Sunday, 25 December 2016

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Christmas Services

Christmas Services
December 2016
St Patrick’s Chapel, Hogsback

Sat 24th 5:30pm Carol and Crib Service in St Patrick’s Chapel, please come early to get a seat for this family carol service on Christmas Eve.

Sun 25th 8am Christmas Communion Service in St Patrick’s Chapel  

10am Christmas Family Service in St
Patrick’s Chapel (note the venue has
changed from the Arboretum) led by Rev
Dr Liz Thomas.

Church Services are held at 10am every Sunday

Monday, 21 November 2016

Goodbye to Ettiene and Lois

We held our end of year Bring and share on Sunday and as always, it was a very sumptuous affair with lots of variety and flavour! Our hosts this year was Lizzie and Vincent Blackbeard and Little Timbers provided a breathtaking venue of garden splendor.

We also made use of the occasion to say goodbye to Etienne and Lois Paroz who will be leaving Hogsback shortly after years of incredible selfless service to our community. Etienne has practically helped absolutely everybody with beautifying their gardens and more and have also kept the church garden looking amazing over the years.

As a token of our gratitude, Josef created an amazing Azalea wattle photo to remind them of their special family back here in Hogsback!

It was so nice to sit at the communal table and enjoy the fellowship. We really do have an amazing little community!

Sermon Sunday 20th November: I believe, help my unbelief

Verse for today: Mark 9:24

The story tells of a call for help, a situation of desperation. Do we feel hopelessness?  We are faced with circumstances that we feel helpless in, and there is one situation in which we can have no hope unless we are Christian - see Hebrews 2:3

The man did the right thing, he came to Jesus - the disciples could not help.  When we have difficulty, where do we go? Is our faith in church, or in people?  Do we see Jesus  as the only answer? Jn 14:6

The man's suffering was an impetus to faith; in that sense it was good James 1:2f, Rom 5:3f.  Suffering quells the desire for autonomy, the claim "I do not need You!" That feeling is the cause of sin, which itself leads to suffering

Jesus responded to the man, "if you can".  It is hard to trust.  It is hard to believe that Jesus is God, which had just been seen in the Transfiguration, but it is only as God that He can help.  Then it is hard to believe that He died in order to save, but that is the only way.  See John14:6

The man exclaimed "I believe!" This showed his faith, which is the condition for help (Heb11:6).  We must come, or do we just presume?  Without faith can we expect to receive? (James 1:7-8). We have to go to the doctor, have faith, or he cannot help!  But he realised his faith was weak, so exclaimed,

"Help my unbelief!" The word is "help", so we do what we can to increase our faith - we use the means of grace.  The wonderful thing is that God will also help us; He works in us to increase our faith.

"Help my unbelief"  he had faith, but it needed development. He had to go from faith to faith (Rom 1:16), from salvation to growth. Paul explains that the righteous live by faith, quoting Habakkuk 2:4, which is not only eternal life, but also now.  In the growth of faith, we develop the mind of Christ.  When we pray in His will, then all things are possible (Mk 9:23), but we need to know His will to pray effectively.  It is not that "if we ask anything he hears us", but ""if we ask anything ACCORDING TO HIS WILL he hears us (Jn 5:14).

Did the man still doubt? Surely he wanted to share what God had done for him.  Do we share the news of our salvation, of answered prayer?  Such sharing will be good for the faith of others.

Prof David T Williams
Theology (retired)

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Our annual retreat: How to change your mind!!!!

Our annual retreat is always a special time and this year it was held at a really special place, Hunterstoun, here in Hogsback itself. It was gently lead by Leon Van Niekerk. The focus was on taming our our thoughts and emotions for in order to experience spiritual growth. At a time were so many disturbing world and country events are stealing our joy, this quiet time was just what the doctor ordered to give us perspective.

We started off on Friday afternoon by exploring God's plan for spiritual growth and how our thoughts are game changers. We learned that it is not true that just because we thought of it it has to be true! Many of our thoughts come from a position of fear and fear is the opposite of faith. God did not wire our brains for fear, He created us to love. Fear has no place!

Our brains consist of 3 distinct areas ( emotions--> thinking--> Doing) with a logical process and we have to constantly be aware of how we allow our emotions to create toxic thoughts that results in negative deeds that make us feel guilty and so the cycle continues. To be closer to God we need to break that endless loop!!

We explored the principles of spiritual growth by first looking at what it is (Phil 3:13-14 and Gal 5:24-25). We reflected on that we were created in God's image (Gen 1:27) and that we need to choose carefully every day (Josh 24:15). The mind was created for good (Eccles 7:29) so that we have no need to fear at all.

So how did the mind get so corrupted (2 Cor 11:3) and how can we allow God to renew our minds (Rom 12:2). we have to constantly be aware that our thoughts define who we are (Prov 23:7) and if we want to break out of this negative cycle of toxic thoughts we need to focus our minds on Christ (1 cor 2:16). We have to commit to a process of re-organising our minds because God gave us the ability to choose.

In the first session on Saturday, we started by identifying our toxic thoughts and emotions and learned that toxic thoughts are thoughts that trigger negative and anxious emotions, which produce biochemicals that cause the body to stress. They are stored in our minds, as well as in the cells of our body. Examples of this is:

  • Worries
  • Could-have, would-have and if-only thoughts
  • Swirling thoughts in our head at the moment
  • Consuming thoughts
  • Replaying things over and over in your mind
We then send some quiet time to identify our personal toxic thoughts (Matt 6:25-34) and for some of us this was really painful ground to step on! We thought about (and listed) what the deep rooted origins of our destructive thoughts are and what we are worrying about. Through this we realised that we miss out on life because of our worries. This text also give us guidance towards spiritual growth. 

This brought us to a way by which we can demolish toxic thoughts by replacing them with truthful spiritual thoughts. To demolish them we looked at how thoughts impact on so many things,  brain and body, our mental health and spiritual development (see Deut 20:19, Ps 34:11-16, Prov 3:7-8, Deut 5:9). Thoughts can make us physically ill and we therefore need to let go of all the baggage that are creating all these toxic thoughts. This is easier said than done but a practical idea is to maybe write a letter to the person that caused you pain. We do not need to give it to them but just committing it to paper and maybe burning it will be a physical way of letting go of what is keeping us mentally captive. So how do we let go from a spiritual perspective?
  • Start with: Prov 4:20-22
  • Rewrite events with positive thinking: Fil 4:8
  • Replace the effects of crushing thoughts with the words of God James 1:21
  • Our perspective counts with Christ the vine John 15:5
  • Through meditation Josh 1:8
  • Consequence Ps 46:10 
We then created a personal plan to implement thoughts and emotions towards spiritual growth. The following scriptures guides us in identifying 5 things to implement
  • Col 3:15-17; Col 4:2-6; Phil 4:4-9; Prov 4:20-23 
We used the following questions to guide us:
  • Awareness: Which thought (sometimes) get stuck in my mind that I want to address? And how do I want them to be part of me
  • Thinking through: What (which thoughts) would I rather focus on mentally?
  • Focus positively: How can I remind myself of these (GO(O)D) thoughts/truths daily? 
  • Take action: What could I do to re-enforce new thoughts and express them (personally, with friends and family, strangers....)
We concluded this practical, inspirational session with a morning service on Sunday at the St Patrick Chapel were Leon summed it all up for us in this wonderful verse: 

We want to thank Norma for organising this time out for us and for Leon Van Niekerk for leading us in such a gentle way through sacred ground! 


Friday, 11 November 2016

Services and events November 2016 to March 2017

The services as from November to March next year is as follows:

November 2016 (sideswomen Helen Fox/Maggie Verster )
Sunday 6th, 10am                United                    Neil Cooper
Thursday 10th, 4h30pm                                     Council Meeting 10 November at Trevor’s
Friday 11th, 3pm                 Retreat                   Hunterstoun
Saterday 12th, 9pm             Retreat                   Hunterstoun
Sunday 13rd, 10am             United                   Liz Thomas and Leon van Niekerk  
Sunday 20th, 10am            Baptist                   Prof Rev David Williams, Ben Fourie, Bible Society
Thanksgiving Bring & Share, Little Timbers 
Sunday 27th, 10am             Anglican               Earth Service: Rev Dr Liz Thomas and Helen Fox

December 2016 (sidesmen Carol Neith/Tonya Burton)
Sunday 4th, 10am                Afrikaans               Ds Leon van Niekerk
Sunday 11th, 10am             Anglican                 Rev Dr Liz Thomas
Sunday 18th, 10am             Baptist                   Prof Rev David Williams 
Saturday 24th, 5:30pm        Carol Service        Lay Ministers: Norma/Ann
Sunday 25th, 8am                Anglican                 Rev Liz Thomas (or visiting minister)
                        10am              Arboretum            Rev Dr Liz Thomas

January 2017 (sidesmen Chris/Keri Everton)
Sunday 1st, 10am                 United                    Neil Cooper
Sunday 8th, 10am                Anglican                 Rev Dr Liz Thomas
Sunday 15th, 10am             Baptist                    Rev Dr David Williams         
Sunday 22nd, 10am             Afrikaans               Ds Nico Bezuidenhout        
Sunday 29th, 10am             United                    Rev Dr Liz Thomas

February 2017 (sidesmen Stuart/Lindy Dewing)
Sunday 5th, 10am                Afrikaans               Ds Leon van Niekerk, Tuesday 14th Valentine’s Day                     
Sunday 12th, 10am             Anglican                 Rev Dr Liz Thomas
Sunday 19th, 10am             Baptist                    Prof Rev David Williams
Sunday 26th, 10am             Installation of Liz Thomas as Priest by Bishop Ebenezer 

March 2017 (sidesmen Harold/Irene Nicholls) 
Sunday 5th, 10am                United                    Neil Cooper; Council Meeting 9 March at Maggie’s
Sunday 12th, 10am             Anglican                 Rev Dr Liz Thomas, Vestry, Congregation Bring & Share  
Sunday 19th, 10am             Baptist                    Prof Rev David Williams; 17th St Patrick’s Day, 21st Human Rights

Sunday 26th, 10am             Afrikaans               Ds Nico Bezuidenhout

You can always find the latest version on the services page as well!! 

Thursday, 20 October 2016

St Patrick's Annual Retreat

The St Patrick’s Retreat is coming up soon. The Retreat will be held at Hunterstoun and led by Prof Leon van Niekerk. It will start on Friday11th November in the afternoon and include a braai. We return home for the night. Saturday will be during the morning and end with a bring and share lunch. The cost is very reasonable – R100.

This promises to be a very worthwhile retreat but only 7 members have put their names down so far and we feel that we should have at least 12 to make it worthwhile for Leon to make the trip. So we invite members to come forward. Will those who would like to attend please let Norma phone 045 962 1017 or Ann phone 045 962 1147 know by 25th October. 

To see what a great time we had last year, read this blogpost: 
Cato retreat: A gentle journey into the heart of Jesus

Reminder : Programme for October and November
  • 23rd Liz Thomas; 
  • 30th Lay Ministers
  • 6th November Neil Cooper 6th  November at 3pm Christian Leaders Forum at Hunterstoun; 
  • 10th November -Council meeting at Elangeni at 4:30; 
  • 11th/12th Retreat at Hunterstoun; 
  • 13th November- Retreat service; 
  • 20th David Williams and Thanksgiving Bring and Share Lunch at Little Timbers and farewell to Etienne and Lois Paroz  
  • 27th November Liz Thomas.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Sermon Sunday 16th November: New Covenant

Reading: Hebrews 9:14

Do you despair about the country?  It seems full of corruption, stealing, ineptitude etc etc.  What is to be done?

Jeremiah had a similar situation in his time; he is called the "weeping prophet" (Jer 9:1). Do we care so much about our situation? Jeremiah's was a situation of disaster; it finally led to war and exile.  We are already in exile from God!

What is to be done?            
They did not obey God's law, which they had been given centuries before, but they did not believe anything would happen to them. And us? God knows our situation, and the threat for our ignoring him is trouble, as in the drought in the time of Elijah, ultimately total loss. See Hebrews 2:3

God had a radical solution! Jeremiah prophesied a new covenant (Jer 31:31f), a promise highlighted in Hebrews 8.  Look for what is repeated in scripture! God acts - He is the living God! The Exile gave them, and gives us, another chance!

In the new covenant, God says "I will write my law within", not just on paper, or even on stone - they are external.  Rather he puts it in the mind.  First we need to be convinced that his way, the way of Jesus in the sermon on the mount, is best.  Indeed, if we did obey it, the world would be wonderful.  But that is not enough, so he also puts it in the heart, and transforms our will, so we WANT to obey.

Howdoes he do this? A covenant is a relationship, which needs a mediator, who is Christ.  He deals with what separates us from God, our sin, by dying for our forgiveness, which gives access to God (Heb 8:12). In fact he does not just forgive our sin, but forgets it in our justification.

We shall then KNOW Him, which is not just mental, but means be related.  We have eternal life (John 17:3), and we have it now!  This gives a foretaste of God's perfection which we will enjoy in heaven

What must we do?  First accept what he has done, secondly repent (Acts 2:38) - a word which means a renewal of mind.  Then as Jesus said in the sermon on the mount (Matt 5:13-16), live now as salt to improve the world now, and light to warn a sinful world.

Prof David T Williams
Theology (retired)

Monday, 10 October 2016

Prayer for Inclusion / Exclusion: 9th October 2016

Heavenly Father, You have challenged us this morning through Your Word and through the sermon of Your servant, Liz.

We had to face issues about including or excluding those things in our lives, that we don't feel comfortable with:
         - the unknown
         - the less popular
         - those issues in our society that many try to avoid.

How can we ever be so arrogant  as to think that we are without:  
- blemish                                                                                                         
- short-comings                                                                                                         
- issues that may appall You?

We beg for forgiveness, for all these issues that are not right in our lives.

Some of us had the privilege to listen to dr Tim Wilson yesterday, as he mapped out the hurts and pain of our land, our country. Oh God, we bow before You this morning as intercessors for our country .....from the top ....those who are in positions of leadership at National, Provincial and local levels. We plead for wisdom on their behalf, discernment to make and take decisions that would honor You. Raise up leaders who would serve You, in the first instance.

Lord, we pray for our own community /  our village, with all it's hurts, frustration, pain. Make is sensitive to each other's pain, each other's needs and expectations.

And then there are the specific needs in Hogsback:
   - those who have lost dear ones. We commit Annette Schenk and her family to You. They are still grieving over the loss of a mother and grand-mother. At the same time, we want to give You thanks for Ouma Lappies' faith and her love for You.

   - Those in our community with failing health, food shortage, insecure financial situations, unemployment. Give us as Christians, the appropriate leadership and insight to make a difference where we can.

   - We bring Peter Neith to You this morning. As he struggles with increasing immobility, there must be a huge amount of frustration. Help him and give him peace, Your peace, to understand why he is going through this difficult patch in his life. We pray for his carers: Carol.....give her love and understanding for Peter's situation. Help Rosie, who so patiently assist Peter on a daily basis. Thank you for providing 
in this crucial need.

Lord, and then we need to pray for ourselves: help us to identify the "leprosy" in ourselves. Help us not to get stuck in the rud of thinking that leprosy cannot be healed. Help us to take the step ---- to approach You, take Your hand and let You change us.

We ask all of this in Your precious name.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

A call for us to pray for peace, wisdom, humility and safety for all involved.

The essence of the higher education crisis- one student's story about a SMS How do we understand what is happening? The media portrays the high level tensions, anger and violence and it is easy to miss the heart of it
all - what is at stake for the students? - what tensions they face? I found this powerful piece from a WITS MBA student in the Daily Maverick very compelling and helpful. It is a short and worthwhile read.

We sit on a knife edge. So much is at stake today at WITS and at UCT and at the other Universities. By the time you read this email, things will  be different.Tensions at WITS right now (Tuesday 9am) are very high.  My niece (at UCT) wrote yesterday - 'I think prayer number 1 is for people to be blessed with humility to put their own agendas and frustrations aside in order to understand each other and prioritise peace and  reconciliation'. 

So a call for us to pray for peace, wisdom, humility and safety for all involved. 

Liz Thomas 

Monday, 3 October 2016

Lovely choir peformances

We were blessed today with beautiful Xhosa hymns sung by the Rhodes University choir.

Second Christian Leadership Forum Meeting

The Second Leadership forum meeting was held at Hunterstoun and were attended by eight St Patrick's church Councillors and 10 christian community leaders. As there is still some difficulty in relaying information to all christian leadership, some did not get the notification and minutes of the previous meeting. It was pointed out that timeous attendance by all concerned is essential for participation in the Forum and that minutes and notices will be available at Jikani for those with no electronic access, but Maggie will send out  SMS notifications in future.

During this meeting Wayne Kent from the CPF reported back on some of the pressing issues that were raised during the first meeting. The good news, to report back to the various communities, is that the land claim issues for the people living  in Bolt Point has been resolved and Eskom has been given the go ahead to provide electricity to the existing houses. The water system in Hogsback is being upgraded and will include Bolt point as well, in the near future. It was suggested to also investigate more short term cheaper solar possibilities. 

As far as employment opportunities are concerned, more jobs have become available assisting with refuse. The chairmen of both Bolt Point and Esikolweni are tasked with allocating plots and the mayor will be visiting Hogsback shortly. 

We will investigate training dates and formats for the delivery of empowerment/ICT courses for christian leadership and it was stressed that this training will be a process that will take commitment. A possible donor has been identified that will assist with supplying leadership with devices that will enable them to communicate more efficiently. 

The CPF is planning a sports day and we will all work together to make that a success. So all in all we ended on a high note and it was decided to have the next meeting on Sunday the 6th of November at Hunterstoun at 3pm. 

Monday, 19 September 2016

Sunday the 18th September: The release of Peter

Word to the young of heart:

Reading: Acts 12:1-1

It is wonderful when we get a blessing from God, but it is not unusual that soon afterwards comes trouble, even persecution.  So has your faith ever got you into trouble? It probably should! This is what happened in the early church.  Peter received tremendous blessing, then found himself in prison.  Christians should expect to suffer - as Jesus told us, the world hates us (Jn 15:18).

Persecution of Christians is actually irrational - they give no reason or threat.  (this has not always been the case, as the church has at times itself persecuted, like parts of modern Islam.) Jesus did good by word and deed, then suffered.  Is persecution due to fear and envy?

If we do find ourselves in trouble, especially for our faith, as Peter was, what should we do?  The reaction of the church was not violence, protests, etc, but to pray without ceasing, earnestly, and with others.  The prayer meeting is vital!

If we are in trouble, we can still have faith. Peter was so confident that he slept!  He was helped because he had experienced God's help before (Acts 5).  But the Church found it hard to believe!  We can be encouraged by that.  It should be pointed out that our faith is no guarantee of safety - James had been killed.

But there was a miracle!  But they were sceptical then, just as we would be today.  Indeed, God never does unnecessary miracle, but only for good reason.  As soon as the need passed, the angel left - Rhoda had to open her own door!  In particular, God is unlikely to grant us a miracle for OUR comfort, but so we can serve better.

He also waited until the last moment!  Why the delay?  God is concerned to grow our faith, so wants to test us.

God acted not directly, but by an angel.  Usually God acts through agents, and so also through us.  Angels are "ministering spirits" (Heb 1:14), sent for others, and so are we.

When Peter met the church he told them to go and tell it to James.  People are blessed and strengthened by the experience and testimony of others - we should share!  In particular, the church will never grow unless everyone shares what God has done for them.  It is not just for the preacher!  It should be natural for us to tell about God whenever we can - if he has done so much, how can we be silent (Acts 4:20).  Surely we are not ashamed of the gospel (Rom 1:16) - it is GOOD news!

Prof David T Williams
Theology (retired)

Monday, 12 September 2016

Christian Leadership Seminar

The Council of St Patrick-on-the-Hill at Hogsback held a Seminar on Sunday 11 September 2016 at 4pm at Hunterstoun. The purpose of the Seminar was for the Council to listen with humility to Christian leaders on Hogsback to hear what they think the problems are and what they suggest the church should do. The Council would then be in a position to decide what role it should play.

The meeting was attended by 20 concerned Hogsback christian citizens. It was a positive appraisal of the difficulties experienced by the citizens of Hogsback and their lack of unity. The inter-racial meeting represented a breath of fresh air. The vibe was optimistic throughout and it was a great get-together of black and white, in which we opened our hearts to each other.

Purpose of the meeting:
The chairman, Trevor Webster, called the meeting of Christian leaders on the Hogsback on behalf of St Patrick’s Chapel to hear what the problems were and to offer help if possible. He quoted 1 Corinthians 10 in which Paul wrote of the one body with many members. He emphasized that the church is one body and each member is important, each is different and each is equal and needs to work together in unity. But too often the body is divided. 

Issues and solutions
Many pressing issues where discussed namely that there is a great need for black and white community members to work and pray together for our village and actively working to built trust relationships. Our black community members need assistance with resolving poverty issues, Eskom, water and housing needs and we also desperately need a clinic. 

We would like to become a model for others to follow and can help in opening up communication channels and providing support and assistance to drive initiatives that can expedite the provision of electricity, housing and other much needed priorities and help giving those who do not have the means to communicate, a voice. It was suggested that St Patrick’s and Jikani could possibly work towards facilitating a leadership course for the Christian leaders in order to be able to deal with difficulties within the greater communities in Hogsback. 

The community needs unity with everybody working together. This meeting is a start and can become a Church Forum that supports the Task Team. The priority for the community of Hogsback is to help all those who do not have a roof over their heads. The Forum will work for all in Hogsback and take matters forward, if necessary.  Great things can happen if we give it to God and pray together as a village community. 

The meeting resolved to form a Christian Leaders Forum which would meet regularly at Hunterstoun. The next meeting will be held on Sunday 2 October 2016 at 4pm.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Sunday 21st August: Temple of the LORD (David Williams)

This Sunday David had, as per usual, a special message for the young at heart:

The reading for Sunday the 21st of August: Ephesians 2:20-22 

We have now been in our house for over a third of a century, and grown to love it.  Do you love this building?

Does it matter to us that we have a church?

In a sense it is not necessary, and costs time and money which could go to other things.  The early church grew most before it had buildings (before 318AD).

But a building has value.  It is a visible witness, reminding people of God.  It enhances our worship, by the "atmosphere" of worship - we naturally think of God. We must pray always, but a special time and place help.

Because of this, Israel had a Temple.  More exactly there was a tabernacle in the Exodus, before Solomon built the Temple. David was not allowed to build it as he had shed much blood.  It was built with love and reverence - do we reflect that? It was then destroyed in the Exile, rebuilt on the return, prompted by the prophecy of Haggai, later developed under Herod, and destroyed again by the Romans in 70AD.

Why did God allow these things? Because the Church is now God's Temple.  1 Peter 2 tells us that Jesus is the cornerstone, Christians are living stones.  So we have those functions of reminding people of God and enhancing worship. Do we know and show God's presence?

What do we do when we own a house?  We look after it, and as God's house we can be sure that he cares for us.  And we are particularly concerned that it will fulfil its function, so fix roof leaks etc.  God is concerned that we are good servants.  Maintenance may then require chopping out what is bad, which is why Jesus drove out what was rotten in the Temple - this was also stopping its functionality. Maintenance is hard work, needs zeal.  In Jesus' case, his concern for us cost him his life (cf Jn 2:17).

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Prayer for Sunday 14 August

Heavenly Father, we thank You for this day, for your creation and the promise of Spring to come, for all You have provided in this beautiful place for our delight. In all the distractions of our world help us to keep our eyes, our minds, our hearts focused on our Lord Jesus Christ, the Root of our faith and our Hope in all things. Thank you that You love us unconditionally in spite of all our weakness.

We pray for Your Church throughout the world: for those who must worship in secret while we are free, for those who have lost their faith or who worship false gods. We bring to you the leaders of the church In our own country and pray that they may be bold in speaking up for right living.

In our World, Lord, we remember the many areas of conflict, especially in the Middle East, and bring to You those living in fear, in pain, anguish and without hope.

In our own Country we pray for the political leaders negotiating with one another to create municipalities that will serve the people, not themselves. Please give them wisdom, patience, vision  and  a care for others. May Your will be done .

We bring to You our own Hogsback community, those frustrated beyond patience, waiting for answers and actions to their requests which have been simmering for many years. Show us how we, as Christians, should behave, should help, should stand beside those who are angry and who vent their frustration by committing acts of destruction and violence. Help us to be loving, compassionate and understanding.

We pray for the Sick here and elsewhere and for those who care for them

Lord , please be with our Families and those who are dear to us wherever they may be.

Finally, we pray for Ourselves : Lord God, give us the strength to follow Your calling, to run the race that You have set before us in the week ahead. Wherever we are, whatever we do, whoever we meet, may You be there in us and  with us and O Lord, let us not forget to be KIND .  Amen

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

A thank you from Hobbiton

Afrikaans in ons kerkie

Wie het geweet dat ons hier in St Patricks ook Afrikaanse dienste het?

Die St Patricks gemeenskap strewe om 'n inklusiewe  vergaderplekkie te wees waar ons, ons liefde vir die Here kan uitleef in ons moedertale, wat dit ook al mag wees! So hierdie Sondag was dit die beurt om so bietjie in Afrikaans te aanbid.

Ons is baie bevoorreg om Ds Leon Van Niekerk te he wat elke paar Sondae opkom na die "Mountain" om ons in Afrikaans te kom bedien. Sy preek hierdie Sondag het ons gedwing om te kyk hoe God ons liefde vir Hom en vir ons naaste toets. Dit is maklik om vir mense lief te wees onder maklike omstandighede, maar wat van as ons daar moet wees onder moeiliker, ongemaklike omstandighede? Waar is ons dan?

Die volgende Afrikaanse diens is Sondag die 2de October.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Sermon 17th July: Awake O sleeper!

Ephesians 5:14  This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

Do you like to sleep? Or is it a begrudged necessity? Are you too busy? And what of prayer? Are you too busy for that as well?

Sleeping is necessary for us it is a good thing. It is getting apart from the normal. And so is prayer - take time to sleep, but also to be with God

Having to sleep reminds us of our limitations. There is an increased need when a person is young and when old. One value of age is then that there is more time to pray, which we should do when we realise our limitations.

Sleep is also good as it deadens pain. Prayer also helps us to cope with pain, suffering and difficult circumstances. Are we aware of our need?

Good to be regular in our sleep, and not just when bored or tired. Our bodies are made that way. Likewise it is good to have a fixed time to pray. Of course we may also take both quick naps and prayers as needed. Then just as napping is not always a good idea, some times are not appropriate for prayer - it is the time for doing! "A little sleep, a little slumber" (Prov 6:10), leads us to material and spiritual poverty. Especially be well awake in worship - do we need coffee BEFORE the service?

Why are we able to sleep? It is the same reason why we can pray. It is because God is not sleeping! (Ps 121:4, 1 Ki 18:27). That is a reassurance - or do we find it a problem that God always sees what we are doing?

The tragedy of today is those who are spiritually asleep - wake up those around! (1 Thess 5:6). But be slow to judge them, rather seek to increase awareness. Now is the time (Rom 13:11). Wake up your friend! Wake up society!

Maybe people just think that when they do die, they just fall asleep, so there is no problem. But there is a very real judgement.

Incidentally, just as there is no night in heaven, so there is no soul-sleep. People just look as if they are asleep (Matt 27:52, Jn 11:11, 1 Cor 15:18, etc). We will be immediately conscious. I want to see God immediately!

Prof David T Williams
Theology (retired)

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Earth School on Hogsback

On the 7th July Helen, one of our church councillors, invited members of the St Patrick’s congregation and some of her friends to the dedication of her Earth school. We were interested in how this dream came about and here is her story:

"My many tears are formed through the abuses and terrors we inflict on God’s most beautiful earth. A growing sense of my life’s purpose has been to create a space where people can come to be inspired and empowered to be a beneficial rather than destructive presence on the earth, thereby helping to realise our being made in the image of God’s love. This sense has grown into a dream of creating an Earth School here in Hogsback, to be built on Wild Fox Hill, the name of the land God has given me to look after. A wide range of people will be invited to attend the various programmes to be run here, with different programmes being developed to cater for the different groups of people. 

These groups include:
  • Young travellers who are looking for a memorable African experience and wish to learn valuable knowledge while contributing to society. A 6 month to year long accredited course will be offered for them. 
  • Christians who desire to learn about being effective stewards of God’s creation. A one week course, drawing from Biblical inspiration and practical action, will be offered with options to extend this into further courses. 
  • Underprivileged children who would benefit from feeling a sense of connection with the earth, growing hope and developing earth keeping and entrepreneurial skills. A one week course will be offered. 
  • Privileged children who would benefit from loving all creation, desiring to serve and gaining practical earth keeping skills. A three to five day course will be offered. 
  • Teachers who will be offered a one week SASS accredited course to support them in linking the curriculum to environmental knowledge. 
The focus will be on the participants’:
  • HEART (love for and connection with creation will be deepened); 
  • MIND (spiritual, philosophical, scientific and practical knowledge and understanding will be gained); 
  • HANDS (earth keeping skills will be developed: e.g. permaculture, green building, bee keeping etc).
The participants will also be encouraged to participate in activities that benefit the broader Hogsback community.

Very excitingly I express with much gratitude that my mum has given me an interest free loan to see this dream begin to be realised. The loan is to assist in the construction of the first building that will form the heart of the Earth School. It has been christened the Cabin Heart project and the photos show progress thus far :) On the 7th of July, what has become a very special day to me, a ceremony was held with friends to dedicate the land and Earth School to God’s purposes. I now look forward to God building the team of people who will help realise this dream."

The members of St Patrick’s who were present were very impressed with Helen’s passion and faith and enterprise. She is an idealist and will make the world a better place making people more sensitive to our responsibility with regard the earth, just as Betty Chew had a dream to give needy children a happy holiday in the Hogsback mountains 70 years later. An look what has happened!

Community Service

Last Sunday we had our first (hopefully of many) community services at St Patrick-on-the-Hill. The congregation from the New Voice of Bethlehem congregation from down the valley came to visit our little chapel to share communion during our Anglican service.

Simon, the visiting congregation's  pastor said that they wanted to experience our kind of service to learn from us as God is our shepherd, to which Trevor, our warden, replied that we want to learn from them too, and that is how it all came about!! God is working!!!!

The message fitted in nicely with where we are trying to be, namely the story of the good Samaritan. No matter where we come from, what the colour of our skin are and which "tribe" we represent, we are all God's children and should care for each other in love!

We really enjoyed the loving spirit of community and of course the lovely singing and drums!!

The photo album is here:  and the videos can be found here:

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Pressing on! (Sermon 19th June)

Read: Phil 3:10-16 

Do you have a goal? For the church and for yourself?  Or are you spiritually complacent?

We should make progress, as God says, "be perfect"! But there are problems!

  • How can anyone be perfect? 
  • There is too little time left in my life to make a difference I have often failed before, so discouraged 
  • Or is the problem that you are just lazy? 
  • Why should we bother? 

Gratitude is a response to the grace of salvation - if he has made me his own, we should do what he wants in our life. Then surely we want the "prize of the upward call - the "well done" of the Father because we tried. So what do we do about the problems? Yes, perfection is impossible, we are never good enough, which is why we are saved by grace! Then Adam was "very good", and we should be like him. Then as Christians, we should seek to imitate Christ who was made perfect through suffering. Look at what he did for us! Is there too little time? Yes, but it is God who works, and he can perfect us.

Wesley knew the experience of total sanctification, but it did have to be repeated. What matters is that we must press on - it is in any case good for you (Rom 5:3) So what of past failures? Yes, but we should forget what lies behind (Phil 3:13). After all, God forgets our past to save us, he forgives - so should we! This should be easy for the older folks! And then we are transformed by the power of the resurrection. Paul's plea is that we might know Him better so we are perfected. We should know him in our mind - Read and study And in our spirits - Spend more time with Him

Prof David T Williams Theology (retired)

Wednesday, 11 May 2016


The following piece on Tithing was discussed at the recent Anglican Synod in Grahamestown.

The first commandment.

Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind and with all thy soul.

Before we speak about tithing can we speak about God?

1. How important is he in our lives? Does he merit full obedience? Is he number one in our lives?

2. This is a decision we have to take at all times in our lives.

3. If the answer is “Yes” then we have to be his representatives to promote our God on our earth, our land and in ourselves. We only have us to tell the world what Jesus did for all our people and how he can ensure our salvation.

4. This has to become important to us.

We will support God Our Father through our ministry and through our tithes and giving. Render unto ……… God those things that are God’s.

Leviticus 27:30 states. “All the tithes of the land, whether the seeds of the land or the fruits of the land is the Lords. It is Holy to the Lord.” All we have belongs to the Lord.

Genesis 28:22 states. “All that thou shall give me, I will surely give the tenth to the Lord”

The desire to tithe will come very readily if we put God first in our lives. Why? We are returning to God what is rightfully his. If we keep it we cannot tell the world God is real and paramount in our lives. We are shortchanging him.

God’s ministry needs these funds very desperately and this is why all our financial obedience is vital.

Giving a tithe is acknowledgement that all we have is from Christ and our tithe is returning a small part of his favour for the purposes for which it is (as you all know) sorely needed for Gods ministry.

Tithing works

(Mal 3:10) Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

Let me give you some examples of how God rewards tithing.

St Patricks in Hogsback started in 2005 to tithe. The first annual tithe amounted to R 600.

Ten years later, with a congregation of not more than 50 persons at the most, and more than half of them not Anglicans, the annual tithe income was R 94 015. This is an increase of approximately 150 times our original tithing income. “Test me and see?”

Why did this happen?

Our chapel council decided to tithe on all our income and religiously paid our 10% to the needy. So in 2015, St Patricks paid out R 16 554 as our tithe. (Test me and see if …)

In addition St Patricks was able, together with our annual Diocesan assessment, able to give 40% of our income to the needy, on top of paying our priest. (Test me and see if I ……)

Tithing, according to Rev Billy Graham, makes us effective partners with God.

An extreme example! Richard Warmbrand tithed his meals to less privileged prisoners, while he was in prison!!!!

Some examples of those who tithed and God rewarded.

Mr. Cromwell of Quaker Oats tithed more than 60% of his income.

Mr. Colgate of Toothpaste fame did likewise.

Mr. Rockerfeller Jnr tithed his first 1.50 dollar income.

Mr. A. A. Hyde even started tithing when he was in debt and God favored his business fourfold. God is the first creditor.

Mr. W. R. Speight says, “Money can’t be put to a higher use than honoring God.”

There are numerous other examples of Christians who have been faithful and tithed and God has prospered them extraordinarily. (Test me and see …..)

Those who receive tithes are still obliged to tithe themselves. We must tithe our tithes received!

A Christian who tithes will be surprised at:

1. The amount of money he has for the Lords work.

2. The deepening of his spiritual life after paying his tithes.

3. The ease of meeting his obligations with the remaining 9/10ths.

4. Ease of increasing the 10%.

5. The ease of managing the 9/10th remaining.

6. The surprise for not adopting the plan sooner.

Our Diocese now has to resort to commercial fund raising to provide the necessary ministry to its people because of the lack of tithing among our congregations. This reflects poorly on our trust of, and faith in God. Jesus died for us for what?

What is the solution?

Each congregation (including the Diocese and the Cathedral) must consciously decide to tithe in faith, at the start, at least 10% of their gross income as the relevant council determines. (Test me and see if I will not reward you). In a short time the 10% will increase but the income will escalate because we are all faithful. We, as representatives of our parishioners, will get this message to our congregants because we put God first in our Churches - but we must start with ourselves.

Finally I pray for Holy Spirit guidance and active support for all our people in our Diocese. Then our finances will overflow and we can truly honor God magnificently. And won’t our Bishop, then, praise God and the Holy Spirit?

Watch the flood gates!!