It's a real privilege to be able to write this issue's letter to introduce myself. Thank you, Daniel.
You will all by now have noticed that I am South African. My father was a Methodist minister, the son of a Methodist minister. My mother was the daughter of a Methodist minister. Three of my great-grandfathers were also Methodist ministers and in fact our line of Methodist clergy goes right back to Wesley himself. Wesley was, of course, an Anglican.
Having been a Methodist preacher myself for 20 years, I moved to the Anglican Church in 1987 and received my call to the priesthood that same year. It took the South African church another 5 years before the Provincial Synod passed the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood, and I was ordained in 1994, the same year that South Africa held its first democratic elections.
I come to you from a very strong Anglican Province with dioceses in Namibia, Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho as well as South Africa. Our Archbishop is Thabo Makgoba, who is also a royal prince! In general, the South African church is high-church, with many Anglo-Catholic parishes but with noisy, enthusiastic and prolonged services within that framework.
In South Africa we have 11 official languages. I served in the Dioceses of Cape Town and Grahamstown, both with mainly English, Afrikaans and Xhosa-speaking members. In my last two parishes, I was used to leading services in all three languages, and I particularly miss the mass settings and hymns in Xhosa. Our South African parishioners are very keen on vestments and even small, poverty-stricken congregations have processions with crucifer, acolytes, thurifer, boat boy, Lay Ministers and probably choir as well, all in beautifully laundered vestments! The crucifer, acolytes and thurifer are usually children.
I graduated from the University of Cape Town with a teaching qualification, from the University of South African with a degree in Theology and from the SA Institute of Bankers with the post-graduate Associate Diploma in finance and banking. Apart from teaching, I have happily been able to follow several other directions, from editing a women's magazine to computers and finance, ending up with a Consultancy in Personal Development, Public Speaking and Management training.
I kept the best for last — I have an ex-husband, Philip, whom you will meet in October; two wonderful daughters, Liz and Cathy; two amazing sons-in-aw, Gavin and Adrian; and four incredible (of course) grandchildren, Alexandra, James, Teddy and Alice.
And I am grateful and happy to be part of the Family at Kirk Braddan. Thank you for the warm welcome I have experienced.