Happy New Year!
Here is a letter to our partners in South Africa which shares some of the Advent/Christmas highlights!
To our Brothers and Sisters in Lwamondo Parish—Christmas Greetings from Peace Lutheran Church!
We send greetings from everyone at Peace to our friends in Lwamondo Parish and the Beuster Deanery. We have been very busy since our return and we understand you have also been busy with end of the school-year activities.
We also extend our greetings to our friends at Vhuronga Parish. We so appreciated the opportunity to visit Kruger with Margaret and the hilarious presentation of the courtship dance at the Farewell Ceremony for Elizabeth, Jack, Libby and Pr. Steve. We cherish the gifts we received from the Vhuronga representatives, the traditional dress with traditional jewelry and heritage dolls.
Elizabeth, Jack, and Libby each shared a story about their visit to Lwamondo on Reformation Sunday, Oct. 31. Elizabeth created two storyboards with photos. Libby created a slideshow. We will prepare a longer presentation for Partnership Sunday, February 10.
We also featured South Africa in our contribution to the Interfaith Thanksgiving Service on the night before Thanksgiving on Nov. 21, when Elizabeth and Libby dressed in traditional dress and a group of about 15 people from Peace sang Marching in the Light of God.
Pastor Steve returned from Sabbatical on Dec. 2. That evening we had a Welcome Back dinner for him and as well as a Thank You dinner for Pr. Mary Ann Fiene who was our pastor during the Sabbatical. Pr Steve shared details of his Sabbatical at the dinner and each Sunday since has included stories about Lwamondo as well as Assisi in Italy during his homilies.
Our Christmas celebrations were preceded by Advent. Each Sunday of Advent involved a different group in lighting the candles on the Advent wreath. The first Sunday was our elders, the second Sunday was our parish Council, the third Sunday was the family of a newly baptized child and the fourth Sunday was the Catechumen group [a group formed to deepen the faith of those attending].
On Christmas eve we had two services: the Children and Family worship at 5 pm and Candlelight and Communion at 10 pm. The first service featured many Christmas carols telling the Christmas story with Mary and Joseph. We had a doll instead of a real infant because no babies were just the right age this year.
Elizabeth sang several solos at the Christmas eve 10 pm service. We had other vocal music as well as flute and piano accompaniment by Peace members. It was quite beautiful. Christmas morning was a quiet service with about 40 members attending.
This Sunday we will be celebrating the Epiphany.
We have both had national elections since our delegation visited in October. Barack Obama was re-elected here as President in November. We read that President Zuma was also re-elected. We will continue to pray for you in South Africa, as you pray for us, in working to create a moral society with more jobs for wage-earners.
We look forward to hearing from you. We send our love and wishes for a Happy New Year to you all.
Keep each other in prayer!
This Sunday we will celebrate the Epiphany with the wise ones.
Paz, Pr. Steve