The Bishop of Natal visits Southwell and Nottingham
The Bishop of Natal, the Rt Revd Nkosinathi Ndwandwe and his wife Zanele, visited Southwell and Nottingham on their way to the Lambeth Conference. Our diocese has been linked with Natal, South Africa for20 years and Bishop Paul and Sarah Williams, Dean Nicola, Archdeacon Phil Williams and members of the Diocesan Natal Group welcomed the Bishop and Zanele to services and events last week.
Bishop Ndwandwe told us that he had recently returned to the Diocese of Natal in 2021 after 4 years away. The diocese currently serves over 300 worshipping communities across 11 archdeaconries. As their new episcopal leader, Bishop Ndwandwe is taking time to visit, pray with and encourage as many of these as possible in their mission and ministry – although the travelling distances are significant, with some parishes taking up to 4 hours to reach. All funding comes entirely from the Natal parishes, and, in light of a current budget deficit, clergy have recently taken a 15% reduction in stipend to secure financial sustainability.
The Bishop of Natal gave thanks for a growing sense of unity and mission amongst the clergy and although a significant number of clergy will be retiring in the next 5 years, there are encouraging signs of people being called to explore their vocation.
Bishop Ndwandwe looks forward to building on and strengthening the relationship with the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham into the future and he asked for our prayers for the Diocese of Natal as it looks at new opportunities for growth through sharing the Gospel, supported by sustained financial stability.
The Revd Canon Barbara Holbrook, Diocesan Link Officer (Natal), said, “It was a joy to welcome Bishop Ndwandwe and his wife Zanele as they visited our diocese en route to Lambeth. This year he returned as the newly appointed Diocesan Bishop. As we come through the pandemic, this was a step forward in refreshing the link between our two dioceses –from our first tentative steps towards building our friendship.”