August 2004

Letter to Bishop Kalangula

Dear Bishop Kalangula

I am writing to you on behalf of the CESA Cape Area Churches and also as Rector of Christ Church Paarl. Greetings in the Name of our Gracious Lord.

I was thrilled that some of the folk from our Cape Churches had the opportunity to meet you in May. They thoroughly enjoyed the time spent with you and your

churches in the North. Most of the people visiting you were not full-time in ministry but average church members involved in their own churches. Each of them, however, have a love for the Lord and His Churches aswell as His lost world.

Bishop KalungulaThe Lord has brought you, our brothers and sisters in Namibia, into our hearts and has enabled us to cover the great distance that divides us for the sake of fellowship and encouragement. Those of us who have visited you have begun to develop a respect for the conditions under which you have had to live and work and know that there is much to learn from you.

Throughout South Africa we are trying to grow our church members and stimulate our leaders in understanding God's calling to us as His Church. We have been placing great emphasis on training our "lay" people in ministry. Many of them will never enter full-time ministry but that is not the point - we are wanting churches where a growing number of members are able to serve effectively. Out of these we will be able to spot the right ones for ordained ministry and other full-time ministries in our churches. After talking with you on a few occassions I know this to be one of your greatest burdens as well.

We realise how cut off you and your men must feel from your brothers and sisters in the Churches in South Africa. Therefore Bishop Retief has given us his blessing to arrange regular visits to Namibia and to do what we can to help the Church of England in Namibia. Bishop Bradley visited the Owambo Churches and spoke to me at time about his contact with you. He was a dear old man who left an impression on us in so many ways, not least concerning your churches.

We would love you and the Churches in the North to feel much more part of what we are doing as a denomination and to benfit from the fellowship and training that we enjoy. However, I am aware that we may be "putting the cart before the horse" because we have not spoken enough together. We need to get your feelings on this issue first. We are wanting to listen to you and want to know if our enthusiasm to visit you on a regular basis (once or twice a year) with a small group would be acceptable.

Our feelings are that we are all in the same church with the same mandate from our Lord. Would you allow our groups to join with you in that mandate in Owanboland, to get alongside of you to pray together, worship together, read the Bible together and inspire one another to be God s Church? What we do for one another here in the Cape we want to do with you, but we are in unfamiliar territory there. We want to respect the fact that things may be different from what we are used to. And so we need your wisdom.

Here are some ideas we have for developing our mutual fellowship:

If we are to make more visits (which we are more than willing to do) we would love to include a variety of people for your benefit. Ordanined men to spend time with you and your men; older folk to spend time with your older people; youth workers to help your young people; Sunday School teachers to get alongside yours; etc. We will even include technical people to help where things need to be fixed or built, and so on.

We have access to material for workshops on the Bible and ministry and could help run various types of conferences from time to time - such as an Easter Conference etc. This may help to stimulate future leaders that you and I may be able to identify for further training. Our friends at the Namibian Evangelical Theological Seminary (NETS) have indicated their willingness to let us use the Theological Education by Extention (TEE) courses with folk in your churches. This may be a good way of seeing who the Lord is raising up and who seems gifted enough.

These are the kind of things we are doing at home and which we would love to do with you and our brothers and sisters in Namibia.

Please let me know your thoughts. Perhaps you want to speak this through with your other men and pray about it. From my side I will conitue to meet those from the Cape who have visited you and are willing to plan future visits. Depending on your wishes and thoughts on the matter we will do everything we can to help you in your task.

In His service

Rev Colin Banfield
For CESA Cape Area Churches