No, not Bluff. Dunedin. Taken from our deck on a stormy day about a year ago.Today was one of those rare Sundays where I had no commitments, so the question arose, where do we go to church? Well, it was a no brainer, really. There's only one parish left in the Diocese where I haven't worshipped on a Sunday morning, so Bluff it was. We rose at 6, left at 7 and after a cup of coffee in Invercargill, arrived at the Bluff Co-operating parish right on the dot of 10.
As it turns out we were on time for the service, but still managed to be a little late as the first Sunday in the month is the one Bluff puts on a pancake breakfast which begins an hour earlier. A few people there, some of the Anglicans, of course, knew who I was and were very slightly surprised, but took it all in their stride. We were given pancakes and coffee and then, with the other 30 or so people present, sat at small tables while the service unfolded. It was simple, casual and very well done. There was singing led by a small but very competent music group, a couple of Bible stories, a sort of a quiz thing and a prayer or two. Perhaps four of the congregants were my age or older, one or two looked like they might have had quite eventful lives and the rest were young men, young women and very young children. I loved it. If I lived locally I'd be there every week.
We left well before midday and with the rest of the day ahead took the scenic route home through the Catlins. We stopped at that rather good little cafe sited in the old Niagara school for soup with homemade bread and were home about 3.30
It has been a lovely Sunday, and it followed a Saturday which was equally satisfying, though in a very different way. Yesterday a dozen of us met in the Diocesan office to discuss the finer points of our committee structure. I know that if anyone had invited me to such an event in the past I would have spent more time thinking up plausible reasons not to be there than the meeting itself actually took. For me the only thing more stultifying than a committee meeting was a committee meeting to design committee meetings; but yesterday was interesting, and even inspiring. We were well led by Margy-Jean Malcolm and everyone was fully engaged as we were in fact re-designing an Anglican Diocese from the ground up. We were looking for the most efficient, simple and productive way to use our material and personnel resources for the purposes of the Kingdom of God. And we made great progress. We finished at 3, all of us feeling somewhat depleted as we had, in the process of working out the practical details of a much simplified diocesan structure, talked together through the big questions of what exactly it is that Christ calls us to here in the bottom third of the South Island.
So today, to drive through some of it and worship with one of our most vibrant little communities was important; to be reminded that the Holy Spirit is alive and well and that our job back in the office in Green Island is not to get in the way but rather to support and encourage and resource the work that many good people are already doing.