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An Embarrassing Confession: I Liked The Shack | A Pilgrim in Narnia

22 March 2017

One of my fellow bloggers, Brenton Dickieson, writes that he liked The Shack. I thought his post was an ideal opportunity to practise Audi alteram partem (no, it’s got nothing to do with your vorsprung durch Technik, you know, it simply means “Hear the other side”). So here’s how he began, with a link to his post, so you can see what he’s leading up to. .

Anyone who knows me personally knows that I have an allergy to evangelical pop culture art. It is not anaphylactic, but if I get too close to the fiction section in a Christian bookstore, I tend to break out in hives. If someone changes the car radio station to one of those generic, fill-in-the-blank pop worship song Christian cheese fests, I can feel my glands swelling and my breathing starts to constrict. If I were to walk into a house decorated with “Christian” art supplemented with motivational sayings–because the best art of history needed the point driven home, after all–I have to take an antihistamine and have a little lie-down.I don’t do well with what North American evangelicals insist in calling “art,” and this is especially true of the genre I know best: storytelling.

Source: An Embarrassing Confession: I Liked The Shack | A Pilgrim in Narnia

As for me, I didn’t like The Shack, and my contrary review is here. In fact the opening paragraph of his review, quoted above, is a pretty good description of how I felt when I tried to read it.

And my reaction to The Shack was stronger than it was to the other literature in that genre. I read a few books by Frank Peretti, and they weren’t a patch on Charles Williams — again, like The Shack, there was that crude materialism and anthropomorphism. But I’d still give Frank Peretti’s books two stars on Good Reads, and I only gave one star to The Shack.

So the only thing I can say now is read it for yourself. You may love it, you may hate it, or you may just find it boring.


Novelty and innovation

17 March 2017

This morning at TGIF Duncan Reyburn spoke on novelty and innovation, and how people respond to this.

As often happens in lectures, my mind wandered to think of examples, and my own responses to what he was saying.

One of the things that Duncan was saying was that Hegelian dialectic was an example of innovation.

Thesis –> Antithesis –> Synthesis

The Antithesis is the innovation, and the Synthesis is the response to the innovation, which, even though it may reject the innovation, is nevertheless changed by it. It cannot simply go back to what it was before.

An example that occurred to me was the Ecumenical Counciils. They did not simply convene to establish doctrines. There was a Thesis — the Gospel, an Antithesis — Heresy, and a Synthesis, formulated doctrine, which though it rejected the heresy, did not simply go back to the status quo ante.

Duncan himself, as a Chesterton scholar, gave the example of Chesterton’s book Orthodoxy, where Chesterton said he was trying to invent a new heresy, but found it was Orthodoxy all along.

I recalled a discussion on Facebook a few days earlier, on the difference between Gospel and Canon, part of it reproduced below:

Tim Fawcett: The Gospel is the core message of Christ. The creeds are more about establishing theological orthodoxy. Fundamentally the creeds are about narrowing the gate to heaven and setting the church that establishes them up as gatekeeper. Creeds are about keeping people out of the Kingdom not letting them in.

Steve Hayes: The Gospel is the good news of who Jesus Christ is and what he has done. The creeds were formulated to counter specific distortions of the Gospel. Before those distortions appeared there was little need for creeds. The distortions were mostly about who Jesus Christ was,, and what he was, and this in turn altered what people thought he did.

I simply cannot understand Tim Fawcett’s point, which seems utterly remote from the Ecumenical Councils, and seems stuck in siome 19th century Western time warp. But then my response was expressed in terms of Hegelian dialectic, which is also a product of 19th century Western thought.

But still, if one is thinking of innovation and response to it in terms of Hegelian dialectic, I think the Ecumenical Councils are a good example, and perhaps explain the rather confused response to the Pan-Orthodox gathering held last year in Crete. It didn’t seem to be Hegelian enough, in that it wasn’t called to deal with a specific heresy.

Another thread of thought that was sparked off by Duncan’s paper on innovation was my own response to electronic computers, which appeared in my lifetime. Computing has evolved quite a lot since I got my first microcomputer 35 years ago, back in 1982. Which innovations did I welcome, and which did I ignore or resist?

My first encounter with computers was when I went into the office of the United Building Society in Pietermaritzburg in 1969, after having been overseas for a couple of years, and instead of the machine that entered transactions in my passbook and duplicating them on a physical ledger card, it contacted a remote computer and entered the three years of interest as well. I was fascinated by this device in which you could enter information, and recall it again at will. I wanted one. But only an institution the size of a building society could afford a computer.

This was what Duncan Reyburn had described as a link between stage magic and innovation, also comparable to dialectic.

Something –> the Turn –> the Prestige

The beginning is where the magician shows you a canary in a cage. The Turn is where the canary disappears. The Prestige is when it reappears.

And so it was with the computer in the building society — the data disappeared into a machine, and the device regurgitated it as if by magic, even if it was in a completely different branch of the building society. Previously you could only transact at the branch that held the phyical ledger card,

Then I read about the Atex Publishing System, installed in one of the Durban newspapers. One of the journalists wrote about it, and I wanted one. The thought of being able to store information and find it again sounded marvellous. But I wasn’t a newspaper publisher either, so it seemed out of reach.

NewBrain micro-computer, 1982

Then in 1981 I saw a computer magazine at the newsagent’s, and I bought one. There were descriptions of micro-computers one could use at home. I went, with some others, to an exhibition of educational technology, Instructa ’82, in Johannesburg. There was, on display, an Atari home computer, with BASIC in ROM. I played with it. I typed on the keyboard, pressed the enter key, and that was the Turn. I typed “Print X” and lo, the Prestige! What I had typed appeared, as if by magic, on the screen. So I ordered a NewBrain micro-computer, which was delivered to us in Melmoth in October 1982. It has 32K of RAM, (an enormous amount in those days) but there were no programs written for it, so it couldn’t do what I wanted. And so I eagerly awaited the next innovation.

So from 1982 to 1987 I was what the sociologists called an “Early Adopter”. I was eagerly awaiting every innovation that would make computers more useful. And after 5 years that point was reached. We got an MS-DOS computer, and there were lots of shareware programs available. One of them was a family history app, which allowed us to store genealogical information and spit it out at will.

By then I was working in the Editorial Department at Unisa, which used the Atex Publishing System I had coveted so much 7 years earlier. It had disk drives the size of a small washing machine. And saving a file and getting back to the same place could take several minutes, or sometimes long enough to go down to the canteen for coffee. Some of the developers of Atex ported it to micro-computers as the XyWrite word processor, which was much more efficient and faster than Atex, and could do everything I wanted in a word processor.

And from that point on I became suspicious of innovation.

One innovation was the “enhanced” (ie ergonomically crippled) keyboard, with function keys along the top instead of on the left. It slowed down typing and editing, and operations that had previously required two fingers now required two hands. Innovation meant that instead of doing things the quick and easy way, one now had to do them the slow and difficult way. People said that this was progress, and that we should stop complaining and “move on”.

But I stopped being an “early adopter”. People said that MS-Word and Wordperfect were the word processors to beat, and we should switch to them, but XyWrite could do everything they could do and a lot they couldn’t do, and a lot faster too.

Now I fear that my 32-bit computer will die and have to be replaced, and I’ll only be able to get one with a 64-bit operating system, and I know that half the programs I use every day will not run on them.

So I’m ambivalent about technical innovation. Will it make my life easier, or more difficult? Will this new computer do everything that my old one does, or will it drop a lot of functionality in the name of “Progress”?

Innovation that lets me do what I want to do is good; innovation that stops me doing what I want to do is bad.

Duncan also said that novelty is tied up with loss of identity, or fear of losing one’s identity. Does that mean that I gained a new identity 30 years ago, when I became quite dependent on computers swallowing data and spitting out again, like a stage magician with a canary in a cage?

Val said she had a different train of thought about that.

About 20 years ago there was an advertisement hoarding in Bramley in Johannesburg on the M1 North. We used to pass it a couple of times a week coming home from church. It was advertising 702 radio, and had a picture of the Statue of Liberty, with the text “News from a broad”.

On one occasion we had a visiting American priest with us, who was doing a locum for the priest in our parish, and he was terribly upset by it. For us it was just a mildly amusing pun, but he experienced it as an attack on his identity.

Where does innovation come into that?

Well Duncan explained that jokes, like stage magic, were also examples of innovation.

Vaccination polemics in a post-truth world

11 March 2017

For the last couple of years I have been vaguely aware of some sort of controversy over vaccination in the USA. I didn’t pay much attention to it because, as far as I was aware, it wasn’t controversial here, and most people (with some exceptions I’ll refer to later) accepted vaccination as a normal health precaution for certain diseases. It seemed to me that people who were raising vociferous objections to it were creating the proverbial storm in a tea cup.

But today I read something written by an Orthodox priest who said that he had recently discovered that one of his parishioners had applied for exemption from vaccination on “religious” grounds. The priest asked if there was anything, such as an authoritative statement by Orthodox bishops, to indicate what those “religious grounds” were.

In reply someone posted a link to this article — NY court lets woman refuse vaccine made with aborted baby tissue / OrthoChristian.Com:

An Orthodox Christian woman has won the right to refuse a vaccine developed using aborted babies’ tissue, based on her religious beliefs.

The vaccine is for measles/mumps/rubella and is required by New York City law for all schoolchildren. It was developed from fetal tissue procured from abortions, hence the moral dilemma for practicing Christians.

The woman, who remains anonymous, said her Christian beliefs against abortion compel her to have nothing to do with vaccines made using aborted fetal tissue.

That put a different complexion on the issue. It seemed to me that it wasn’t a simple Yes/No issue, but there were several shades of grey. Apart from anything else, it was news to me that some vaccines were made from aborted human babies.

I thought I needed to verify that claim. The article was from a source that cited another source. The intermediate source is a polemical site with an axe to grind, and so I wanted to find something more impartial. But it turned out that that was easier said than done. The headline spoke of a court, but the body of the article did not name a judge, but an official of the education department.

So I did a web search to see if I could find an article that could verify the story. I found an article on a site called “Science-based Medicine” which I hoped could either verify or refute the story, but it turned out to have far more intemperate polemical ranting that the other site, and was anything but scientific — “Aborted fetal tissue” and vaccines: Combining pseudoscience and religion to demonize vaccines – Science-Based Medicine:

Overall, the view that somehow vaccines whose virus strains are grown in these two cell lines are the product of pure evil seems to rely on a magical thinking that an evil (in the view of those who oppose abortion) from over 50 years ago continues to taint these cell lines over hundreds of passages seems rather like the law of contagion in sympathetic magic, more than anything else.

That’s not science, it’s ideology.

So the Google search was to no avail; all I could find was ideological rhetoric, on both sides.

So I post this here in the hope that someone reading it might be able to point me to some factual information about the assertion that some vaccines are made from aborted fetuses, preferably without the partisan polemical rants from either side.

I said at the beginning that vaccination was uncontroversial in South Africa, with some exceptions. I am one of the exceptions, as I was never vaccinated as a child. My father was a conscientious objector to vaccination, what the Americans call an “antivaxxer”,and he got whatever authorisations and exemptions were needed so that I could go to school without being vaccinated. He never discussed his reasons for this with me, but I do know that he was a convinced atheist and something of a health fanatic. He was a biochemist by profession, and used to read me bedtime stories out of his biology textbooks, where the illustrations of sea urchins and liver flukes looked far more fantastic than any mere human conception of extraterrestrial alien life. My own theory, looking back, is that my father was a bit of a Darwinist. If you got the diseases that the vaccines were supposed to protect you from, your immune system was there to overcome them, and needed to be exercised by overcoming them. If it failed to so so, then you weren’t among the fittest who survived.

I never saw the exemption certificate, and in any case it was not recognised by any government beyond the borders of South Africa, and when, in the middle of 1964, it became necessary to have a passport to travel to Lesotho, and proof of a smallpox vaccination, I got myself vaccinated, since I did not know the reasons for my father’s objections, and had none of my own. Because I had not been vaccinated before, I had to go back after 10 days to make sure it had “taken” before they gave me a certificate. In the mean time, as a result of not having been vaccinated before, I was sick as a dog, and spent several days in bed. Cowpox, I suppose.

When I was 13 our school holidays were extended by a week because of a polio epidemic, and I knew several people who had had polio and had to walk with the aid of leg braces. A few months later a vaccine for polio was developed, too late for those already crippled by the disease, but one heard of no more epidemics.I was never vaccinated against it myself, but our children were.

Almost every year we get circulars from our medical aid urging us to get vaccinated against influenza. I can understand their reasoning — the vaccination, which you can get at the chemist, is cheaper than the cost of a doctor’s consultation. But I suppose I’m enough of my father’s son to be sceptical of the efficacy of such things. Unlike things like polio and smallpox, influenza viruses seem to mutate so rapidly that a vaccine against one strain doesn’t seem to be very effective against another.

So when it comes to vaccination, I’m neither excessively pro- nor obsessively anti, in principle. It’s the kind of thing one needs to be able to make informed decisions about, but, because of the fanatical pro- and anti- views in the USA, it seems to be very difficult to get the information one needs to make informed decisions, because all the information is so wrapped up in propaganda that it is very difficult to distinguish facts from polemics.



Veil of Darkness

8 March 2017

Veil of DarknessVeil of Darkness by Gillian White
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’d finished all my library books and was looking at the bookshelves for some bedtime reading and my eye lit on Veil of Darkness, just as the protagonist’s eye in the story had lit on a book on a shelf, a book called Magdalene. Veil of Darkness had sat on our shelves for 16 years, and I had never read it. We bought it at a sale for R20.00, shelved it and forgot it.

Kirsty Hoskins, fleeing from an abusive husband, gets a summer job as a chambermaid in a Devon hotel. On her way down there on the train she meets two other women who are hoping to forget males who have hassled them, Avril, whose ne’er-do-well brother is about to be released from prison, and Bernadette Kavanagh, trying to get over being jilted by a posh boyfriend, whose parents thought she wasn’t good enough for him. They all end up sharing a room in the staff quarters of the hotel.

The thing that frist got me about this book so far was that it could so nearly have been an alternative story of my life. When I arrived in England in 1966 as a penniless student without a work permit in 1966, someone said that foreigners could easily get jobs in the catering industry, and I had one lined up as a kitchen boy in a Devon hotel at £7 a week all found, and the man was pressing a rail voucher on me, and just in time I got offered one driving buses for London Transport. It was so close.

So as I read I kept thinking, so this is what it would have been like.

And then Kirsty discovers The Book…

I’d also just posted something about the 2017 Reading Challenge Meme | Notes from underground, and I was thinking of including this book as “a book in a genre you usually avoid”.

From the beginning it seems to be chicklit, or women’s fiction, a genre in the GoodReads “Compare Books” function that always comes up blank for me. Three women trying to escape from obnoxious males — that surely fits, doesn’t it?

But then Kirsty discovers The Book…

The Book seems to be a classic Gothic horror novel, featuring a nun who plots revenge. And that is about as much as we are ever told about it. After Kirsty reads it she and her roommates start having thoughts of revenge and standing up to their persecutors. So perhaps it’s not chicklit, but a Gothic horror novel, and that’s not a genre I usually avoid.

Having finished it, I shift its genre again. It is “a book about books or reading”. The book featured in the story, Magdalene is a Gothic horror novel, certainly, but Veil of Darkness isn’t. Or is it a Ruth Rendell-type whydunit psychological crime novel?

After reading The Book Kirsty gets the idea of doing a rewrite job on it, and publishing it under her own name. Avril, the typist at the hotel’s reception office, agrees to type it up, and when Kirsty realises, almost too late, that she can’t publish it under her own name because then her husband might find her, Bernadette agrees to take the public and publicity role.

And that is where it becomes unconvincing, and drops from three stars to two. The idea that Kirsty, who has only ever read Mills & Boon, could do a rewrite job on an old out of print book and turn it into a literary masterpiece is way too far-fetched.

What happens next would be too much of a spoiler, but I found it had more plot holes than The da Vinci Code. It falls a long way short of Ruth Rendell‘s psychological crime novels, where every event seems to lead inexorably and inevitably to the next, sliding down into the commission of a crime. This seems more like a series of random events with only the vaguest hint of causation.

It had enough interest to keep me reading to the end just to see what happened (and not just, like The da Vinci Code and Interview with the Vampire, so that I could say I had actually read them to people who might say “But you can’t criticise a book you haven’t read”). This one wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t all that good either.

And I’m still not sure what genre it belongs in.

View all my reviews

South African Orthodox Liturgical texts and music

4 March 2017

The following Orthodox liturgical texts and music are available for download from my Dropbox public folder until 15 March 2017.

On 15 March Dropbox is again reducing its functionality, and the public folders will no longer be public, so if you think you might find these things useful, please get them now.

Please note that these links will no longer work after 15 March 2017. If possible, please “like” or “share” this page on Facebook, Twitter, etc, even if you yourself maight not have any use for these texts, so that as many people as possible who are interested can know about them

For more information about the Obednitsa service, see here.

Pascha in Mamelodi 2010

Pascha in Mamelodi 2010 — some of the  people who sang in the recording


Neoinklings: Bonhoeffer, Coetzee and more

3 March 2017

Yesterday we had our 13th Neoinklings literary coffee klatsch and today (3 March) it’s a year since we started, and we had a new member, Sheila du Plessis who has written a number of booklets on family life, and has ideas for writing several novels.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Tony McGregor had been reading books by and about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian murdered by the Nazis, and that led to several spin-off topics. Among other works he had been reading Eberhard Bethge’s biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, which I had read some 45 years before, when Eberhard Bethge visited South Africa.

Bethge gave a series of lectures at the University of Natal in Durban, which I was unable to attend, being banned at the time, but I did get to meet him when he came round to the place where I was staying, and talked ot a smaller private gathering. Here is my diary entry for 12 February 1973, perhaps worth recording:

Eberhard Bethge, Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s friend, came for lunch. He is here to give a series of lectures on Bonhoeffer’s life and work. I talked to him about the Confessing Church in Germany, and was amazed to discover how free the church was in many respects. The Nazi regime, one thinks, was so repressive that one is amazed to hear of pastors at work and life going on. I suppose it’s similar to the Juds’ reaction, coming here. They expect everything to be consistently bad. Bonhoeffer was banned from Berlin, but later was allowed back to visit his parents, provided that he didn’t preach. I can’t imagine the Minister of Justice giving me permission to go down to the Transkei to see my mother. Some of the similarities are remarkable. Bethge also said that there were notable differences: the press is relatively freer here, while in Germany it was much more harshly controlled. He said that in Germany they had had more hope, because they felt that Hitler couldn’t last. Here we have had the Nats for twice as long, and the end is not in sight. He said that he was, however, under the impression that there was a gradual improvement, and that things were getting better. But I told him that is not so. Every year more and more repressive legislation is added to the statute book, and none of it has been taken way. Practically every change has made it more repressive, and not less so.

He and his wife Renate were a fantastic couple, and it was great to talk to them. I told him a little of my experience of the Lutheran Churches in South West, and how their attitudes had changed dramatically after the World Court opinion in 1971. They stayed for lunch of toasted cheese sandwiches, and I gave them a copy of my banning order.

One of the things he mentioned was that he found South African audiences very different from those in Europe and North America. In those places they were most interested in Bonhoeffer as a daring radical theologian, changing theology to bring it up to date in the modern world. But South African Christians were most interested in the Confessing Church, and resistance to the Nazi ideology. He had not been aware of that before he came, and so had not prepared his lectures to deal with those issues. Audiences in Europe and America were not interested in the Confessing Church other than as a background to Bonhoeffer’s life and thought, whereas in South Africa it was the other way round — South African Christians were interested in Bonhoeffer precisely because of his role in the Confessing Church, and the light it could throw on that. First World boss-nation theologians were interested in the man because they saw him as changing theology. Oppressed and downtrodden people were interested him because they saw him changing the world.

Bethge dealt with this very point in his biography, when he wrote:

The concern of the Western ecumenicals was largely determined by practical — that is to say, political — considerations; consequently, when the struggle became a tedious contest for the confession, their interest flagged, to flare up again as soon as there was any sensational news of police action in Germany. Holding the political views he did, Bonhoeffer could easily have won over ecumenical sympathy. Instead he began his campaign against ‘heresy’ and thus found himself in notable isolation. There were very few people — and one of them was Bell — whose minds he had really been able to prepare for this crisis; in the eyes of the rest he merely seemed to have an awkward disposition to orthodoxy.

And this was one of the points that we discussed.

Until about 1968, South African Christian opposition to apartheid was largely based on practical political considerations. It was applied in an unjust way, it caused suffering, and therefore needed to be opposed. Only a very few in South Africa thought like Bonhoeffer, in terms of apartheid as a heresy. Tony said that one of them was his father, who had grown up in the Dutch Reformed Church as the son of a dominee. But when he saw an article claiming that apartheid was biblical, that was the last straw, and he left.

But in Germany it was the other way round. Before the oppressive nature of Nazi rule became apparent, people like Bonhoeffer saw that it was ideologically incompatible with the Christian faith. In South Africa, people like Trevor Huddleston attacked the theological underpinnings of apartheid in the 1950s, but they were lone voices.

The problem with this “practical” opposition to apartheid was that it left open the possibility that it would not be objectionable if it were implemented in a “just” way. The theological objection said that there could never be a just version. It was evil in its fundamental presuppositions. The theological objections were finally made explicit in A message to the people of South Africa, made public in 1968. The “Message” went further than calling the apartheid ideology a heresy; it said it was a pseudogospel making a false offer of salvation by race, not grace.

One of the difficulties we (and many other South Africans) had in understanding the Confessing Church in Germany was, as Tony said, that Bethge wrote of the Lutheran Church and the Evangelical Church as if they were different entities. It seemed that the “German Christians” (who supported Nazism) were a faction or party within the state church, rather than a separate denomination, but it was not clear from Bethge’s biography, whether the Confessing Church was likewise a party within the state church or a separate denomination.

There is perhaps material for a doctoral thesis in the notion of a Confessing Church in South Africa in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. There was quite a lot of talk about it in that period, and in 1968 there were reports of several “obedience to God” groups being formed, but they seemed to vanish. Perhaps someone has already written a thesis on it.

One of the branches of the conversation was that Tony told us more about his father who had left the Dutch Reformed Church. His McGregor ancestors had been Scottish ministers who had been brought to the Cape Colony when it came under British rule, and Dutch Reformed clergy could no longer be got from the Netherlands, so the governor, Lord Charles Somerset, brought them from Scotland instead. The towns of McGregor and Robertson in the Western Cape were told after his ancestors.

He told a story of when his father, when he was about 5 years old, was made to wear a kilt by his grandfather. Tony’s grandfather was then the dominee at Sea Point, and they went in to Cape Town on the bus, and Tony’s father was complainimng about having to wear the kilt, and was told that that was what Scotsmen wore, and he said “Ek is nie Skots nie, ek is Afrikaans”, which made everyone on the bus laugh.

Sheila said he should write such stories down, and we talked a bit about such family stories, and why they should be recorded before they are forgotten. Blogs are good for that.

I had recently been reading books by J.M. Coetzee, who has won several international literary prizes, mostly overseas. None of us found his novels particularly good or inspiring, and we wondered if his reputation outside South Africa was higher than his reputation within the country. I’ve written more about that here.

Sheila asked for some comments on the design of the cover for one of her family life booklets, and I hope our advice was good.


St Nicholas parish pre-Lenten choir camp

24 February 2017

Great Lent starts with the Vespers of Forgiveness on Sunday evening 26 February, and the choir of St Nicholas of Japan Church in Brixton, Johannesburg, had a choir camp to practise the music for Lent and Holy Week. This is a guest blog post by Georgia Jammine, the choir director, with photos by Irina Oskolskaya.

On the weekend of Meatfare Sunday, the choir of the Orthodox Church of St Nicholas of Japan in Johannesburg went on a training camp to Mabula Game Lodge, to rehearse all the services of Great Lent and Holy Week. As this is a season with many services that demand time of the choir members, we try to avoid having rehearsals during Lent. A choir camp provides not only the opportunity for intensive practising, but also the opportunity for team building.

Idyllic surroundings for a choir practice

Idyllic surroundings for a choir practice

We are very fortunate that one of our choir  members, Stephen Reynders, has parents Jan and Joan who live permanently at Mabula, and have accommodation to put up guests, and their love and hospitality made the camp possible.  We also had access to some timeshare facilities there. In addition, a neighbour who had heard the sounds of the choir from a distance at the last camp, offered more accommodation. All in all we were able to put up eleven members of the choir as well as two husbands, and four children. We all took turns to cater for the meals.

Choir Director Georgia Jammine gives the not on the keyboard

Choir Director Georgia Jammine gives the not on the keyboard

Although the rehearsals were long and hard, they were very enjoyable in such a relaxing and pleasant environment, with the sound of bird life around us. The cherry on top was a game drive provided by Jan Reynders, who is an experienced game ranger. We were fortunate to see elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, black-backed jackal, eland, impala, hartebeest, zebra, wildebeest as well as a host of birds. Apart from Jan’s expertise, two of our group also happen to be botanists, so we were provided with addition input on the bush vegetation. What a treat!

All that singing is thirsty work, and voices need lubrication.

All that singing is thirsty work, and voices need lubrication.

On Sunday morning, we had a Reader’s Service for Meatfare Sunday (Sunday of the Last Judgment), led by Marios Joseph, one of our Readers at St Nicholas. The weekend ended with a traditional braai, as our last meat meal before Pascha.

Georgia Jammine
Choir Director

We regard St Nicholas as our “home” parish, even though other duties, and distance, means we are not able to get there very often these days. But we do try to get there for occasional weekday services on major feast days, and for some of the Lent and Holy Week services. Checlc the parish web site for more information.