Historic new centre celebrations in Matlosane
The Bishop of Lichfield joined the Archbishop of Cape Town and hundreds of others at the historic opening of a new Diocesan Centre in Matlosane, South Africa.
The celebration was particularly apt as the new centre, in Klerksdorp, was bought by the mostly black Diocese from the Dutch Reformed Church, which had historically supported the former Apartheid regime.
Bishop Michael was joined by Archbishop Dr Thabo Cecil Makgoba, who oversees the Anglican Church of Southern Africa; the Bishop of Botswana Metlha Beleme and Bishop Stephen Molopi Diseko, who oversees Matlosane Diocese, a link diocese with Lichfield. Each bishop blessed a different area of the centre as the celebration began.
Archbishop Thabo, who had been at the state opening address by new South African president Cyril Ramaphosa the night before, said: “We have never in the history of the African church bought a Dutch Reformed church. So this is historic transformation. This is historic healing.”
Lichfield Diocese contributed to purchasing the new building through a donation from the Bishop’s Lent Appeal. A new altar at the centre was also provided thanks to a gift from St Bartholomew’s Church in Penn, whose vicar, the Revd Preb Ben Whitmore, was personally thanked during the service.
Bishop Steve said: “His parish motivated us to embark on this process. Now we have a new altar it is a proper Anglican church!”
A small group of people from Lichfield Diocese have traveled with Bishop Michael to Matlosane to strengthen links between the two dioceses.
Bishop Michael told people at the service: “We enjoy and value enormously our companionship of prayer, friendship and shared mission through this diocesan link with Matlosane.”
Read more about the trip in a blog by the Revd Cathy Mark, from All Saints, Streetly, here.