UMC blog


  • Making the invisible visible Aug 25, 2019

    Driving somewhere this week I heard a radio host speaking about retiring Constitutional Court Judge Edwin Cameron. You will remember that Cameron took a principled stand against our government during the days when our national leadership were questioning the link between HIV and AIDS and delaying the public distribution of life-saving antiretroviral drugs. Cameron announced to the world that he was HIV positive and said that until this medicine was available to poor South Africans, he would refuse to take his own ARV’s. His voice raised the profile of this fight for justice and contributed significantly to the eventual rollout of the internationally admired ARV distribution programme we have in South Africa today.

  • Nkosi Bomvu High School Aug 18, 2019

    Three years ago, Nonny (UMC's community worker) and I sat in the office of the Principal of Nkosi Bomvu High School in Tongaat, asking how we as a church community could draw alongside the school and help with some of the challenges they were experiencing. I confess, I was expecting the Principal to say something along the lines of help with uniforms and stationery, and possibly food. I had already half-planned the collection and distribution project we would run. So I was not expecting his response, which was that learners need life skills to cope with extremely challenging circumstances at home and at school, and teachers need to be equipped to deal with more than just the subject curriculum.

  • Water in the desert Aug 04, 2019

    Did you know that the world’s largest underground lake lies right beneath the Kalahari Desert? At the Ignatian day that a number of us attended last week, this was the opening illustration in a workshop on prayer. The speaker (Rev David Barbour from Musgrave Methodist) painted a vivid picture in our minds of standing in a dry, arid land while being completely unaware of the vast body of water under your feet and the golden catfish swimming beneath the surface.

  • The crossing Jul 21, 2019

    This week the media was full of tributes to the late Johnny Clegg. I was especially struck by the outpouring of grief from black South Africans. Clegg had been criticised by a small minority for appropriating Zulu culture for commercial benefit, but many black voices spoke up this week in his defence. One radio journalist spoke emotionally, saying something like this: “at a time when it was not easy (in the 80’s and early 90’s) he did something different. He learned our language, he saw us, he valued our culture. We needed more heroes like this – there were too few.”

  • Ignatius of Loyola Jul 14, 2019

    You will see in the notices this week some information about an Ignatian Day, focusing on Ignatian Spirituality, happening at the Musgrave Methodist Church later this month. Ignatian Spirituality is an approach to our lives of faith, based on the teachings of a 16th Century theologian named Ignatius of Loyola. According to their website, 'Ignatius was a Spanish soldier who discerned his calling after suffering nearly fatal wounds on the battlefield. He established the Society of Jesus in 1540, instructing the early Jesuits to go out and "find God in all things."'

  • How's that for perseverance? Jul 07, 2019

    A few weeks ago we watched the annual running of the Comrades’ Marathon with all its excitement, successes and disappointments, not forgetting the aches and pains. One achievement that stood out for me, was a runner who was running this marathon for the fifteenth time. So what you might be thinking, Barry Holland has just run his 47th! Barry has been spurred on by success and personal achievement. What struck me about the other runner, is that he had never finished the race in the allotted 12 hours for fourteen consecutive years and this year finally, officially completed the race. He had no successes to build on. No certainty that he would ever finish on time, yet he came back year after disappointing year. How’s that for perseverance?

  • Who are you sharing life with? Jun 30, 2019

    This week I had the pleasure of spending time with an old friend of mine. We laughed, ate, played games and spoke in deep conversation; just like we used to. It makes my heart warm spending time with people who matter deeply to me. When I was younger, I instantly wanted to be friends with everybody that I met. I remember often fighting with my mother about wanting to go out all the time. I was never home on weekends. I was always sleeping over at a friends house or looking to go on an adventure. My mother wanted me to stay at home and just relax or spend time with the family and decompress. I, on the other hand, needed to be with people.

  • Children and Youth Jun 17, 2019

    Today is Youth Day. On June 16 we remember the Soweto Uprisings and those brave students who stood against injustice and inequality. It is also an opportunity to affirm the place and role of young people in society and in working for change. Our Methodist Connexion has set the vision for the year as 'Shaping tomorrow, Today' by making this year the year of children and youth. And as synods, circuits and societies we have been encouraged to consider the place we give to children and young people in our church community – do we relegate them to 'the church of tomorrow' or do we recognise and affirm children and youth as active participants in the life of our community today?

  • Joining a home group Jun 09, 2019

    I had the chance to spend an evening with one of our home groups this week and came away so encouraged by the experience. These mini communities tick so many of the boxes when it comes to learning and growing, being cared for and connected to the Body of Christ

  • Time to build Jun 02, 2019

    You may have noticed, if you parked in the bottom church parking area this morning, that some trees have been cut down. (If you didn't notice, have a look after the service!) The trees have been cut down in preparation for the long-awaited new building. For a few years now, our church community has identified a need for a space for our children's ministry – a place that they can set up and make their own that communicates to young people that we value their role and place within this family.