Once again the annual services at 10.00am (St Peter’s and Paul’s) and at 8.00pm (St. Kevin’s) were both inspirational, spiritually rewarding and well attended by members of MUC. Both the West and East committees would like to thank you for your continued loyalty. Due to Pauline Smit’s effort both services were enriched by black Zimbabwean ladies who participated in the services wearing national dress. At the evening service a white Zimbabwean lady who just happened to be on our committee lent us tablecloths, a tea towel, figurines, aprons, and a most beautiful soapstone carving of the bird featured on the national flag. This bird stood in regal isolation on the altar adding great atmosphere to the proceedings. We must also thank local councillor Dot Haynes who contributed Zimbabwean flags, World Day of Prayer banners and a Zimbabwean wall hanging.
The service, written by the Zimbabwean World Day of Prayer committee, briefly outlined the changing political scene in Zimbabwe and the hardships being born by many, as they all strive to improve the general economy of the country, and as a flow-on effect, the individual life of the citizens at every level of the social scale. “Take up your mat and walk” was the theme of the service.
There was a very moving letter included near the beginning of the service booklet which at both services two previous citizens of Zimbabwe (one black and one white) read together emphasizing the dual racial citizenship of the country, and the need to combine harmoniously together to restore the former stability. Both races settled in the country around the same time as the cattle breeding black settlers moved down from the north, taking over the land from the former black occupants, not long before white settlers moved in from Britain, and later gained great prosperity under the leadership of Cecil Rhodes. The husband of our Zimbabwean committee member prepared a powerpoint presentation of slides and local music which was played prior to the service and during supper served in the sharing space at St Kevin’s church.
The offering from the services went to the Bible Society to help run a program it is organising which will benefit families, particularly the mothers trying to raise autistic children who are often ostracised and not understood by the rest of the Zimbabwean society.
Both speakers very carefully wove the theme of the booklets into their messages. The Rev Gail Pritchard in the morning spoke with great emotion and delivered a very powerful message which made great impact upon the recipients. In the evening Dr Samir Ibrahim OAM from the congregation of the St Bishoy and St Shenouda Coptic Orthodox church spoke of the importance of prayer, how it is vital to human existence, and how people who have a deep spiritual connection to their God and as a result the use of prayer, do much better health wise. He based his presentation on the biblical verse John 16:33. He also spoke of the strong brotherhood connection between the Egyptians and the Zimbabweans as they are both citizens of the African continent. He emphasized how right it is that nations are released from their former colonising nations. At supper Pauline Smit commented to me that she had told him she will never think of prayer in the same way again.
Following both services excellent refreshments were served and there was pleasant mingling of the congregational members.