We recently had a KwaKristu iNkosi Visioning Workshop-Indaba. (For those of you who are new to our church, KwaKristu iNkosi is our sister church in Nkobongo.) KwaKristu, as it is affectionately abbreviated to, was built and dedicated in 2004, when Ven Colin Peattie was both rector of the Parish of Umhlali and Archdeacon of the North Coast region.
Parish wardens, Susan and Ann, with councillors, Bill and Peter, flew the flag for All Souls. Rev Brian was fantastic as an interpreter and fellow facilitator. We began with a Eucharist service. I preached and Rev Brian presided. After the service I told a story about dreaming dreams and dreaming big!
Martin Luther King had a dream that changed a nation. Madiba had a dream that changed a nation. What is our dream that has the force to change our community? The church began in Umhlali when the English settler families in the area wanted an English church = Anglican church. St James came and went. St Albans came and went. All Souls next to the police station came and went. And now we have the new All Souls…. That’s the very abridged, non dramatic version of what I told. The punch line was that All Souls had to move beyond existing for the sake of it’s old English settler-stock families to being open to the new families moving into the area. It has and is learning to exist for the sake of its non-members – something that can take us into uncomfortable and uncharted areas.
I asked what the story of KwaKristu is so far? Does it exist for the sake of it’s non-members? What dreams do people have for their church? What would it look like in 2014 (ten years on) or 2024 (twenty years on)? People divided into
break-away groups (MU, Youth, Young Adults, Men, Sunday School, All Souls reps). Each group discussed what they’d like to see happen at KwaKristu iNkosi. A spokesperson then shared this with the whole congregation, facilitated by Rev Brian.
Some very interesting things emerged!
TRADITIONAL ANGLICANISM – There is a strong desire to be a “proper”, traditional, Anglican church such as you find in probably every township and rural area. The suggestion that KwaKristu gets incense received spontaneous, loud applause! Suggestions to get a bell, an altar rail, kneelers, larger chalice and patten all feeds into the same dream. The current ethos at KwaKristu is very similar to ours at All Souls and it doesn’t seem to find cultural resonance. What matters is not the outward form of religion but an inward form of a vital and vibrant faith in Jesus that spills over to impact the wider community…
OWNERSHIP – A comment from nearly every group was that they wanted a space to call their own – a space dedicated to church services and not shared with the KwaKristu pre-school, which All Souls started when it built the church facility. I think having an altar-rail will go some way to creating a sense of sacred space in the congregation’s mind. But I was wondering if one of the root causes of the lack of ownership is the perceived dominance of the pre-school in their space…
LOCAL MINISTER – “We want a priest in the area,” was one comment that I flagged in my mind. Along with making KwaKristu more traditional, I think having a priest living in the heart of the community is key to the growth of KwaKristu. If we could find a plot to build on or a house to buy in Nkobongo then this could become a reality.
People came away excited and positive about the emerging story at KwaKristu iNkosi church. There are low hanging fruits that can be picked. Watch this space.