St Francis of Assisi Parish Newsletter
St Francis of Assisi
Anglican Church, 373 Milner Street, Waterkloof, 0181 Tel. 012-346 1106/7,
Fax: 346 4226.
one edition of The Franciscan was published in 2004 – we hope to
do better in 2005. Our thanks go those who submitted articles. Some of you
did so a long time ago – thank you for your patience. Please continue to
send us your contributions.
picture on the front cover is of a statue of St Francis in Assisi, Italy.
This photo and many others of Assisi can be found at the following
Go to this site for a virtual visit of the town.
My dear Parishioners
Easter is a
seminal moment in the life of the Church and the Faithful – and as good
a time as any (perhaps even the very best) for us to examine (re-examine
our journey of faith) in the light of the glorious Resurrection.
Is it simply to be business as usual (now that the season has run
its course) or are we determined to continue our pilgrimage?
Only you and I can answer that – but because prayer is a vital
part of that journey I thought I’d include a few thoughts and
(hopefully) some insights on the topic, which you may find useful.
Much of it will
not be new or unusual – but my prayer is that it may be beneficial in
some way. For each of us this will be a different journey – but the
journey is imperative if a spiritual life of any substance is to be
achieved and maintained.
Brother Roger of
Taize said: “Sometimes prayer is an inner struggle.
Sometimes it is simply surrendering our whole being to God in
silence, with no word.” (There’s
a lovely story told of an old French peasant who sat for hours in his
parish pew, seemingly doing nothing.
When asked by his parish priest what he was doing, the old peasant
simply pointed to the crucifix suspended above the High Altar and
announced matter-of-factly “I look at Him and He looks at me, and we are
Prayer cannot be “contained”, for whenever the “definitive” book
or article on prayer appears, sooner rather later, the next
“definitive” batch arrive. We
should not be surprised at this because God cannot and will not be “tied
down” - though we’d prefer that because then He’d do things “our
way” and of course, as we all know, our way is the right way! Remember,
the Living Christ dwells in his disciples – “you are in me and I in
you” (John 14:20) – and what this means, among other things, is that
he prays within us, so what matters therefore is not “my” prayer but
was one of Christ’s precious gifts to his disciples – but we have to
hear what he says and not what we think he should have said or what we
imagine or wish he had said. “Lord
I want” or “Lord you must” are not good prayers.
Bishop Leslie Stradling (Johannesburg) once described Prayer as a
“homing instinct” – it is that inner voice (of prayer), which wills
us to want to return and communicate with our Creator, however far we have
Much of our
understanding and practice of prayer is taken from the life and teaching
of Jesus. So let us
learn from the Master. Firstly,
prayer initially involves commitment.
Much is made of Jesus personal and private prayers (we read how he
took himself “apart” to pray), but the only reason he was equipped to
do so was because his practice was to be faithful in public and corporate
prayer. Jesus was not a
self-contained “little holy huddle”.
In the midst of his private prayers he went to the synagogue
faithfully every Sabbath – and this regardless of the hostility he
encountered there and no doubt (at times) long, uninspiring addresses
(yes, I know your sympathies go out to him).
So prayer is not
about a private, inward journey only.
This can only happen (in a healthy way) when our journey of faith
(and prayer) is rooted in outward faithfulness as well.
Jesus’ devotion to prayer meant that he was not bound to
“appropriate” times and places. Of
course he prayed twice a day, but there were also times when he prayed ALL
NIGHT (before making big decisions).
For years I insisted on praying “on my knees” only – because
that was the “correct thing to do”.
Truth was, I’m distinctly uncomfortable on my knees, and
discovered years after praying (miserably) in the “appropriate way”,
that sitting was a wonderful (happy) position in which to pray.
My prayer life took on new meaning.
We must be spontaneous and real in our prayer life.
Jesus shows us that the purpose of prayer is not mercenary i.e. to obtain
something for ourselves. We
pray because in this way we get to know God better.
To be with Him and so to love Him.
We love God because He first loved us.
We pray as a means of drawing closer to God for God’s sake and
not for what we can get out of Him.
we must avoid praying without thinking, and saying prayers instead of
praying them. Our prayers
must be real and we are to be personally involved in Him.
Jesus never “babbled like (the) pagans” when he prayed (Mt
finally, Jesus taught us never to lose heart in our prayers or to give up. He taught and knew that the fullness of prayer is to put
ourselves into the Father’s presence and stay there – by His Grace.
We are to be watchful and faithful and devote ourselves to prayer
God grant you a glorious Easter and a continued fruitful and happy life of
last few days have been fantastic, incredible, and I must record it all
before I forget any of it.
first, so you know what this is all about, I have to go back to what
happened 60 years ago. My Uncle Trafford, Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford
Leigh-Mallory, who had commanded the Allied Air Forces for operation
Overlord, the D-day
landings in France, and
had at his disposal some 11000 planes, bombers and fighters, had been appointed to take on a similar job in
command of the Allied Air Forces of the South East Asia command, which it
was expected would finally invade the Japanese homeland.
one day in November 1944, he left, with his wife, Lady Doris, and a large
load of the family’s household goods – bed linen, blankets, all their
clothing, crockery, cutlery, etc., etc. They were to fly in an Avro York,
then considered one of the most modern and best passenger aircraft. The
route selected allowed for landings at Naples, Baghdad, Bangadore, on
their way to Kandy, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), where he would establish his
The Avro York C1
plane took off from Northolt Airport, had a Spitfire escort into France,
and just disappeared!
that day, soon after noon, villagers at Le Rivier d’Allemont heard a
plane in the clouds, heard the noise of increased engine power, and then
silence followed by the light of a blaze reflected from the clouds. They
tried to reach what they feared must be a crashed plane, but could not
manage to get through the 2 metre deep snow which the storm had deposited.
After that the police and then the army were forced to give up the search
for fear of an avalanche.
was the following June, eight months later, that a farmer from the
village, who had gone up the mountain looking for grazing for his sheep,
discovered the wreckage of the York and the eight dead bodies – my Uncle
Trafford and Aunt Doris, the pilot, the navigator, the wireless operator,
my uncle’s personal steward and two fitters.
the find was reported to the British. I believe my uncle’s daughter, by
then married to an American airman, assented to the burial of her parents
at the village so near the crash site. So it was arranged. The village
took these tragically killed airmen to their hearts, gave them a proper
burial in their village graveyard. Later the Commonwealth War Graves
Commission put up beautiful headstones on each of the graves.
seems to me the RAF failed to ensure that the families of all those who
had died knew the location of these graves. It was many years before one
of them found it, and set about trying to contact family members of all
those who had been killed in the crash.
much hard work, in August 1966, there was a function attended by some
relative of all eight of them. Many walked from the village to the crash
site – 15 km away and up 700 m – others were taken up by helicopter. A
plaque was made bearing all the names of those killed and fixed to a rock
at the crash site, and I have no doubt there was some service of
remembrance at the cemetery.
I had the opportunity to visit Le Rivier and the cemetery there in June 2003, while staying with my niece, Anne Spencer and her husband, Bob, near Geneva. I was deeply moved by what I saw. I met the son of the man who discovered the crash. It was incredible. Fifty-nine years after the discovery of the crash, the villagers still wished to remember and honour those who had died on that mountain.
the last week in September 2004, I received from Anne in Geneva a copy of
an invitation she had received to attend a 60th year remembrance of
that crash. I just felt I was meant to be there on 17 October.
won’t bore you with details of the overnight flights from South Africa
to Zurich and the trains from there to Grenoble, where I met by Jean François
Durand, who was the man who had organised the event. When we reached the
hotel in Allemont that Thursday night, I was delighted to find many of the
English people coming to the ceremony already there, and over the next two
days began to get to know them. On the Friday one of the families invited
me to join them driving up beyond Le Rivier to see the snow at the top of
the pass. Yes! The first winter snow covered the mountains all around. On
our way up we met two farmers bringing their sheep down to lower level
grazing. We did not try to count them, but guessed there must have been
about a thousand! At the top of the pass, the family indulged in a good
old snowball fight. On Saturday Jean François took me to lunch with the
Paris correspondent of the Daily Telegraph.
was the day of the function, and I met up with Anne and Bob and another
cousin, Bill Newton-Dunn, who had written a biography of Uncle Trafford, Big
Wing. On arrival in Le Rivier, we were taken to the Church, filled to
overflowing. The overflow had the proceedings relayed to them. After the
usual welcome and greeting from the priest, Bill was the first to speak,
giving a brief biography of Uncle Trafford. I followed him. I don’t
recall the exact words, but this is the gist of what I said:
then spoke in her beautiful French. There were prayers. Then we all said
The Lord’s Prayer in our own language.
we moved to the cemetery. The temperature was about 5º
C. We stood there over an hour, getting steadily colder, more so when the
drizzle started! One looked out past the hundreds assembled for the
occasion to the patches of snow all round. There were about 15 specially
invited notables, all of whose addresses had to be translated. It really
had to be, and was, a fully bilingual function, which included much
wreath-laying. Unexpectedly, Bill and I were called to put flowers on the
grave of Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory. We were each handed
a rose. I left mine on Aunt Doris’ grave; she had been getting much less
attention than her husband.
local school children laid poppies on the graves. Then, to our surprise,
Anne and I were called to lay poppies. By then, after an hour’s standing
in the cold and wet I only just made it to the graves and back, laying a
poppy on each of Uncle’s and Aunt’s graves. At last I found somewhere
I could perch and take some of the weight off my legs. For a moment I
thought I was going to pass out, when my head seemed to be doing
somersaults. The ceremony in the cemetery ended with the guard of honour
presenting arms, the playing of the Last Post, a minute’s silence, and
we were all to walk (be driven in my case) up to see the York-Mallory Museum, where there are
on show photos of the crash site, of my uncle and others who died in the
crash, as well as a selection of airplane and engine parts. However, I.
was cold and exhausted, and when I found a room in the complex with a
chair and a heater, I sat to wait for a return to normality. I told a few
of the party I would stay there until the promised refreshments were on
the go, and someone promised to collect me.
more than an hour, I decided to investigate, and on my second attempt
found where the refreshments were, to be told that the bus with the other
visitors from Allemont had left without me, as they could not find me. But
the refreshments were good and someone was found to drive me back to
Allemont, my hotel, and bed, for a much-needed rest. Later Jean François
picked me up for dinner at a very nice restaurant. One of those there was
his mother, who told me “I was supposed to interpret for you in the
church, but I was so moved by what you said, that I just could not.”
the time I made it down to breakfast on Monday morning, the English
visitors had all left, and I really missed them. Jean François kindly
arranged for someone to drive me to Le Rivier to see the museum, which I
had missed at the celebrations. And I was taken out to lunch and to
dinner. In addition, Jean François managed to arrange for me to be met on
the station platform at the Zurich Airport station, to take me to SAA
so back home, still somewhat weary, but full of the wonder of the time
there and all those 1 met. I would not have missed it all for anything!
And I brought nearly all me Euros back with me. The Allemont town council
covered all the hotel bills of the family members attending, and I think
we must have totalled around 25.
l’Entente cordiale, and may it continue to grow increasingly cordial!
MALLORY, 22 October 2004
By popular request – from the Kitchen of the
Cooking Cleric – we bring you this secret family recipe.
A quick wholewheat loaf, made
almost like Irish soda bread, and which freezes well.
It tastes best eaten still slightly warm.
375g (750 ml) wholewheat flour
Combine the wholewheat flour,
self-raising flour, brown sugar, salt and cream of tartar and mix well.
Beat together the milk, sunflower oil, vinegar, bicarbonate of soda
and egg. Add to the flour
mixture and mix well. Shape the dough into a ball.
Dredge the bottom of a pie plate
with bran. Place the ball of
dough in it and press the ball a little to flatten it.
Mark it into 8 wedges with a sharp knife.
Place the plate on an inverted
saucer in the microwave oven. Microwave
the bread for 12 minutes on 70% power, giving it a quarter turn to the
right every 3 minutes if the microwave has no turntable.
Microwave for 1 minute on 100% power.
Break the wedges apart and serve.
Keep your promises
matter how tempted
sure people know
can read yourmind!]
Show personal integrity
gossip about others;
can’t all be like you;
From the Diocese of
Jeanette Birrell and a colleague started Tshwane
Place of Safety for abandoned babies.
She came to tell the Belles and Swells Group about the
arrived with the two babies she is presently looking after – Dineo (5
weeks) and Nikita (7 months). Nikita
was left in the back of a taxi at the age of 2 months and Dineo was found
a day after she was born on the steps of the Reserve Bank by an employee.
It is obvious that Jeanette is passionate about her charity work
despite the hard work and sacrifice involved.
Her two teenage children have to pitch in and help feeding and
bathing when necessary.
She told heartrending stories of abused and
neglected children thrown away or taken by Social Services. They have currently placed 60 babies and children, up to the
age of 6, with 40 volunteer families.
These families offer their love and homes to foster the foundlings
till adoptive families have been found.
This usually happens around 6-8 months.
We were amazed to hear that some families take up to 6 extra
children to look after. This
involves many trips to hospitals as most of the children arrive
malnourished and ill. The financial burden alone means great sacrifice and
dedication, as the Government subsidy is not enough for a month’s
formula or nappies! Families
are screened carefully and are allowed to be quite specific about the age
group they feel they can cope with.
Jeanette said the amazing fact is that they have
not yet been unable to place a baby or toddler within 24 hours of arrival.
There is such a need and I would like to encourage you to invite
Jeanette to come to your group and spread the word about this organisation
and the wonderful work they do. The
Aids Pandemic has far reaching consequences and perhaps in some small way
we can get involved and support this very worthy cause!
tomorrow on I will be sad.
From a child in a Nazi Death Camp
the context of the Fellowship of Vocation, I was invited to Shoshanguve to
learn about what Tumelong does in Winterveld .
the years I had often heard about Tumelong and supported it where
possible, but what exactly was being done there had never really become
clear to me. And without knowing exactly where to go, one does not venture
into Shoshanguve or Winterveld to find it on one’s own. As it turned
out, I would have been unable to find it, because Tumelong operates at
several venues. With someone to guide the group I was part of, the visit
became a real discovery tour.
number of people gathered at 9 am on a Saturday morning St Bede’s,
Shoshanguve, where a funeral was already in progress. Our guide, Albert,
took us first to the Loatse police station. Here Tumelong is involved in
running a 24-hour crisis centre. One of the social workers, who is part of
the team that runs the crisis centre, explained to us how this works. It
operates from 2 barracks on the grounds of the police station, because the
first place women who have been abused go to is the police station to lay
charges. To have the crisis centre there is thus logical. The one building
contains 4 beds, bath, toilet, fridge, etc and is used to house women and
children who have left home after a domestic dispute. They can stay there
for a few days until an alternative solution has been found, such as go to
family elsewhere, mediation with the husband, etc. The second building is
used as a meeting place for support groups, or where children, by means of
play therapy, can be helped to tell what happened to them, etc. It was a
place with brightly painted walls, beanbags to sit on, encouraging slogans
on the walls, which had a very cosy feel about it.
24-hour crisis centre is run by 6 women, who each take turns to be
available after hours to assist whoever needs their help, mainly women,
but also children, who are the victims of rape or domestic abuse. The task
of the caregivers consists in informing the victims about what is involved
in the laying of charges, what will happen at the hospital, where they
need to go to be examined by the district surgeon, and then the caregiver
accompanies the victim to the hospital, and waits there for as long as is
necessary. It often takes up to 4 hours for someone to be seen by the
was most impressed to hear that this kind of care is available, and that
victims do not have to go through the aftermath of their harrowing
experience alone. The team of caregivers are available even if it is in
the middle of the night, and they will go to wherever they are needed in
there we went to the Tumelong Hospice, which is quite a bit further along
the maze of roads that crisscross the Winterveld. The hospice is located
in a house, recently extended, and has a few large Wendy houses on the
premises to accommodate administration and a chapel. Here the harsh
reality of HIV/Aids stared us straight in the face, as 4 women and 3 men
in their respective wards were being cared for in the final stage of the
disease. Emaciated and with empty eyes they were basically waiting to die.
A fourth man had passed away only an hour before we arrived. But in this
place again, I was so impressed by the way the place is run and what care
is given to the patients. Caregivers of the hospice also provide
home-based care to 180 patients in the surrounding area, and the number is
increasing. When patients can no longer be cared for at home, they are
brought in to the hospice for terminal care, usually by hospice staff, and
sometimes by their family. When we left the premises the undertaker’s
vehicle was waiting outside to collect the deceased man.
the Hospice we went to the Tumelong Haven, located nearby. This is the
place where Aids orphans are cared for, and it is housed in a building
belonging to the Catholic Church. It was set up in conjunction with the
Hospice, when it became clear that the people dying from Aids were leaving
children behind, who needed care. The Haven functions as a crèche and
pre-school. Older children go to the primary school in the area, but come
to the Haven on Saturdays. There was creative work in progress with this
group in one of the classrooms under the leadership of two Wits students.
The children were making collages with pictures cut out of magazines on
the theme: “My dreams for the future”. All the children also receive
nutritious meals. Despite all the tragedy in these young lives, there were
lots of happy and eager faces and a cheerful atmosphere prevailed.
tour continued along the dusty and winding roads to the Tumelong Clinic.
The clinic is no longer allowed to dispense medicine, so the nutrition
program is now the main focus of its activities. Women go there to have
their children weighed, and when these are underweight, the mothers are
invited to attend teaching sessions about good nutrition. Here they learn
how to start vegetable gardens. If people cannot even afford seed, they
are provided with the necessary seed to get started. Women also can get
instruction on how to breastfeed, and if they are HIV positive, formula is
provided to prevent them from transmitting the disease to their babies. At
the moment about 240 families are reached in this way.
final stop was the Bokomoso Centre, in still another location. This is a
Bokomoso group, which performed at St. Francis a while ago, is based here,
and gave us a performance of their latest play ”It won’t happen to
me”, while we had lunch. It was a very evocative play about the
realities of HIV/Aids, and it was very well performed. They are hoping to
go to Washington DC again in January next year for a series of
performances, if enough sponsorship for flights can be found.
was really worthwhile to get such a comprehensive insight into what is
being done by Tumelong. I was very impressed by it all. Even though there
are people sick and dying, others are working really hard to help and to
care where needed, and to prevent many from getting sick. It is all very
practical and very much community based. There was a sense of dignity and
of making the best use of the available knowledge and resources.
really want to encourage us all to keep supporting Tumelong to the best of
our abilities, despite the fact that there no longer seems to be an annual
fête, because in this way we can enable the carers there to keep on
Anne Marie Smith
Saturdays 09:00– 12:30
we pray for my doggie who died?”
Hearing the heartfelt prayers of the children here at St Francis, and knowing that the children know that everything that is important to them is important to Jesus, is what makes the children’s ministry so special.
During 2004, the importance of Children’s Ministry in our Parishes came very much to the fore. Bishop Jo initiated a Children’s Ministry Board to look at the issues that are important to the children and those who minister to them. A number of Diocesan Discussion Groups were held, where the teachers themselves were able to raise and discuss things that applied to them and their situations. Out of these “Indabas” the board has started a two-year training programme, consisting of 8 days of training.
These training sessions are held in each of the Archdeaconaries and facilitated by various members of the Board. The ultimate vision of this program is to have all the children’s ministry workers throughout the Diocese completely equipped for the task of leading the children to Jesus Christ. On completion of the necessary 8 training sessions they receive a Diocesan Certificate.
St Francis has been completely involved with this process from day one and our teachers have already had their 1st training session, which took place at the end of last year.
One of the other functions of the Board is to look at setting standard guidelines for Confirmation Preparation. This came about because of some rather “dodgy” teaching in some of the Parishes. It is also felt that the Clergy should once again take control of those who are involved in Confirmation Preparation.
Please continue to pray for the Children’s Ministry and Leaders, here at St Francis and throughout the Diocese.
Those kids are swimming in the river!
Aren’t there crocodiles nearby?!”
I overheard this comment last year while the youth were taking a quick cool-down swim in the river near the campsite in Watervalboven after the “King-Swing” adventures. (See the photos below.)
Every single camp has had its own unique features, and 2004’s camp was no different. We had a bus driver “Oom Mel”, who became an honorary member of Oasis and was game for anything (except the King-Swing), a camp leader “Blikkies”, who kept us all entertained, and “Party Boy”, who will live forever in the memories of all who were present.
As a continuation of the Ecumenical relationship, I co-opted Dave and Kirsty Fidler from Brooklyn Methodist to join us and lead some of the sessions. The Saturday afternoon chat about “So how did you know he was the one?” was a good time of bonding for the group, the girls especially.
The amount of prayer that went into the camp was incredible and we could see the results. The group was open to pray about anything and everything, including praying for Blikkies’ father who has heart problems. The impact that those prayers made was only truly felt after we got back to Pretoria, when I received a very emotional call from his mother, who phoned to say that things were starting to improve.
Year-end function 2004
This was once again a fun-filled evening, including small fires and rain, and the photos will soon be on display in the barn – as soon as the renovations are finished.
2005 is once again chock-a-block. The theme for the year is “Lord of the Rings”. The Biblical principles are wonderfully highlighted by the book. Topics such as Mission, Christian Duty, Perseverance, etc are going to be looked at and discussed.
We have 5 confirmation candidates this year, I ask you to please pray for Cynid Badenhorst, Didi Makete, Dylan Smith, Jason le Roux and Kayleigh Hill, as they prepare for their confirmation on 6th November.
Our annual camp is taking place early in the second term (22-24 April), and this year it will be at Kloofwaters campsite in the Magaliesberg.
Please continue to pray for the young people of St. Francis. Your prayers are greatly appreciated and greatly needed.
Did you know that during the September school holidays this year a group of young people from St Francis and Brooklyn Methodist churches are going to Botswana for a weeklong outreach?? The 26th of February was our first official day of training and, judging by the hard work the team put into learning the “Step” dances, I know that this trip will be full of fun and a lot of hard work.
We are leaving South Africa on the 24th September and getting back on the 1st October. We will be working with Rev. Tom Matonsi, in and around Francistown, to help spread the word and love of Jesus to the whole community, but especially the young people.
This is not something that just happened by chance. Much prayer went into discerning whether or not we should go on this mission and, more importantly, where we needed to go. God’s hand has been guiding the process from its inception, which was towards the end of last year.
Please pray for the whole team as we continue with our training, preparation and fundraising. If you’d like to know more, please feel free to contact me (at the Parish Office or on 082 342 5895) or David Fidler (Brooklyn Methodist) on 082 409 3000.
God Bless you all, Liz
Please support Operation Botswana by attending the following: