UMC blog


  • Confession Oct 14, 2018

    This last week saw the appointment of yet another Minister of Finance in South Africa. It turns out that former minister Nhlanhla Nene, despite heroically resisting intense pressure to approve a nuclear deal that we couldn’t afford, has feet of clay. He admitted to having deceived the public about his inappropriate contact with the Gupta family and as a result, offered to resign. Journalist Stephen Grootes comments that “it may be remembered as the first time in our democratic history that a person resigned from the Cabinet for ethical reasons.”

    Disappointed though we may be by the actions of ...

  • Gifts and Talents Oct 08, 2018

    Welcome back to those of you who have been travelling to different parts of our country and the world. We recently spent some time in the Kruger National Park and on one occasion parked off and watched an elephant for a considerable length of time as he browsed contentedly not far from the car. The thing that struck us was how nimble and dexterous the end of his trunk was. At one stage he assisted his trunk with a little kick of the front foot which got the clump of grass into a more manageable position and then with the end of his trunk twisting and winding around and around he proceeded to p...

  • R-I-S-K Sep 30, 2018

    Two Fridays ago we were all invited by the UMC worship team to join them for an evening of worship and community time together under the stars. What a fantastic night it was – for a whole lot of reasons:

    the team had worked really hard in their creative planning and practising. They designed a worship event that engaged our minds, our imaginations, our voices and our bodies. We were helped to meet with God. And somehow they also succeeded in making the space safe and appropriate for all ages – no mean feat in itself!

    Someone commented afterwards that you could tell the evening went well, because...

  • Mission Week 2018 Sep 26, 2018

    Last week was UMC Mission week. The idea for mission week started in 2015, when a team from Faithbridge - a United Methodist Church in Texas – came to participate in some of our community projects here in Umhlali. We planned a wonderful week of community work with them, and someone from the congregation suggested that since people were willing to fly from the other side of the world to be part of what is happening here, that perhaps there were UMC people who might also like to join :) and so Mission Week was born!

    The next year, we planned UMC Mission Week, giving people from UMC a chance to s...

  • Snakes, Vipers, Serpents Sep 16, 2018

    There was some excitement during a recent Sunday 10am service. Yes, we were all pleased to see Kym back in the pulpit, but the excitement was from another source! A night adder was seen emerging from under the piano. How long had it been there? Joan, who plays the piano for the 8:30am service was quite traumatised hearing about this. She could so easily have stepped on or near it, as could others. Like many people, Joan has an aversion to snakes, but she also knows all too well what a nasty bite a night adder has after I was bitten some years ago.

    Snakes, vipers and serpents are often mentione...

  • Balancing Life Sep 10, 2018

    'Well,' s/he said, 'I'm back'. This is the last line in the book 'The Lord of the Rings'. It is also the line I have been saying all week :) Having been off on sabbatical for two months, this week past has been my first week returning to the office, and to the regular routine of daily life.

    Many people have asked if I enjoyed the time off, and what exactly I did. I must admit, I felt completely overwhelmed for the whole first week of the sabbatical, torn between wanting to do everything and nothing.

    So, I sat down and made a list, and then I categorised my list (laugh, if you will). But on my...

  • The joyful traffic officer Sep 02, 2018

    On Wednesday I made a rustic overhead light for our cooking station at home. It involved me sanding down a largish tree stump log, boring holes for wire, stapling cabling to the wood, wiring the light fittings, drilling into concrete… the whole shebang. Always, after making something with my hands, I feel joy and a sense of accomplishment. I HAVE SUCCEEDED, I tell myself. Yet on Thursday morning, I had an argument with my wife (not about the new light). This got me to thinking, how much influence do our accomplishments have on our general levels of happiness? I had just created and achieved, y...

  • Aspiring writers? Aug 26, 2018

    Numbers of you make use of the devotional booklet – The Upper Room – in your quiet times, and this week a group of us were given some extra insight into all that goes on behind the scenes in producing this resource. We hosted Roland Rink (director of Africa Upper Room) this last week when he came down from Joburg to lead a writing workshop at UMC.

    Roland told us that the booklet was first published in 1935 - the initiative of a group of women in the USA who began writing devotions to encourage families battling during the height of the Great Depression. Upper Room ministries emerged from the ...

  • Under construction Aug 19, 2018

    Here’s a helpful metaphor from CS Lewis:

    "Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra...

  • The Power of Prayer Aug 12, 2018

    In 1 John 5 vs 14 it is written “If we ask anything according to his will , he hears us” This is the Power of Prayer.

    However it has always been a concern of mine that when I pray I do not use eloquent words and phrases and as a result I was concerned that my prayers might not be answered. But , given the scripture quoted above it does not say use a magic formula or certain words and phrases, it merely says that God hears us when we pray. Prayer is communicating with God, and all we have to do is ask. God’s help through the power of prayer is available for all kinds of requests, big or small, a...