Dear Family of St John’s

I think that everyone knows that I love doing road trips, and the coffee that goes along with those road trips! Well, during my leave earlier in January, my husband and I set off on another road trip.

We had 10 days before I had to be back at work, and no plans. We set ourselves a few ‘rules’. We were heading west. I hoped to read the West Coast and explore that area a little, but wasn’t going to be disappointed if we didn’t get that far. We wouldn’t travel on the main coastal road, the N2, unless absolutely necessary. We also didn’t plan where we were going until the day before. We’d then decide if we wanted to stay where we were for another night or move on. And we’d only look for accommodation once we’d decided, the day before!

Now, something else you might know about me is that I like to have a plan and know what’s happening. So, this kind of holiday isn’t always easy for me. But, we’d tried it out last year on our trip to Mozambique and back, and had loved it. So, I planned to have no plans – and that was enough of a plan to keep me happy!

We found some absolute gems on our meanderings! Did you know that there’s a museum in Moorreesburg dedicated to the Wheat Industry? I hadn’t heard of Moorreesburg, let alone the museum. It was fascinating. Did you know that Bokomo was the first milling company in South Africa? It stands for De Boeren Ko-operatieve Molen Maatschappij Beperkt. Huh! Who knew? And the lady behind the reception desk was incredibly friendly and welcoming.

At the CP Nel Museum in Oudtshoorn, which we visited to learn more about the Ostrich Feather industry, we discovered another snippet of information we didn’t know. Oudtshoorn was home to 500 Polish orphans who lived there for four and a half years during the second world war. I never knew that.

We stayed at a fabulous B&B in Barrydale, owned by a German couple. They still had all their Christmas decorations up, an exquisite collection that they’ve been building for over forty years. I also discovered a variety of agapanthus in their garden that I’d like to hunt down, it’s a deep purple/black colour and absolutely stunning. It’s called Black Jack, let me know if you see it! Breakfast was served ‘family-style’ at their large dining room table. We chatted over coffee for ages, with the hosts and another family of five who were vising South Africa from Germany. What a wonderful conversation sharing viewpoints and history about our respective countries.

In Riebeek-Kasteel we stayed in a ‘tiny house’ in an olive orchard and learnt more about the olive industry in South Africa. We visited a spot that sold every olive product you could possibly dream of – and they had tasters of everything! My husband developed a slightly panicked look when he noticed that I’d picked up a basket and was rapidly filling it with all the wonderful smoked olives, dried olives, olive pastes, 3kg tubs of olives… he dragged me our of there far too soon.

We stopped at a very random looking farmstall on the way out of Clanwilliam heading to Lambert’s Bay (photo above). A young farmer was manning the shop and told us all about the potato industry in the area while making me coffee with condensed milk. The coffee was lovely, and we hadn’t known that potatoes grew in the area. The landscape seemed so dry and quite barren in places. But, then we’d come across a massive field of green – potatoes. Apparently, there’s a lot of underground water there.

On our way from Langebaan to Paternoster we stopped in at the West Coast Fossil Park. If you’re ever in the area, it’s well-worth a stop. I didn’t know that the area was home to the short-necked long-horned giraffe and African bears (that stood up to 3m tall) 5 million years ago. On our tour we saw a section of the excavation that has been preserved, and all the fossilised remains that are still there.

We wound our back home remarking on the wonderful little places we had seen, the friendly people we had met, and everything we had learned at our various stops.

I thought about how lovely the 10 days away had been, living at a slower pace. Having the time to engage in the random conversations with people we’d never met and learn from them.

I thought about how much God had shown me in our time away. I saw more of His beautiful creation, I have hundreds of photos of gorgeous landscapes and sunsets. But, I saw more in the people I encountered. I had time to see more within myself.

I have come back with renewed determination to see more. Life passes so quickly. I can’t believe I am now in my third year as your Rector. There are parts of the last two years that happened so fast I barely have any memory of it. I’m sure we can all relate to that in some way or another.

But, what if we asked God each morning to open our eyes. That we might see the people He needs us to love, that we might see the areas He needs us to focus on, that we might see His beauty round us.

What if we tried to slow down, just a fraction, and take in the wonderful people we live alongside, the beautiful country we call our home, and the amazing hope we have in our Lord.

What if?

Open my eyes, Lord, that I might truly see.

With love
Your friend and rector,

For anyone not able to be here on Sunday, carwash bookings can also be done via the church office (041 581 2162) or on a first come, first served basis next Sunday.

There will be yellow slips available from Sunday, to indicate where you are able to assist. You are also welcome to click on the button to follow the link to complete the form online if you prefer.

Sincere condolences to Renee Whittal and family on the death of her grandmother, Martie Smith on 2 Jan. The memorial service will be on Tuesday. Please keep them in your prayers.

Saturday, 20 January from 09:30 to 10:30 @ the Beacon

The first WESSA Algoa Bay Branch beach clean-up for 2024, will be in Summerstrand starting at the Beacon at the intersection of Marine Drive and Admiralty Way, on Saturday 20 January 2024 from 09:30 to 10:30.

This stretch of coastline has a serious litter problem for a variety of reasons and needs regular and ongoing clean-ups. We are hoping that by concentrating on this spot, we can stop as much of this litter as possible from finding its way into the sea.

There is ample parking at the Beacon and as usual please bring hats, sunscreen, water and gloves if possible. We will provide litter bags.

Join us for yet another Walk with a Purpose. Your regular efforts are greatly appreciated, and we look forward to seeing you there again.

For more information contact Tim at 082 775 8816.


Mission Focus

How long have you and your family been members at St John’s?

± 78 years

Which service do you mostly attend and why?  

9:30, since our 4 children started Sunday School, we attended and it has become routine.

What do you love most about St John’s?

Everything! The clergy, staff and the people who attend. Feeling close to God.

Do you have any pets?  


What are your interests and hobbies?

Gardening, playing Canasta, Knitting.

What’s your favourite scripture verse?

Love the Psalms. – 91:2 My refuge and my fortress, the God in whom I trust.

What’s your favourite hymn or song?

Turn your eyes upon Jesus.

What’s your biggest frustration?


What’s your biggest joy?

Spending time with family and friends.

Mission Focus

How long have you and your family been members at St John’s?

± 26 years

Which service do you mostly attend and why?  

Wednesday morning

What do you love most about St John’s?

Being part of a caring and supportive Church Family.

Do you have any pets?  

Sadly, all my Pets have gone over the Rainbow.

What are your interests and hobbies?

I have tried my hand at a few arts and crafts! I also like reading, knitting and walking.

What’s your favourite scripture verse?

Psalm 23 Verse One.
The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.

What’s your favourite hymn or song?

How Great Thou Art.

What’s your biggest frustration?

Load Shedding

What’s your biggest joy?

My grandchildren

Mission Focus

Sudan: Please continue to pray for Sudan, where war and looting continues. Pray for the children who are currently out of school because of the fighting. Many of the staff from the Youth With a Mission (YWAM) base in Khartoum have scattered to other parts of the country – and some have started ministering to local communities. We give thanks for these opportunities and pray that our Lord will bring hope and light in these dark times.

St John’s is looking to grow our mission portfolio leadership team. Please prayerfully consider if you would like to join the team.

Contact Nicky: 0828376356.

Pray for the Holy Land

We ring the bell at 12 noon daily to call everyone to pray for the people of the Holy Land. Click this link to download the prayer.


Education | Wisdom | Courage

This week's birthdays

21 Jan: Jesse Willemse

22 Jan: Diana Buchanan

23 Jan: Hlombe Madabane, Michelle Werth, Pam McCullum, Sandra Sendall

24 Jan: Geoffrey King, Mark Derry, Penny Roberts, Susan Speyers, Tina Pramod, Val Schärges

25 Jan: Basil Boucher, Giana Doubell

26 Jan: Kristen Thomas, Thembu Ntsukunyane, Thomas Southway

This week's anniversaries

21 Jan: Eddie and Anne Sterley

22 Jan: Richard and Tracy Maclear

25 Jan: Rob & Michelle Deas

27 Jan: Christ & Helene Masson



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