Church Inclusive: Sunday 24 January 2021

My dear Franciscans

Over the next two days – in meetings with the Diocesan Clergy (today) and the Parish Executives and the Bishop and Diocesan Officers (tomorrow) – important decisions are being communicated by Bishop Steve about fresh Diocesan structures, the perilous state of Diocesan finances and how we will deal with Annual Vestry under lockdown conditions.

At this point I would like to communicate one important decision.

It has been agreed that no Parish in the Diocese will hold an Annual Vestry until further notice.  We were due to hold our Vestry meeting on March 7 which we will now only hold once the whole Diocese is given the go ahead.  The reason for this postponement is that while some Parishes (such as ourselves) would be able to hold Annual Vestry online, other Parishes simply are not able to do so. Rather than allow the social inequalities in the Diocese to be exacerbated by a dissimilar schedule for holding Annual Vestry, the Diocese has rightly, in my view, decided that Vestry be postponed to a time yet to be determined that will allow all Parishes to have their Vestry meetings in the same time period.

None-the-less, we will need to produce all the necessary documentation normally required for Vestry – the Verified Financial Statements, Church Wardens’ Report and Rector’s Report – which we will distribute to the Parish and lodge at the Diocesan Office by March 15.  These documents will then be presented to Annual Vestry when it is held.

Crucially, Bishop Steve has requested that the current Church Wardens and Council Members continue in office until we are able to hold elections for new Office Bearers at our Annual Vestry, whenever that might be.  This has very real implications for our Wardens and Councillors, some of whom had indicated that they would like to draw their term of office to a close as scheduled on March 7.

We will hold a Council Meeting on Tuesday January 26 where these matters will be discussed.  Please hold both the Parish and Diocesan leadership in your prayers. This is an issue for the entire Anglican Church of Southern Africa and so pray too for Archbishop Thabo and the 29 Dioceses across Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique.

With love and hope


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