In a centrefold satirical take of the year 2007 in the Sydney Morning Herald (does not seem to be online). "Sydney began its preparation for a papal visit at Royal Randwick racecourse, chosen for its ample experience in dealing with small men in ridiculous sik clothing. The NSW Parliament also made last minute amendments to smooth his visit: banning protesters and advertising(True), and re-legalising homosexual vilification."
In reading the sad affairs at the Mission of St Nicholas in the Diocese of San Joaquin at Southern Cone Attempts to Remove Episcopal Vicar, I was struck by the message from the ex-bishop's lackey "Reserved sacrament will be provided by the Rural Dean, Fr. Ron Parry, or by me if necessary." Excuse me but did I not read that the Diocese of Sydney had sent messages of congratulations to the ex-Bishop of San Joaquin. Yet anyone in Sydney knows that the reservation of the sacrament is illegal in this diocese. But then we all know that the Diocese ignores the lay presidency that occurs illegally in this diocese as well.
I am also disgusted to read that ++Peter Jensen was at the meeting of the bishops et al. in Africa recently to organise what they are calling ‘Global Anglican Future Conference’. His idea of the future of Anglicanism and mine are radically different. I do not consider myself beholden to hypocrites like ++ Peter Jensen and his fellow rats.
A friend, who is not an Anglican, often directs me to Father Dave's site. I sometimes have some difficulties as he is a keen boxer, calls himself Fighting Father Dave and I loathe boxing. I also wonder at his support of Ray Williams a man jailed after the collapse of HIH (a major insurance company) in which many lost their savings. I do not know much about him (perhaps Alcibiades can enlighten me) However his sermon on Matthew 11:2-6 'Have faith in what you see and hear' is interesting. Part of it states I look at my own spiritual pilgrimage up to this point and it seems to be a constant struggle of the Lord Jesus dragging me forwards to recognise the presence of the Spirit of God in places where I didn't expect it!
Years ago I would have thought that God would never be involved in any union between a man and a woman that had not been blessed by the church and then ... you find love, joy, health and peace in a home - all the signs of the presence of the Spirit of God - and you have to rethink things!
Certainly I once believed that if you were homosexual you had obviously turned your back on Christ and all things belonging to God, and then, by the grace of God, my best friend turns out to be gay and yet I find that that Spirit of God is alive and well in him and ... I have to think again.
Certainly the biggest personal spiritual challenge I have experience of late has been through my friendship with Sheikh Mansour - an Islamic cleric. And if I knew anything about the Spirit of God it was surely that She could not operate through the life of someone who was a representative of Islam, and yet ... God seems to be dragging me forwards to rethink things again!
I am one of those people who send out the annual Christmas letter. I know some make fun of these but for a number on my list, it is my only contact although in my past they were usually fellow workers or students who were very important in my daily life. I like to discover what they have been up to during the year and hopefully they enjoy my missive. I now have a number of friends for whom I have no snail mail address and, as I use a Macintosh and do my typing in Appleworks, are unable to open any attachments I send them. Therefore I have posted my 2007 letter at http://home.pacific.net.au/~brianralph/christmas2007.htm Please feel free to read it and take it as a personal message to you. Merry Christmas and Happy 2008 to all.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, arguably one of the most respected and recognizable members of the Christian Church, has apologised about his religion’s treatment of gay people in an exclusive BBC Radio Manchester interview. The programme, broadcast last night but still available over the net, tracked Tutu down to his Cape Town home to get his thoughts on why he believes the church is “obsessed” with homosexuality.
In response he apologised directly to Byrne, stating: “I want to apologise to you and all those who we in the church have persecuted.
“I’m sorry that we have been part of the persecution of a particular group. For me that is quite un-Christ like and, for that reason, it is unacceptable.”
He added: “May be even as a retired Archbishop I probably have, to some extent, a kind of authority but apart from anything let me say for myself and anyone who might want to align themselves with me, I’m sorry.
“I’m sorry for the hurt, for the rejection, for the anguish that we have caused to such as yourselves.”
I have been following the developments in the Diocese of San Joaquin as the bishop and most of the parishes have seceded from the Episcopal Church of the USA. I do feel for the remaining faithful churches and members who now form the real if rather small remaining Diocese. Those who have left can no longer be regarded as Anglicans. It may be uncharitable but I do love the words of one of the remaining members who said "The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin is very much alive, despite what everyone thinks. We're going to be growing in fertile ground now that the weeds are gone." It so reminds me of our Diocese of Sydney where there seems to be so few true Anglican plants growing, or is there? Yesterday I was asked by one of the members of my musical group about the times of services at St James, King Street which he had heard me mention. It was so sad to hear him say. “We sometimes go to Christchurch, Springwood but it is not what we are use to, not the type of service we grew up with.” He and his wife are about 80 and he cannot walk far so it is unlikely they will make more than an occasional visit to St James especially the way our City Rail loves to cause disruption by completing trackwork on weekends. How many people there must be in the diocese who are unhappy with what is happening but too polite and too restricted in their choices to make a fuss. I do not object to people worshipping in whatever way suits them but the Jensenites have changed most churches in our diocese so that they no longer resemble Anglicanism. I wish they would all leave, we would be left with a much smaller but an inclusive church serving those who want to worship in their traditional Anglican way and accepting all who want to worship with them. I wish the remaining churches of the San Joaquin diocese all the very best and my prayers are with them as they maintain the Anglican traditions of inclusiveness. It is uplifting to visit their website and read the messages being sent to them.
A friend of mine from Austria has sent me the following: 'Every December, our village is transformed into a life-sized advent calendar. Every evening, another family decorates a window of their house with an advent theme - the village then meets when the window is lit, we pray, read stories and sing and afterwards, the family serves hot wine and cake to the visitors and we chat and have a good time. It is a wonderful tradition and if you walk through the village in the evening, you can see all the beautiful windows....
Yesterday, at our gathering, our resident gay couple turned up. They have purchased a house here not long ago, and they are open and friendly, obviously wanting to become part of the community. Well, what happened ? They got a warm welcome and were invited to come the next day (to my family's gathering - today it is our turn to decorate a window) and the day after and so on.
I'm very proud of my village, good people are living here.'
I will also include the lovely story her family used for her family's window lighting.
'A man was told by God that God would come for a visit. The man panicked a bit because his house was not ready for a visitor and started preparing. Suddenly a friend knocked on the door and wanted to go and play tennis but the man declined because he had to prepare for God. Then his mother called, she was elderly and asked him for help with shopping but the man excused himself because he had so many things to do before God's arrival. Then the neighbor knocked, she needed help with a blocked pipe in her house but again, the man declined, because he was waiting for God. Finally, he was finished with all his preparations and he was sure everything was ready for God. He waited, but God didn't turn up. In the evening, he got impatient, and by midnight he was pissed. He exclaimed: "God, where are you ? I have prepared myself, I have declined my friend's wishes - see how many burdens I have taken upon myself to prepare for you and now you're not coming!" "Friend", answered God, "I have tried to visit 3 times today - but you have never let me in."'
A retired teacher librarian who loves travelling especially by train and wastes a lot of time on the Internet.
An Anglican who knows God loves me as a gay man.
Moved at the beginning of 2010 from the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia to Dunedin, NZ.
One of the best things I ever did.
I became a New Zealand citizen on 2nd March 2016
I will always be an Aussie by birth but am proud to be a Kiwi by choice.