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.