St Paul’s Anglican Church: George Diocese

St Paul’s Anglican Church: George Diocese

When we toured the Eastern Cape area a week ago, our first stop was in the Diocese of George. The evening prior to our meeting with the Bishop, Canon, and Archdeacons, Lyndon Du Plessis, our GtC coordinator, showed us around the city of George and, more especially the areas where he and he and his wife Corine work. It is mostly a poor to impoverished area…some folks live in shacks and cook outside around campfires. But we were so blessed when he took us to meet his choir…made up of people from all walks of life, none of them professionally trained…but oh! What a heavenly sound! I think even the angels were commanded to be silent and listen…


Trip to the Eastern Cape: Day 15

I was reminded of our donkeys on my
father’s farm as we travelled back home yesterday. Speed was not their forte on
the way from their place of abode…but just turn them around! The moment they
realised they were headed on back to the kraal, they galloped as if a demon
from hell itself was pursuing them. All this to say, we made good time on our
way back to Cape Town…
We had a long way ahead of us, but we had a
late start…how could we refuse a full English farmhouse breakfast with some of
the dearest people we now have the privilege of calling friends? Or better
still, family in Jesus. Keith and Pam went out of their way to make us feel
welcomed and loved.
All of those we met these past two weeks
were wonderful and kind hosts…we truly experienced Christian hospitality at its
best. Thank you one and all.
Unfortunately, my Man Cold has taken a turn
downhill. I now sound like a nasally Mr Toad from Wind in the Willows.  Croak. 
Thankfully, Louise is still fine.
We came home to a warm welcome from those
who were at the GtC office. It is always nice to know one was missed.
John Ramsdale, who had promised to do some
research into Arthur’s work at Zonnebloem, had also left two photocopied pages taken
from a three volume work which he found in one of the cupboards at the College.
The author cites statements made by Bishop Gray and Arthur’s superior, Glover,
in which Arthur is described as “a teacher of outstanding ability” and as “an energetic
good man” who “shows much kindness to the boys, making friends of them as well
as out of school as in school.” The author then goes on to say that “it was
provident that a man of such a calibre had been chose as Sub-Warden, for Glover
resigned his post in May 1869 and Lomax had the entire responsibility of
superintending the College for the next two years.” I do need to see this work
for myself, as the author cites letters and reports that may yet be in
existence somewhere.
All in all, I must say, this trip was
rewarding.  Time alone will tell how many
will respond positively to our challenge to set dates for future trainings, but
we trust that the Lord will water the seeds sown and provide the growth in His
good time. We heard that some Anglican priests were trained by J-Life this past
weekend in Queenstown in spite of our struggle to meet with our coordinators.
We trust that they will now meet up with Siphiwo and together make a concerted
effort to get the training up and running through the Mbashe Diocese.
Lord, in Your mercy…hear our prayer.
This ends the travel diary of our short
trip to the Eastern Cape.


Stay tuned for more exciting news as the
Lord opens doors for ministry through the Province!

Trip to the Eastern Cape: Day 14

I have the Man Cold. Louise will tell you I am a miserable sod when I have a cold…I’m bad enough when I’m healthy, but when I have a cold I become a pitiful, pathetic please-feel-sorry-for-me blob. Well, maybe not quite that bad, but I do feel very sorry for myself when I have a cold.

However, I do have the ability to rise to the occasion when I have to, and as we still had two presentations today, one this morning and one this evening, I had to swallow hard and carry on. Both sessions were rather informative…the questions put to us after the presentation always reveal the pulse of the parish or diocese. Today was no different. We are surprised that so many months after the Provincial Synod’s charge to Growing the Church to find a way to promote the Archbishop of Canterbury’s challenge for global intentional discipleship, there are still many on the parish level that know nothing about it. This is one of the reasons we have taken to the road to inform the people in the various Dioceses of this new Disciple-making material taught by GtC…and everywhere, we have had positive responses with people wanting to set dates. But the setting of dates is not our prerogative…that has to be set by the Diocese itself…and so we can do little more than leave the ball in their court with a prayer that the Holy Spirit will lead and direct their deliberations in the future.

Both presentations today were very positive. The Plettenberg Bay Community is rather diverse with rich and poor rubbing gathering together as one parish. In the morning session, we also had a

representative from the local Community Church attending who would like to do the course with the Anglicans. Wonderful!

This evening, representatives from a poorer area came to hear about our LEAD program. They were so excited and also wanted to know when we were coming to do the training. All we can do is pray and encourage.

Tomorrow we head on home…this will be a long day…between 6 to 7 hours of driving with a stop or two. But we need to get the rental car back before 5 PM if we are to avoid extra charges. So, we push on though…man cold or not…

Trip to the Eastern Cape: Day 13

Today was a driving day…that’s basically all we did all day. We left East London at 7:30, admittedly a little later than we had planned, but both of us were…actually are…tired. We had no meetings and, other than Louise calling Mother’s Union and AWF leaders to remind them of a breakfast on July 15 when we will introduce the LEAD material to them, we did not really do any work type stuff.

Unfortunately, the CD player and radio in the car has a rather bad stutter…so we couldn’t listen to music. We talked a lot…about our children and grandchildren…about our ministry…about the Lord…we spoke to the Lord a lot too.

And we did not take a single photograph. We enjoyed the scenery…this really is one of the most beautiful parts of the world…we saw quite a few wild animals…we enjoyed lunch at a Greek Restaurant a stone’s throw away from the beach at Jeffrey’s Bay…and we enjoyed meeting Keith and Pam Berning, our hosts for tonight and tomorrow night in Plettenberg Bay.

We spoke to Pam at length about the LEAD program, we spoke about prayer, healing of memories (desperately needed in southern Africa!), we spoke about the churches in the area and their struggles, and oh so many other things.

We are about to enjoy a lovely dinner Keith has prepared for us, so if I don’t have anything more to say, I will not return to this blog until tomorrow.  

Trip to the Eastern Cape: Day 12

One of the favourite games Louise and I have played on this trip is the game of dodgem…dodgem taxis, dodgem people, dodgem animals, and, our all time favourite, dodgem potholes. We left Molteno at 7 AM, which doesn’t sound early, but it is still not quite light at that time…so it was hard to spot potholes until you were right on top of them…unless, of course, some thoughtful person had painted a white line around the potholes…no kidding. They erect signs warning you of potholes and they paint around them with white paint, but they don’t fix them. Go figure…

I can well understand why our ancestors wanted to settle in this area in spite of the awful winters. -1 this morning! But the landscape is simply stunning…the valleys and the hills…the flora and the fauna…add in the mist over the dams and lakes and rivers…add in the golden hues of pinks and lilacs of sunrise…and you have magic.

Our first stop today was in a town named after Queen Victoria…Queenstown. This is one of two Dioceses in which we have struggled to get appointments, but a dear gentleman by the name of Siphiwo requested to see us today…which, in turned out, was his birthday!
He wanted to know what we were doing so that he can pass on the information to the Bishop and the rest of the Diocese…but, more importantly, he wants us to train his parishioners how to disciple others. We did the introductory presentation with him and the Diocesan secretary and prayed with them. He showed us around the cavernous Cathedral of St Michaels and All Angels. Gorgeous building…and really interesting decor…among the typical stained glass windows and stone carvings, they have a brown Jesus behind the altar.

Then we had to push on to East London for our first meeting at St Mark’s, Cambridge, at 12:30. East London is part of the Diocese of Grahamstown, but these folks are chomping at the bit…they are so ready for the disciple-making training, the only repeated, almost urgent question was when do we do this? There were 24 at this introductory session…other than Mthatha, this was the largest group we have addressed. They are all excitement and so we set a tentative date, subject, of course to the approval of their Bishop.

We then went to the Guest House where we will spend the night. The building belongs to a member of St Mark’s Church, but he is a St Thomas Christian from Kerela. They trace their origins to the evangelistic activity of Thomas the Apostle in the First Century. How fortuitous that we should be staying in a house owned by a man who is a Christian today because of the obedience of one of Jesus’ original disciples…to make disciples of all nations…even if that meant crossing land and sea and cultures and languages to do so…not to mention, lose his life in the process.

After a short rest we returned to St Mark’s for the second session.
This was not so well attended, but some key people were there with key ideas and key questions. It really only take one or two…that’s the beauty of disciple-making. You don’t need huge numbers, huge budgets, huge buildings, huge anything…you just need huge hearts filled with love for God and for people. It is that simple…

Tomorrow will be the longest drive yet…so it is time to find a pillow and get some shut-eye. Nighty night world…