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.
Dear people of St Francis
In a rapidly globalizing world, Fr Tim asks what you expect from a church. In this edition, other contributors confirm the anchoring effect of the church, whether just arriving from another country or sitting in one's thousandth service at St Francis. Another contributor discusses how the church should be engaging with civil society (in this case, the law enforcement authorities). There is also coverage of the holiday club activities which cater to younger members. Although the patron Saint is not directly mentioned, I believe this edition describes a deeply involved and interested community of faith.
My dear Parishioners
What do you expect from your church? Such a question is bound to elicit any number of responses (I would hazard ONE for every parishioner) – and rightly so. Worship and faith are ultimately very subjective issues, and no single Church or Priest can possibly hope to satisfy the entire Community of Faith. What I propose to do therefore, is answer the question in a very broad sense, focussing on 5 specific areas – and with any luck, these will tie in with at least some of your own views.
St Francis must be a place of Encounter.
A Church should be a place where the congregants encounter valid expressions of God’s love for them. It is not a place where God is simply experienced in a way which suits peculiar tastes or trends. (After all, the Church can in it’s own rather pathetic way, attempt to be trendy). A truly authentic encounter with God in Christ implies that the congregation are facilitators of GRACE and not private agendas. Fruits of this are tolerance, commitment and encouragement. The phrase “… MY church” has absolutely no place in an environment of true Encounter.
St Francis must be a place of Example.
The ultimate (and I would even say only) way a Church reflects its Christian character is through example. Church’s are a microcosm of the Kingdom of God, and the question must be asked what those on the “outside” see and experience when they encounter those on the “inside”, (or for that matter what those on the “inside” themselves experience). For many the encounter is not a resoundingly positive one. Whether true or not, whether fair or not, know one thing, we are being watched. Our example is our greatest icon (window) to that which we profess with our lips. Let there be no doubt about that.
St. Francis must be a place of Education.
It amazes me how all too often people are very intolerant of poor teaching in the workplace and elsewhere, but quite content with mediocrity in the church. (Please note, I’m not suggesting the parishioners of St Francis of Assisi are in this category.)
Frequently there is a lack of concern for proper education in the Household of Faith. As an institution entrusted with the task of practicing good stewardship sound education becomes a gospel imperative. Bear in mind that Jesus was known to be different to those around Him for “He taught as one with authority” (Matthew 7:28-29). The people of St. Francis of Assisi need to be equipped to take their place in society – and to this end she must challenge and prepare with teaching that has authority. This does imply therefore that one will not always hear what one either demands or wishes to hear.
Never can it be that the gospel is simply watered down to a “comfortable” message. It contains far too much inherent, transformative power for this ever to be the case. Christianity demands much. In fact, that is not true, Christianity demands ALL.
How true the words of Walter Bruggeman: “preaching among us happens in this context in which truth is greatly reduced. That means the gospel may have been twisted, pressed, tailored and gerrymandered until it is comfortable with technical reason that leaves us unbothered, and with ideology that leaves us with uncriticized absolutes.”
Sound education in the House of God must occur if there is to be complete continuous growth and preparation. Without this, there will not be adequate preparation for us to take our place in society. A society where unbelief is rampant. A society where poverty, war, dread diseases, and a host of other evils exist and will simply not go away. A society, in which we are called to witness and work for Christ.
St. Francis must be a place of Excellence.
A church which provides sound education will be one that has missionary excellence as its primary focus. This will dictate that by far its greatest allocation of resources (both physical and spiritual), will be to its missionary endeavours. But this excellence will not only be measured in terms of general “results”, for an excellent Church is one in which every member of the congregation is consumed with the aim of doing and giving all that THEY can to fulfil the task at hand. Where the Priesthood of ALL believers is a reality.
St. Francis is a place which fosters Equality.
The policy of Apartheid has ensured that inequalities will remain for decades to come. The Church must accept her role as an instrument of healing. The legacy of the exploitative past is both hurtful and debilitating and rather than complain about the “good-old-days”, (which in truth were horrific, bad-old-days), she must strive to bring all people into a positive realization of the promise held out by a (new) country. As a consequence the people of God “in the market place” must be eager to seek out ways of bringing the previously disadvantaged into the realm of social influence. Furthermore, (and this is surely obvious) no congregation dare allow for any spectre of elitism to overshadow it. After all, “…the Son of man came to serve and not to be served”.
May God grant us the grace to be aware of these key areas in our journey of faith at St Francis of Assisi. I think we would all agree that large gaps exist between theory and practice in each, but faith is after all about journeying. We are a pilgrim people, and even if this article simple serves to heighten our awareness, then good can and will come out of it.
God be in your road.
I have always known that St Francis is a very special church. The 09h30 service nurtured my children and gave me healing spiritually and physically.
Now, 17 years later, at the 07h30 service, I was truly blessed to see those who had grown together, in faith, over the years, love and support each other. Nothing was said - just a hug showed God's grace and love in a time of bereavement. What a blessing to grow old in such a caring community.
John King writes
Most of us are very concerned about our own Safety and Security, especially now that we hear about or have even experienced some horrific incidents involving crime.
However, the debate about what to do about it rages on.
Some have given up and emigrated, believing that the grass is greener on the other side. Others have moved to "up market" security complexes at an enormous cost. Some maintain that THEY should do something about it, or maybe even WE should do something about it. Seldom do we hear that I should do something about it!!
The "They's" are often heard to say that The Government hasn't given us enough "cops on the beat". The more informed might claim that the police should be more efficient and do better with what they have.
The "We's" want to cordon off their suburb and employ private security companies to protect themselves. Their problems usually involve getting approval from the council to restrict public access. Even if they succeed, they often find that crime just goes on and that they are just as exposed when they leave their precinct and venture out into the streets! Some have even experienced a continuance of violent crimes within their enclosed (and protected??) precincts! What about the "little old pensioner" within the precinct that cannot afford to pay the costs of enclosing the suburb? Who is "cashing in" on this paranoia?
Well what should the "I's" do about it? What is my Christian duty? Remember you can't do everything! Get informed about the problem:
1. The police are human and need our support. Most importantly, they need to be encouraged and deserve our appreciation for their commitment in the face of limited equipment, facilities etc. Don't expect to get rich being an honest cop! We definitely do have a lean and mean police force. It's no place for the lead swinger! The "I's" have a number of options:
- Most importantly, they can just go out of their way to meet and encourage their local sector police. Find out from your local police station the names of the officers appointed to liaise with the public in your area and make a point of contacting them before they have to come looking for you!
- Join the local Community Police Forum and be "The Eyes and the Ears" of the police by reporting any suspicious acts or persons and all committed crimes. It all helps to "fill in the picture" for your police service. Expect "proactive" policing and don't only complain when the police are slow to respond to a crime that has already taken place and when the only "reactive" duties left for the police are "following up" and arresting the culprit. Proactive policing involves preventing crimes related to drug or alcohol abuse, discouraging domestic crimes against women and children, preventing the sale and distribution of drugs by dealers, and discouraging or stopping the sale of stolen goods.
- Some of us might have some spare time and want to volunteer to do "a shift" manning the police station telephone or baking cookies for their teas. Others can volunteer to become police reservists.
2. What about the Justice system. If we had more police and arrested more criminals could that not just aggravate the "awaiting trial" problem in our overcrowded jails. The bleat "getting arrested just to be let off by the courts" may be the result of poor police case preparation or just insufficient justice personnel to handle the load. After all you are only guilty once the courts have found you guilty! What about the victim? What about "Restorative Justice"?
3. What about Correctional Services? What am I doing about rehabilitation? Why is a criminal a criminal? What is my Christian Duty? Do we really need more jails to teach criminals how to become more professional in their criminal activities?
The debate about the issue "What to do about Safety and Security" rages on. Perhaps the most important advice is: BE OBSERVANT and BE CAREFUL. Get to know your neighbours and get them to watch your property (especially while you are away). Burglars know when a property is being watched and prefer to tackle "easy" targets. Don't put temptation in the way of criminals. Don't leave valuables in open view in your car. Don't wear or carry "flashy" valuables in public places. Don't drive on deserted roads at night. Keep your cell phone handy so that you can summon help should your car break down and leave you stranded alongside the road. Avoid "High Crime" areas at "High Crime" times. Ask your local Sector Police personnel to identify these areas and times for you.
From Jocelyn Gioia
… it is the harmony of a caring community informed at every point by its awareness of God (J Taylor) It embraces the whole of life and works out in a whole network of right relationships - it is the Kingdom at work. Shalom grows from our closeness to God and suffuses all our relationships and attitudes. Or it is supposed to, anyway! When the shalom is disturbed this prayer is useful. I have used it and it works! "Save, O Lord, and have mercy upon those that envy and affront me and do me mischief, and let them not perish through me a sinner." (from Greek Orthodox liturgy) I won't ask if you have hugged your enemy today, but "have you loved your enemy in prayer today?"
"Ar goes t' bed griteful and ar wikes up 'opeful. (Cockney char)
From the Archbishop of Canterbury's New Year's Eve comment on TV 1970)
Those who prepare manuscripts or proof read well know…
That typographical error is a slippery thing and sly.
(Adapted from an old copy of The Anglican Digest)
1. Hey! It's my turn to sit in the front pew!
This [supposedly] comes from a Catholic elementary school. Kids were
asked questions about the Old and New Testaments. The following statements
about the bible were written by the children. They have not been retouched
or corrected (i.e., incorrect spelling has been left in).
1. In the first book of the bible, Guinessis, God got tired of creating
When I entered the airspace of South Africa on May 2nd, I began to feel a bit nervous in my stomach... With 2 months notice I had accepted a job offer and now I was really almost there. During the breakfast, the lady sitting next to me suddenly asked me: "Do you believe that Jesus Christ is your saviour?" I looked at her a bit puzzled (this kind of forwardness is not usual to my culture) but answered with a smile: "Yes, I do believe He is my saviour". At that moment I felt like I was coming home.
The following Sunday morning I ended up (30 min late) sitting at St. Francis. During the following 5 months I was blessed with the congregation of St. Francis. This is why I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone of you for being my support network, either actively or passively. With you guys I felt like I was spending quality time with my family - I felt like being home. A special thanks to Craig W., Luan, Liz, Anna, Stuart, my cell and Alpha groups for being my guardian angels during this time!
My biological family has always been scattered all over the world (work, study etc.) and so going to church on Sundays is very important to us - knowing that we are not alone in this world and that we have someone to look after us is the most comforting feeling I know.
God is good and almighty - in him we're one big family. Christian fellowship is a powerful thing and it is great to realize that God is the same wherever we go: Jesus is here guiding His children - he sends angels into our everyday lives!
Whether you travel or not, let him be your companion. God Bless and I wish you all the best for the coming summer! Until we meet again,
From Sid Saks
SAFM broadcast the following talk on its "This New Day" programme on 30 January 2003. It is reproduced here by request.
The morning newspaper in Durban is known as The Mercury. It has a gossip and chat column called The Idler. On the 27th August 2001 the Idler told this story.
"Recently at an airport, I overheard father and daughter in their last moments together. They had announced her departure and standing near the security gate, they hugged and he said, 'I love you, I wish you enough'. She in turn said, "Daddy, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed, I wish you enough, too, Daddy'.
"They kissed and she left. He walked over toward the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see he wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on his privacy, but he welcomed me in by asking: 'Did you ever say goodbye to someone knowing it would be forever?' 'Yes, I have', I replied. 'Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever goodbye' 'I am old and she lives much too far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is, the next trip back would be for my funeral' he said.
I said: "When you were saying goodbye I heard you say, "I wish you enough". May I ask what that means?' He began to smile" 'That's a wish that has been handed down from other generations." My parents used to say it to everyone". He paused for a moment and looking up as if trying to remember it in detail, he smiled even more. "When we 'I wish you enough', we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them", he continued, and then turning toward me he shared the following as if he were reciting it from memory.
"I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright. I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more. I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive. I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger. I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting. I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess. I wish you enough hellos to get you through that final goodbye."
Well, I'd like to pick up that idea and say to you: "I wish you enough faith in God to hold firm when all those niggling doubts worm their way into your consciousness. I wish you enough courage to endure all the adversities and disappointments that will come your way. I wish you enough hope to keep looking always beyond the problems to the solutions. I wish you enough of the peace that passes all understanding to keep you calm and focused in the middle of all turmoil and trouble in the world. I wish you enough love to reach outin care for those struggling, defeated, and broken. I wish you enough determination to pick up the pieces when everything you've worked for lies broken, and to put then together again. I wish you enough of Jesus so that when everything seems empty and worthless you will have a friend and Saviour to help you. I wish you enough of God's love for you to know that when you finally reach the end of this earthly journey there will be one who will say, "Hello, Come in, we've been waiting for you".
Following on from the last edition, we had a number of submissions of captions to attach to this picture of the very reverend Robin (sign reads "Upper class toilets" [arrow]). We decided on the following honourable mentions (since some were slightly less than):
"What! No magazines?" (Beryl and
The judge has sat, and contemplated. Robin ruled that the last submission was the most favourable, all things considered. Would the person who submitted this please collect their roll of honour from the Church Office?
(The success of a pun is in the oy of the beholder - S. Robinson)
Hello from the Children's Church and Oasis Youth Group
The saying "Time flies when you're having fun", is all too true. This year has just gone past so quickly, and we've had all sorts of fun. The biggest highlight of the year for the children's church (and for some of the youth members) was the "Secret Agent's" Holiday club. I'm sure that many of you saw the chaos in the hall the Sunday before it started, and a few people thought that we were under investigation when some of the leaders got all dressed up in our "Men in Black" outfits for the Sunday morning service. So much happened in that holiday club week. There are some stories from the leaders and from some of the children included in the magazine, as well as some photos. So much else has happened this year, we once again had great fun making goodies for mother's and father's day and other days. And we are looking forward to a whole month of sticky-gluey fun in November. A big thank you must go to everyone who brought something for our Harvest Festival. Anna and I will be taking some of our Youth Group, and some of the guys from Brooklyn Methodist out to Dennilton to go and deliver all the food and stuff. We are in the process of setting up a working relationship with the youth at Brooklyn Methodist, and so far have been involved in joint training for the Holiday Clubs and a few visits. Hopefully this relationship will grow into a strong one in the near future.
My experience as a holiday club leader was a very interesting experience. We all thought this was a great chance to spread the Word. But we changed our minds shortly afterwards, when we were told that we had to be at the church by 7:30am every day, and went home feeling very sorry for ourselves.
After 3 days we thought we had made some progress but were set back when one of the children said, "Jesus has a motor bike!"
But over all it was a memory that we will treasure for ever!!
Kayleigh Hill (a.k.a. Agent KJ)
A prayer that was prayed during open prayer time:
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You for our food, thank You for our water, that comes out the tap. then we go bath and wash ourselves and clean our teeth, and change our clothes, and mommy and daddy come and put us in bed, and we go to sleep and then wake up in the morning and eat cereal, and go to school. Amen.
Some "Giggles" from the Holiday Club
"I am a princess and you are invited to my party!" - George (4) (for further information please talk to anyone who was a leader)
I'm David, Cinderella, Ariel, Pocahontas." - George (4)
"Is she dead?!?!" - a few of the younger children, after seeing, and hearing the leaders talk about Liz's car accident. They all thought her name was really Holmes.
Did you know that the word "Pepsi-cola" is an anagram of episcopal, therefore what better collective noun than "a fizz of bishops"?
And God created the earth with broccoli and
cauliflower and spinach and green and yellow vegetables of all kinds, so
Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.
Dr Hugh Cobb