Tuesday, July 25, 2006

St James

Today is the feast of St James. This year I have begun worshipping regularly at St James, King Street. It is wonderful to feel accepted in an Anglican church within the Diocese of Sydney. The form of worship may not be to everyone's liking but I find it very emotional and satisfying. I feel the Eucharist is truly a time of Union with God. The sermons have been wonderful. Dr Muriel Porter on the 7th May was on the Motherhood of God. Such views are so refreshing and her book has been a breath of fresh air for a Gay man forced to worship in the Sydney diocese.
Michael Horsburgh last Sunday affirmed the acceptance of women and gay men as priests and bishops. His sermon can be read. I felt God speaking as both my sister and I were there just 2 weeks after Mum's death and Michael concluded with the words of John Donne
"The church is Catholic, universal, so are all her actions; all that she does belongs to all. When she baptizes a child, that action concerns me; for that child is thereby connected to that body which is my head too, and ingrafted into that body whereof I am a member. And when she buries a man, that action concerns me: all mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated; God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God's hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall lie open to one another."
While Michael was referring to the acceptance by God of all men and women, I felt God was especially speaking to us in our recent loss. I thank God for guiding me to St James this year.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Australia and global warming

I have long been disgusted by the attitude of our government and people to global warming. Howard's speech this week with his blinkered view that we can go on selling fossil fuels confirms my belief in his complete small mindedness and lack of any vision. Today's article by Elizabeth Farrelly in the Sydney Morning Herald confirms my view that Australians are burying their head in the sand and only interested in short term gain and to hell with the future.
We should be leading the world on new renewable energy technologies instead of wasting our time trying to improve fossil fuels and pushing for nuclear power plants with all their risks and apparently no real gain anyway.

Middle East war

You would need the wisdom of Solomon (and probably that would not be enough) to propose a settlement to the wars in the Middle East.
For many years my views were coloured by the film "Exodus' which I saw as a teenager and I had every sympathy for the Jews and little for the Arabs.
Now I understand that the desire by the West to recompense the Jews in some way for the crimes of the Holocaust has caused untold suffering for the Palestinians. I have no support for Hezbollah but do believe the overreaction by Israel is losing them many friends. I feel terrible anguish at the suffering of innocent Lebanese caught up in this war. Surely Israel's friends like the USA and Australia should be applying some pressure to reign in the bombing.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


My Mother passed away on Thursday 6th July at age 96. This is my memorial to her at the Thanksgiving Service today.

Mum was born Marjorie Robinson in August 1909 at Botany but her early childhood was spent in Wyndham on the Kameruka Estate, west of Bega. She was the baby of the family as at her birth her two brothers were 21 and 12 and her sister Pearl was 15. Her first school was in nearby Candelo.

She experienced loss at an early age when both brothers went off to the Great War and her eldest brother, Ernest was killed on the Somme in 1915. Her mother died a year later when Mum was only 7.

Soon after, she moved with her father and sister to Minto and then onto Burwood. The only information she gave about Minto was how frightened she was when having to wave a flag to stop the train at the local station. She attended Burwood Girls’ High but unfortunately her schooling was cut short by spending a year with rheumatic fever. Her lifelong interest in world news and her ability with figures indicate that her formal education never reached its full potential.

Mum started work as a shop assistant in a variety store in Burwood. She met Arthur when he stopped to help her after her car broke down and they were married at St Anne’s Strathfield in 1930. Dad, however, discouraged her from ever driving again. I was always mindful of this when she invariably farewelled me with the words “Drive carefully”
A few years later Beverley arrived and the family moved into their own house in Queen Street, Concord West where Mum was to remain for her married life.

Dad joined the Army during World War 2 and Mum worked as a cashier at David Jones in the City until I arrived in 1944. At the end of the War they purchased a grocery shop in Croydon Park where Mum helped Dad and after the business was sold about 10 years later she worked as a casual assistant in several grocery stores. She did not like this work but persevered in order to assist me gain a higher education.

Sadly Dad died in 1974, not long after retiring from full time work preventing any dreams of moving to the Central coast. Her big sister Pearl died a few months later in the same year. In 1976 Mum moved into a Unit overlooking Burwood Park where she stayed until ill health made it necessary for her to move to a unit next door to Bev in Chatswood in 1999.

Mum was a keen tennis player and in her later years loved watching the tennis tournaments on television. She joined the Concord Womens’ Bowling Club where she made many friends and was very sad when advancing age forced her to give it away. She loved little holidays at my home in the Mountains where at first she could continue her love of gardening and walking but gradually these activities had to be reduced. However she always loved to see my garden.

Mum had a deep faith which she attributed to attending meetings of the Salvation Army as a teenager but she worshipped as an Anglican here at St Luke’s then at Holy Trinity, Concord West and finally back at St Luke’s where this Wednesday group was so important to her even after her move to Chatswood. Bev drove her over regularly until her need for continual oxygen made that impossible.
That is why Bev, Russ and I, and our friends, are grateful to you for allowing us to join you today and hold this Thanksgiving Service for Mum.
For many years Mum had worked monthly as a volunteer in the office of the Home Mission Society now known as Anglicare.

Both Bev and I can claim that our faith in God originated in Mum’s early teaching demonstrated by her example of regular church attendance and her concern for and practical assistance to any neighbours or friends who were sick. As church attendance became impossible the television program "Songs of Praise" was an essential part of every Sunday morning. This continued despite failing hearing and eyesight up until the last Sunday of her life.

Mum’s greatest delight was in her family. She looked forward to regular communication with her eldest nieces and her greatest happiness was to share with her small family in family celebrations and to have Bev and me sitting with her in her unit. She was always vitally interested in all our activities. Her last word spoken just 24 hours before her death as Bev and I were standing by her side was "Together" which she repeated over and over.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

John Howard

So John Howard has told another lie. What is new? This reptile of a man is the antithesis of everything I once believed was Australian. A liar, a warmonger, only interested in his own advancement. He denies me my equal rights while raving on about fair go. He has created conditions for the worsening of worker rights. He lacks any form of compassion. The day he committed Australia to war in Iraq, I put my Australian flag in a bottom drawer where it remains. I am no longer proud to be Australian since Howard was re-elected after that heinous act and am planning to move to a fairer society - New Zealand. I do not know that Peter Costello would be any better but he could not be any worse.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Congratulations to Episcopal School in Texas

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

AUSTIN — St. Andrew's leaders honored

The principal and board chairwoman at St. Andrew's Episcopal School were honored by the American Library Association for refusing a $3 million gift from a parent who objected to the use of the short story "Brokeback Mountain" as reading material in a 12th-grade English class.

Lucy Collins Nazro, head of the school, and Kathryn Runnells, chairwoman of the board of trustees, received the association's John Phillip Immroth Memorial Award for Intellectual Freedom.

They "represent the daily struggle that librarians and administrators face in building inclusive curriculum and collections," said Immroth Award Committee Chairwoman Laura Koltutsky. "By keeping 'Brokeback Mountain' in the curriculum, they have represented the ideals of their school and their profession."

The Immroth Award honors "intellectual freedom fighters in and outside the library profession who have demonstrated remarkable personal courage in resisting censorship." The award consists of $500 and a citation.