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Showing posts from March, 2010

Encounter, Call and Struggle

The week began with a retreat. The clergy from Dunedin city gathered with me at the Holy Cross retreat centre in Mosgiel from Monday until Wednesday. It was a way of helping all of us reconfigure our relationship, and also for me to emphasise the place of spirituality in our future life together. All the people present had at some stage encountered God; they wouldn't be there otherwise. All of them had felt and struggled with a sense of call and it is those elements - encounter, call and struggle - which meld to form the basis of all effective ministry. I hoped Dunedin's clergy would re find and deepen those elements in their lives; that they would forget about programs and objectives and tasks and recognise that they themselves in all their vulnerability were the Diocese's great asset; that what people most wanted from them was their own sense of God. I think all of my objectives for the retreat were met and something else happened besides: at the end of the three days I

Home Again

Here we are home again, and Hawaii is fading away into the background as I come to terms with exactly how much needs to be done in the Diocese and how little time there is to do it. Hawaii is a strange place, sitting between two worlds like nowhere else I've ever seen. It is very American, with freeways and Hershey bars and Macy's and light switches that work upside down and those odd, shallow, flat toilet pans which give you more information than you ever needed or wanted to know. It is also very Pacific with reefs and coconut palms and earth ovens and pois and a language whose relationship to Maori is obvious and intriguing. Of course we only saw a bit of it: Oahu, at one end of which sits the city of Honolulu. Honolulu is like Disneyland without the rides: a city built on vacations and therefore on escape and fantasy. At the other end of Oahu is a series of small towns with plain architecture and tiny, tired shopping centres and steep, stark, buttressed mountains and gorg

Back/Words again

Catherine's play was judged to be Pick of the Fringe, so it begins a week's run at Downstage Theatre tomorrow night. It really is a compelling piece of theatre, and if you are at a loose end in Wellington (or environs....say Taupo to Kaikoura) during the next week you won't regret going

Wedding

Yesterday I acquired a daughter in law. This was a wedding that had been in preparation for a very long time by people who are details people. Basically, it was perfect.The venue was a large stretch of lawn in a secluded bay. The Weather was sunny, if mildly breezy. The picture postcard Hawaiian sunset appeared on cue, and there was even a tiny shower to provide a rainbow. Of course, table settings, menu, clothes and all that stuff were stunning. I'm sorry I can't tell you what Charmayne wore except that it was white and she looked like everyones idea of what the perfect bride should look like and my daughters went into raptures over her Jimmy Choo shoes. Nick wore a cravat which he managed to tie with help from Youtube. It was a rich, full, wonderful day and there were some highlights: My first ever ride in a stretch limo; memorable not so much for the interior decor (chrome and spangles galore and a bar along one entire side) as for the skill of the driver in executing

Aloha

This morning my family had a large and leisurely breakfast sitting on the lanai of our apartment. The sea lapped at the wall within spitting distance, the waves broke on the reef about 100 metres away and beyond them the spouts of a large pod of whales shot periodically up into the morning sunshine. We ate eggs and bacon, or at least some of us did, and fruit and porridge and muffins and coffee, just the six of us and Clemency's two sisters. Later in the day our family increases: the boundaries break to enlarge and enfold themselves again around the beautiful young woman who has chosen to spend the rest of her life with my son Nick. This is one more of those life changing events which have happened in our family on about a monthly basis for the last couple of years. We arrived here last Monday. We picked up a big black vehicle of the type the Americans call a minivan, although there is nothing vanlike or mini about it, and drove out of Honolulu to Hau'ulu, about 40 minutes n

First Week

The week since last Saturday has been bizarrely busy, so it was a relief to fly off on Thursday to New Plymouth for a meeting of the house of bishops. Not that the trip was a rest cure. Well, not entirely:I stayed in a hotel, had breakfast in a restaurant and walked along the waterfront of that classy, stylish little city in the cold clear early morning sunshine. I didn't have a camera with me, but took the shots above on my iPhone. Most of the time, though, was spent talking to the other bishops about... well... bishop stuff. I was the new kid on the block so I tried to shut up and listen, honestly I did, but there were a few occasions when the temptation to wade in got the better of me. The discussions were thoughtful, and often quite frank, but, overall, it was a very friendly and supportive group. For me, it was a relief to be with people who could understand that shift in self perception that took place last Saturday, and which I have been struggling to describe to myself ev

Ordination

Photo copyright Bram Evans 2010 Saturday began early. I was awake at 4 and up at 6 and off to the airport at 9 to pick up my daughter Catherine. A mix up (mine, naturally) over the flights meant that I had time to sit around drinking coffee before her plane from Wellington arrived, so I was able to meet a number of people who were arriving on other planes en route to the ordination later in the day: three Maori two Pakeha and one Polynesian bishops; one bishop-elect; a General Secretary and a mission board CEO; and a couple of very dear friends of many years standing. I managed a couple of deep and meaningful conversations amongst the hongis and handshakes and then was able to offer a taxi service back into Dunedin. After a detour to meet a contingent from Te Hahi Mihinare gathering in St. Marks Green island, I got home at about 11:00 am, just in time to change for the big event. For the first time I put on a purple shirt and the new suit which the helpful guy from Bob Shepherd