Diocesan Family Day
The Diocese will come together for a Diocesan Family Day on Sunday 11 September 2011. The last Family Day was held in 2008, and was a great occasion. It is not often that we have the opportunity to remind ourselves that we belong to the wider Anglican family, and so really do encourage you to make this pilgrimage. The outdoor service will begin at 09:30 at St Alban’s College (Clearwater Road, Lynnwood Glen) on the Cricket Field below the Pavilion. There will also be access to parking on the field from Maldon Road. We are asked to be “seated” by 09:15 – please bring a blanket to sit on, or a garden/camping chair and something to protect yourself from the sun. The Archbishop of Sudan, the Most Revd Dr Daniel Deng Bul, will be the preacher. We are encouraged to stay on after the service and enjoy a picnic together. Please note that braai-fires are not allowed and alcohol is discouraged. Also, there will be no services at Corpus Christi on 11 September 2011.
Please pray for Diocesan Synod that takes place on the Thursday to Saturday prior to the Family Day. It is the most prominent decision making body of the Diocese, and will set our direction as Anglicans in Pretoria for the next three years.
The Corpus Christi Family Cross is continuing its journey around the Parish. It is wonderful how the Cross has been welcomed. It is also proving a joy for the Clergy and Layministers to be able to visit the family hosting the cross for family prayers on a Wednesday evening. If you would like to have the Family Cross in your home, please contact the parish office to find an available week. And while we encourage the family to give testimony when they return the Cross on a Sunday, there is freedom to just hand it back without testimony, too.
As many of you have been aware, Dawn and I spent July in the UK meeting “new” family, and catching up with “old” family on my side. It has been quite a journey, and has stirred many emotions for both of us. Dawn’s comment, just before we landed in Manchester, was pertinent: “This is like going to meet the future in-laws, except you haven’t met them yet!” Contact via email and contact via Skype before we left meant that we weren’t travelling into the complete unknown, but I was apprehensive as we walked through the airport doors to meet the family for the first time. I find it very difficult to find the words that fit the moment or the feelings that accompanied our meeting, and the time that we spent together. I began, during our time with my father and step-mother, brothers and their families, as well as the wider family, to realise that I have carried an empty space in my being for them all my life. To have that space filled is truly amazing.
Joyce Rupp, in her book Open the Door speaks of “The Power of the Threshold” and says that “A threshold contains the power of transformation.” Our visit to the UK has been in many ways a threshold experience, a doorway that has opened up the reality of new relationships unfolding into the future. And we embrace those relationships, the welcome and the love we are given, the home that is made ours. We are eager to explore this new space together. There is so much to celebrate.
Joyce Rupp also speaks of the threshold as a “bleak in-between place”, which may sound strange and paradoxical to the goodness of our visit, but is – I think – a place that we find ourselves in as we return home. In being embraced by a new family we embrace a new narrative, and a new history. But there remains an existing narrative that is my and Dawn’s experienced history, and is a narrative I can’t lay aside. Rather it needs to become a transformative process for us all, old and new family alike. The threshold is, in Joyce Rupp’s words, a space where we lose a sense of clear identity, question what seems to be a dissolving relationship with our self and, perhaps, with our God; a space in which we are cleansed of false perceptions and weaned from feeding on what no longer nurtures us.
The process of building a narrative that embraces who I am, who I might have been, with emerging possibilities of who I want to be, has begun. The journey of building a transformed identity has begun. My journey through the threshold, its impact on my identity and clear sense of self, is costly. Dawn walks a similar path as we walk it in concert, transforming the narratives that impact on the life we share together.