Home   The Church   News    FAQs   Contact   Clergy login
 Explore Diocese
 Find Clergy
 Provincial List
 Publications
 Resources
 Canons
 Sermons
 Presentations
 Pensions
 Links
 PSC 2014
 Archbishop's Blog
Social Development



News at a glance - Another Francis

Another Francis?


There
was much excitement when the newly elected  Jorge Mario Bergoglio chose for himself the
name Francis – evoking images of the 12th century friend of the poor
and creation. Not only did Francis (the 12th century one) care for
lepers, the poor and God’s creation but he was also a restorer of churches.
ACSA may have found itself its own Francis for our time and place in the form
of Mlu Hadebe, archdeacon and rector of Springvale parish – a rural parish ranging
over the foothills of the Drakensberg in the Ixopo region of KwaZulu Natal.


Mlu
was born a city boy and grew up in the high density urban jungle of Kwa Mashu.
His mother, a single parent, taught Mlu the God’s heart is with the poor. “I
inherited her good heart”, he says. “She encouraged us always to help others.”


Mlu
went to church at Ekuvukeni in Kwa Mashu, just because that was the thing to
do. But he used to escape half-way through the service. “The Offertory hymn was
my Recessional hymn”  However, a change
of heart led to him becoming a server, a lay minister and then eventually an
ordinands. He was ordained deacon  in
2009 and priest in 2010.


When
he was at seminary he was asked by the bishop: “Where would you like to go when
you are ordained?” “Stoffleton” was his reply to the astonishment of the
bishop. Stofffleton is a poor, rural parish where, it is rumoured amongst
clergy, those who fall out of favour with the bishop get sent. “I wanted to
work where the other clergy did not want to go”   With this in mind, Mlu took a course in
Theology and Development – something that now stands him in good stead.


After
ordination Mlu served in a parish south of Durban, but found himself doing most
of his ministry in a remote outstation. He loved it and found his heart’s
leanings towards rural ministry confirmed. So when he was asked to move out to
Springvale, he was ready. However, his arrival there was depressing. The
buildings were dilapidated; the church members were sceptical about a young,
newly trained priest being able to manage. “Do you think you can fit in here?
the people asked him. “Perhaps you have made a mistake. How will you cope?” There
was R250.00 in the bank account. But they didn’t know Mlu and his vision – to
be a John the Baptist, preparing the way.


So
he set to work. First he had to get to know the people of this 14 congregation
parish. The only way to do this, he decided, was to walk, door-to-door through
the little settlements spread over the hills and valleys.  Over the next two years he visited, held
revival services, drew in the unchurched and the lapsed. And then, like
Francis, he embarked on a restoration of the 10 of the 11 churches in the
parish. Drawing on the skill of members of the congregation and the generosity
of his Facebook friends, he commenced rebuilding, restoring, decorating. He has
learnt much about building (but also about repairing his old bakkie which
breaks down frequently).


But
why build and repair churches?  Are there
not so many other things that need to be done? 
“The churches are places of hope, especially for people who are
hopeless,” he says. “People need to be empowered to see and use their gifts and
the church is the best place for this to happen.” His judgement is accurate.
The churches are now bursting at the seams. “The walls now do the evangelism,” he
says. The Sunday school boasts over 100 children.  A Men’s Guild is being launched. Some of the
local kings and chiefs are coming forward for baptism. At
recent service over 120 children were admitted to communion. Two community
deacons are shortly to be ordained.


This
21st century Francis is helping to bring life and hope and joy to a
forgotten people.


 


 


 





Posted: 2015/11/17 (07:58:19 AM)


Growing the Church

Anglican Students Federation

ACSA Environmental Network

Fikelela

Hope Africa

Anglican AIDs

Anglican Youth of Southern Africa
^ Top   Bookmark and Share

Copyright © 2005-2014 Anglican Church of Southern Africa. All rights reserved