This being my last report at St Patrick’s, I look back over the 9 years I have been here, and find a story of tremendous blessing and growth in our relationship with God. How special it has been!
Trevor has covered much of what has happened during the year, and I will just give the statistics and a comment. We started 2015 with a membership of 47 individual people. During the year we lost Ticia Davies, Siya Bakula, Jeff and Jane Every, Dick Richter, J-P Verster and Terry Barber who all moved away. But we ended the year with 50 members, which means new members! We particularly welcome Rev Dr Liz Thomas, Peter Smooi and Callie Lane, who are faithful members. Liz made the move up to Hogsback at just the right moment, and we give thanks for God’s provision.
We are truly blessed to have people like this joining our congregation, and it can only bode well for the future years at St Patrick’s.
While this past year has been hard for many of us, we need to be prepared for what may be an even more difficult year in 2016/7; certainly it will be tough economically. Being prepared for Christians is about putting on the whole armour of God so that we are able to withstand Satan’s efforts to dislodge our peace and make us panic and so make unfaithful decisions. As long as we stick with what God has taught us, and the resources God has given us, we will grow stronger and stronger, and our peace and joy will increase.
I have been thrilled to hear reports from the Monday Prayer Group; what is happening there is truly the work of the Kingdom. The Tuesday group goes on well. The annual Retreat has been an amazing blessing to all who have attended. I commend it to you this year.
I believe that one can take the spiritual ‘temperature’ of a parish by looking at the finances. We are certainly very healthy and continually glorifying God in the use of our money. So he keeps blessing us with more! I do so hope that my vision of a small multi-purpose hall to be used for outreach primarily to children and young people (that is, all under 50!) will be realised. It will mean that we finally get to serve an important section of our community that has been poorly served up till now. And we will have a lovely, cosy place for tea in the depths of winter.
As you all know by now, I will be leaving St Patrick’s at the end of May, my last service being the 22nd.
I feel very blessed to be able to say that I have absolutely no worries about doing this because of the way that St Patrick’s is run, and because God has given us a wonderful new priest in the person of Liz Thomas. Mind you, she will have only a fraction of the time I have had, since she is employed full-time by For Hare.
The team Trevor-and-Ann Webster is amazing. Trevor is a great Churchwarden and keeps things going super-efficiently, so that people think there is nothing to it. Believe me, there is plenty that he does. He would, however, find it extremely difficult to be so good at it without Ann, who sees that everything actually happens, the people are fed, the details are covered and there is music as well! That is, I suppose, what a good marriage is about – supporting each other all the way. Thank you from the depths of my heart, Ann and Trevor.
Norma Fivaz is another one who quietly gets on and does a huge amount of work. She, like Ann, plays for weddings, funerals, services and special occasions. She arranges the Retreat; she and Ann produce the wonderful Carol Service each year, she preaches and shares leading services with Ann. She is an unusual person in the Church – an NG member licensed to an Anglican bishop! Thank you, too, Norma, for your great help and constant support.
Our third Lay Minister is Lynn, who spends much of her time working away from Hogsback, but always slots right back into her liturgical role as soon as she returns. She is also sadly leaving ST Patrick’s, in April. Lynn and I have served as a team at both St Peter’s in Camps Bay and St Patrick’s here, and she is a good person to have around. She has a great pastoral ministry – there are many people who are far more comfortable talking to her than to me. I value her highly. I shall particularly miss our Morning and Evening Prayers. Thank you, Lynn.
This last while we have been very grateful for Ansie Klaassen’s Caritas ministry. She has been visiting the sick on behalf of the parish, and has even arranged for food to be brought to those who are temporarily unable to see to themselves. Thank you, Ansie, for this important work.
The Fabric Officer (who oversees the maintenance of the buildings), Sidespeople, Sacristans, flower arrangers (also under Ansie) and our special Carol Nieth who sees to all the weddings, dealing with their complications, also deserve a big thank you. Carol has also been responsible for having the church cleaned, and we were very sad when Monica Semane, her worker, died at the end of last month. We made a small donation to the funeral on your behalf. Thank you for seeing to this so faithfully every week, Carol, in spite of your tight schedule at home.
Thank you, too, to Maggie for keeping our website up-to-date with pictures, and information whenever I remember to send in the pew leaflets! And Chris Everton who has fixed our driveway and provided labour and gravel when needed, as well as planting for us is a hero. There are so many others who contribute in many, many ways, and I want you to know how grateful I am to have had the privilege of serving you, and how happy I am to hand over to the new Council with confidence and gratitude.
God has led us this far and we have each grown in grace. May we continue to grow in obedience and joy in the service of our blessed Lord in 2016 so that the Kingdom of God may find root in many more lives in Hogsback and beyond.
God bless us all.