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Atteridgeville teaching week continued

11 July 2009

Our teaching week at Atteridgeville continued. I wasn’t able to blog about it on Tuesday to Friday because our phones were dead. On the second day we had 25 adults and teenagers, and about as many young children.

This time two students from the Catechetical School, Petros and Demetrios, were able to get there, and joined Deacon Nektarius in teaching the children how to make the sign of the cross, and what it means. I taught the adults about the beginning of the church, and the ordained ministries of bishops, priests and deacons. We were visited by our Archbishop, Metropolitan Seraphim. The Archbishop was accompanied by Father Martin Ritsi, of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) in Florida, USA, and Father Martin spoke briefly as well.

Fr Athanasius Akunda, Fr Athos Pappas, Deacon Nektarius Ritson, Fr Frumentius Taubata, Fr Martin Ritsi and Archbishop Seraphim at Atteridgeville 7 July 2009

Fr Athanasius Akunda, Fr Athos Pappas, Deacon Nektarius Ritson, Fr Frumentius Taubata, Fr Martin Ritsi and Archbishop Seraphim at Atteridgeville 7 July 2009

In the course of the day we used the services of the Hours, reading the Third, Sixth and Ninth Hours in English and North Sotho. We tried to involve different people in the group in reading various parts of the services in both languages. Some stumbled over some of the words in the Psalms, but it is important to have people who can read aloud fluently to lead worship, and part of the training is for worship leaders.

Dimitrios and Petros, two of the students from the Catechetical School, with some of the children at Atteridgevillel

Dimitrios and Petros, two of the students from the Catechetical School, with some of the children at Atteridgevillel

On Thursday we were joined by Fr Athanasius Akunda, the deputy-dean of our Catechetical School in Yeoville, and another of the students, Chrysostome Luse, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Fr Markus Manyeke. Fr Athanasius taught about Christian ethics, sin and confession.

Some of the people at the Atteridgeville teaching week. The lady in the maroon hat is Maria Nkabinde, the oldest person present, 98 years old.

Some of the people at the Atteridgeville teaching week. The lady in the maroon hat is Maria Nkabinde, the oldest person present, 98 years old.

On the final day we managed to assemble most of the teaching team for the first time. Petrus and Dimetrios had been teaching the younger children the last couple of days. They were able to identify with the children in the orphanage, because they themselves had spent some time in the Twilight Children’s shelter for homeless children who roam the streets. They are sometimes called “street kids”, but Petros, who is originally from Angola, rejects the description, saying that streets don’t have children.

The Antimension, coloured by Boikhutso Mangena age 9

The Antimension, coloured by Boikhutso Mangena age 9

They were sorting through the colouring sheets that the children had done, ikon outlines, and pictures of objects in the church, and we found that the best ones had all been done by one child, nine-year-old Boikhutso Mangena. She is the granddaughter or grandniece of Artemius Mangena, who was baptised last year, and is also attending the course. We thought that we may have a potential ikonographer in our midst, and that hers is a gift that ought to be encouraged and developed.

Dimitrius, Deacon Nektarius, Boikhutso Mangena, Artemius Mangena, Petros Pedro Tiago

Demetrius Prince Mphaphui, Deacon Nektarius Ritson, Boikhutso Mangena, Artemius Mangena, Petros Pedro Tiago

The Myrrhbearing Women - coloured by Boikhutso Mangena, aged 9

The Myrrhbearing Women - coloured by Boikhutso Mangena, aged 9

At times it seemed that we must be doing something right, because the devil kept throwing obstacles in our path. The electricity had been cut off at the Catechetical School, and Fr Athanasius was having endless problems trying to get it reconnected, and it turned out that for some of the time he was actually dealing with crooks who were fishing for a bribe, and not the real electricity department. That wasted a lot of time, and prevented him from joining us for two days. We had problems with our telephone not working, the land line packed up on Tuesday, and my cellphone on Wednesday, so I couldn’t even Twitter any more, and people trying to phone me about arrangements for the course couldn’t get through. And then someone threw stones and broke most of the windows in Fr Frumentius’s mother-in-law’s house. She was the oldest person on our course, 98-year-old Maria Nkabinde, still lively and active.

Matushka Evgenia Taubata, Fr Frumentius, and their daughter Lucille

Matushka Evgenia Taubata, Fr Frumentius, and their daughter Lucille

But generally it has been a good week, and we thank everyone for their prayers and support. Father Frumentius, the priest in Atteridgeville, said he was happy with what had been accomplished.

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