Easter T I D I N G S
April 2000 St Francis of Assisi Parish Newsletter
From the clergy
A Word of Encouragement
A Million for Mission and Ministry in a Christ Centred Church
Dear Friends of St Marks
The Fun of Life
How can you tell the difference between a job and a ministry?
My testimony by Foibe B Rugumayo
A Little Bit of Life
Odds and Ends
This edition of Tidings brings much in the way of
encouragement: an exhortation from Martzi to be 'joined and knit together' as a
church community, a plea from Rob Lewis to see the interregnum as an
opportunity rather than merely as a hiatus, and a reminder from Peter Raymond to
recommit ourselves to the vision of the Millennium Appeal.
The second exciting part of Foibe B Rugumayo's personal
testimony appears on page 13. We make up for the last edition with a large
amount of light material towards the end. And with that, happy Easter!
Editor: Mark Napier. Tel. 012-9987992 (home), Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Typing: Christine Lawrie. Production: Anne Allison. Collation: Amy Macnamara 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/ email@example.com Clergy: Robin Heath, June de Klerk, Ed Smith, Gloria Smith Deacons: Martzi Eidelberg, Colin Paine (youth pastor), Liz Horne (children's chaplain)
From the Clergy...
Dear Fellow Parishioners,
We have now reached the focal point and climax of the Christian year: Easter. The forty days of Lent are behind us. Those of us who have on Wednesday evenings been re-examining what is meant by "Can you drink this Cup?" have become, in Paul's words to the Ephesians, more 'joined and knit together' as a family - that which transcends biology.
Margaret Guenther in her book "The Practice of Prayer" explores this concept of 'joined and knit together' more fully. Knitted fabrics are made up of a series of connected loops, the resulting material pliant and useful yet at the same time fragile - pulling one stitch can unravel the whole garment. The vital Christian community is more resilient since Christ is the centre and the source of energy binding the members together.
A vital parish is a mutual enterprise and at this interregnum stage in the life of St Francis we have been experiencing more fully what it means to be 'joined and knit together' as people have been answering God's calling in different ways: worship leaders; sacristans; the Prayer Shield has pray-ers at both services; we have a roster for readers at the 7.30 service where there has been an increase in attendance and afterwards people gather over a cup of tea. We extend a very warm welcome to Liz Horne our new Children's Chaplain. Our Church Wardens, Rob Lewis, Eckart Brock and Stuart Waetzel, are keeping us updated about new events, especially regarding the election process, finances and keeping the worship leaders rosters on track. The Hall is a hive of colourful activity thanks to Colette Donkin and Noble Dalziel. The Millennium Fund collections are also in the offing. This fund is aimed at providing the capital required to realise the Diocesan vision of having a rector in every parish.
At this time too we are very much aware of our Bishop. This is not only because of his involvement in the election process of a new rector at St Francis but because of the tremendous workload he is under at the moment. May skilled people be raised up to alleviate his task.
May this Easter prayer by John Johansen-Berg speak to us in our different situations:
we thank you for your greeting,
"Peace be with you."
The shalom of God,
deep lasting peace;
peace that brings inner calm;
that keeps a person steady in the storm;
that faces the persecutor without fear
and proclaims the good news
with courage and with joy.
This is the peace that reconciles
sister to brother, black to white,
rich and poor, young and old,
but not a peace that is quiet
in the face of oppression and injustice.
This is peace with God.
The peace that passes understanding.
God bless each one of you.
A Word of Encouragement
by Rob Lewis
Firstly, a big thank you to each and everyone of you for your commitment and on-going support of the ministry at St. Francis. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement as we have looked for a new Rector, thank you for the encouragement and positive feedback as the face of the buildings have changed over the past six weeks, thank you for your financial support of this project, and thank you for responding to Eckart's challenge to increase your giving to God's work. As leaders, shouldering additional responsibilities at this time, this positive encouragement has buoyed us up. I think that the ministry, work and worship at St. Francis is going well
May I encourage you all to continue to develop your ministries and explore new avenues as God leads you. Share your thoughts with others, and use each other as sounding boards to get a different perspective on things. Keep asking yourself "Are we on track? Are we doing what God is wanting us to do? Where is He leading us now?"
However comments from parishioners and leaders, particular occurrences over the past few weeks and growing feelings I have had, prompt me to urge you not to fall into some common thinking.
We're in survival mode - lets just keep things going
Some folk have mentioned that we should not try to do anything new because we are in "survival mode". Don't try new things that might rock the boat, or that we are not used to, or change the way things are done.
I do not consider this interregnum as a time we have to "survive". By no means!! As new needs arise so God will raise up the people to meet them. Let's encourage these people to answer God's calling and find different ways of doing things if necessary. Look out for others who are exercising a ministry that attracts you, and offer your help.
I would encourage each of you to be looking for new ideas, trying new things. That's where the "Council Chatter" came from - a need to communicate regularly, at short intervals, with the parish at large about what was going on.
I'm not suggesting that we change things for the sake of change - but if there's a need - then let's meet it! What I am suggesting is that we don't just keep the status quo for the sake of that either.
Wait for the new Rector to arrive - they may have different ideas
Why? We do not need his or her permission to do anything. When the new Rector does arrive that person will begin to do things their own way anyway, and, who knows whether the person might enjoy some of the innovations that we introduce! Furthermore, we do not know when that time will be, and if we wait until then we will begin to stagnate.
[On that note, at the time of writing, (Wednesday 12 April) the Bishop has still not been able to find the opportunity to interview the two candidates on our short list. Please continue to pray for this process.]
No, we need to continue to creatively move forward in the way God is leading us. We need to be continually on the look out for ways to improve our ministry at St. Francis, consciously reviewing what we are doing to ensure that it is still appropriate.
People are tired - don't put pressure on them
I am always aware of this - and as many of you know I am feeling a little stress myself!!
But if we all work together, put our ideas on the table and create the vision, others will come forward to help. The maintenance project is another example - the vision was created and initiated, and many people have come forward to offer their help and support.
If something comes to your attention that is not right, or needs attention please do not simply whinge about it, or shrug your shoulders and hope that someone else will sort it out. Consult the leadership and offer some concrete proposal of how you think the matter could be handled. Look for ways to improve things rather than simply looking for things to criticise!
Furthermore, keep focused on what God is calling you to do - nothing else - let us each fulfil our ministry well. "Unless God builds the house the labourers toil in vain". God will bless those who seek His kingdom, and do His work. If we try to punt our own agendas and favourite ideas we can expect disaster. God has drawn up the plan already. Let's all consult the Master Architect to ensure that we are putting the bricks in the right place.
God bless you as you continue to be creative and serve Him
in your area of ministry.
"A Million for Mission and
Ministry in a Christ Centred Church"
"A Rector in every Parish by the year 2000"
By Peter Raymond
Diocesan Millennium Vision Committee
This vision was given to the Diocese of Pretoria, by Bishop Jo in January 1999. Three "Exodus Crosses" were commissioned and sent out at Pentecost 1999 and have been travelling round the Diocese since then - going to every parish, church, church school and church organisation. The idea behind the crosses was to provide a focus for events at each venue and they have evoked an enthusiastic response in many places. They will return to Pretoria for the Diocesan Celebration Service at Pentecost, Sunday 11th June.
This celebration will take place at St. Alban's College from 9:30am to 4:00pm, starting with a celebration Eucharist, followed by a picnic lunch and fellowship in the St. Alban's College grounds. There will be no services at St. Francis or any other church in the Diocese on that day and all Anglicans are encouraged to go to the celebration.
Palo Thabane (Archdeacon to the Ordinary - Attridgeville) and Canon Bob Harris (Garsfontein) are co-chairing the Vision Committee (Martin Breytenbach having moved!). To date a major focus of the committee has been raising the R1m, which will be used to get the rest of the vision programme moving. Fund raising has come through donations (personal and parish giving) and the sale of special millennium items. These include golf shirts, T-shirts, mugs, book marks, crosses, pens and aprons. All the items carry the specially designed logo, designed by Aly Kilbride of St. Francis, Waterkloof.
All money raised is in a separate fund (not part of the general Diocesan funds). The next step is to focus on how we become Christ Centred Individuals and Christ Centred Churches within a Christ Centred Diocese. In the near future, the committee will concentrate on the best way to make use of this money to further this goal, along with the aim of a Rector in every Parish. An additional twelve Rectors are required in the Diocese and a programme must be put in place to move us towards that goal.
Anyone requiring further information or who would like to be involved in the process in any way, please contact myself on 012-460 6213. We are also looking for someone to take charge of selling Millennium items at St. Francis - promotion, collection of goods and money etc.
St Mark's College
6 March 2000
Dear Friends of St Marks
It is 6.30am and I'm sitting in the Headmaster's Study looking down Sekhukhune drive and out of the main gate. Already the first few day students have trickled in are and sitting on benches catching up on weekend homework or talking to a friend. The first shift of kitchen staff have already been at work for an hour preparing breakfast for the boarders and the scene is set for another day and another week of life at St Marks.
Quite a busy week it promises to be too. Tom Bourquin, a retired Headmaster who now works for the Independent Schools Association will be visiting the school today and tomorrow with his wife Sheila. Val Mead, who works for GAP in the UK and is in charge of projects in Southern Africa, will be passing through tomorrow to drop off two more potential volunteers whose existing placement is not working out very well. She will then be returning on Sunday to stay for two nights. On Wednesday night we host the College Council for a party to thank the staff for the wonderful Matric results last year in the face of difficult circumstances. On Thursday morning the new Bishop, Martin Breytenbach, will be taking a service for the whole school which will be followed by an all day strategic planning session. Friday is our inter-house athletics meeting, which will also serve as preparation for a trip to Pretoria next Wednesday for an inter-school athletics meeting at Pilditch Stadium.
No, we haven't washed away - if you hadn't worked that out already. I'm not absolutely clear on who the wise man (or woman) was who chose the site for St Mark's but the rain has come down and the floods have come up and the school on the hill has stood firm. The earth is very soggy and water continues to ooze from everywhere, including the floor of the Biology Lab where Neville Thema was able to collect various aquatic organisms from the six inches of water in his lab rather than from the fish pond outside! The ground staff have worked hard digging trenches and laying pipes to drain the water away from problem areas. Our saving grace is that Jane Furse is right up on the ridge as those of you who have visited well know. If there are an Friends of St Mark's who have never visited the school, you need to alter that fact and there's no better time than now while the area is so beautifully green. We have plenty of space and any Friend of St Mark's is always welcome.
The only real problem we did have when the rains came down and floods came up was that the pipeline from the purification plant to the Jane Furse reservoir was built upon the sand. Large sections became unstable as a result of subsidence and sprung leaks at the joints. After seven days without water the Provincial Department told us that it could take another three weeks before the line was repaired. St Mark's has storage tanks for drinking and cooking water but the real problem is not being able to flush toilets, which, as I'm sure you can imagine, becomes not only unpleasant but also a health hazard in a boarding establishment of this size. As a result, we had to close the school, which luckily only meant missing two academic days before our half term break. We then set about ordering portable chemical-flush toilets and a dedicated tanker for when the students returned, only to have the water turned on again two days later because the three weeks have been a somewhat reactionary estimate. The frustration of running a rural boarding house can be immense. One of the fund raising projects we need to embark upon is a much more substantial water storage scheme including a reservoir linked to the provincial supply.
Talking of the wise person who chose the site for St Mark's reminded me of our Prize Giving at the end of last year when our guest speaker Nathaniel Masemola gave a history of the people who had contributed to the mission station and the school. I then realised that this is my first newsletter since that event and that I owe you an apology for taking so long to write. After a financially difficult year in which the media had spread false rumours about the future of the school, Nathaniel Masemola began: "I am honoured to be here for the last Prize Giving this College will have (pause) this century". He went on to deliver a fascinating speech in which he mentioned a number of the Friends of St Mark's who have contributed over the years. I would love to send you all a copy of that speech but that would add substantially to printing and postage costs. Please let my secretary, Tshidi Choshane, know if you would particularly like one.
Talking of the financial difficulties and the future of St mark's, I am delighted that we had an enrolment of 80 new students this year, which is the most for a number of years. We also had our biggest ever Matric class (79) last year, so our overall numbers are essentially unchanged. A more active marketing programme, a drop in school fees and the wonderful performance of our '99 Matrics all contributed to the improved enrolment.
Talking of Matric results, let me go on to the details and boast a little. Out of 79 candidates, the overall pass rate was 93% and, of those who passed, 77% achieved a full Matriculation Exemption (M pass). We had a 100% pass rate in Science, Biology, Geography, all languages and 97% in Maths (Maths is compulsory). Out of 45 students writing Higher Grade and four in Standard Grade there were 28 subject A's overall. One of our students, Mabalemi Maleka got five distinctions and was the top black student in the whole Northern Province. Lazarus Makgalemane scored 399 out of 400 for Higher Grade Mathematics, which was the best result in the Province. He also achieved the top Higher Grade Biology mark in the Province. Our Matric class of '99 and also their teachers worked hard, often against the odds, and deserve to be congratulated for their tremendous achievement.
On that high note I must end lest this letter cost us another page. Please remember us in your thoughts, prayers and letters.
K S Krige
The Fun of Life
Lord, Thou knowest, better than I know myself that I am growing older and will someday be old.
Keep me from getting talkative and particularly from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion. Release me from craving to try to straighten out everybody's affairs. Make me thoughtful, but not moody; helpful, but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom it seems a pity not to use it all, but Thou knowest, Lord, that I want a few friends at the time. Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details: give me wings to get straight to the point. Seal my lips from my many aches and pains. They are increasing and my love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. I ask for grace enough to listen to the tales of others' pains. Help me to endure them with patience. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally it is possible that I may be mistaken. Keep me reasonably sweet, I do not want to be a saint. Some of them are hard to live with: but a sour old woman (or man) is one of the crowning works of the devil. Help me to extract all possible fun out of life. There are so many things around us that I do not want to miss any of them.
The prayer of a 17th century Nun. (Anon.)
How can you tell the difference between a job and a ministry?
Some Christians merely have a job(s) in the church. Others are involved in a ministry. There's all the difference in the world! How can you tell the difference between a job and a ministry?
If you are doing it because no one else will, it's a job.
If you are doing it to serve the Lord, it's a ministry.
If you're doing it just well enough to get by, it's a job.
If you're doing it to the best of your ability, it's a ministry
If you'll do it only so long as it doesn't interfere with other activities, it's a job.
If you're committed to staying with it even when it means letting go of other things, it's a ministry.
If you quit because no one praised you or thanked you, it was a job.
If you stay with it even though no one seems to notice, it's a ministry.
If you do it because someone else said it needs to be done, it's a job.
If you are doing it because you are convinced it needs to be done, it's a ministry
It's hard to get excited about a job.
It's almost impossible not to get excited about a ministry.
If your concern is success, it's a job
If your concern is faithfulness, it's a ministry.
People may say "Well done" when you do your job. The Lord will say "well done" when you complete your ministry. An average church is filled with people doing jobs. A great church is filled with people involved in ministry.
If God calls you to a ministry, for heaven's sake (literally) don't treat it like a job. If you have a job in the church, give it up and find a ministry! God doesn't want us feeling stuck with a job, but excited, fulfilled, and faithful to Him in a specific ministry.
This is the second part of an autobiographical account
by Foibe B Rugumayo from Uganda
In the late thirties, a spiritual revival swept across East Africa bringing vibrancy to many a lukewarm churchgoer. It was all started by a group of young clergy attending a retreat at Gahini in Rwanda. They discovered that there were contradictions in their lives as they examined the biblical lifestyles. The conviction of the Holy Spirit led them to true repentance followed by restitution of things not belonging to them. The result was spectacular, 'love, joy, and sharing' as in the New Testament. When they returned home, they sought to spread the Good News based on walking in the Spirit in the light of God's word.
The then Archbishop of East Africa Rt. Rev. Stuart did not welcome the change. He directed that these 'emotional outbursts' find their own churches.
The young clergy would have none of that, they resisted the move affirming they were called to witness in their home churches. This now became the nucleus for a new evangelism with outdoor outreach and conventions to this day, that has made a clear distinction between the nominal churchgoers and committed Christians in the (still Anglican) church of Uganda
Hour of decision
My own conversion in early childhood was against this background. I remember vividly as I walked down the path from my home situated near the C.M.S. (Church Missionary Society Station). It was a Saturday or a Sunday afternoon and we stopped to say goodbye to a family friend who had called on the family.
Suddenly I felt a strong conviction that compelled me to make a decision and open the door for Jesus to come into my heart. I remembered the words of Revelation 3 vs. 20. My heart started thumping as I struggled with the decision, whether I should say 'yes' or 'no'. There were reasons for the reluctance. The strongest was the deception of a rosy picture of the world as it seemed, fun and pleasure. 'Too young to make a serious commitment now,' I thought.
The fear of the morose fellowship of older folk with a puritanical flavour. There were hardly any young people of my age under ten or even school age up to twenties, sadly, a scene that was to dominate the church of Uganda for a decade or so. The few who stood out fizzled away for lack of a vigorous young people's programme in the church. It is amazing how the mirages of the pull of the world gradually come out in true colours. There was to be more fun of Christian camping and fellowship free from the crippling slavery to sin. Thank God for the work of Scripture Union that caught the spirit of young people in Secondary School and later Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship at Makerere University in the sixties. Its emphasis on Bible Study and quiet times was to lay a strong foundation in the basics of Christian living. A vacuum still exists to meet the needs of post University/Tertiary Institutions of young single/ adults it seems to me.
Hopefully the new cell group fellowships beginning to take root in churches as a result of the charismatic influence will fill the gap. More than that, is the comforting hope we have that God has a way to meet the needs of every generation; we need courage and discernment to play our part in our time.
He helped me to understand the older folk, with their limited exposure to the international world, let alone to other parts of Africa. I felt I was the one to adjust, particularly on the issue of external values like fashion. Mother for instance became such a wonderful companion; God gave her wisdom to handle young people without compromise on matters of principle.
At last by God's grace I decided, 'Come what may, yes, Lord Jesus come into my heart'. Immediately there was a flood of joy. Suddenly the world around looked beautiful and bright. I was full of happiness. I turned and told mother, 'I am saved'. Mother was sceptical, 'Tell me about it', she said.
I testified boldly and with confidence about how Jesus had come into my heart and brought joy. I stood with a plant in my hand showing how Jesus was pruning my life and removing dead leaves, encouraging me not to spare any. When we arrived home I testified to my family how Jesus had changed my life. I remember next day going about house chores with joy even the unpleasant ones. For instance I gladly took the initiative to clean up the kraal (where cows sleep), which we often dreaded as children.
I always look to this beginning with joy and praise.
I value it for a number of reasons:
1. I did not receive the 'testimony' from anyone white or black. No one preached to me or exerted any pressure. God revealed himself to me by his grace through faith. Inevitably my dear Christian mother whose wisdom in our upbringing I will always value must have indirectly influenced me.
2. That I was that young was a blessing. I had no psychological hang ups that non-believers often give as an excuse for believing.
3. I realised that matters of eternity are a personal responsibility. One does not have to look at other people or wait for friends or parents; we are accountable to our Creator as individuals. Although the question of peer group pressure was not so strong in African culture at the time, the community norms were deciding factors. The words of Jesus in John 1:12 and10: 10 came alive to me. Nothing else mattered so long as I was a child of God and enjoyed the abundant life that He offers freely. God was no fun spoiler indeed.
4. It set a standard measure as a reference point for my walk with Jesus. Although this was a mountain top experience, just like a child being born into the world, it laid a strong foundation upon which I began to build and grow on a balanced diet of prayer, reading the bible, witnessing and fellowshipping.
5. Sanctification, commitment without reservation and obedience to the promptings of the Holy Spirit at all times was a prerequisite for a victorious and fruitful life.
Our tenure of office has come to an end rather quickly. We thank God for a fruitful and enjoyable time in South Africa. Edward and I have for a long time been burdened for the people of this land independently long before we ever met. It was therefore a welcome opportunity when we were called here to represent our country. We were glad we came at this point in time in history, to witness significant changes and be part of the process of change. Edward has been involved with attracting investors to Uganda and representing and safeguarding our interests while I have been the social arm of the embassy. I have been in particular, involved with ADWG (African Diplomatic Women's Group). Every year, we have held fund raising dinners with national delicacies, which have been a hit in Pretoria. The proceeds have gone to the disadvantaged children in South Africa, towards the fight against child abuse, building safe houses for them with Zizanane in Diepsloot, Johannesburg, Durban and Mpumalanga. Some has gone to support disabled children in Pretoria, and to assist Tumelong mission in Pretoria for disadvantaged communities.
We leave South Africa with very happy memories of this great rainbow nation, its people and the breathtaking sceneries, a land of two extremes to be realistic. A lot has been achieved in providing essential services to the disadvantaged communities since the new dispensation was ushered in. Services and human relations have improved tremendously but a lot remains untouched and some might even take a lifetime.
I strongly believe that the spiritual life of a nation
must be kept as a priority and spearhead progress and development and not the
other way round.
A Little Bit of Life
A one rand coin met a twenty rand note and said: "Hey, where've you been? I haven't seen you around."
The twenty answered: "I've been hanging out at the casinos, went on a cruise and did the rounds of the ship, back to the United States for a while, went to a couple of baseball games, to the mall, that kind of stuff. How about you?"
The one rand coin shrugged: "Oh you know, the same old stuff - church, church, church ..."
From Robin Heath
A first grade teacher collected well known proverbs. She gave each child in the class the first half of the proverb, and asked them to come up with the rest. Here is what the kids came up with:
Better to be safe than....................punch a 5th
Strike while the.........................bug is close.
It's always darkest before..............daylight savings time.
Never underestimate the power of............termites.
You can lead a horse to water but ...........how?
Don't bite the hand that.......................looks dirty.
No news is.........................impossible.
A miss is as good as a........................Mr.
You can't teach an old dog.....................math.
If you lie down with dogs, you.......will stink in the morning.
Love all, trust........................me.
The pen is mightier than......................the pigs.
An idle mind is......................the best way to relax.
Where there is smoke, there's..............pollution.
Happy is the bride who..................gets all the presents.
A penny saved is.........................not much.
Two is company, three's.....................The Musketeers.
Children should be seen and not..........spanked or grounded.
If at first you don't succeed............get new batteries.
You get out of something what you.......see pictured on the box.
When the blind lead the blind.................get out of the way.
Laugh and the whole world laughs with you. Cry and......you have to blow your nose.
Funny isn't it?
Funny how a R50 "looks" so big when you take it to church, but so small when you take it to the shops.
Funny how long it takes to serve God for an hour, but how quickly a team plays 60 minutes of cricket.
Funny how long a couple of hours spent at church are, but how short they are when watching a movie.
Funny how we can't think of anything to say when we pray, but don't have difficulty thinking of things to talk about to a friend.
Funny how thrilled we get when a rugby match goes into extra time, but we complain when a sermon is longer than the regular time.
Funny how hard it is to read a chapter in the bible, but how easy it is to read 100 pages of a best selling novel.
Funny how people want to get a front seat at any game or concert, but scramble to get a back seat at church services.
Funny how we need 2 or 3 weeks advance notice to fit a church event into our schedule, but can adjust our schedule for other events at the last moment.
Funny how hard it is for people to listen to a simple gospel well enough to tell others, but how simple it is for us to understand and repeat gossip.
Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says.
Funny how you can send a thousand 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.
Funny isn't it ..........................
From Eckart Brock
Odds and Ends
Our local cathedral has a floodlit statue of Christ in Glory, its arms held out in blessing and welcome. One member of a visiting party of schoolchildren evidently saw things differently. His entry in the visitors' book read: "We saw Jesus bungy jumping."
One youngster knew the answer when our minister asked the children what a miracle was: "When my mum and dad let me have another cat."
I invited my class of 11-year olds to tell the story of Adam and Eve, and to suggest any message it might have for the modern world. "The point of the story," wrote one pupil, "is never talk to strangers or accept food from them."