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Bishop Joshua Louw’s Column – Oct 2023

Psalm 121:1-4

1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from?

2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; 4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

 

Dear Friends

In our everchanging and challenging world where we are confronted with so many challenges, the word of God continues to give us courage to carry on. In the few verses from Psalm 121 which I have chosen for this article, the psalmist encourages us to look towards the mountains (upwards) and know that our God will be our help in troubled times. God will watch over us even when things seem as a loss.

Thank you for your messages of support for me and my family as we mourned the loss of Joan’s brother, Stanley Marinus. Your prayers and support kept us going. It is much appreciated.

We have experienced real stormy weather recently and many of our communities in the Western Cape have been badly affected. Thank you for your help and support when called upon. With the constant change in weather patterns, we can never say that we are over it, though it feels like it. I want to encourage you to continue supporting the work of Hope Africa as they are our provincial social development arm and respond to crises across Southern Africa.

We have been praying for peace in the middle-east, especially for a just resolution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine. As we pray for peace, let us also pray for the emancipation of God’s people in Palestine (Christians, Jews, Muslims and others). It is important for us to know that when we condemn the Israeli regime for their cruelty against the Palestinian people, we are not talking about the Israel of the bible, but a cruel and oppressive regime. Remember that Jesus said that he is coming to make all things new, all of us who believe in Him are the new Jerusalem of Israel. We are the chosen people and part of our duty is to work for justice for all God’s people, irrespective of where they are. We are to condemn all brutality and wars in our world whether it is from Russia, Israel, Hamas or the USA. We want a peaceful and just world.

On the home-front we are confronted with ongoing violent conflicts and it seems that those in power do not have the political will to do anything about it. The poor and vulnerable are the people who suffer most. It is with this as background that churches have been called to action. Watch this space for an update.

In the meantime, gang violence and extortion are still rife on the Cape Flats. NGO’s including Hope Africa, have been targeted to pay protection money to work in our townships. Where will it all end if we don’t do something? As people of prayer, we are busy planning an Ecumenical prayer march through parts of Manenberg on Sunday, 12 November at 3pm and you are all invited to join in. I know that some of you might be saying that prayer is not enough but I am seeing this as an essential first step as we engage.

Amid all of this, let us find comfort in Psalm 121 and keep focussing on God for courage and wisdom.

Our matriculants are going to start their final exams and I ask you to keep them in prayer, together with those in lower grades and tertiary institutions. Examinations can be a very stressful period. Let us be gentle with one another and assist our students where we can.

We had a most wonderful Clergy conference. I want to thank the Canons of our diocese who were tasked with the planning and execution of it as well as all those who assisted them. A special word of thanks to the Church of the Holy Spirit, Kirstenhof, who allowed us to use their beautiful space. We really appreciate it. We had wonderful facilitators in Professor Nadine Bouwers-Du Toit and Dr Bonita Bennett, thank you for your generous sharing of knowledge which has enriched us. Lay Canon Emma Arogundade, your wellness exercises were indeed enriching tools which I am sure we will use. Thanks to all the parishes for you financial support to make this a reality.

A few placements were made:

The Venerable Reeva Mulder has been appointed as the next rector of All Saints, Plumstead as of 1 February 2024.
The Reverend Kevin David from the Anglican Diocese of Mauritius has been appointed rector of St Aidan’s, Lansdowne as of 1 February 2024.
The Reverend Grant Walters has been appointed Provincial Executive Officer as of 1 February 2024.

Congratulations to our Canon Theologian and Dean of Studies, Professor John Klaasen on his appointment as the Dean of the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of the Free State as of 1 April 2024. We wish you well as you take this new leap in faith.

Let us continue to keep the parishes in interregnum in our prayers, praying that God will send them a faithful shepherd.

Like the seasons of the year, yes we had a very wet and cold winter, but it seems as if spring has finally arrived. So also in life, we sometimes go through dark times, but that will also come to pass and the light will come through. Remember that God is present even in the darkness.

God bless!

+Joshua
Table Bay.

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