Showing posts from September, 2012

of being both bridesmaid & minister on my sister's important day

I woke early, having not slept much on an inflatable bed whose air held the cold from the floor in the family room of my family home. One of my sisters was on the sofa bed in the same room; the other, in her old bed in her old room (the other old bedrooms are now sewing & craft rooms for my mum). The youngest of three sisters was getting married that afternoon, and preparations for bride and bridesmaids began with hair and makeup at one bridesmaid's house at 7.00 am. On a Saturday.
Two hairdressers curled and twirled our hair as we drank champagne, ate chocolate croissants for breakfast, and painted our nails and faces.
I sat on the floor, toenails drying in the sunshine through the window, reading the prayers and reflection I would be leading that afternoon. For not only was I to be bridesmaid; I was the minister officiating as well.
The groom had asked if I would be minister for the day, as I am about the only minister he knows. His request was met with a - 'Hang on, she…

Taizé Prayer Service


of sanctuary, creativity and nurture

This weekend so far has been a retreat weekend, with the Centre for Music, Liturgy & the ArtsSanctuary workshops. We have been led in our reflection on worship and the arts, on integration of the various aspects of our humanity and our worship, by Trish Watts and Tony Hole. And it has been brilliant, profound, nurturing, inspiring.
Sean Gilbert offered some words from sacred texts this morning, the crux of which has been resonating through much of the conversation and exploration of the rest of the day: worship is about our disposition, both for leaders and gathered people. We create a silence in which another presence may have its way with us (after Mary Oliver, 'Praying'); from TS Eliot: you are here to kneel. Our task is to open doors, offer an invitation, into the presence of the Divine.
We have sung, danced, entered silence, explored words spoken and written, and listened to each other, and to our gifted leaders through this time. It has been a weekend of being filled…

creating sanctuary

As a member of the planning & events team for the Centre for Music, Liturgy & the Arts, a storyteller, someone who has experienced Trish Watts as a facilitator of workshops & worship, and a curator of worship myself - I commend this workshop to you. If you are free this Friday night and/or Saturday, and are in Adelaide, and are a facilitator of worship spaces, please do come along. You won't be disappointed.

holding light for one another

I was hoping to get into the city to walk with the folk raising awareness of suicide (run by my friends of the Suicide: it's no secret campaign, with Lifeline), the need to talk about it, and the ways we can all, as a community, help to prevent it.
Alas, my own black hole has been swallowing me up in recent months, slowing me down, and in the midst of some very busy times, the work is piling up. So I am at home attending to neglected finance management, marking, an essay that is due on Thursday, and the ceremony for my sister's wedding in under two weeks.

But this week, these days, of drawing attention to the issues of suicide, survivors, and prevention, and the many tasks & events & moments in my life in recent times, remind me of the need we all have for each other if we are to be whole and healthy.
When you are in a black hole, you are alone. The hardest thing to do when someone you know and love is in a black hole is to stay beside it, waiting, in uncertainty, help…

WA Story Tour: Day Ten

I didn't sleep as well the second night of camp - not sure why, but woke a few times during the night. I had not got up for the early morning walk on Saturday, so I stuck to my decision and still got up for a walk today.

The path winds straight down towards a creek & dam, and I think we all did well to keep our feet over the slippery, rocky surface an uneven steps. There is a bridge, of sorts, across the dam, with a tree branch or two to negotiate, and again, we all did well, no-one falling into the drink!

After a rocky, slippery climb up the other side, we arrived at a track that was once a train line, now converted to a bike / walking path. We walked through a wattle archway, paused in the sunlit patches and to look closely at flowers or take photos. On this smoother surface, we could open out our stride and stretch our legs some more - though smaller legs needed the relief of a piggy back now and then.

On our return, we had a snack - for brunch was coming up later in the mor…

WA Story Tour: Day Nine, part two

Then to dinner. For the meals today, we were shuffled in a line for entry into the dining room, to mix up our dining & conversation partners. At lunch, we were organised alphabetically according to first name; for dinner, according to clothing colour. For the quiz later in the evening, we were sorted into teams according to birthdate.

Before dinner, and between courses, I was arranging things with the camp team for our evening's gathered worship. This was to have a similar shape to gathered worship in Augusta last week; I planned the two spaces around the same stories, having the same basic aims in mind - to invite people into worship spaces shaped by a deep encounter with story.
In the interest of time, we cut a lot out this week. And as I write this, I realise I unintentionally cut even more than we planned, by leaving out a song. Oops. Actually don't think the space was diminished with the omission.

We began with 'litany of praise', which I wrote, then two stori…

WA Story Tour: Day Nine, part one

Today has been one of those full, rich days. Arriving at Camp Woody, we were a little worried at the weather forecasts, predicting wet weather for the weekend. There was some rain last night, but today has been pretty fine, with the sky gradually clearing throughout the day.
A few keen people went for a walk before breakfast, others have taken the opportunity through the afternoon. The fire has been going inside all day, and with the stories and good food, we've been plenty warm enough.

In our first session, we heard Andrew McDonough's version of the story of Jesus with the children, pausing to wonder about how the different characters were feeling at various points in the story: the disciples sending the children away, the children (and mums) being sent away, the disciples being told off by Jesus, the children being welcomed by Jesus. We felt the disciple's desire to protect Jesus as an important man who may not have been acknowledged by the Jewish leaders; the sadness an…

WA Story Tour: Day Eight

Day eight saw me cross the river to Mt Lawley for the WA Uniting Church Adult Fellowships day. The men and women of adult fellowships across the congregations come together for morning tea, a celebration with guest speaker (me), highlights of the year, certificates of appreciation for those who turned 80 during the year, lunch and the AGM.
I was a late full-in as speaker, as the planned speaker had to pull out due to work commitments - she asked me on the weekend if I would be available, and I was.

This is really a day of stories, as these older members of the church celebrate and share together the ways they continue to live as followers of Jesus. We heard the story of the host church, and I wondered about the way we tell our story. It may well be that this community are living a story of loss and grief as the size of their community shrinks, and they haven't yet found their way to an alternative story of hope. I do wonder how many of our churches tell the numbers story, though, …