Saturday, September 29, 2012

Moving fingers

One of the reasons I chose a touch screen phone as my new phone is that I was fascinated by Swype. And in the end I couldn't use the phone without it because I find it hard to type on the touch screen.
For those who don't know, you swype by running your finger across the screen keyboard from one letter in the word to the other. It is amazingly good at figuring out what you mean.
It is also sometimes very funny when it guesses wrong, and often most irreverent. Thus the great Methodist institution of Local Preachers almost invariably comes up as Local Poachers. My sons' Christian club at school is called Ambassadors, but Swype prefers Assassins. And I was somewhat bemused to look in my calendar and see that I had scheduled nepotism classes - they turned out to be baptism classes.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Being Available

I guess this is in some ways a follow on from my previous post. Tuesday and Wednesday morning have generally been times that I am available to my congregations for visits. Mostly this has gone well, but we really are running out of people to see. My 'visiting stewards' are, I think, finding me a bit demanding and I feel as if I am saying, "Isn't there just one other person we can see?" All in good spirit and I am happy with the way things are going, but my inclination is to decide to use Tuesday and Wednesday mornings for something else. And that is when disaster strikes, because as soon as I make another plan, an urgent visit is sure to arise. And so I am having to be creative in my flexibility.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I'm waiting for someone to come for a meeting. Fortunately at home. It would appear that they are not coming. That's ok, the meeting was not critical. But my time has been stretched so much that I find it hard not to feel resentful.
This is a recurring frustration cycle that I find myself in. I get busy. My appointments start to be back to back and every evening. And as I struggle to fit things in people (usually the one who set up the meeting) let me down.
But I have learnt that when I feel the frustration I have allowed myself to become too busy and too committed and take myself too seriously.
Ministry cannot be done in fifth gear. It just cannot. Simple. Because the rest of the world can't keep up.
And so I do everyone a favour by slowing down, forcing space into my schedule, and not getting too wound up about things.
It's also a good discipline to learn to trust God!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A special service

On Sunday the Confirmation Class led the service. This is a group of 16 crazy young people who have been a real pleasure to work with this year. One of our local preachers was delegated the task of coaching the class for the service so I just participated as a congregation member. I felt very proud of the kids. But it was also special because my elder son is in the confirmation class. It is so good to see how well he has been accepted. He has played bass guitar in the worship team since the beginning of the year and is now playing keyboard for the hymns. He also accompanied one of the young people who sang a song in the service and gave one of the two minute messages. God has been good to us.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Macaw Adventures

Kiki our green Hahn's Macaw is nearly one year old.
She is playful and amusing and generally we don't find her too noisy at all. She can be nippy (one of the words that she says is 'ow'!) She makes a good companion to me, although I wish I could take her outside the house without fear of her doing something silly - even with her wings clipped she manages to fly short distances.
We enjoy the funny things she says. Her favourites are variations on Kikibird, Hello Kiki and Come Kiki. Today we had a duet - I would say Come Kiki and she would say Come on - all the time steadfastly refusing to come to me from the roof of her cage. She also said 'thank you' when I put her seed in the cage this morning. She still like to say 'squawk' and best of all, my husband has taught her to purr when her head is scratched! Apparently while I was away she also informed the family one night that it was time she was covered up by approaching my youngest and instructing him 'night night'.
She has definitely been a worthwhile addition to the household.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

When you've got three months

I went to see someone this morning who doctors have given three to six months to live. It is a lady who I have got to know because she has been around at odd places I have visited. Someone who is always willing to help out. But not a big name in the church. And then she was the reason for my first visit at Groote Schuur Hospital. And now she has three months or so.
I really didn't know how I was going to approach the visit - I had no idea of how she might be feeling. It is one thing trying to imagine how one would feel in that situation, another to actually live it.
In the end it wasn't a hard visit because she is absolutely determined that nothing will defeat her. She was in pain, but up and about and planning to live the time she has without fading away. I think she knows that it will be harder than it seems, but she is going to face it.
Life is tough, but God is good.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Back to the real world

After two weeks of being on retreat and IST it's back to circuit this week. Lots of ideas from talking to colleagues while away, but also lots of work that needs to be caught up on and in a hurry. Today is catching up on some visits to people who were ill while I was away (tomorrow will be more of the same but at my other society). Tonight I have an executive/ society stewards meeting and I need to look through all the financial stuff and have a pre-meeting discussion with someone. The end of the quarter is near and I need to do the preaching plan - and this one is complicated because of Confirmation services and all the Christmas-type services. And there is the ongoing struggle to understand how my societies work and to make sure that enough of the correct procedures and practices are in place. I'm too scared to actually have a look at my things-to-do list for today to see what I have forgotten!

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Retreat Reflections

Our district retreat was dedicated to us finding renewal and a return to passion. It was great to get away and not spend the time on business or listening to lectures. There were 'lectures', but they were on being renewed. There was time for quiet and mutual support and there were people praying for the group of ministers the whole time. The time was helpful to me.
Of course, it was also nice to get to know who is who in the district a bit better and to find the times to listen to how other ministers are doing things in their churches - especially for me as I am not in my home context and there is still a lot of which I am unsure.
God is good!

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

District Retreat

I am in Paarl for a three day district ministers' retreat. Today we had cool worship and time to be quiet. Like a real retreat :-)
God is good.

Confirmation One-Day Camp

Our confirmation class was supposed to go on camp this last weekend, but something went wrong with the planning and organisation. Instead we had a day spent at the church. We did some 'talks' and some playing and some praying. We also painted the container on the church premises that is used for a skills development project. Here are some painting pictures.

Monday, September 03, 2012

I wrote a post . . .

I wrote three or four posts about things from which I feel I have been set free in the last weeks. The only thing is that I can't bring myself to publish this particular one, because I have to admit that it is not actually true, although I would like to believe it. It was about being free from being concerned about the way the church measures me and my ministry. I struggle because I can't always see the logic or the reasoning behind the things that 'they' say or do. And so I think that I should just do my best and not get too stressed about things that probably aren't that important anyway.
But actually they often cycle through my mind again and again in the middle of the night.