, flexible, relevant and dignified worship opportunities. Our mission is building the Kingdom of God in the wider community through outreach and service. We focus on our lives being a place where others meet Christ, offering opportunities through our Christian community for spiritual and relational growth, care, fellowship and ministry development. We value friendship, youth participation, and broad-based parishioner involvement. At its heart are the words “We focus on our lives being a place where others meet Christ.”

In seeking to create a “New Vision”, we are not saying that our previously stated core purpose and values are no longer important. Rather, we are reflecting on the need to take into account the transformation (irreversible change) that this sense of purpose and value has brought about as we have sought to live out the mission and vision we identified in 2006. We are asking the question, “What is the next step in our transformative journey with Christ as we seek to be effective for the Kingdom in the context of Garsfontein and the wider communities we serve?” As Christians our purpose (mission) is discovered in Scripture; our vision is discovered in our context. As Anglicans our context is not just the suburb and its surrounds in which we worship and live, but also our Archdeaconry (Pretoria East) and Diocese (Pretoria), as well as the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. Our context is complex.

Our Diocesan Theme (agreed to at Diocesan Synod in 2011) is Renewed and empowered to be “servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Corinthians 4:1). On 18 August 2012 we will take some time to reflect on what this actually means for us, and what it says about who God is calling us to BE, where God is calling us to GO, and what GOD is calling us to DO. We will ask the question, “What will our Parish community look like if we are renewed and empowered?”  and we will seek to revise our Statement of Purpose accordingly. This Theme seeks to move us from programmes to processes, from decisions to disciples and from services to service. It asks us to reflect not simply on how many people come to our Church services, but how many people our Church serves; not simply how many people attend our ministry, but how many people have we equipped for ministry; not simply how many people minister inside the Church, but how many minister outside the Church; not simply helping people become more whole in themselves, but helping people bring more wholeness to their world; not only how many people we bring into the community of faith, but also how many people we help experience healthy community; not simply counting the resources that God gives us to steward, but counting how many good stewards we are developing for the sake of the world; not simply how effective we are with our mission, but how faithful we are to God; not simply how much we immerse ourselves in Scripture, but how faithfully we live in the story of God.

Our Parish is a bit like a car: imagine a driver, front-seat passenger and back-seat passengers. What would you like to be driving our Parish car? Management? Programmes? Relationships? Vision? Which of these is taking up most of our time and energy in the Parish? What are we most concerned about? – that is the one that is driving our Parish!!  If we have out-grown our vision, it is possibly sitting in the back-seat, most likely with relationships, and management has managed to get behind the steering wheel with some support from programmes. This means the car (Parish) is in good shape, is well maintained, polished and resourced, but rather aimless, its journey a bit like that old fashioned “Sunday afternoon Drive” with no particular destination in mind, the journey being a pleasant end in itself. Now imagine the car (Parish) with vision behind the steering wheel and with relationships in the front passenger seat, with management and programmes giving support from the back. A more focused journey? A sense of direction? A sense of purpose?

What is the difference between vision and mission? Our mission (purpose) is what we do best every day, and our vision is what the future looks like because we do our mission so exceedingly well. Vision is really important as it energises us to be about our mission. The following questions help us evaluate our vision: does it create excitement about the future? Does it build a powerful image of what our Parish can look like over the next three to five years? Does it build on our history, our strengths and on our unique characteristics? Does it inspire people to act? Is it resulting in focused forward movement in the Parish? Does our vision statement represent a dream that is beyond what we think is possible without God, or is it too small? When is/was its “sell by date”? In thinking about our vision for the next three to five years, we also need to reflect on what are the things we have in place that we want to keep? And what are some of the new things we need to do or achieve? What are some of the things we are currently doing that we need to stop doing? And is there anything we wish to avoid happening? We also need to identify some specific targets (no less than one and no more than three) in relation to our vision in order to energise our mission.

The above is what we are hoping to begin achieving on Saturday 18 August 2012. If it has awakened a spark of interest in you, I really do hope you will be able to find the time to join us for the morning. In preparation, please take time to reflect on the many questions raised above.


Thursday, July 05, 2012

July 2012 - Transformation

Dear Friends


Hello, I’m a recovering racist … and a recovering sexist. My name is Mark.

I recently attended an international conference is Johannesburg hosted by the Jesuit Institute entitled Spiritual Direction in the African Context. The above comment stems from a paper presented by Prof Susan Rakoczy, IHM, Women and Spiritual Direction: The Many Dimensions of Co-Discernment in which she challenged us to recognise the formative nature of society upon us; that while we may not – or no longer – consciously hold to racial or sexist dogma, if we have grown up in a society that has formed us in these ideologies (she grew up in the USA) we, like alcoholics, are never truly free of these social diseases. Her paper focused more particularly on the struggle women directors and women seekers of spiritual direction experience, influenced by the patriarchy of church and society; and how this is often a barrier to women in growing into a true sense of self in a world where male experience and needs often define our spirituality, theology and praxis within the church and the social environment.

Racism in the South African context has devolved in our post-1994 democracy into classism and xenophobia. Whenever, we find ourselves talking about, “Those people …” or saying to someone in some way different from ourselves, “Your people …”, we are guilty of spreading these social germs. We often react with surprise when we are challenged for making what is perceived to be a racist, classist, sexist, homophobic or xenophobic remark, and are sure we are not. However, if we have been exposed to these social diseases – and if we are honest, they are prevalent globally in most cultures and societies in some form – it is likely that we are in a continuous process of recovery (unless we consciously choose to promote these evil attitudes), hopefully moving to greater wholeness as individuals and societies, but recovering nonetheless. This process of recovery impacts on our spirituality, our awareness of self, of God, of community, and is often at the root of social and community breakdown. It stunts our spiritual and emotional growth as persons. An awareness and willingness to acknowledge that we are recovering – as opposed to recovered – is a first step towards relational and social health.

Corpus Christi, with our wonderfully cosmopolitan and intra-cultural diversity, offers an ideal Alcoholics Anonymous-type space to begin to deal with these negative issues and attitudes that affect our society. The question, ultimately, in our parish context is whether we are able to trust one-another sufficiently to create such a space where our antibodies to these social diseases can be strengthened? One of the Wesley brothers described the church as a microcosm of the greater world, a thought that I find helpful when we have to deal with social and relational pain within the church and Christian community. If we create this space for each other there will be times when we are hurt by fellow Christians

Is God’s power strong enough to sustain us through these actual or potential hurts that we may truly be a transformed community transforming our world? I believe it is possible.

So what are you recovering from?

Cathedral Update

The Commission under Canon 21.3 has begun its work, and the Cathedral has requested that the process of mediation only begin after the Commission’s investigation is complete. While these processes continue Chapter members will take Sunday services at the Cathedral on a rotational basis, and the process of appointing a Dean will begin and other governance issues will be addressed.

Anonymous emails emanating in some form from the Cathedral community, along with various newspaper articles, continue to undermine and attack the Bishop’s character and leadership. Please realise that these articles do not reflect the whole truth and are often based on false allegations and not on proven fact.

Please continue to pray for the Cathedral Parish, the Diocesan Leadership and our Bishop, and those who represent the Province on behalf of the Archbishop, that real reconciliation and healing may be experienced by all concerned.


Thursday, June 07, 2012

June 2012 - Family, Parish and Diocese

Dear Friends


As you are probably already aware, Dawn and I became proud grandparents on Thursday 24 May 2012! Little Rebecca-Lee was scheduled to arrive via Caesarean the following Monday, but demonstrated she will not be dictated to, and arrived a few days earlier to prove her point!! She is a beautiful child, and we were privileged to fly down and spend some time with our son, Nathan, and his fiancé, Megan, after the birth. Rebecca-Lee arrived at just over 3kg’s, and is settling in well to life outside the womb! She is the first grandchild on both sides, so is likely to be somewhat spoiled in her early years by us all. I saw a most vibrant-pink plastic motor-bike in a shop around the corner from the hospital, but Dawn suggested she should at least be allowed to crawl before we bought it for her!


This year marks our 31st Birthday, which we celebrated last Sunday along with World Environment Day, and a wonderful tea after the services. It is amazing to think that we have been around as long as we have in this part of Pretoria. I am thankful for the cosmopolitan nature of our growing community, and the beauty of being the representative new South African community that we are. Our membership is continuing to grow resulting in an increased Sunday attendance, and the extra space we created with the extension of our Church a few years ago is now filled and often overflowing at the 9am service. We are going to need to find ways to expand our space, a difficult question as there appears to be little that we can do to further expand our present building. I am also aware, especially in Winter, of our two Teen groups that sit outside for their discussions during the sermon, and the need to create some indoor space for them, too. This is, of course, a good problem to have!


The relationship between the Cathedral and the Diocesan Leadership is still not resolved. We continue to seek a way forward, which as you are probably aware included a decision a few weeks ago to close the Cathedral. This led to a court interdict to reopen the Cathedral, that services should not be disrupted, and that clergy sent by the Bishop to take services should be respected, and that a process of mediation should be committed to within 30 days. Bishop Jo has requested the Archbishop of Cape Town to intervene, and a process is now being initiated under Canon 21.3. Of additional concern are the allegations of theft being spread via the media against Bishop Jo, as one of these actually relates to provision Diocesan Trustees have made for his retirement. The audited accounts for the Diocese over the last few years, including 2011, do not demonstrate any irregularities in this regard. Many of the media reports in recent weeks are based on aspects of the truth, but are often one-sided and sensational, rarely presenting the Diocese’s perspective. While I am profoundly a supporter of the freedom of the press, I am increasingly coming to understand the Government’s issues with the manner in which the press often exercises this right. Please continue to pray for all parties involved, that we may find a space together where restorative justice may prevail, and that healing may truly be experienced.

(Grandfather) Mark

May 2012 - Living the Resurrection

Dear Friends

Living the Resurrection

The Easter events now lie behind us, and we have entered into that interesting space in our Church Year where we focus on what it means to live the Resurrection Life. The challenge is to translate what we are reading in the Scriptures into the complexity of 21st century life, into the context of our daily lives and the communities in which we live, work and play. Increasingly we live in a global village, and yet there is a uniqueness to our Southern African environment that asks us to acknowledge and celebrate what is special about our context. We are challenged in the midst of brokenness and poverty, in the midst of corruption and hopelessness, to be signs of Hope, living signs of Hope. It is about transformed attitudes, life-giving actions, and God-touched lives.

Over two-thousand years later, we forget the chaos that enveloped the community that had grown around Jesus during his ministry after the Resurrection. The news of Jesus’ resurrection has the women who find the empty tomb leaving in fear (Mark’s Gospel); Cleopas and his companion on the Emmaus road are clearly confused, even traumatised, by the events; the disciples are in a locked room, fearful of the Jewish authorities (John’s Gospel). Where are we? Where are you?

What are our expectations in this post-Easter period? What is our experience right now? What feelings churn in our hearts? What chaos envelops our lives? Are we fearful? What interests me is that the various stories in the book of Acts reveal the fearful, disorientated and confused disciples of the Gospel stories as now bold and brave. At some point, and relatively quickly, they found peace and courage that made them fearless in proclaiming the activities of God to the community in Jerusalem, and subsequently to Judea, Samaria and beyond. John’s Gospel has Jesus meeting with his disciples immediately after the Resurrection, breathing the Spirit on them, proclaiming peace among them. The disciples in Acts speak out, they heal, they confront: they are bold!

There is much in our world today, both within the life of the Church, and also out there in the world, that seeks to resist the Resurrection Life. We need to regularly review our consciences, and ensure that we can, in the words of 1 John 3:21b “… have confidence before God”. We may not always feel bold within ourselves; but as children of God, loved by God, trusted by God we can be fearless, bold and brave.


We had some good family time in Durban the second weekend after Easter. Our son, Nathan, and his Fiancé, Megan, are living there now and expecting their first child in a few weeks time. We were down for Megan’s “Baby Shower” and also to meet her family for the first time. Dawn flew in for the weekend from Cape Town (where she has been working again these last few weeks) and I drove down with our daughter, Cassie, and her girlfriend, Jen. It was a really special weekend, and wonderful at last to link up with the McCain family. I spent the Monday night with good friends at Spioenkop Dam and came home over the rough dirt track of Colling’s Pass (why take the tar over van Reenen’s when one drives the best 4x4xFar?!).

St Alban’s Cathedral

Please continue to keep the situation at the Cathedral in prayer as it is not yet resolved. I had a rough visit there last Sunday. There are processes in place and the Diocesan leadership continues to seek opportunities for resolution.

Thank you

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the very generous Easter Offering I received again this year. Your care in this is much appreciated!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Thanksgiving Service to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

The Cathedral of St Alban the Martyr, Diocese of Pretoria, the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Tuesday 17 April 2012

Welcome Speech by the Rev’d Canon Mark Long

Your Royal Highness, the Princess Royal
Your Grace, Archbishop of Cape Town and Metropolitan of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa
Your Excellencies, High Commissioners and Ambassadors
Members of the Cathedral Chapter
Ladies and Gentlemen

I bid you all welcome on behalf of the Diocesan Bishop of Pretoria, the Right Rev’d Dr Johannes Seoka, to this Cathedral of St Alban the Martyr and to the Anglican Diocese of Pretoria, and especially to this Thanksgiving Service to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Bishop Seoka is representing Hope Africa, our Anglican Church of Southern Africa’s social development programme, at a meeting in Windhoek, Namibia, evaluating the effectiveness of the Campaign against Human Trafficking in the region, and so is sadly not able to be part of today’s celebrations.

Your Royal Highness, it is a great privilege and pleasure to have you present in our midst as we mark this great celebration in the context of Southern Africa, the African Continent and the Commonwealth. It struck me last night, Ma’am, as you spoke at the Royal Garden Party, that Her majesty The Queen has sought, since the beginning of her reign, to hold to the principle of servant leadership, and in this she is a powerful example to us all, and especially to those of us who grapple with leadership in the context of democracy in the African environment. We humbly request, Ma’am, that you assure Her Majesty The Queen of our love and prayers for her.

Your Grace, it is good to have you in our midst again, and we look forward to your expression of God’s word to us today.

Worship is always the richer for good music, and I welcome the Choir of this Cathedral, and the Choirs of two of our top Government Schools, Pretoria Boys High School and Pretoria Girls High School, with us today.

I encourage us to draw, now, on the life-giving presence of God’s Holy Spirit as we participate in this time of worship and reflection, as we give thanks to God for Her Majesty The Queen’s continued faithful service and long reign.

Please remain standing as we sing the hymn “Praise my Soul the King of Heaven”.

Monday, March 26, 2012

March/April 2012

This report from the Cathedral Chapter on behalf of the Diocesan Leadership forms my "from the Rector's Desk" for the March/April addition of our Parish magazine:

22 March 2012

To All Clergy and Laity
in the Diocese of Pretoria

Update on the Diocesan Leadership/Cathedral relationship

In our capacity as leaders in the Diocese and Cathedral Chapter, we write to give you a summary report on where the impasse between the Diocesan leadership and the Cathedral Parish stands at the moment.

Firstly, we thank you for your ongoing prayers for resolution of the breakdown in relationship between the Diocesan Leadership and the Cathedral community. Please continue to pray for the resolution of the problems and restoration of relationships between the Cathedral community and the Diocesan leadership. As the Diocesan Leadership (the Bishop, Chapter, and the Diocesan Standing Committee) we reiterate that we remain committed to finding a peaceful resolution to the impasse that has developed.

Secondly, our present journey with the Cathedral Parish contains the following elements:

At the Diocesan Standing Committee (DSC) meeting on Saturday 3 March 2012 it was resolved that the priestly services (Sacramental ministries) suspended in November 2011 are to be restored; that Archdeacons take turns to conduct Sunday Eucharistic services; and that a sub-committee of Diocesan Standing Committee meet with the Parish Council to deal with the issues raised by the Cathedral Council on behalf of the Parish; that a special Vestry meeting to elect new leadership be held; and that the Bishop appoints a senior priest to take pastoral responsibilities at the Cathedral until such time as matters are resolved. This decision was communicated, along with relevant dates, to the Cathedral Parish Council on Monday 5 March 2012.

On Sunday 11 March 2012 the Bishop, Chapter and members of Diocesan Standing Committee attended the 09:30 Service at St Alban’s Cathedral and reinstated the Eucharist, formally reclaiming the Cathedral for the Lord and restoring priestly ministries. This event was marked by the continual and loud singing of choruses throughout the service in an attempt to disrupt the Eucharist, along with a demand that the congregation be addressed by the Bishop on the issues raised by the Parish Council on behalf of the Parish. Despite this chaos the Eucharist continued around the High Altar, and a number of parishioners joined the Bishop, Chapter and members of Diocesan Standing Committee in receiving Holy Communion. The disrespect shown to the Office of the Bishop and to the Sacrament of Holy Communion was difficult to stomach. Some people left disappointed by such behaviour in Church and in the presence of the Eucharist. At the end of the Eucharist the Diocesan leadership and those who participated in the celebration of the Eucharist processed out. Those who sought to disrupt the service remained behind and conducted their own service of Morning Prayer.

On Saturday 17 March 2012 the sub-committee of Diocesan Standing Committee convened at St Mary’s DSG under the chairmanship of Judge Tati Makgoka in expectation of a meeting with the Cathedral Council to discuss the issues raised by them on behalf of the Cathedral Parish. We were disappointed as a letter, received late the day before, was tabled by the Diocesan Administrator indicating the Cathedral Council would not attend. The letter said, “The Council might consider a meeting with DSC on a mutually agreed future date and venue provided DSC agrees on the appointment of a mutually agreed, external independent mediator to facilitate the process.” The meeting agreed to either of the two Archbishops’ Emeritus, as suggested in the Cathedral Parish plan received by Diocesan Standing Committee on Saturday 3 March 2012, being invited to facilitate such a meeting. The meeting also agreed that the resolution of the DSC to restore the Eucharistic ministries at the Cathedral, and the appointment of a senior priest would continue as planned. However, it was agreed that the special Vestry to elect new leadership be postponed.

On Sunday 18 March 2012 the decision of the sub-committee of Diocesan Standing Committee was communicated by letter, which was read out to the Cathedral Parish during the 09:30 Eucharist service by the present chairperson, Judge Tati Makgoka. Archdeacon Elias Lekoro presided over the Eucharist, and reports that the Eucharist went ahead with some limited disruption during the prayers. Notwithstanding, there was a substantial participation by members of the Cathedral Parish in receiving Holy Communion.

Finally, the Diocesan leadership have purposely not invoked the Canons or Diocesan Rules as a method of dealing with the present impasse, believing that such a step at this time is not conducive to dealing with the issues raised, or with possible underlying issues. Recent emails, from an anonymous Gmail address claiming to represent the Cathedral Parish, received by the Bishop and Chapter members, suggest there are other issues at play. It is the Diocesan Leadership’s belief that the present journey will yield fruit and that true reconciliation will be brought about.

Please continue in prayer and fasting, that the Holy Spirit of God will truly embrace the process as it continues to unfold, along with all involved.

Yours in the service of Christ and his Church

The Archdeacons and Canons: Cathedral Chapter
on behalf of the Diocesan Leadership: Diocese of Pretoria

Monday, January 30, 2012

Rector's Report to Annual Vestry 29 January 2012


Craig van Gelder, in his book the ministry of the missional church: a community led by the spirit (2007) – from which I quoted in my report last year – gives a useful definition of vision and mission: Spirit-led congregations look to the Bible to define their purpose; Spirit-led congregations look to their context to discern their vision. What we do in terms of worship, care and fellowship, education and discipleship, service and witness, should not be goals in themselves but rather the instruments through which we live out our mission and reach towards our vision.

As we prepare to look forward into 2012, it is important to look back in thanksgiving and acknowledge that God has brought us to this place in time and history. 2011 marked an important watershed in our history as an Anglican community in the east of Pretoria: our 30th Anniversary! We importantly took time to celebrate this, and Council allowed other priorities – which we will now pick up – to sit on the back-burner. The Churchwardens’ Report, to be made available at our Annual Vestry meeting later this morning, chronicles the activities and events that make 2011 and our 30th Anniversary a valuable marker in our history. Without attempting to steal the Wardens’ lime-light, it is worth noting that the institution of the Corpus Christi Family Cross in June, and the installation of environmentally friendly and electrically efficient lighting towards the end of last year, have been two major and important highlights of our celebrations. The Family Cross, as it travels from one parish family to another, is a constant call to deeper communal prayer and spirituality; the lighting is a major step to becoming environmentally aware and more caring of the world God has given us.


Having celebrated 30 years in Garsfontein, along with the growth of our community over this time, we now need to reflect on our purpose (“purpose” being another word for “mission”) and vision as we move into the future. Our present “Statement of Purpose” has carried us through a transitional stage as we have moved from being a so-called “White” parish founded during the late stages of Apartheid to a parish that today reflects the diversity of our 21st century South African and African society. It was deeply gratifying – in the survey we completed in 2010 – to have parishioners comment that our intra-cultural harmony is an important factor in sustaining their involvement and membership of Corpus Christi. This is not to say we have “made it” in terms of the transformation agenda, but that we have begun to journey together in exploring what it is to be an intra-cultural community and a truly New South African community. We are, I believe, committed to affirming each other’s humanity, and able to acknowledge that we are all, each one, made in the image of God.

The challenge in building a vision for the future is not marked by race or culture, but is one of worldview. We live in an age of discontinuous, fast-paced change. This is not just in terms of technology or information, but also in the manner in which people see and understand the world. While not necessarily age-specific, there are emerging worldviews that differ substantially from the Church’s formative world view, a world view that understood the world to be governed by timeless principles and eternal absolutes, driven by a commitment to transcendent truth and principle. As was highlighted by the 2010 parish survey I mentioned above, many parishioners – especially those over 40 – still hold to this particular perspective of the world. The growing crisis is that those under 40, and especially those in their late teens and early 20’s, hold to a world view that is discontinuous and potentially conflictual, certainly paradoxical, to the predominant outlook of more senior members of our community.

Looking forward, if we want to take younger people seriously and if we have any interest in the Church being relevant to our young people and to coming generations, we need to increasingly take account of perspectives on the world that emphasise egalitarianism, ecology, systemic health, holistic identity and convergence (and I can see you all mentally scratching your heads as you wonder what these terms mean, let alone what such worldviews may look like!). Michael Armour and Don Browning in their book Systems-Sensitive Leadership (2000) indicate that it is relatively easy to understand worldviews that have contributed to the one you now hold, and very difficult to understand newer worldviews that are built on the one that presently defines your perspective of the world.

And so the challenge I have put to our new Council for 2012 is that while we seek to sustain what is important – and has been important to us at Corpus Christi for 30 years – we need to have the courage to embrace paradox, to think creatively, to experiment, and not to fear failure. In other words, we need to keep the baby while having the courage to change the bath water! And there is no space or time to take the baby out the bath while we change the water; and therein lies the challenge to ingenuity. It brings me back to Craig van Gelder’s comment that I quoted earlier, that our purpose as a Christian community is to be found in Scripture (and as an Anglican I wish to add, “in Tradition and Reason, too”) and our vision is to be found in our context. Scripture, Tradition, Reason is our life-line; the paradox of worldview is our context ... along with the social, political and economic challenges of our time. My hope is that if our 30th Anniversary is truly a watershed event in our community life, then 2012 marks the beginning of a new journey of transformation and spiritual growth. My prayer is that our 2012 Churchwardens and Council will have your full support, involvement and participation as we begin this journey together.

We have faced challenges in 2011, and will continue to do so in 2012, especially as the social, political and economic context of our country continues to be taxing on a number of levels. As you are aware, we began 2011 with a deficit parish budget in the region of R60,000. You will be pleased to hear, when we receive the audited accounts later this morning, that with the concerted effort you have all put in we have managed to meet all our financial commitments for the year. While addressing the parish deficit during 2011 Council identified that, while we spend a lot of time helping the poor through Tumelong, there are people in our own community struggling financially to put food on the table while meeting the financial demand of education for their children. This has led to the addition of what we are calling “Inreach” to our Pastoral Care portfolio for 2012, together with a budget item, in an attempt to be able to help parish families in crisis. “Inreach” is not just about financial crisis, but it is designed to focus on meeting the wider needs of our parish community and includes focusing on new members, the Corpus Christi Family Cross, practical support, meals, as well as financial assistance.

Archdeaconry, Diocese and Province

Diocesan Synod was held during 2011, and as usual was a wonderful experience for many as representatives from all over the Diocese, together with stipendiary and self-supporting Clergy, came together to consider the state of mission and ministry in the Diocese. A key focus was numerous changes to our Diocesan rules, bringing them into line with common practice at both Provincial and Diocesan level, and updating them to meet the needs of the Church in the 21st century.

The theme proposed by the Bishop Seoka and accepted by Synod for the next three years is:
Renewed and Empowered through Baptism to be “Servants of God
 and Stewards of the Mysteries of God” (1 Corinthians 4:1).

The Bishop, in his Charge to Synod, highlighted the need for us to understand that the Church is all about community rather than buildings; the need for us to implement integrated ministry rather than just being a community where the Clergy do it all; and, the need for us to go beyond denominationalism by working together with other churches at grass-root level in the communities we serve. We are asked to revisit our vision and mission as a Diocese, to focus on teaching about mission and ministry, and to build small faith communities in people’s homes.

Synod was marred by attempts from the Cathedral Archdeaconry to undermine the authority and leadership of the Bishop, which led to Synod unequivocally demonstrating the Diocese’s support for Bishop Seoka and his leadership. These attempts, together with other issues, have led to the Dean being brought before a Diocesan Tribunal, which is presently adjourned and will reconvene at the end of February. Please continue to pray for the Dean and his family, the Cathedral Parish, the Bishop and the Diocese, during this difficult and uncomfortable period in our Diocesan history.

Society and Nation Building

Our National environment remains a difficult and challenging context. We await the outcome of Julius Malema’s appeal on his suspension from the ANC, and the ANC’s elective Conference towards the end of this year. Corruption, mismanagement and incompetence continue to mar Government at every level, and hinder the provision of services to the poorest of the poor. We pray for the rise of ethical and courageous leaders, and commend and pray for those – a number of whom are part of our community at Corpus Christi – who seek to serve our country and people with diligence and integrity.


2011 has been an interesting year for the Long family. July saw Dawn and I visiting the U.K. to meet my birth-father – and family – for the first time since my last contact with him around the age of two. This was an exciting and deeply meaningful event, and a journey we are both pleased to have undertaken. Through this contact my family of origin has doubled, and while it is a joy to have gained three extra brothers, it continues to prove a little daunting for us both as my family now consists of twenty-seven close relatives, not to mention an extra aunt and uncle or two or three (or four!) all in the U.K. Combined with my parents move to the U.K. in March, and my Grandmother’s death in 2010, it has substantially shifted my “magnetic North”. I do not adjust to change easily, and I am hugely appreciative of Dawn’s willingness to stick by me as I settle into a new space of self and family.

Dawn started working for a new employer in August, and has had to do a lot of travelling, which will continue. She is home most weekends, which we look forward to with longing all week, and are often either too exhausted or too busy to truly enjoy. We had some time together in Pretoria over Christmas and enjoyed New Year together in Cape Town. We enjoyed a day and good food in the Cape Point Nature Reserve on New Year’s Eve (the Two Oceans Restaurant has a wonderful view over False Bay), and a long walk down the beach at Pater Noster up the West Coast on New Year’s Day. It was wonderful to have continuous and uninterrupted time together where we could talk and share our lives. As I write, I look forward to Dawn’s return tomorrow (Friday) from East London where she has spent the last ten days.

Our son, Nathan, and his girl-friend, Megan, announced in September that we are to be Grandparents in early June this year. Needless to say, rather a surprise to all concerned! Their relationship had developed out of friendship, and so has a strong foundation, and is one in which Dawn and I have confidence. They moved to Durban just before Christmas so that Megan could be closer to her family. We miss them already, and the house is very quiet! The most recent scan shows the baby to be a girl, so we look forward excitedly to welcoming little Rebecca into our lives and family in a few months.

Our daughter, Cassie, has had a difficult two years health-wise, eventually being diagnosed eighteen months ago with an under-active thyroid. We chose to go the slower, Homeopathic route in dealing with it, and she has at last regained her energy and is back to the daughter we remember! She has begun working part-time, and is beginning to think seriously about her future, all of which is hugely positive.


Thank you to you all for your involvement and commitment to parish life during 2011. Once again – big or small – your contributions of time, talents and resources, have made a meaningful difference. My special thanks to my wife, Dawn, for her ongoing support and love in what has been another challenging year for us personally; to Cheryl Rogers who has continued to be a power-house of organisation in the office and my sincere thanks to Cheryl for what she does both in and beyond the call of duty; to our outgoing Churchwardens and Council, thank you for your support and contribution to the leadership of the parish during 2011, and as a smaller group than usual for carrying a heavier load; to the Ministry Team and support ministries, thank you for your ongoing dedication in keeping our worship and pastoral care alive and well; to Julian Kok and Danny Adonis, for your help particularly with Sunday services in my absences due to Archdeaconry duties or leave; to Steve Verryn, thank you for your unflagging support and friendship, and for your commitment to Corpus Christi as our resident Deacon over a number of years. Steve, we wish you well and pray for you as you prepare for your ordination next month.

Bless you!


Churchwardens' Report to Annual Vestry 29 January 2012

 It is our pleasure and privilege to present you with the report for the year starting in January 2011.

Once again, the outgoing Council and Churchwardens would like to thank Father Mark for his dedicated leadership and hard work during the year.  We have experienced a further growth in numbers, and have succeeded in more than filling the extension to the Church completed in 2007. We also extend our thanks to those who carry out their roles in front of the congregation, namely the ministry and music teams and servers, as well as those behind the scenes, the sides people, sacristans, flower providers and tea suppliers, and not forgetting Cynthia who keeps the church spick and span, as befits a house of worship.  We are also extremely grateful for the services of Father Julian and Father Danny, who have always been ready to stand in on Sundays when Father Mark was unavoidably occupied elsewhere.  A very special word of thanks to Deacon Steve, for his regular work as part of our Sunday services, as well as organizing of confirmation and baptism classes.  The good news is that he will be ordained to the priesthood on 19th February, and we wish to offer him our sincere congratulations on this major step forward in his church career. A very important characteristic of Corpus Christi, which is evident to all, is the degree of intra-cultural harmony which we enjoy.

In addition to the 07.00 and 09.00 services on Sundays, there is the 09.00 communion service each Wednesday, which is attended by a small but faithful group, and a twice monthly service at the Glenhaven Old Age Home, which is much appreciated by the Anglican members of that community who are no longer able to travel to church on a regular basis.

The administration of our parish affairs continues without hitches, thanks to Cheryl.

Our Children’s Church has gone from strength to strength, thanks to Barbara Primmer, and her team.  It is always well attended, and some parents complain that they are dragged out of bed on a Sunday morning by their children who don’t want to miss out.

The Diocesan Synod was held in September, attended by your churchwardens.  Many subjects were discussed, including long needed changes to the Diocesan rules.  A full report on Synod will be available shortly.

A highlight of our year was our 30th Anniversary Celebration, held on June 19th, close to the Feast of Corpus Christi. This was celebrated with a Parish lunch and spit braai, and was a great success.  This also marked the inauguration of the Corpus Christi Family Cross, which has since a week in the homes of a number of parishioners, coupled with a visit from members of the ministry team to celebrate evening prayer with the family, and sometimes, friends.  Those families who have hosted the cross so far have all found it to have influenced their lives in a very positive sense.  The cross will hopefully continue to do the rounds during the year to come.

We have continued to support Louis Botha Homes, thanks to Penny Craven, who has made a considerable impact on the lives of a family of children there.  As this family is moving on we need to find someone to take over from her to continue the good work.  Any volunteers?  We have also supplied a good number of food parcels to Tumelong Mission, thanks to Leezal Peterson. The Corpus Christi tea garden at the Irene Homes Fete was a great success last year, thanks to dedicated motivation from Mary Verryn. Once again the Christmas party at Maboloko Haven was also very well received with more children than expected arriving, but all left satisfied.  Elsje Rudman is continuing to quietly support the WAR (Women Against Rape) movement by collecting packing and sending parcels for rape victims.

The Church Property has been improved by the addition of a fixed platform outside the North door of the hall, the addition of gutters and the painting of the walls and the clearing of the passage between the hall and the fence. The existing Borehole was tested and fitted with a pump enabling the sprinkler system to be fully utilized.  We also have a new signboard to welcome old and new parishioners.  Our thanks to Peter Davies for all his efforts to improve the property.  The property has now been fitted with “Green Lighting” using new concept lights to illuminate the car park and in the church.  This qualifies us for a rebate on the cost of procurement and installation as well as enabling an estimated saving of 25 to 30% in electricity bills, so that the initial cost should be recovered in three to five years.  This also means that we are contributing to making a difference to the environment.

Inside the church, the chairs used by the ministers which were a gift from a parishioner many years ago, have been reupholstered and are looking very good indeed.

Last, but not least, the garden is looking wonderful, thanks mainly to the efforts of Wendy Sturdy and her team.

In closing, we, as your churchwardens wish to thank all those others who have contributed to our parish life in many ways as well as by occupying the pews on Sunday mornings.

Tuelo Mogashoa
Lex Jackson
Peter Davies (Alternate).