Caravan blessing in the carpark of Holy Trinity Invercargill. 3 deg C. Raining. Everyone is doing well to look so cheerful. Photo courtesy Keith Gover.
It's -2 outside and foggy and I'm ensconced in the driveway of Holy Trinity Gore. I've just had breakfast and checked my email but more importantly I have earlier spent 40 min inside the church in silent prayer. And now, with the heater humming beside me and the kettle singing on the gas hob, The idea that came through intuition and feeling - getting a caravan - is making the journey into my cerebellum.
I have had a wonderful few days. I've had god ( I meant to say "good" but my computer, in this instance knows better than I do) conversations with people in five parishes. I've sat in silence in three churches. I've slept In a car park and a driveway and been astonishingly warm and comfortable. Most importantly, I've been present, and been SEEN to be present.
This is a bigger caravan than I intended. I'd originally thought of a little tiny one like a sort of monk's cell on wheels but this is a big slab sided job of the type that annoys motoring enthusiasts from one end of Britain to the other. Analysis of cost and weight differences ( negligible) argued in favor of elbow room, but there is another serendipitous advantage: namely, that when this one is parked up outside the church everyone will know it is there. Everyone will know I am there.
My aim is to pray in every church in the diocese in the next year, and to converse with key people in each of those places. I might not necessarily stay beside each church, but I will stay beside many of them. I can be present in a community at short notice and without imposing on anybody. To maintain life and limb I will need access to a tap, with a 3 pin power plug a welcome but not necessary extra. I will need acess to the church and will email, txt, phone or semaphore ahead to arrange this. I will take my trash and other detritus with me and won't need feeding although I will welcome the opportunity to sit at table with people. On weekends and school holidays Clemency will be with me, and I will visit communities close to Dunedin during term time and on weekdays. When away I will do my morning meditation in the local church and anyone is welcome to join me, but I do it early and recognise that sitting still for long periods is not everyone's preferred channel to God. At other times of the day prayer will follow other patterns.
Especially now, I have a strong sense of call to be with the people of Dunedin Diocese; to listen and pastor and pray. If this last three days in Southland is any indication, the person who is going to gain the most from this is me.