Ad Clerum: Winter 2010
Ad Clerum: Winter 2010
Dear Friends in Christ,
By the time you get this I will be in Australia:
_ Visiting my sister Yvette and her family in Tasmania from 11th-21st June
_ Visiting Sarah’s brother Steve, her sister Caroline and their families in Northern Queensland from 22ndJune-2nd July.
Then I go to Singapore:
_ Leading a Vision and Exposure Team from the ACSA from 3rd-12th July (including Luke Pretorius, Shashi Ledwaba and John Galane from this Diocese)
_ Learning more about some of the ministries there that could benefit us from 12th-31st July. I also plan to have some rest, do some reading and writing, pray, and possibly visit Malaysia for a few days.
Please keep me in your prayers – and I will definitely keep praying for you (and for the World Cup and Bafana Bafana). I am assured that they have televisions in Australia and Singapore, so I will watch when I can! After 10 years of your Bishop, 8½ of them with Sarah suffering from cancer before she died, I am tired and in need of a good break. Serving the church as a Bishop is exhausting on every level – physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually. I look forward to returning refreshed, rested and renewed.
Our big family news is that Tasha (my 2nd daughter who is a Doctor) got engaged to Karl-Robert Gloeck in April. They plan to be married in Pretoria on 6th November. I am delighted!
Please read both sections that follow, on growing the Diocese and Confirmations, because they contain some important information.
Growing the Diocese
1. Make Disciples
First, never lose sight of our “core business” – if we fail in this we fail everything! It is
summarised in the Diocesan Vision at the bottom of the page. God calls us to make disciples of Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20). As more of our people become true disciples we will become more effective in mission and ministry. People will discover their gifts and receive God’s power and love to use them. This will lead to:
_ Better ministry in the church
_ Evangelism in the community
_ Community development and other ministries of compassion.
It is very encouraging to see how “Rooted in Jesus” is spreading in many of our parishes –
and I can see the difference! This is our primary Diocesan tool for making disciples. Please
remember that all Confirmation Candidates are expected to complete at least Book 1, and Lay Ministers must complete at least Book 2.
I also hope and trust that, as we begin to apply what we learnt at the Langham Preaching
Seminar, our preaching and teaching will begin to bear more fruit. It is very important for those who attended to keep meeting with their groups to help one another prepare good sermons. By the way, it looks as though our 2nd Langham Preaching Seminar will take place from 21st-25th March next year – its focus will be on preaching from the Old Testament.
2. Six Archdeaconries Next Year
The Diocese is growing! We continue to multiply parishes and plant churches. Diocesan
Standing Committee (DSC) and Chapter have agreed that, in order to support this process we will need another Archdeaconry at the beginning of next year. This will create room for
growth, and give the Archdeacons more manageable areas to oversee. So, as from the beginning of 2011 the Archdeaconries will look something like this:
2.1 Central Archdeaconry
_ Christ Church Polokwane
_ St Matthew’s Seshego
_ Extension 44 Mission
_ New Churches to be planted in Polokwane and Seshego
2.2 Western Archdeaconry
_ Baken-Matji Mission
_ Lephalale Mission
2.3 Southern Archdeaconry
St Andrew’s Parish will multiply into two (which still need to be named):
_ Modimolle with St Michael’s United Church
2.4 Lepelle Archdeaconry
_ Sekhukhuneland (already organised into Clusters)
_ St Mark’s College
Both of these parishes face massive challenges for growth – especially in the south-eastern
2.5 Mopani Archdeaconry
_ St Luke (Phalaborwa region)
_ Baobab Mission
2.6 Northern Archdeaconry
_ Sibasa (already organised into clusters)
_ Musina Mission
If you have any different suggestions about how the Archdeaconries should be made up, please tell your Archdeacon, who will bring it to Chapter.
3 Addition and Multiplication
You can tell my Engineering background – I love maths, especially when it comes to the Kingdom of God! Over the last few years we have learned a lot about multiplying parishes and adding new congregations.
Multiplication is an orderly process:
1)We start by forming a large parish in to clusters
2) Each cluster forms a cluster council, opens a bank account... and moves towards functioning as an independent parish
3) The clusters become parishes (either with a stipendiary Rector or with a self-supporting
Priest in Charge).
Of course there are all sorts of other implications – like forming new MU and AWF Branches.
3.1.1 Multiplication in the Next Few Years
In 2011 we expect to multiply St Andrew’s into two. The new Modimolle Parish will probably
share a stipendiary Rector with St Michael’s United Church. The new Ga-Seabe Parish will
probably have a self-supporting Priest in Charge (unless they can support a Stipendiary Rector).
Two more parishes have formed clusters and are preparing to multiply sometime in the next few years:
_ Sibasa will probably multiply into two first and later into four parishes
_ Sekhukhuniland also has the potential to become four parishes eventually – although this will take time.
3.1.2 Multiplication Further Ahead
In the meantime a number of our large parishes are starting to think about multiplication,
although they still have a long way to go and it will take time. These include Letaba,
Tlhatlaganya, Lebowakgomo, Moletši, Matlala and Baken-Matji.
Addition takes place when we plant new churches. There are a few places where the need
is urgent – and many more where it would be good. The most urgent needs are in Lephalale
and Polokwane. Please pray for God’s guidance and blessing on the process.
Polokwane is growing fast! There is growing agreement that we need to plant new churches on the eastern and southern sides of the city. I will say more about this later.
Lephalale is growing even faster – with additions to the existing power station, and a massive new one, and expanded coal mining operations. The urban population alone is expected to grow from 20,000 to 60,000 in the next few years. Although we have a few small congregations in the area, we need to place a missionary priest there and start building a strong church. I have already begun to search for the right person, and to look for funds.
I expect it to take at least 5 years before Lephalale Mission can be financially self-sufficient.
4 Christ Church Cathedral
Ever since becoming Bishop I have resisted the call to have a Cathedral in the Diocese. This has been because I believe we are far from “established” as a Diocese – we still have a huge
missionary task. There are still many villages where there is no Christian Church and many
people have not year heard the Good News of Jesus Christ. So, I have believed that our
resources need to go into this missionary work and not into a cathedral.
But in the last year or so I have been thinking and praying about the needs of Polokwane itself. It is rapidly transforming from a small city into a full-scale city. I am told that it is one of the fastest growing cities in the southern hemisphere!
The open land between Polokwane and Seshego is rapidly filling up with houses.
New Suburbs are opening up to the north, east and south.
New shopping malls are opening up and existing ones are doubling in size.
If we are not wide awake, we will be left behind! Research into church growth shows that most people need their church to be within walking distance, or a very short drive, from where they live.
All of this tells me that we need a special focus on mission and ministry to the city of Polokwane-Seshego. That is one of the main purposes of a Cathedral. For example, when a new Dean is installed, the first thing he or she does at the end of the service is bless the city.
The other main purpose of a Cathedral is to be a “mother church” and meeting place for the
Diocese – and the place where the Bishop’s teaching ministry is based. Christ Church has
increasingly been fulfilling that role. Being situated close to the city centre, it also needs to
develop an inner-city ministry. This is very exciting and full of challenges.
Diocesan Finance Board, Standing Committee and Chapter have all agreed that now is the time to transform Christ Church into our Cathedral. I have met the Christ Church Council, and they have also agreed in principle – provided that we keep our focus on mission and ministry and not on buildings and structures. I couldn’t agree more!
The process of finding and appointing a Dean has begun. I will also set up a “Cathedral Committee” to oversee the process, and hope to be able to consecrate Christ Church as Cathedral of the Diocese of St Mark the Evangelist and city of Polokwane early in 2011. Please pray for this whole process – that God will be glorified, the church will be built up, and the city will be blessed.
Quite a few new appointments of Rectors and Priests in Charge have taken place in the last few years. So I have been realising that I need to remind you of the Diocesan policy about
Confirmations. Please sure that you apply all these things!
1 Theology of Confirmation
Confirmation is not mainly about being admitted to communion, although being confirmed is still a requirement to receive communion in many of our parishes. But for many years now the ACSA has allowed children to be admitted to communion on the basis of their baptism.
In our understanding today, confirmation is:
_ An opportunity for members of the church to make their own public confession of faith in God Son and Holy Spirit. At baptism their parents and godparents promised to bring them up to know the Lord. Now they are making those promises for themselves.
_ An opportunity to receive prayer and ministry for the Holy Spirit to empower them to live the Christian life and exercise ministries.
That is why our rules say that those who have been confirmed may, for example, serve on Church Councils and be licensed as Lay Ministers. There is no longer any age requirement for these things. Those who have been confirmed are expected to live an adult members of the church.
2 Putting it into Practice
Diocesan policy on confirmation is designed to help put these principles into practice. So here are some of the most important things to remember.
_ All confirmation candidates must complete at least Book 1 of Rooted in Jesus before they are confirmed should be able to recite the memory verses.
_ Candidates must be taught the meaning of the Eucharist and know how to receive communion properly.
_ If some of the candidates are able to give a short testimony of how they have come to know and love God, please include that in the service.
_ All confirmation candidates should 14 be or older on the day of confirmation.
_ Candidates should aim to be in church and ready well before the service starts. But I understand that there are sometimes transport problems. However, anyone who arrives after the reading should not be presented for confirmation.
_ The list of those to be confirmed should reach my office two weeks before the date of confirmation. Try to get the confirmation certificates to me also, so that I can sign them beforehand.
_ There should be no more than 65 candidates in one confirmation service. More than this makes it impossible to pray personally with each one! Rather have two services at different centres.
_ I always invite the clergy, lay ministers and members of a prayer/healing team to come and join me in praying for the candidates when I anoint them.
_ We generally use the colour red for confirmations and, unless I tell you otherwise, the readings are those set for the day.
_ I understand that this is a special day for the candidates and their families and therefore allow photographs during the service. But please do not allow photographs during the time of prayer and anointing. I find this very distracting. The best time for photographs is when I am handing out certificates. But please ask the people to be ready, so that I don’t have to stay for retakes afterwards!
In exceptional circumstances the Bishop may allow a small deviation from guidelines, but please apply personally to me, giving reasons – at least two weeks before the service, so that I have time to make a prayerful decision.
Thank you for helping make confirmations a special time for the candidates and a good time of worship and ministry.
Yours in Christ,
†Martin: St Mark the Evangelist
Bishop Martin Breytenbach