St Francis of Assisi Parish Newsletter
St Francis of Assisi Anglican Church,
373 Milner Street, Waterkloof, 0181 Tel. 012-346 1106/7, Fax: 346 4226.
At this time last year we were saying farewell to the Breytenbachs. Martin was moving on to his new mission in the Northern Province, and we remembered the time that the family had spent with us. The year seems to have flown past, and our prayers are again with the Breytenbachs as they face a new and difficult challenge in their lives as a family. At the same time we celebrate the coming of Christ as a child born in the humblest of circumstances in Bethlehem (made all the more real by each birth we witness, including that of Jennifer, to Mark and Jo Krug).
It seems to be timely to re-examine the meaning of Christmas at the dawn of a new millennium. Despite unprecedented advances in technology which might lull us into thinking that humanity is really pretty clever, the gap between rich and poor is still growing. Despite medical knowledge that has finally mapped the human DNA, we are still seemingly unable to contain the spread of diseases, particularly in developing countries. And despite advances in the understanding of the human psyche and the pathologies which apparently cause 'sin', conflicts and wars continue to beset us.
So, at the turn of the century when most things seem to be within our grasp, but the most important things, such as happiness and peace, still elude us, perhaps we do still need God, and his Son who came to us in peace. May our experience of God be ever richer in the coming year.
Dear Friends in Christ,
I have had to deal with a number of people this year, who either wanted me to baptise their children, or perform their marriage ceremony, which is always a joy, but refused to join the church, or attend preparation classes, and even demanded that I do the ceremony at their home or elsewhere, and refused to understand that I am not permitted to do as they requested.
Usually this is followed by a lecture telling me that they are just as good a Christian as I am, and that they give to Civilian Blind, SPCA etc. etc., and are generous and god-fearing people.
As a result, I have formulated the gospel according to Robin, which goes something like this:-
You may well be a better, more generous person than I am but you cannot consider yourself a Christian if you are:
1. not an active part of the body of Christ (Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12);
The Catechism of the Anglican Prayer book also has a lot of sound advice (please read it sometime), which includes paragraph 82 on What is the duty of all Christians?
"The duty of all Christians is to follow Christ; to come together week by week for corporate worship; and to work, pray and give for the spread of the kingdom of God."
The Bishops of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa described the duty of all Anglican Christians of our church thus:
"The Father expects all his people to witness to the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring others to a knowledge of him."
The Anglican Church in Southern Africa shares in this call, and every baptised and confirmed member must share in God's mission to the world.
To this end your lifestyle as a Christian should include these responses to God's love for you:
To come to God in personal prayer every day
I really do feel we have a duty to our fellow beings to point out what the cost of being a real Christian involves. We of course need continually, to do some soul searching into our own lives and lifestyles, and Advent and Lent are the two seasons in the Church's calendar that encourage us to do just that, then to repent of any wrongdoing or living, so that when Christmas comes we can truly worship the Christ-child as newborn Christians.
My wish is that all of us may spend Advent wisely and well, it may be painful, but that's how we grow and mature.
On behalf of all the clergy and staff, have a truly blessed and memorable Christmas. Be alert, be careful and be refreshed.
Yours in the service of our Lord Jesus.
The end of another year has arrived. Somewhat faster than I had expected. This year has been a challenging one, but also a year full of fun and excitement. First let me take a minute to thank everyone in the parish for making me feel like one of the family. A special thank you to the leadership for all the encouragement and support that you have given me.
A huge Thank You must go to all the children's church teachers. Without you and your support and help I don't think that I could have managed. Thank you for your dedication to the Lord and His work with the children. And I pray that this Christmas break will be one of renewal and refreshing for all of you.
On this note I want to make an URGENT APPEAL to anyone who feels called to, or who would like to become involved in, the children's church as teachers, to please contact me. At this stage we are running a little short on teachers for the new year.
To all our children; Thank you for being so incredibly special. To those of you who are going away for the holidays, enjoy it and remind mom and dad to drive safely, so that you can all come back and join us next year. Remember that Christmas is not just about getting and giving presents, but that it is a time for us to remember (extra specially) how much God really loves us, and how much we should love Him. I hope you all enjoy opening up your Advent Calendars, and doing the different activities. Remember that we want to see the finished product on our first Children's Church Sunday next year.
I pray that this holiday period will be filled with the joys of knowing that Jesus truly loves each of us in a special way, and that the spirit of giving will extend beyond the physical gifts, to the little acts of love and kindness that can brighten up a life or a home. To the whole St Francis family - have a very Blessed Christmas and a peaceful New Year. And to the children, we will see you all back in the hall on the 19th of January.
Dear St Francis Friends
When I arrived home from six weeks in Canada visiting family, I found your invitation to me to attend you 50th anniversary celebrations. I am so sorry that I was not able to be with you on that great occasion. I have always felt that part of me still belonged to St Francis where we were members for so long, and from where I was ordained deacon. St Francis always brings back memories of my dear Pat as a lay minister, and also Registrar of the Diocese - and also of our children growing up, and attending Sunday School etc.
I hope you had a wonderful celebration on the 7th October, and I look forward to seeing many of you when I next visit Pretoria.
by Trevor Anderson
It must have been almost two years ago that Chris Hodgson phoned me one evening to ask me if I would be prepared to assist with the AE prayer chain. The chain members each spend half an hour in the church on the second Saturday of each month. At the time, I was a little awed by the idea of that sort of time being spent on what appeared to be so small a focus, but let me tell you what a wonderful experience it has proved to be! Let me share how I have gone about it.
On arrival, I find a nice soft kneeler, and "get down to it". Because it is usually fairly early in the day, I can really open my heart and give thanks for the start of such a beautiful day. Then I turn to the matter in hand, and the most rewarding approach is to really focus on the words of the Prayer for Africa.
God bless Africa
The first word just puts me in awe of the great presence with whom I am communing. "God"! My mind tries to comprehend his greatness, his power, his presence, his very being and his potential. In no time at all, I feel attuned to the task. Then, in the context of this great continent, I try to imagine what I/we mean when we ask Him to "bless" Africa. What form do we want such blessing to take? What would the people of Africa regard as His blessings?
The mind runs, and there is plenty to think about. Then - "Africa", this vast mass of land from the Cape to Cairo, with so many countries, so many peoples, so many leaders, and, sadly, so much misery and so much strife. Then I narrow my focus to our own country in particular - and almost immediately I think of KwaZulu-Natal, and the dreadful strife, which was prevalent there not too long ago. I am aware of how much African Enterprise has done there, and so plead that we never have a repeat of the carnage of days gone by.
When I move to the second line, I try to envisage what I think we mean when we ask God to "Guard" the children. Think only of the atrocious images of starvation, violation, neglect, and hardship (not to mention pictures of children bearing arms in war), and it becomes easy to intercede for guardianship. In this process, I have indeed also covered "her children" as well. In these times, it is obvious that AIDS orphans need our prayers and help as well.
Then, at the start of the third line, I beg God to "Guide" - and what a wealth of possibilities comes to mind, of ways in which the Church, scriptures and religious teachings could transform our continent and our country. Inevitably, then, I must consider 'her leaders' - and so one runs through the better-known, like our own State-President, our neighbours in the South African Development region, and then further afield, eventually remembering Gaddafi in the north! On a good day, we could probably spend a full session on these people alone! Again, one thinks of the leadership of the people and parties in KwaZulu-Natal, and one prays more avidly for the fragile peace to remain.
Finally, the line, "And give her peace." What a plea we need to make here! The strife in Angola seems permanent; threatening to destabilise Namibia as well; the lad issue in Zimbabwe can hardly be regarded as symbolic of peace; the violent crime in our own country; the farm killings; the war in the Congo; the simmering state of peace between Tutsis and Hutus; the Eritreans and the Somalies - and so it goes, on and on.
As you would appreciate - a mere half hour cannot allow full justice being done on the topic - but, nevertheless, it is a truly fulfilling experience to be able to pray and meditate so deeply on such matters. I have an idea that Chris sometimes battles to find people to "man the shop" for the time required, and so I would plead with you to let him know if you would be available to become another link in the chain, and share in this very special exercise.
(Source: Trinity Lynnwood's church magazine)
Come now, high king of heaven.
The Exeter Book
Let your goodness, Lord, appear to us, that we, made in your image, conform ourselves to it. In our own strength we cannot imitate your majesty, power, and wonder; nor is it fitting for us to try. But your mercy reaches from the heavens, through the clouds, to the earth below. You have come to us, a small child, but you have brought is the greatest of all gifts, the gift of eternal love. Caress us with your tiny hands, embrace us with your tiny arms, and pierce our hearts with your soft, sweet cries.
Bernard of Clairvaux
What have we done to your
1. Thou shalt not leave CHRIST out of Christmas making it Xmas. To some "X"
is an unknown quantity.
By Jenna Evans.
This year in the third term, my friends and I decided to be a group with all our friends. After 4 days we made rules. One of the rules was not to play with other children not in the group and I disagreed about this so they said I could leave if I disagreed.
We can apologise to people who we hurt. Being kind to new people. Don't hit people if they hit you. Being careful what you say about people.
Being kind. Helping people. Praying for other people. Being caring and loving. Getting your friends out of fights and trouble. Having a smiling, happy face.
God's love is like a mountain. But ours is onley like a little flower blowing in the wind but it can become like a mountain if other people belive in it to.
Glancing at the lighted plastic face of the Santa decoration, as I was about to pull the plug on him and drag myself to bed, I had the urge to flatten his jolly dimples with my fist. It's not jolly old St. Nick on Christmas Eve, making his famous round-the-world trip in twelve hours. It's tired old Mom on Christmas Eve feeling like she circled the world, and not remembering why.
Shopping. Baking. Decorating. Corresponding. Wrapping. Entertaining. I'd been so busy making things perfect that I'd made a perfect mess of things. I suspected as much when I heard myself saying, "No, you can't have a gingerbread man. You'll get crumbs on my clean floor!" And again when my daughter asked for advice on her gift list and got instead a tiresome list of my endless duties.
But I knew for sure I'd scrambled life when my youngest called from the other room, "Mommy, are you going to be in a good mood on Christmas?"
There was an exhausted mother that first Christmas morning too. She was weary, not from the parties and shopping and baking and trimming, but from giving birth to the Son of God, the one who came to us in simplicity so that we could learn that glory doesn't need decorating, the One who came to bring peace.
Mark and Jo are pleased to announce the arrival of Jennifer at 07:15 on 22 November. Delivery was just under 4 weeks premature, but mother and baby are currently both in good health. Jennifer weighed in at 2.5kg and 44cm long. All is well.
The maker of all human beings is recalling all units manufactured, regardless of make or year, due to the serious defect in the primary and central component of the heart. This is due to a malfunction in the original prototype units code named Adam and Eve, resulting in the reproduction of the same defect in all subsequent units. This defect has been technically termed, Subsequential Internal Non-Morality, or more commonly known as S-I-N, as it is primarily symptomized by loss of moral judgement.
Some other symptoms:
(a) Loss of direction
The manufacturer, who is neither liable or at fault for this defect, is providing factory authorised repair and service, free of charge to correct this SIN defect.
The number to call for the recall station in your area is:
Once connected, please upload your burden of SIN by pressing R-E-PE-N-T-A-N-C-E.
Next, download J-E-S-U-S into the heart. No matter how big or small the SIN defect is, the JESUS repair will replace it with:
Please see operating manual, HOLY BIBLE, for further details on the use of these fixes.
WARNING: Continuing to operate the human unit without correction, voids the manufacturer's warranty, exposing owner to dangers and problems too numerous to list and will result in the human unit being permanently impounded.
For free emergency service, call on J-E-S-U-S.
DANGER: The human units not receiving this recall action will have to be scrapped in the furnace. The SIN defect must not enter heaven or else heaven will be infected.
Author: The Creator.
From Joan Jones
Mary had a little Lamb,
Lord, hold my hand,