Dear Family of St John’s
Last week I had the opportunity to do one of my all-time favourite things. I cuddled a baby. This little guy was only two weeks old. He still smelled new… although I suspect his mom had changed his nappy before I arrived! I loved the cuddle so much I almost forgot that baby’s dad had made me a fabulous coffee. That’s how much I love cuddling babies. I was very reluctant to leave, but I think mom and dad might have reached the point where they were wondering if I’d ever hand back their child.
And then, on the weekend I attended a baby shower. Another one of my favourite things! We measured the diameter of the mom’s tummy, we oohed and aahed over the tiny baby clothes. Every mom there expressed amazement at how tiny the clothes were. We forget how small brand-new babies are.
And, we prayed blessings over the new mom and her unborn baby, over the family she and her husband are starting. The prayers were heartfelt and expressed all the hope we have for the future of this child and the family he’s being born into. We showered our love on this new mom. And, it was beautiful.
These two experiences within a few days of each other have made me think. What is it about babies, pregnant moms, and little children that I love so much. Why do I get so much joy from being around them? It’s not just me, I don’t think.
And I started thinking about other things that bring me that level of joy. A huge thunderstorm and pelting rain, followed by the quiet, and the freshly washed smell of a ‘clean’ garden. Seeing a rainbow after the rain never fails to fill me with joy.
Sitting outside in the early morning, with a fresh cup of coffee and watching the day wake up, listening to the birds. The smell of a new book, that fresh new-page smell is almost as good as the smell of coffee!
The conclusion I’ve come to is that it’s about new life, the beginning of something that has the potential to be wonderful. But, more than that, it’s about the hope that this new life, the beginning, brings.
Did you know that the motto for Port Elizabeth talks about hope? ‘Tu Meliora Spera’ translates as an instruction… ‘You Hope for Better Things’. Isn’t that what we do as followers of Jesus?
I love this passage from 1 Peter 1:3-9 which expresses the reason for the hope that we have.
Praise to God for a living hope
“3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”(NIVUK)
No matter what the world throws at us, we can live each day with hope. Because of Jesus’ promises. We have been born again as Christians. We might not all look as cute as the two-week old I cuddled, but we can have that new beginning, the fresh start. We have the hope that comes with new life. We have the hope of wonderful things to come, better things.
Sometimes the day-to-day problems that we face cause us to forget. They dull the joy that this hope should bring. And then, we have the opportunity to do something that reminds us, like cuddling a baby. We’re reminded of the new beginning that we have in Jesus, every day. We’re reminded that there is so much to be hopeful for. We’re reminded that part of our job is to share that hope and joy with others.
And so, I encourage you to reflect on the things that bring you joy. What reminds you of the hope we have in the life that Jesus offers? Why not spend some time doing those things in the week to come. And, share that joy and hope with someone else.
Your friend and rector
Sincere condolences to the family and friends of Joan Bird on her passing last week. Please keep them in your prayers.
Spring Walk & Picnic
We will be walking from our parking lot, left into Church Road, right into 9th Avenue, Walmer, to Dodds Farm, through the Settlers Valley; and back to church (the route is approximately 4km).
Bags to be provided as we clean-up litter along the way; followed by a “bring-your-own” picnic lunch (with all your own picnic style crockery, cutlery, chairs, drinks).
Look forward to seeing you there!
Speak to Rachelle Bakker 082 719 8830 for any enquiries.
The Algoa Bay Branch of WESSA will again be participating in the clean-ups being co-ordinated by the Sustainable Seas Trust (SST) for International Coastal Clean-Up Day (ICC Day).
Saturday 16 September from 09:30 to 11:30
The SST is the national coordinator of this event this year. They made it very easy for all of us to find a spot on their map, click on the blue turtle (in the vicinity of the Beacon on the map) to see the time of the clean-up and the contact details of the coordinator: https://sstafrica.org.za/my_map/CleanSpot.html.
Some of the highlights that week are National River Clean-up Day (13 September), National Recycling Day SA (15 September), International Coastal Clean-up Day and World Clean-up Day (16 September).
The WESSA ABB effort will take place at The Beacon in Summerstrand, at the intersection of Admiralty Wayand Marine Drive. For many reasons this stretch of coastline has a serious litter problem 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. Look out for the WESSA banners.
Come along this ICC Day and join in this Walk with a Purpose. We look forward to seeing you there.
For more information contact Tim at 082 775 8816
The freezer is empty!
In times of stress, let’s come together as a congregation and share the comfort of homemade meals, reminding each other that we’re not alone and that a warm dish can truly lighten the burden we carry.
Drop off freezer meals at the church for distribution by the Pastoral Care Team.
Contact Michelle (064 682 0443).
Matric Trials • Environment • Finances
This week's birthdays
17 Sep Avril Harty, Lyn Haller
18 Sep Bryan Dickson, Thomas Lawrence
19 Sep Annaline Stiglingh, Jeanie Smith, Samantha Danoher
20 Sep Emily Miller-Plag, Kirsty Prins, Loyiso Haya, Michael Miller-Plag, Roshanda Soudien
21 Sep Anna Lascelles, Geoffrey Tarbuck, Rae Wallis
22 Sep Barbara Dawson, Christopher Tiltmann, Margaret Hoffman, Rob Edelson
23 Sep Belinda Jordan, Wallace Paterson
This week's anniversaries
18 Sep: Philip & Yoland van der Byl
21 Sep: Fons & Kirsty De Lauwere
23 Sep: Brian & Jacquelyn Anderson, Neil & Carol-Anne Bisseker
Please be aware of our clergy’s day off on Mondays. You are welcome to contact the office for assistance.
We invite you to make use of this convenient payment method for offerings and tithes.
Click here to watch a tutorial to assist you with Snapscan.