Saturday, 21 December 2019

Christmas Services

Christmas in Hogsback is always a very special occasion. Being so far from the hustle and bustle of of the commercial Christmas vibe in cities, provide for an amazingly blessed setting where we can focus on God's greatest love for us!

Christmas shopping is limited to locally produced labour of love and our version of jingle bells is the squawking of loeries in the trees and the occasional flash of red of their wings as they play from tree to tree. The focus here is family, friends and the soft embrace of God in nature as we wait for more rain blessings.

Most of us seem to have had a hard and busy 2019 and our serene little chapel is just the place to come and take a breather. We do have our usual, very festive Christmas eve carol service where the little ones gets to build the nativity scene and we all get to sing our favourite christ-mas songs in awe of little Jesus who came to save us. It will take place on Tuesday the 24th at  5:30pm. All is welcome and we advice you to come early as we have limited space.

Our Christmas day services will take place at 8am and 10am on Wednesday the 25th. The early service will be an Anglican mass and the later one will be a joyous family affair.

Friday, 25 October 2019

2019 St Patrick on the Hill Annual Retreat

This year we have made the decision to not have our retreat in and around Hogsback, but to take some time out to go and recharge our spiritual batteries at one of our favourite locations in Keiskammahoek, Cata Lodge. There is something really special in getting away from our normal grind and responsibilities, and spend some time out with God and fellow Christ followers in a really beautiful and inspiring setting.

This year we are really blessed to have Dr Bill Domeris leading our retreat. Our topic for the retreat is "Loving God" and Bill will deal with all the dimensions of loving God, with all our heart, soul, strength and mind. This is a time for us to renew our relationship with God. We will emerge ourselves in the topic over 4 sessions and there will also be time to go and stroll through the Afro-montana forests, while contemplating our closeness with our awesome God.

Cata lodge is about an hour an a half from Hogsback and is situated very high up in the Keiskammahoek mountains overlooking the Cata dam. The facilities are outstanding and the beautiful setting lends itself to inspiring reflection! You will stay in an award winning, three-star self-catering accommodation which includes self-catering chalets, a communal retreat area consisting of a fully equipped kitchen, a central fireplace, a dining area where you can enjoy your meals and a lounge area where you can chill paging through wonderful coffee table books and magazines. There is also an outdoor braai lapa overlooking the mountains and Cata village.

Cost and logistics:
The cost per person is R500 for the 2 nights accommodation and includes the 4 guided sessions. It excludes food and Maggie will tell you what to bring with, just check with her when you book your place.

We will depart at 10am on Thursday the 14th of November from Hogsback Information Centre and share lifts. We will return to Hogsback after lunch on Saturday afternoon, the 16th.

How to book:
  • Send Maggie a Whatsapp message (0835566962) to book your place, after which she will confirm your booking with you and provide you with banking details for payment.              
  • Closer to the date Maggie will tell you what to bring  regarding food and drinks as well as travel arrangements. 

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Praying for rain

As you all know our little village is currently experiencing a severe water crisis. We ask that you all pray with us for rain for Hogsback. We will be gathering at the Village Green opposite the arboretum (next to the Arminel) at 12 noon for 15 minutes of prayer. Let's ask God together for the blessing of rain as our dam is empty.

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Wrapping up for winter!

This afternoon the senior residents of Boldpoint congregated at their community hall at 5 pm. An icy south-easterly wind was driving the message loud and clear: "Winter has arrived".It was an appropriate day and moment to distribute warm, fluffy blankets to elderly folk.

A good representation of the Boldpoint community forum members were present. Siya Madondile had negotiated with his committee and a list of 13 households' names were compiled. The criteria for this warm little blessing, were the most elderly, needy, frail and un-well residents.

The event started off with prayer, where Norma asked God's special blessing on each of these special members of our community. The blankets were presented to each household, with a photograph taken of each, to capture the joy and gratitude. They then blessed us and touch everybody deeply with hymnal songs of praise and thanksgiving.

Simon closed the event with a short speech where he expressed their sincere appreciation to the Council of St Patrick, for providing warmth and love in this manner. Thank you to Jan Delport, the board member for our local outreach organisation in Hogsback, Jikani, Norma Fivaz as well as Siya and his committee for helping to spread of a bit of warm for this winter. May they all feel the love of God enveloping them every time they wrap up!


Sunday, 12 May 2019

Mothers day Service

This morning we celebrated all our village mothers, with treats and poems as well as an inspiring service by our resident priest, Liz.

Trevor, our warden, also did a beautiful poem to celebrate mothers.

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Easter Services

You are warmly invited to come and join us as we celebrate Easter at St Patrick on the Hill Chapel. Out Easter services is a time of deep reflection and remembering our Saviour's  sacrifice for us. The chapel services are as follows:

  • Friday 19 April
    12 noon to 13h30
  • Sunday 10 o'clock 

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Wednesday Wisdom: Make me a channel of your peace

The words of the Prayer of St Francis of Assisi, set to music in the chant-like melody created by the South African songwriter Sebastian Temple in 1967, are beautiful. The wisdom encapsulated in the hymn sings out to the simplicity of what lies at the root of human-ness.

It matters not what faith one chooses to follow; it is universal that in seeing and reaching out to the souls of those around us we experience life to its fullest.

There is little, if anything, more meaningful than feeling loved; understood; hopeful; consoled; pardoned when necessary and having the ability to walk and live in the light. When others embrace us in this way, we thrive.

It is in the giving and receiving of these most basic human offerings that we connect with the essence of being, in both the best and the worst of times.

Reflecting on the warmth and closeness shared during our chapel service at the beautiful St Patrick’s-on-the-Hill on the last day of March 2019, it struck me yet again, how the busy-ness of modern life so often blinds and deafens to the extent that we fail to engage and experience the full strength and impact of our personal power.

While the world spins; titles and promotions are chased; technology develops and replaces the work of human hands; science discovers and we get caught up in the race towards ‘the next best thing’ in the pursuit of advancement, we become vulnerable to forgetting that in the end, the most honest memory and legacy we can leave, is that of who we were and how we connected with one another, as people.

The community in which I have been living for the past year survives through drought, fire and flood, and thrives through festival, celebration and day-to-day living; ensuring that busy-ness, for its own sake, is pushed aside in the interests of connectivity. That is not to say that folk are not busy. They are, but it is their choice to balance activity with the channelling of a peace that emanates from the most pure recognition of what South Africans refer to as ‘Ubuntu,’ which draws people together.

The resonance of the words of St Francis of Assisi, the power of giving and receiving and the strength of community – Ubuntu – could not have been more soulfully experienced than when one of our members shared her journey of the imminent adoption of her infant daughter during the above-mentioned service. There can be no further search for meaning and no greater sense of human-ness than in a moment when one becomes an integral part of the palpable love demonstrated by hugs, smiles and tears of joy, all while asking what is needed, how to help and what support can be provided. The giving and receiving was perfect in its completeness as we all became part of the story.

There are opportunities all around us, every day, to share the spirit of peace and connectivity with one another, whether something said; an action carried out or merely the offering of a listening ear, a shoulder to lean on or a hand to hold.

Opportunity is not always grand and loud, with the trimmings of recognition and favour; nor does measuring success by some man-made socially or intellectually created methodology always equate to being successful.

Every one of us has the ability to become an instrument of adding value to the life of another, every day. No more is required than conscious awareness and the mindful use of the many moments in which it is possible to connect in this spirit of human-ness.
ELISE HOFFMANN 3rd of April 2019 Re-posted with permission from:

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Sunday Service: Our cup overflows

This morning our theme was "our cup overflows" which looked at various places in the Bible that referenced the use of a cup. We also inaugurated our new cup or chalice that will replace the dove that fell down on our prayer trail. We invite everybody to come and find their own message from God when they walk the trail and pray.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Sunday Service: What is our calling?

This morning our service Anglican and lead by Liz where helps us to think about what is our calling.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Sunday service: He ever lives to make intercession (Heb 7:25)

 Reading: Psalm 121, Heb 7:23-28

We are spending a lot of time in the process of leaving; so did Jesus – he prepared the disciples (Jn 14-16, which includes five sections on the Spirit).  But leaving is a preparation for the future!  So what then? What Would Jesus Do?

Jesus was not idle! He continues to work (Jn 5:17). Although He sat down (Heb 10:12), it was not because he stopped; many sit to work.  It was to relate to His Father.  Indeed he continued to work by sending the Spirit - and us!

In particular, Jesus prayed. If he did, how much more we should!  Indeed, prayer is essential - it is GOD who works! But if we do not ask … can we expect blessing?

Indeed, He is able to save … since he prays (Heb 7:25). His salvation is both then and now (Ps 121), and to the uttermost (cf Lk 13:11).  Note it is for those who likewise pray.  Why is this, and why did Jesus have to pray?

The answer is that prayer is a natural aspect of relating.  Jesus naturally shared his concerns with his father, so his intercession for us is entirely natural.  And so it is for us - those who are saved are those in relation to God.  The relation is twofold, to God, and to Church and world. So Jesus interceded as both son of God, son of man; and the same is true for us.

Jesus prayed as the Son of God, and we can as we are adopted children of God.  So his intercession is an aspect of care for family.  He loves!  Are we concerned enough? For our natural family; for God’s family?

Then Jesus prayed as the high priest – a theme of the book.  But also all believers are priests! Do we adequately represent people to God? Do we adequately represent God to people - show the holiness that He died to give us?

Prayer a privilege for us now – it is a foretaste of the glory that we will have.  Is this our experience?  It can be!

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Sunday service : Transitions in our life

This morning Liz, our Anglican reverend, lead our Sunday service and we looked at transitions in our life. How do we deal with change?


Thursday, 10 January 2019


This post has originally appeared in one of our villager's blogs, definitely worth following: Thank you Maria for giving us permission to re-post it here!

It is a new year... Cicadas' buzzing song infuses the heat and the cat is stretched long and limp at my feet. On cool forest walks, we spot the first wild mushrooms, with the Rameron Pigeons cooing in the forest canopy. Bramble berries ripen in the sun. It is a season of abundance, fruit trees bend low under the weight of mellowing fruit, fields of wild flowers dazzle, lush green foliage whisper in the breeze. The call of the seldom seen but often heard Piet my Vrou/Red Chested Cuckoo (called the Christmas-bird by the Xhosa people for obvious reasons) has become more drawn out and less urgent. The glossy starlings amuse us with their friendly chatter. A pair of inquisitive yellow billed hornbills come to perch on our deck-railings, clearly finding us as interesting as we find them. When the sun beats down, we slip into a nearby dam, mud curling between our toes. These long Summer days seemed endless, and "playtime" came to an end all too soon. We shed our childlike skins and square our shoulders to face reality. The pace picks up and time just skips ahead - an impatient child, rather hard to keep up with.

As with previous years, I hoped to have a bible verse to make my own at the beginning of this year. A verse which would be like a reminder or promise or a "theme" for 2019. Instead, I got a word: Selah...

It is not even a word that is read out loud most of the time. A mysterious little word, with no clear interpretation or translation. In many translations of the bible, it is just spelt out phonetically from the Hebrew. The NIV have removed it altogether. It appears 74 times in the bible, 71 times in Psalms, 3 times in the book of Habakkuk. That makes it more frequent than two other "famous" Hebrew words from the bible, "Amen" and "Hallelujah". So it is an important word. Up to very recently, I just had no idea what it meant, or how I could apply it to my every day.

Some biblical scholars speculate that it’s a kind of musical notation, maybe indicating something like a key change, or a repeat. Others think maybe it marks a pause, or a shift in subject or tone. But it is still just speculation. The word Selah is, and will remain, a mystery.

For me, that’s kind of fitting. Some people may think that the Bible is simple, straightforward, and that they have it all figured out. Psalms, and especially "Selah" reminds me that there are many unanswered questions, many mysteries, "For now we see through a glass, dimly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." 1 Cor 13:12

Charles Spurgeon (the Prince of Preachers) wrote a beautiful interpretation of the word Selah - Lift up the heart. Rest in contemplation and praise. Still keep the soul in tune... let it be our aim to maintain the uprising devotion of our grateful hearts...

With that in mind, I thought to look at one Psalm and how "Selah" lifts my heart, moves me to rest in contemplation and praise, keeping my soul in tune, maintaining the uprising devotion of my grateful heart.

I chose Psalm 46. Two years ago our boys memorised this Psalm verse by verse. Reading it, I still see their faces, frowning with concentration and dramatising the "dramatic" parts with flourish.

Psalm 46 is not advice, like Proverbs or Psalm 1. It’s not about me, or you or anyone else. Psalm 46 is about God. It is reassurance about who our God is, where God is, and what God has promised us.

1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

4 There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.

5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.

6 The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.

7 The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

8 Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth.

9 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.

10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

11 The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

Firstly, our God is a God of Might. Selah. God is our strength. The one who breaks the bow and shatters the spear, who will, on the wonderful day appointed by Him, make wars cease to the end of the earth. Or, as Martin Luther famously paraphrased this Psalm: A Mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing! (bulwark: a defensive wall, rampart, fortification, protector, guard, defender; or a ship's sides above the level of the deck.)

Our God is a God of Might.

Secondly, our God is a God of Mystery. Selah. Psalm 46 reminds me that no matter how desperately I want to understand why things happen in this world, why God does or does not do the things I may think God should do… there will always be some things beyond my ability to comprehend.

I value this mystery because it enables me to feel and trust in God’s love… love that was fully revealed in Christ Jesus. It reminds me that we are the players of life in God's universe, not the playwright.

God is always greater than our understanding of Him and there will always be mystery about Him that causes us to fall down in awe and worship. This mystery, which we may try to categorise, keeps causing struggles in our life. Every time we get God tidied up like a ball of rubber bands, another end bursts out and the struggle begins all over again... until we learn to live in faith with untidy ends. If everything was clear, then faith would be irrelevant! We are not called to solve the mystery... but enter it.

Our God is a God of Might, and a God of Mystery.

But finally, and perhaps most importantly, our God is in our Midst. Selah


God with us, among us, ever present;

Before we were born, throughout our lives, and after our days are done;

God who stands with us and strengthens us today and for the road ahead;

God who watches over us, guides us, protects us, comforts us. Selah.

Might, Mystery in our Midst...

So, as the year and the unknown stretches out before you and I, lets enter into the mystery, with trusting hearts lifted up to our Mighty God. Resting in contemplation, with souls in tune, keeping the uplifted devotion of our grateful hearts.

Post by Maria Gladwin from her blog In the Shadow of His wings