Skip to main content

Fair's fair



Every year we have a parish fair, usually on the first Saturday in November, but this year for reasons I can no longer remember we had it a week early.Not that the timing seemed to make much difference, as it all went off as smoothly as ever. There is a long history of holding parish fairs and a lot of people who know how it all works. People have their alloted jobs to do, and they know the steps in the process of making that bit of the process happen. I have my own particular contribution to make. There is a circuit of local schools and churches who all borrow trestle tables off each other, and, on the day before the fair, they have to be visited in turn by cars towing trailers, one of which is mine. There is a barbecue of formidable weight to be collected from the naval training base - why the Royal New Zealand Navy would own such a thing and why they would lend it to us are mysteries now lost in the fogs of history. There is a marquee to be erected and this involves a lot blokes in late middle age hammering large bits of metal into the ground using a mallet of prodigious size. We take turns and sweat a lot. Tables are erected and stacked with stuff. Old electrical appliances are tested to make sure they work. Cakes and sweets are baked and packaged. Local businesses are canvassed for contributions to a raffle table and to a silent auction. Signs and balloons and streamers are hung up about the place. A crowd gathers and a bell is rung and then it's all on. In about three hours the parish makes $17,000 and then we pack everything up, traverse the circuit of table suppliers again - only this time in delivery mode - and discuss how we can make next year's fair better than this one.

On the face of it, running a fair doesn't seem like a Gospel activity, but on the face of it is wrong. Pretty much everyone in the church community is involved in some way or another and at the end of the day, there is the expected deepening of bonds that come from performing any absorbing activity together. The general public seems to like coming to our fair. It is a cheap, safe outing for families and there's always the chance of picking up a bargain. Our parish is filled with interesting people with interesting and, sometimes, well paid jobs so the contents of the basements, garages, wardrobes and bookcases which fill our stalls are well worth picking over. We are providing a greatly loved and eagerly anticipated social service to the neighbourhood.

But wait, there's more...

This year the proceeds of the fair will be divided between some as yet to be decided charity outside the parish - some group who needs the cash - and the restoration of our hall . We can come up with all manner of erudite expositions of the faith, and make all the plans we like for imaginative ministry, but for any of them to be more than just a happy thought requires money and, usually, a place for them to happen. There is a lot going on at St. John's Roslyn: people are taught and grow; ministry happens; God is encountered. And, the people who on Saturday quietly got on with the business of making the fair happen were participating in that. Extraordinary happenings of lifesaving and sometimes cosmic significance finding a focus in small, everyday deeds. It's called incarnation.

Comments

Anonymous said…
You forgot to mention God's gracious gift of a WONDERFULLY SUNNY Fair day sandwiched between days of rain, rain, drizzle and more rain (yes, yes, good for the garden!)
It was a fantastic effort by all the parish community and supporters.
Thanks be to God for bringing us all together.

Popular posts from this blog

Centering Prayer Retreat

    A 3 day taught retreat in the practice of Centering Prayer.   Saturday October 2 2021 - Monday October 4 2021 Centering Prayer is a form of Christian silent contemplative prayer. This retreat is suitable for beginners in silent prayer, or for more experienced practitioners wishing to refresh their practice.  The retreat will be held in the En Hakkore retreat centre in the hills above Waipiata in the Maniototo. There will be daily sessions of silent prayer, instruction and discussion. The venue is spacious and set in an expansive landscape. there will be some time for personal reflection.  The cost is $175 per person which includes 2 nights accommodation and all meals.   Since the beginning, following the example of Jesus, there has been a tradition of silent prayer in the Christian Church. Over the centuries this tradition faded from the popular view and became confined to monasteries. It was kept alive by a largely ignored, but never fading lineage of Christian contemplatives.  

Turn Sideways Into The Light

David Whyte speaks in his audio series What To Remember When Waking of the myth of the Tuatha De Danann. They were a mythical race from Ireland's past who were tall, magical, mystical people devoted to beauty and artistry. When another more brutal people, the Milesians invaded Ireland the Tuatha De Danann fought them off in two battles, but were faced with a third, decisive battle against overwhelming odds. So, lined up in battle formation and facing almost certain defeat, the Tuatha De Danann turned sideways into the light and disappeared. Whyte's retelling is, to put it mildly, a gloss, but I am quite taken with the phrase and with the phenomenon it describes. Turning sideways into the light is the realisation that there are some encounters that are damaging to all involved in them: no one wins a war. Faced with such an exchange, to turn sideways into the light is to seek another, more whole form of relationship. It is to reject the ground rules of the conversation as they

En Hakkore

In the hills up behind Ranfurly there used to be a town, Hamilton, which at one stage was home to 5,000 people. All that remains of it now is a graveyard, fenced off and baking in the lonely brown hills. Near it, in the 1930s a large Sanitorium was built for the treatment of tuberculosis and other respiratory ailments. It was a substantial complex of buildings with wards, a nurses hostel, impressive houses for the manager and superintendent and all the utility buildings needed for such a large operation. The treatment offered consisted of isolation, views and weather. Patients were exposed to the air, the tons of it which whistled past, often at great speed, the warmth of the sun and the cold. They were housed in small cubicles opening onto huge glassed verandas where they cooked in the summer and froze in the winter and often, what with the wholesome food and the exercise, got better. When advances in antibiotics rendered the Sanitorium obsolete it was turned into a Borstal and the

Camino, by David Whyte

This poem captures it perfectly Camino. The way forward, the way between things, the way already walked before you, the path disappearing and re-appearing even as the ground gave way beneath you, the grief apparent only in the moment of forgetting, then the river, the mountain, the lifting song of the Sky Lark inviting you over the rain filled pass when your legs had given up, and after, it would be dusk and the half-lit villages in evening light; other people's homes glimpsed through lighted windows and inside, other people's lives; your own home you had left crowding your memory as you looked to see a child playing or a mother moving from one side of a room to another, your eyes wet with the keen cold wind of Navarre. But your loss brought you here to walk under one name and one name only, and to find the guise under which all loss can live; remember you were given that name every day along the way, remember you were greeted as such, and you neede

70

This photo was taken by my daughter Catherine, when I was about 50. I think she did a pretty good job.  The number 70 has a kind of Biblical gravitas. It’s the number of elders appointed by Moses to lead the recalcitrant Israelites, and the number of people who went down to join Joseph, in Egypt. Jesus sent 70 disciples out to minister in his name, and the first Jewish Sanhedrin had 70 blokes in it. And, of course, there is Psalm 90:10:  “ The days of our life are threescore years and ten, and if by reason of strength they be fourscore, yet is their strength labour and sorrow, for it is soon cut off and we fly away ”. All this has some personal import because I turn 70 today, and can no longer fool myself that I am middle aged. I’m old. And before you feed me one of the lines of balderdash that pass for wisdom in our culture - “you’re only as old as you feel”; “70 is the new 50”; “age is just a number” or some other such nonsense, let me tell you that I am happy to be old. Deliriously