Thursday, 23 April 2015


Okay, confession time again.
Once I left school I really stopped worrying about whether the Catholic nuns or my Anglican priest had been correct about unbaptised babies being shut out of heaven. (See previous blog). I had life to live, a career to start and, most importantly, a husband to find.  We married young those days, which wasn't all bad. Biologically we were at our best for producing healthy babies, despite the fact that we smoked and drank in blissful ignorance. But the battle zone of gender inequality in the work place - having to work twice as hard and twice as smart - left a trail of broken marriages in those days.  Mine included.
Church was strictly a 'school thing'. Because I didn't move in overtly Christian circles Church was what one did for our colonialist traditions. Besides, there was an heirloom Christening gown on my husband's side that had to be used.
Yes, I was married in an Anglican Church, chosen for its delightful architecture and garden - so important for the photos. And, yes, I did have my boys baptised - at St Martins in the Veld Rosebank, such a fashionable venue and just in case the Catholics were right.  I vaguely recall some parent prep but it didn't even make enough impact to persuade us to send the boys to Sunday school.
Did I believe in God? Of course I did!  The greater force, the Higher Being who had given me free choice and control over my destiny. The God who created me to care about justice issues, people who were less fortunate, the one who expected me to be honest, not to murder anyone etc. Not a God one loved but certainly one to be respected.
Did I believe in Church? No ways!  Between the paedophile priests, the TV evangelists, the thieving ministers and all those preachers justifying apartheid. I was cured.
Did I pray? Only when my younger son nearly died in an accident and then it was prefaced with “If you really exist.”
At this stage you are probably wondering how on earth I became and Anglican priest. That’s a whole ‘nother blog but I’d like to pause here and take closer look at both marriage and baptism preparation which are rather like ambush advertising.
We Anglicans, at least here in Southern Africa, say if you want either of these sacraments you have to serve the time and understanding that it’s not just hocus pocus or family tradition.  But how many couples and god-parents get real value and inspiration from their prep session. How creative is Church in generating real interest in joining a parish?  I’d love some input on this. Or you may have questions.
One of the weird and wonderful things I discovered about the Anglican Church was the readiness to marry couples who had lived together for several years – virginal dress and all. And it was Prince Charles’ marriage to Camilla that alerted me to the ‘federal’ system our global Church operates under. Whereas that royal couple had to marry in a registry office without mummy in tow because she is the head of the Anglican Church in England. Divorcees in Southern Africa have, for several decades been allowed to remarry. There’s only one proviso, if you’re the one who caused the breakup of the original marriage the local bishop will not give the go ahead for your nuptials. (Not sure everyone tells the truth on this score but we Anglicans are supposed to be all about forgiveness and new beginningsJ
PS I’m still wading through the research on how to defrock an Anglican archbishop. 

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