20 November 2020

Berea Congregational Church Pastoral Letter No. 32 20 November 2020

Berea Congregational Church

Pastoral Letter No. 32

20 November 2020

Dear Family and friends of the Berea Congregational Church,

As mentioned last week, we held our final Deacons Meeting for the year. A number of important decisions were taken especially looking forward to the New Year. Early in the New Year we will be stopping the showing of the recorded service on Sunday and return to our usual worship format with full congregation participation. So start loosening up your voices so we will sing with the enthusiasm that worship needs. We will also start having fellowship in the hall after the service.

When schools reopen our Sunday school will meet again. In January the leadership will plan the church calendar for the year. On Christmas Day our Worship will be with full congregational participation and our prayer is that for those who have not yet returned to church on Sundays you will join us for this special celebration. We will give you further information later on how we will maintain Covid-19 safety measures. All these plans are conditional upon the status of the authority’s safety regulations at the time.

A further exciting decision is that the church will be purchasing a video camera and in the New Year our services will be recorded live for distribution to the homes for the aged that have been receiving DVDs of our pre-recorded services. Those who are confined to their homes will have access to the live recordings as well. Please pray about all the great news above and be ready to share in long awaited return to normal church activities.

Last week I mentioned the 58th wedding anniversary of Malcom and Heather Impson. I subsequently found out that Aubrey and Shirley Claassen had celebrated their 54th anniversary on November 5th. Our sincere congratulations go to them as well. I am sad to report that our dear Dawn Impson has taken seriously ill and has been admitted to hospital for emergency surgery. Please keep her and the family in your prayers.

May God bless and protect you and your loved ones,

Food for Thought A pastor never gets to say “I’m off duty”. Never gets to punch out at 5. Never gets to have a normal schedule. We don’t know how many sleepless nights they spend on their knees praying for their church. How much opposition they face? How many family opportunities they miss to meet with hurting people. We can’t carry their burden for them but we can do what the Bible tells us to: Pray for them. Encourage them. Support them. By blessing them we will only be blessed in return”


21   Elizabeth Peddie        073 250 9997

21   Heather Thompson     083 390 4632

23   Clement Abrahams       031 208 6622

Let us pray

Lord Jesus, I am confessing that I find it hard to pray, that I find myself saying the same prayer day after day, that I forget very easily whom I am speaking to. First of all, forgive me that I allow important things to distract me, that I take the extra time I often need in the morning from my quiet time, that in the evening I wait until  I am so tired  that my attention is no longer with you.

Holy Spirit, thank you that I can know you pray for me. Teach me to pray with childish faith, constantly with the joy you ask of me.I ask this in you name. Amen

In one of his ‘letters to Malcolm’, the writer C.S. Lewis mentions an upsetting truth:

‘Prayer is bothersome. We are always glad for an excuse not to pray. If we have finished praying, we are relieved – there is a holiday feeling for the rest of the day. We are reluctant to start praying. We are happy when we have finished. While we are praying – but not when we read a book or complete a crossword – the smallest things can distract us.’

(Prayer: Letters to Malcolm)

While reading this, I am shocked by the recognition – he is talking about me! It is really difficult for me to pray. In the morning I am often so rushed that my prayer is hurried and some evenings I am so tired that I often fall asleep while I am praying. On top of this, the content of my prayers is so similar – and so self-centred.

In the New Testament we often read that Jesus prays alone and sometime spends the whole night in prayer. That is also the secret of the phenomenal success of his preaching – he spoke to his Father about everything and always put his Father’s will ahead of his own, even if it clashed with what he wanted. In John 14:12-13, Jesus assures the disciples:

‘I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to be the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.’

We can take this promise as our own if we are prepared to learn to pray!

How sadly I am lacking in my own prayer life compare to that of Jesus. Is this perhaps also true of you? Will you be prepared to make copies of the prayers you prayed this morning and tonight and give them to your friends to read? How much time do you spend in prayer every day? Is prayer a bother or a joy? Do you experience that your prayers are answered or do you often feel that you pray against the ceiling

Fortunately, it is never too late to make work of your prayers. Don’t you want to confess your reluctance to pray right now and, like the disciples, ask Jesus for help – he can teach you to pray today, just as he did for his disciples.

-This excerpt was written by Nina Smit is used by permission of Struik Christian Media

To pray is difficult

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place.

When he finished, one of his disciples said to him,

   "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples

LUKE 11:1

Pandora’s Box - The old story about Pandora tells how she was sent to earth with a box which she had been instructed to guard but never open. Curiosity got the better of her. She lifted the lid and out escaped all the evils and sorrows of mankind.

What is often forgotten is that something remained safe inside the box. What was it? It was hope and it has been there ever since. THAT is the real lesson the myth of Pandora’s Box. - Francis Gay

13 November 2020

PASTORAL LETTER No. 30 :6 November 2020



6 November 2020

Dear Family and friends of the Berea Congregational Church,

Friends I come to the end of the first week in November realising that it’s time to start making preparations for Christmas. In some respects I feel that time has passed by quickly, but as I look back on the past seven months under Covid-19 restrictions, reality hits me and I know that for most people it has dragged by awfully slowly. So don’t let’s look back but contemplate the approach of Christmas.  It goes without saying that it will be like no other Christmas that has gone before. This should bring with it new and exciting opportunities possibilities to be creative.

So in spite of this, I really do hope that all of us will find ways of preparing for Christmas with excitement, remembering that we celebrate the birth of our Saviour Jesus. Perhaps this year because circumstances are so different, we will not get caught up in the usual mad rush that is so often the case at this season. Let’s find our joy in the wonder of God’s love for us. That He was prepared to be born into our world in the form of a baby, as Emanuel – God with us, ultimately to give His life for our salvation, and for us to be able to live life in a meaningful and blest way. Let it be a time to focus on our relationships with family and friends, and sharing our love and appreciation for them.

Another big thank you to Musa and her team for raising much needed funds through the sale of clothing. To all those who were able to prepare gifts  for the children at Siyabathanda’s Christmas party on Saturday 5th December a sincere thank you and also to Mandy for organising it so well.

The leadership of the church will be holding their final meetings of the year next week and I will give you an update on plans for the future. So please pray that God will guide us as we seek to know His will for the church.     

May God bless and protect you and your loved ones,

A Special Birthday Wish for a special lady, Patty Jago who will be celebrating her

 94th birthday on the 10th November.


06   Mavis Els          031 208 1507

07   Zaba Gumede  084 976 0805

08   Monique Usher 083 606 0608

10   Patty Jago        084 353 9953

11   Penny Fabian   083 445 84 39

11   Gugu Mqadi     082766 9905                                              

           The Secret of Living

As a gift, I recently got a cute blue birthday album with a motto on every page. One of the mottoes read:

“To live is to accept what you cannot avoid to make the best of it to refuse to go to pieces because of suffering

If we can make this secret our own, we will go through life much easier. Often we struggle for years to change things that cannot be changed at all.

We try to change our husbands or children as we want them to be, rather than to accept them as they are. We balk at the barbs of unchangeable things such as a disability or a chronic illness – we refuse to accept that the Lord wants to use us in the situation and at the place where we are at this moment, because we rather want to serve him in the mission field or another place of our choice.

How great it will be merely to accept the things that we cannot change. And not only to accept them, but to make the best of them! If only we could learn to handle our rebellious children with so much love that they will have to react to it; to use losses positively by encouraging others who must entertain a similar experience; to work through our illnesses in such a manner that other people who look at us will stand in awe and will know that we are different because we worship a great God.

Lastly, we could learn not to go to pieces because of suffering. When times are tough, we can ask God to help us one day at a time. He is with each one of his children, from birth to old age. He promises to enfold each person who suffers with his arms of love.

Are you having a difficult time now? When your burden becomes too much, you can place your troubles on God’s shoulders with confidence – because his yoke is easy and his burden is light. Also when you cannot understand the things that are happening to you, you can still hold onto God and know: he is always there, he will carry you when you can no longer walk by yourself.

‘Let us accept

what we cannot change.

It is the first step on the road

to the light from the darkness

which overcame us

so quickly’

-Saul Bellow-

Taken from:

Safe in God’s Hand a collection Written by Nina Smit

This excerpt is used by permission of

Struik Christian Media


Teach my today to accept the things I cannot change;

more so, help me to make the best of it,

to change each of my weaknesses into strengths,

so that you can achieve your goal with my life.

Thank you that suffering will never get the better of me,

because I know for sure that when I suffer,

I have you with me.

You promise never to leave me, to assist me and carry me,

to take my burden on your shoulders,

never to tempt me above my strengths,

but to give me the outcome

with the temptation,

so that I will be able to handle it.

Please do this for me.


13 November 2020

Pastoral Letter 31 : 13 November 2020



13 November 2020

Dear Family and friends of the Berea Congregational Church,

As mentioned last week the Management Committee met last night for its final meeting this year and many matters were dealt with for immediate attention and in planning for the future. Some of items which required immediate attention were, our annual outreach donations to a number of charity and church based support organisations. This honours our commitment to take 10% of our offerings in obeying the Lord’s teaching for church communities to reach out beyond themselves to those where support is needed. We also discussed the urgent need to upgrade our office computer which is now over fifteen years old. Looking to next year, with the success of our recorded services in reaching the local homes for the aged and our members who are confined to their homes, it has become a necessity to consider the purchase of a video camera and equipment. This will need someone who will commit themselves on a regular basis to operate the system. I believe it is a wonderful opportunity for someone to do this as a very meaningful way to serve the Lord and if they are young at the same time get valuable experience in this field.

It is good to have more of our members returning on Sundays for worship, so please pray about this and if you are comfortable about this come and join us. We were blessed to receive notification that one of our Overport members had provided a legacy in her will for the church. A truly wonderful way to thank the Lord for all He had done for her during her life. A bit of bad news is that the Overport store room was broken into overnight and the lawnmower, ten umbrellas used by Lavender Gardens were stolen. These will need to be replaced and the security gate upgraded.

I would again appeal to you to share with us any news for which we could rejoice with you or pray about for you. A bit of wonderful news that I can share with you is that today (13th) Malcolm and Heather Impson celebrate their 58th wedding anniversary. Wonderful mile stone, congratulations to you and may God bless you for many more to come. Friends please pray for the Deacons Meeting on Sunday which takes place after church. That God will guide us as we wait on Him in planning for the future.

May God bless and protect you and your loved ones, Robin.

Have you ever wondered why Birthdays Should Be Celebrated? Here is Christian perspective written by Rev. Margaret Minnicks an ordained Bible teacher.

It Opens the Door to New Mercies: To have lived another year is an achievement. After all, you have another year's worth of blessings to thank God for. Think of how much of God's air you have consumed during the year. Think of how many nights God allowed you to lie down and sleep and how many mornings He awakened you with brand new mercies (Lamentations 3:22–23).

This week we celebrate the birthdays of:

16   Jean Webber                083 799 8969

17   Zama Ngobo                 073 576 1779

18   Nom Dhlomo                072 177 9394      

18   Eli Appenah                  083 606 0608

19   Anna Orlandini             071 203 0183      

The miracle is YOU!

Happy birthday to someone driven by faith and love of Christ on this day and everyday

 ‘Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might,

for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working

nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.’


I often wonder why it is so much a part of every person to postpone things. Procrastination is the thief of time, is a well-known saying. And how many times haven’t I regretted having postponed things. I waited so long to welcome the new neighbours that I now feel too awkward to do it; the terminally ill lady whom I still wanted to visit had died in the meantime; the cupboard still has not been tidied; I owe my school friend a letter for more than a year. I often feel that my whole life is lived under the cloud of postponement!

In one of his books, Martin Luther wrote: “If God says “Today”, the devil says “Tomorrow”’

‘If only we could learn to do the things that must be done today, the world will be a much better place; so much more will be done and we will have much fewer regrets. Because today is the only time we are really sure of – tomorrow could never arrive for us. Therefore, we may not waste today.’

Also, as regards problems and crises, we can start working on solutions today, instead of wishing them away or simply ignoring them. Insurmountable problems become much lighter when they are no longer postponed, but tackled one day at a time.

Are you also a person who loves to postpone? Then work at it today! Compile a list of the unfinished things in your life and start finishing them systematically. It never helps to wait until you have more time or the time is convenient. Rather make the time convenient and do whatever you can today so that you will not regret it tomorrow. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow must still come, and today is the only day you have in your hand. Therefore, today is precious – use it as best you can!

-This excerpt was written by Nina Smit is used by permission of Struik Christian Media

      Siyabathanda News

29 November: Last day for handing in Love Boxes


5 December: Christmas Party. Those who would like to join in; we will meet at the church parking area between 8h00 and 8h30 so that we can pack the cars and prepare for the trip. 

We are grateful for the sponsorships

from the church in the form of :

1. Love boxes for the children

2. Lunch packs for the children

3. Toys for children up to the age of 12.

4. Party packs for the children

A Friendly request for the children

 older than 12:

We need cosmetics for 5 boys and 7 girls. The pack can comprise of Body Lotion, Roll On, Deodorant, Toothbrush and Toothpaste as well as sanitary towels for the girls.

Thank you - Xoli 076 3889 256

31 July 2017



Please remember to inform the Church Office of any changes of your contact details. You can make use of the back page of the Pew Notices and just drop it in the offering bag. Alternatively please call Anna in the church office – 031-201 6123. Your co-operation will be highly appreciated


13 February 2017


General Notice

If there are any parents who would like to have their child baptised, please contact Anna in the Church office: (031-201 6123) any week day morning.