Thursday, 8 March 2018

Celebrating the life of one of our worthy chapel woman

Yesterday we had a high tea in Hogsback to celebrate the value of woman, all woman, but especially one woman who has made an incredible difference in the lives of not just woman, but everyone on the mountain. Her name is Norma and she is a prayer warrior.

Norma stands for everything that is gentle, kind, generous, caring and worthy. She was the doctor here in Hogsback for many years, caring for the sick and running an AIDS outreach. Even after she finally retired (after her initial attempt at retirement to Hogsback), she still remains totally invested in our little village as part of the executive board for our local outreach, Jikani, and as part of our Chapel lay preachers and pianists, as a friend, a wife and a mother to all.

Silke's poem for Norma says it all:

For a text copy of Silke's poem, download it from here: 

Norma read to us the story of when God created woman to remind us of our biggest flaw....


So, Norma, on your 70th celebration month, we can only say that you mean the world to us and that we appreciate you more than you can imagine! As you did not want to be honoured with presents and accolades, we would like to ask everybody to acknowledge you by making a donation to your hearts project, Jikani ( at the following banking details:

Acc name: Jikani
Acc No: 62391132075
Branch: fort Beaufort / 210419
Reference: 70th

For all the photos from the event, see here:

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Profile on David and Gill Williams

The next family to be introduced to the St Patrick’s congregation is the Williams family. We are very familiar with David Williams travelling up from Fort Beaufort to take the third Sunday service of the month at St Patrick’s. We are acquainted with his oft-made comments about fixing his car, the reason why he’s wearing that particular tie, especially the Welsh one, and about Gill’s disapproval of something he’s done. The congregation appreciates his conscientious preparation and his compelling presentation. He normally brings with him an item to illustrate his children’s message which is much enjoyed. His sermons are always clearly explained and backed with sound theological thinking as one would expect of a Professor of Theology. David certainly enriches St Patrick’s in a deep way. His past sermons can be sourced on the St Patrick’s Blogpage – they make for informative reading.    

David and Gill grew up in England. David's father was in the permanent airforce and so he moved around whereas Gill lived in Bath.  David read engineering at Cambridge University with particular reference to aircraft. He worked for the Royal Aircraft Establishment before going to Bath University to do a Diploma in Education and, by correspondence, a Diploma in Theology. Gill did a Certificate in Education at Salisbury College as part of Bristol University. She taught before going to the London Bible College where she acquired a Dip LBC and a Diploma in Theology. After a Wycliffe Linguistics course, they were married in 1970. They spent a spell of working as assistants at their church in Bath and working mornings at the City of Bath Boys’ School to support themselves.  In July 1971 they moved to Swaziland with the Africa Evangelical Fellowship. They taught at the Mankayane High School, one of only two Swazi schools that were teaching to Matric level. Their son, Paul, was born in Swaziland.

The mission transferred them to Durban where they did hospital visitation and supported the Africa Evangelical Fellowship churches. That was where David began his ministry to schools. They had a sabbatical in the UK where David went to the London Bible College to complete his Bachelor of Divinity and their daughter, Ruth, was born in the UK. Back in Durban they opened a ministry which became the Umhlanga Baptist Church, as a daughter of Durban North Baptist Church where they put their children into Sunday School. At this stage, Luke and then, Sara, were born. They also started planning to open a degree-level Bible College which has become the Bible Seminary in Pietermaritzburg. 

Because of the rioting it became impossible to continue working in the townships. While they were praying about their future, Sandown Union Church contacted them and they moved to Sandton for David to become the minister of that church. He contacted UNISA and started on his doctorate as well as continuing to take school assemblies, this time in Alexandria. Gill also started studying with UNISA to obtain a Bachelor of Theology.

David was taken seriously ill with a heart problem and after being hospitalised twice they were advised to leave the high veldt. David was unable to fly so they could not go home to England. They had no idea how they could get off the high veldt. Once again God worked and they had a very unexpected call asking David if he would be interested in a post lecturing Theology at Fort Hare University. They had to look for a map as they had no idea where Fort Hare was! In 1983 they moved to the Eastern Cape. David started visiting High Schools for assemblies in this area.

After the children were all at school Gill was offered a post teaching music at the Fort Beaufort High School but when her qualifications were evaluated she was told she was totally unqualified! She therefore stopped teaching and helped for a short while at the Baptist Bible Institute, Debi Nek.

Gill then went to Fort Hare University for a year and upgraded her qualifications by taking a Bachelor of Education Honours degree! Following that she decided to take a Master’s degree in education and also started to teach at Davidson School in Alice where she later became Deputy Head and then Principal. Gill was also a leader in Brownies and then Girl Guides as well as Sunday School and later Bible Class for teenagers. She was involved with the Christian movements in Fort Beaufort School, Winterberg and Wings Academy. She also ran a ladies Bible Study group and started a feeding scheme for children in the Fort Beaufort Township which, after 14 years, was taken over by the government social services.

After Gill and David retired he was asked to be the temporary minister of St John's United Church in Fort Beaufort. Temporary has stretched to 8 years so far!

We thank Gill for this profile of her family, we are grateful for the considerable way St Patrick’s is enriched by David’s preaching – perhaps Gill will play the piano on occasions - and we express our deepest condolences to the family on the premature passing of their son, Luke. How wonderful that the Williams family has crossed our paths.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

St Patick’s Chapel Congregation Profiles 2018: The Keeses

This year, 2018, has started with trying to get to know one another a little better. We are aiming to do profile features of our Chapel's congregants and supporters, as well as the wonderful clergy and laymen (woman) who liven up our chapel life and inspire us to be better and be more loving members of our community! We will from time to time ask for input and photos, to make sure that we tell the whole story of our profiled community members. Trevor has enthusiastically volunteered to put the profiles together, elaborate thereon (in his role as historian and storyteller of note) and then pass it on to be featured here on our Chapel blog site.  Our  first St Patrick family to be featured is the Keese family, who has been outstanding as an example of family unity and support within our little Chapel community!!

The Keese family consists of Mark a farmer/entrepreneur, his wife,  Grace, more affectionately known as Tippie , and their three gorgeous daughters, Chane a third-year student in the Arts/Law Faculty at Rhodes University, Christean and Kathleen, pupils at Lillyfontein in East London. Tippie is also the esteemed principal of  Davidson School in Alice.

The Keese family plays an invaluable role at St Patrick’s. Tippie is a significant member of the Chapel Council and organised Xhosa services for many years with Harold Mrashula as preacher. The family takes sidesman duty for two months of the year when they host services and the girls bake goodies and make tea while the adults greet visitors – what a model arrangement!

Tippie grew up in Cradock as a loving member of the Moolman family and keeps in contact with her two sisters, on occasions going on holiday together. She became a teacher in Cathcart where she met the young Mark Keese, son of the Alice Magistrate (his mother stayed with them for many years).  They courted and got married in Jeffrey’s Bay where they have a house. They have been married for 24 years and live happily in Hogsback along with their many dogs, chickens, geese, pigs, goats, sheep and cows. The children have grown up looking after animals and being
close to nature. At one stage they ran a shop and have a self-catering cottage – so they are busy, or Tippie is! The family spend a lot of time bonding together and love outdoor activities.  For a birthday party you’ll find the family out in the veld braaing together.  They laugh a lot, are grateful for their many blessings, dream big, create memories, never give up and love one another. No wonder that the Keese family are a model family at St Patrick’s – they attend services when they can and always lower the age-level. They are faithful, sincere and outspoken.

Thank you Keeses for enriching St Patrick’s with your presence and your love for life. You are a blessing to us. 

Trevor Webster
Chapel Warden

Monday, 22 January 2018

Sermon Sunday 21st January: Hope for the New Year

Jer 17:5-14, Rom 8:18-39

People always start the new year with optimism – but it does not last long, and hope dissipates.  Every year we look for something better, every year we are disappointed!  Do you have hope for 2018?  Is there any reason for hope?  What reason do YOU have?  For the world, for you personally?

Decline is a NORMAL part of existence!  There is natural deterioration in all.  It is even a quantity in engineering – entropy, where a small increase is good. But it will increase!  This includes spiritual things, so these also deteriorate.  So hope is false, it is presumption … Unless God gives it!  He is the creator!

As Christians, we do have hope!  First because there is a resurrection (Acts 24:15).  Paul writes, “If for this life only …” (1 Cor 15:19).  We know that eventually things will be OK, but more than this, we have resurrection life NOW (cf Jn 6:40 etc)!  A foretaste only of what will come.

Secondly, we have hope!  Because God loves us (Rom 5:5).  This is because we know salvation.  So our hope comes out of suffering (Rom 5:3), both from His and our’s – what was experienced.  It is the Spirit who gives hope (Rom 5:4) - do you know the filling of God’s Spirit?

Having hope then affects us, because if we know we will meet God we must be pure (1 Jn 3:3), living a life worthy of our hope.  We shall be like Him (1 Jn 3:2).  Our life should reflect our hope.

Then we can GIVE hope to a generation that has lost it.  Hope gives a reason for our witness so be ready to explain your hope (1 Pet 3:15).  If we have hope, then we can be bold! (2 Cor 3:12).

This hope does not get lost, but abides (1 Cor 13:13, Heb 11:1), throughout 2018, and forever.  It stays as it is based on faith which gives eternal life.  It then results in a love which is also eternal.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Farewell to Harold and Irene Nicholls on Sunday 13 January 2018

The St Patrick’s Chapel congregation and friends said farewell to the much-loved couple of Harold and Irene on Sunday 13 January 2018 at Elangeni. The couple are moving to Howick to be closer to their family after 15 years of being been part of the social fabric of the village. They have contributed enormously to Hogsback and St Patrick’s.  At the chapel they have contributed as Chapel Warden, pianist, sidesmen, gardener and have supported in many other ways. At the Bring and Braai the Congregation gave them a painting of the chapel and Josef Steyn took these photos.

Monday, 18 December 2017

Sermon: Jesus is Lord

As always, David starts his sermon with a little ice breaker for daily living....

Reading for today:
Isiah 9:2-7,
John 1:1-18

A celebrity always attracts crowds - people flock to see royalty and presidents. And here we are at Christmas, with the greatest of all! And so few there! But how few today flock to him? Of course his situation was humble, a baby in the manger, but the angels announced the coming of "Christ the Lord" (Lk 2:11). We battle to realise his Lordship, but perhaps we should battle more with how the Lord could become a baby - of course easy for the Lord of all! The Lordship of Jesus is the essence of Christianity. The message of Christmas is EMMANUEL, so a Lord with us!

He is Lord, but that does not mean that he is second rank, less than a king. "Lord" was the title of the emperor, and the kings, such as Herod, of second rank. The name of God in the Old Testament was translated by the word Lord in the Greek, and our Bibles follow that. But do you treat Jesus as second rank? Jesus is Lord - but why do we believe that? It is because

He is God, He is creator, He is redeemer

Jesus is God. This is seen by many miracles, of healing, feeding etc (eg Lk 5:8), by his claim (eg Jn 8:58), especially by his resurrection. But then Jesus shows us what God is like, a God of love.

Is He YOUR God? In the full sense? So obey and worship Him alone

But there could be a god without power ....

Jesus is creator. See Jn 1:3, Col 1:16 etc, and the resurrection shows his power over the life that he made. Then Jesus shows us what His power is like, he is the God who limits Himself for us. More importantly, is He YOUR creator? Is he creating and guiding your life, or are you trying to run it yourself?

But there could be a creator who is not a saviour

Jesus is redeemer. The angels, spoke of the coming of a saviour (Lk 2:11). He came to die for our salvation. Then the resurrection is power over death. He gives new life and Jesus shows us what new life is like, repentance and obedience. Most importantly, is He YOUR redeemer? Do you belong to Him?

Are you serious about his lordship? In the fourth century there was a big movement, like modern Jehovah's Witnesses, that said that Jesus was divine, but not absolute lord. A man rose up called Athanasius, who knew that only full God could save. If Jesus is not fully God there is no salvation. He was prepared to suffer for his Lord, and so for us - are we?

The wise men came to Jesus to worship (Matt 2:11), they recognised the LORD. What of us? And let us be serious, not just using the word without meaning (Lk 7:46)!

Sermon by Prof David T Williams

Thursday, 14 December 2017

St Patrick’s Chapel Newsletter December 2017

We can't believe that it is already Christmas!! There are three special items of news this Christmas:

  • Rev Margaret Fourie is back to take the Christmas services – Sunday 24th at 10am; Christmas Day 25th Holy Communion at 8am and Christmas Family Service at 10am and Sunday 31 December 2017 at 10am. We welcome you back, Margaret, and look forward to your services.
  • Christmas Services will kick off on Christmas Eve 24 December 2017 at 5:30 at St Patrick’s with a Carol/Crib Service. We especially welcome our young ones (and young at heart), so please bring your children along. The service will capture the Christmas story in song with the children assembling the crib. Gwyneth Lloyd will sing special items. The Service will be led by Norma Fivaz and Ann Webster.
  • For those early risers (the ones that want to open their presents asap, Christmas Day  (25 December 2017), we will start Christmas day with an early morning communion service at 8am at St Patrick’st St Patrick’s. The Christmas Family Service will be lead by Rev Margaret Fourie at 10am. We were hoping to hold the Christmas Family Service in the Arboretum but Forestry is not able to open the roadway yet. Let’s hope that by next Christmas we are able to return to the forest for our service. If there is any change, check back on this blog for updates.