Jacob Zuma: Churches ‘Play Important Role’ reports:

President Jacob Zuma urged religious leaders on Saturday to continue promoting social cohesion in the community.

“We urge the religious sector, in the memory of Sister Bernard [Ncube], to continue promoting social cohesion and stability in families and communities.

“We were truly pleased with the swift response of religious leaders to the tragedy of 44 people who were killed in Marikana last month,” Zuma told mourners at Ncube’s funeral in Soweto.

He commended religious leaders for their involvement in the Marikana tragedy and the work done by the SA Council of Churches’ through its Bench Marks Foundation in producing a report on the state of the mining sector in the Rustenburg area.

“We cannot achieve transformation or sustainable development working alone. We are therefore encouraged by the support of the faith-based sector as we continue to build a truly non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society,” he said.

Ncube’s funeral was held at the Regina Mundi Catholic church in Soweto. She died last Friday at the age of 80, having played an integral role by organising women in the 1970s and ’80s, in what was then called Transvaal.

She also assisted in establishing the Federation of Transvaal Women and later became that organisation’s president.

She was the former mayor of the Westrand Municipality and member of Parliament from 1994.

“Her passing has also brought into sharp focus, the immense contribution and role of the church in the struggle for liberation and human rights in our country,” Zuma said.

He said South Africa produced exceptional men and women of the cloth who fulfilled Biblical scriptures through bravely using the church as a site of struggle to free the people they ministered to.

These included among others Beyers Naude the founder of the Christian Institute, Archbishop Dennis Hurley, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Dr Alan Boesak, Father Smangaliso Mkhatshwa, Father Albert Nolan and Reverend Frank Chikane.

He said these leaders realised the need for a new theology which took account the deplorable living conditions of the majority and the need for their total liberation from colonial oppression and apartheid.

“Sister Bernard felt more pressure as she was a woman and a nun, which brought about its own additional stereotypes and expectations of behaviour.

Despite constant threats and numerous attempts on her life, Ncube poured her heart and energy into her Christian and political work, Zuma said.

“We will always remember Sister Bernard as a selfless citizen who did not seek accolades, regardless of her personal achievements and the positive impact she made in the lives of others.”



Bishop Ditches Priesthood, Runs Off With Chaplain


The former head of the Anglican Church in Wellington surrendered his priesthood after he ran off with the wife of one of his fellow clergymen.

Sources have revealed Bishop Tom Brown, 69, voluntarily gave up his right to officiate last month after he split with his wife and then began a relationship with the chaplain of Samuel Marsden Collegiate School, the Rev Canon Kate Carey-Smith.

Carey-Smith resigned from her position at the school for “personal reasons” on August 3, Samuel Marsden Collegiate School principal Jenny Williams confirmed last week.

“We were very sad to see her go,” Williams said. She declined to comment further.

Carey-Smith was married to the Rev Chris Carey-Smith, the chaplain at St Mark’s Church School.

Members of the Anglican church are said to be divided in their opinion of Brown’s new relationship according to a religious figure in Wellington.

“Half of the church feels betrayed and cheated,” the man said.

The other half of the church was focused on the new era under Bishop Justin Duckworth, he said.

A close friend of the Brown family said: “Unequivocally, the relationship began only after he [Brown] left his wife.”

It was revealed revealed last month that Brown made the rare move to surrender his licence on August 7. The decision came only six months after he retired as Bishop of Wellington – a position he held since he was elected in 1998.

It means he can no longer function as a priest.

His replacement, Duckworth, was ordained in June.

Last month Brown told the Dominion Post he voluntarily gave up his right to officiate “to be loyal to the church and maintain the church’s integrity”.

“I think that under the circumstances it was appropriate that I stand down and have a period of sabbatical or time out, and the present bishop accepted that,” he said. “I love the church . . . and I have no intention of turning around and walking away from the church.

“I say my morning prayers . . . [and] I get great consolation out of reading the psalms and, yes, I believe in the goodness of God.”

Brown and his new partner declined to comment.



Do Not Despair; Get a Crucifix

The Anchoress writes:

If you are anxious and despairing and worried, here is my advice: get a crucifix.

Not a cross, a crucifix. Get a small one you can keep in your pocket; and another you can keep discreetly at your desk; get one for your home.

Keep the crucifix before your eyes, and it will teach you everything. It will train you to the longview.

The earthly goings-on that make us anxious and full of despair are a manifestation of the wholly spiritual war that proceeds apace — continually,though unseen – all around us. When we buy into it and lose hope we are opening ourselves up to a spiritual oppression meant to cast us into the darkness and away from the light. Because the main battle is supernatural, we recognize it in our spirit; we feel it in our spirit, and then, when the pain is too great, we either try to numb ourselves to it, or allow the spirit to collapse, completely.

Better to arm the spirit. Feed it through Eucharistic Adoration and Holy Commuion; strengthen it with the sacramental grace of confession, so that regardless of what happens, despair never enters into the equation, never enters into you — because you understand that God’s hand is still a part of things; we are not abandoned; so much of what is spinning past is illusion and if the rest is real, it is nothing to be afraid of.

If you do not have a crucifix, get one; get a couple of them, and have them blessed.

Study them. While you’re meditating on the crucifix, ask God to show you what you need to know — ask for what Solomon asked for: an understanding heart. Ask Mary to teach you what she learned while she stood beneath the reality of it. Ask her to explain about the longview — about how sometimes what is horrifying and unjust must happen, if something else is to be able to happen.

When bad thoughts enter in — sinful thoughts, dark thoughts, anxious thoughts — follow St. Benedict’s instruction in his Holy Rule: “When evil thoughts come into one’s heart, dash them at once against Christ, the Rock” — imagine yourself crashing them against the crucifix, and they shatter.

You’ll be amazed at how calmly you’ll be able to observe all these goings on, if you keep the sacraments in your life, and your eyes on the crucifix.

“Everything” is about nothing. Everything ended with the sacrifice of the Lamb. All is consummated. We are forever and always at the Last Supper, at the Crucifixion, at the Resurrection. Time ended with the tearing of the veil and the rolling back of the stone. The rest is illusion and catching up. There is nothing to be afraid of.

The Crucifix teaches us balance.