Lenten TIDINGS

St Francis of Assisi Parish Newsletter
March 2001

 

 


Editor: Mark Napier. Email: mnapier@csir.co.za 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       mail@st-francis.co.za
Clergy: Robin Heath, June de Klerk, Ed Smith, Gloria Smith
Deacons: Martzi Eidelberg, Liz Horne (children's chaplain)


CLERGY SCHOOL 2001

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 horizons.

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 nations.”

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


Hi from the Children’s Church

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

Love, Liz


Consultation 2000 and beyond – Cape Town October / November 2000

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 itself.

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 Consultation.

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 meaningful.

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 beyond.

Yours in Christ

Gwyneth Reid


Book review

‘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. 

Philip Yancey the author has earned graduate degrees in Communications and English from Wheaton College Graduate School and the University of Chicago and has written eight Gold Medallion award winning books, and has also been awarded the “Book of the Year”.

Questions God won’t ask

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.


So swift the Way!  So short the Day!

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


 

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Contents

Letter from June

Hi from the Children’s Church

Consultation 2000

Transformation prayers

Book review

Song for Colin

Prayer of a 17th Century Nun

Questions God won’t ask

Proverbs according to Grade One

God of Creation

 


Letters to God

Dear GOD

Why is Sunday school on Sunday? I thought it was supposed to be our day of rest? – Tom.

Dear GOD

If you watch me in church on Sunday, I’ll show you my new shoes! – Mickey

Dear GOD

We read Thomas Edison made light.  But in Sunday school they said You did it.  So I bet he stole your idea.

Sincerely, Donna

Dear GOD

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 request.

Isaiah 54:2 says the Lord “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back;  lengthen your stakes.”

Proverbs 29:18  Where there is no vision, the people perish.


Transformation prayers

Lord Jesus

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 violence.

Guide us to bring about such works of goodness to Your service and glory. 

AMEN.

Composed by Tony Williams for use by The Black Sheep and St Francis Parish as part of our transformation initiative.

A PRAYER FOR REVIVAL OF TRANSFORMATION OF OUR CITY, OUR NATION AND OUR WORLD

LORD

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 ultimate sacrifice:

MAY YOUR KINGDOM COME IN EACH ONE OF US!

We know, Lord, that only if we act with faith,

and through the power of prayer,

can we bring about the changes that we earnestly desire

in our society, our city and our country.

MAY YOUR KINGDOM COME TO OUR NATION!

Lord – strengthen our will to be your servants

and instruments in the world,

that we, and others may be inspired

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 initiative.


Song that was sung for Colin Paine's farewell

to the tune of "What a Friend We Have in Jesus"

Words by Rob Lewis

Refrain

What a friend we have in Colin
And the whole Paine family
What a privilege to know him
What a good man is he

He started off as Youth Pastor
Then became a handyman
He helped to teach and preach and visit
Singing in the choir now and then

Louise she loves the little children
Marion and Timothy
The Sunday School can’t do without her
And she loves to pour the tea

Soon he did become a deacon
With dog collar and blue shirt
Swopped the motor bike for a Honda
Oasis thought he was just great

No cathedral full of bishops
Could change the course that God chose
Ordained he is now and priested
And this man just grows and grows

There is no gain without Paine
DSG already knows
Go for it young man and keep on
Working for the Lord and church

Now we wish you God's speed
As you leave us all behind
God bless you every night and day
And His mercy you shall find


Prayer of a 17th Century Nun

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?


Proverbs according to Grade One

People in glass houses shouldn’t:

·           Listen to strangers

·           Play with balls

·           Must not play soccer

·           Throw the first stone

·           Visit

It’s no use crying over:

·           Stones

·           A smack if you’re naughty

·           The basin

·            Presents

·           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

·           Loses

·           Is a chicken

·           Did not enjoy the joke!


God Of Creation

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.

Dependable.

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.


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