For a decade Richard and Mary Nodar have made their journey for mission and companionship with our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Diocese of False Bay, on the Cape Peninsula, South Africa. Each year the circle of relationship has broadened, as men’s and women’s councils, church school classes, and countless others here at St. Paul’s have learned more about our partner congregations of St. Matthew’s, Masiphumelele, and St. Clare, Ocean View.
Because limited space prevents us from sharing all of Mary's "postcard" updates and photos in our Parish Notes newsletter, we present more of them here so that you may read about how Mary and Rich have nurtured our fond relationship with the two congregations and their diocese.
Postcard #1 from South Africa, February 2, 2012
Question: How do you know you’re in South Africa? Answer: The flight attendant asks whether you want lamb or fish curry for dinner. The Southern Cross, not the Big Dipper is twinkling in the sky. You hear a raucous flock of guinea fowl meandering down the street. Bushes and trees dance wildly in the wind as “a Southeaster” blows non-stop for days at a time. Thanks be to God for our safe journey here and for Fr. Richard’s jolly, “Welcome home!” In service, Mary and Richard Nodar
February 2012 ~ Xoleli Steps Up to the Plate
Fr. “Lukes” Ngesi, priest-in-charge at St. Matthew’s Chapelry in Masiphumelele, announced last week it was his last Sunday because the South African Navy is transferring him to the capitol Pretoria. So, this Sunday, in four-part harmony, rich Xhosa voices began to sing their way through Morning Prayer.
Much to our surprise, Xoleli Fani, a Pilgrim to St. Paul’s this past summer was in the procession and rose to the pulpit to preach. In his black suit and purple vest and tie, Xoleli, as a member of the Bernard Mizeki Men’s Guild, is allowed to preach when a priest is unavailable. Spellbound, we watched and listened, not understanding a word, but feeling the obvious sincerity and passion of his words. A second young man, Zamile Dzidzi, also a Men’s Guild member, spoke second.
After the service, Veronica explained their “very powerful” message: Even if Father is not here anymore, that does not stop a church from growing. We need to work together in order to build our church. If our neighbor is suffering, we must help our neighbor, and let God use us. It is up to us to build our church, not Father.
We ask for your prayers for St. Matthew’s that they find a way to grow the community of Anglican believers who are “the church,” as well as to build a house of worship of their own.
Faithfully, Mary and Richard Nodar
March 2012 ~ Bear One Another’s Burdens
St. Clare parishioners Margaret and lay minister Ernest are elderly grandparents raising three grandsons (Darren-21, Christie-12, and William-9) because their daughter Charmaine, died of AIDS. Breastfed, William became HIV positive, and Margaret takes him once a month to the Masiphumelele Bishop Tutu Clinic to receive anti-retroviral medication to keep the disease in check. William has a frequent cough, but additional medications are not advised, so Margaret makes him weak rooibos tea with orange juice and honey; currently, two containers of Stan Hockey’s honey from Cleveland Heights.
When Fr. Richard took food parcels and asked what further help they needed, Margaret said, “William is older now and needs a proper bed.” Last Friday, bunk beds (with appropriate linens) for William and Christie were delivered with this note: “Dear Margaret and Ernest, Your life’s journey is an inspiration to others who might be tempted to be bitter or angry. Instead, you have remained close to God and in His service, both in and out of church. Your joy and pride in your children and grandchildren and your gratitude to God for His many blessings is obvious. Thank you for sharing your story with us, and thank you for allowing your brothers and sisters in Christ at St. Paul’s to help you get beds for the boys. God is love. Mary and Richard Nodar for St. Paul’s.
Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen
“We are the children’s parents by love, not blood,” said MaryAnn, the Xhosa woman who, under the supervision of Home from Home, raised 10 foster children in the last nine years. “Supporting Our Foster Mothers” was the topic of the Home from Home Associates’ Workshop at Christ’s Church Tuesday morning. Beginning and ending in prayer, the eye-opening and often heart-wrenching agenda covered selection, training, evaluating, and supporting foster mothers.
“You must learn the child,” are the watch words of another Xhosa foster mother. “Called by God” to create a family for emotionally damaged, often HIV-positive children is a 24-7 job of hard work! The children’s blatant needs for love, safety, security, stability, routine, patience, education, nutrition, health care, religious training . . . are unending. Wisdom and tact are needed to cope with visits from potential adoptive parents and/or interference from a living parent released from prison or treatment center. Mothers keep detailed receipts and financial accounts to be reviewed by supporting associates or Home from Home. Monthly meetings with each foster mother allow for regular updates on the children and running of the home. As you know, St. Paul’s helped build the two foster homes here in our partner parishes, and we are here to help support them. Many are called, but the Lord has chosen St. Paul’s, St. Clare’s, St. Matthew’s, and three foster parents to be part of His saving grace for 12 children.
In service, Mary and Richard Nodar
Suffer the Little Children
Twenty-three crèches (preschool, child-care facilities) exist in Masi, and four are certified. Some are in shacks, some in shipping carton, a few in buildings or add-ons to houses. Children are left as early as 7 a.m. as mothers rush to catch morning taxis. Babies in nappies are housed in one room, and 3s and 4s in another, if the creche is large. Materials and equipment vary and are scarce. Food parcels are provided to the crèches by NGO’s and the Salvation Army, mostly rice or cornmeal for porridge, and Pick n’ Pay sends out-of-date vegetables and bread. An institutional-sized pot of rice with cut-up vegetables cooks on a hot plate in the corner of one. A row of plastic pots (make-do potty chairs) lines the walk of another. In a shipping carton, children “wash hands” in a tub of water, while an adult holds out one towel for all. Folding hands, closing eyes, and singing grace seems to be universal. Nosakhe (a township woman and Mary’s colleague at the library after school) makes her rounds with library books for reading stories to several crèches during the week. May God watch over these little ones and their caregivers. Faithfully, Mary and Richard Nodar
Loaves and Soccer Balls
Parishioner Ann Herbruck has several times sent funding with us to purchase soccer balls for the township team of young men who practice in the open field near Pick n’ Pay Market. One year, four balls were purchased, another year, an owner’s generosity allowed for seven.
The players expressed amazement when soccer balls appeared – a gift from somewhere across the world. This year, Rich, with the same amount of money as usual, came from the store with three huge bags containing 21 World Cup soccer balls! The balls were distributed to the township team, St. Clare’s Church, St. Matthew’s Chapelry, the Masiphumelele Library, Ukhanyo Primary School, and HOKISA, (Homes for Kids in South Africa) an orphanage in Masiphumelele for 17 HIV orphans. How? Why? Loaves and soccer balls!
Faithfully, Mary and Richard Nodar
April 2012 ~ Good Friday’s Fish and Easter Candy
Good Friday and Easter Monday are national holidays here in South Africa. The three-hour Friday service saw St. Clare’s full of people dressed in black (much to my chagrin). Fish is the order of the day, and “the meal” is traditional. Purchased at the market or directly from fishing boats, it includes fried hake, pickled fish, frikkadels (fish cakes), sometimes calamari, and always hot crossed buns. Juice is more common than wine or soda in Afrikaans communities. There is evident pride and joy around the table in sharing this meal.
On Easter Sunday, in Masi and in Ocean View, everyone was handed a wrapped chocolate marshmallow egg as they left church. “Enjoy eating chocolate today; it’s good for you! Fr. Richard pronounced, as he ended the service!
Faithfully and fondly, Mary and Richard Nodar
As the World Turns
When we arrived on February 1st, the sun rose at 6:07 a.m. and set at 7:52 p.m. Today, the sun rose at 7:04 a.m. and sets at 6:31 p.m. While we have lost 2 hours and 20 minutes of daylight here, you are now waking in the daylight and enjoying “longer” days. The sun is still strong and warm, but days of rain occur, and temperatures are dropping. The Cape Peninsula, one of the seven floral kingdoms of the world, enjoys a Mediterranean climate. March lilies are still with us, and strelitzia or “bird of paradise” are coming on strong.
As the world turns, people here are donning hooded jackets, coats, socks, and scarves. Holy Week has ended with its Stations of the Cross, Passover Supper, washing of the feet/stripping of the altar, three-hour solemn Good Friday services, (Xhosa and English/Afrikaans) Holy Saturday’s cleaning of the church, and two Easter Vigils, one in Masi on Saturday night, and St. Clare’s at five a.m. on Sunday morning. Fr. Richard baptized 20 people during St. Matthew’s Easter Vigil! “I never saw anything like it!” he exclaimed. The world turns and is indeed wide, but no wider than the heart is wide.
In service, Mary and Richard Nodar