Friday, January 07, 2011
Dickens introduces the "Ghost of Christmas-past" as a memory observed from the present. My personal ghost walked with me for a moment when I visited John Wesley Methodist Church in Frere Rd, Mthatha.
This was the place that I began my love/hate relationship with the Methodist Church. Fifty years ago my father was the minister of this church. I have happy memories of riding a tricycle in the manse garden, of Sunday School stories, of playing with the children of church members, and of church officials like "Uncle Wilkinson" visiting us.
I also find difficult memories: of my father's frustration with the petty power-play of a wealthy member of the congregation; of my father becoming seriously ill as a result of pastoral overload (a colleague resigned from his pastoral charge and my Dad had to take it on in addition to his own work); and of my mother's fear that we would have no home if something happened to my Dad.
These have helped shape who I am today. I freely choose to continue to live within this strange and contradictory church.
And I am grateful.
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Posted by Peter Grassow at 7:38 am