Sunday, 11 July 2010

Day 25 - Into the future.....

The Final:

Spain 1 v Holland 0

These 25 days have taken us on a trip around a complex and rich diocese. On the face of it, the Northern Cape is the forgotten part of South Africa. The World Cup matches may have passed it by, but the spirit of the game is all around. Tourists who visit, discover a beautiful landscape and a deep and fascinating history, which includes one of the oldest skulls ever found, Baden Powell, gold mining and a fight for justice and freedom.

However, it is the people who hold the key to Kimberley and Kuruman's vibrancy. They all have stories to tell, and each church holds within it a deep spirituality, which celebrates all that is good about life.

The Oxford diocese, have much to learn...but also much to give. In comparison to our affluence, the needs of the poor in South Africa, for good housing, water and sanitation; the needs of the clergy for resources and support in an often lonely and isolated role; and the needs of the diocese for clergy, good administrators and central financial support, are stark reminders of how unequal the world still is.

The plight of HIV/AIDS cannot be ignored, and whilst better distribution of more effective drugs are helping individuals to have a better quality of life, the number of orphans and vulnerable children increases. We also need to take some responsibility for the scars that remain in Kimberley and Kuruman from the greed of the past - corporations who mined without thought for what they would leave behind in terms of environmental damage and health problems; those who took the riches and, literally, left a hole behind; those who fought for the superior good of the white man which has led to division and inequality.

So as a diocese we remain firmly committed to our neighbour, for what we can give and receive. Let us continue to pray...and as we do let us remember these verses from 2 Corinthians 4.

'For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness,"made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. '

These verses unite both dioceses in our mission and ministry, in our separate settings of Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire, the Northern Cape and North West Province, but also as we continue to see Christ in one another.

God bless Africa
Guard her children
Guide her leaders
and give her peace;
for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Day 24 - Hope for the Living

Today's match:

Germany 3 v. Uruguay 2

Hope for the Living is an extremely important project which ministers to orphans and vulnerable children, the sick and those infected with HIV/AIDS.

Vegetable gardens have been planted in the backyard of St Francis Church in Roodepan. The aim being to grow carrots, spinach, tomatoes and other nutritious food to supply the weekly food distribution programme for the orphans. An experienced team 'The Green Team' support the community by serving as care workers and maintaining the garden.

The team are also encouraging individuals to develop vegetable gardens in their own backyards, teaching them to grow their own food and to supplement their diet. Many homes house 5 or more people, so home grown food is much appreciated.

The orphans and vulnerable children (about 70 of them) also gather once a week at the church, for activities and to be served a hot cooked meal.

During our recent visit to Kimberley and Kuruman, we were delighted to join the team in doing some visiting, seeing some of the gardens and to serve the children dinner. I often think pictures can tell a better story than words:

We pray:
  • for the Revd Carol Starkey, co-ordinator of Hope for the Living
  • for the development of individual vegetable gardens
  • for a sharing of the world's resources
  • for those caring for children, grand-children and great grandchildren affected by HIV/AIDS
  • for the Green Team, giving thanks for their cheerful spirit and care for all
  • for the church in Roodepan, its outreach and ministry
  • For the distribution of medicine, the provision of sanitation and the availability of water in the poorer areas of South Africa

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Day 23 - Around Kimberley

Today's match:

Germany 0 v. Spain 1

There is a real dedication to the gospel within the Anglican churches in Kimberley.

St Barnabas has just held its Patronal Festival. The congregation model themselves on the generosity of their patron saint. They made it possible for the Bishop to host a gathering of the clergy and spouses on Easter Monday, they cater for the Diocesan Council and have recently given the diocese a financial gift to form a trust to assist in the training of Lay Ministers, named after one of their one long serving lay ministers.

St Augustine's is full of committed and able people, who contribute to the life of the diocese, and offer a ministry to the needy living on the outskirts of Kimberley. Behind St Augustine's Church is the St Monica's House of Prayer, a home offering hospitality and prayer to the diocese, run by Sister Camilla Mary, from the Sisters of the Precious Blood. These sisters have houses in Masite, Lesotho and at Burnham Abbey - another demonstration of the rich and diverse link we have as two dioceses. St Augustines is linked with the Parish of Owlsmoor

St Matthew's is linked with the Parish of Finchampstead, who support a pre-school set in the grounds of the church. Here's a recent report from there:

'We are all fine here in S.A. despite the cold weather we are beginning to experience. Well irrespective of the cold ,our spirits are high for the FIFA WORLD CUP. Yes there is a buzz of the SOCCER FEVA all over our country, not forgetting St Matthews Pre-School. Every Friday we celebrate soccer Friday by wearing our soccer T- shirts and blowing our VUVUZELAS.'

Members of the parish have visited Kimberley and recent donations have helped the pre-school to buy tracksuits and the school fees for 5 pupils for 3 months.

Barkly West is a town with 16,233 inhabitants on the north bank of the Vaal River west of Kimberley. It was the site of the first major diamond rush, in 1870, and was initially known as Klip Drift. This Dutch name means "stony ford". Briefly the Klipdrift Diggers' Republic was declared. It became, with Kimberley, one of the main towns in the Crown Colony and was renamed Barkly West. Like Barkly East, the town is named after Sir Henry Barkly, Governor of Cape Colony and High Commissioner for Southern Africa from 1870-1877.

Barkly West is sometimes erroneously spelled as "Barkley-West" (even in road signage). In Afrikaans the town is known as Barkly-Wes. The Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin was the first Anglican Church to be built on the Diamond Fields. Sir Henry Barkly laid the foundation stone in February 1871.

We pray:
  • For Father Arthur Gilbert, Parish Priest at St Barnabas
  • For Father Russell Visser, Parish Priest at St Augustines
  • For Sister Camilla and St Monica's House of Prayer
  • The Finchampstead link with St Matthew's and the work of the pre-school
  • For the life of the Anglican Church in Kimberley
  • Giving thanks for the founders of the church and for our ongoing responsibility in the gospel for one another.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Day 22 - Galeshewe

Todays match:

Uruguay 2 v. Holland 3

Galeshewe is the satellite township that adjoins Kimberley and was originally built under the apartheid laws to house the area's African population. It is still largely populated by African people. The township's existence dates from 1871 and for many years it was known as Number Two Location, until 1952 when it was named after Chief Galeshewe of the Batlhaping tribe. He was an important figure to the local African population and spent many years in jail after he rebelled against the Cape Colony Government several times to protect his people.

Galeshewe rose significantly in importance during the struggle against Apartheid, and was second only to Soweto as a centre of political activism. It was home to Robert Sobukwe, the leader of the Pan African Congress (PAC), who spent the last days of his life under house arrest in Galeshewe, following his imprisonment on Robben Island. Sobuke practiced law from an office nearby. He died in 1978.

The township has a population of ca. 103,228 people

In Kimberley, the Transvaal Road Police Station still stands. During the apartheid years the sixth floor was notorious for many unexplained and mysterious deaths. Among them was Phakamile Mabija who died in 1977 and has a memorial plaque on the wall of St James’ Church, Galeshewe.

The first democratic elections in South Africa took place in 1994 and the following year the Marlow Team started a companionship link with the parish of St James Galeshewe. It is reviewed every five years when new objectives are set. Over the years there have been a number of visits from members of the congregation to Kimberley and Kuruman, and more significantly an exchange visit by the church choirs.

Earlier this year the PCC in Marlow and St James’ Vestry agreed to explore another five years together with a specific emphasis on young people. The reason for this is two-fold. First, Marlow now has Stewart Grenyer as a youth worker and this area of ministry is starting from a small but firm base. Secondly, St James has a high proportion of young people in its congregation (most of whom did not know the apartheid times).

We pray:

  • for the continued Marlow and St James link with its new emphasis on the youth

  • for those still oppressed because of colour or status
  • for those working for the freedom of others across the world
  • for St James, Galeshewe - its ministry and mission
  • for church groups and organisations throughout South Africa
  • Giving thanks for the involvement of young people in the life of the church both in the UK and in Kimberley and Kuruman

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Day 21 - Tamar Shelter

Today's Matches:

Argentina 0 v. Germany 4
Paraguay 0 v. Spain 1

It is difficult to get reliable statistics on violence against women in South Africa. Although the number of reported cases is very high, many cases go unreported. The incidence of battery or domestic violence is particularly hard to measure because the police do not keep separate statistics on assault cases perpetrated by husbands or boyfriends.

Many women are still unaware of their rights when reporting abuse and even informed women traumatised by an assault are unlikely to be assertive and insist on their rights. Many women are afraid of further violence from the perpetrator if they attempt legal action. This is even more compounded by the introduction of the new Domestic Violence Act which a lot of women have not yet grasped. The challenge exists for the Act, including the regulations to be made an accessible form of legislation to benefit and protect women in all areas of their lives. Effective implementation of the Act also needs to be ensured, for effective legal preventative measures (protection order) and police escorts to abused women.

The gendered nature of domestic violence has unfortunately also seen an increase in the number of women being murdered by their intimate male partners. Lack of statistical information on this form of killing makes it very hard to measure the extent of the scourge but newspaper reports on this issue, leave little to one’s imagination. These killings demonstrate the culture of male violence against women and sexism that still pervades African society. Women have fought and succeeded in getting many basic rights yet in the private sphere of their homes, the inequality between men and women is still a battle ground.

The Department of Justice estimates that 1 out of every four South African women are survivors of domestic violence. (450.311 Domestic Violence: Submission to the South African Law Commission in the Light of International and Constitutional Human Rights Jurisprudence Part 1, May 1997)

Canon Justus Marcus, Dean of Kimberley from 1992 until 2002, was the first ‘Coloured’ priest to hold that position. Marcus supported the ordination of women and he helped prepare the first two women to be ordained deacon (and subsequently as priests) in the Diocese (by Bishop Ndungane) in 1995. Whilst in Kimberley he initiated a project to establish a ‘Tamar House’ place of safety for abused women and Rape Crisis Centre.

The Tamar Centre is the only safe and secure refuge for abused and battered women in the diocese of Kimberley and Kuruman. The Oxford Diocese has supported this project, with a number of churches helping to assist. It is a place where small donations can make a significant difference. The security of the building has been upgraded to enhance the safety of the occupants. Electrical fencing has been installed to safeguard the women and children living there. The next project is to upgrade the bathrooms, so the women can feel both clean and pampered in a safe environment.

The centre, not only offers an immediate place of refuge for those fleeing situations of domestic violence, but also legal advice, training and development, to enable women to make clear decisions about their own lives. The centre provides treatment too and counselling to strengthen women and prepare them for independent living.

Please pray:
  • For all victims of domestic violence
  • For the live-in caretaker at the Tamar centre
  • For the management board in the further financing and developing of the centre
  • For continued safety and security in such a vulnerable place
  • For continued support from the wider church.
  • That women will have the confidence to speak out and walk away

Friday, 2 July 2010

Day 20 - St Cyprian's Grammar School

Today's matches:

Holland 2 v. Brazil 1
Uruguay 1 (4) v. Ghana 1 (2)

St. Cyprian's Grammar School in Kimberley, is a co-educational English-medium private school for Grades 1-12, attached to the Cathedral. In its present form it opened its doors to 83 students on 21 January 2009.

The Parish of St Cyprian on the Diamond Fields played a crucial role in establishing Kimberley’s first schools from the early 1870s. A Mission School (later called Perseverence), a St Cyprian’s Grammar School, and a Girls’ School (later St Michael’s) were established. The Grammar School and St Michael's went into decline in the 1890s after government schools were opened. In the early twentieth century Perseverance became a training school for teachers and from it, at a later stage, would arise the Gore Browne Training School (named after first Diocesan Bishop Wilfred Gore Brown). Under apartheid education and the Group Areas Act they were taken over, and eventually closed.

In 2007 Archbishop Emeritus Njongonkulu Ndungane was making it a special project to bring historic church schools back to life as centres of educational excellence. St Cyprian's Cathedral in Kimberley, then celebrating the centenary of its cathedral building, was inspired by this vision and its own legacy to revive a role in education, and by June 2008 was taking active steps to bring St Cyprian's Grammar School to new birth.

Opening on 21 January 2009, in buildings within the cathedral precinct, the music and arts focus finds expression in weekly performing arts hours on Fridays and a monthly concert.
The school was dedicated on the 101st anniversary of the cathedral's dedication on 13 May 2009, when the Head of the School, a Head Student and Chaplain were licensed. The school produces a weekly news sheet called St Cyprian's Scroll.

The mission of the school is to prepare young people for life and leadership in a place which strives for quality in academic and musical and arts programmes, in a trusting and supportive, learner-centred, Christian environment that promotes self-discipline, social enrichment, motivation, and excellence in learning. The following values inform the vision

St Cyprian’s Grammar School strives to be:
- grounded in Christian values that affirm our faith in a creating and redeeming God.
- founded upon a commitment to learning, to justice, to individual achievement and to wholeness.
- a centre of excellence with a teaching/learning ethic reflected in hard work, intellectual rigour and an openness to ideas and debate.
- a school that values tolerance as a positive good, promoting a care ethic implicit in respect for others.
- a school that promotes programmes in social enrichment and leadership to equip students for fulfilling lives and service within and beyond the school.
- a school that engages the needs of our society, seeking to serve where it can in complementing public education, to build skills, social capital and reduce inequality wherever this is possible.
- defined by a richness of symbol, story and ceremony to promote these values.

A number of bursaries, to enable poorer families, from outlying parishes to send their children to the school have been funded through the diocesan link, particularly by Christ Church Cathedral, in Oxford. It is hoped that in the future some children from the school will visit the diocese to perform a series of concerts. These bursaries have been extremely gratefully received by the families of extremely talented children and young people.

During a recent visit to Kimberley, a group of us were treated to a fantastic performance by the children.

Please pray:

  • For Head Teacher Anne Solomon who oversees the work of the school
  • For the Governing Body as the school continues to develop and grow.
  • For wisdom about admissions and the outworking of the school's values and ideaology
  • For additional premises to enable more classrooms and 'space'
  • For the provision of additional bursaries from money raised within the Oxford diocese to enable talented children from poorer backgrounds to be given the opportunity to attend the school
  • For the relationship between Cathedral and School
  • For all the teaching and administrative staff