Friday, January 07, 2011

Roots

Yesterday I encountered one of my ghosts.

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.

Sent via my BlackBerry

1 comment:

markpenrith said...

Hey Pete,

My dad is an Anglican minister. As I read through your post you really struck a chord with me. I too was shaped within the peculiar incubator of church life and I to have chosen that path for myself.

Thanks for sharing.