St Paul to the Ephesians ch 1 v 15:

‘Ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, that you may know him better’.

My dear friends in Christ

Thank you for arranging this unveiling and for turning up in such wonderful numbers on a Sunday afternoon. Actually I suppose this is the opposite of an unveiling because when you do that, you uncover something beautiful for people to see, whereas today you are wrapping up an old thing so you can stick it in the cupboard and get a new one!

In fact I am relieved that this service is not a Confirmation; we have just been adding up and I have so far confirmed 11,501 candidates, with just one Confirmation service to go.

Speaking of getting a new one, I think you all know that the elective assembly’s inability to unite behind a new bishop has caused the decision to be given to the House of Bishops of our Church. The matter is now entirely out of our hands. I have been in touch with the Archbishop who is trying to make space for the Bishops to make the election in September so we have our bishop in the new year; if that is not possible they will attend to it in February and we should have our bishop in about a year’s time. The Bishops now make this decision and our role is to offer respect and obedience to whoever is sent to us by them. If you hear silly stories that someone else thinks they are choosing the bishop, they are just that – silly. Only the bishops now have the authority to make that decision on our behalf.

The Archbishop has also consulted me in the past few days about the appointment of a Vicar General to lead the diocese until our bishop arrives, and he will make that appointment shortly. 

Acts 1:12- 2:2 'When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.'

When I called this session of synod I indicated that we have a number of reasons for meeting. There is a meeting of Provincial Synod in September for which we have to choose delegates and make any input which we wish, to that synod's agenda. We need to make certain preparations for the transition to a new bishop in this diocese and in particular we need to populate various committees for a 2-3 year term of office so that my successor is not forced to call synod in a hurry. We need to launch a new phase of our diocesan planning process, to which end I have asked everyone to send in reports which can be given to my successor both as a briefing for her (or maybe him) and as a basis for the next phase of planning over which the new bishop will preside.

Some years ago when we were all focussing on the renewal of the Holy Spirit in the life of the churches, I heard a sermon on Acts chapter 1 which has stuck in my memory. The speaker was asking why, if the Holy Spirit came in Acts 2, we bother to study Acts 1; indeed, why would God bother to put Acts 1 in the Bible at all?
He answered his own question by saying that of course the Spirit had been around for a long time before the Day of Pentecost and indeed Jesus had explicitly breathed the Spirit upon his disciples before his Ascension. He went on to use the analogy of a sailing ship: if the sails are set and the ship is ready to go before the wind blows, it will catch the breeze and move powerfully through the water. But if the sails are tangled up, the decks are untidy and the crew is asleep, the wind will simply create damage and confusion, blowing the tackle into the sea and setting panic among the sailors. His point of course was that because the church spent Acts 1 preparing for the coming of the Spirit even in what seems like rather mundane administration, they were ready for Pentecost and were able to take off freely when the wind blew.
Look for a moment at three key aspects of Acts Ch 1.

To the Diocese of Christ the King

I would like to thank all of you for your love and support over a very long time, and especially in this glorious anniversary year of 2015.
From the great service at Eldorado Park with Archbishop Thabo on Valentine’s Day through to the joyful gathering in Vanderbijlpark in the week of the Christ the King Festival, we have celebrated and given thanks, reflected carefully on our life and witness as Christians together in this area, and rededicated ourselves to the service of Christ going forward.
I personally love the Advent season because it seems like the Christians are getting ahead of the secular world, beginning our new year in worship and reflection before the sometimes meaningless parties on New Year’s Eve. So after our celebrations we are starting again by the grace of God and needing to look forward.

I am asking you to pray for a number of big challenges in the coming year.
Firstly the Diocese of Virginia in the United States, with whom we have travelled for many years, has asked us to share with them some of our experience of racism as they grapple with the racial violence which has gripped the US this year, and which poses challenges to the witness of the Church. That is a difficult assignment which we will be undertaking as a team of 6 of us in January.
Secondly I have called a short session of Synod in February to prepare for Provincial Synod later in the year. We will use that weekend also to dedicate one of our new projects and to give thanks together for it.