19 June 2015

Family and Youth Services/Events

Dear Friends

One of our core spaces for faith development as Anglicans is our immersion in sacramental worship. We know this as adults, but often forget this when it comes to our children. And we are surprised when our children in the suburban context often wander off as teenagers and young adults, despite their lack of exposure to sacramental worship in their formative years. At St Andrew's we offer the following opportunities for our children and Teenagers immersion in worship:

Morning Family Services

Our next quarterly morning Family Service takes place this Sunday, 21 June 2015, at 09:00. We recognise that it is difficult to keep younger children engaged for an extended period of worship, but really do encourage parents to persevere! Our older children and Teenagers are encouraged to directly participate with the readings and prayers, and the younger children to have time out of the pews by coming forward to sit in front for the participative sermon, and later in the service to join us around the altar for the Eucharistic prayer where we consecrate the bread and wine. Parents are also welcome to come forward where younger children may be anxious to do so on their own.

Evening Family-focused Services

We offer a monthly evening Family-focused Service for families with Teenagers or young adults who wish to worship together. Church Council has agreed that these now take place on the 4th Sunday of each month, and our next Family-focused Service will take place on Sunday 28 June 2015 at 18:30. School holidays, exams and long-weekends do prove a challenge to these events, and again some perseverance is required! Again, opportunity for our young people to be directly involved in readings, prayers and sidepersons duties, is offered. We seek to keep this service more informal in nature. Refreshments (Pizza!) are offered on the lawn after the service.

Archdeaconry Youth Services

At Archdeaconry level (we belong to the Archdeaconry of Rondebosch, which includes Rondebosch, Claremont, Newlands, and Protea) the involvement of our youth is a concern for all our Churches. We at St Andrew's will host the next Archdeaconry Youth Service on Sunday 26 July 2015 at 18:30. This will combine with our July Family-focused Service, and it will be great to have our youth and families participating, please.

Youth Event

Raymond Quinlan is organising a hike for our Teenagers up Plattekloof Gorge to the top of Table Mountain on Saturday 27 June 2015, 09:00 for 09:30. He would be keen for parents or other members of the Parish to join him for this. Raymond can be contacted on 0824277174 or raymondquinlan@hotmail.com if you are interested in participating.


Winter Newsletter 2015: Article

Dear Friends

As always, time seems to move forward far faster than it possibly should! Winter is upon us, marked by late rains in June; half the year has passed and yet seemingly only just begun. Since our last Newsletter we have journeyed through the Seasons of Lent and Easter, entering now into the extended Season of Sundays after Pentecost that will take us through Winter and Spring and into early Summer. In terms of Church activities, Lent was marked by our Parish Camp in early March and our Lent Course that focused us on the Apostles Creed, asking us to reflect on the relevance of ancient beliefs in our 21st century world; the Season of Easter was marked by The Marriage Course.

The Parish Camp

This was a really good time away together, and my thanks to all who were able to join us. There was lots of time for fellowship and relaxation together. We did spend some time, though, applying our minds on the Saturday morning to Acts 2:42-47 while reflecting on the theme "serving each other; serving the world". We drew on the links between teaching,  fellowship, the sharing of meals, and prayer in terms of serving each other;  and on signs and wonders, the sale of property and possessions, giving to those in need, and generosity in terms of serving the world. Out of these reflections we moved into discussion groups, which highlighted the following as needing to be priority for us at St Andrew's:

Priority One

Preaching (the present quality and variety was affirmed); Home Groups (that the present Groups should be supplemented with new groups, for which leaders need to be identified); Young People (identify needs, create opportunity for volunteerism, and explore a supper club)

Priority Two

Regular multi-generational "Coffee Afternoons"; teaching on Contemplative Prayer and on "Being Anglican"; Newcomers (create room to be involved beyond the superficial); Programmes (Alpha, Renew, The Marriage Course, etc)

Priority Three

Worship (forms of worship, a review of service times, opportunity for quiet); Men's Breakfast; Ministry to The Needy (fewer, bigger projects with more opportunity for active involvement); Prayerfulness (prayerful support, being a "voice of hope"); Evangelism Training (how to market our community, attract visitors to belong; impact on our communities for Christ)

Parish Council has noted these priorities, but the key to implementation is finding people who will have the passion and time to help further interrogate, and then implement, these priorities in practical ways.

What of the above has warmed your interest? If you are sensing a gentle pressure from the Holy Spirit, please come and chat with myself, or a member of Council, or a Layminister,  and we can explore this prompting further. God generally prompts more than one person, so while one needs to take that step of Faith and speak to someone, often God already has a partner lined up. But you'll never know if you don't ask... and I look forward to a conversation with you.

The Marriage Course

You may have noted (above) that one of the items noted under Priority Two in our group discussions at the Parish Camp were programmes such as Alpha and The Marriage Course, both of which have their origins at Holy Trinity, Brompton, in the UK. Just as the Lent Course was an offering to us during the Season of Lent, so The Marriage Course has been an offering to us during the Season of Easter. The Easter Season reminds us about the essentials of our Christian Faith (death, resurrection, renewal), and The Marriage Course likewise does this in terms of our marriage relationships (the essentials of strong foundations, artful communication, resolved conflict, the power of forgiveness, the impact of wider family past and present, good sex, and putting our love into action).

Nine couples participated this year, and all completed the course strengthened in these essentials. Dawn and I were privileged to be able to participate (and I must admit to Dawn being keener than I was to start with). I must also admit to being surprised! It really was good, and enabled us to talk through numerous aspects of our relationship in a fresh and life-giving way in our twenty-fifth year together. And, of course, the weekly suppers... delicious!

This course took place (and will again next year, hopefully) because of Graham and Margie Michael's passion and commitment to facilitating this ministry. And also due to their willingness to draw others into the team (Waitrons Richard & Debbie Emery, and Edgar & Beryl Ruiters). My thanks to them all for their gift of ministry to us. And they are not alone in setting this example.


One of the huge challenges any volunteer organisation faces is ensuring people always feel welcome to participate in leadership and facilitation spaces, and the Church experiences this, too. I encourage you to look around: how often do familiar faces reappear in different settings at St Andrew's? There is comfort in seeing a specific face at the altar, then in the kitchen,  then on Church Council; but is it good for us as a community? There is a danger that we rely on the goodwill of the few, and take their availability and passion for granted. Or, as in the case of the Layministers, for example, there seems to be a large group, but we forget that there are five services a week at St Andrew's and not all Layministers are available all the time, or during the week, due to work or travel or illness.

A number of our coordinators and facilitators of key ministries have indicated a need to step back after numerous years of active and faithful service, but Council is finding it difficult to identify people willing to accept appointment. Among others, we are looking for new coordinators for the Morning Market, Children's Church, and Flower Guild. We're needing to grow the Layministers team, find additional Children's Church teachers, Home Group leaders, flower-arrangers, people to serve tea, sidespeople, readers. We need to add to our team of available people to help with various Ministry to the Needy projects, and people to participate in the Fundraising Committee for our new building project.

The temptation is to see people busy and active and involved and to say either, "They don't need me!" or, "There's no space for me!" I wish to suggest that neither statement is ever true... we need your participation, and we need more than just your help (although help is valued). If I may be so bold, "participation" is about being proactively willing to either lead or support depending on the need; it is about taking "ownership" of our community life. The nature of the Church (in the broadest sense) is that even if you don't belong, you do!

What are your gifts? What are your interests? What is your passion? How can you participate in the St Andrew's call to serve each other  and to serve the world?

I look forward to our next conversation, you and me.

Love and Blessings