Monday, 13 May 2013

Letter from Mandla

Dear Linda.

Today I will write about my Work at All Saints Clooney Parish.

Pastoral Care. The Church has a Pastoral Care Team which looks after the sick and the elderly of the church who are unable to attend church services. The Revd Mervyn Peoples is the Head of the Pastoral Team. Besides the home visits, this team will also phone the elderly of the church at least once a month just to know how they get on with life. I have been to several homes with the Revd Mervyn to do pastoral care. Usually when we get to their homes we would spend at least 30 minutes with each person. We would have a chat with that particular person, share jokes, just make the person forget about his or her worries and at the end we would say a prayer and leave. We would normally visit four to six persons each day and this is because we have to give the people time to be up in the mornings, remember these are old people and most of them are ill. We also do not visit during the lunch hour. We do not visit homes only but we also visit the elderly nursing homes and the Hospice at home. I must say this is an experience for me to see old people with so much faith and being grateful to God for their lives. The ages of most of the people we visit will range between 70 and 100 years old. It is incredible to see them in wheelchairs but being independent. 

Youth Ministry. I always meet with the youth of All Saints on Saturday and Sunday evenings from 1900 hrs to 2100 hrs. Clare Hinchliff (26) is the full time parish youth worker here and I work with her. There is a lot that I am learning from the young people here. In my country we do not even have a full time diocesan youth worker, not mentioning a parish. It is not because they afford or have a lot of money but it is because the people of All Saints are very much committed to God's work. On Saturday evenings we just have games in the hall with the young people and on Sundays we have our Bible Study. I so love my Saturday and Sunday evenings. Not many young people attend our meetings though, usually we would have between 7 and 10 young people but I must say that I think it is effective and we do have a lot of fun. We call our Saturdays meetings FUEL which may also mean Faith Used in Everyday Life and Our Sunday meetings we call them Ignite. Ignite has been taken from Matthew 3:11 and it has to do with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The youth is also involved in Beavers, Scouts, Guides and Cubs which meet at the church hall on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. 

The Little Saints. This is a parent and toddler group and it is on every Tuesday from 0900 hrs to 12 noon. This is where parents will come out with their young ones to play. The church provides the venue ( hall), a whole lot of toys (donated by the church members) and some refreshments for both the toddlers and the parents. Fresh scones are baked for the day and the young ones would probably have juice and yogurt. The people who work with this group are not paid they are volunteers. This shows how these people are committed. The Rector, the Revd Malcolm Ferry will play his guitar during story time for the  toddlers. This is a pretty new initiative for the church but the turn up is very good. During the first three weeks I have recorded more than 50 toddlers and more than 30 parents each day. The rules of working with children are very strict in the Church of Ireland. My self I am not allowed to work with children here, irrespective of that I do work with them in my country. I was told I have to go to the police to be tracked if I have a clear record on children but because I am not a British citizen it is not possible to track my record. My job then on the toddlers group is just to register them when they come in and out and be the doorman because some of them would have two big buggies. It is really good but too much noise. 

To Be Cont.