Thursday, June 07, 2012

June 2012 - Family, Parish and Diocese

Dear Friends


As you are probably already aware, Dawn and I became proud grandparents on Thursday 24 May 2012! Little Rebecca-Lee was scheduled to arrive via Caesarean the following Monday, but demonstrated she will not be dictated to, and arrived a few days earlier to prove her point!! She is a beautiful child, and we were privileged to fly down and spend some time with our son, Nathan, and his fiancĂ©, Megan, after the birth. Rebecca-Lee arrived at just over 3kg’s, and is settling in well to life outside the womb! She is the first grandchild on both sides, so is likely to be somewhat spoiled in her early years by us all. I saw a most vibrant-pink plastic motor-bike in a shop around the corner from the hospital, but Dawn suggested she should at least be allowed to crawl before we bought it for her!


This year marks our 31st Birthday, which we celebrated last Sunday along with World Environment Day, and a wonderful tea after the services. It is amazing to think that we have been around as long as we have in this part of Pretoria. I am thankful for the cosmopolitan nature of our growing community, and the beauty of being the representative new South African community that we are. Our membership is continuing to grow resulting in an increased Sunday attendance, and the extra space we created with the extension of our Church a few years ago is now filled and often overflowing at the 9am service. We are going to need to find ways to expand our space, a difficult question as there appears to be little that we can do to further expand our present building. I am also aware, especially in Winter, of our two Teen groups that sit outside for their discussions during the sermon, and the need to create some indoor space for them, too. This is, of course, a good problem to have!


The relationship between the Cathedral and the Diocesan Leadership is still not resolved. We continue to seek a way forward, which as you are probably aware included a decision a few weeks ago to close the Cathedral. This led to a court interdict to reopen the Cathedral, that services should not be disrupted, and that clergy sent by the Bishop to take services should be respected, and that a process of mediation should be committed to within 30 days. Bishop Jo has requested the Archbishop of Cape Town to intervene, and a process is now being initiated under Canon 21.3. Of additional concern are the allegations of theft being spread via the media against Bishop Jo, as one of these actually relates to provision Diocesan Trustees have made for his retirement. The audited accounts for the Diocese over the last few years, including 2011, do not demonstrate any irregularities in this regard. Many of the media reports in recent weeks are based on aspects of the truth, but are often one-sided and sensational, rarely presenting the Diocese’s perspective. While I am profoundly a supporter of the freedom of the press, I am increasingly coming to understand the Government’s issues with the manner in which the press often exercises this right. Please continue to pray for all parties involved, that we may find a space together where restorative justice may prevail, and that healing may truly be experienced.

(Grandfather) Mark

May 2012 - Living the Resurrection

Dear Friends

Living the Resurrection

The Easter events now lie behind us, and we have entered into that interesting space in our Church Year where we focus on what it means to live the Resurrection Life. The challenge is to translate what we are reading in the Scriptures into the complexity of 21st century life, into the context of our daily lives and the communities in which we live, work and play. Increasingly we live in a global village, and yet there is a uniqueness to our Southern African environment that asks us to acknowledge and celebrate what is special about our context. We are challenged in the midst of brokenness and poverty, in the midst of corruption and hopelessness, to be signs of Hope, living signs of Hope. It is about transformed attitudes, life-giving actions, and God-touched lives.

Over two-thousand years later, we forget the chaos that enveloped the community that had grown around Jesus during his ministry after the Resurrection. The news of Jesus’ resurrection has the women who find the empty tomb leaving in fear (Mark’s Gospel); Cleopas and his companion on the Emmaus road are clearly confused, even traumatised, by the events; the disciples are in a locked room, fearful of the Jewish authorities (John’s Gospel). Where are we? Where are you?

What are our expectations in this post-Easter period? What is our experience right now? What feelings churn in our hearts? What chaos envelops our lives? Are we fearful? What interests me is that the various stories in the book of Acts reveal the fearful, disorientated and confused disciples of the Gospel stories as now bold and brave. At some point, and relatively quickly, they found peace and courage that made them fearless in proclaiming the activities of God to the community in Jerusalem, and subsequently to Judea, Samaria and beyond. John’s Gospel has Jesus meeting with his disciples immediately after the Resurrection, breathing the Spirit on them, proclaiming peace among them. The disciples in Acts speak out, they heal, they confront: they are bold!

There is much in our world today, both within the life of the Church, and also out there in the world, that seeks to resist the Resurrection Life. We need to regularly review our consciences, and ensure that we can, in the words of 1 John 3:21b “… have confidence before God”. We may not always feel bold within ourselves; but as children of God, loved by God, trusted by God we can be fearless, bold and brave.


We had some good family time in Durban the second weekend after Easter. Our son, Nathan, and his FiancĂ©, Megan, are living there now and expecting their first child in a few weeks time. We were down for Megan’s “Baby Shower” and also to meet her family for the first time. Dawn flew in for the weekend from Cape Town (where she has been working again these last few weeks) and I drove down with our daughter, Cassie, and her girlfriend, Jen. It was a really special weekend, and wonderful at last to link up with the McCain family. I spent the Monday night with good friends at Spioenkop Dam and came home over the rough dirt track of Colling’s Pass (why take the tar over van Reenen’s when one drives the best 4x4xFar?!).

St Alban’s Cathedral

Please continue to keep the situation at the Cathedral in prayer as it is not yet resolved. I had a rough visit there last Sunday. There are processes in place and the Diocesan leadership continues to seek opportunities for resolution.

Thank you

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the very generous Easter Offering I received again this year. Your care in this is much appreciated!