Dear Bishops and Colleague
The PEO and I went from Swaziland
and flew to Durban. We were accommodated overnight by a parishioner in Durban.
This morning, after almost 3 hours’ drive by car we arrived in Kokstad.
As I wrote on Friday, I was in denial about the extent of fire and I had hoped
that the reports that I was receiving about the fire were exaggerated.
When the PEO and I arrived
at 11:30 this morning at the mountain on which the diocesan farm, Glenthorne
center and the Cathedral are located, told a story from afar. The
mountain was covered with black sooth. As we entered the property a series of
whirlwinds descended down the slopes as if to demonstrate the extent of soothe
due to the fire. We were welcomed by ruins.
The provincial only indigenous
built cathedral was raized to the ground. It was sad to look at. Inside the
ruined cathedral, with tears in our eyes, I watched the destruction. All was
gone. However, as with all loss and destruction there is a redemptive presence.
A wooden cross on the sanctuary also burnt but did not disintegrate. For me it
was a powerful sign of hope. It consoled me, “all can never be lost, and there
is hope for the future'. The cross converted my sorrow into hope even in
the midst of ruins and destruction.
On our arrival the members of
Chapter, some faithful together with Bishop Mzamane and his wife were present
to pray with us. We went about and inspected the damage to the center. We
prayed together and after the prayers and a short address we went to the
diocesan offices in town, Kokstad. We held a service there, introduced the new
Diocesan Secretary and Treasurer and incorporated some of the old staff. We
thanked Mr Ngeke the former Diocesan Secretary and obviously had a forthright
yet brief meeting with him and his advisors.
Continue to pray for this
situation. I am sending this update from the car as we head back to Durban
airport and we will fly to Cape Town at 18:00. It is misty and rainy outside.
It gives me joy after praying for rain and having endured the heat and drought.
It feels like the El Niño weather pattern. The ruins in Kokstad will be covered
in water soon.
+ Thabo Cape Town