Before the gallery though, a post communion prayer to use next Sunday...
ELCSA Cape Orange Diocese 40th Anniversary
Wow, its been a few days. Sorry for not updating lately, the internet has not been very reliable where we have been traveling. Here is a vlog that we recorded before we went to Koffiefontein.
We are currently in Bloemfontein, in the middle of the Cape Orange Diocese first ever diocese wide rally. We will have worship tomorrow, where Bishop Jessica will preach, and then we are driving back to Joburg for one last day before we get on the plane back to Montana.
In the coming weeks, make sure to check this blog for reflections, Picture galleries, and stories about our time here in South Africa.
Although we left Montana almost a week ago, we have only been in the Cape Orange Diocese with our Companions since Friday. But these last days have been times of blessing and learning!
On Saturday, Pastor Manong took us to meet with some members of the Young Adult League, a newer organization in the Cape Orange Diocese that gives men and women past the age for the youth league but before the age (generally) for the Women’s and Men’s Prayer Leagues, a place to belong. The Leagues in the church here really are discipleship groups. There is a commitment that members make to belong and there are expectations about how to live, learn, grow and serve God and their communities, and they clearly encourage lay leadership and help to create a deep faith and are a source of strength for the church. I am impressed, and slightly jealous for the structures that allow the commitment for people to grow in faith and love for God and one another. I think the LPA program in the Montana Synod is the closest we have to this kind of organization and structure.
What we see first as we look at these groups are uniforms or shirts or ties and jackets that distinguish members of each group. Maybe in our culture that values “individuality” and “flexibility”, the uniforms seem rigid, but in another light, the uniforms provide a means of “putting on Christ”, “being clothed” for the challenges of keeping the faith. They seem to become a deeper symbol of an expression of faith.
I wonder what we lose sometimes with our insistence on individual expression over and against being members of something so much bigger than each one of us?
Please keep us in prayers for the deepening of our relationship with these wonderful people in these next days.
As calm as I try to appear there are many things that make me nervous. Preaching is not usually one of these things, but this week was different. This week I was to preach All Saints Sunday in Kimberley, South Africa. This was a congregation I did not know at all, in a country I'd been in for six days, and Afrikaans was their primary language. I was more than a little nervous.
Pr. Matthys has been at St. Sylvesters Lutheran Church for twenty-one years and he greeted me like a long lost friend. He then asked if I would baptize the two children for the morning.
Every person I met extended remarkable hospitality. A wonderful woman agreed to sit with me and guide me through the Afrikaans parts of the service. I may have been nervous leading up to the service, but by the time we began I was not thinking about myself at all. Some parts of the liturgy I understood and other parts I did my best to keep up. Each element was sung and spoken and danced with joy and grace. I was as faithful a preacher as I could be, but the people of Saint Sylvesters communicated God's love more eloquently than anything I said all day.
(I assume my sermon was okay because my wonderful guide gave me a couple of pieces of candy when I returned from the pulpit.)
Pr. Will Sappington
Peace Lutheran Church
Ok, so a little more than a vlog. We were invited by Bishop Bowles to a fundraiser, a debutante ball, put on by a local congregation.
It was a lot of fun, the kids were great. When the floor was opened up everyone was dancing, all of the generations danced together; a great way to spend a Friday night.
We also sat down this morning and reflected on our time so far in South Africa.
Hi everyone, this first update is a little later than planned, to make up for that please accept this picture of a wildebeest and zeebra as payment.
Anyway, we made it to Joburg as planned on Tuesday night after a day of travel capped off with a 15 hour flight from Atlanta. On Wednesday we met with Phil Kuntson, Regional Program Assistant for Southern Africa, ELCA who was very helpful in understanding more about the various Diocese in South Africa, and especially the Cape Orange Diocese.
We then traveled to the Apartheid Museum, where the history of apartheid, is presented bare, without leaving anything glossed over or omitted. I'll have more on that visit later (once we are somewhere with a little better upload speed.)
Today, our last day in the Johannesburg area, we went North to the Pilanesberg Game Reserve. Where the above picture was taken. No selfies with buffalo here though, there are plenty of signs reminding you that staying in the car is a pretty good idea. (More pictures when we get to better internet)
I'm sure we'll have much more from Pilanesberg and the Apartheid Museum, but tomorrow we begin the trip out to Kimberly to meet with the Diocese staff and Bishop Bowles.
This time next week, the delegation from the Montana Synod will be in South Africa. (Well, we'll be somewhere over the Atlantic, but you get the point.)
Pastor Peggy Paugh Leuzinger, Pastor Will Sappington, Colter McCarty, and Bishop Jessica Crist will all be traveling around the Cape Orange Diocese of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in South Africa. Its that entire Western Portion including Free State, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, and the Western Cape.
Here is a little size comparison
If you want to learn more about what we will be doing, go ahead and read this weeks Words from the Bishop.
This space will be where we post vlogs, pictures, written blogs, etc, whenever possible. We will be connected down there, but don't know for sure where or when we'll be able to update. So check back regularly!
More to come,