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Showing posts from November, 2010

local stories of fresh expressions of church

On Saturday the team I am part of that is helping to implement the key direction of the SA Synod's strategic plan - new models of church - put on a dreaming / visioning / story sharing day.
I could tell you what we did, but why would I when Steve, also on the team, has already done it so well? You can read it here.

Actually, that's probably a good idea anyway, because I can't remember much of the day, other than the really good feeling amongst the people, the lovely local food (including the sighs of appreciation for the Udder Delight cheese I brought, we shared the stories of the food, too), and meeting some interesting and passionate people.

It was a good day - good to be gathering people and to get a sense of the enthusiasm and energy and dreaming and hoping that is beginning to surround this somewhat mysterious idea that is 'fresh expressions'.

launch of a poetry anthology

Last night I attended the launch of Season of a New Heart, the Poets Corner Anthology.
Rev Philip Carter launched the anthology, which was a wonderful moment of synergy for me - one of the poems I have in the anthology emerged for me out of a retreat day with the Christ Church council that Philip led in 2009. Philip uses a lot of poetry when he leads retreats, and he had shared with us some words from Julian of Norwich, who said that peace and love are always in us, living and working. And from this thought a poem - 'The deepest and the best' - was born. I spoke to Philip after the launch and told him this and he said he had had an 'I wonder' moment on reading that poem ... and he quoted the same passage from Julian of Norwich in his address!
Other things that resonated for me from the things Philip said included some reflections on the relationship between poetry and prayer - both happen when ordinary language runs out. This was from Archbishop of the Church of Englan…

pondering an ancient letter

actually, it's more that I'm pondering Malcolm's wonderings around the ancient letter from Paul to the church at Colossae in the first century.
I really like the thought that in Christ all things have their place - this is the cosmic Christ, or as I sometimes like to think, Wisdom, which others name Word, through which and in which all things come into being. Sometimes we get ourselves to the point of understanding the origin of all things as being in God that we think God gives us suffering, pain, hardship - as what? punishment, a test - but actually if we think of it in terms as Malcolm put it this morning at Blackwood Uniting, and all things have their place in the Divine, then yes, the harder parts of life do have their place, and yes, they can lead to discovery and learning and other good things, but their being isn't part of some Godly puppet show in which humans have no choice and humanity has no responsibility for the current of evil and pain and suffering that…

of opportunities, community and creativity

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It's been a busy week.
starting with lunch on sunday with a friend I've known most of my life and his wife who are visiting from London - great to see them both.
I was in a bit of a nervous state as I hadn't heard the result of the decision from a congregation who were considering a proposal to call me as their minister from next year. I didn't know an email had been sent - I was out all day!
Later in the afternoon I had arranged to have a beer with another friend I hadn't seen for a while, still not knowing I'd received an email ... eventually I couldn't stand it any longer and got in touch with the chair of the JNC (joint nominating committee, the group who meet with a potential minister for conversations to discern the call of God for congregation and minister) and heard that Belair Uniting Church congregation had agreed unanimously to call me as their minister from January 2011, half time. I am delighted, and so excited to be joining this community. The…

Seeking the Sacred - a night with Stephanie Dowrick

Sean (minister at Effective Living Centre) has commented, reflecting on the book launch and conversation with Stephanie Dowrick on Thursday night, how remarkable it was to witness 130+ people from different faith traditions (or none) putting aside time to contemplate together the Sacred. The book being launched was Seeking the Sacred, and its author exudes passion for this presence among us.
I've had so much going through my mind on a personal level in recent weeks, I'm not sure how coherent my own reflections will be, but I'll start with the things Stephanie said that resonated for me.

At the front of the book, Stephanie (using her last name in the way one would usually refer to an author 'Dowrick' seems too impersonal after the way she talked with us on Thursday. I'm sure she wouldn't mind) quotes Jung, who talks about the desacralisation of life (I guess mostly in the Western world), which leads to a lack of spiritual vision and a diminished capacity to …

of the everyday miracles that occur when stories are told and heard

I have just finished reading The Other Side of You, by Salley Vickers .
It's the story of a psychiatrist and it's the story of one of his patients. It is also the story of the healing power of story, and the invitation art can offer into healing and wholeness.
David (the psychiatrist) discovers a connection with Elizabeth (the patient) in the artist Caravaggio. The connection, and David's sharing with Elizabeth of his encounter with a Caravaggio painting, provide the key to unlock Elizabeth's silence. And in one afternoon and evening she tells David her story; and this brings healing for Elizabeth. Surprisingly for David, and for the reader too, in the telling of Elizabeth's story, David is also moved towards healing of his own story, his self.
I was a bit nervous about the story early on, because of my own story. But this was less about depression and suicide as it was about healing and the stories of these two characters who share a profound experience of healing…

of becoming the poet i dreamed i could be

I have just realised that I have not blogged about this until now, and am a little surprised.
I have had two poems included in a poetry anthology, to be launched later this month. It's pretty exciting for me, in a year of affirmation for my writerly side. When I went back to uni in 2000 to study English, this is what I was aiming for, publication in anthologies, of course my own collection at some point, being paid to write. I am so surprised at how it has come about, but here I am, about to be ordained as a minister in the Uniting Church, and realising the dream I have held for so long. That's the second dream to be realised for me during this process of formation for ordination - the first being to be in Stratford, standing in the home town of William Shakespeare, in London, experiencing his plays at the Globe, realised in 2008.
Instead of a couple of other writing projects I really must get to, today I went through the prayers, poems and liturgies the have emerged from or I…