Bishopscourt Media

Inviting young people to join Taizé Pilgrimage

Do you want to join thousands of young people from across the world in worship, learning and fellowship in Cape Town in September?

If yes, then sign up for the Taizé Pilgrimage of Trust from 25 to 29 September. The deadline for signing up is 21 July and you can do it here:

Groups have already signed up from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Swaziland, Rwanda, Cote d’Ivoire, Lithuania, Slovakia, France, Germany and the USA. 

Over the five days of the Pilgrimage, you will stay with pre-selected families in Cape Town. During the days, you will visit “places of hope” and have two big prayer sessions a day at the central venue, St Joseph’s College in Rondebosch in Cape Town’s southern suburbs. In the afternoons you will attend workshops on various relevant topics.

Want to know more about this year’s pilgrimage. Look here:

And more about the Taize movement here:

More than 80 congregations in Cape Town have agreed to open their doors to participants. The very low R250 registration fee covers accommodation with families in Cape Town, seven meals at the main venue and local bus travel. Once you have registered, you will receive detailed registration information.

Here’s the sign-up page again:

Bishop Patrick Matolengwe dies, aged 82

From left, Bishops Bethlehem Nopece, Ebenezer Ntlali and Patrick Matolengwe with former President Kgalema Motlanthe at a service celebrating Bishop Patrick’s ministry and 80th birthday. (Photo: Graaff-Reinet Advertiser)

The Right Revd Dr Patrick Monwabisi Matolengwe, a former Bishop Suffragan of Cape Town, a former Dean of Milwaukee in the United States, a former senior official of the SA Council of Churches, and an assistant bishop in a number of dioceses, has died in Johannesburg.

He died peacefully at the Helen Joseph Hospital, said a notice from the Provincial Executive Office at Bishopscourt.

“He died surrounded by his wife, Sapho, and children. The funeral will be held in his home town, Graaff-Reinet, at a date to be announced once family has finalized the arrangements,” the notice added.

Bishop Matolengwe was born in Graaff-Reinet, trained as a teacher at Lovedale and then turned to the ministry. He served in both rural and urban areas, notably at Nyanga in Cape Town.

His ministry in Cape Town coincided with the crises caused by the apartheid government when it tried to enforce the pass laws by repeatedly destroying people’s homes in informal settlements and forcibly removing the wives and children of migrant workers to the Eastern Cape.

He served as Bishop Suffragan of Cape Town in the time of Archbishops Philip Russell and Desmond Tutu, and in 1988 moved to Milwaukee in Wisconsin. There he was first appointed Dean of All Saints Cathedral and then Assisting Bishop in the diocese of Milwaukee.

He continued his theological studies in the United States, earning a Master’s degree in Theological Studies at Nashotah House seminary in 1992 and a Doctor of Ministry degree at the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio in 1996. Nashotah House also conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Divinity (honoris causa).

After returning home, he led the work of the South African Council of Churches in co-ordinating its work with that of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

After retiring he served in the Parish of St. Phillip’s, Graaff-Reinet, and as Assisting Bishop in the Diocese of Kimberley and Kuruman. Latterly, he has assisted at the parish of Christ the King in Sophiatown.

This report was updated after first publication with the detail of Bishop Matolengwe’s educational qualifications in the U.S., which were kindly supplied by his family.

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity – 30 May to 9 June

The Church Unity Commission has published a resource document — including prayers in 10 languages, readings and a proposal for pulpit exchanges — for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which lasts from Ascension to Pentecost.

Click on the link which follows to download the resource:

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2019 Ascension to Pentecost30 May – 9 June 2019

To learn more, see the CUC website >>

Candidates for election as Bishop of St Mark the Evangelist

An Elective Assembly of the Diocese of St Mark the Evangelist will choose a successor to the retiring bishop, the Right Revd Martin Breytenbach, from the 9th to 11th July.

Please pray for the Elective Assembly and for the candidates nominated for election:

The Revd Aaron CHITUTA
The Rev Canon Dr Vicentia KGABE
The Revd David MANAMELA
The Revd Samuel Mpole MASEMOLA
The Revd Lazarus Majahe MOKOBAKE
The Revd Canon Shearsby MUPFUDZAPAKE
The Very Revd Luke PRETORIUS
The Revd Dr Ananias Palolo RADEBE

Ven Horace Arenz
Provincial Executive Officer

Sermon, Liturgy & Youth resources for World Environment Day – June 5

Ahead of World Environment Day on June 5, Green Anglicans have released a special 6-page guide providing Sermon and Liturgical resources, and have also shared a new Manual on Care for Creation for Youth.

Find these resources here:

Invitation to Anglican Board of Education AGM & Public Meeting – June 6

This meeting of Anglican schools and clergy will take place at “Bishops” Diocesan College, Camp Ground Road, Rondebosch, Cape Town at 17h30 on Thursday 6th June and the meeting will be held in the Raymond Ackerman Centre, first right turn after entering the College.

The programme will be as follows:

17h30 Drinks and Snacks
18h00 Opening Prayer and Welcome: Bishop Peter Lee
(Chairman of ABE)
CEO Report: Revd Roger Cameron
Audited Financial Report tabled
Questions and Answers
18h30 Address: The Revd Jaques Pretorius
“The DNA of Anglican Schools- the challenge of oversight”
Questions and Discussion

The Revd Jaques Pretorius has served as a priest in the Diocese of Natal, a consultant in business strategy and organization, a chaplain to St John’s College, Johannesburg and has also served on the boards of St Mary’s School, Waverley and Michaelhouse. He is presently completing his M.Ed at UCT, where his focus of research has been on the governance of Anglican schools.

19h30 Closing Blessing: Revd Reverend Delani Mthembu (Deputy Chairman of ABE)

We look forward to welcoming you to a thought provoking evening.

PRINT the programme for the meeting (download PDF) >>

Apply now for education grants for clergy children

Applications are invited for educational grants for children of clergy from the Robert Selby Taylor Will Trust.

The deadline for this year’s applications is August 31, 2019.

Under the rules of the trust, grants are limited to the children of stipendiary clergy only. Applications should be submitted to Bishopscourt, endorsed by the Bishop of the Diocese in which the cleric applying for a grant is licensed.

The grants do not cover the costs of clergy studies or pre-school and preparatory education. The Robert Selby Taylor Will Trust Fund should be regarded as “last resort” rather than first port of call for funding.

To download full details and an application form, click on the links below:

Applications for financial assistance to the Robert Selby Taylor Will Trust [PDF] >>


Archbishop Makhulu honoured for helping SA’s liberation

An archbishop who was brought up in Pimville, Soweto has received one of South Africa’s highest honours from President Cyril Ramaphosa.

No, it wasn’t Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, who grew up in Pimville after his family was forcibly removed from Alexandra north of Johannesburg in the 1970s. It was the retired Archbishop of Central Africa, the Most Revd Walter Khotso Makhulu, who lived much of his life in self-imposed exile, and who has been recognised for his contribution to the country’s liberation.

At a ceremony in Pretoria on Thursday, President Ramaphosa conferred on Archbishop Makhulu the “Order of the Companions of OR Tambo” at the annual ceremony during which national honours are conferred on distinguished individuals.

The citation lauded Makhulu “for his courageous contribution to the fight for liberation.” It continued: “He followed his calling and lived the ideals of lending a helping hand to his fellow human beings. He provided refuge, comfort and family to young activists arriving in exile to join the South African liberation struggle.”

After growing up in Pimville, he was one of the young ordinands trained by members of the Community of the Resurrection at St Peter’s Seminary in Johannesburg before the seminary was expelled from the city under apartheid laws.

After serving a parish in Soweto, he moved to Francistown, where in the early 1960s he gave refuge, food and clothing to young activists fleeing South Africa and Namibia, raising enough money to buy a house in which to accommodate them.

After further training at the Selly Oak Colleges in Birmingham, he served as a priest in London, where he met and married Rosemary, an English church worker. Prevented from living in South Africa by the Mixed Marriages Act, the Makhulus spent the rest of his ministry in the UK, in Geneva – where he was the secretary responsible for African refugees in the Commission on Inter-Church Aid Refugee and World Service at the World Council of Churches – and in Botswana, where he was Bishop of Botswana and later Archbishop of Central Africa.

In Botswana he continued his ministry to South African refugees at a time when apartheid military forces were launching raids into Botswana and attacking exiles and those who gave them support.

For more than a decade from 1980, he clandestinely funnelled hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Norwegian government and churches to institutions and individuals in South Africa with the objective of providing legal, educational, medical and other humanitarian assistance. For this work, the Norwegians called him – in a book on his work – “the Church’s Secret Agent”.

He is a past president of the World Council of Churches and the All Africa Conference of Churches, a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (CMG), and a recipient of France’s Ordre des Palmes Académiques as well as Botswana’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Order of Honour.

He now lives in retirement in London.

Cape Town Diocese responds to Christchurch killings

The Diocese of Cape Town have declared their solidarity with those affected by the recent attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

In a statement, the Diocese’s Standing Committee also called for “an end to such wanton acts of violence and senseless killing of others, whatever their creed, colour or political persuasion.”

The full text of the statement follows:

The Diocesan Standing Committee ( DSC) of the Diocese of Cape Town met on Saturday the 23rd March 2019 at St Paul’s Church, Bree Street, Cape Town.

The gathering expressed its support of the act of solidarity held on the steps of The Cathedral of St George the Martyr on the evening of Sunday 17th March in memory of the victims of the recent mosque attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The candlelight vigil was led by Bishop Garth Counsell, Dean Michael Weeder and Sheikh Sa-Abdullah Khan. The vigil, largely a silent one – interspersed with prayers from the Koran and soft chants of lament for the dead – lasted for 50 minutes. Each minute served as a reminder of each person who died during the attack on the Al Noor and the Linwood Mosques in Christchurch.

The meeting noted the significance of its deliberations happening within the context of the Bo-Kaap, a place characterised by a history of deep social and familial ties between Muslims and Christians. These bonds of affection are best expressed in respectful and reciprocal acts of compassion and embrace when the need to be comforted is most evident.

The meeting expressed the prayerful hope that those who were killed during this most holy season of Lent would know the peace of eternity and that their families would find comfort in the way many in the global community chose to respond, in love, to their plight.

The members of Standing Committee further pledged their ongoing support and prayers for all affected and called for an end to such wanton acts of violence and senseless killing of others, whatever their creed, colour or political persuasion.

After Mozambique & Christchurch – A Lenten reflection by N Barney Pityana

So if you think you are standing,
Watch out that you do not fall. – 1 Corinthians 10:12

In recent days or weeks there have been reports of catastrophic disasters that have caused the loss of life of 100s of innocent people. They range from the 40 people mowed down by automatic gunfire while worshipping in a mosque in the city of Christchurch, Aoteroa/New Zealand, a city dedicated to Jesus Christ and to the Church of God. The unsuspecting worshippers posed no threat to anyone. They were simply worshipping God as they have always known how to. The fact that it was in faraway New Zealand and not Pakistan or Yemen or even Syria, and for the ex-Capetonian, Ziyaad and his family who emigrated to New Zealand twelve years ago in search of a better life for his three daughters, it was a near-death experience. To the Australian, who was filled with hate and an avowed racist none of this mattered. 40 innocent people died that day. Pain and the anger were felt everywhere as tributes poured into New Zealand and a stunned nation, as the youthful Prime Minister, Ms Jacinda Arderne, led the nation in mourning. But miracles happen. Out of misfortune, a flood of compassion and nobility of spirit have been unleashed. The tragedy has brought Christians closer to the Muslim people in grief, and New Zealand has defiantly reaffirmed its commitment to provide sanctuary to refugees and asylum seekers regardless of race, religion, colour or creed.

On the early morning of Sunday 10 March 2019, ET302 bound for Nairobi crashed at Bishoftu, within minutes of take-off from Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport killing all 157 passengers and crew on board. The plane was a Boeing 737 800Max, similar to the one that had shortly before crashed in Indonesia. What caused the plane to crash is yet to be determined but the manufacturer’s technical faults as well as human error cannot be ruled out. Among the passengers who perished were young pilots and beautiful crew members that only Ethiopian Airlines can boast of, many United Nations officials bound for Nairobi to attend a United Nations Conference that was to have opened that day, and other passengers that included an eminent academic from Ghana. Ethiopian Airlines is arguably Africa’s best airline, with a reputation for safety and efficiency and customer care. On that fateful Sunday it was not to be. The honour and reputation, let alone image of Ethiopia, was put to the test. It was a national disaster. The cream of Ethiopia and the pride of Africa may well have crashed with ET302 that fateful morning.

Last week, on March 15 and 16, a large swathe of southern East African countries principally Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi were struck by the Tropical Cyclone Idai. The cyclone hit with such force and devastation of wind and rain storms that it was a massive destructive force at times blowing at 194km/h, leveling all on its pathway causing death and destruction of monumental proportions. In its wake it left an inland ocean and waterways in the coastlands of Mozambique, muddy roads, broken bridges, broken homes, torrential rains followed making rescue efforts hazardous. Hospitals, schools and many public buildings and infrastructure that are destroyed render aid efforts calamitous.

There is fear that the devastation caused by Cyclone Idai will be followed by famine and even more deaths in the countries affected: disease from water-borne diseases, contaminated water systems from rotting human and animal corpses floating on waterways. The destruction of food supplies has been unprecedented. The United Nations has declared that this natural disaster has been the worst to hit the southern hemisphere within living memory.

Beira, Mozambique’s second city, has been reduced to a ghost city. The city suffered the most impact as a result of the cyclone: houses, hospitals, schools, roads – bodies are being washed ashore from as far away as Zimbabwe! More than 600 people (at the last count!) in Mozambique alone are estimated to have died in the storms in Mozambique, hundreds more are missing and may be presumed dead, farmlands and livestock destroyed, property was shattered and wherever eye could see there was but utter devastation of apocalyptic proportions. People are gathered on rooftops, others on higher ground, and yet more are to be found holding on for dear life on tree tops. Misery and hope, fear and horror are etched on their faces in equal proportions.

Rescue efforts are underway, funerals follow, and grief will strike Mozambique like a pall of death for many years to come. Indeed, life will take many years to get normalized. The nations are in mourning. There are appeals for humanitarian aid and nations are responding to this humanitarian disaster. Proudly, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Lindiwe Sisulu, has undertaken that South Africa will provide all necessary aid and the SANDF is once again on the ground in Mozambique.

Dada, is a peasant farmer in the Chimanimani District of Eastern Zimbabwe, in Manicaland. He was found wandering with hoe in hand, dazed at what he had been through. “My bean crop was ready for harvesting,” he said, “… the maze was close. I am back to zero.” He lost his two prized bulls also that were indispensable for his agricultural activities.

The question is often posed, ‘How come that this happened to them?’ Was it because they were Muslims, or was it that God’s wrath was being visited on the unfaithful? Those among them who were devout Christians could it be that it was because of their sinfulness or that they were neglecting their life of prayer? “No, I tell you;” says Jesus, “but unless you repent, you will perish as they did” (Luke 13:3). From those who stand upright even more is expected.

We have come to the middle of the Lenten period of reflection and fasting and prayer. Those of us who have tried to maintain a discipline of prayer and study, of worship and fasting may well be feeling that “Well done” and that you have satisfied all that is necessary for salvation. You may even observe all about you and wonder how so many who live evil and immoral lives manage to survive untouched by the hand of God in anger. A ‘holier than thou’ attitude can at times be irresistible. Those, by the way, are not ideas and behaviours uncharacteristic of good Christian men and women!

Some of us have been engaged with Bishop Rowan Williams studying his book, BEING DISCIPLES: Essentials of Christian Life. Williams has been guiding us into understanding what it takes to be disciples of Christ, and to understand the substance of being Christians and how that affects the way we live our lives as disciples of Christ: Faith, Hope and Love, Forgiveness, Holiness and Life in the Spirit. This week we delved deeply into the challenge that most of us have about Forgiveness. We discovered that forgiveness for Christian people is a very difficult if not impossible ask. The Crucified Lord prays on the Cross, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). What is a Christian responsibility when we actually know that the acts undertaken were part of a plot or a plan to suppress, and to deny the humanity of another? We understood that forgiveness is in the nature of being God. Without the quality of being forgiving, God ceases to be God. However, precisely because it is in the nature of God to forgive, as disciples of Christ and those created in the image and likeness of God forgiveness is what we receive by grace and what we give to others in charity.

Following Williams, when we say in the Lord’s Prayer “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. We ask that God who sustains in us the sense of our humanity in all its fullness and its richness (to) give to us “those relations with others that will keep us human, aware of our mortality and of our need, yet nourishingly confident that we are loved” (2016:38). We are reminded that in the eucharist not only is it a Feast of Thanksgiving for the acts of salvation, it is also a memorial that we are undeserving, and of our unworthiness. As a memorial the eucharist is the knowledge that by faith that which God has promised is in fact happening, and its fulfillment is in the mystery of the breaking of the bread and the sharing of the chalice.

The same thoughts were not far from the mind of Paul in the Letter to the Corinthians. Indeed, the Christian faithful were inclined to be arrogant, smug, self-righteous and ‘holier-than-thou’. Drawing from the Hebrew Scripture we are told that the ancestors were “baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.” Yes, it could be certified that the people of Israel “drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ (1 Cor 10:4). And so, their credentials were rock solid. They were beyond dispute. In other words they had the assurance of salvation; they had experienced the saving hand of God; they were aware that God was in their midst as a protective cloud against their enemies, and they could hear the voice of God hovering above to guide them to safety across the Red Sea. In all, they celebrated through the ups and downs of the wilderness. They had become the people of God and God had become their God. They were walking tall. The warning then is that God must never be taken for granted. God cannot get captured to satisfy our every whim and fancy. The prophetic word is: “watch out”, lest you too fall.

In St Luke’s Gospel we are reminded of the plight of many in Galilee and Judea who were visited by tragedy. The Galileans had a reputation as rebels and freedom fighters. They were slaughtered by the Roman gendarme just as they were making their sacrifices in the temple in Jerusalem. The inclination by the Judaeans was that they suffered because of their evil ways. When Pilate was building the aqueduct to provide fresh water for Jerusalem, the Tower of Siloam fell on the construction workers killing 18 of them. These examples are cited only for Jesus to exclaim with an emphatic, “No…” for the second time in a few short sentences, “NO, I tell you…” it was not because they were the worst sinners and offenders, or that you who were not struck by misfortune that God condoned your own acts of infidelity and sinfulness. You, too, will perish “just as they did” unless you repent.

To make the point, Jesus then tells a parable of the barren fruit tree, the effect of which is that Jesus Christ, the vinedresser intercedes and gives God’s people a second chance: “If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down” (Luke 13:9). The barren fruit tree here symbolizes the people of Israel who are smug and self-righteous but fail to show forth the fruits of the Spirit. They are unrepentant and as such will be excluded from the fruits of salvation. For that reason, the soil no longer nurtures them as they are unresponsive to the nutrients that the soil makes available to them,

So, if you think you are standing, Watch our that you do not fall.

The only hope of salvation that the people of faith have is not just in their own capacity and strength to stand, for they will surely fall, but to acknowledge that “God is faithful.” It is by the grace of God that we stand; and we stand only for the purposes of God and not our own.

As we draw towards the end of the period of Lent, we do well to ask, ‘Are we standing?’. If we ask that then we should also question what our role is in the disasters that engulf our world. What are we doing to combat hate crimes and promote tolerance of difference: racism, xenophobia, abuse of women and children, hatred of different sexuality at birth and by preferences or inclination. What do we do in our daily lives to promote the values of the kingdom, and to create a world of peace and reconciliation or to create conditions necessary for the flourishing of the human person, rather than the destruction of that which God has created? At times like these faith calls upon us to express human solidarity in practical ways. That is the basis on which the Archbishop of Cape Town has issued a call for assistance to the church in Mozambique that, after all, is part of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa.

The most unforgivable heresy is one that claims favour with God for our evil ways, and that justifies hatred and prejudice as the will of God. What are we doing about climate change? How do we contribute towards the escalation of global warming resulting in unusual weather patterns? Could the Ethiopian Airlines pilots have been better trained and supervised more carefully? We now know that Boeing, the American aircraft manufacturer sold aircraft with key safety features as optional extras. The result is the tragedy that unfolded that morning. It was a case of greedy and aggressive capitalism gone mad. How do we make amends for what has been? Gift of the Givers are already on the ground in Mozambique with humanitarian assistance. The Red Cross worldwide and other agencies like Medicins sans Frontieres are all rallying to provide humanitarian aid.

So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall. 1 Cor 10:12


N Barney Pityana GCOB
Lent 3, 2019
Cathedral Church of St Alban the Martyr
Pretoria, 24 March 2019

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