The CPE course on Friday provided some prompts that sent me back in time. The first was a particular song that we sang in Tswana at chapel. I've sung this song a number of times in different places, but we sang it properly on Friday. And I remembered a little church building with tin roof, concrete floor, tatty carpets and white walls. I remember a little congregation that sang their hearts out and lifted the roof with their worship and who sang this chorus.
I started going there as part of a project for my BTh. It required 12 hours of something or other. But I ended up spending about two and a half years with this little Methodist Church and it's sister 10 or 20km up the road.
The service started at 11am. But we always used to arrive and find the door locked and the chairs still in the shed store at the back. They never started to prepare before the preacher arrived - because so often the preacher didn't arrive. They had a new minister (a Phase 1 probationer) who was passionate, but had three churches to oversee. He and I agreed that I would anchor this church. I would attend services and support him when he was the preacher, but be ready to step in and take the other services if the preacher did not arrive. I preached quite often! The little church did well and I really loved it and its people.
This was part of a journey of work in 'squatter camps' or informal settlements that continued for about another seven years - until I left to be trained as a 'proper' minister.
I was a lunatic in those days - attending four or five services on a Sunday, usually preaching at 2 of them, sometimes more. I'd forgotten about it. It's better to remember.