There and Back

The venue for synod was the Invercargill Working Men's Club. It is big, well equipped, comfortable. Everything - the heaters, the sound system, the projector - works perfectly. The food is great. But the best part is the people. I look out at the rows of people sitting 8 each around a table and know them all. I had feared that we might all get a bit tense and argumentative, what with the lack of money and the uncertainty and everything, but no. The need for change has been accepted, and we are getting past the understandable but futile desire to find a quick fix. We aren't lacking in clever people, and we have all the money and buildings we need; it's just that the organisation we have evolved over the last 150 years is now on the verge of being unworkable.
People spoke with respect and they listened. A number of people made excellent contributions, but I was particularly grateful to Ginny Kitchingman our accountant, and Diccon Sim our chancellor for being calm, patient, professional and sensible. It made all the difference to me, and I know, to a lot of other people. And Debbie and Alec in our office, and Jean in Invercargill did long hard hours of invisible work to make it all happen. Down here in the South, we are so blessed in the company we keep.
I've been thinking about Easter Saturday, and that long day, which for Mary Magdalene waiting at the tomb and for the other apostles cowering in hiding somewhere, must have seemed bewildering and interminable. They, none of them, had the foggiest clue what would happen next. They sat there with the knowledge that all that they had pinned their hopes on had come to a spectacular halt, and there was no obvious way ahead. So they waited, not sure of  what they were waiting for or even, I suppose that they were actually waiting. Death and resurrection is a concept I can accept, but the bit between them, the dead place where nothing happens, is hard to endure. But it is a necessary part of the whole process. It really is, after all, the dead place: the place where we understand that all that has gone before really has gone; the place without which we won't be able to know resurrection when it arrives. 
Clemency arrives in her own car part way through Saturday. Late on Saturday afternoon Alec Clark gives her a large bunch of flowers. It really is an ending. After breakfast on Sunday we drive home, the two of us in a little convoy, following each other through the drizzle on the familiar roads. We stop in Gore for coffee and buy blue cod in Waihola. We have left the others behind to discuss what they they want to do with their diocese. We are starting to realise that what lies ahead looks pretty darned rosy. 


Father Ron said…
On the Volleyball court at St. John's College in the late 1970's, together with two of the main participants in this poignant scene in the Dunedin Synod; who would have thought that both Kelvin and Alec would have even imagined themselves in the current situation in the Dunedin Diocese?

However, life has a habit of moving us on - to places we might never have expected. And God is always in the mix, travelling with us. Deo gratias!

Bless you Bishop Kelvin, for your loving tenure of the flock in New Zealaqnd's Southern Land. Time to hand over. Ave!