St Francis of Assisi Parish Newsletter
Editor: Mark Napier. Email:
firstname.lastname@example.org Typing: Christine Lawrie. Production: Anne Allison. Collation: Amy
Dear Friends in Christ
I am hoping that we will be able to pass on to you
something of what we learned at Clergy School this year.
Clergy School is normally held every second year and
is obligatory for every clergy person to attend.
This helps us to keep abreast of what is going on in the rest of
the Diocese – and further afield, and gives a chance to improve our
skills, learn new skills and gain new insights into the Scriptures.
This year we gathered at Sinzinani.
This is a Zulu word meaning “help each other”.
Sinzanani started as a mission to physically and mentally disabled
children by the Roman Catholic Church.
Now, with the help of overseas funding, it has been expanded into
an enormous complex as a Conference and Retreat Centre, which in turn
helps to support the Mission.
The complex comprises a Church, large dining room,
lecture hall, restaurant, braai facilities, well appointed chalets and,
believe it or not, its own pub!
The theme of the school this year was:
“A quantum leap of faith” refocusing on mission.
This means that we must change gear as it were from Maintenance to
Mission, or put more simply – getting out of our comfort zones where we
maintain the status quo and getting into deeper waters – breaking new
Our workshops were lead by a team headed up by Bishop
Jo and our Archdeacons, and our plenary sessions were conducted by Father
Robert Paterson from Cardiff, in Wales.
He is the Secretary/Director of the Church of Wales’ Council for
Mission and Ministry. A very
able speaker, he illustrated his talks with anecdotes and took us through
the Gospels giving us new insights. He
is also the author of several books.
We worked very hard finishing at 9pm, but we also
enjoyed fun and fellowship, lots of good food, finishing up with a braai
on Thursday night. We were in
all 83 priests and deacons.
After the workshops we were divided up into 8 groups
and sent off to answer certain questions based on the workshop.
Each group reporting back to the conference by, in one instance,
putting on a 5 minute sketch to illustrate what we had come up with and,
on another occasion, drawing a coloured poster.
The sketches caused great hilarity.
Mission we were reminded is a characteristic of God.
God is a sending God. He
sent Jesus into the world and again he sends us.
“Go into all the world and make disciples of all
We are only true to God as we participate in mission
– in reaching out.
This does not necessarily mean going to China because
we have a mission field right here on our own doorstep – our mission is
to love and serve God’s world – love in action.
It does mean every member ministry.
We each have a contribution to make to the mission of the Church.
Every member of the church must be involved in one
way or another, each one using his/her particular gift.
The Holy Spirit is given to us to empower us to
further the work of God’s Kingdom – to be a Christ-centered Church.
June de Klerk
Can you believe that we are almost ¼ of the way
through 2001? It seems like
just yesterday that we had our final Children’s Church Sunday for 2000,
and already we are approaching the end of the first term.
It is really exciting to see so many children walk through the
doors into the hall on a Sunday morning.
We have almost 50 children on our registers and so far we have
averaged between 35 and 45 children every Sunday.
If it wasn’t for the dedicated team of teachers and helpers I
don’t know where we would be.
I would like to say welcome back to all the teachers,
and a special welcome to the team to Toine van der Oever, and Evodia and
Tlhabi Tlailane, who joined the Children’s Church as teachers at the
beginning of the year. We are
positive that exciting things will happen in the Children’s Church this
year and that God will do amazing and wonderful things.
Some advanced notices:
on Sunday the 11th of March, we will be having a puppet show during
Children’s Church, and towards the end of the term we are hoping to have
a Children’s church get together (details will follow later.)
God Bless you all
An Intercessor’s Perspective….
By Gwyneth Reid
At the end of November 2000 Cape Town hosted the
“International Consultation 2000 and beyond”.
This was an Anglican Communion initiative to bring 250 delegates to
South Africa to discuss and learn how communities can be changed for the
better through the unity of prayer.
Bishops, priests, and laity flew in from around the
world (including delegates from India, the Ukraine, and Africa).
And I was blessed to be one of the intercessors before, during and
after the event.
A week before the meeting, intercessors from the UK,
Canada, the USA, and South Africa joined the SOMA executive at a retreat
on the Cape Flats. This was a
wonderful time of bonding for the Board members and intercessors. We prayed, worshipped and had Bible study together in the
early morning before the executive went off to finalise arrangements for
the up-coming Consultation, while we remained in the chapel to pray and
undergird their work. American
SOMA Board member (and our “Gatekeeper”), Rose Marie Edwards, led us
in intercession and fasting. I
soon learned that our nightly dreams were not our own but needed to be
shared with the prayer team. We
grappled with bizarre and unrelated pictures until they were untangled,
with the help of the Holy Spirit, and we were able to pray into a clearly
defined subject. This led us
into a deeper level of prayer for the needs of the approaching event.
Soon all the pieces of the puzzle were put in place and we were
ready to move into the next phase – the International Consultation
Initiated by the Anglican Communion’s ‘Sharing of
Ministries Abroad” (SOMA) key-note speakers were drawn from different
denominations, including those who were involved in the making of the
“Transformations” video – George Otis, Alistair Petrie, Ruth Ruibel,
and Harold Caballeros.
The Consultation was held in a city hotel and we were
assigned a prayer room in the hotel.
Even though we had already bathed the event in
soaking prayer, we found that there was much work yet to be done.
As prayer requests began to come in, we became a tighter circle of
prayer warriors who locked arms and prayed as one as we sensed a mighty
move of the Holy Spirit working and guiding us throughout the
We met every morning with the delegates for praise,
worship and Bible study and again in the evening to hear speakers and
enjoy ministry. This was an
anointed time and our periods of intercession became more bold and
During the morning, the delegates would hear the
talks and in the afternoons would meet as groups.
Each group was placed, according to their country or region, at
round tables for discussion and discernment as to what God was saying to
them about becoming facilitators for change and transformation in their
communities. Out of this
precious time together, many will become great teachers and leaders in the
“Transformation” process, and much cross-pollination will take place
between denominations and countries.
Personally, this three-week encounter has inspired me
to enlarge my tent, to expand my thinking, vision and hope for my church,
community, country, and the nations.
And yes, indeed, with God’s help, I will go with boldness to
build up and encourage prayer warriors for St Francis of Assisi Church and
I will continue to pray for change in this beloved country of ours, and
Yours in Christ
‘The Bible Jesus Read’ : Philip Yancey
by Maud Charles
The Old Testament is God’s biography, the story of
His passionate encounter with people, and gives abundant new insights into
the heart of God the Father, and a fresh eye to the words Jesus so
revered. The more we
comprehend the Old Testament the more we comprehend Jesus.
This is not a work of argument or apology, rather one
of self-discovery. It is,
above all, realistic. In its
pages you will find passionate stories of love and hate.
The Bible seems refreshingly whole, an honest reflection on
humanity in relation to the sacred. You
trust what little you know, and proceed in faith to seek God. The Old Testament does not read like a cohesive novel, it
consists of poetry, history, sermons and short stories written by various
authors. Each book had its
own scroll twenty or thirty feet long, yet it is remarkable that this
diverse collection of manuscripts written over a period of a millennium by
several dozen authors possesses as much unity as it does.
It is a strong sign that God directed its composition and developed
a complete record of what he wants us to know.
The Old Testament gives an advanced course in Life with God,
expressed in a style at once personal and passionate, and is our most
complete revelation of what God is like.
Slowly and painstakingly He writes His history on earth through the
deeds of His faithful followers one by one.
The God of Israel is a God who loves, a God who is known to, and
concerned with man. He not only rules the world in the majesty of His might and
wisdom, but reacts intimately to the events of history.
If the Old Testament’s overwhelming lesson about God is that He
is personal and intimate, its overwhelming lesson about human beings is
that we matter. What we say,
how we behave, even what we think and feel – these things have an
enormous effect on God.
The Old Testament tells a story about creation and
the fall, God’s painstaking efforts to construct a nation out of the
rubble of human failure. It
identifies Jesus as the “seed of woman” promised in the Garden of
Eden, then connects Him to the other central characters:
The “Second Adam” the “Son of Abraham” and the “Son of
David”. Jesus traced every
important fact about himself and His mission.
He quoted from it to settle controversies with opponents, such as
the Sadducees, Pharisees and Satan himself.
God won’t ask what kind of car you drove, but will ask how many people you drove who didn’t have transportation.
God won’t ask the square footage of you house, but will ask how many people you welcomed into your home.
God won’t ask about the fancy clothes you had in your closet, but will ask how many of these clothes helped the needy.
God won’t ask about your social status, but will ask what kind fo class you displayed.
God won’t ask how many material possessions you had, but will ask if they dictated your life.
God won’t ask what you highest salary was, but will ask if you compromised your character to obtain that salary.
God won’t ask how much overtime you worked, but will ask if you worked overtime for you family and loved ones.
God won’t ask how many promotions you received, but will ask how you promoted others.
God won’t ask what your job title was, but will ask if you performed your job to the best of your ability.
God won’t ask what you did to help yourself, but will ask what you did to help others.
God won’t ask how many friends you had, but will ask how many people to whom you were a true friend.
God won’t ask in what neighbourhood you lived, but will ask how you treated your neighbour.
In this fast moving world
of turmoil and tension,
With problems and troubles,
too many to mention,
Our days are so crowded
and our hours are so few,
There’s so little time
and so much to do . . .
We are pressured and pushed
until we are “dizzy”,
There’s never a minute
we’re not "crazily busy"
And sometimes we wonder
as we rush through the day –
Does God really want us
hurry this way?
Why are we impatient
and continually vexed,
And often bewildered,
disturbed and perplexed?
Perhaps we’re too busy
with our own selfish seeking
To hear the dear Lord
when he’s tenderly speaking …
We are working so tensely
in our self-centered way,
We’ve no time for listening
to what God has to say,
And hard as we work,
at the end of the day
We know in our hearts
we did not ‘pay our way’ . . .
But God in his mercy
looks down on us all,
And though what we’ve done
is so pitifully small,
He makes us feel welcome
to kneel down and pray
For the chance to do better
as we start a new day,
And life would be better
if we learned to rely
On our Father in heaven
without asking “why” . . .
And if we’d remember
as we rush through the day,
“The Lord is our Shepherd
and He’ll lead the way” . . .
So don’t rush ahead
in reckless endeavour,
Remember “He leadeth”
and “Time is forever”!
Sent in by Joan Jones
Why is Sunday school on Sunday? I
thought it was supposed to be our day of rest? – Tom.
If you watch me in church on
Sunday, I’ll show you my new shoes! – Mickey
We read Thomas Edison made light. But in Sunday school they said You did it.
So I bet he stole your idea.
I went to this wedding and they
kissed right in church.
Is that okay? – Neil
1 Chronicles 4:10
Jabez cried out the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me
and enlarge my territory! Let
your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from
pain.” And God granted his
Isaiah 54:2 says the Lord
“Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not
hold back; lengthen your stakes.”
Where there is no vision, the people perish.
Give your Church a renewed desire
to pray, that together we may know your will, be filled with your love,
and experience your grace and power for the healing of your world.
You are our Help and Refuge, who
knows that we can do nothing right without Your guidance and help;
direct us by your wisdom and power, that we may accomplish this
task and, whatever we do according to your divine will, so that it may be
beneficial to us and to others.
Grant us we beseech thee thy
helping grace, and endow us with patience to endure those things which we
cannot change; with strength to undertake the things which we can change;
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Protect us from the evils of
injustice, prejudice, exploitation and conflict, but unite us in making
the tools of peace against ignorance, poverty, disease, crime and
Guide us to bring about such works
of goodness to Your service and glory.
Composed by Tony Williams for use
by The Black Sheep and St Francis Parish as part of our transformation
A PRAYER FOR REVIVAL OF
TRANSFORMATION OF OUR CITY, OUR NATION AND OUR WORLD
You sent your Son to lay down his
life for us,
so that our sins may be forgiven.
Empower us to change and grow,
that we may be worthy of this, the
MAY YOUR KINGDOM COME IN EACH ONE
We know, Lord, that only if we act
and through the power of prayer,
can we bring about the changes
that we earnestly desire
in our society, our city and our
MAY YOUR KINGDOM COME TO OUR
Lord – strengthen our will to be
and instruments in the world,
that we, and others may be
to bring about a great revival
throughout all nations:
MAY YOUR KINGDOM COME ON EARTH!
IN JESUS NAME, WE PRAY
Composed by Sid Saks for the Black
Sheep House Group and for St Francis Parish as part of our transformation
to the tune of "What a Friend
We Have in Jesus"
Words by Rob Lewis
What a friend we have in Colin
He started off as Youth Pastor
Louise she loves the little
Soon he did become a deacon
No cathedral full of bishops
There is no gain without Paine
Now we wish you God's speed
From Ed Smith
O LORD, keep me from getting talkative, and particularly from the fatal habit that I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.
Release me from the craving to straighten out everybody’s affairs, keep my mind from the recital of endless details and give me wings to get to the point.
Seal my lips when I am inclined to tell of my aches and pains. They are increasing with the years and my love of rehearsing them grows sweeter as the years go by.
Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally it may be possible that I may be mistaken.
Keep me reasonably sweet, but I don’t want to be a saint, some of them are hard to live with, but a sour old woman is one of the crowning works of the devil!
Help me to extract every possible fun out of life. There are so many funny things around us and I do not want to miss any of them.
With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all, but Thou my Lord knoweth that I want a few friends left at the end!
(appears in the passage outside the chapel of the House of St Benedict of the OHP Sisters in Rosettenville, Johannesburg)
Psalm 118 is the middle chapter of the entire Bible!
Psalm 117, before Psalm 118, is the shortest chapter of the Bible.
Psalm 119, after Psalm 118 is the longest chapter of the Bible.
The Bible has 594 chapters before Psalm 118 and 594 chapters after Psalm 118.
If you add up all the chapters except psalm 118, you get a total of 1188 chapters.
1188 or Psalm 118 verse 8 is the middle verse of the entire Bible.
Should the central verse not have a fairly important message?
“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man” Psalm 118:8
Is this central verse not also the central theme of the entire Bible?
People in glass houses shouldn’t:
· Listen to strangers
· Play with balls
· Must not play soccer
· Throw the first stone
It’s no use crying over:
· A smack if you’re naughty
· The basin
· Your mom
· Adult company
The early bird:
· Falls asleep during supper
· Is trying to sleep
· Is having a bath
· Singing in the morning
· Is picking some berries
· Feeding the babies
· Taking a swim in the birdbath
· Makes a noise
Marry in haste:
· You’ll go crazy
· She will be untidy
· There will be no people (at the wedding)
· You will mess your perfume
· The judge will say “rather tomorrow”
· You can have a baby fast
· You will want to get divorced
Don’t count your chickens:
· Too fast – if they move, you’ll have to count them again
· Because the rooster will peck you
· If they’re flying around
· Because they will poop on you
· You may want to eat them
Don’t put all you eggs:
· In the frying pan
· In the sack
· In the fridge
· Together – because they will “frot”
· In the bin
· By the fox
He who laughs last:
· Gets a hiding
· Will be a rotten egg
· Gets kicked in the but
· Is a chicken
· Did not enjoy the joke!
By June de Klerk
As I gaze upon the mighty oak tree,
Standing starkly etched against the darkening sky,
I see an image of God.
The God who created you and me.
God, immanent and transcendent;
Roots reaching down into the ground of the world he loves,
Branches reaching far above, pointing to the heavens.
Fathomless in wisdom,
Ageless in beauty,
Provider of food for the hungry;
Refuge and home for all who come to him,
Haven and shelter from the storms of life.
Breathing out abundant life into the world.
And I am reminded of another tree, standing on the hill of Calvary.
And from his heart of love, he also gave the sacrifice,
The Son of God, who died for you and me.