18 Sep 2011

Bishop Alan made his annual visit to the parishes and missions in the Free State from the 8th to the 12th September.  Flying first to Bloemfontein he then drove to the township of Botshabelo, about 47 km from the airport, where he inspected the Church site on which had been erected a "shack church",  built with corrugated iron and poles.  The Church was quite spacious and could easily accommodate 100 people. there were two other rooms attached, one used as a small hall and the other as a rudimentary kitchen.

From there he made the four hour drive to Qwa Qwa staying overnight in Harrismith.  On Friday 9th he attended the eye clinic run by Reach4Sight in Boiketlo, on Saturday he celebrated a Mass for the Mothers Union Conference at which delegates attended from the local parish of Emmanuel and St. Peter's Mission Botshabelo.  The bishop preached a sermon  on the role of the Mothers Union in mentoring younger women in Christian morality and said it was disturbing that so many children were being born out of wedlock.  He then chaired a joint meeting of the parishes of Emmanuel and St Michael & All Angels, which dealt with some domestic disputes.  He then returned to the eye clinic on its second day.

On Sunday 10th there were separate services at both parishes at which baptisms and confirmations preceded the two Episcopal High Masses.  At Emmanuel Parish it was gratifying to see the church building under construction. this had reached roof height and was a brick building capable of accommodating about 200 people.  The brick-laying had been done by parishioners and was of a high standard.

On Monday it was time for the long drive back to Bloemfontein followed by the late flight back to Cape Town,  Bishop Alan drove for more than 1100 km over the weekend but the exhausting drive was offset by the magnificent mountain scenery, especially whilst driving through the Golden Gate National Park, where large herds of springbok, zebra and bontebok were observed feeding quite close to the road. 


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