Dear Friends
Thank you all so much for the many expressions of concern and condolence we have received with regard to Burn’s miscarriage and the loss of their hopes for a child, and ours for a grandchild (this time round, anyway); we deeply appreciate your support. Not surprisingly the subject of gestation has been in my thinking, and it is especially appropriate for this season of Advent, when we focus on Mary’s preparation for Jesus’ birth, against the background of the more profound “pregnancy” of Israel in awaiting their coming Messiah. The season of Advent calls us all afresh to live in the “now, but not yet” of spiritual anticipation, as we await the glorious Second Coming of our Lord.
Gestation is a rigorous process; major changes are taking place, and new life is not born without pain and hardship. Yet it is also an “expectant” season infused with hope. As I think of Christ Church over this past year, gestation is a good metaphor. It has had its pains and struggles as we have grappled with change as we have sought to become a church shaped by the missional call of the Gospel and responsive to the challenges of living out the values of the Kingdom of God in a counter-cultural way. Fees-must-fall and related “hot” issues in our society have added further destabilizing elements, but also given practical context, to the change process.
Pregnancy and birth, as we know, is not a precise science; things can go wrong, it is messy and it is awkward and painful; yet it brings forth new life. I have found myself dwelling a lot recently on the birth-pangs of the New South Africa in the eighties and early nineties. Those were hard times, filled with uncertainty and they placed the church under enormous stress. The more liberal side of the Anglican Church had figures like Desmond Tutu and David Russell, while the outstanding figure from the Evangelical wing was Michael Cassidy. The key text back then for us as a nation (as it continues to be today) was the familiar call of 2 Chronicles 7:14,
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
I recall Michael Cassidy’s courageous writings: “The Politics of Love”; “The Passing Summer”; “A Witness Forever”, as well as the first SACLA conference in 1979, and the big impact they all had on my thinking as a young Evangelical. The Church was gifted with “giant” figures in that season – people who showed us the way to “do theology on the hoof” in the public sphere. I am feeling I need to go back and read those books once more, and be reminded of what they have to teach us about living faithfully in the pain of a season of gestation.
I have a sense that we are entering another gestation period in our nation and, very probably, in our world; with the passing of all sorts of old certainties and securities and an uncertain and stormy future. Yet if we are Advent people, we are anchored in the certainty that history belongs to God and he is guiding its destiny towards the ultimate coming of his Kingdom. In the meantime we seek to live as Kingdom people, with our lives and witness increasingly shaped by his character and his values. Once again we in Christ Church have the privilege of finding ourselves in the forefront of living biblically in the public sphere: painful, messy, uncertain, heavy with change, yet also pregnant with expectancy regarding what our Lord, by his Spirit, is bringing to birth.
I look at our parishioners, many of them young, who have served as Peace and Justice Witnesses on our campuses, and others who have engaged courageously from within the ranks of university staff and administration, and I see a new generation of Christians being discipled in what it means to do theology in the public sphere in contexts of turmoil. New leaders are being forged for a new season of birthing, and I am encouraged that CCK is thoroughly in the mix. In the light of this I want to express my support for what our Annie is seeking to do within that space and the role she is playing in helping others to also engage.
Advent can seem like an ancient and formal season of the Church’s calendar – it isn’t. We serve a living God whose word continues to be “Behold I am doing a new thing”. He is still at work within history and he still calls us to be a people alert and responsive to the signs of the times. We pray “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven”; let us trust then, in our day, that he is doing just that. Gestation is difficult, but it is infinitely preferable to sterility; let’s embrace the potentials of these days.
Have a blessed Advent

Taryn Galloway, 25/11/2016


Christ Church Kenilworth  |  Cnr Summerley & Richmond Road  |  Tel: +27 (021) 797 6332  | E-mail:
Service Times: Sunday Worship  8.00am, 10.00am & 6.30pm  |  Wednesday Service: 10am   | Tuesday Quiet Service: 6.30pm (fortnightly)

Taryn Galloway, 06/05/2015