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Showing posts from September, 2016

Elastic Time

Clemency and I got home about 5 yesterday afternoon, and although we had been away for only a little over 24 hours it felt longer. We had left at 5.30 am the previous day, towing the caravan  through thick fog in order to be at a meeting in Wanaka at 10. We had breakfast at the Tin Goose Cafe in Alexandra before I dropped the caravan off  at Clyde and Clemency and her schoolbooks at a lakeside table at Wanaka and headed off to sit round a huge table with a lot of highly motivated people. The morning was intense, but satisfactory, and in the middle of the day it was back to Clyde ready for a Michaelmass service in the little retreat house being developed in St. Michael's Church. There were conversations and negotiations and preparations all accomplished on the sofa of the caravan, which does pretty well as a hospitality space, albeit a small one. I preached and celebrated eucharist and had a few significant conversations and drove home through Lawrence and Milton, having put abou

Mary Wept Over The Feet of Jesus

Every so often a book comes along at just the right time, and this little work by Chester Brown is one of them, though, in this case, it's not for the reasons books are usually helpful. Let me say at the outset that while I admire this book, and found it intriguing, I do not agree with it's fundamental premise. I saw this on a colleague's bookshelf and got myself a copy. It's a beautifully produced little thing; wonderfully laid out with a high quality binding and lovely paper it's one of those books which gives aesthetic pleasure just from handling it. The book itself is composed of a brief graphic novel and end notes, but that isn't really accurate. The graphic novel is actually a series of short renditions of various Biblical narratives, each self contained, but contributing to a greater narrative structure, which is Brown's particular interpretation of the genealogy of Jesus presented in Matthew's Gospel. The drawing is beautiful, and the small

Banksie. Red Balloon.

I am in Hamilton, meeting with the bishops of the church. We are housed in a travel hotel right beside the airport. There's a conference centre, and a travel hotel type of restaurant, and standard travel hotel types of rooms. And very good company. **** I woke early with one of those thoughts that I should have noticed years ago. Jesus Christ. His first name identifies him as a particular man, a first Century Jewish man with a pretty ordinary first Century Jewish name, Joshua. His second name is a kind of honorific, denoting one who has been anointed. He is (in Greek), the one who has received chrism, oil. The Hebrew equivalent is Messiah, which, again, means "the anointed one." Anointing in the First Century was a common courtesy for honoured guests, but more significantly it was ( and is) the ritual pouring of oil as a kind of ordination, performed on someone set aside for a great task. Kings are anointed, and priests. The person doing the anointing is always som

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,

Bishop's Charge to Synod 2016

E te Atua to matou Kai-hanga Ka tiaho te maramatanga me te ora, I au kupu korero, Ka timata au mahi, ka mau te tika me te aroha; Meatia kia u tonu ki a matou Tou aroha I roto I tenei huihunga. Whakakii a matou whakaaro a matou mahi katoa, E tou Wairua Tapu Amine. Welcome, welcome thrice welcome as we gather here in the South of our Diocese to celebrate our common life and plan together for our future. As we begin our time together, I am conscious of those of our number who have died over the past year: Leonard Austin, Jocelyn Broughton, John Sutton. Eternal rest, grant unto them O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them May they rest in peace and rise again in glory. Amen . I am very aware that this will be my last time to be standing here as your bishop, and who knows? Perhaps my last time ever to be present in this synod. This past year has proven to be a significant one for the diocese. Late last year Mr. Graeme Sykes ended his role

There's a Last Time For Everything.

I wake early and go through my morning routine. I pack a bag and load stuff into my car. Soon I will drive to the office and then on to Invercargill, where I will make a few pastoral calls and then go to Holy Trinity Church for the opening service of our Diocesan Synod. Since I began life as an ordained person, I have attended 39 diocesan synods in 5 different dioceses. I have been to 6 General Synods and participated in 6 electoral synods. I have attended a Presbyterian General Assembly, once, twice a Methodist conference, and God alone knows how many Forums of Co-operative Ventures. This synod will be my last one ever, and I will only be present for half of it. Attending synod has never been high on my list of favourite activities, and I doubt whether, when the appropriate weekend in September 2017 rolls around, I will feel the slightest pang of regret or longing; but this weekend is a milestone for me. It's an ending. A death. **** My table companion hugs me when we

Red Balloon

(c) When we lived in Hamilton, we went, one Pentecost Sunday to the morning Eucharist at St. Peter's Cathedral. The dean, Keith Lightfoot, gave us all red, helium filled balloons on a piece of string. Catherine, who was about 4 at the time, thought this was about the coolest thing that had happened in church, EVER. At some appropriate point in the service, we all trooped outside, and on schedule all released our balloons, 200 Pentecost prayers for the life of our city, streaming upwards into the sky in a gloriously colourful symbolic statement. Well, let's be accurate here. 199 balloons streamed up into the sky, but one remained firmly clasped in a four year old's unyielding fist. Catherine was adamant. No amount of coaxing could persuade her to relinquish this treasure for such a hare brained reason. So, we drove home with the red balloon gently bobbing against the headlining of the car. All this was too much for Bridget, who was 10, and already endo