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Weekly reflection

Life is a journey.

Abraham and Sarah travelled from near the city of Ur (a name frequently used in cryptic crossword puzzles!), south of Babylon, and ended up in the land of Canaan. Needless to say, they didn’t travel as the crow flies, but followed an upside down U-curve and took in Egypt as an added extra. When Moses led the Exodus from Egypt, he did a complete tour of the Sinai Peninsula, including a loop into the wilderness of Zin, before finally leading his people to the borders of the Promised Land.

In the years of his ministry Jesus led a peripatetic existence moving from town to village to city. He was born in Bethlehem, but brought up in Nazareth. Every year the family made their way to Jerusalem for the Passover festival, so he grew up with a sense of Jerusalem as a place of pilgrimage. He was familiar with the towns around the Sea of Galilee and travelled as far north as Caesarea Phillipi and we know that he had friends, Martha, Mary and Lazarus, in Bethany outside Jerusalem.

And as for Paul, well his ministry extended to most of the eastern Mediterranean, including Cyprus, Athens, Macedonia, Asia Minor, Jerusalem and, finally, Rome.

Howard and I have just returned from a journey. Part of it, for me, was an annual reconnecting with my roots and extensive family. I’m one of five children who all went forth and multiplied. Of course, this is not quite the same as Jesus’s family’s annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem, but I like to think that there is a connection. I’m sure that, however tiring it may have been, there was much fun and festivity as they trekked back to Jerusalem and met up with distant cousins and friends to celebrate the feast of the Passover. Religious festivals are embodied in earthly moments. On this occasion, my return to Britain was rounded off with the wedding of a niece and a true gathering of the clan (including the piper, my brother, playing the tune Highland Wedding).

But the other part of it was a journey of great privilege, quite unlike the journeys I have described above. Howard and I, together with my mother and a friend, sailed up through the Norwegian fjords from Bergen to Kirkenes in the Arctic Circle. Words will not do justice to the majesty of the landscape and I hope, instead, that we can share some of the pictures with you one day soon. My heart was enthralled.

Deo Gloria To God be the glory

Ursula Reader

12 April 2014


Professor Amanda Gouws on the General Elections

The 2014 General election to be held on 7 May promises to be particularly interesting not only because of the fluidity of the political party landscape, but also because of the political instability caused by continuous political protests in the country.

We have invited Professor Amanda Gouws – a member of our congregation from the US Political Science department – to help us understand the political and economic challenges facing South Africa as it celebrates its 20th year of democracy. She will address us on two occasions:

• Tuesday 15 April: In this presentation, Amanda will look at a possible political realignment among political parties and what this would mean for the future of South Africa: * Would it contribute to great political accountability by political leaders in a one party dominant state? * Would it consolidate power on the side of the political opposition? * Would it lead to greater fragmentation and more conflict in parliament?

• Wednesday 23 April: In this presentation Amanda will look at the political gains we have made in the past 20 years, and what still needs to be done. The State of the Nation address pointed toward economic transformation after the election:

* What would this economic transformation entail? * What type of economic transformation is possible for a developing country linked to a neo-liberal global economy, to decrease the equality gap? * Is there a high road, or just different low roads?

Both presentations will be in Stellenbosch United Church at 19h30. Please make every effort to attend: they will provide a most helpful opportunity for us to listen, engage and learn together.

Student Bible Study

The Bible Study takes place on Wednesdays, 17:30 at David's home in Die Boord. We are currently busy with the gospel of Mark. For more information navigate to the "Student Page" from the sidebar or chat to Hugo on whatsapp 071 218 8288.

The Website has been launched! Feel free to navigate through the site and make yourselves at home. Among the many features are the integration of Facebook & Twitter, weekly readings, events and an interesting history section.

Social Networks

Facebook Banner

Scroll down to see the 3 associated Facebook pages. "Like" these pages and get more involved within the congregation and see what your church has been up to lately. Here, you will also be kept up to date with the latest news and information about events and projects. TwitterThis is a great place for new ideas, bible study groups and to put names to those familiar faces. Photo's or videos of past projects and events can be viewed and do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to contribute any relavent media. Stellenbosch United Church has also made it's way onto Twitter. Follow @StellenboschUC or view the latest tweets directly from the website.


Grade 11's

Calling all Gr 11’s. Please send your names and contact details to the office if you would like to join the confirmation class


June Tocknell creates attractive cards. They are sold at R5.00 each at the secretary's office and the money goes to the Stellenbosch United Church Benevolent Fund

Trauma Centre 2013

We managed to donate R2079.00 towards the Kayamandi Trauma Centre last year. We will continue to support the Trauma Centre this year. Please collect a 'Coin Bottle' on the table in the porch and fill it with your 'spare coins', and hand it in at the secretary's office when it is full. Thank you for your faithful support.

New Bible Study

A New Bible study focusing on 2 Corinthians started only this year! If you would like to be part of this group please Contact Carol 021-8871781, 073 534 3738,

A message from Night Shelters in Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch Night ShelterThere are currently two shelters for the Homeless in Stellenbosch: the Stellenbosch Night Shelter and the Municipal Shelter. Both shelters are run by the Stellenbosch Night Shelter Committee. Please do not give money to beggars. Stellenbosch is a caring community and practical help is available.

What can I do to help?

Meals:   We welcome any supplements to our basic menu of soup and bread.

Clothes:   Clothing, especially men's clothing and shoes are in great demand.

Goods:   Donations of toiletries, blankets, coffee, sugar, cleaning materials and rubbish bags are welcome.

Job Creation:   You can make a valuable contribution by passing on possible employment opportunities. Many residents are gardeners or domestic workers.

Development Projects:   We welcome projects which improve the quality of life or skills of our residents. In the interests of residents' welfare, projects are selected very carefully.

Services:   We welcome volunteers who offer specialised services for free or at cost, e.g. maintenance, garden supervision etc.

Relief Supervising:   Relief supervisor work involves taking over the supervisor's duties for one night.

Funds:   The Stellenbosch Night Shelter needs financial support to cover it's running costs. (Bank: ABSA, Account: 1060131020, Branch: 632005)


Small Projects


We welcome your second hand books. For more information contact Audrey, the church secretary or come to her office between 08h15 and 13h00 to browse through our book shelves.


It's all in the name - Care Coins. This year we will be supporting the Trauma Centre and the Soup Kitchen. Please take an empty bottle from the entrance porch table and fill it with your loose change.

Upcoming Events

7 May 2014 | National Elections | South Africans to make our mark - the fifth general elections since the country attained democracy in 1994

Find us on facebook

Official | The Stellenbosch United Church official facebook page. We encourage all members and friends to share event photos and information.

Youth | All youth at Stellenbosch United Church are all welcome and this is a great place to get the latest information regarding small groups and programs.

Students | This group, led by David Hunter, meets each Wednesday from 17h30 at 3 Blenheim Rd, Die Boord. We also have a "Bucket list" for 2014