St Francis of
The Icon Cross before installation in the Parish Centre
Martzi Eidelberg, Grant Thistlewhite,
Youth: Megan Winn; Children’s Church: Heather Napier.
Once again I had no trouble filling the pages of this issue – many thanks to all who contributed articles and photos.
As in the previous issue, several pages are devoted to Social Development, not just in our parish this time, but in other parishes of the Pretoria East Archdeaconry. It is interesting to learn what others are doing to meet the aims of the three year Mission, Ministry & Evangelism Programme of the Diocese. Martzi’s sermon on God’s love and stewardship links up with this.
Other articles are more diverse and take us to Mirfield, Brixham, Assisi, and back to Waterkloof, where we find out how the new icon cross was painted, what the youth are doing and how our parish began.
My dear Parishioners,
Until fairly recently, all my diaconal/priestly ministry had been ‘exercised’ in schools – until April 2001 that is, when I moved from the role of Chaplain at St John’s College, Johannesburg, to that of Rector of the Parish of St Francis of Assisi. This in itself was traumatic – but more was yet to come. Some time later (in what some would call a fit of absent-mindedness), my Diocesan (Dr Jo Seoka) appointed me Archdeacon of Pretoria East. Suffice it to say, the above-mentioned developments have proven to be challenging (to say the least), along (of course) with the joy, excitements and growth inherent in such changes.
And so it was that, after some six and a half years of this ‘new’ life in the Pretoria Diocese, I felt an overwhelming need ‘to come apart – to rest a while’. Instinctively I knew that I had to get as far away from my familiar surroundings as possible – and to this end, even Cape Point would not do. Where to go then?
Whilst at St John’s College, I had begun a ‘journey’ with the Anglican Order of the Community of the Resurrection – who, many will know, were pivotal in the survival of the College in the period between the two Great Wars. Indeed, whilst Chaplain at the College, I had (at one stage) Fr Chrispin Harrison CR as my spiritual director and so made regular trips to the Priory in Turffontein, where I made the acquaintance of a number of the resident Community members.
And so it ‘seemed good to me and the Lord’ (as best I understood this) that I ask the CR Community in Mirfield whether I could come and spend the best part of a month with them. They graciously acquiesced and – having obtained the Bishop’s blessing (he was delighted to grant me this time, firmly believing that Sabbaticals must be taken), my Parish Council’s gracious endorsement and finally my beloved family’s encouragement (it’s just struck me that almost ‘typically’ the latter were the last to be consulted) – I went to Mirfield at the beginning of August.
I could write reams on this experience, but suffice it to say that perhaps the most significant part of this encounter was my rediscovery of the value of the Benedictine Rule. It was so good to get back into the rhythm of prayer, study and work – but at a pace that was not constantly interrupted. The community Fathers were wonderful hosts and made me feel welcome from the first moment. The Guest Brother, Brother Philip, who originally hailed from Cape Town, was delighted (so he said) to hear a South African accent again. My main chore during the day was to assist Brother Dominic in the garden – you may be aware that the Community grounds at Mirfield are beautiful but extensive and, as I was there in mid-summer, there was of course much activity. What a delight it was to work with this remarkable man. Aged 91, he told me how, as a young oblate, he was sent by Trevor Huddleston to visit a young boy in what was then known as the African Fever Hospital. At the conclusion of the visit, he mentioned to the lad that he would be back the following week. ‘Thank you, Father,’ said the youngster, ‘but next time, please bring me proper books, not comics.’ Evidently young Desmond Tutu was already showing promise.
The daily Benedictine chant I found immensely beneficial to Worship – the vaulted dome of the huge chapel (about the size of a Cathedral) lending itself to a heavenly sound. The daily routine of:
and times of private devotion, spiritual reading (using the magnificent library facility), as well as space for confession, all contributed to a spiritual journey which achieved beyond what I had hoped for. No fireworks, just a solid diet of discipline, devotion and direction, which has deepened my own personal faith journey beyond measure. May God continue to bless the Community in the years ahead and certainly they now form an intimate part of my prayer-life.
The Sabbatical ended on an even more wonderful note as Nina joined me for two weeks in Rome, as part of the celebration of our 25th Wedding Anniversary. My mother-in-law (resident in Rome) was once again a wonderful hostess and a brilliant tour guide, the pilgrimage to Assisi being one of the highlights of the two weeks. Another highlight was attending Sunday morning Mass in the Anglican church in Rome and visiting the Anglican Centre in Rome where I met Bishop John Flack, who has been Director of the Centre since 2003. He is also the Archbishop of Canterbury's representative to the Holy See and an Assistant Bishop in the Dioceses of Europe and Peterborough.
I returned to Pretoria refreshed and ready to resume my life as Rector and Archdeacon, but this life also has its share of excitement. Soon after my return, I went to Cape Town as part of the Diocesan delegation to a thanksgiving service for the ministry of Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, and to the Elective Assembly that chose the new Archbishop of Cape Town, our Metropolitan. At the end of that same week, we celebrated our Patronal Festival at St Francis of Assisi, with the Blessing of the renovated Parish Centre on Friday evening 28 September, conducted by Bishop Jo, and a combined service of the 7:30 and the 9:30 congregations on Sunday morning.
And now we look forward to Advent and Christmas. Advent marks the beginning of the new Church Year. It is a time of renewal and anticipation as we prepare for the coming of the Messiah – His first coming as the babe of Bethlehem, which we celebrate on Christmas Day, and His second coming as Christ the King, when He will bring judgement and redemption.
Some of you will be remaining in Pretoria during December and I look forward to seeing you at one or more of the events listed below. Others will be going on holiday – may the Lord watch over your journey and your time of rest.
And to one and all, a blessed and joyous Christmas.
Advent Course : Wednesdays 5, 12 & 19 December : 19:00
Carol Service : Sunday 9 December : 19:00
Carol Singing around Waterkloof : Tuesday 18 December
Crib Service : Monday 24 December : 18:00
Midnight Mass : Monday 24 December : 23:00
Christmas Day Mass : Tuesday 25 December : 07:30
Christmas Day Mass : Tuesday 25 December : 09:30
Sabbatical at the Community of the Resurrection Mirfield
HOW DO WE APPLY GOD’S LOVE?
Scripture Readings: OT: Deut 6: 1 – 9; Ps 24;
NT: II Cor 8: 1 – 7; Matt 6: 25 – 34
Today is the last Sunday in our stewardship series. In the light of this, I would like us to examine some of today’s readings. The first reading is from Deuteronomy chapter 6. In this reading, verse 5:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
reminds us of the commandment that Jesus gave us and that we repeat every Sunday in the Penitence Section of the Prayer Book:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind. (APB, p105)
This reading from Deuteronomy refers back to Exodus, chapter 20, when God made the Covenant with Moses and the children of Israel in the desert near Mt Sinai. But, since then, nearly a thousand years had elapsed: Canaan had been conquered; and a kingdom had been established, which became famous under David, a king who really loved God. Later this kingdom had divided into two: Israel and Judah. In both these kingdoms, the rulers turned their backs on God and worshipped idols. Consequently Israel was eliminated by the Syrians. But Judah remained in existence for a while longer, still being ruled by godless kings who had literally lost God’s laws. And then an eight year old boy, Josiah, was made King of Judah. Although both his father and grandfather had been godless kings, he, by the grace of God, must have been surrounded by god-fearing people, because he began his reign by searching for God. He did this by destroying whatever he recognised as not belonging to the worship of the living God. During his clean-up process, the Book of Deuteronomy was discovered in the Temple. It is most moving to read of this in II Kings, chapters 22 – 23: how the high priest discovered the book, how they read it and how it impacted on King Josiah. For the first time the king realised the terrible state of Judah’s religion and he used Deuteronomy as the handbook for his religious reform.
Our reading contains a lot of lessons for us today, for example vv 6 – 8:
Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your hearts.
Recite them to your children and talk them when you are at home and when you are away.
Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead and write them on the door posts of your house and on your gate.
This is important for us today: we should regularly talk about and discuss the application of God’s laws in what we do. It is no good having them at our finger tips or in our memories: we should know how to apply them. If we follow them blindly, we can do things that are not in accordance with God’s will. For example, a few years ago a house group had a rather odd experience: one member presented the group with a list of material things (duvets, sheets, towels), which she expected from the group. Here was a totally wrong idea of what neighbourly love is. What she really needed was not material goods, but help to face up to her personal situation. In our daily living, we are often confronted with variations on this theme. It is only by being steeped in the understanding of the law of God and His love that we learn when to apply tough love and when to apply agape love.
We now move from the time when King Josiah heard the Law for the first time to approximately 600 years later – the time of Jesus. By this time, the Law had become an idol. Instead of ten Commandments, there were 613 laws: 248 do’s and 365 don’ts. And God had been lost in the detail. Our gospel reading is part of the first sermon which Matthew records. Jesus starts by attacking hypocrisy and providing his followers with a set of core values so that they can become God-pleasers, instead of people-pleasers. In today’s reading, He sums all this up by saying we must first seek the Kingdom of God and trust God for all our needs (Matt 6: 33).
How does this apply to us here today in respect of stewardship and dedicated giving? In the letter you received from Fr Timothy, he stresses that stewardship means that, in addition to our money, we should give of our time and talents. The July 2007 edition of The Franciscan reflected how many people in this parish are giving of their time and talents in various services to the community. But there can never be enough of such people; saturation point can never be reached. For example, in this area of Waterkloof, many people have been victims of attacks, robberies, hijackings, or some other form of violence. We very much need a team of dedicated and trained people who can minister to these victims. At present there are none. Possibly there are people here today who can help us. So often they hold back through shyness or feelings of inadequacy. The longest journey is made by taking the first step. And yet it is only by prayerfully trusting God that we can embark on this journey. The first step may be something that may not seem significant to us. […]
For nearly three months now, a film has been showing in Pretoria to full houses. This film was discussed recently in a Cape Town newspaper. It said that the film was intended initially merely as a stop-gap or filler between so-called popular movies and would then disappear. But the opposite has happened: it is still being screened to full houses. The question was asked: Why? I am referring to As It is in Heaven. The central character, Daniel, an internationally famous conductor, weary of fame and very ill, returns to his childhood village. His deep desire is to open people’s hearts through music. This he achieves by making it possible for members of the choir to be in touch with their feelings. It shows what happens to a community when they start to trust their choir master and then to trust one another. Consequently, God’s will is done, on earth as it is in heaven.
If we, as a community, trusting the Holy spirit, can do likewise, who knows how we can realise the Kingdom of God at St Francis? Let us pray:
Lord, enable us to be aware of our gifts and, as good stewards, to use them in ways great and small to bring the Kingdom of God to others. Amen.
Rev Martzi Eidelberg
A ‘Monk’ preaches at the Family Service in October
Below are reports from most of the parishes in the Archdeaconry, indicating the current updates on the previously reported efforts at remedying needy situations in their communities.
At Archdeaconry level we meet monthly either in the council or in the meeting of priests. There are a number of important developments which are most pleasing:
§ A specific emphasis on the youth and ways to empower them is being focused on.
§ It is recognised that many family situations result in lack of guidance to the youth and communication is broken down. Ways of countering this from the pulpit as well as through the MM&E (Mission, Ministry and Evangelism) campaign are being explored.
§ There is increased sharing of ideas and experiences, leading to catalysing actions, some in cooperation between parishes.
§ Alliances are forming between particular parishes and aligned service organisations in the community, to the benefit of the community.
§ In one parish, in the dedication process, parishioners were invited to pledge their talents towards the service life of the church. This resulted in an encouraging response.
§ A clear definition of Social Development has been developed and agreed to by the Archdeacon and his clergy to guide the process within each parish and across the Archdeaconry:
Social Development is … creating an environment in the Home, Workplace and Community in which persons are empowered to self development and to realise their potential without becoming dependent on charity.
§ The Archdeaconry is aiming to conduct a World AIDS day service in each parish, in which the emphasis is on celebrating the achievement of the majority who have had the wisdom and discipline to resist both infection and the transmission of the disease. This, in addition to recognising the sacrifice of lives of those who have succumbed.
Social Development – Update Report – St Francis of Assisi, Waterkloof
Parishioners and house-groups continue to support the various ongoing projects previously reported on. In addition to this, a drive has been launched to engage as many parishioners as possible in providing their talents and skills in social outreach projects. The focus, prayerfully selected, is on human development: applying the abundance of talents and skills within our Parish to encourage and empower the vulnerable, youth and unemployed to empower themselves. Talent pledges were received during Dedication Sunday and these are being matched to the existing projects as well as one new project. This new project is to provide support to a drop-in centre for orphans and vulnerable children in Mamelodi. The drop-in centre selected is one that is run by Tateni Home Care Services from facilities (hall and kitchen) at St Francis, Mamelodi. We visited the facility to familiarise ourselves with the needs.
There are about 35 orphans and vulnerable children ranging from 4 to 16 years that regularly come to the drop-in centre. At times this number could increase to 95. The drop-in centre is in operation every weekday afternoon (after school) and during school holidays. Here the kids get a meal and are meant to be kept constructively busy, e.g. games, doing homework and receiving other forms of psycho-social support. There are about 5 carers who look after the children at the centre. However these are young women with little or no experience in working with children.
The carers indicated that they needed mentorship and training, i.e. the support from experienced people who can teach them how to work with the children. A wide variety of psycho-social support services are needed at the centre. The following priority areas were identified by both carers and children:
· Life skills such as:
o Personal hygiene
o Table manners
o Traffic safety
o Respect for others
· Assistance with homework – maths, science, reading, writing etc.
· How to discipline children/maintain discipline
· Counselling certain problem cases (for example, a six year old boy who is walking the streets)
· Constructive play and games for children
· Song and dance (However, this was one area where they entertained us and where they can impart the skills and talent! They obviously enjoy this and would love more formal dancing lessons.)
We concluded that there was space for both individual parishioners and the youth group to become involved in this project. This also offers a natural link with St Francis, Mamelodi to share this responsibility.
Since then the St Francis youth group has pledged its support in addition to the support pledged by individual parishioners. We are currently in the process of preparing a “support plan” for the drop-in centre, which we plan to roll out next month.
Social Development – Update Report – St Francis of Assisi, Mamelodi West
On 31 May 2007 Fr SW Ngcobo held a meeting with representatives from both the AWF and Mothers’ Union. During this meeting it came to light that there is a Health Committee that coordinates educational activities within the parish. Subsequently another meeting was held on 7 June 2007 with members of the Health Committee. The purpose of the meeting was to revive the Health Committee with a vision to develop the church to be more people orientated and thus to serve, not only the congregants of St Francis, but also the whole community of Mamelodi.
In order to do this the following activities were identified:
§ To educate the youth regarding substance abuse and other related issues.
§ To make use of the National Health Calendar to educate the whole parish.
§ Skills training for the unemployed: ABET and Home Based Care training.
§ To celebrate St Luke’s day in October.
§ To launch a Drop-in Centre for orphaned needy children from the nearby primary schools – a feeding scheme and an after school care centre to assist with homework (long term project).
§ To forge a partnership with Tateni Home Based Care Services (who were at that time looking into forming partners with churches) to mentor the Drop-in Centre.
On 12 June 2007, a meeting was held with representatives from Tanteni to discuss the partnership and the following was agreed upon:
Agreement between St Francis Mamelodi West and Tateni:
St Francis Anglican Church Mamelodi West agreed to:
§ Launch a Drop-in Centre at the church with the sole purpose of providing a meal daily for a hundred (100) orphaned school-going children.
§ Organise games and activities to stimulate the children according to their age groups.
§ Assist the children with homework.
§ Network for sponsorship to supply food and utensils for use at the centre.
Tateni agreed to:
§ Provide home based carers to St Francis until such time as the church can organise and train its own carers.
§ Provide resources, i.e. food supplies and other utensils from their sponsors.
§ Mentor the church on the project (no timeframes were stipulated for this) to guide the church.
Both parties agreed to meet regularly to measure progress.
On 26 June 2007 the Drop-in centre was launched at St Francis. The Councillor for Block 6, social workers from Mamelodi, representatives from Tateni and other community members were invited to the occasion.
Currently about 52 school-going children are being fed at the church on a daily basis from Monday to Friday after school. Feeding is also done during school holidays.
The project is still developing and will appreciate any donations in kind.
(Report compiled by NJ Thantsa, Coordinator – St Francis Drop-in Centre)
Social Development - Update Report - Corpus Christi
A roster was drawn up for the past 10 weeks and the leader of each of our 10 parish Care Groups identified her/himself at one of the Sunday services. They spoke briefly about the functioning of their particular group so that parishioners were more aware of the support and assistance available in the parish family. Parishioners were also encouraged to become involved with our four Outreach Projects. Representatives from these projects – Women Against Rape, Louis Botha Homes, Irene Homes and Tumelong – filled our sermon slots at the Eucharist at regular intervals during the past few months.
Since our last update:
§ The parish raised R5 400 for IRENE HOMES at their fête in May. The parish representative is a member of their Families & Friends Association and regularly attends meetings. Irene Homes are to have a stall at our Mini Fête in October.
§ Comfort parcels are still being distributed to Police Stations for WOMEN AGAINST RAPE victims.
§ The parish was involved in a model aeroplane flying afternoon for the boys of LOUIS BOTHA HOMES.
Our sponsored child at the Homes was given a wonderful birthday party at a restaurant and many of the parishioners attended. The parish is also a 'friend of a house' and are providing birthday gifts for all the residents of the child's house.
§ The parish still assists TUMELONG both financially and with food parcels.
§ Corpus Christi supports the new parish development of Willow Glen in many ways.
Social Development – Update Report – Trinity Lynnwood
Following the format of the Report to DSC on social development on 18 August, this report is presented using 4 categories: Income Generation, Visits, Events and Observations.
1. Income Generation (Projects)
(i) This takes the form of regular donations of cash and clothing by the Trinity Wednesday group of Good Companions to The Oasis HIV/Aids project at Tshwane District Hospital. An amount of approximately R200.00 is given per quarter.
(ii) Trinity parishioners have also been encouraged to purchase a book of 10 tickets from Itumeleng Street Shelter. Such tickets, which offer a wash, free meal and advice at Itumeleng, can be given by parishioners to people at traffic lights and in parking areas etc.
The following visits by members of Trinity Lynnwood, occur on a regular basis:
- Weekly delivery of Soup and Bread to the Itumeleng Street shelter, and which has in the recent cold weather been extended to include some warm clothes.
- Regular support of W.A.R.
- Monthly visits to Oasis at Tshwane District for purposes of sorting the many donations of clothing from various groups, both Church and non Church across Pretoria. Once the clothes are sorted they are given to the mothers who visit Oasis with their infants to have a meal and a chat after attending the HIV/Aids clinic. Meals are provided twice a week by a group which is headed up by Fr Barry Hughes-Gibbs.
- Monthly visit by a clergyperson and sometimes a Trinity parishioner to minister to the staff of Tumelong Hospice
(i) Approximately 40 blankets made up of knitted squares were taken to the Oasis clinic at Tshwane District Hospital on two separate occasions. On the first occasion 3 members of The Good Companions group took the blankets themselves and handed them out personally to mothers waiting in the queue to visit the HIV/Aids clinic.
(ii) A workshop was held in the 2nd week of August by at least 7 parishioners and a clergyperson to consider community needs in the Lynnwood area. Although the outcome of this event is still embryonic at this stage, the following ideas emerged:
· Growth of a youth group
· Creation of a database for referrals (abuse, care, drug dependency, etc)
· Outreach to the elderly (transport,visits,socials, etc)
· Ministry to chain stores
· Help with documents
· Christmas hampers
· Love gift of care for a Police Station.
· Knocking on doors to assess Community Needs.
Whilst the second event above arose out of the 3 year plan for the Mission, Ministry and Evangelism programme (MM and E), it is recognised that the lines between MM and E and social development are blurred. What IS common to both disciplines is the need to assess the needs in any given community. Bearing both of these sentiments in mind it was felt that any report on “Social Development” should include MM and E.
HANDY LITTLE CHART
GOD HAS A POSITIVE ANSWER:
Submitted by Sheila Cave
"Go into the world" - Day of Pentecost
Picnic with Mohau Children during Stewardship Month in August
Our Collection money went to “Sponsor-a-Kennel” at the Tshwane SPCA
FUNERAL SERVICES ARE IMPORTANT by Rev Jill Morley
(First published in 2002 in a Newsletter of
St Luke’s Church, Orchards,
The loss of someone we love is psychologically traumatic and grief represents a departure from our normal state of health and well-being. The culture of so-called ‘white parishes’ is death and grief denying. I believe we need to realise the importance of working through the four basic stages of mourning:
o accepting the reality of loss;
o experiencing the pain of grief;
adjusting to an
environment in which the deceased is missing; and
o emotionally withdrawing from a deceased person so that the emotional energy can be reinvested in another relationship, so that the person or persons who are bereaved can be fully restored emotionally and feel comfortable to return to society.
Having worked as a priest in both ‘black’ and ‘white’ parishes, it is my perception that, because the culture of ‘white’ parishes is both death and grief denying, there is a real danger of falling into bad pastoral practice, which makes excuses by saying that a memorial service is less traumatic for the family. The reality, though, is that many people today get ‘stuck’ in the grieving process at the first stage because, at a memorial service, the bereaved are not faced with the reality of death and are in fact helped to remain in denial. This is one of the reasons why the Anglican Church insists that the coffin be present at a funeral.
Perhaps we need to remind ourselves of the fact that the rubrics in all Anglican Prayer Books – from the first Cranmer Book, through 1662, then the South African Prayer Book and now the Anglican Prayer Book 1989 – make it clear that a Memorial Service was never meant as a substitute for a Funeral Service. Memorial Services have only ever been allowed when the body was lost (e.g. at sea or in war); when relatives desired to have a service in another part of the world from where the funeral service was being held; or when an additional service in the home of the deceased was required to fulfil local custom (e.g. in Tswana culture a memorial service is held before the actual funeral).
The funeral is an important part of the grieving process. As Christians we do not have to plaster over the cracks, avoid reality or wave a magic wand to banish people’s grief. They have a right and a need to grieve and it is entirely wrong to try and deprive them of what is an absolutely necessary human experience. Within the context of the Funeral Service, it is our duty as clergy to “hold together the opposites of joy and sorrow, mercy and judgement, the reality of sin and the vision of heaven” (APB, pg 257).
Submitted by Fr Timothy Lowes
ABIDE WITH ME
We are grateful to W. Bro. Bill Ramsden for the following note regarding Abide with me. It was passed to him by W. Bro. Stan Bellou and, we believe, originally appeared in the London Times.
As one of the few living descendants of the author of the above hymn, Mr Maxwell Lyte writes to The Times:
It is only those who know the tragic circumstances under which this beautiful hymn was written who can explain the inner meaning of the words ‘Fast falls the eventide’.
My great-grandfather, Rev Henry Francis Lyte, author, was Vicar of Lower Brixham, a picturesque little fishing village on the shores of Torbay. During the latter part of his life he devoted himself to the service of the humble fisher folk of Brixham, among whom were many of his best friends. His labours undermined his health, but he persisted in his work until his health broke completely under the strain and his doctor told him he must go abroad at once. He was dying of consumption.
He preached his farewell sermon one Sunday evening and as he walked slowly home the sun was setting in a blaze of glory, and the purple hills of distant Dartmoor stood out darkly against a flaming sky. In the foreground was Brixham Harbour, like a pool of molten gold. Several times the poet stopped to rest and gaze on this wonderful manifestation of nature.
We can well imagine his feelings. He had just said ‘Goodbye’ for the last time to his parishioners, and knew he had only a few weeks to live. The dying day reminded him insistently of his life, which was drawing to its close, so he prayed that before he died he might be allowed to write one message of consolation to humanity which would endure for ever.
On arriving home he went to his study and wrote the immortal hymn which has enriched our language and brought comfort and consolation to millions.
His prayer was indeed answered. No one who knows the circumstances under which the hymn was written can sing it without feeling some of the emotion which inspired the poet as he wrote the eventide of his own life.
Grateful thanks to Bro. M. McDonald
P.M. Lodge Peglerae
Submitted by Wally Lumley & Tom McNeill
ICONS – A JOURNEY
How did I become involved in icons? Well it was quite a journey …
I have always been fascinated by icons, without knowing why. When travelling in Greece and Turkey, I could only gaze at them and take photographs, while wishing to own one. About seven years ago, an artist friend told me there was some one teaching icon painting in Gauteng and, in the same breath, that she was relocating overseas and could not give me any details – what a disappointment. Then a few weeks later, lo and behold, quite by chance (or was it chance?), I secured the telephone number of the said teacher. Not content to leave it at that, I thought I had to pursue the matter further.
And so I met this teacher and found that she could still accommodate me in her class to learn the sacred art of icon painting. What a thrill to be taught by some one who had learnt the art from a Russian priest in Vienna. So the journey continued – in the class I met a group of most interesting and dear friends, and this eventually led me to the St Francis parish and the beautiful San Damiano cross. Father Timothy wanted a cross for the Parish Centre and asked me to paint a replica of this icon cross which is in Assisi, Italy.
What is an icon? In short, an icon can be described as “ visual theology” and refers to a sacred image painted on wood in the Byzantine style. Icons are venerated, as opposed to being worshipped – they are the Word transformed into beauty. In this form, they could be understood and remembered by people who could not read the written Word.
Before one can paint an icon, a wooden board has to be prepared for a week – every day a layer of gesso is added. When the board is dry, it has to be sanded down. The medium used to paint the icon is tempera, which is egg and pigment mixed. This is applied layer upon layer. Real gold leaf is used in the finishing process, but no highlights are added to the eyes of the persons represented as they are deceased.
This art form requires a lot of patience, reverence and perseverance – it really is a spiritual journey, not to be undertaken lightly. As one would not change the Bible, so you would not change an icon.
Western perceptions on art must be put aside when viewing an icon, which will speak to you and draw you in.
The photo on the front cover and those above were taken by Len Celliers. The icon artist, Rita Celliers, joins with Bishop Jo to read the blessing of the cross she painted, which has been placed above the stage. Willing helpers hold the Bishop’s crook and the new decorated glass sliding doors provide a backdrop to the meal.
A Brief Explanation of
the San Damiano Cross
The San Damiano Cross is the one St. Francis was praying before when he received the commission from the Lord to rebuild the Church. The original cross presently hangs in Santa Chiarra (St.Clare) Church in Assisi, Italy. All Franciscans cherish his cross as the symbol of their mission from God. The cross is called an icon cross because it contains images of people who have a part in the meaning of the cross. The tradition of such crosses began in the Eastern Church and was transported by Serbian monks to the Umbria district of Italy.
The San Damiano Cross was one of a number of crosses painted with similar figures during the 12th century in Umbria. The name of the painter is unknown. The purpose of an icon cross was to teach the meaning of the event depicted and thereby strengthen the faith of the people. […]
[The Cross] is painted on wood (walnut) to which cloth had been glued. It is about 190 cm high, 120 cms wide and 12 cms thick. It is more than likely it was painted for San Damiano to hang over the Altar as the Blessed Sacrament was not reserved in non Parish Churches of those times and especially those that had been abandoned and neglected as we know San Damiano had been. In 1257 the Poor Clares left San Damiano for San Giorgio and took the Crucifix with them.
They carefully kept the Cross for 700 years. In Holy Week of 1957, it was placed on public view for the first time over the new Altar in San Giorgio's Chapel in the Basilica of St Clare of Assisi. […]
(This article comes from the website of the Franciscan Friars. Visit the site to read the whole article and find out about all the figures depicted on this icon cross.)
WOW, 2007 definitely lived up to its 007 promise! Every day was full of action and adventure! The year has flown by; it feels like just yesterday that I arrived to an empty office at the church. This year has had many first time experiences for Oasis and me – some were learning experiences while others were very successful. Our joint holiday club with Brooklyn Methodist was a huge hit and our combined Spring Dance put a spring in everyone’s step. There has been growth in the social development of our diocese. We have a Youth Board with our first planning meeting scheduled for 23 February 2008. This has been a wonderful year for me, finding my feet and discovering where the Lord wants to use me in His ministry. It has been filled with partnerships with other youth groups and their more experienced youth pastors who have guided and helped me with resources, planning and many other areas. Thanks to Taiki, Kevin, Kyle, Andrew, Joanne and Sandra for all their support and care.
I went away on a Youth Pastors’ Bash in August with 20 other youth pastors from all over South Africa to Blyde Canyon in the North for a week. It was a time to re-centre ourselves and to spend it with God while catching a breather; we had many fun activities with the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Rehab centre, Tshkudu and a guided quiet walk up a mountain ending with a Bonfire Braai. The week definitely refilled the engine.
The animal Blessing on 2 October was a treat filled with laughs and making new friends. Our combined Family Services with Children’s Church and the greater Church have been a wonderful time for us to feel part of the bigger family at St.Francis.
Youth Alpha kicked off on 4 October. We combined with seven other churches (Brooklyn Methodist, Cornwall Hill Methodist, Glen Methodist, Sinoville Methodist, Valley Methodist and Willows Methodist) and have had over 110 youth walk through the programme with us for 9 weeks. It has been a truly enriching experience to go back to basics and learn about Christianity – it is often the simple things that we forget.
By the time you read this, Oasis Youth Group leaders will be on their third December Leaders’ Training Camp and we ask you to pray for travel mercies and for the leaders to be rejuvenated from within! I am also pleased to say that I will be back for a second year as the Youth Pastor of our parish. 2008 holds many promises and exciting ventures.
May you have a Blessed Christmas and a happy New Year!
St Francis Chapelry in the 1950s (now the Stage in the Parish Centre)
The Story of its Beginnings by a group of Founder Members
Until the turn of the 19th century, Waterkloof was completely rural, situated some 7 or 8 kilometres from the centre of the city in the South Eastern outskirts. Then, thanks to the South African Townships and Mining Corporation, the district was planned and laid out and the area took shape – a few houses, very scattered, the Country Club, and a General Store built by the Corporation.
This small store was leased to, and later owned by, Mr Rostowsky, known to all as Mr Ross. He, for many years and in many ways, was a good friend to the Anglican Community. Incorporated in his store was a small school hall and it was here that the first service was held by Father Runge in 1922. It was known as St Phillip’s Mission and was sponsored and linked to St Michael and All Angels, Sunnyside. By 1930 a group of Anglicans were collecting funds to build their own hall. Fr Cooper, Rector of Sunnyside, led the services at St Phillip’s Mission and his wife ran the Sunday School. He was followed by Fr Herbert who, on Christmas Day 1935, took his first service in Waterkloof.
Waterkloof was growing rapidly and the General Store was altered, built onto and became a small shopping centre. The old school hall disappeared and the Anglicans of Waterkloof returned to the Mother Church of St Michael for divine worship.
The pioneering Anglican families in Waterkloof, among whom were – to name but a few – Allinson, Sutton, MacIntosh, MacClear, Bekker, McKilloys, Savage, Webster, MacCullum, strongly supported by Fr Herbert, initiated the first steps towards building a church. Approval was given by the Vestry of St Michael’s and by the Diocesan Trustees, and the SA Townships transferred a piece of ground at the corner of Long Avenue and Albert Street to the Diocesan Trustees for this purpose – a gift from the Corporation.
The dream of these people became reality when, on All Saints Day 1950, the foundation stone of the Church Hall was laid by Mr Gerald Savage, a close relative of Bishop HB Bousfield, the first Anglican Bishop of Pretoria. Not long afterwards, in March 1951, Archdeacon Herbert held the first service in the hall, and the Chapelry of Waterkloof was born! We will always be deeply grateful to Archdeacon Herbert for all his hard work and many years of patient guidance and inspiration which he gave us in those early years.
There were, of course, many teething troubles, but the cheerfulness, willingness and active co-operation of everybody made the Chapelry a very happy one. Even the arduous work of fundraising, in its many and various ways, became a pleasure. The highlight was a most enjoyable dinner-dance at Malvern House, the home of Mr & Mrs Chataway, diplomatic representatives of Southern Rhodesia. It was the final effort that cleared the debt on the Church Hall.
In the meantime, owing to poor health, Archdeacon Herbert was unable to carry the tremendous demands made on him by both St Michael’s and the Chapelry of Waterkloof, so we were transferred to the parish of St Wilfrid’s, Hillcrest, under the care of Fr Clack and the young Rev George Wood. Later, when Fr Walter Smith took charge of the parish, we became known as St Francis of Assisi.
Now that the Church Hall was free of debt, the very strong Church Council, ably supported by Fr Smith, had the courage and foresight to embark on a Planned Giving Canvass, with the professional aid of the Wells Organisation Fund Raising Consultants. The first Chapelry Dinner to launch this drive was held at the Pretoria Country Club in May 1958. Fifteen months later, a second Review Canvass was undertaken. Realising that, as a full church with its own resident priest, extra income would be necessary, a third canvass, the ‘Forward in Faith Campaign for Planned Giving’ was set in motion.
As a result of the excellent response, the Church Council was now in a position to have plans for the building drawn up – these, with modifications, were passed and, at a Vestry Meeting on 23 October 1960, under the Chairmanship of Fr Mark Nye (the new Rector of St Wilfrid’s), the tender for £17,423 was accepted. Work on the Church was duly begun and, in March 1961, the foundation stone was laid by the Right Reverend Edward George Knapp Fischer.
At this time we were happy to welcome our first Rector, Fr Christopher Lambert, and his wife Elizabeth and family from Middelburg. For some months they lived in a rented house two kilometres from St Francis, but by great good fortune the Council was able to purchase a Rectory adjoining the Church. The years of planning and hard work of so many outstanding men and women of the Parish, to whom members of St Francis past, present and future owe an enormous debt of gratitude, had now come to fruition.
On 8 October 1961, the Service of Dedication of the Church of St Francis of Assisi and the Induction of Fr Lambert were conducted by our Bishop, the Right Rev Knapp Fischer – a wonderful and moving occasion, one that will always be remembered by the large congregation who were present, with joy and thankfulness. The Church of St Francis of Assisi, Waterkloof, was consecrated on 11 October, 1970.
Footnote: Unfortunately the records of the Church were destroyed by fire some years ago, and the above ‘Story’ was compiled by several members of the Church Women’s Society, partly from memory, and partly from some private notes and memoranda.
Submitted by June de Klerk
From the Parish Registers: July – Nov 2007
29 July Faith Murray
11 Nov Samuel James Everitt
26 Aug at Corpus Christi :
Jenna Jean Evans
Christopher Kurt Fourie
Margaret Alobo Olwoch
(For photos of the above visit the Corpus Christi Confirmation Album)
At Good Shepherd : Tobias Okuma
22 Sep Pooran Doon & Jennifer Maud Petal Vember
28 Sep Stephan Theophilus Lessing & Emma Sievwright
06 July Edward George Paine
06 July Woodroffe Leighton Baylis
09 July Verdun Oswald van Blerk
07 Aug Andre Ian Meyrowitz
13 Aug Nell Nancy Hugo
23 Aug Noel Jean Fenwick
19 Sep Charles William Stuart Hendry
22 Sep Gwenneth Gibbings