Showing posts from July, 2011

a snake in sydney airport

standing in he belly of a dormant
snake of waiting travellers
we make ourselves a community
sharing sighs of lament
raised eyes of understanding
news and stories to pass the time
gifts to lift us from the melancholy
a smile
a laugh
encouraging words
a helping hand
a challenge - accepted - a poem

then the lights come on
a plane takes off overhead
and the snake shakes itself
into life

this one won't win any awards, but marks a moment well enough

travel log. day two. american adventure.

and so the dramas continued. arrived at sydney airport saturday morning to a power outage and joined the end of a very long line. did not move for 2 and a half hours. when we finally got near the front, they were anxious to get our flight moving, so called the last 6 or 8 people forward and checked us through, asking us to put our bags in a designated area. realised later that this would mean our bags would not be joining us in america just yet. ran to the plane, taking a couple of minutes to stop for a toilet break, though not having had any lunch, and boarded. sat there for over half an hour waiting for the luggage that was coming with us and the last couple of passengers. finally, finally, we taxied onto the runway and flew out over the entrance to sydney harbour. i saw the bridge and the opera house as we departed, and the cliffs on the edge of australia. and then my homeland was behind me.
we flew over sea, then into night, and i tried to sleep, but didn't have a lot of succ…

travel log. american adventure. day one.

well. the american adventure hasn't got off to a good start. arrived at the airport feeling full of butterflies flittering in anticipation and nervous energy. go to drop off bag to discover the flight has been delayed. a bird or birds smashed into the windscreen of our plane as it was flying from sydney to adelaide and it had to return to sydney with a broken windscreen. so we weren't going to leave until two hours later than scheduled. which would mean we would miss the flight to dallas. a short wait to discover that, no, qantas were not going to hold the flight to dallas, so we would be flying to sydney only today, staying overnight and flying to dallas tomorrow. so i then had to get on the phone to my travel agent and arrange changes to accommodation in dallas and my flight to albuquerque, which i was now also going to miss. thankfully i have a helpful travel agent, and it's all been arranged. and thankfully the insurance company will cover me for the costs incurred bec…

a prayer for Oslo

I prayed these words with my congregation at Belair this morning (slightly edited, poet's prerogative). 

God, there are lots of words we want to say to you,
lots of people we want to pray for with you,
places we want to give into your care.

Today we want to say things to you about Norway -
we want to say, Why?
We want to say - No!

We pray with you for the people of Oslo
those who have died,
their family and friends who have lost sisters, brothers,
children, friends ...
the people of the city and the country whose hearts are breaking -
our hearts are breaking with them,
and we know your heart is breaking too.

We pray for the emergency services people finding the broken bodies
healing the wounded,
searching for the missing,
protecting the living.

We pray for the person or people who have done this terrible thing
for their troubled souls
and we pray for those who are investigating and prosecuting
may calmness and wisdom guide them. 

We give to you what is your land,
the count…

a moment of honest appraisal

so i've been thinking about what i wrote this morning, and wondering why i felt so defensive at the enthusiastic promotion of fresh expressions to churches seeking new ways forward in their life, mission and ministry.
in a moment of honesty with myself, i wondered if perhaps i am feeling as though there's a fresh expressions band wagon that people are really happy to jump on, now there are more people saying it's a good thing, and that amongst the enthusiasm and excitement, my story is being dismissed and forgotten. it's not only my story, there are others who tell a similar story.
a story of struggle, and loneliness, and being misunderstood, and not having a place or knowing where my place was as  pioneer. and still actually very tempted to choose the easier road of secure placements and income, because pioneering the pioneers has left me quite bruised and battered.
perhaps it's narky and ungracious of me to constantly speak up with the harsh realities of startin…

it's all about relationship

speaking with a friend yesterday, some thoughts emerged on my underlining philosophy as we approach 'fresh expressions'. it's becoming such a catch-phrase, and i feel a little anxiety as it's thrown around, that some in the church might see 'fresh expressions' as a quick fix to the missing numbers in our churches, or something. fresh expressions names what is emerging - alternative forms of christian community to the mainstream churches, for people who are seeking community and spiritual expression, but don't find themselves at home in church as it is. these communities take time to emerge.
i was asked recently if spirited conversations, our young adults' gathering, is a fresh expression. my response was 'not yet.' in its first six months, let's not name this as anything other than it is - a gathering of young adults seeking a safe space in which to explore some of the big questions and challenging issues in life through conversation informe…

of the rich blessing of community

once a month I go across the road from my church to a retirement village and join a small group of women who meet each week for bible study. a lay or ordained person from a different church goes along each week to facilitate the conversation. I like this, it helps to build the relationships between the various churches and the members of this community. there's three in the group who are part of our congregation, and they are always so delighted to welcome and introduce their minister. makes me feel very special.
I appreciate the opportunity to meet some of the people who form another community of care for these women of my congregation, and who are part of the wider community in which my congregation participates.
today we took a fresh look at the parables from Matthew 13, which have been the lectionary readings for the past few weeks. we usually follow the lectionary in our bible study.
so I suggested that we follow the usual practice of reading a verse aloud each, but that we w…

“The real voyage of discovery consists in not seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.” - Marcel Proust

Hear the Gospel according to Luke live!

As part of the celebrations for the 400th anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible, a storyteller is bringing to life the Gospel according to Luke.  Get along and hear it if you can - there's nothing quite like hearing the foundational stories of our faith told from the heart of the teller to the heart of the listener. 
Bruce Kuhn's "The Gospel of Luke" is the story of Jesus, memorized word for word from the Bible and told with the passion and surprise of an eyewitness account. In a compelling ninety minutes, the words come alive with the urgency and humor of someone who was there. Alone on stage, Broadway actor Bruce Kuhn weaves the tale of the Christ without props or sets, dressed in modern, casual clothing. The show premiered at the acclaimed Actor’s Theatre of Louisville (one of America’s largest professional theaters) to rave reviews and an extended run. The text is the King James Version, which takes to the stage like Shakespeare.

All single tic…

the lonely role of the pioneer made less lonely

my spirits were lifted today, as I gathered with a bunch of people from the Anglican and Uniting churches to talk about missional leadership, otherwise known as pioneer leadership, leadership for fresh expressions of church ...
i have written here about the various joys and frustrations i have experienced as a 'pioneer leader', even a pioneer of the pioneers.
we talked about the different places on a spectrum of pioneering that we find ourselves, heard stories of fresh expressions from the UK, and thought about the general nature of fresh expressions as not really new at all, as the New Testament letters are all about exploring how to live in fresh expressions of communities of people of God.
what i found most helpful was being heard, i think. that here was a bunch of people who were open to the stories of fresh expressions and of pioneer leaders, who are thinking about themselves as pioneers and using this language to frame their understanding of their experiences as leaders …

disturbing pictures

as the rain thunders against my roof and I dive deeper into the sanctuary of warm covers
I can’t help but picture
a woman diving between raindrops to steal half a metre of awning the luxury of stealing another moment in bed a fading picture
on a wall she no longer owns 

Published in On Wisdom's Wings, Ginninderra Press, 2013.