St Paul’s Anglican Church Rondebosch
When my little family and I returned from England in August of 1989, the country was burning. People were out on the streets everywhere in protest against the apartheid government. We were ready to endure whatever happened along with our many friends.
Within a few months of our arrival everything changed and the country was on a new Democratic journey.
I came back to take up the post as Rector of St Paul’s Rondebosch, one of the oldest Anglican Churches in South Africa. Those were exciting days as a new government came into being and Nelson Mandela led us with his charm and integrity.
My vision for St Paul’s was to combine the University Chaplaincy with the parish. I had always been impressed with the Kolbe House Catholic University Chaplaincy house, where a community of students lived with the chaplain. We were able to set up our house in Stanley Road, now called Ann House. The concept became a living reality when the Revd Wilmer Jacobsen joined the staff at St Pauls as chaplain and built up a very strong Anglican student community on Sunday evenings. We were there for 11 years – our children left school from there and went on to their tertiary education.
I was recently invited to give the address at the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul’s in January during the pandemic. As the church was not allowed to meet, I was asked to provide a video my address, to provide an audio, and as I subscribe to Zoom to host the gathering of St Paul’s church.
It was lovely to see so many really good friends.
This blog contains a video of my address, and meditation on the event of the Conversion of St Paul.
May the light which shone so blindingly
On the road to Damascus
Shine brightly on the road on which we journey
As pilgrims and citizens,
So that we may rise
From the present,
With God’s vision of the future.
Meditation on the Conversion of St Paul
Start with breathing, long in, longer out, gently
Lord, there are moments when I am on the road to Damascus,
all certain and self-confident, espousing a
When others are at the knife edge of my tongue.
Lord, there are moments when I have fallen, when all my certainty is lost.
When my values are threatened and
confidence is gone.
When I can hardly see through
Lord, there are moments of surrender,
when others must lead me.
Smaller people than myself,
a foot soldier, an office worker,
a messenger like Ananias.
And because of them, there are moments, Lord,
when things swell together in the refreshing waters of renewal, as my life is whole once again.
Moments when I am being led by you
– when the scales are lifted,
and the road to Damascus
becomes my road to freedom.
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