The Franciscan

July 2006 

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.
http://www.st-francis.co.za/       mail@st-francis.co.za
Clergy: Fr Timothy Lowes, Robin Heath, June de Klerk
Deacons: Martzi Eidelberg, Liz Holden (children's chaplain)


 

 

 

Foreword

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.

Jill Daugherty, Editor


Letter from the Rector

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’.

 

The 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 St John’s) and with the greatest Christian affection and charity you welcomed me into the fold. Of course there were dissenters but this is an entirely normal process in the life of a parish.

 

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.

 

May God be in your road, always.
Fr Timothy


A VISIT FROM TUMELONG HAVENS

 

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 Pretoria for many years, now lives in England, but often visits South Africa, as he still has relatives and many friends here.

 

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, as Bishop Anthony fetched their parcels and goodies earlier in the week and they had their party at the Havens.

 

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

жAnthony Mdletshe has retired as Bishop of Zululand and is back in Pretoria, where he is helping with Tumelong.


THE BLESSING OF FILL-A-BAG

 

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!


In our busy, hectic, rushed lives, we tend to forget that this scene is played out all too often in our country, in our city, in a suburb, in a street, in a house not too far from us. Many of us casually shop for food – bread, milk, meat and a few veg, and don’t forget the biscuits, cake and a few chocolates. I know I do. Just imagine that that brown bag you fill is your only food for 2 weeks or a month.

 

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.

 

Anne Allison


THE BENEDICTINE WAY

 

Introduction

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 workshop was led by Sister Erika, a member of the Order of the Holy Paraclete, which was founded in 1915 as an educational order. The Mother House is St Hilda’s Priory in Whitby, England, and further Houses are located in Swaziland, Ghana and South Africa. The motto of the Order Rooted and Grounded in Love is given expression through a range of ministries, including raising awareness regarding HIV/Aids and providing a home for abused girls. The House in South Africa, founded at St Benedict’s in Rosettenville, Johannesburg, has as its key focus the running of a Retreat and Conference Centre and, as such, it has become a Centre of Spirituality for many who seek a moment of quiet amidst the routine of their lives.

 

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.

 

Lectio Divina

Sister Erika commenced the day with an exposition on Lectio Divina, delineated into four phases, using as a departure point the phrase:


We read
(LECTIO)

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.
Meditatio(I meditate)
Entry into the phase of Meditatio is marked by a shift, from an active stance of engagement, to a stance of greater reflection, pondering the passage and its meaning; perhaps selecting not the entire passage, but simply a few words or a sentence. The transition from Lectio to Meditatio, as with the transitions between each of the phases, is a gentle one. This phase is characterised by a period of rumination, where a sentence or sentence fragments allow one to be reminded of events, or to be led to deeper personal reflection or insight. Thus while Lectio allows for a thinking about the text, Meditatio is an invitation to go deep into one’s own life and see the text fulfilled, then to go out into the world and see the text fulfilled there too.

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.


Picture Meditation

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. St Basil the Great emphasised that what the word transmits through the ear, that same thing painting shows through the image. By these two means, mutually accommodating each other, one is able to receive one and the same thing. Sister Erika noted that Icons are not just illustrations, they allow for access to different levels of the truth, whether this be Biblical meaning, an inner meaning, or meaning relating to the universal teaching of the Church. Icons are reserved and disciplined, containing hidden symbols and truth. To access these, they need to be gazed upon, and from a stance of openness to God. Icons should be gazed upon with complete attention, and one should pray with them. Through this process, one is offered access, through the gate of the visible, to the mystery of the Invisible.

Concluding Prayer

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,
Let my mind no longer be the scene of arguments and conditions,
But enable me to entrust myself to your mercy.
Enable me to let go of myself and be immersed into your Grace
as you come to meet me.
Let me be immersed into you merciful loving concern for me.
Let me see your glory – oh the bliss
Of the fellowship with you!
My Lord and my God
!

Petra van Eck


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Contents

Foreword

Letter from the Rector

INRI

A Visit from Tumelong Havens

A Testimony from Joan Jones

The Blessing of Fill-a-Bag

D-Camp

The Benedictine Way

In Memoriam – Jean Schneider

Men’s Pedigree

 


 

INRI

 

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 Early Church that adopted the first letters of each word of the Latin inscription as a symbol. This is why INRI is what appears on top of the cross in paintings of the Crucifixion, instead of the whole titulus in all three languages.

 

See www.ChristianAnswers.Net for pictures and more information.

 


A Testimony from Joan Jones

 

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 Bulawayo for a wedding, I felt the need to go to Harare to deliver a Bible and a Prayer Book to the three inmates (whom I had known as young men). Incidentally, I also included a wedding photograph of myself so that they would know from whom the items had come, because they would not recognise my married name, and I knew that there was no chance of me meeting them. I had arranged to meet a young missionary at the airport and, although he could not make it, he managed to send someone in his place who promised to contact the prisoners. There certainly was some divine intervention here as he was late and I nearly missed the plane.

 

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.

 

Joan Jones

 

 


D-CAMP 2005

 

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 Presbyterian Churches. Their aim is to empower young disciples for life and ministry. There is be leadership teaching, inspiring times of worship and skills training. Every church that is represented has time to dream and plan for the coming year.

 

PLUS: Campers enjoy brilliant food, meet new friends, and spend hours on the beach or by the pool soaking in the South Coast sun! DLT is held at Skogheim Conference Centre near Port Shepstone during the first week of December.

 

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)

 


In Memoriam – Jean Schneider

 

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

Jean


I came across the following and thought it might be of interest.

Men’s Pedigree

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
Till they hardly know which one is their mother.

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

 


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