2017 is here and we’re into the month that every year sees gym and weight loss subscriptions soar :) You might be interested to know that January / February are also the months when church attendance numbers are highest – that’s been my experience in different settings around the country. What it all means is that people are hopeful that things can be different and we try to put into place some practices that will help lead us into that different kind of life.
Over the last couple of weeks you will have seen June and Maria's stunning artwork at the front of the church and heard a little about the 'Jesse tree' – the ancient Christmas tradition of telling the biblical story from Creation to Christmas. It's a helpful practice, better known in the Catholic Church, which reminds us that what happened at Christmas wasn't just a single event, but part of God's much bigger story.
The first thought that came to mind when I realised my 3 years was coming to an end, was “Seriously, but we’ve just started, we're not done yet!” To be honest, I don’t think you are ever done when it comes to youth and children. Your heart grows with each new addition and never seems to reach full capacity. There is always room for one more.
Like me, most of you have come to enjoy the fellowship of coming to church on a Sunday. We feel the energy of things on the go but we seldom get the chance to step back and just look how far we have come in just a few years. Having reflected on my three year tenure, I’ve had a chance to do just that.
Last Sunday at our Annual Society Meeting (also referred to as our AGM) three new Society Stewards were nominated and elected as my three year appointment comes to an end along with Candice Hendricks and Colin Bouwer. While three years sounds like a life sentence, this time has flown by. So what does it mean to be a Society Steward? I could refer you to the official job description, but here is my take on it.
Essentially there are three parts: the very practical Sunday activities of unlocking the church, making announcements, counting the collection and locking up again; overseeing a specific ...
I'm just back from my last week of lectures in the Cape for this year and one of the books that we looked at this week was A Secular Age, by the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor. Actually, we were spared the whole book (800 pages of philosophy can make anyone feel a little inadequate …) and thankfully we worked through a summary of the book :)
Monday, 31st October, is Halloween. The only reason I know this is because my son asked me this week what we're dressing up as when we go trick or treating. We have never dressed up, we have never tricked or treated, in fact, we have never even had a conversation about Halloween. It is not something we have ever really done – not intentionally, but just because it has never really been part of our tradition. But, as I learned this week, the traditions around Halloween are growing, so much so that everyone at school is talking about what they're doing for Halloween!
Over the years, I have ...
If I asked you to recall some favourite memories from your Sunday School and Youth years, I am almost sure you would tell me about a camp. I have fond memories of church camps and those memories inspired me to plan a Sunday School camp this year! As the time came closer the nerves set in as I realised what a huge undertaking it was! But we were blessed with an incredible leadership team, a prayer group who covered us all in prayer, parents who supported and encouraged us and a congregation who supplied us with so many snacks I've needed to start a diet this week!
When I arrived at the camp on...
It has been another chaotic week in our world, and in our country. And it is easy, in the face of all that is happening, to be either overcome with despair, or to bury our heads in the sand and hope that if we do not acknowledge the chaos, it will somehow go away. Over the past few weeks we have been asking some tough questions about how we, as individuals and as a community of faith, are to respond to all that is happening. This week, someone posted a poem on their social media page, and in the midst of endless news stories about things going wrong, it was like cool water, refreshing the soul.
Last Sunday I spoke about the way that we are wired for community, built for relationship. I showed you part of a talk by Prof Brene Brown, where she highlighted the need to embrace vulnerability if we are to experience real connection with others. She studied people who were getting it right – those who had formed deep, authentic relationships and she said they had three things in common with each other: