Many members could be seen making their way into the Retreat East church which had just about reached its seating capacity shortly before 09:00 – a full hour before the divine service was due to start.
When there were just a few short moments to go before the commencement of the service, the atmosphere inside the hall reflected the emotions of a congregation excited and ready to partake of a spiritual feast. Those congregants connected via audio visual transmission felt very much part of the gathering when District Apostle N Barnes in the commencement of his serving made mention of the furthest connection point on the northern border of Namibia where it touches on Angola.
The district apostle based the sermon on Matthew 6:11 “Give us this day our daily bread.” This was the same word Chief Apostle J Schneider used when he served a congregation in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday 24 June 2013. During that divine service the Cape District Church received an additional blessing, which was unwrapped during the course of the service in Retreat East when District Apostle Barnes used the platform to introduce the new bishop, Neville Barron.
The Congolese members who formed part of the congregation and sat alongside the members of Allenby and Retreat East felt a little closer to home when the district apostle shared the experiences of his visit where the chief apostle mentioned the special role played by those working outside of their homeland, thus providing for their families. This message brought visible joy to the faces of those addressed and one could sense the value in their sacrifices.
Prior to the conclusion of the divine service there were moments of deep reflection when Bishop S Smith was placed into early retirement due to ill health. District Apostle Barnes spoke at length of the loving nature of the bishop who would be the last to leave the church while caring for those he was responsible for. Great gratitude for his contribution to the pastoral work in the Church was expressed.
The joy of the day wasn’t reserved for the divine service only but also experienced thereafter. After service the congregation erupted in exhilaration and applauded when the announcement was made that the visit of Chief Apostle Schneider to the Cape in March 2014 would include a divine service scheduled to take place in Retreat East on 16 March.