Wednesday, 18 November 2009


Wednesday 11th November entry

Finished up in Somerset West today. Clearly the race divisions and how they impact upon church unity and a sense of common purpose in mission remain a theme. In one sense it’s the old HUP issue – to what extent do two separate church bodies continue and merely encourage a gradual embracing of a more diverse ethnic mix in their congregations and to what extent do they pursue merger as a prophetic statement of the nature of the gospel?

My next destination was a place called Wortel-hat. This is a stunningly beautiful place. The drive down itself was amazing. Ian took me via the scenic coast road which is a very dramatic part of the Western Cape coastline - part of what's called the Garden Route in the guide books. He asked whether I fancied stopping for a while in case we could se some whales at Hermanus. I said yes, but didn’t really expect much. How wrong can you get! This is apparently, the best place for whale watching from shore in the world. We saw several in a fairly short space of time – and so close. Mum and calf together. Unfortunately I have no photos to prove anything – had my camera, but the battery had clearly been switched on in the bag for some time and my spare battery was buried in my case. However, I’ll never forget such an awesome sight – 40 tons of Southern Right Whale apiece. I was, however, nearly just as excited by the tortoise crossing the road. (if you're a Minister always use the phrase 'rich privilege' in the same sentence as 'sabbatical').

The actual place we’re staying at is in a wonderful location. It’s a remarkable complex – right on the coast line with a back-drop of mountains. There’s, I think, 24 directors who bought the land and have each built a house here and the complex is then managed by them and used for Christian camps etc – they have 8000 people through a year. Basically, each one owns a house (a holiday home), but when they’re not using it the centre make them available for groups. If they sell, half any profit goes to the trust, tec. One of the professors here is a director and so we’re staying in his and someone else’s place. There’s ten others here to review their MTh in Missional Leadership and how this can better build the leadership capacity among their Ministers. Why am I here – that’s a good question, but it is a rich privilege and providing some helpful hints as to how we might develop things back home. One thing is very clear - they've seen a clear link between the importance of building capacity among their clergy and the effectiveness (or otherwise) of their congregations.

I do tend to think we need a more integrated view, root much more in learning in context for M degrees, be more intentional about linking further degrees with missional practice where applicable, do more to enhance the overlap between theology and practice, etc etc - no doubt a few more things will come as time goes by.

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