photo (c) Valerie Swatridge 2014
It felt strange, yesterday, to be getting ready for the day by ironing a purple shirt and polishing my black shoes. Stranger still to be getting into a car and driving through the city to the Cathedral. This was the day when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were in town and I needed to be at the Cathedral earlyish, although I had precious little to do in the service. The inoffensive looking young cop was embarrassed as he told me I couldn't park in my accustomed spot, but we found one fairly near and I had an hour or more of thumb twiddling and heel cooling as the cathedral filled with the faithful and the curious. The motorcade was late, the service started 20 minutes after its alloted time and rolled on its well rehearsed way for the requisite hour and ten minutes. The choir was large and sang beautifully. The dean preached well and Clemency quite enjoyed wearing a hat and sitting next to the royals. There was coffee and champagne in the crypt afterwards and then home with time for me to think about the next event.
We met in the Octagon at 4:00 pm with the Nor' Easter starting to bite with some ferocity. Benjamin had excelled himself in putting the event together, with live music on a decent stage and with a good sound system. The cold wind mitigated against a large crowd forming although there were about 150 there from most of the Dunedin parishes and from North Otago and Southland. Dion, who had seemed so quiet and considered when driving the Hikoi van, MCed with energy and wit and style. We followed the practice which had grown on the road: Phil and I spoke and John prayed. At the alloted time the good folks from The Best Cafe showed up with fish and chips and we closed by releasing 200 biodegradeable, environmentally friendly balloons. Some of us walked the hundred metres or so back to the Cathedral and evensong and I spoke again and then it was all over.
The van was returned today. I had a day off and, not quite able to break the habit, walked the 9km round trip into town and back. Easter is looming with a whole suite of services to prepare before I leave for Queenstown on Thursday and there is no doubt a pile of obligations waiting in my office. Before the next Diocesan Council meeting I want to write some sort of interim report on Te Harinui, giving some indication of where we need to be heading as a diocese. There is much to be glad about. But there is also much to be careful of and the time to act is now.