This is a post-Synod follow-up letter from Bishop Frank Retief


Thank you for your participation in Synod.  It was a good time of fellowship and rekindling of friendships.  I was grateful for the “family” atmosphere that prevailed and the warm-heartedness exercised by everybody.


We are grateful to Michael Lawrence and Thabiti Anyabwile for being our speakers this Synod.  They came to us at no cost to CESA because they were on their way to a conference at Africa Enterprise.   The three talks on the Penal Substitution of Christ were excellent and the two talks on Race were superb.  I hope you are able to obtain copies to lend to others.

New Bishop

We congratulate Raj Moodley on his election as a new Bishop for CESA.  His consecration will take place on 28 November. We do hope it will be a bumper occasion.  We were disappointed that no other black Bishops were nominated this year for various reasons.  But we were heartened to hear that there will be nominees for next year.  We continue to keep transformation on our agendas and pray for God’s help and guidance in this regard.

Salary Revision

We were grateful to Mike Budden and Lew de Jager of Cebano for the hard work they put in to this presentation regarding salaries and remunerations.  Their report has been sent to all presbyters and Christian workers.  It is now up to the various Churches and Area Bishops to carry this report forward and assist people in thinking it through and implementing what they are able.


It was interesting, from my point of view, to note the issues with which we dealt at Synod.  In summary they are as follows: race, transformation, succession, missions, local ministries, money, and care for the poor.

We did not deal with these in great depth because they are ongoing conversations but I think we covered important issues that would be applicable for all Churches.  I was greatly blessed to hear of the various projects being undertaken in different areas and of the most unlikely people having a Gospel concern eg the Free State farmers for their work force.  What a strange and wonderful land we live in.  Bishop Martin’s comments on the pros and cons of staying in South Africa instead of leaving were a timely reminder to us all of the wonderful opportunities for evangelism and witness that exist in Africa.

Change of Name

This is an ongoing debate.  The issue now seems to be that our constitution makes it impossible to change our name.  If this is so then we might need to consider an additional “trading name”.  Legal advice is being sought on this at present.


We have been without a Chancellor for five years.  The Chancellor is the legal advisor to CESA.  Allistair McIntosh was our Chancellor until an accident made it impossible for him to act.  It was, however, wonderful to see him back at Synod this year. With Synod’s permission we have asked him to resume his position, bearing in mind that we need to train a new Chancellor in accordance with our commitment to transformation.

Other Matters

  1. GWC is going through a process of strategic planning at present.  We look forward to a report in due course on all their deliberations.
  2. In the Cape the building of the new “Arise” building on the premises of St Thomas’ Church in Heideveld is underway.
  3. Bishop Des Inglesby and I were recently invited to attend the opening service of the Anglican Church’s Cape Diocesan Synod.  We found the Archbishop to be a most pleasant and courteous person who welcomed us warmly.  The service was typical high Anglican with much ringing of bells and billowing incense that filled the building.  We were amused, after the service, to see a ‘NO SMOKING’ sign in the foyer.  Des and I recently had a follow-up meeting with the Archbishop. It was a most cordial time underscoring the good relations we have with the Anglicans and affirming the difference between the present with all its changes and the acrimonious past which most of you reading this will not remember.
  4. It occurs to me that with the new developments around Africa and the invitations Bishop Martin Morrison is receiving, we need to rethink our stance as an Anglican Church.  I suspect that our Anglican roots are not that important to our current generation.  The problem is that those who readily welcome us and seek us out are more Anglican that we are and think we are more Anglican than we really are.  This is a debate we must have in the future.
  5. Following on from the previous point may I ask you to seriously reflect on your order of service?  I have been to services where the leader prays a short prayer of confession at the beginning of the service then a song is sung.  Apart from this being out of order with our normal practice the point is that I want to confess my own sins.  I do not want anyone else doing it for me especially when it sounds hurried, insincere and bad grammatically.  This confession is an opportunity for all of us who feel stained and defeated by the world to come together as God’s flock and confess our sins and ask for forgiveness, which He graciously promises in Jesus Christ our Lord.  Sincerely and imaginatively done this could be a great moment in the service.  Please do not take this away from me or from your congregations.
  6. We are grateful for the visit of Vijay Menon to our Churches.  He came at my request as I thought this was to be my last Synod and I wanted to publicly thank him for being such a good friend over the years.  Many of you have benefited from this unique individual.  Many have been converted, encouraged and challenged afresh.  He is 79 years old and hard to keep up with as he marches through the land, with his jacket flapping open, his hands behind his back and his eagle eye watching for every opportunity to ask somebody “Are you a Christian?”

    Finally, brothers and sisters let me comment on the request of Synod for me to stay on for one more year.  Firstly, it is an honour to serve God in CESA and Beulah and I gladly do so.  Secondly, I am putting into action now a process by which we will hopefully elect a new Presiding Bishop to be presented to next Synod.  More of this in the future.  Both Beulah and I are conscious of the need for new leadership.  We are both past our sell-by date and are amazed and grateful for your patience with us.  Both of us live only to preach Christ and invite sinners to come to Him to be saved with all that means in terms of changed lives.  But we are also dedicating ourselves to finding new leadership.  Beulah will be running the last Women’s Conferences this year.  Next year is the World Cup and travelling will be a nightmare.  That, combined with costs and the fact that many regions have their own Conferences, make it prudent to call it quits this year.  But Beulah hopes to continue to be involved in other ways.  The old era is coming to a close but a wonderful new era is beckoning.  Please pray for us and for CESA as we move into the future with all its exciting opportunities.