On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear.
(Isaiah 25:6; NRSV)
(Isaiah 25:6; NRSV)
Waking up to a view of the mountain each morning is a wonderful treat that Dawn and I marvel at each day. Its moods change by the hour, sometimes by the minute, and the window of every room frames a picture of subtle beauty and grandeur. It is a sight I pray we will never take for granted, or grow so used to that we forget the wonderful gift it is to us. The ocean is part of the gift, and a destination for our time off!
As the mountain and the ocean are a gift, so are you, the community of St Andrew's Church. So much speaks of your expectation and excitement for our future together. From the beautifully prepared Rectory with its fresh paint and new carpets, the well-stocked pantry cupboard and fridge, the flowers and the smiles offered in welcome to the conversations and friendly embraces. Thank you so much from both Dawn and myself for all you have given us in careful and loving preparation for our arrival.
Sunday (10 November 2013) will mark the formal beginning of my ministry as Rector of the Parish as Bishop Garth institutes and licenses me. The service will touch on much that is important to both the Christian Faith and our Anglican tradition, and we will recommit ourselves to evangelism, prayer, the Word of God, proclaiming the Good News and the celebration of and participation in the Eucharist. We will also recommit ourselves to address issues of poverty and injustice, and renew our commitment to Christ and to one another. It is on this foundation that we will then seek to live out our mission and vision as a renewed Christian Community in Newlands and beyond.
As we build together it is important that our actions flow from an active relationship with God and with each other. Dawn and I are looking forward to getting to know you all, and - taking the que from Isaiah (above) - hope to do it in the context of fellowship: over a cup of tea, a meal, a glass of wine; formally and informally, whatever the opportunities provide! And so to begin the process something about us and our family: I was born in Johannesburg and grew up in Grahamstown; Dawn was born in Stellenbosch (on the Hartenberg Estate) and grew up in Pretoria, where we met and married in 1990. With our two children we moved to White River and subsequently spent thirteen years in the Lowveld where I was Parish Priest in White River and then Nelspruit, followed by a stint as Chaplain to Uplands College and Prep, before our move back to Pretoria in 2005. Dawn has spent most of her working career in the motor industry in administration and finance, and more recently with a company that provides computer-software to motor-dealerships. She has travelled extensively and exhaustingly over the last three years doing training and implementation around the country. As part of our move to Cape Town is a commitment to a renewed life-style she has taken the plunge and resigned, and will be looking to explore different options going forward.
Our son, Nathan, now lives in Durban with his partner and Fiancée, Megan, and our grandchild, little Rebecca-Lee. He is a qualified Plumber and Megan is nearing completion of her teaching qualification through UNISA. Our daughter, Cassie, is still in Pretoria but is planning to move down to Cape Town at Christmas. She is in the middle of an apprenticeship as a Tattoo Artist, and will be looking to find an opportunity to continue this down here. They will all be with us over Christmas/New Year, so hopefully you will have a chance to meet them.
As visitors to the Church Office may have already discovered, we have two dogs: a Chow-chow by the name of Tipsy (as a puppy she had black tips to her brown fur, rather than a proclivity for Cape wines!) and a Maltese/Yorkie by the name of Danté, who has taken a liking to the attention he gets in the Church Office and keeps sneaking in when people arrive to see Bev!
Dawn and I look forward to a good and fruitful ministry in your midst, and to all the potential new opportunities and experiences that our move to Cape Town offers. Thank you again for your welcome, the beautifully prepared Rectory, the stocked kitchen cupboard, your care and love.
Mark & Dawn