Turning Houses into Homes
In my November “… from the Rector’s Desk” I reflected on our new Diocesan Focus on equipping and supporting family life in our church and society. One of the important questions is what Scriptural resources do we have to draw on as we walk this new journey? It is important that our faith interacts with our daily experience if we are to offer ourselves and the world something that has substance and creates renewed relational abundance.
I recently picked up a copy of The People’s Bible Commentary on GENESIS written by the Professor in the School of Theology at the University of Natal, Gerald West. This is a most marvellous book: normally Commentaries are rather intimidating and dry, but this one is a very different animal! It is written as a collection of daily readings, with a brief prayer attached, in language that everyday Christians can deal with, while retaining a very high standard of scholarship. Gerry was my Teen Church teacher some twenty-six years ago, so for me it’s a bit like dialoguing with an old friend!
What particularly caught my eye was the author’s comment in the introduction: “… Genesis does deal with cosmic matters, but on the whole it is about family matters. Most of the stories are about a family, although this family has had to bear the heavy weight of theological and ideological baggage. They can and do, therefore, speak to each one of us about ordinary but important matters, such as the fear of being unable to have children, the responsibilities of having children, the tensions within family; they speak about jealousy, envy, lust, love, forgiveness and trust; they speak about leadership; and they speak about God’s presence and absence in human life” (page 17).
Gerry comments that Genesis frames our reading of the whole Bible, covering as it does everything from a difficult to determine Israelite ancestral period right through to the shift from Persian rule to Hellenistic colonial control of Judah a couple of centuries before the birth of Christ (pages 13,17).
I am using this Commentary for my Advent reading, and am finding it really useful. It is available on http://www.loot.co.za/ for a frugal R156, and will prove worthwhile reading for the New Year.
Children and Teen Education
Critical to our parish family life is our Sunday Children and Teens worship and classes. Olga Nel – who has done and outstanding job for a number of years – has resigned as our Children’s Church Coordinator due to changes in her family and work life. Belinda Holden, who has been the mainstay of our Teen Church, is also stepping back after four years of dedicated service. We have lost a number of our younger teachers to the rigours of student life and studies. Three of our teachers, out of a needed nine (a coordinator plus two teachers per age group), remain to “hold the fort”.
It is particularly important that we find a coordinator with organisational and educational experience, otherwise we will not be able to reopen our Children’s Church in 2009. Please don’t leave this responsibility to others: if you have the skills, please apply. If you know of other parishioners who may be potential teachers, please speak up!
Hilary and Lloyd, Shane and Liesel, Steve and Sabine, have made a commitment to re-charging our young people in the New Year: there has been a lot of interest shown by our young people, and we hope parents will also join this initiative.
Our congratulations go to Vernon on his appointment as Rector of Trinity Anglican Church, Lynnwood, as from 1 January 2009. Please keep him in prayer as he prepares himself for this new responsibility and ministry.
Our “baby” in Willow Glen is beginning to grow up! At Synod the decision was made to amalgamate Silverton and Willow Glen into the Mission Parish of Equestria. We await confirmation from the Bishop as to the appointment of a new Missionary Deacon for this mission. Please keep me in your prayers as continue to give leadership oversight to this important missionary outreach.
Jenny Moser, our own “Mrs Tumelong”, has indicated that she wishes to hand on the baton, and give others the opportunity to give leadership to this important social development focus in our parish. Jenny, you have been a giant in our midst, and held the flag high: thank you for your continued badgering and selfless contribution to the cause of the poor beyond our parish boundaries. We salute you for your dedication and the caring example you have given over the years. We know you will remain involved, but acknowledge your need to take some very well deserved rest!
As a parish we have had a good year. My personal thanks to you all: your contribution, be it just finding time to attend worship, or greater involvement through time and resources, has enabled us to be about the business of building the Kingdom of God in our needy world. Bless you!
A blessed Christmas and New Year to you all!