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Bishop Joshua Louw’s Column – Aug 2023

Dear Friends 

Thanksgiving, honour and praise belong to our God.  

 Greetings to you as we celebrate Women’s Month and the Month of Compassion. Women’s Month allows us to thank God for all women in the world and our lives for the successes and struggles they overcame. We pray for equality and respect among all of God’s people.  

 The month of Compassion allows the church to reach out to all those in need and to highlight organisations that are doing excellent work among the marginalised in our communities. Let us support those good initiatives.  

 Diocesan Social Responsibility workshop  

We had our first social responsibility workshop, and we want to thank Hope Africa, who facilitated the process. At the gathering, we elected a cleric and layperson to journey with Hope Africa to determine how to establish a formal structure and identify our social responsibility priorities. We give thanks to God for the work of Fikelela in the diocese, as this new structure and the YPM office will take over its work of social responsibility. Fikelela will now focus solely on the Children and Youth Centre in Khayelitsha.  

 Taxi strike  

We thank God it is over because we know it could have had a far more devastating impact on our communities. We give thanks for the involvement of the religious communities and civil society in finding a solution and pray for ongoing cooperation so that situations like these can be averted.  

 COTT 30th anniversary  

What a wonderful occasion we’ve had in celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the College of the Transfiguration in Makanda (Grahamstown). It was good to look back and give thanks to God for the other theological colleges like St Peter’s – FEDSEM, St Paul’s, Grahamstown, Le Lapa Le Jesus, Lesotho and St Bedes, Umtata, which gave birth to the founding of COTT. Looking at the portraits on the walls on the walls of the Tutu (common) room, we realised how many priests and even bishops were trained there. One then values the positive impact of this institution in ACSA and beyond. It was good to meet up with classmates, lecturers and others as we could share our stories and dream together of COTT for the future. All ex-students of COTT and its forerunners, as well as those who want to be friends of COTT, are asked to register to be on the database. Each diocese has an alumni convenor, and the college has requested Venerable Mkhuseli Lujabe to be ours, do expect to hear from him soon.  

 Mother’s Union 

We were blessed by the World Wide President, Mrs Sheran Harper, of the Mothers Union, visiting our region and diocese and preaching at St Cyprian’s, Langa. What an occasion.  

 Diocesan Layministers  

We thank Archbishop Thabo for initiating the annual gathering of lay ministers with their Bishops. This year’s gathering was a Eucharistic service with our Archbishop on the couch or around the fire, to be interviewed from a list of questions drawn up by the lay ministers. Archbishop, thank you for your wisdom and guidance as we, together bishops, priests, and laity, commit ourselves to the work of God. We also want to give thanks for our first diocesan preaching course in a very long time that is in progress. Watch the space as we hope to license those ‘graduates’ soon. Thanks to COTT, who has guided us in this, the Dean of Studies, and his team of lecturers. We appreciate it.  

 Vocational Guidance Conference  

It is always a humbling experience when men and women come to ask the church to discern their vocation inside or outside the church. The one certain that we always have is that God calls. To the candidates presented, thank you for allowing the church to help you discern the direction. Congratulations, therefore, to the nine persons, as we’re able to determine together what your calling was inside or outside the church. May you be steadfast in that calling and be faithful to God.  

Rest in peace Revd Marcus Slingers  

As much as we experience death, it continues to be a stranger, often unwelcome. We, therefore, want to express condolences and prayers as Colleen, Joshua, Brad and Lauren, together with Marcus’s mom and the extended family, will have to face the future without Marcus. May you be assured of God’s infinite love for you and our prayers and support during your journey. Marcus will always be remembered for his love for God and God’s people, especially the children and young people. May his soul rest in peace and rise in glory.  

 ACSA Young People’s Ministry Month 

We look forward to ACSA Young People’s Ministry month in September and our annual YPM service, which will take place on 3rd September at 3 pm at St George’s, Silvertown. Let’s all be there, young and older, to support our young people in ministry.  

Diocesan Synod 2024  

Please pray for the Synod Advisory Committee 2024, as our first meeting for our Synod will take place from 13-15 June 2024. Pray for our Manager of Synod, the Archdeacon to the ordinary Terry Lester. More information will be made available as we progress, but remember that Synod meets every three years and is the highest decision-making body in the diocese. So, please start thinking about our diocese and possible changes you would like to propose.  

 Let us always remember that there is so much to give thanks to God, so focus on those things, and I am sure that it will inspire us to face the challenges we are confronted with. 

God bless! +Joshua, Table Bay 

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