The Franciscan

Advent / Christmas
November - December 2005 

St Francis of Assisi Parish Newsletter

Youth Group – Botswana Outreach September 2005
Praying for church members after a service


St Francis of Assisi Anglican Church, 373 Milner Street, Waterkloof, 0181 Tel. 012-346 1106/7, Fax: 346 4226.
http://www.st-francis.co.za/       mail@st-francis.co.za
Clergy: Fr Timothy Lowes, Robin Heath, June de Klerk
Deacon: Martzi Eidelberg
 Children's & Youth Chaplain: Liz Horne 


Foreword

This is the third and final Newsletter of the year. The rhythm of three numbers a year seems to be the easiest to handle for all concerned, so we’ll probably keep to this formula next year. Do get writing and send in your contributions for the Easter edition in mid-April. 

Our main feature in this edition is the account of the Botswana Outreach programme of the Youth Group, written in the form of a diary. Three members of the Group and Liz Horne teamed up with members of the Brooklyn Methodist church and their youth pastor, Dave Fiddler, to renovate a church in Francistown and visit various children’s homes, thus demonstrating solidarity with fellow Christians … and having a ball while doing so. 

Many thanks to Dave Tweedley and Copymart for once again printing, collating and binding the hard copy of our Newsletter free of charge.

Jill Daugherty (Ed)


From the Rector's Desk

My dear Parishioners,

When Jenny reminded me that my article for the “Christmas” edition of the Franciscan was due – I seriously looked at her as though she had taken leave of her senses. But, she was right, and I was forced to take a deep breath and face the fact that ‘the season to be merry’ is indeed once again upon us. (I could’ve sworn it was January not too long ago).

‘The season to be merry’. A strange adjective to use, this word ‘merry’, in a world where vast pockets of ‘misery’ exist. The truth is that, for about 3 billion of the earth’s inhabitants, this season is absolutely everything EXCEPT ‘merry’. ‘Well thank-you very much,’ you say (perhaps crunching on your 15th mince pie if you are anything like me) – ‘you have successfully disabled my Christmas spirit.’ Please keep on reading, this is not my intention. My aim is certainly not to undo the fun and joy, the ‘merriness’ of the season, but perhaps it would not be amiss of us to look at our ‘merriment’ and see just what it is that enables us to celebrate the season in that vein.

The OD (Oxford Dictionary) describes ‘merry’ in two ways:

  1. Joyous

  2. Full of laughter or gaiety

Certainly that word ‘joyous’, for me, best sums up why we are entitled to be ‘merry’, and certainly laughter and gaiety are a special part of the season.  But, note, the OD does not include ‘frivolity’ in its descriptions. Nor ‘excessive wantonness’ – and that, I fear, is where the problem lies.

My understanding of the season of Christmas is that our ‘merriness’, our ‘joyousness’ are responses to the Good News of Salvation wrought in us by the Christ Child. And the hope and the grace that this brings to humankind. Sadly, secular society, as we well know, hasn’t a clue as to this merriment (perhaps this is not entirely true – for there exists a faint recollection and awareness of the True Story through the digital Christmas jingles and horrible plastic ivy), but by and large the merriment enjoyed is of a hedonistic, deeply indulgent nature. And that, I fear, is about as relevant and helpful to the Christian cause as sunshine in the desert.

Does this mean, therefore, that we are wrong to plunge ourselves into the ‘holiday spirit’?  No and again a thousand times no. I love the season. I love the joy that it brings to society (more than likely inadvertently, but the joy is nevertheless real). I love the Carol Services (even though at times we are singing about ‘sleighs’ and it is 37 degrees outside and most of the singers haven’t a clue what a ‘sleigh’ is), but MY merriment and joyousness must find their source and fulfilment in the Incarnate One, who alone is the Fountain of all Hope and Life, and within the awareness that most of the earth’s population will be lucky if they get a daily glass of clean drinking water throughout the entire season.

So you see, it has nothing to do with ‘spoiling the fun’ – rather, everything to do with authenticity and perspective…

I DO, therefore, wish you a ‘merry Christmas’ and may you indeed revel in the ‘joyousness’ of it all. Know again that I thank God every day that you are my flock and my responsibility. Your love, generosity and forgiving spirit have brought me safely to the shore once again at the end of 2005.

MERRY CHRISTMAS !
Father Timothy


Christmas Services at St Francis of Assisi

Sunday 04 December 19:00 9 Lessons & Carol Service
Saturday 24 December 18:00
11:00
Crib Service
Midnight Mass
Sunday 25 December 07:30
09:30
 Christmas Day Mass
 Christmas Day Mass


BOTSWANA OUTREACH 2005
(memoirs of Amy Harris & Liz Horne & Team)  

(for photos see the Gallery)

24 september 2005
We left on time.  That in itself is a small miracle when you take all the luggage and goodbyes into account. Our send off was wonderful, with friends and family all at the church to pray for us and bless us on our way. Many thanks to Paul for the bookmarks and Robert for the prayer. 

The trip through the Limpopo Province was an experience. Not once did tempers flare or people get bitchy with each other, there was a definite peace in the combi (which drives really well, by the way). Amy’S and Carla’s infectious giggles kept us all smiling. 

Passing through the border was a breeze, in terms of what could go wrong. The border officials on the SA side where quite funny, when we stopped the vehicle to be searched. They asked if we had anything to declare, we said we weren’t sure what you should declare or not. The guy just waved us through saying, he can see we’re South Africans but to watch out at the Botswana side, cause they can be funny.

Our accommodation is nice. We’ve got comfy beds, great showers and air-con, when it works.  It’s really hot here!!!

 Meeting Fr. Tom, his society stewards and the youth was interesting. The expectations from both sides seem to be very far apart. But God is in control and He will and has laid out the path for us. God bless and keep us safe.

 The youth co-coordinator is a young lady by the name of Tshidi. The youth group themselves are great and I’m sure we will forge strong bonds with them by the time the week is over.

25 september 2005
Amy and I both slept on the tiles for a while last night, to try and cool down. Simply because our air-con doesn’t exactly work.

The 2 services at the Methodist Church this morning couldn’t have been more different from each other. The 9:30 service is traditionally the English Service with people from all over coming, led by Rev Niel. We just attended this service and gave half the bibles to them.

The second service is the Tswana Service. The team was asked to do a programme and Dave preached on the Freedom that God has given us through Forgiveness. Gave the other Bibles to this service. Very African. Lots of hand shaking, thanking and speechifying. The ministry time after the service was incredible, people coming for prayer for all sorts of things. From single-moms with HIV to Grandmothers worrying about the children and grandchildren. The team wERE awesome in their response.

Our lunch and supper was at the home of a wonderful lady named Flora. She is a caterer on one of the mines, and really blessed us with her openness and hospitality and incredible cooking.

The Independence Service, at the local soccer ground, was good exposure for the team to being the only white faces around, and thereby raising questions of who’s that????? 

Ended the day with a Prayer Service at the Church and team devotions back at the Nest.

26 september 2005
Went to the Tshimologo CentrE for Mentally and Physically Disabled Children. What a Blessing. The centrE is incredibly well run and the children were gorgeous. The team really interacted well with the kids.

Lunch was prepared for us by Mrs. Chikolo (Fransisco’s mother).  A traditional fare of 2 types of “Pap” with Spinach and ground meat, really nice. The only “snag” was none of us could really finish alL the food that was given to us.

After lunch, went to the Light & Courage HIV/AIDS day care centre. It serves as a counselLing and “Life-skills” centre, Where ‘clients’ who are infected/affected by HIV can come and “learn” how to live positively. the focus is on looking forward and living with the virus. Carla’s self-image testimony was a real blessing to the clients as well as the staff – reminding them that it doesn’t matter what’s happening to the physical body, Jesus concentrates on the inner beauty and the Spiritual body of a person.

The evening Prayer service went well.

27 september 2005
The great thing about today was we finally started working on the church building. The guys were great in terms of the way they just got down to doing the work that needed to be done.  Filling in a huge crack and re-plastering a few other spots on the walls, poly filling and washing and scraping. They all jumped in and worked really well.

The team decided to spend some of their free time learning a dance that they wanted to do tonight at the prayer meeting. They also ran the prayer meeting tonight. Handled it really well.  

28 september 2005
Today is Amy’s 17th Birthday. 

The painting is finished.  I can’t believe how quickly and how well the job got done.  Everyone just got stuck in again.  Not once did we have to nag someone to work or help or whatever. The church looks really good.

Lunch was really nice. The community has really fed us well.

Today’s site visits were incredible. Our first stop was the Lephoi Centre for the Blind and Visually Impaired. It’s 1 of only 2 centrEs in the country. The kids are incredibly musically gifted.  A group of them played the Marimbas and drums for us.  WOW!!!!!

Our next stop was the Francistown Prison. We spenT about 20 minutes with some of the ladies. (Crimes ranging from murder to theft and abortion). The team really handled themselves well.  You could tell that it got to them, especially when you noticed that one or two of the ladies had children with them.  Joyce, a member of the congregation, works there and arranged for us to go in. No photos of anywhere around the prison are allowed.

Our last stop for the day was at the Francistown Deaf School/Centre. It is beautiful watching the children communicate with each other. They “sang” the most gorgeous song for us, to say good-bye. Carla’S clown act really got them going, it was scary for 1 or 2, but in general the kids really loved it. At both of the schools today, it would have been nice To have more time to actually interact with the kids, but such is life.

The guys did the prayer evening tonight, it was a combination prayer meeting/cultural evening. The interaction with the youth was great. They shared a small insight into the Tswana Culture with us – traditional dress and dancing and song.  Dingi recited a poem that spoke volumes about the way that the traditions and culture are dying out because of “modernization” – how the “African drums are silent”. 

 The letters from home were a Godsend.

29 september 2005
The church is finished!!! And it looks so different. The windows were fixed and washed today. A few of us spent half thE morning sniffing turps while trying to get the floor clean, Dave (& Wes) put up the new light for outside and a new fan for the choir. All in all, a job really well done.

We decided to spend some time 1 on 1 with Fr. Tom today, to encourage him and bless him. The team also decided to leave him a gift of P500.00. His family all stay back in Gauteng. Just chatting to him, and sharing in his passion for these people, lifted my spirits. His passion for sharing the love of his Jesus is infectious.

The youth co-coordinator for the society, Ernest, had organized a workshop to look at issues such as HIV/Aids, Passion Killings, etc. The fact that the youth want to share their struggles is great. May this initiative continue and hopefully they’ll come up with some really good plans of action on Abstinence etc and BE able to put them into practice.

Had a brief visit at the SOS Children’s Home tonight. Again, it would have been nice to interact with the children.  Amy and Marc did the “Sin Chair” – IT was brilliantly funny!!!

Supper was at Ernest’s home with some of the youth. It was nice to spend some time with Tshidi again. Really tired!! 

30 september 2005
It’s our last day.  I can’t believe that it’s all over. Today is also Botswana’s Independence Day – so it’s a national holiday. 

The team spent the morning at the church playing games with the youth. A game with old coldrink cans called “Dibekhi and Molelo Wa Sha” and good old soccer. Great fun was had by all.  Lunch was a “braai” at the Chikole residence with most of the youth there. The afternoon was spent sleeping for most of us.

The evening session at the church was really bittersweet. The youth prepared one or two songs and a lot of thank yous and speechifying happened. 

The trip back to South Africa was a lot quieter and more subdued than the trip to Botswana. We all had mixed feelings about coming home.

Thank you to both Congregations who helped make this Outreach possible through all the Prayer and financial support we received.


EDUTAK

The following article was sent to us from Clarens by Grace Meyer, who used to worship at St Francis. In her covering e-mail, she spoke about the early years of Edutak as follows:

‘In those early years the prayers and support of St Francis’s and St Anne's helped us through difficult times. I have continued fundraising for this organisation as well as monitoring pre-school programmes, which we have developed. […]  
Fr Timothy should remember us.  He kindly allowed us to use the St Anne's Church in Silverton as one of our first training venues more than 15 years ago now! Two of your parishioners, Paddy Telford and Joey Phayane, are members of our Board who have dedicated their time and expertise to the upliftment of the rural communities. 
[…]  

Could you include us in your prayers? Thank you very much.’

 Edutak Pre-School Training and Development
(Non-Profit Organisation: 022-196 NPO)

Uplifting the poorest communities of South Africa 
for 16 years

Laying the Foundation
Edutak was founded in 1989 by a community leader, David Motlatla, and volunteer teachers, Flora Oates and Grace Meyer. Communities in the disadvantaged areas of South Africa had conveyed a desperate need for a pre-school foundation and care of their little children. Edutak intervened by developing a programme to empower women with skills to open Early Learning Centres and provide children with stimulating pre-school programmes. With the support and encouragement, the founder members were able to accept the challenge that faced them. The first training courses were offered at the old Kilnerton College and then at the little St Anne’s Anglican Church in Silverton.

Edutak has been training women in Early Childhood Education and empowering members of the community for the past 16 years. During this time many milestones have been achieved. Edutak has grown from an organisation that trained Day Care mothers to a fully accredited Early Childhood Development Organisation, which provides training courses from levels 1 - 4 culminating in a National Certificate in Early Childhood Education.

Achievements and Highlights

  • Training and Resource Centre was completed in 1995 in Silverton, Pretoris, with funding from Nedlac

  • On 17 February 2003 Edutak won the ABSA/SACECE Early Childhood Development award as the best established training organisation in the Limpopo Province

  • On 1 July 2005 Edutak was audited by ETDQA and provided full accreditation fro the next five years.

Upgrading
During the past 16 years the women have upgraded their skills by attending further workshops and training courses offered by Edutak. They are all completing their levels 1 – 4 in Early Childhood Education, which will culminate in National Certificates in Early Childhood Education.

We identified the potential of some of these women and have given them the opportunity of joining the Edutak staff as trainers to share their experience and knowledge with other women. As they have experienced the hardships of the rural areas and are aware of the conditions in which the women have to operate they are best able to give them sound advice and guidance.

Monitoring Programme
Our fieldworkers provide an after-care service in the form of guidance and mentorship. We visit the Early Learning Centres in the remotest villages of the rural areas to support the practitioners and to follow their progress.

Benefits

  • 100 000 children have benefited from these stimulating programmes

  • 4 588 women have benefited from training courses and workshops

  • 4 000 Early Learning Centres have benefited from the stimulating pre-school programmes being implemented

  • Illiterate parents and members of the community are benfitting from the workshops on pre-school stimulation, HIV/Aids and Child Abuse

The kit of learning aids provided to each Early Learning Centre covers the entire pre-school curriculum. It teaches the sounds, how to write the letters, the body parts, colours, shapes, new vocabulary, number concepts, art, science and technology, rhymes and a host of wonderful general knowledge.

Seeing the little children in the remote rural villages of the Limpopo Province responding to this stimulating programme with bright-eyed enthusiasm has been one of the many rewarding experiences we have had during the past years.

Trainees are also given a sound foundation on how to run an Early Learning Centre. The training includes First Aid and Hygiene and workshops on HIV/Aids and Child Abuse for members of the community.

Edutak has been sustained by forming partnerships with donors, church groups and individuals. Personal commitment and dedication from members of the Edutak Board and staff members have ensured the continuation of the programme even when setbacks have been experienced.

The benefits to the poorest communities in our country have been incalculable. Women have been trained to take care of children thus leaving their parents free to become economically active. The ripple effect throughout the communities has seen assistants, cooks and gardeners being employed. Parents and community members have been empowered with knowledge on HIV/Aids, Child Abuse and the holistic development of children.

The Way Forward
Our task has not been completed. Our practitioners need to complete their training as Early Learning Practitioners. Parents and community members need to be empowered with knowledge on HIV/AIDS, Child Abuse and the holistic development of children.

The venues will be: Bakenberg, Vaaltyn, Mphalele and Mafefe and Lepalala, in the Limpopo Province, and Silverton, Atteridgeville and Soshanguve in Gauteng. Kits of Learning Aids need to be provided to the Early Learning Centres in the poorest areas of South Africa. Additional workshops will be conducted at the eight venues for parents and community members on HIV/Aids, Child Abuse and supporting the holistic development and safety of young children.

 

Women have opened Early Learning Centres
in the poorest communities of South Africa,

giving children a solid foundation for school and life.
 

Edutak Pre-School Training & Development
PO Box 1962
Silverton 0127

Tel: 012 803 6424


Grace Meyer

grace1@telkomsa.net 


The Calendar of important dates for the first four months of 2006. Please note that some of these dates of events are provisional and could change.

JANUARY

FEBRUARY

3

Tue

Parish Office opens

1

Wed

Fr Timothy on leave

15

Sun

Lay Ministers’ Fraternal

5

Sun

Family Service

23

Mon

Parish Executive meet

10 - 12

Fri to Sun

Parish Retreat

26

Thur

Parish Council meet

 

28

Sat

Prayer Walk

23

Thur

Parish Council meet

 

 

 

24

Fri

Fr Timothy returns

 MARCH

 APRIL

1

Wed

Ash Wednesday

5

Wed

Lent Course

5

Sun

Lent 1 08:30 Mass

Annual Vestry Meeting

8

Sat

Making Palm Crosses

 

 

9

Sun

Palm Sunday

8

Wed

Lent Course

9

Sun

Lay Ministers’ Fraternal

12

Sun

Lay Ministers’ Fraternal

10

Mon

Holy Week 09:00 Mass

15

Wed

Lent Course

11

Tue

Holy Week 09:00 Mass

21

Tue

Public Holiday

12

Wed

Holy Week 09:00 Mass

22

Wed

Lent Course

13

Thu

Holy Week 09:00 Mass

25

Sat

Men’s Breakfast

13

Thu

Maundy Thurs Service

26

Sun

Mothering Sunday

14

Fri

Good Friday

27

Mon

Parish Executive meet

15

Sat

Service of light

29

Wed

Lent Course

16

Sun

Easter Day

30

Thur

Parish Council meet

17

Mon

Public Holiday

 

 

 

20

Thu

Parish Exco & Council

 

 

 

27

Thu

Public Holiday

 Jenny Poll


Back to top                          Contents

Contents

Foreword

From the Rector's Desk

Christmas Services at St Francis of Assisi

Botswana Outreach

Edutak

About Christmas Carols

Carolling in Melstock

The Advent Wreath

Two Prayers

Children's Ministry Appeal

Calendar First Quarter 2006


ABOUT CHRISTMAS CAROLS

Each year, at Christmas time, we hear the same old favourite carols. 'Old' is not being disparaging - most of our favourites are fairly old. Two of my favourites are The Holly and the Ivy and What Child Is This. The old Christmas carols are also warm and comfortable and wrap us in a cloak of introspection, nostalgia and anticipation.

Each year brings a few new Christmas carols. Some of these are added to favourites and others are sung continuously for a while and then forgotten. Does anyone remember a Cowboy Carol? I have no idea where it came from. Although there is a Christmas musical, A Cowboy's Carol (an American Cowboy and Indian version of Dickens's A Christmas Carol), I don't think they are related. I remember singing it in the annual Collegiate carols in the PE Feather Market Hall in about 1974. I don't recall having heard it again after about 1976. Time and again, however, we revisit the old carols – possibly because most of them are easier to sing than the modern ones and also because the music, as well as the words, appeal to us.

The lovely story of the origins of the perennial favourite – Silent Night (Stille Nacht) – is well known, but others of my favourites also have interesting stories associated with them. Examples of such carols include:

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing! The music is from the second chorus of a cantata by Felix Mendelssohn written in 1840 to commemorate Johann Gutenberg and the invention of printing. The words are from a hundred years earlier, written in 1739 by Charles Wesley whose brother, John, founded the Methodist Church.

Another beautiful carol O Holy Night (Cantique de Noël) was denounced by church authorities for its lack of musical taste and "total absence of the spirit of religion"! This carol was written by Adolphe Charles Adam (1803 – 1856), the French composer best known for his ballet Giselle. The French text is by Cappeau de Roquemaure; the English by American clergyman John Sullivan Dwight (1812-1893).

What Child Is This is sung to the melody of Greensleeves. The song was first registered in 1850 to Richard Jones with lyrics that were neither religious nor respectable. In 1865 William Chatterton Dix (English) wrote The Manger Throne, three verses of which became What Child Is This.

About Christmas
Once again, Christmas is just around the corner. Did you know that for more than half a century Christmas was forbidden in the entire English-speaking world and it was banned for almost 400 years in Scotland? For most Christians, Christmas is the celebration of the fact of the birth of Christ, rather than the observation of his date of birth. (There is no direct reference to the birth date of Christ in the bible, but it is generally assumed to have taken place in April.)

The Puritans, who emphasized the observation of only pure fact taken from the bible, saw the celebration of Christmas as 'heathen' and 'idolatrous' and of course 'popish' and banned the celebration of Christmas 'Christ masse' and all associated with it.  For the Scots the banning of Christmas also seems to have been a reflection of their independence of the English. […]

The following is taken from the scottishchristian.com website: 
For almost 400 years, Christmas was banned in Scotland. At the height of the Reformation, in 1583, when anything smacking of Catholicism and idolatrous excess was thrown out with contempt, Christmas and all its trappings was wiped off the official calendar. On December 25th, not so much as a plum pudding was allowed to steam.

There was nothing half-hearted about this gesture. Reinforced by the hard arm of the law, this was a ban that had bite. Over the centuries that followed, many a casual offender was called to account for Christmas transgressions, and no seasonal leniency was shown.

This was an age when religious belief could mean the difference between life and a very nasty death. Whereas nowadays many Christians look on aghast at the crazy commercialism of modern gift-buying, they wouldn't dream of taking serious steps to stop others celebrating as they wish. Back in the 16th century, however, this is exactly what they did. […]

When the ban was officially lifted [in Scotland], the change came quietly. In 1954, the minister of St Giles preached an impassioned Watch Night Service calling for industrialists to make Christmas Day a public holiday. Four years later, in 1958, his wish was granted. It was official acknowledgement of a quiet revolution, which had been taking place throughout the century. But from its early manifestations, nobody could have anticipated the speed with which the festival would develop.

To read the rest of the article visit:
http://www.scottishchristian.com/features/0412christmas.shtml

The extracts below were taken from a website devoted to Christmas which makes for interesting reading:
http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com

When Victoria was born in 1819, it is said that carols were only sung in a few isolated communities in rural England. Oliver Goldsmith (1731-1774) wrote that the parishioners of The Vicar of Wakefield (1766) "kept up the Christmas carol." A writer in the Gentleman's Magazine for May, 1811, wrote that in the area known as North Riding in Yorkshire, he was awakened about 6 o'clock on Christmas Day "by a sweet singing under my window," and looking out he saw six young women and four men singing.

Washington Irving wrote in The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent (1818-1819) – and primarily from the section known as Old Christmas – that he was surprised on Christmas night to hear beautiful music from local citizens. He wrote:

"Even the sound of the waits [= street singers of Christmas carols], rude as may be their minstrelsy, breaks upon the mid-watches of a winter night with the effect of perfect harmony. As I have been awakened by them in that still and solemn hour, ‘when deep sleep falleth upon man,’ I have listened with a hushed delight, and, connecting them with the sacred and joyous occasion, have almost fancied them into another celestial choir, announcing peace and good-will to mankind."

In the Christmas Eve sketch, Irving continued:

"I had scarcely got into bed when a strain of music seemed to break forth in the air just below the window. I listened, and found it proceeded from a band, which I concluded to be the waits from some neighbouring village. They went round the house, playing under the windows.

"I drew aside the curtains, to hear them more distinctly. The moonbeams fell through the upper part of the casement, partially lighting up the antiquated apartment. The sounds, as they receded, became more soft and aerial, and seemed to accord with quiet and moonlight. I listened and listened – they became more and more tender and remote, and, as they gradually died away, my head sank upon the pillow and I fell asleep." […]

 © Shelley Childs PMAA 08 November 2005


CAROLLING IN MELSTOCK

Extract from the delightful and charming description of the Melstock Quire [= alternative spelling of choir] in Hardy's Under the Greenwood Tree, which was written in the late 1800s. The tradition of carolling was still very much alive then.

 

For your amusement, here are two extracts describing the quire setting out to entertain the village on their rounds and their experience at Farmer Shiner’s house:

 

Advice to Quire

"Now mind, neighbours," he (William Dewey) said, as they all went out one by one at the door, he himself holding it ajar and regarding them with a critical face as they passed, like a shepherd counting out his sheep. "You two counter-boys, keep your ears open to Michael's fingering, and don't ye go straying into the treble part along o' Dick and his set, as ye did last year; and mind this especially when we be in 'Arise, and hail.' Billy Chimlen, don't you sing quite so raving mad as you fain would; and, all o' ye, whatever ye do, keep from making a great scuffle on the ground when we go in at people's gates; but go quietly, so as to strike up all of a sudden, like spirits."

 

Farmer Shiner's House

Farmer Shiner's was a queer lump of a house, standing at the corner of a lane that ran into the principal thoroughfare. The upper windows were much wider than they were high, and this feature, together with a broad bay-window where the door might have been expected, gave it by day the aspect of a human countenance turned askance and wearing a sly and wicked leer. To-night nothing was visible but the outline of the roof upon the sky.

 

The front of this building was reached and the preliminaries arranged as usual. "Four breaths, and number thirty-two, 'Behold the morning star,' " said old William.

 

They had reached the end of the second verse, and the fiddlers were doing the up bow-stroke previously to pouring forth the opening chord of the third verse, when without a light appearing or any signal being given a roaring voice exclaimed, "Shut up, woll 'ee! Don't make your blaring row here: a feller wi' a headache enough to split his skull likes a quiet night." Slam went the window. "Hullo – that’s a' ugly blow for we!" said the tranter [= one who transports goods with a horse and cart] in a keenly appreciative voice, and turning to his companions.

 

"Finish the carrel, all who be friends of harmony!" commanded old William: and they continued to the end.

 

"Four breaths and number nineteen," said William firmly. "Give it him well: the quire can't be insulted in this manner."

 

A light now flashed into existence, the window opened, and the farmer stood revealed as one in a terrific passion.

 

"Drown en - drown en!" the tranter cried, fiddling frantically: "Play fortissimy and drown his spaking!" "Fortissimy!" said Michael Mail and the music and singing waxed so loud that it was impossible to know what Mr Shiner had said, was saying, or was about to say; but wildly flinging his arms and body about in the forms of capital Xs and Ys he appeared to utter enough invectives to consign the whole parish to perdition.

 

"Very onseemly – very," said old William as they retired. 'Never such a dreadful scene in the whole round o' my carrel practice: never! And he a churchwarden!"

 

I hope that our carol programmes do not encourage such a bad spirit!

Michael Hennessy

St Charles, Victory Park


The Advent Wreath

 I went looking for the meaning of the Advent Wreath on the World Wide Web. Here is the most complete explanation I found, which is echoed in most of the other sites :

The History of the Advent Wreath    FR. WILLIAM SAUNDERS http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0132.html

The Advent wreath is part of our long-standing Catholic tradition. However, the actual origins are uncertain. There is evidence of pre-Christian Germanic peoples using wreathes with lit candles during the cold and dark December days as a sign of hope in the future warm and extended-sunlight days of Spring. […]

By the Middle Ages, the Christians adapted this tradition and used Advent wreathes as part of their spiritual preparation for Christmas. After all, Christ is “the Light that came into the world” to dispel the darkness of sin and to radiate the truth and love of God (cf. John 3:19-21). By 1600, both Catholics and Lutherans had more formal practices surrounding the Advent wreath.

The symbolism of the Advent wreath is beautiful. The wreath is made of various evergreens, signifying continuous life. […] The circle of the wreath, which has no beginning or end, symbolizes the eternity of God, the immortality of the soul, and the everlasting life found in Christ. Any pinecones, nuts, or seedpods used to decorate the wreath also symbolize life and resurrection. All together, the wreath of evergreens depicts the immortality of our soul and the new, everlasting life promised to us through Christ, the eternal Word of the Father, who entered our world becoming true man and who was victorious over sin and death through His own passion, death, and resurrection.

The four candles represent the four weeks of Advent. A tradition is that each week represents one thousand years, to sum to the 4,000 years from Adam and Eve until the Birth of the Savior. Three candles are purple and one is rose. The purple candles in particular symbolize the prayer, penance, and preparatory sacrifices and goods works undertaken at this time. The rose candle is lit on the third Sunday, Gaudete Sunday, when the priest also wears rose vestments at Mass; Gaudete Sunday is the Sunday of rejoicing, because the faithful have arrived at the midpoint of Advent, when their preparation is now half over and they are close to Christmas. The progressive lighting of the candles symbolizes the expectation and hope surrounding our Lord’s first coming into the world and the anticipation of His second coming to judge the living and the dead.

The light again signifies Christ, the Light of the world. Some modern day adaptations include a white candle placed in the middle of the wreath, which represents Christ and is lit on Christmas Eve. […]

The symbolism of the four candles as explained above by Fr Saunders does not coincide with our South African Anglican tradition. I then turned to Fr Roy Snyman’s book “Travelling along the Anglican Way”, where I found the following definition of the Advent Wreath (p 74) :

A floral wreath with four candles is sometimes used liturgically to mark the four Sundays of Advent, with emphasis on ‘The Four Last Things’ associated with the “Advent” of Christ: ‘Death’, ‘Judgment’, ‘Heaven’ and ‘Hell’. (A fifth candle may represent Christmass.) [Note the spelling of Christmass, cf the article About Christmas Carols above.]

But we no longer concentrate on the Four Last Things during Advent. I quote from notes handed out at an Advent Course held at St Framcis a few years ago :

Originally three candles were purple because that is the colour associated with penitential seasons. Until the liturgical reforms of the 1960s Advent was a second penitential season, after Lent. Today Advent is clearly identified as a season of anticipation, not of penance. Purple is not required and, in fact, seems inappropriate.

If we examine the Collects for the four Sundays of Advent, it becomes clear that the first candle now represents Anticipation, the second the Scriptures, the third St John the Baptist and the fourth the Virgin Mary. Because we associate pink with women, we now light the pink candle on the fourth, instead of the third Sunday of Advent. At a recent Lay Ministers’ workshop, it was said that the pink candle could be replaced by a blue one, the colour traditionally associated with the mother of Jesus.

Before we get totally confused by all the above, let me once again quote from the Advent notes of a few years ago :

The key symbolism of the Advent wreath is in danger of getting lost behind questions of colour, “theme”, etc. It really is very simple: there is light in the darkness. This in itself is entirely biblical and goes well with the readings for the Advent and Christmas seasons. With the successive lighting of one, two, three and finally four candles there is the idea of increasing light. The number four was determined by the four Sundays of Advent, but is not sacred in itself. As we have seen, in its origins there were as many candles as space allowed. […]

Finally, the Advent wreath is not any part of the official liturgy of the church, though this does not mean that we cannot use it in church. But its use should be modest, and should respect the primary liturgical symbols of assembly, minister, word and Eucharist. Official liturgical books tell us nothing about placement, number, size, colour, or when and how it is to be used. This is for us to decide, using common sense and respecting liturgical principles.

 Jill Daugherty


TWO PRAYERS

An IT Prayer

Lord, I have been made for Your service. Download on to my hard drive Your complete instructions. With Your unlimited power, transform my memory and give me gigs unheard of in this world. I pray that my RAM will be controlled and invaded by You.

 Thank You for software that You send me every day through people, books and especially Your Word. Use this software in me to serve people around me, I pray.

 Lord, delete every fault and malfunction in me please. Thank You that You have erased it from Your memory. Help me to remember that You have erased it from my hard drive. With Your instructions and Word, install in me a virus protection program against virus attacks from the evil Hacker.

 Upgrade me every day, I pray. Make me more powerful to serve You. Help me to use every function that You have created in me to Your glory.

 Lord, You know how easily I hang. You are the main frame. No matter how many times I hang and am switched on and off, I am forever saved by You and in You.

Paula Pretorius

A Refugee’s Prayer

Every afternoon at 12, in the blazing heat,
God comes to me in the form of 200 grams of gruel.
I know him in every grain, I taste him in every lick,
I commune with him as I gulp; I can hope to live one day more,

For you made God come to me as 200 grams of gruel.
 

Jaimi Bi


   

THE CHILDREN’S MINISTRY NEEDS YOU!!!

WHO?
Moms & Dads who want to help 
with the Children’s Ministry.

WHEN?
2006 School Year.

If you feel you’d like to get involved, please contact Liz either at the Parish Office or on 082 342 5895

 Training and Guidelines will be provided.

 


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