My sister-in-law comes from a small country town which has a correspondingly small English-speaking community. It follows that their tiny church runs on a shoe-string, gamely supported by the 28 couples in the congregation who share their minister with three other district congregations. Typically, the minister is allocated to them for about four years before being moved on by the powers that be. In keeping with the times, the supply of churchmen of a pale skin tone is diminishing as fewer young people are finding it to be their vocation. Indeed, there was consternation enough when a woman arrived once. After that, there was a young Coloured chap with an Indian wife. This pair soon endeared themselves to one and all however, as they were both charming and willing and he gave a good, witty sermon. The church was full. After only two years however, these two decided that they wanted to become missionaries. The latest unfortunate is a black gentleman. He came just before Christmas and soon after that his wife died unexpectedly and he is left with a little boy to bring up on his own. To add to his troubles he has encountered a hostile congregation: for the simple reason that try as they might, they cannot understand his English. The situation is sad, the church is emptying, the people feel they have been short-changed. But this man has a Master’s degree: surely something can be done? I suggested they get hold of a taped basic language course of the sort where the learner has to listen to a native speaker, then speak onto the tape - and then listen to himself. Someone should take him tactfully aside and explain the difficulty instead of smiling politely and leaving the poor man in the dark. Meantime, on the other side of town, the coloured congregation is more than happy with their own Xhosa-speaking priest. Communication is everything, isn’t it?