Farewell Service for the Venerable Archdeacon Malusi Msimango

Rector of St Faith’s Anglican Church

REMARKS BY
PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP
PRESIDENT OF THE INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY

 

My Brothers and Sisters in Christ; I greet you in the name of our Lord, the One from whom all blessings flow.

I am honoured to join you in this farewell service for the Rector of St Faith’s, the Venerable Archdeacon Malusi Msimango. He has faithfully served this parish for years and I know that his departure brings sorrow to many hearts. I myself will miss his presence when I visit St Faith’s. But I know that he will be more sorely missed by the congregation whom he has served and tended.

It is therefore fitting that we dedicate a service to honouring Reverend Msimango, so that we might thank him for his dedication and service. I am also pleased that we have this moment to pray for him, and also for Mrs Msimango and their family, as they embrace whatever is next in their journey.

They are walking with the Lord, which means that the journey will be both exciting and challenging, for with the Lord there is never anything boring!

I know this because I have walked with the Lord myself for many years. He has granted me the privilege of witnessing, and indeed participating in, great moments of change, in my country, in the world, and even in the church. I remember when I first visited St Faith’s, in the nineteen forties, there was hardly a single African rector in charge of any parish, in most of the dioceses. The Rector at St Faith’s was the Reverend Father Steele, under whom Reverend Alphaeus Hamilton Zulu served as Assistant Priest.

After graduating from university, I began working in Durban, and I then began attending services at St Faith’s regularly. I was prepared for confirmation by the Reverend Alphaeus Zulu. But when the time came for me to be confirmed, the Bishop of Natal was on furlough in the United Kingdom. I was therefore confirmed by Bishop Stainton, the suffragan Bishop of Bloemfontein. Thus I became a parishioner of St Faith’s.

Because of my heavy responsibilities in the service of our nation, I am seldom in Durban on a Sunday morning anymore. But I appreciate the fact that I am still considered a parishioner. Indeed, I regard the Rector of St Faith’s as my own Rector, and this congregation as my home. It is therefore good to join you for moments like this.

When I consider the Christian leadership of our Venerable Archdeacon, I am reminded of the passage from John chapter 21, when Christ appeared to His disciples for the third time after the resurrection. In that poignant moment, He restored Simon Peter, asking him three times, “Do you love me?”

We remember Peter’s denial of Christ on that terrible morning in the courtyard of the High Priest. And here the Lord grants him three opportunities to reconfirm his love. It is a moment of beautiful restoration.

But it is Christ’s response to Peter that I want us to think about. When Peter says, “Lord, You know that I love You,” Christ responds, “Feed my sheep.” Peter takes hold of that instruction and becomes the rock on which Christ built His church.

Becoming a shepherd of the Lord’s sheep was Peter’s response to his love for Christ. The same can be said of our Venerable Archdeacon. He is a shepherd of the Lord’s sheep because of his love for Christ.

As a good shepherd, the Reverend Msimango will be led to green pastures. We need have no concerns about what comes next for him and his family. So today’s farewell is not a moment of sadness. It is a moment of thanksgiving, as we express our gratitude. My prayer for the Archdeacon is for the joy of the Lord to infuse and sustain him, because the joy of the Lord is our strength.

I thank you.