A message from Rita Goddard, Lay Minister

Posted by Admin on 21 February 2008, 12:00 am

Rita Goddard, Lay Minister
c/o The Rectory, Chawton Lane, Northwood

A few days ago a friend of mine living in Cape Town, South Africa emailed to tell me that the elder daughter of an African family he supports and encourages had represented her school in an annual athletics meeting involving 5 schools. Deslynn, as she is called, is a long distance runner and has previously represented the Western Province in cross country at National Level. She has on such previous occasions won several competitions and although she is not necessarily academically gifted, she has other qualities. These qualities have been evident, as she has shown her prowess in athletics. Several years ago, on a visit to Cape Town it was fascinating to watch Deslynn move almost like a young gazelle as she chased her younger sister around my friend’s garden or other recreational areas.  However, her natural ability has been enhanced by hours of disciplined training and practice and she has had to sacrifice a number of other activities and pleasures to follow her current passion of athletics. What is remarkable, therefore, about her recent participation in the latest athletics meeting is that for some unknown reason her school entered her for the high jump event, something she had never participated in before.  I can imagine she would have said, “fine, let’s go for it!” To everyone’s utter amazement, not only did she win, but she also became a record-breaker in that she set a new record for the inter schools High Jump event.

Some of our own children at this time of year, especially the ‘tinies’ don their wellies and safety jackets to join their teachers outside to look for new buds on the twigs, spring flowers and possibly ‘creepy-crawlies!’ They are able to enjoy their morning lessons in brilliant spring sunshine, keen to learn what they can about nature and the world around them. These are the ones who are perhaps just beginning to find out about the gifts and qualities that are lying dormant within before starting to develop them.

What a heritage we have in our children and what potential there is in each individual child. There are those with academic ability, others with an artistic flair and some who show a great talent for music. Then, of course, there are those like my African friend with a penchant for athletics. We need to nurture and encourage every child we know, which is so relevant in today’s educational world. 

Deslynn has experienced the discipline of training. In the church’s year we are now part way through Lent and for many Lent is a time of spiritual discipline and self-denial. It is a time when we focus upon our Lord Jesus Christ and perhaps begin to nurture those spiritual gifts and qualities lying dormant within us. As Deslynn continues to discipline herself upon her athletic journey, she can hopefully look forward to more successes and further accolades. As we continue upon our Lenten journey, we too look forward. We look forward with great hope expressed for us in the joy of that wonderful Easter morning when we are reminded that Jesus Christ has conquered death and the grave and we celebrate anew his glorious resurrection. 

May I wish you all a very Happy Easter!


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