On Maundy Thursday 2013 a group of us went out onto Long Street offering to wash people’s feet. The one and only person who wanted his feet washed was a “bit out of it”.  He had heavy lumpy feet with torn socks and splitting shoes. Deep down we knew that we should have given him our socks and shoes after washing his feet –
but we didn’t. Inspired by the regret of that  moment the person
who actually washed his feet handed out socks on Madiba Day.

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It’s hard for me to believe that my time with you has all but come to an end. This week I will be transitioning from Cape Town to Simon’s Town, where I will spend several days with Rev. Peter Storey and fellow Duke Divinity students who have been in other parts of South Africa. Next Sunday we will join with CMM for our last Sunday in South Africa. We will leave from here to head to the airport for our return journey to the States.

My time here has been full. I have been to St. George’s Cathedral and received Communion from Archbishop Tutu. I have attended service at the annual Synod of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. I toured crèches in Kensington, Langa, and Khayelitsha. I explored the Cape Town Book Fair. I stood as godmother for Joelma at her baptism. There was an Interfaith Service in Manenberg, a Unitarian Service on Hout Street, and a service at a Mosque that I was privileged to be a part of. We went to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. I found a place for myself serving at the Service Dining Hall. I’ve sat in on sessions in Parliament. I’ve danced away the night listening to live music (the Nomadic Orchestra. WOW!!!!!!), and found other new artists to love when Matthew Mole, Paige Mac, and Jeremy Douglas took the stage at a concert at CMM. I visited Stellenbosch University and attended events held by the Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism here in Cape Town. Also, I did a little preaching, and began to understand the vital ministry of being present with those I am with.

None of this, though, compares to the joy of getting to know you. Thank you for breakfast, and lunch, and dinner, and tea; for history lessons, neighborhood tours, and real talk about South Africa; for lingering conversation, Bible study, wisdom, and laughter; for fetching me and returning me home. Thank you for embracing me as family.

God willing, I will return to you, my beloved friends, soon!

Love and Peace until then, Alease

We are all family

Cape Town is, without question, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and it is the people of Cape Town that give the city its brilliant glow.

I have been in the city for just over a month, and my sojourn thus far has introduced me to the many faces of Cape Town.

I have met Thelma, a native South African, and found a sharing heart and a listening ear. By the end of our time together I felt that we were known to one another. I’ve met Gertrude, from Zimbabwe, via Dubai, who owns a prosperous business. By the end of our time together I was encouraged that, though the journey is difficult at times, and it IS difficult, God remains faithful. I’ve met Ziv, a Polish South African, by way of Israel, who has owned several successful businesses. Ziv was eager to talk to me, a minister, and to impress upon me the urgent need in society for moral instruction.

I have been greeted in isiXhosa and been delighted to be confused for a native daughter.

Mostly, though, I have been meeting you, CMM. Your kindness and hospitality have been so great as to allow no place for homesickness or lonesomeness. The cover of our church bulletin declares, “You are not a stranger or a guest. You are family.” I have, indeed, found this to be true.

My prayer for us, as we move through these cold winter days, is that I would not be alone in my experience. That Others would be drawn into the warm embrace of the CMM family. Let us be intentional in our efforts to include these Others at our tables, in our Warm Winter Worship, and in our prayers. And may we all encounter anew the life-changing fire of God on this Third Sunday of Pentecost.

Peace to you, Alease.