The CESA Clergy and delegates from our churches around the country met together for our Annual Synod on the 5th – 6th September at Christ Church, Blairgowrie. Clergy from our partner churches in Zimbabwe and Malawi were also present.

Our Synod began, as always, with a Holy Communion Service on the Tuesday night. This was Dr David Seccombe’s last CESA Synod in his official capacity as the Principal of George Whitefield College (GWC) and he preached a powerful message from Romans 10:14 “How can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?” What a wonderful way to start our Synod sessions!

On the Wednesday and Thursday mornings, Rev Andries Tsehle spoke on “The Gospel and culture” using Peter’s experience in going to Cornelius (Acts 10) and Paul’s experience in preaching to the Athenians (Acts 17) They were outstanding talks and perfectly set the tone for our business and ministry discussions which followed.

Our Presiding Bishop, Des Inglesby, delivered his “charge” on the Wednesday morning – a charge filled with vision for the future and relevant issues pertaining to the ministry and practise of our churches. This created a huge amount of helpful discussion and debate. His charge can be read in full on

In some ways this was a “momentous” Synod, with by far the most important decision being the voting on a new operating name for CESA. For some time now, it has been felt that our name needed to be changed – having two different countries in our name was confusing and lacked contextualisation. This has been a 2-year process so far, and much thought, prayer and discussion has taken place over this time. Due process was followed and the name REACH-South Africa (Reformed Evangelical Anglican Church of South Africa) received an overwhelming 89.25% vote.

We are so grateful for the Lord’s help and for the wonderful sense of His presence. Although this issue had the potential to divide and split us as a denomination, it instead created a greater unity amongst us and re-invigorated us to reach our country and our continent with the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. What a gracious and compassionate God we serve!

This sense of unity and excitement pervaded the rest of our Synod as we listened to the ministry reports and official business of our denomination.

Another special moment during Synod was when we paid tribute to Dr David Seccombe and Lorraine for their valuable contribution to CESA as Principal of GWC over the past 20 years. It was a “moving time” for us all as he also reflected upon his time amongst us. We are so grateful to the Lord for them both and for their commitment and sacrificial service to CESA over all these years. We thank God for our new Principal, Rev Mark Dickson who will take over from David in January 2013. It was encouraging to hear his vision for the College, and we assured him and Julie of our love and support for them in this new role.

At our 2011 Synod our Presiding Bishop raised the issue of “Church-planting” as an area of ministry he was concerned about in our denomination. A group of CESA ministers from the different provinces formed a “task force” and met during this past year to discuss the way forward for us as a denomination, and they gave an excellent report-back during one of the sessions.

As part of our “Church-planting” emphasis Tony Payne from Sydney, Australia led a “Trellis and Vine” Conference on the Friday and Saturday after Synod. We were challenged to embrace a gospel-ministry mind-shift, which moves our focus from running events in our churches to rather invest our time in “making disciples who make disciples” It was an incredible week of fellowship in the gospel as we discussed issues pertaining to the growth of our local churches and to the well-being of CESA (REACH-South Africa) as a denomination.

One sensed the real excitement amongst our ministers as they returned to their churches with the news that at our 2013 Synod, we will “officially” implement the name REACH-South Africa for our denomination! All glory and thanks to our God for His gracious hand upon us. May He continue to bless and use our denomination in the years that lie ahead!