Friday, 24 January 2014

Welcome to 2014 at St Andrew's Church, Newlands

Dear Friends

We've had a wonderful Advent and Christmas Season, celebrated well and fully: a wonderful Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols with the UCT Choir; a friendly and welcoming evening of Carols in the Garden; a full Church of children, parents and grandparents for the Crib service; a well attended Midnight Mass and full Christmas Day services. In the midst of it all we had the opportunity to celebrate Madiba's life, and in mourning his passing reflect on the incredible legacy he has left us and the world, which became an important focus for our Day of Prayer for our Nation on the 16th of December. Thank you to all who helped facilitate these amazing and life-giving moments in our Church life.

2014 has arrived and is already almost a month old, gaining strength and focus! And another important season of the Church - Lent and Easter - lies ahead. Before we reach Lent in early March, February will give us an opportunity to reflect on our Church life as we meet in Annual Vestry: an opportunity to take account of the last year, and together with our new Rector reflect on our future ... please plan to be with us on Thursday 27 February 2014 at 19:30 for this important occassion.

We are running a Baptism Course for parents and God-parents on Sun 2 & 9 February at 11:00 with an opportunity for children to be Baptised on 16 February at the 09:00 service. Baptism is all about belonging, becoming part of the family of God, and an important reminder to us all of the call to Faith and God's presence in our lives and community.

We're looking for a new convenor for our Shrove Tuesday Pancake event. If you may be able to help, or aware of a friend in the Church who is keen to, please let Bev in the Office know. Our Pancake evening is always a superb opportunity to have some fun and good fellowship, and a space where we can invite friends and family who may find "normal" Church a little intimidating or over-institutionalised.

We have a funeral this afternoon at 15:00 for Anthony Hall who passed away this week, and a Memorial Service on Wednesday at 14:00 for Felicia Barnard who died last week. If you are able to attend either of these services in support of the families and close friends you are most welcome. I do encourage you to keep the families in prayerful support. May Anthony and Felicia rest in peace and rise in glory!

For everyone who has been away over Christmas/New Year: welcome back! I hope you have had a good break, and that together with those of us who have "stayed home" are ready for the challenges and opportunities 2014 will provide, both within the context of Faith and also of life. If you've been away you may have missed Denise Ackerman's sermon in which she encouraged us to strengthen our trust in God, using the gift of Scripture, prayer and opportunities for reflection. We've subsequently also reflected on the relationship between belief and trust in living out our Faith in daily life; and this last Sunday on Evangelism: noticing what God is doing around us, sharing that with others in everyday conversation, and perhaps encouraging others to participate in these spaces.

I look forward, together with Dawn, in sharing the journey of Faith and life with you all in the months that lie ahead. A blessed 2014!

Blessings
Mark

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