St Francis of
St Francis of Assisi Anglican Church, 373 Milner Street, Waterkloof, 0181 Tel. 012-346 1106/7, Fax: 346 4226.
Contributions to this Midyear issue came mainly in the form of photos – my thanks to all the photographers (Hazel Thomson, Gesine Buiten, etc). But only a limited numbers of pages can be printed in colour. We are grateful to Dave Tweedley and Copymart who make this possible and who give such a professional finish to our printed version.
A picture is said to be worth a thousand words, but we also like to have articles, even if they only explain the photos. So for our next issue, due in November, carry on clicking, but do also get writing.
Have you seen (and heard) our new bell? As we have no bell tower, it has been installed in the porch above the main door. The money for the bell was donated by Margaret Swemmer. Fr Timothy searched high and low to find a church bell. He has a friend who owns an antique shop and he asked her to be on the lookout for one. When she saw this one, she snatched it up, managing to get it for a fraction of what it would normally cost. One wonders what its history can be, but whoever made it would probably be pleased to know that it is once again ringing out to call the faithful to church.
My dear Parishioners,
I am always a little uncomfortable when I write letters which can be perceived as a little soppy, but I nevertheless do feel the theme I am embarking upon in this edition of The Franciscan is where I want to go. So, I pray your indulgence and forgive me if it does go a wee bit over the top on occasion.
It may astound you to know that I am in my sixth year as Rector of this Parish. Be comforted, I myself am in a mild state of permanent astonishment. It was on the 1 May 2001 that I arrived somewhat bewildered and very much in ‘a cloud of unknowing’.
focus of this letter is very simple. In
the past five years I have come to understand that I have been the privileged
Rector of quite the finest parish in the Province. This really is true. You,
poor unsuspecting souls were landed with this ‘mad monk’ (a name
given to me by the boys at
I would like you to know that I hold each and everyone of you in the highest esteem and thank God for your faithfulness, patience, love, kindness, gentleness (you see, what is reflected here are the fruits of the spirit) and your commitment to your ministries. Please be assured of our love and prayers as a family.
God be in your road, always.
Every year the Craft Group gives a party to the children at the Lagema Haven for Aids orphans run by Tumelong in Winterveld. These are pre-school children who live at home with relatives, but who spend weekdays at the haven. At the party the ladies of the Craft Group hand out winter clothes they have made or bought for the children. This year they were asked to include the children from two other havens, bringing the total number of children to 232.
Instead of the Craft Group going to Winterveld,
it was decided to bring the children aged three and older to St Francis for
the party. The Church Council approved the payment of the transport, and a
generous donation from retired Archdeacon George Wood paid for the additional
clothes that had to be bought. George, who served as a priest in
June van der Merwe describes the day as follows: June 15th certainly brought good cheer all round. We had a late start due to the fact that the bus drivers could not find St Francis. Bishop Anthonyж eventually met up with them and guided them to the hall. When the buses arrived, we were pleased to see how warm and snugly the children were dressed – a few had odd shoes on, but this was rather trendy! One poor mite was left behind on the bus and by the time he was rescued he was not a happy little soul, but once he was loved and cared for he melted into the crowd of 165 children, who entertained us with their singing of Nkosi Sikelele and We are marching. This brought back memories of Robin Briggs getting the congregation to march round the church while singing We are marching. It was appropriate, because Robin and Margaret were responsible for us having such a lovely hall in which to celebrate.
The clergy came up tops in supporting us. We owe Fr
Timothy a big thank you for encouraging us to go ahead with the party. He and
Nina wasted no time in joining in and helping to see that all the children
received eats, toys and a parcel of clothes and goodies to take back with
them. The children aged two years and under were not forgotten,
On behalf of the Craft Group, I’d like to thank all our friends who supported us in so many ways. Thanks to all those who came to help, to the ladies who baked cakes, to David and Jeannette who made tea. I’d like to thank particularly George, Joe and Robin, as well as Fiona and Debbie, who are always so helpful, and finally the Crafty Ladies for the support and encouragement they always give me. Last, but not least, I want to thank the ladies who work so hard at caring for the children at the Havens.
It is more blessed to give than to receive and truly we were all blessed beyond expectations on the 15th June 2006.
June van der Merwe
has retired as Bishop of Zululand and is back in
It’s six o’clock. You’ve just come home from school. It’s winter and it’s cold. Dad is still out – he’s been looking for work – and your Mom is probably on her way home, hopefully with food. Then you remember – it’s Tuesday and there would be food, in a brown paper packet that someone kindly filled. Relief!
The blessing of the “Fill-a-Bag and Feed-a-Family” scheme comes quietly to us – it may not be now, or even in this lifetime. Remember Matthew, ch 25 v 40 :
The King will reply: ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Now imagine if someone forgets to fill that boring old brown bag for me – I’ll have nothing to feed to my family, just imagine.
We are in our 13th year of the Fill-a-Bag scheme. Yes, it has become more expensive to do:
A complete bag (with milk) costs R75,20
A bag without milk costs R46,12
Mayda de Winter buys milk for us at R15 a packet. If you feel that you can only manage the R46,12 bag, please do so. I use the money from donations to buy the milk.
When Amy McNamara and I started doing this scheme, we agreed that actually doing the shopping for the bag is good for us – it makes us realise how much we have – and we hoped that others would feel the same way. However, I know that there are some of you who simply can’t do it and I will happily shop for you, with your donation!
Our aim is to have 20 bags a week (± 80 a month). When we are short (which is quite often), Mayda has to try and find the rest from another parish, before she takes the bags out to Tumelong where they are distributed.
If you already contribute to the scheme, thank you from the hearts of those who receive your bags. If you are not yet involved, maybe you would like to consider becoming part of it – you will bring great joy to someone who does not have your resources.
On 10 June some thirty members of the St Francis congregation, together with a number of visitors, gathered to explore some facets of Benedictine spirituality. Intended as an introduction, the workshop sought to give those attending a glimpse of the Benedictine methodology of praying the scriptures through Lectio Divina.
The day was profound at many levels, imparting both skills and a deeper sense of connection with the Creator. In order to allow those who were unable to attend to perhaps also gain access to these skills, a brief summary is provided here.
Sister Erika commenced the day with an exposition on Lectio Divina, delineated into four phases, using as a departure point the phrase:
under the eye of God (MEDITATIO)
until the heart is touched (ORATIO)
and leaps into flame. (CONTEMPLATIO)
Lectio (I read)
The Rule of St Benedict
makes provision both for the communal reading of the Offices and a time of
private reading, the intent in both instances being to “Listen with the
ear of your heart”. The aim of Lectio is
essentially the centring and focussing of the mind, and as such one reads the
given passage of scripture first to gain access to its content, and
thereafter far more slowly, from a more reflective and contemplative stance.
Oratio (I pray)
Sister Erika emphasised the key elements of prayer, namely thanksgiving, repentance and petition, with all of these being grounded in the principle of placing oneself trustfully in the hands of God. Her recommendation for the phase of Oratio was to pray with the sentences of the text, perhaps changing the pronouns to make the text more contextually applicable, but retaining the structure of the sentences. As the prayer unfolds through these sentences, reflection allows personal experience and the text to coalesce.
Contemplatio (I contemplate)
The entry into Contemplatio is evidenced merely by the resting in the quiet presence of God. Words and directed thoughts become unnecessary. This phase might endure for only a few brief moments, or perhaps for somewhat longer.
The afternoon session
focussed on the practice of picture mediation. Sister Erika aptly
characterised this as a process of the heart, searching for resonance with
God, and demonstrated the process through the use of the Icon of Jesus
and Thomas (1306), now displayed in a Serbian Monastery on Mt Athos.
Sister Erika concluded the day with a prayer which clearly touched each participant at some level. Due to popular request, it has been cited in full here:
As I meditate, Lord,
let my inner outlook change,
Petra van Eck
INRI are letters that almost always appear on a scroll or plaque, nailed to the top to the Cross in scenes of the Crucifixion. The letters stand for Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum, Latin for ‘Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews’. This was the inscription, in Aramaic, Greek and Latin, that Pontius Pilate, the roman Governor who condemned Jesus to death, had prepared and fastened to the Cross. It was usual to have a placard, called the ‘titulus’, attached to the cross, bearing the condemned man’s name and his crime. In a striking exchange, the Chief Priests complained to Pilate that he should not have written ‘the King of the Jews’, but instead ‘This man claimed to be the King of the Jews’. Pilate refused to back down, and growled back that what he had written, he had written (John 19:19-22).
Richard Taylor: How to Read a Church
Submitted by Fr Timothy
It was the
See www.ChristianAnswers.Net for pictures and more information.
You may have read recently of the release of three South African men who had been in a Zimbabwean prison for many years. I would like to share a brief testimony of how I was able to get a Bible to each of those imprisoned.
Some time ago, whilst in
The prisoners were overwhelmed and from that moment onwards I received a letter from each every single month. Certainly they had been through pretty trying times, fluctuating between despair and hope. On the day of their release (they certainly had no inkling that they were to be released) when they were summoned to the office, they anticipated something fearful. Imagine their utter joy when to their astonishment it was announced that they were to be released forthwith with a full pardon.
All three men today have a very deep faith and I have no doubt that, by God’s grace, when I felt the urge to visit them, this was indeed as the result of the promptings of the Spirit of God. In all of this, God gets the glory.
Several members of the St
Francis Youth Group attended a DLT camp in December 2005. December
Leader’s Training (DLT) is organised and run by Youth Pastors and
Leaders in the Methodist, Anglican and
PLUS: Campers enjoy brilliant
food, meet new friends, and spend hours on the beach or by the pool soaking
My Impressions of D-Camp 2005
Wow! Where to begin? I’ve been on many camps before, including 8 Scripture Union camps when I was younger, but nothing that I have experienced over the years even comes close to this. Apart from the adventure of both Combis breaking down several times on us, and the fact that Kate Lowes got biceps from pushing the Combis all over the South African countryside (very scary!!), nothing could prepare me for the spiritual journey that I was about to embark on.
D-camp was “awesome” (a word that we really got to appreciate the real meaning of). Not only the fun part, which brings back memories of us trying desperately to peroxide Taiki’s hair, and of Craig doing bodybuilder poses on the beach, which brought the girls to the knees with laughter, but most importantly the memories of life changing lessons I was given.
The one lesson that sticks out for me is the talk that Carel (one of the youth pastors) gave, which was a guys only meeting, where he spoke about the way we as men should treat women and why woman do certain things. Well that had a huge impact on my life, because I’ve been brought up by my mom since I was 4 years old, after my dad died of cancer. And for the first time in my life I could understand why my mom did some of the things she did.
The lessons that I learnt at D-camp started being reflected in my personality, and that’s why, after only a year of being at St Francis, I became a member of the youth committee and have joined the prayer team and the worship team (as bass guitarist). I’ve also gotten involved with some of the outreach work that Oasis is busy with.
D-camp was the best thing that ever happened to me and I’d love to go again this year.
Jon-Reece Evans (19 years old)
Innie Anderson would like to share this poem by Jean Schneider. Some of you will remember Jean who used to worship at St Francis. She wrote this poem when she had a heart operation and thought she did not have long to live. But she survived for another ten years. When she passed away on 19 June this year, her daughter Erica put this on the cards she sent to Jean’s friends.
Oh, dear Friend,
As I reach the time to fly
From this old world, I say Goodbye
And thank you, thank you!
Yes, it’s the end
Of many dreams and hopes and fears,
Of so much laughter – and of tears –
And I bless you, bless you
For all you meant to me and mine!
For hours we spent with food and wine,
Or just exchanging letter greetings;
For friendly partings, happy meetings.
So many memories! Adieu,
And God bless you.
Please don’t grieve – I’m going Home to my loving Father! (And my Dear Ones.)
With much love from
I came across the following and thought it might be of interest.
Three monkeys sat on a coconut tree
Discussing things as they’re said to be.
Said one to the others: Now listen you two
There’s a certain rumour that can’t be true
That man descended from our noble race
The very idea is a sure disgrace.
No monkey ever deserted his wife
Starved her babies and ruined her life.
And you’ve never known another monk
To leave her babies with others to bunk
Or pass them on from one to another
Another thing you will never see
A monk build a fence around a coconut tree
And let the coconuts go to waste
Forbidding all other monks a taste.
Why if I put a fence around this tree
Starvation would force you to steal from me.
And here’s something else a monk won’t do
Go out at night and get in a ‘stew’
Or use a gun, a club, a knife
To take some other monkey’s life.
Man descended the cuss
But brother he didn’t descend from us!
Letter to The Pretoria News
from P. Graham, Irene
Submitted by June van der Merwe