Not entirely unexpected, there were few suggestions of a suitable name for this newsletter. The one that appealed to me most came from Don Boyd and finds application in this issue. Rita van der Walt’s suggested “Foreign Correspondence” feature also takes effect with her first letter and other contributions from afar. With several of our members travelling fairly regularly abroad, I hope to keep this source wide open. Receiving reports from “on location” rather than on the contributors’ return would be my preferred option.
Rosemarie and I spent the previous weekend in Tauranga, where we attended a service at St Enoch’s, a suburban Presbyterian Church where our friends, Shona and Russell Whyte are actively involved. Worshipping in different locations makes me aware of the diversity of religious practice in our denomination and the freedom of expression of faith. Notwithstanding the visible inclusive composition in many parishes visited, they all have something in common. By and large their visual composition is very much dependent on members, predominantly female, of advancing age with only a sprinkling of younger attendees. Regrettably, many of us, in spite of our best efforts, are failing to provide the next generation of practising upholders of our faith on which the future of our Church depends. It is noticeable that our adult children, who occasionally accompany their elders, discontinue when the committed parent moves on or away. With the shrinking pool of able bodied human resource and financial contribution bereft of succession I foresee a gradual, but inevitable winding down in many congregations. We are indicative of this trend, and while our generation will leave a rich legacy of memories, the community value will be lost with our passing. I leave it you to ponder how we can reverse this decline.