Departure

In a few hours I board my flight to Atlanta and home to Greensboro. Packing is virtually done. I have cautiously placed my many notes into my carry-on, fearful that my checked luggage might disappear, and with it the foundation for my final report on the Diocese of Botswana’s vision for theological education. I may even pull some notes out, and type a bit, during the 16-hour flight.

Maybe not.

I wonder how it will feel, writing away in my study in Greensboro. In my cottage in Botswana there seems an immediacy to the work. I worry that the energy that feeling of immediacy generates might dissipate as I return to the routine, and the heat, of a North Carolina summer.

 

In the forty-six years since my first trip to Africa, as a Wake Forest undergraduate, I have never left the continent without a feeling of how richly blessed I am for the experience.

Not to idealize the experience. Things go wrong sometimes, and frustrate, and for every time the different pace of African life refreshes, there is a moment when it irritates. But I like the time Africans, especially within the Church, take for people who appear at their door. Including me, time and again in Botswana. It plays havoc with schedules, but maybe that’s not so bad.

And maybe it’s something for us non-Africans to learn. After all, Jesus let himself, and his plan for the day, be interrupted by Bartimaeus, much to his disciples’ chagrin. Which role should we opt to play?

 

At St. Peter’s in Auckland Park yesterday we say together the post-communion prayer, but then, before moving on to the priest’s blessing, the congregation begins to sing. It’s not in the bulletin, but everyone knows it.

God bless Africa.
Guard her children.
Guide her leaders.
And grant her peace.

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A Johannesburg parish on the Fourth of July

It seems a long time since I was worshipping at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Gaborone on my first April Sunday in Botswana, I think to myself as son Trevor and I walk down the street to the local Anglican parish, in the neighborhood of Auckland Park here in Johannesburg. It’s the Fourth of July.

St. Peter’s is a lovely old parish, very English in its design. Now it boasts quite a mixed congregation. The Rector is Vicentia Kgabe, and she is the Archdeacon for this region of the Diocese.

Today is ‘Favourite Hymn Sunday,’ and the requests have been eclectic. One parishioner asks for the Battle Hymn of the Republic, and this the congregation sings with great energy, seemingly oblivious to its history and our Fourth.

The ‘special prayer’ offered today is ‘for our country, our visitors, and that xenophobia does not arise again.’

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