T I D I N G S

 Lent

February 1999

St Francis of Assisi Parish Newsletter

 


Contents

Our Rector Writes

Lent

Called to a New Ministry

Satan's Contra-Beatitudes

Where is God?

Being Well Loved

Prayers

Africa in Crisis

Church Stand on Election

Joke Break

Perplexing Questions

Thoughts on The Lord's Prayer

We Pray for the Children

For Your Diary


Foreword

A new year seemed a good opportunity to launch a new layout for TIDINGS. We have had the same layout for two and a half years (since August 1996), so here is something a little different! Comments are welcome, as always. A good response from St Francis parishioners for this edition has meant the inclusion of a wide variety of material, with one of the main focuses being the upcoming Ministry Fair in March. Martin tells us about that and about how we can become more involved in the life of the church. Discover the rest for yourselves. We are also investigating a web site for the church where TIDINGS might also appear. However the paper copy will continue because we know how many people like to read this in the bath. Feedback on how many people use the Internet would help us to establish the current demand for such a service. We also feel that it would be good to make information available about St Francis on the world wide web so that visitors from other parts can visit our web site virtually in order to enable them to visit us in person. Any ideas on these suggestions would be welcome. Eckart Brock and Martin are coordinating this process in the next few months.

I do hope you enjoy TIDINGS this year. Please keep on sending in your thoughts, letters, book reviews, poems, humorous material, and the like.

Mark

Editor: Mark Napier (Tel. 012-9987992 (home), 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. Rector: Ven. Martin Breytenbach

 

Our Rector Writes

Dear Friends in Christ,

Ministry Fair: 13th - 14th March 1999

"All of you are Christ's body, and each one is a part of it" (1 Corinthians 12:27)

One of the most exciting and important things to take place at St Francis this year will be our "Ministry Fair" on 13th and 14th March. It is being co-ordinated by Lois Winter and a small steering committee, who are already at work with planning.

Please make sure that you set aside that weekend to participate in this special event by being involved in a stall yourself, or by coming to see what others are doing - perhaps you will discover a (new?) ministry to which God is calling you! If you would like to participate in the Fair, and have not yet been invited, please collect a letter and reply slip from the Parish Office.

We are inviting all parish groups and people of St Francis who are involved in any ministry (whether a formal St Francis ministry, or a Diocesan ministry, or something they are involved in individually) to display what they are doing, at the Ministry Fair. So it will be a wonderful opportunity for all of us to share what we are doing, and to see the amazing variety of things that are going on.

The Vision

The vision is succinctly summarised by Rick Warren ("The Purpose Driven Church" p 368), who writes:

"Every Christian is created for ministry (see Ephesians 2:10), saved for ministry (see 2 Tim 1:9), called into ministry (see 1 Peter 2:9-10), gifted for ministry (see 1 Peter 4:10), authorised for ministry (see Matthew 28:18-20), commanded to minister (see Matthew 20:26-28), to be prepared for ministry (see Ephesians 4:11-12), needed for ministry (see 1 Corinthians 12:27), accountable for ministry [see Romans 12:6a], and will be rewarded according to his or her ministry (see Colossians 3:23-24)."

Goals

In the light of this vision, we have agreed on the following goals for our Ministry Fair:

When and Where

The Ministry Fair will take place on Saturday 13th March - when it will be widely advertised in the community and other churches. Tea will be served throughout the day, and we will invite people to come and see what God is doing through his church at St Francis.

Sunday 14th March - when we will have a combined Family Eucharist at 8.30am, followed by a bring-and-share breakfast in the hall.

Displays will be set up wherever we can find suitable space - in the hall, church and garden. There will also be opportunities for people and groups to present items at appropriate times.

See you at the Ministry Fair!

Martin


Lent, which lasts forty days, is the period of preparation for Easter. The Church prepares for Easter by repentance, prayer and fasting. There are two obligatory fast days, Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. The liturgical colour is purple; 'Glory to God' is omitted from the Eucharist and the Ten Commandments are read on Sundays. Traditionally flowers are not used during this period although congregations have varied this during recent years.

Whereas Advent was a time of waiting for the light, Lent is a time of self-examination: we became aware of sin; of man's inhumanity to man; aware of the reality of Paul's statement to the Romans. 'I do not do the good I want; I do the evil I do not want.' This is the time of asking hard questions and the facing of hard choices: I have to face up to the choice between good and evil and admit my own complicity in the evil of the world.

During Lent, we are invited to follow Jesus along the journey that brought him to the Cross. Thereby we relive a love that has no rival; a love that is more powerful than our countless sins that deface God.

And so Lent becomes a healing time as we take Jesus' command, 'Go out into the world and make disciples' seriously and move from the narrow limits of our preconceived and pre-packaged value systems and penetrate every possible level of human consciousness.

M. M. Eidelberg

 


Called to a New Ministry

Martin writes …

Bishop Jo Seoka has asked me to step down as Archdeacon of Pretoria East (something I have been ready to do for a while!) and take on a challenging and exciting new ministry in the Diocese, as "Archdeacon to the Bishop". After prayer and discussion with the parish leadership, I have accepted this calling - and believe that it will not only be stimulating and good for me, but also for St Francis parish. It will enable us to grow in our calling to be an "Apostolic" or Missionary church.

One implication of this new ministry is that I will have to make more time available to work in the wider Diocese, and to visit other churches. As a result I am hard at work looking at what aspects of my present ministry at St Francis should be delegated to others. My ministry priority will remain being Rector of this parish - I am convinced that without a healthy local church, most other ministry is meaningless.

This is the draft Ministry Description that I have submitted to the Bishop - it still needs to be fine tuned, and some items may well be changed, added to or subtracted. But please join me in praying that God will lead me, and all of us, as we explore its implications.

Draft Ministry Description

As I understand it, the following would be an outline of my responsibilities:

1. As an Archdeacon...

Be a member of Chapter, Diocesan Standing Committee, Diocesan Trustees and Diocesan Finance Board.

2. Bishop's Representative

Represent the Bishop "on the ground" in parishes throughout the Diocese. Help build a sense of Diocesan unity centred on Christ.

3. Millennium Vision

Organise the passage of the "Millennium crosses" through the Diocese, culminating in a great celebration event, probably in January 2000.

Help parishes and congregations to make the presence of the cross with them a focal point for renewal in faith, ministry and mission. This could include:

Martin

 


SATAN'S CONTRA-BEATITUDES

If the Devil (whom we don't hear much about today) were to write his beatitudes, they would go something like this .....

Blessed are those Christians who are TOO TIRED, TOO BUSY, too distracted to spend time with their fellow Christians in Church - they are my best candidates to backslide.

Blessed are those Christians who WAIT TO BE ASKED and EXPECT TO BE THANKED - I can use them to slow things down.

Blessed are those Christians who are TOUCHY, with a bit of luck they may STOP GOING TO CHURCH and get others to quit - they are my missionaries.

Blessed are those Christians who are VERY RELIGIOUS but GET ON EVERYONE'S nerves - they are my most effective stumbling blocks.

Blessed are those Christians who are TROUBLEMAKERS - they are my best wrecking crew.

Blessed are those Christians who have NO TIME TO PRAY - they are easy prey for me.

Blessed are those Christians who are COMPLAINERS - they are my best discouragers.

Blessed are YOU when you read this and THINK IT IS ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE and not yourself - I've got you.

No man ever sank under the burden of the day. It is when tomorrow’s burden is added to the burden of today that the weight is more than a man can bear. Never load yourselves so. If you find yourselves so loaded, at least remember this: it is your doing, not God’s. He begs you to leave the future to Him, and mind the present.

George Mac Donald

From Maud Charles


WHERE IS GOD?

Two 6-year old boys were attending religious school and giving the teachers problems. The teachers had tried everything to make them behave - time outs, notes home, missed recesses but could do nothing with them. Finally the boys were sent to see the priest.

The first boy went in and sat in a chair across the desk from the priest. The priest asked kindly, "Do you know where God is?"

The little boy just sat there.

The priest stood up and asked more firmly, "Son, do you know where God is?"

The little boy trembled but said nothing.

The priest leaned across the desk, pounded on the table and again asked. "Do you know where God is?"

The little boy bolted out of the chair, ran past his friend in the waiting room, all the way home. He got into bed and pulled the covers up over his head.

His friend ran in after him and asked, "What happened in there?"

The boy replied, "We are in big trouble now ..... God is missing and they think we did it!"

 


Being Well Loved

by Yolande Trainor

This toast was originally written for our 30th wedding anniversary, but 1997 was such a busy year what with Navy 75 celebrations that I didn't use it for our anniversary but more recently at my husband's (nicknamed Spook) birthday party. Eckart Brock asked me to put it in Tidings. I have left it in its original form as written for the anniversary.

An expert has been defined as someone who has a lot of experience in a certain area. Thirty years is a lot of experience of marriage. I may not be an expert in marriage generally, but I certainly am an expert when it comes to my own.

Marriage is pretty awesome though. At some young age you vow and declare that you will not just spend the rest of your life with the other person, but will actually share the rest of your life with them. Your destiny is no longer your own. Their destiny becomes your and yours theirs - for better, for worse.

"For richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health."

The more I think about it, the more I realize how amazingly deep this bond of marriage is. It is somehow so much more than just the sum of the two people concerned - a man and a woman mysteriously intertwined.

Thirty years ago I chose to get married to Spook for life and now, 30 years later, if I were told that the choice were even more dramatic, that I could only see one person for the rest of my life, my choice would be the same.

Every now and again I think, "It is not possible to love someone even more." Yet I find that it is, and I do. How can it be that I fall even more deeply in love with someone I love so deeply already? How can it be that for me, marriage gets better and better? Perhaps there is a hint of that truth in the story of the wedding at Cana.

Can you imagine the scene? A large wedding reception, and suddenly there is concern: they have run out of wine. There is a miracle. Jesus turns water into wine, not just of the same quality, but better. It is not that the first was poor, but what came later was even better.

And so it has been for me - marriage keeps getting better and better.

What makes a marriage good, and able to get better and better? Well, I am not an expert on marriage generally, but my own, yes. I can certainly identify something that has made our marriage good, and that is how truly I have been loved all these years.

When I was at school I can remember being so impressed by one of Shakespeare's sonnets. I was an utter rebel then, yet this made a deep impression. He simply says that true love does not change just because the other person changes and get older. The sonnet is entitled, "True Love".

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove: -

O no! it is an ever fixéd mark

That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle's compass come;

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out ev'n to the edge of doom:-

If this be error, and upon me proved,

I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

I know what it is like to be truly loved in this way. I am not the same as I was. Now I am grey haired, wrinkled, much plumper than before, distinctly older. Yet I feel just as appreciated and loved as ever. And I have been given the freedom to be my own person. When we were first married I read "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran.

Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,

Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.

For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

And stand together yet not too near together:

For the pillars of the temple stand apart,

And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

Sometimes there are enormous expectations placed on an Admiral's wife. Yet always I am given a choice - can you fit this in, will you be able to make it? It is quite awesome to have been loved so well for 30 years; with a love that frees me to follow my own calling, and which loves me truly even as I change and grow older.

When we got married, Spook was a Christian and I was definitely not. I know that his consistent, God-given love for me was the major contributor in my coming to know and love Christ, and so to share truly in a Christian marriage.

No wonder I want to share the rest of my life with him. I am married to a wonderful person. Of course I am biased - he is my husband.

 


WHY I GAVE MY LIFE TO GOD

I asked for time off He gave it to me

I went astray He never punished me.

I prayed for the stone in my heart to melt - He melted it.

I prayed to love again like a child - He gave it.

I prayed to be able to share this love - He is giving me the opportunity.

I pray for protection against evil - He gives it.

I am humbled because I do not deserve such privileges and so many rewards.

So I pray as hard as I can and try to work as hard as I can in his service.

I'm humbled again - a sinner - work for God!

Joan Jones

PRAYER OF CARDINAL NEWMAN

God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission - I may never know it in this life, but I shall know it in the next.

I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for nothing. I shall do good. I shall do His work.

Therefore I will trust Him. Whatever, wherever I am. I cannot be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He may take away my friends, He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate; make my spirits sink, hide my future from me - still He knows what He is about.

From Yolande Trainor

 


Africa in Crisis

The Synod of Bishops of the Anglican Church has issued a statement on the situation in Africa, in which they raise several concerns about the state of the continent. The full text of the statement follows.

Wars in the Sudan, Sierra Leone, Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have repercussions in every corner of the continent. There is even armed conflict over the possible secession of the Caprivi. In our southern African region we know that these wars are causing grief, destruction and misery. People are displaced, children orphaned, and lands made uninhabitable. Nation states engage in military adventures and their people know nothing until the coffins start coming home. Weapon sales proliferate and scarce resources are wasted.

As always, war bears most heavily on the poorest and most vulnerable people.

Crime and violence are a serious affliction in our countries, aggravated not only by poverty and need, but by the vicious legacy of apartheid and the urge to revenge, the presence of international criminal organisations and disaffected groups in possession of arms. Physical cruelty and abuse are experienced not only by affluent targets of criminal activity but by women and children in our neediest communities.

We continue to rejoice in new freedom and real accomplishments in many of the nations of southern Africa, especially since the ending of apartheid. We thank God for all those who have worked with integrity, self-sacrifice and a co-operative spirit to achieve this progress.

Yet various uncertainties surround planned elections in Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa. All these pose a threat to democracy. Widespread disillusion with democratic processes - and in some contexts, concern for democracy itself - seem to have been reflected in low turnouts for registration and voting. Such developments could deprive citizens of a part in framing their own lives, foster corruption and even open a door to dictatorship.

All around us, poverty and unemployment have been viciously twisted by international economic developments, and by unpayable debt manipulated by outside forces. Sovereign governments, for example in Mozambique, are unable to care for their people because of their interest payment obligations.

Disease of every kind, exacerbated by the HIV virus, feeds on malnourished, under-resourced and displaced populations. Mosquito spraying has been disrupted by civil strife and malaria is consequently spreading. TB and even measles are on the increase. AIDS orphans present new challenges to the adult populations of southern Africa.

In many of our countries, effective governance is undermined not only by international pressures but by gross corruption at many levels. The poor especially experience government as insensitive, out of touch and unresponsive.

This Synod of Bishops therefore calls on our members and our ecumenical partners to support all efforts to stamp out corruption, and to establish good government and peace in the region. We urge our people to pray earnestly against the spirit of hatred and revenge which hovers threateningly over our nations. We Christians are called to live and proclaim good news. Our churches need to be active in care and education in the face of disease. We must persevere in our opposition to firearms at the personal level and inappropriate arms trade at the national level. We must not give up on democracy but engage in political processes at local and other levels. We must pursue peace and reconciliation and urge our governments to do the same.

All of us in the churches must remain steadfastly committed to the establishment of just and compassionate societies in southern Africa.


Church Stand on Election

The Synod of Bishops of the Anglican Church has called on eligible South Africans to register for and vote in the forthcoming elections.

In a statement released today (4 Februray), the Bishops said: "We the Bishops of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa affirm the constitutional right of every eligible person to register and vote. We call upon all people who are eligible to vote to be calm and to register as advised by the IEC. We believe that elections have the potential to influence democratic government and effective governance that will improve the quality of life for all South Africans.

As Bishops of the Church we call on:

1. The government to resolve the bar-coded ID issue as a matter of extreme urgency.

2. The IEC to do everything possible to ensure that all people above 18 years have the opportunity to register and vote in the next elections.

3. All people and all parties to continue their commitment to democracy.

4. Clergy to encourage people to register and to consider very carefully the exercise of their vote in the elections.

5. Clergy and church members to volunteer to assist and monitor during elections.

6. Church leaders to develop with political parties and then monitor a code of conduct to be registered by all participating parties.

7. The media to educate and influence our citizens on responsibility in a democratic society.

We believe that full and responsible participation in the process by us all can bring about responsible governance which will serve our country and all its people.

Please be responsible and register.

 


Joke Break

On vacation with her family in Montana, a mother drove her car past a church in a small town and pointing to it, told the children that it was St Francis’ Church. "It must be a franchise," her eight year old son said. "We’ve got one of those in our town too."

A Sunday school teacher challenged her children to take some time on Sunday afternoon to write a letter to God. They were to bring back their letter the following Sunday. One little boy wrote: "Dear God, we had a good time at church today. Wish You could have been there."

Four year old Tucker Jones attended holiday Bible school at our church. The theme was "Discipleship and Saving Mother Earth". His mother, Trish Jones, asked Tucker what he had learned. He immediately told her about "Jesus and the 12 recycles."

from Ian Meiklejohn

 


What if…

From Joan Jones

What if God could not take time to bless us today because we could not take the time to thank him everyday?

What if God decided not to lead us tomorrow because we did not follow him today?

What if we never saw another flower bloom because we grumbled when God sent the rain?

What if God did not walk with us today because we failed to recognise it as his day?

What if God took away the Bible tomorrow because we did not read it today?

What if God did not send His only begotten Son because He wanted us to be prepared to pay the price for sin?

What if the door to the church was closed because we did not open the door to our hearts?

What if God stopped loving and caring for us because we failed loving and caring for others?

What if God would not hear us today because we would not listen to him yesterday?

What if God answered our prayers the way we answer His call to service?

What if God met our needs the way we give Him our lives?

What if you failed to send this message on?

 


Perplexing Questions

Why are there flotation devices under plane seats instead of parachutes?

Why do fat chance and slim chance mean the same thing?

Why isn't phonetic spelled the way it sounds?

Have you ever imagined a world with no hypothetical situations?

If nothing ever sticks to TEFLON, how do they make TEFLON stick to the pan?

If you tied buttered toast to the back of a cat and dropped it from a height, what would happen?

Why is it that when you transport something by car, it's called a shipment, but when you transport something by ship, it's called cargo?

You know that little indestructible black box that is used on planes, why can't they make the whole plane out of the same substance?

Why is it that when you're driving and looking for an address, you turn down the volume on the radio?

Why is it so hard to remember how to spell MNEMONIC?

Why is it called a TV "set" when you only get one?

Why does your nose run and your feet smell?

Why does "cleave" mean both split apart and stick together?

Why is it, whether you sit up or sit down, the result is the same?

Why is it called a "building" when it is already built?

Why is there an expiration date on SOUR cream?

Shouldn't there be a shorter word for "monosyllabic"?

Why is the word "abbreviate" so long?

What is another word for "thesaurus"?

When they ship Styrofoam, what do they pack it in?

Why doesn't "onomatopoeia" sound like what it is?

Why is there only ONE Monopolies Commission?

Why is it when two planes almost hit each other it is called a "near miss"? Shouldn't it be called a "near hit"?

How do you know it's an ENDLESS LOOP?


THOUGHTS ON THE LORD'S PRAYER

I cannot say "Our" if my religion has not room for other people and their needs.

I cannot say "Father" if I do not demonstrate that relationship in my daily life.

I cannot say "Which art in Heaven" if all my concerns and pursuits are earthly things.

I cannot say "Hallowed be Thy Name" if I, who am called by His name, am not holy.

I cannot say "Thy will be done" if I am unwilling or resentful of having it done in my life.

I cannot say "On earth as it is in Heaven" unless I am willing to serve Him here and now.

I cannot say "Give us this day our daily bread" without making an honest effort for it, or by ignoring the needs of others.

I cannot say "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us" if I continue to bear a grudge - a grudge against anyone.

I cannot say "Lead us not into temptation" if I deliberately choose to stay in a place where I may be tempted.

I cannot say "Deliver us from evil" if I am not prepared to fight in the spiritual realm with prayer.

I cannot say "Thine is the Kingdom" if I do not give the King the disciplined obedience of a loyal subject.

I cannot say "Thine is the power" if I fear what my friends and neighbours might say about me.

I cannot say "Thine be the glory" if I am seeking my own glory first.

I cannot say "Amen" unless I can honestly also say "Cost what it may. This is my prayer."


We Pray for the Children e.e. cummings

We pray for the Children

who sneak popsicles before supper,

who erase holes in math workbooks,

who can never find their shoes.

And we pray for those

who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,

who can't bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers,

who never "counted potatoes,"

who are born in places where we wouldn't be caught dead,

who never go to the circus, who live in an X-rated world.

We pray for children

who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions,

who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money.

 And we pray for those

who never get dessert,

who have no safe blanket to drag behind them,

who watch their parents watch them die,

who can't find any bread to steal,

who don't have any rooms to clean up,

whose pictures aren't on anybody's dresser,

whose monsters are real.

We pray for children

who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,

who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,

who like ghost stories, who shove dirty clothes under the bed,

who never rinse out the tub,

who get visits from the tooth fairy,

who don't like to be kissed in front of the carpool,

who squirm in church or temple and scream in the phone,

whose tears we sometimes laugh at and

whose smiles can make us cry.

And we pray for those

whose nightmares come in the daytime,

who will eat anything,

who have never seen a dentist,

who aren't spoiled by anybody,

who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep,

who live and move, but have no being.

We pray for children

who want to be carried and for those who must,

for those we never give up on

and for those who don't get a second chance.

For those we smother . . .

and for those who will grab the hand of anybody kind

enough to offer it.

 


For Your Diary

February 1999 Time Details
Wednesday 17th 6 am in the Chapel Ash Wednesday Eucharist
Mondays during Lent 6 to 6.45 pm in the Church Lent Meditations - a time to learn how to meditate and pray more deeply, and to draw near to God.
Friday 19th to Sunday 21st The Good Shepherd, Meerhof Alpha Weekend
Sunday 21st Deadline for submission of reply slips for Ministry Fair.
Thursday 25th 7.30 pm at the Rectory Parish Council Meeting
Saturday 27th 8 am at the Cathedral Diocesan Youth Synod
Sunday 28th 12 noon at the Rectory Parish Bring and Braai to celebrate Martin’s 45th birthday
March 1999
Monday 8th to Friday 12th Martin to lead Clergy Retreat at Maria Trost, Lydenburg
Saturday 13th to Sunday 14th In the Church and Hall Ministry Fair
Saturday 20th 9.30 am in the Hall St Francis Women’s Forum
Thursday 25th 7.30 pm at the Rectory Parish Council Meeting
Sunday 28th All Services Palm Sunday
Wednesday 31st 7 pm Alpha Celebration Supper
April 1999
Maundy Thursday 1st 7.30 pm in the Church Eucharist of the Lord’s Supper
Good Friday 2nd 12 noon in Church Three Hour Service
Holy Saturday 3rd 7.30 pm Service of Light and Baptism
Easter Day 4th All Services Celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus

We have morning Eucharists at 7.30 and 9.30 every Sunday and an informal, "charismatic" Evening Worship at 7 pm. On the first Sunday of the month there is a Eucharist in the Chapel at 6 pm. A Tswana Service takes place on Sundays at 3 pm. Midweek Eucharists are held every Tuesday at 9 am (Anglican Prayer Book 1989) and Thursday at 5.30 pm (South African Prayer Book).

OASIS Youth Group meets in the Hall on Sundays from 6 to 8 pm. A Number of House Churches and Bible Study groups meet in various suburbs at different times during the week, and Alpha Courses take place on Wednesday evenings at various times during the year.

For more information, please speak to one of the clergy or consult Christine Lawrie in the Parish Office.