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Published: June 24th 2007
The beach at Anse Royale
Not every church has its own beach behind it! The east coast of Mahe gets a lot of weed on the beaches when the southeast winds are blowing, so head to the west coast for the best swimming.
It’s been two weeks since I wrote an entry for this blog, and tomorrow will be six weeks since I left Canada. I have an excuse for the absence of blogs - too much non-blog writing over the past two weeks. Four sermons, two lectures, and a letter for the Anglican Church people back home - it’s almost like being back at school.
I’ve moved from the mountains in La Misere back to the town of Victoria. I’m happy to be back. The mountains were cooler, but where I was living was very isolated, and I was getting tired of taking the bus back and forth to town, often standing because the buses are packed during peak hours. The old college at La Misere is great for a retreat because it’s so quiet, but after a few days of that I start to go squirrelly. No monastic vocation for me!
This weekend I was in the parish of South Mahe, at Holy Saviour Church in Anse Royale. For the rest of my internship I’ll be moving from parish to parish, both to give me exposure to a greater of variety of people and worship, and because it seems
One of my new friends
This little girl told her Mom to make sure she got to shake my hand after the service today. In Seychelles, the girls put on their best dresses for Sunday church.
that each parish would like to see me before I go. This is a small place, so all the churches know that I’m here, and expect me to visit.
Holy Saviour Church in Anse Royale is over 100 years old, and it looks like it’s been that long since it had a fresh coat of paint. The good news is twofold, first that it’s being renovated this year, and secondly that it has a vibrant congregation. As part of my Anse Royale experience, I was invited to attend a bible study on Saturday afternoon with a women’s prayer group. Me and a dozen women, go figure. I’ve learned that I can’t just attend things like that - as soon as I’m there they ask me to lead the study. So I did. They were following a booklet on discipleship, and one of the texts was in Luke where Jesus asks his disciples to bear the cross and follow him. One of the women explained to me that when a woman uses the expression “bear our cross” in the Seychelles, she is talking about staying in a bad marriage. There was an interesting exchange between one woman who talked about
A small fishing boat
Fishing is a mainstay of island life.
This boat was anchored off the beach at Anse Royale
the expectation of “bearing a cross” even in marriages that were abusive and a younger one who said that things were changing with the younger generation. I think we all agreed that that sort of change was a good thing.
Word has gotten around that I brought my guitar, so I was invited to join the band for the Sunday service at Anse Royale. We had a practice session on Saturday, which was a good thing for me since I didn’t know very many of the songs. The priest at Anse Royale, Father John, is an interesting guy. He hardly ever speaks, but the people love him and he plays the guitar with the band. At the service this morning, the whole thing was lead by young people, and Father John played guitar. Seychellois are very reserved people, but one thing that they love to do is sing. And so the whole service was structured around the music, and everyone sang and had a great time. Afterwards, several of the parishioners paid me the highest compliment, asking me if I would be coming back to take John’s place while he was away on vacation in July. I’m pretty sure
Holy Saviour Church Anse Royale
This church is really overdue for some repairs. Money has been a limiting factor in the past, but the bishop negotiated a land deal with the government that has provided funds for renovations
that the reason they wanted me back was my guitar playing more than my preaching!
After church, John and his wife Diana invited me to lunch. I already had a lunch invitation, but I’m quite capable of eating two lunches in the line of duty. So I had a nice lunch with John and Diana and their family, and then promptly went to my next lunch date at the home of Christine’s aunt Sarah. It was the third time I’d had Sunday lunch with Christine’s extended family and it’s interesting to note how the reserve that I’d experienced initially is melting away. The first time I was with them it was a bit like pulling teeth to get any sort of conversation going. But now it seems like I’m getting closer to being a part of the family, and everyone seems much more relaxed. Maybe it’s me that’s more relaxed, who knows. But as I was leaving, Sarah told me to come over any time I wanted, that I was always welcome. And there’s nothing better than feeling welcome when you’re in a place far from home.
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