After many decades of faithful serving, seven district elders and two shepherds entered into a new phase of their spiritual lives when District Apostle Barnes placed them into well-deserved retirement during a festive divine service in Retreat East on Sunday 17 May 2015.
The mass choir and orchestra prepared the congregation gathered at Retreat East and those congregations connected via audio visual transmission for the divine service with beautiful renditions of In God is Our Trust, Holy Art Thou and The Fruit of Their Labours.
District Apostle Barnes used Luke 24:49 as the basis of the divine service “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you: but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high”. After the text was read, the choir beautifully sang Flow on, O river of Love. The District Apostle and Apostle Thompson encouraged the congregation to remain in the fellowship, and to work with the power from on high. This message served as a wonderful preparation for the celebration of Pentecost.
During the preparation for the serving of the departed, the district apostle made specific reference to the parents and family members who are from the lineage of those who were set to be retired. Bishop Classen and Fisher served as proxies for the serving of Holy Communion to the departed.
Those placed into retirement were District Elder Eugene Adams, Carl van Schalkwyk, Godfrey November, John Fry, Edgar Atwood, Vernon Joshua and Geno Frieslaar , and Shepherds Cecil Martin and Alfred van Schalkwyk. The district apostle paid careful attention to the biographies, pointing out the golden threads that ran through their time in the ministry, namely, thankfulness to our heavenly Father for entrusting them with the opportunity to serve Him. They all also expressed the same desire for the future: to spend more quality time with their immediate families and prepare themselves for the day of the Lord.
After bunches of red roses were handed to the retired ministers by the bishops, the district apostle called the following ministers to the altar to bestow upon them the responsibility of rectorship: CEV Charles Abrahams (Strand South congregation), PR Andre Peters (Hazendal congregation), CEV Michael Morta (Townsend congregation), SH Graham Dreyer (Heathfield congregation) and SH Hendrik Jansen (Montana congregation).
The choir closed the divine service with a majestic rendition of Hallelujah, Mount of Olives.