Monday, 18 September 2017

St Bartholomew’s 160th Celebrations

I feel moved to share with the congregation of St Patrick’s the celebrations of St Bart’s, Alice, this week-end. St Bart’s is, in a way, our ‘mother church’ as when the Hobart Houghtons left St Bart’s to live in Innisfree, Hogsback, they built St Patrick’s. The two congregations used to picnic together at Hogsback at Christmas time. We were invited to participate in the celebrations.

1 Our Contribution to the celebrations:

Liz Thomas gave advice to the St Bart’s planning committee on how to manage their celebration which they implemented and were grateful; Derek Fivaz made a section of the crucifix that was used in the service; Carol Nieth created flower arrangements for the service; we lent our bishop’s chair for the Archbishop and I wrote a history of the church that was sold for funds and used by the bishops for their speeches. We enjoyed the functions and they appreciated the support of St Patrick’s.

2 The celebrations covered a wide range of activities:

Chief Burns-Ncamashe, who lives in the Chumie Valley, gave his subjects an impassioned speech on their history and later made a presentation to the Archbishop; Bishop Ebenezer Ntali spoke at the Gala Dinner on our heritage and the positives of the missionary legacy; Archbishop Thabo Makgoba preached on social justice and the need for principled stands at the colourful Communion Service. It was noticeable to see the mutually respectful relationship between the church and the Chief. The Archbishop explained that he had apologised to the chief for the damage done to his people by colonialism and the chief made a presentation to the church in appreciation for its moral stand.

3 Significance of the Church in local affairs:

The celebrations were fun and an impressive get-together of the diocese and interested partners. What was noteworthy was the respect for our heritage and the role of the missionaries; respect for conservation and the green lobby; harmony between the leadership of the church and that of the Rharabe Gwali tribe; and the sincerity and leadership of the Anglican Church in making principled stands for social justice and a more equal society. The Anglican Church leadership gives positive leadership and hope for our country and is not scared of criticising wrong doing.

We left the festivities with renewed hope for the church leadership of the Anglican Church and glad that we could have been part of the ceremonies. It was very valuable being part of the wider Christian church.

Trevor Webster
18 September 2017

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