Thursday, December 16, 2010

A letter from Cape Town

Happy Christmas to you all
I thought this would be a good time to pen a brief update and circulate it via the Abbey Blog to let you know what we have been doing. Our family arrives in two waves to spend Christmas with us on Sunday and so this seems a good time to try and capture the first three weeks.
Settling in and settling down was both easy and took longer than expected! Richard and I have loved our apartment above offices in Adderley Street which is the Oxford Street of Cape Town and comes complete with Christmas lights - athletes in one display and a nativity in the next!! We are also just 5 minutes walk from the Cathedral - which has a labyrinth!!
Today is a public holiday so the 7.15 daily Eucharist is delayed until 8am and an interfaith walk around the main worship places of the city begins at the Labyrinth at 9am. This is organised by the Cathedral committee for reconciliation and justice with whom I was privileged to meet. Many of the folk here played significant parts in the fight against apartheid and the Cathedral had a significant role in that so there is a real passion to interpret the themes of justice and reconciliation for our own days and to be active in these areas. The interfaith walk is in its fourth or fifth year and the Mayor joins in!
Last Sunday we went to St Cyprians in Langa to the kind of African service people talk about: 3 and a quarter hours long and in Xhosa - although Fr Antoni kindly slipped in the odd English words every 15 minutes or so to help us keep track. What struck Richard and I even as we walked in was how like Church of the Holy Spirit - the ‘mission’ Church of St Mary’s Kenton it was. This was where Richard did his early scouting and we both attended Holiday Clubs. (I believe that a Greek Orthodox community now worships there). We stayed to lunch - kind of the equivalent of the lunch club Christmas dinner but VERY different. During the service all the ‘indoor members’ of the Church who are not usually able to attend were called forward - bags of groceries for their Christmas were blessed (by me!!) and distributed and after the service they were given lunch in the church hall. The catering was vat sized (I have the pictures to prove it!) Like many churches St Cyprians has an outreach programme and they feed those who can’t feed themselves at lunchtimes during the week. They are supported in doing this by their link parish in the Diocese of York.

We have made the most of our time off here as well - highlights were a half day at Cape Point and another half day in the V and A Waterfront. We did a trip down the coast to Hermanus and have done two glorious sunset drives along different coast roads. Last Saturday evening we did a special Jazz tour which involved going to musicians houses eating with them and listening to them talk about their music and their history -t his was organised by a company called Coffeebeansroutes who do good - slightly different tours. Absolutely fascinating and we came home turned on the telly and there was our host of a couple of hours ago narrating a programme about Jazz!! Then on Sunday we went to a concert in the Kirstenbosch Gardens - fab venue for concerts with Table Mountain as a backdrop to the stage. I hadn’t really taken much notice of Freshly Ground (World Cup song Waca Waca artists) but they are great - we have the CD but decided not to join the mile long queue to get it signed just joined the mile long queue to get out of the car park instead!!!
As you can tell we’re getting a lot of opportunities to do things we might not normally do! We’re also enjoying working together - as I write we are sitting opposite sides of the kitchen table working together having just stopped for lunch. This is a real blessing!
So what next! As I said our family joins us for Christmas and after that we set off for Kimberley. We had hoped to travel by train but can’t, so instead we shall drive - taking in a little of the Garden Route on the way. In between starting and finishing this letter I have been on the interfaith pilgrimage - too much to mention here so look out for another instalment!
With our love and prayers for a blessed and joyful Christmas
Sue and Richard

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