Diocese of the Free State
The Diocese of the Free State is a diocese in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.
The first service North of the Orange River to be taken by an Anglican clergyman was conducted in 1850 by Robert Gray, the first Bishop of Cape Town. In 1863, Edward Twells was consecrated the first Bishop of the Orange Free State and the Diocese was born. This new Diocese covered the area North of the Orange River, West of the Drakensberg and as far as the Zambezi River in the North.
The bishop arrived in Bloemfontein on 1 October 1863, with three priests and two teachers. George Mitchell was the first priest ordained in the Diocese, in 1865. The Cathedral was completed and consecrated in 1866. The Brotherhood of St Augustine of Hippo was established in the diocese a year later with Canon Beckett and seven members. Together they built the first Anglican church in Thaba Nchu, completed in 1868. This pioneering community established the Church’s work in Thaba Nchu and in places as far apart as Wepener and Harrismith and continued faithfully from their house at Modderpoort until their work was taken over by the Society of the Sacred Mission in 1902.
The first Diocesan Synod met in 1872 and a good foundation was laid for the organizational side of the Church’s work. Two years later the need for Sisters for nursing, teaching and visiting was recognised and the Community of St Michael and All Angels was founded in Bloemfontein. Furthermore, the Transvaal became no longer the responsibility of Bloemfontein when the Anglican Diocese of Pretoria was formed in 1878. Then in 1891 the scope of the diocese again changed with the formation of the Anglican Diocese of Mashonaland.
In 1899, the year the Anglo Boer war broke out (Boer Wars), the diocesan bishop, Wale Hicks, died. Allan Webb resigned the See of Grahamstown and came back to look after his old diocese until a new bishop could be elected.
The first missionary conference was held in the Cathedral in 1904. Some years later, to aid the mission work of the church and oversight, the Anglican Diocese of Kimberley and Kuruman was established in 1911. This was repeated again in 1950 with the formation of the Anglican Diocese of Lesotho (then, Basutoland) and in 1952, with the founding of the Anglican Diocese of Matabeleland. In 2003 the diocese changed its name to the Diocese of the Free State.
List of bishops
|Bishops of Bloemfontein|
|1863||1869||Edward Twells||Resigned among public allegations.|
|1870||1883||Allan Webb||Translated to Grahamstown; later Dean of Salisbury.|
|1886||1891||George Knight-Bruce||Translated to Mashonaland.|
|1892||1899||Wale Hicks||Died in office.|
|1899||1902||sede vacante: Ranulph Vincent, Dean of Bloemfontein was vicar general.|
|1902||1920||Arthur Chandler||Retired to the United Kingdom.|
|1921||1935||Walter Carey||Resigned due to ill health and returned to the United Kingdom.|
|1951||1957||Cecil Alderson||Translated from Damaraland; translated to Mashonaland.|
|1957||1967||Bill Burnett||Translated to Grahamstown, then Cape Town.|
|1982||1997||Thomas Stanage||Previously Suffragan bishop in Johannesburg since 1978.|
|1997||2003||Patrick Glover||Previously suffragan bishop in the diocese since 1994.|
|Bishops of the Free State|
|2003||2012||Patrick Glover||Retired to Knysna in the Diocese of George.|
Coat of arms
The diocese assumed arms shortly after its inception. They were formally granted by the College of Arms in 1951, and registered at the Bureau of Heraldry in 1992 : Azure, a saltire Argent surmounted of a flaming sword erect proper; the shield ensigned of a mitre proper.
- Chronological History of the Diocese of the Free State at the Wayback Machine (archived August 1, 2010)
- Karel Schoeman (1991). The Wesleyan Mission in the Orange Free State, 1833 - 1854: As Described in Contemporary Accounts. Human & Rousseau. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-7981-2808-7. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
- Lewis, C; Edwards. G.E. (1934). Historical records of the Church of the Province of South Africa. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. p. 515.
- Brownell, F. G. (2002). Heraldry in the Church of the Province of Southern Africa, 1847-2000: Coats of Arms of the Dioceses, Collegiate and Parish Churches, and the Order of Ethiopia. Heraldsholme CC. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-620-28606-0.