Dear Friends

November is upon us and we are almost at the end of a most unusual year.  The COVID19 crisis has certainly created a ‘new normal’ for us and one wonders just how much longer things will continue in this vein.  Some say it could be years and not months.  Even so, I’m sure we are all grateful to finally see the first stages of limited physical church gatherings.  Over the last months, some of our congregations have sadly reported COVID related deaths, but we are also grateful to know that many who did contract the virus, including some of our ministers and gospel workers, have recovered. 

I’m also thrilled to report that unusual circumstances have also led to unusual gospel breakthroughs.  A number of our workers have shared stories of people living on the far side of the world coming to faith in Christ through their online church service or Zoom meeting.  Our God is at work!

1. National Executive Meeting

Although we have postponed synod 2020, I have called a special national meeting of Executive and Trustees on 2nd and 3rd November.  This meeting will particularly focus on the challenges we face in our current COVID19 context as well as give attention to the ongoing structural and transformation discussions.  I’m conscious that, as we address these critical issues, there is potential for conflict and division – which will only feed the evil one’s agenda.  We need your prayers for the Lord to ensure that we continue to ‘keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace’ (Eph.4:3).  Pray also that we will ‘keep the main thing the main thing’ and work together for solutions that make us all the more effective in reaching our whole nation with the true gospel of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, under the authority of Scripture alone, to the glory of God alone!  

2. Gospel and the Economy

The economic impact of the COVID19 crisis will continue to be felt for some time.  Certainly the unemployment rate has risen and many industries and businesses will face difficult recovery periods. Our churches have not been immune to the downturn and we have endured difficult days.  REACH-SA has a relatively small administrative cost, but even so, we are currently consolidating office space as well as looking at other cost saving measures. At the local church level we are also seeing more ministry teams finding creative ways to employ ministry workers as well as establishing a wider ministry base of trained volunteers and partially supported workers. 
I’m grateful to God for the generosity of many churches and individuals who donated to the Recovery Fund this year.  We received over R600 000 in the first few weeks of the appeal and have managed to set aside close to R1m towards local church relief.  Praise God!

’m also aware that we have missed our annual Good Friday collection for GWC.  As you will know, this annual church appeal raises funds specifically to cover tuition fees for our REACH-SA ministry candidates.  Please consider, personally or as a local church, making a contribution for this fund as part of an end of year gift to the PresidingBishop’s Bursary Fund. For every R40 000 raised we can secure a year’s tuition for a future REACH ministry worker. 

George Whitefield College
Standard Bank Cheque AC
Branch: 036009
A/C: 072 100 974
Ref: PB Fund

3.  Southern Africa  

I’m sure like me you are feeling overwhelmed by so many social issues affecting our communities.  Our country continues to battle with political tensions, unemployment, organized crime, gender-based violence and farm murders. Sadly, even crime has become politicised and racialized and this leads to even more frustrating polarization.  It is not a cliche or a platitude to assert that the only hope for our land is the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  It is incumbent upon us to ensure that we are working together to express that Gospel through word and deed.  All of us can play a part in standing against injustice as we stand for Christ.  Let us ensure that we do not allow divisive talk or isolationism in our social circles but rather work together to build gospel bridges and relationships.  Let us express Christ’s love in doing what is right and loving in our relationships with each other.  Let us also keep building partnerships across our local churches and so ensure that resources and opportunities are effectively shared. It is when the gospel is lived out in such a way that communities change, and people are won to Christ. 

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” 
(2 Thessalonians 2:16,17) 

Every blessing
Glenn Lyons