God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

Reflections / Gedanken

11.10.2009 Diversity and in between

This weekend is the first weekend as a priest without a fix community and I supplied mass in Milnerton and Brooklyn. As I know Milnerton a longer time, it was a good experience, also seeing people again who I had not seen for a longer time. It has been as a chaplain always good to keep in touch with the “South African way” of saying Mass. What stroke me most today was the diversity of the Brooklyn parish – and how many kids attended the service. The church was full, the singing more “African” with clapping. Generally the diversity and the way of being relaxed is in both communities remarkable.

One has still the feeling of belonging to a big family when attending such a service, it is a feeling I still know from the good old days in Germany. As it is in often in South Africa, the mix of modern and old fashioned is fascinating, beamers bring the hymns to the screen, but the mobilar is still from “annodazumal” as the Germans would say. Writing this it reminds me of the meetings with the sangomas, where during rituals suddenly cellphone are ringing: pearls, feathers and bones are no obstacles to embrace new cellphone technology.

I think that this mix of diversity combined with old traditions and new technology carries the fascination of this country and its people – and it adds to the confusion of the visitor and guest: South Africa is still a developing country but also a modern country, it is a country in between. And the same goes for the church of South Africa – it is between the old and known and the new and unknown. Especially the Catholic Church, which was during apartheid times rather a suspicious group, had to jump quite fast to catch up after the end of apartheid.

A fascinating field to work in as a priest between the old and the new world.. in transition..

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