The lay leaders of Francistown

Saturday is our day for the lay leaders’ workshop in the north of the diocese, similar to what we have already done in Gaborone. Actually there are two parallel workshops, one for church wardens, the other for lay leaders. We all gather together at St. Patrick’s, in the town center, and I do a meditation on 1 Corinthians 12. Then it’s tea time.

Afterwards we split up, and the lay leaders and Fr. Amanze and I head to the rectory, where I have been staying, to meet in the living room. We have been expecting, at the most, about 20, but 38 of us crowd inside. No one complains.

We hear many of the same things about what kind of training they need, but not all are the same. Two women say that they want someone to ‘teach us how to pray.’

Unfortunately I never find the chance to learn what in particular they have in mind, but several of us talk about it later. One thought is that ingrained in them is a deep respect for liturgy in the Anglo-Catholic tradition, so they can read prayers from the prayer book but have a hard time spontaneously getting wound up the way they surely have heard their pentecostal neighbors do. ‘Teach us how to pray.’

I hope someday someone will value their appeal and come, holding up for them and others the richness and diversity of prayer, in our tradition and in the church universal.

At lunch on St. Patrick’s grounds I spot a young man sporting a Carolina sweatshirt. Oteng Montwedi is his name. A part of the youth delegation that visited North Carolina some months ago, he wears it proudly. We take pictures.

Two days later he comes to my house to see me off as I return to Gaborone.