Sunday, February 25, 2018

Report on Strategy Training in the Diocese of St Mark the Evangelist, Polokwane: 15, 16,17 February 2018

Louise and I flew up to Johannesburg on Wednesday, 14 February, to Johannesburg and then rented a car to drive up to Polokwane. We stayed with folk who have fast become really good friends, Luke and Jenny Pretorius. We enjoyed their amazing hospitality tremendously and were refreshed physically, mentally, and spiritually by the time we left.

We had a brief refresher training meeting with the trainers on Wednesday, and then on Thursday, 15 February, we drove down to a lovely Roman Catholic Retreat Centre called Mater Dei. After lunch, we started training more trainers for this Diocese. I had gone up to Polokwane last year to train a few selected folks in Strategy and they now helped us train both clergy and and a group of selected lay folk...36 in total. Other than one training in Johannesburg and one in Swaziland, we have not used local trainers at this level before…there were six trainers and therefor each one could take a section each. They were absolutely marvellous! A few of them were quite young and we had wondered how the elders in the group would react to their training, but they did so well that no one had any reason to complain!

This was also only the second time we have had a Bishop (and a Ma Bishop!) present during training and only the very first time one has stayed for the entire course! What a blessing!

We also followed a different schedule that turned out to be the best so far. Instead of trying to fit it all in in two days, we started the first day after lunch, had one full day, and another half day ending with Eucharist and then lunch. I love ending the training with the Eucharist…what better place to end than where we offer and present to the Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice to Him!

This is a unique Diocese in so many ways…the church community is very integrated and it is not strange to have several languages sung during the course of one service. This made me think of the vision of St John in the Revelation: “I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation, and tribe, and people, and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb…and they were shouting with a great roar. ‘Salvation comes from our God Who sits on the throne, and form the Lamb!’”

Surely, a glimpse of heaven on earth…

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