All posts by Heather Allais

About Heather Allais

Heather lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. She works as an Administrator in a school. Heather received her honours degree in Fine Arts and a higher diploma in Education from the University of the Witwatersrand. After teaching for 12 years, 10 of which were at Kainon School at the New Church Westville, she studied for and received her Masters in Religious Studies at the Theological School of the Bryn Athyn College. Heather worked for General Church Outreach for 4 years before returning to South Africa. Heather is an active member of The New Church Buccleuch serving on the church board holding the Outreach portfolio, leading Children’s Church, singing in the church band, serving as greeter, sound engineer and usher. Heather also serves as the Administrator of the South African Corporation of the General Church. Heather is a keen tribal belly dancer and quilter, and has recently joined the Johannesburg Symphony Choir. Quality time is set aside for her family.

Reinventing Traditions

This year as I looked out over our congregation’s New Church Day celebration, I marvelled at how my church has adapted this celebration for our unique situation. Ten years ago I may have protested against changing the traditions that I held close to my heart. It’s not just the traditions that have changed, it’s my perspective. Let me describe the tradition that I held so dear.
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My Voice In The Choir

Just less than a year ago I auditioned for and joined the Johannesburg Symphony Choir. It had been 4 years since I had sung with the Bryn Athyn Cathedral Choir. To say that I was a little out of practice, or rusty, would not be an unfair assessment. It may seem strange to say that one can be out of practice for singing in a choir, but the truth is it’s like a muscle that one has to keep using to keep it supple.

There are two major areas that I had to exercise and get back up to speed. The first is the discipline of sight reading and correctly pitching the music. I’m a second alto and in the large symphony choir it is assumed that every choir member can sight read the music. When everyone can sight read the music the choir master / conductor can concentrate choir rehearsals on the dynamics of piece of music instead of hammering away through the notes for eight different voices.
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The Joy of Giving

I love the spirit of Christmas. This is one of my favourite times of the year. I love the quality family time; the big family sit-down meals around the dining room table extended especially to host the family; the family carol singing before the Christmas Eve meal; the roast turkey with all the trimmings on Christmas Eve.; the Nativity scene set up by the nephew and nieces. I love giving gifts and I start thinking about what to give from about July! One of the most recent additions to the things I love about Christmas is Auntie Heather’s Santa Workshop.

Over the last few years I have had the pleasure of hosting a Santa Workshop for my nephew and nieces. We start planning it a couple of weeks before the event when I enquire if they have any ideas for their gifts. The event itself usually happens over two days in the first week of their Christmas vacation. The general plan is to assist them in making homemade gifts for their parents and grandparents.
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I Am Blessed

Can you remember a special single auntie? I think everyone should have one. I did. It was from her that I started hand crafts when I was very young. I went on holiday with her without my parents. She was very special. Aunties have a very special role to play in the life of children, and I think single aunties even more so.

I may not be a wife or a mother, but I have 6 children – 6 nephews and nieces. I’m not a wife or mother, I am an awesome aunt. My role as aunt is no less important or meaningful than mother or wife. It’s just different. It’s important. It’s valued. It’s blessed.
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