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Bishop of Natal

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Bishop of Natal

Template:Use South African English

Diocese of Natal
Country South Africa
Ecclesiastical province Southern Africa
Archdeaconries 15
Rite Anglican
Established 1853
Cathedral Cathedral of the Holy Nativity
Current leadership
Bishop Rubin Phillip, Bishop of Natal

The Diocese of Natal covers the western part of the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal, west and south of the Tugela and Buffalo rivers. The episcopal leader of the diocese is the Bishop of Natal.


The history of the Diocese of Natal starts with the consecration of John William Colenso as Bishop on St Andrew's Day, 30 November 1853, at Lambeth Parish Church. Hitherto Anglicans had been in Natal since the arrival of the first English settlers in 1824. The first missionaries came in the 1830s. In 1849, Colonial Chaplains were appointed for Pietermaritzburg and Durban.

In 1847 Robert Gray was appointed Bishop of Cape Town and his vast Diocese included the Colony of Natal. Following his visitation to Natal in 1850 Gray saw the great need for mission and for a bishop who could lead that mission. He found and recommended Colenso to be the first Bishop of Natal. As with Bishop Gray, Colenso was appointed by letters patent, issued by Queen Victoria.

Bishop Colenso was highly gifted in many ways. He had a distinctive missionary theology and spoke and wrote widely on biblical criticism. He was severely critical of British political intentions towards the Zulu people. His preaching and writings brought about clashes between him and Dean Green and Bishop Gray, as well as with the leaders of the Colony.

Colenso was tried and found guilty of heresy and in 1865 was deposed as Bishop. Civil law however supported him and enabled him to keep properties vested in his name, and he continued as Bishop of Natal until his death in 1883. This created a schism, and in 1867 William Kenneth Macrorie was appointed Bishop of Maritzburg. Macrorie had to start work again, both in towns and in rural areas. New parishes and missions were established throughout the Maritzburg Diocese, which now included Alfred County to the south and Newcastle and Dundee to the north.

Following the death of Colenso in 1883 and the resignation of Macrorie in 1892 the Archbishop of Canterbury appointed his Chaplain, Arthur Hamilton Baynes, as Bishop of both Anglican groups. Baynes was able to bring about a reconciliation of the two, and by the time he resigned in 1901 most of the Colenso churches had agreed to come under his jurisdiction. He was able to leave a Diocese consisting of eighteen parishes, six Zulu missions, two Indian missions, three schools and one mission hospital. For all this, Baynes had the assistance of two Archdeacons.

A former Archdeacon, Frederick Samuel Baines, followed as Bishop from 1901 to 1928. With the Anglo-Boer War behind him, and the 1910 Act giving him the Colenso properties, Baines was able to forge ahead in both the mission work as well as in the growth of parishes. The Diocese experienced its greatest growth in Baines's episcopate. Fred Roach from Zululand, a Zulu linguist, was appointed Assistant Bishop in 1912.

Leonard Noel Fisher was Bishop from 1928 until 1951. What with the depression of the early 1930s and the Second World War this period covered severe social and economic hardships. Because of the need for providing Chaplains in the Second World War, Fisher was faced with a severe clergy shortage and little growth was attained.

Greater progress was made during the episcopate of Vernon Inman, 1951 – 1974, with several new parishes being established. He was assisted by four Archdeacons and a Suffragan Bishop, Kenneth Hallowes, was appointed in 1969. This was the period which saw the onslaught of apartheid which proved to be a challenge to the church to remove racial discrimination from its structures. In 1964 the missions of the Diocese were given parochial status. All incumbents were now styled Rector and Zulu speaking Canons and Archdeacons were appointed. In 1972 Regional Councils were introduced, their jurisdictions coinciding with the Archdeaconries. In 1973 clergy stipends were given parity.

Philip Russell was Bishop from 1974 to 1981, at which time he was elected Archbishop of Cape Town. In 1980 Alfred Mkhize was elected Suffragan Bishop to succeed Ken Hallowes who had retired that year. The main achievement during Russell's short episcopate was the uniting of the two city parishes in Pietermaritzburg and the building of the Cathedral of the Holy Nativity. Although already Archbishop he was able to dedicate the Cathedral on 22 November 1981.

Michael Nuttall's episcopate, 1982 – 2000, was marked by the Church's response to the struggle to achieve democratic rule in our country. At times the Natal Diocese was considered to be amongst the most violent in the world. A great deal of blood and tears have been shed, but by and large we have come through encouraged by the role the Church has played in bringing about such a transition. Several parishes, Church Schools and United Churches were established during this period.

A second Suffragan, Matthew Makhaye, was elected in 1989, and was the first Bishop to be consecrated in the new Cathedral, by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The Diocese now had three Bishops, and each was given an episcopal area in which to minister. Alfred Mkhize retired in 1990 and was replaced by Ross Cuthbertson who resigned four years later. In 1995 Rubin Phillip was elected Suffragan and on 26 August of the same year was consecrated in the Cathedral by Archbishop Desmond. In 1999 Rubin Phillip was elected diocesan bishop, and on 12 February 2000 Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane enthroned him in the Cathedral.

In the same year John Forbes retired after twenty four years as Dean of Natal, and was replaced by Fred Pitout. Bishop Matthew also retired, and so in the following year Elijah Thwala and Funginkosi Mbhele were both elected and consecrated Suffragan Bishops. With Bishop Elijah's retirement in 2006, Nkosinathi Ndwandwe in 2007 was elected and installed as Suffragan, having been consecrated in St Cyprian's Cathedral, Kimberley. A year later Fred Pitout resigned, and in January 2009 Ndabezinhle Sibisi was installed as Dean.


The Archdeaconry areas have changed although the historial facts of the churches within the archdeaconries remains correct. As of June 2012 the Archdeaconries in the Diocese of Natal include: ARCHDEACONS, REGIONS AND EPISCOPAL AREAS:-

CATHEDRAL & PIETERMARITZBURG: The Very Revd N L Sibisi Cathedral of the Holy Nativity Southridge United Church All Saints United Church Eastwood United Church Pietermaritzburg, Eastwood United Church Pietermaritzburg, St Paul's Church St David, Prestbury (St. Nicholas Diocesan School)

DURBAN: (North East) Archdeacon G M Laban Addington, Christ Church Durban, St Aidan Durban, St Paul's Greyville, St Mary's Morningside, St James Mission to Seafarers

DURBAN RIDGE: (North East) Archdeacon M N Msimango Berea, St Thomas Overport, Christ Church Durban, St Faith Durban, St Cyprian Durban, St John – the- Divine Sydenham, St John with St Raphael Chesterville/Cato Crest/Cato Manor (St Martin's Children's Home)

DURBAN SOUTH: (South) Archdeacon P W Dludla Bellair, All Saints Bluff, St Barnabas Chatsworth, The Epiphany Enwabi, St Philip Merebank, St Michael and All Angels Umlazi, St Augustine Wentworth, St Gabriel Woodlands, Montclair with Yellowwood Park ( St Monica's Children Home)

INGAGANE: (North West) Archdeacon N A Ngcobo Dundee, St James Dundee, St Philip Newcastle, Holy Trinity Newcastle (Madadeni), St Andrew Newcastle (Osizweni), Ekubonakhalisweni

LOVU: (South) Vacant Amanzimtoti, Good Shepherd Ezimbokodweni Isipingo, St James Kingsburgh, St Mary Magabheni, St Bride Umkomaas with Scottburgh Umzinto, St Patrick

MSUNDUZI: (South) Archdeacon B Mangena Edendale, St Martin Hayfields, St Matthew Pietermaritzburg, St Luke Scottsville, St Alphege with Sobantu, St Christopher York with Ravensworth, All Souls Pietermaritzburg, Holy Angels Sweetwaters, St Raphael Imbali, St Mark Colenso House of Studies Camperdown, The Resurrection (Society of Jesus Compassion)

NORTH COAST: (North East) Archdeacon P C Houston ~ Inanda, Prince of Peace; KwaDukuza, St Philip; KwaDukuza, All Saints; Umhlali, All Souls; Maidstone, All Saints; Phoenix, The Holy Trinity; Tongaat, St John

NORTH DURBAN: (North East) Archdeacon MJ Skevington ~ Durban North, St Martin in the Field; Greenwood Park, St Columba; Kwa Mashu, Ekuvukeni; Newlands, St Peter; Northlands, St Margaret on the Hill; Ntuzuma, KwaMsindisi; Umhlanga, St Michael

PINETOWN: (South) Archdeacon A E Warmback Clermont, St Andrew Hammarsdale, St Mary Hillcrest, Holy Trinity Hillcrest,Valey CongregationS Koof, St Agnes Mariannridge Pinetown, St John the Baptist Queensburgh, St Augustine Umhlathuzana Westville, St Elizabeth (St Mary's DSG)

UMKHOMAZI': (South) Archdeacon F Thacker Eston United Church, St Margaret Ixopo, St John the Baptist Richmond with Byrne, St Mary with Baynesfield and Indaleni Springvale, St Andrew (St Bernard Mizeki School)

UMNGENI: (North West) Archdeacon Paul Mosdell Boston, St Michael United Church Drakensberg, St Michael Greytown, St James Greytown, St Peter Karkloof, St Luke Mooi River, St Paul Mpophomeni, The Good Shepherd Pholela, St Mary Kirby- Hilton, The Ascension Stoffelton, St Augustine

UMZIMKHULU: (South) Archdeacon P E Nene Harding, St James Margate, St Margaret of Antioch Ngcwayi, St Laurence Port Shepstone, St Katharine Umzimkulwana, St Luke (Hlanganani Prep. School)

UTHUKELA: (Ladysmith) (North West) Archdeacon C T Ngcobo Estcourt, St Barnabas Estcourt, St Matthew Steadville, St John Klip River, St Chad Ladysmith, All Saints Tugela Rivers

The diocese shadows the geographical area of much of the KwaZulu Natal Province, excluding the area known as Zululand, which is its own diocese, Anglican Diocese of Zululand. As is the custom in Anglican dioceses, the diocese is divided into sub-regions, known as Archdeaconries, to facilitate better administrative and pastoral leadership processes. The archdeaconries and parishes that fall under them are as follows:

HISTORIAL FACTS OF VARIOUS CHURCHES IN THE DIOCESE OF NATAL* Parish of Berea: St Thomas - The original Church - up high on the Berea's Ridge Rd - was consecrated in 1864 by Bishop Robert Grey. It became an important part of the life of Christians on the Berea. In 1890 the Church needed to move to a more central site and in 1899 the nave and side aisles were built in Musgrave Rd - the chancel and spire being added between 1899 -1910. St. Thomas' is located in the leafy suburb of Musgrave up on the Berea. It is over 100 years old, and is housed in a beautiful, old stone building. A significant late Victorian church in gothic revival style, it is a landmark in Musgrave Road near where captain Allen Gardiner began a mission in 1835. The land was donated by G. C. Cato in 1860. Outstanding features include the high vaulted wooden ceiling, the stained glass windows and the Baptismal font. The church organ was built in 1905 by Henry Willis & Sons - a famed firm of pipe organ builders in the UK.[1]

  • Parish of Durban: St Cyprian

St Cyprian's was the third Anglican parish to be established in Durban. It has the distinction of dating its beginnings to that period when The Church of the Province of South Africa separated from the Church of England. The parish was born of the controversies that rent the church in Natal during the time of Bishop Colenso. At the time the majority of clergy and laity elected to belong to Church of South Africa rendering obedience to the Metropolitan Bishop of Cape Town becoming an entity within the Anglican Community. The First registers of the Church were opened on October 1867 with the church meeting in the Billiard Room of the Trafalgar Hotel in Pine Terrace (later to become Commercial Road) but the name St Cyprian's was not officially used in any entry until June, 1870.. According to the census of 1970 the population of Durban reached 5440 made up as follows 3170 whites and 2270 non-whites. The Rev. Frederick S Robinson M.A. was appointed first incumbent of St Cyprian's in Durban. By 1870 a school - cum - chapel name St Cyprian's was erected on a sit now known as 104 - 108 Commercial Road. During the period 1877 - 1885 Rev H.F. Whittington served as Vicar of St Cyprians . It was during his incumbency that the first St Augustine's was built on the Berea (see photo). This Church was pulled down in 1909 and re-erected at Sydenham to provide for the needs of the Indian Mission there. The land was sold in 1913 and the name St Augustine's was transferred to the new church in Congella and later to the Chapel at St Cyprians. Saint Faith Church then situated in Masonic Grove was built in the early 1880s and was under the control of the Vicar of St Cyprian's. It is interesting to note that St Faith produced the first Black (native) priest Rev. Daniel Mzamo. At this time St Cyprian's and the small St Augustine's church on the Berea were to only two Churches representing the Church of the Province of South Africa in Durban. St Cyprian's can be regarded as the Mother Church of the Anglican Faith under the Church of the Province of South Africa in Durban. It was from these beginnings that the Sisters of Saint John the Divine were persuaded to open an orphanage for girls in Clark Road, there followed the establishment of the Church. At Greyville a hall was built (St Mary's) St Stephens was built in the Point Smith Street - 1877 - 1939 In 1877 the foundation stone of the new church in of St Cyprian was laid in Smith Street (410 - 416 Smith Street, now Hub Departmental Store), by the Bishop of Cape Town, Bishop West-Jones. The Land was donated by a Mr. Dickenson of Pietermaritzburg. The congregation of St Cyprian's managed to raise the £2000 necessary for building the nave while a further £2000 was necessary to complete the church. Following troubles in Zululand which finally erupted into war, St Cyprians Church was finally concreted on 5 May 1881 by Bishop Macrorie. (view) In 1909 a parish hall was built behind the Church at a cost of £700 funded by the sale of the St Augustine's land in Musgrave Road on the Berea In September 1919, St Cyprian's celebrated its jubilee with services of thanksgiving and a Jubilee Ball in the Durban City Hall. Special trams travelled to the Berea and to Bulwer Park to take revellers home after the Ball. Migration to Congella The new St Cyprian's church in Congella was completed during the first months of World War 2 and was consecrated on 2 March 1940. The foundation stone of the new parish hall was laid in 18 December 1954 by the former vicar Rev. F.N. Ramsden and the completed hall was dedicated by the Lord Bishop of Natal the Rt. Rev. T.G.V Inman in June 1955. The cost of the new hall on the site which adjoins to church was well over £7000 more than ten times the cost of the parish hall built in Smith Street. Although the kitchen and offices were considered extremely spacious at the time of building, within 10 years the congregation was wishing that the accommodation could be expanded. In 1960 portion of the church grounds was set aside as a Garden of Remembrance where the ashes of those who have been associated with the church could be interred.

  • Parish of Morningside: St James - Although the history of the Parish goes back to the late 1800s, the foundation stone of the new church building, Dedicated to St. James the Apostle, was only laid by the then Governor of Natal, Sir Henry McCallum, on Saturday 20th December 1902. Thus, St. James Church had its roots in the Colonial years of Natal and was the "Spiritual Home" down the years for all who resided at "Kings House" the Governor's home just a short walk up the hill from the church. Over the years St. James has not only hosted members of the British Royal Family (the King and Queen in 1947 and more recently the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester), but also Members of the South African Government, including our now retired State President, Mr Nelson Mandela.[2]
  • Parish of Kloof: St Agnes - In 1896 Krantzkloof Station (which became Kloof Station, and is presently 'Stokers') was built on the Durban – Pietermaritzburg railway line. It was in the waiting room of this station that first formal Christian worship took place in the area. Clergy from St. John's Anglican Church in Pinetown would trek up Field's Hill to conduct services and celebrate Holy Communion to the handful of residents who lived on the farm. In 1904, with the subdivision of Richmond and the subsequent rise in population to 76 (including children), a wood and iron church was built on property donated to the Anglican Church by Mr. T.S.P. Field. This church, named the Church of the Holy Spirit, fell under the parish of Pinetown. By the 1930s, the Church of the Holy Spirit had become too small for the increasing population of Kloof. In 1936 the foundation stone of the new stone church was laid. The following year, on the 10 March, the new church was consecrated by Bishop Leonard Fisher, as St. Agnes Church.[3]
  • Parish of Mariannridge: Christ the King
  • Parish of Pinetown: St John the Baptist - Pinetown grew from a few scattered homesteads in the valley between what is now known as Kloof and Cowies Hill. Bishop Colenso, passing through Pinetown in 1854, was offered 5 acres of land by Mr Murray for the erection of a small church. Funds were raised, and on 3 December 1856, St John's, a little white-washed, thatched church was consecrated by the Right Reverend John William Colenso, first Bishop of Natal.[4]
  • Parish of Kirby-Hilton: Church of the Ascension - The congregation was established in 1904 when a series of special mission services was held in the Hilton Road Hall. In February 1906 Judge TR Bennett, the owner of the Quarry, donated land for the Church. The architectural firm of Messrs. Baker, Massay and Sloper of Johannesburg was approached and Mr Herbert Baker attended a meeting at St Anne's on 22 May 1906 and presented his plans for the Church. Judge Bennett donated the stone for the foundations and work began in December 1906. Advertisements in the Natal Witness and Times of Natal announced that Bishop Frederick Samuel Baines would lay the foundation stone on 6 December 1906. The building was completed by the end of April 1907 and it was dedicated by Bishop Baines on 9 May 1907, Ascension Day, hence the name "Church of the Ascension".[5]

List of Bishops

Bishops of Natal
From Until Incumbent Notes
1853 1883 John Colenso William Macrorie consecrated rival Bishop of Maritzburg from 1868 to 1892
1883 1893 vacant
1893 1901 Hamilton Baynes
1901 1928 Samuel Baines
1928 1951 Leonard Fisher Translated from Lebombo.
1951 1974 Vernon Inman
1974 1982 Philip Russell Translated from Port Elizabeth; translated to Cape Town.
1982 1999 Michael Nuttall Translated from Pretoria.
1999 present Rubin Phillip


BISHOPS OF THE DIOCESE John William Colenso 1853 – 1883 William Kenneth Macrorie 1869 – 1892 Arthur Hamilton Baynes 1893 – 1901 Frederick Samuel Baines 1901 – 1928 Leonard Noel Fisher 1928 – 1951 Thomas George Vernon Inman 1951 – 1974 Philip Welsford Richmond Russell 1974 – 1981 Michael Nuttall 1982 – 2000 Rubin Phillip 2000 –

SUFFRAGAN BISHOPS Fred Roach 1912 – 1922 Kenneth Bernard Hallowes 1969 – 1980 Alfred Mkhize 1980 – 1990 Matthew Mandlenkosi Makhaye 1989 – 2000 Ross Gray Cuthbertson 1990 – 1994 Elijah Robert Thwala 2001 – 2006 Funginkosi Niclaus Mbhele 2001 – 2010 Hummingfield Charles Nkosinathi Ndwandwe 2007 – Tsietsi Edward Seleoane 2011 -


Archibald Howard Cullen 1961 – 1967 Edward Francis Paget 1961 – 1971 Thomas William Stainton 1971 – 1987

Updated from information supplied by the Diocese of Natal Archives June 2012

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