Thursday, December 25, 2008

Eucharist with the Prime Minister

Well, Christmas is now over for me for another year. I was on the 6.50am train as on a usual Sunday although the combined service was an hour later but I wanted to make sure of my usual pew so found a coffee stand open and filled in 40 minutes in the city. That was wise as the church was packed and the congregation included the Prime Minister of Australia. As the news services stated.
Mr Rudd, his wife Therese Rein, and their three children - Jessica, 24, Nicholas, 22 and Marcus, 15 - attended a Christmas service at St James Anglican church in Sydney's CBD this morning.
The photo shows him with his wife and our Assistant priest Father John Stewart.
It was good to see him queued up in the aisle with everyone else for communion although I was coming back along the side aisle at the time and between looking to see his wife and being a bit disconcerted by the security guys coming towards me (the wrong way) I went at first to the wrong pew. My sister thinks it is sad that the family have to be followed by security officers but that is the way of the modern world.

The Prime Minister has now attended our church several times this year. His main home is in Canberra but there is a house reserved for him in Sydney which has a prime location on the harbour for watching the start of the yacht race today and the fireworks on New Year's Eve. My sister thought he would attend the cathedral but he grew up in the Diocese of Brisbane so would obviously prefer the real Anglican services at St James rather than the Calvinist hotch potch of the cathedral. And who would want to listen to a sermon by one of the Jensens on Christmas day?

The choir sang the Kyries, Gloria, Sanctus & Benedictus from Mozart's Spatzenmesse K220 which, while beautiful, I found a bit long to stand.
I much prefer exercising my own lungs in the processional hymn 'O Come All Ye Faithful', the offertory hymn 'Christians Awake, Salute the Happy Morn' and the final hymn 'Hark the Herald Angels Sing' but this year was particularly moved by the Gradual Hymn 'It Came Upon the Midnight Clear' ( music below) especially finding the third verse apt:
Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel - strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song which they bring;
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing.

I seem to be very melancholy this Christmas

We did not arrive at my sister's home until nearly 1pm and we did have hot turkey and ham with salad for main with salmon for entree and plum pudding as dessert. Just as well the temperature did not go above 23'C (73'F) and the morning was cloudy but this can be a trap for the unwary as the UV was high so there could be some sunburnt European tourists today. Brut and New Zealand sauvignon blanc meant I felt quite strange for the more than 2 hours train trip home arriving just in time to see the news with the Prime Minister leaving my church and to watch something I never miss, The Queen's Christmas Message.

Christmas Greeting

The following has already been snail mailed to some, emailed to others but now posted for those of you whom I cannot contact directly.

Christmas 2008
Dear Friends
I guess my working days are now over. The only employment this year was as a polling official at the council elections. I cannot say I miss it but watching my superannuation funds empty due to the Global Financial Mess makes me wonder. I certainly will not be planning any more extensive trips until things improve.
As I took my laptop to Europe, many of you already know of my 2 months wandering first through Bavaria, Austria and Switzerland before travelling north to Berlin, Warsaw, the Baltic States, Stockholm, Helsinki and even the Arctic Circle before returning to Munich via Leipzig and Frankfurt. I had a wonderful time helped by staying with friends in Munich, Berlin and Helsinki and meeting other contacts in Bangkok, Vienna and Stockholm.
It was a mixture of train and ship travel, walking in the Alps ( I lost weight, sadly only temporary), attending operas (Der Rosenkavalier and Land of Smiles in Vienna and The Magic Flute in Berlin) and a concert (Stockholm), visiting museums, castles and churches as well as just wandering in cities and navigating their public transport. I know that I often waste time doing this but prefer that to guided tours.Above is beautiful Hallstatt in Austria which has gone to the top of my list of favorite places and below is the medieval town of Tallinn in EstoniaAt the beginning of November, Bev and I used our frequent flyer points to fly to Dunedin for 10 nights. I am now determined to move there during 2009 as long as I am able to sell my present house for a satisfactory price.
While we spent most of the time in Dunedin and my sister agrees with me that it is a lovely city but wishes it was not so far away, we also went south to Lake Manapouri and Doubtful Sound (the Road to Doubtful Sound is below) where we experienced the heaviest November snowfall in 30 years. I was pleased to see snow fell in the suburbs I have chosen to look for a home.I have continued my U3A activities of Monday walks and Tuesday music. I will miss the friends I have made there. I have also continued to worship at St James, King Street as well as attend various courses it provides during the week. While I love the church, I do not love the 2 hour train trip each way. I have made contact with the Vicar of a church in Dunedin and we worshipped there one Sunday and went to the Cathedral the next. I am finding the garden difficult to maintain and have employed a landscaper to repair the walls and paving I completed more than 20 years ago but have now collapsed. Hopefully this will be finished before Christmas
Internet Blogging has brought me many friends world-wide and at least they can be taken with me. Perhaps if the world economy improves I can visit them one day. I still have enough points for two round trips between Sydney and Dunedin so should not be marooned.
This year I have been the furthest North in my life, when in May I visited the Arctic Circle (66 deg 32’ 35’’N) and yes, I had an interview with Santa . In November I went the furthest south to the port of Bluff in New Zealand (46 deg 36’ 54”S). I have not yet forgotten all my Geography.

Best wishes for Christmas and 2009


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Aussie Christmas 3

Quoting from our city newspaper.
No other country in the world has so many reasons to lie back and enjoy the break: Christmas, cricket, a yacht race, days of heat and a long twilight, New Year's Eve, four weeks holiday - six weeks for the kids - and Big Day Out. It just drifts on and on, like an endless summer. Meanwhile on another part of the planet, it's cold, it's grey, it's raining, it's snowing - they dream of summertime, some place else, like Australia.

Sadly I beg to differ. Reading about the snow and cold in North America, it does seem to be a bit extreme but to me summer is unbearable heat, waiting for the sun to set so the house might cool down, nothing on television except the boring cricket and although I enjoy watching the yachts sail down the harbour (on TV) the interest disappears once they are out the heads with more than a day before the leaders reach Hobart. I go to bed as usual on New Year's Eve but may set my alarm to get up and watch the fireworks on TV at midnight. Big Day Out is definitely for teenagers, not my type of music so summer goes on and on, the plants growing faster than I can weed or prune, the insect bites covering my arms after an hour or so of gardening and itching for days and the beach is a no go zone for me with my skin cancer. January seems endless as I miss seeing my friends and cannot wait for all the senior's activities to begin again in February. Thankfully there has been quite a bit or rain this year so it is very unlikely that bushfires will occur in our area. I am suffering from a summer cold. I cannot remember ever having a cold in winter but always get one in Spring (so have had 2 this year so far).

Australians have largely given up on roast dinners for Christmas, seafood is all the go and the news is already about huge crowds at the seafood markets on Christmas Eve. If the church was to emphasise Leviticus 11:10-11 rather than Leviticus 18:22 I would be supremely happy. I do not see anything to rave about in prawns, oysters, crabmeat etc. My sister is aware of this and had a seafood lunch with her husband's family a few days ago. While we will probably have salmon entree (first course) which I do like, we will have cold turkey and ham with salads for the main course and it is compulsory that we have hot Christmas Pudding with brandy and white sauce which I love.
We are returning to having Christmas at her place this year. After Mum's death we started going to a club for lunch as my sister did not like the empty dining table (My sister, brother-in-law and me make up the whole of our family now). However after 2 years at the club I have convinced her to have lunch at home again as I did not enjoy sitting in a room full of strangers. It will be rather late as we will attend Eucharist at St James at 10 am first so not reach her home until about 1pm.

The forecast this year is for early showers and moderate temperatures (mid 20's C 75F) which is not perfect for those who prefer to have Christmas at the beach especially tourists from Europe but will be just nice for the rest of us.

I remember Christmas 2001 when the temperature was in the high 30'sC (over 100'F) and we ate under the air conditioner in my sister's home with blinds drawn unaware that in parts of the city people were fleeing from bushfires. I had needed to take a detour to reach my sister's the night before due to bushfires in the lower mountains. The next day I took Mum to my place as normal in those days and passed near the fires to the east of my home (Fires generally come from the west). However I then received notice that a fire started by lightning way to the south-west was headed my way so rang my sister to come and take Mum back home along with my most valuable and portable possessions. The fire finally arrived on January 4 and passed through my garden about 6 in the morning with fire engines in every driveway. The waiting had been far worse than the actual fire experience.

New Year's day in 2006 I spent at my mother's place (her need for oxygen meant she could no longer holiday with me) with the air conditioner we had bought for her a few days earlier as the temperature reached 46'C (115'F). It was then that I determined to emigrate to New Zealand but thankfully the summers since have not been as bad.

Many Australians will leave for their vacations on Boxing Day (December 26) so the roads and airlines will be packed. I will settle down to gardening and reading both books and internet.

Another Australian custom is Carols by Candlelight. Our weather allows us to sit out in parks after sunset (8pm) and listen to Christmas songs. The big one in Sydney was last Saturday and the big one in Melbourne will be tonight. Other smaller versions are held in towns throughout the country. While I love carols, I am not so keen on many of the sugary Christmas songs. I prefer the services of Lessons and Carols and one is being broadcast on TV from the Melbourne Catholic Cathedral tonight. Our own church held one last Sunday night. I went last year but had to leave early to catch the hourly train which got me home at 11pm. With my cold I decided to miss it this year.
Many people go overboard with lights outside their houses. Some areas have traffic jams as people try to see the lights. I did buy some over the years and string them through the trees at the front but have not had the energy to do so the last few years.

To avoid being too negative I will conclude with another comment from the newspaper.
Christmas is above all a time of hope. It holds a special hopefulness for Christians but in Australia, where the holiday feeling is all pervasive and the new year beckons with its evergreen promises of change and renewal, optimism wells up for everyone. We may be in the midst of a global financial crisis, we may be facing an uncertain future, but few of us want to think about that right now.

Seething with anger

Not a good feeling for Christmas Eve but the report has finally been issued on the Arrest and Detention of Dr Mohamed Haneef. It shows just how hopeless and lacking in objectivity is the Australian Federal Police. I have previously called them Kelty's Keystone Kops but there is nothing funny about it. Apparently some of them have been demoted but Kelty should be put out to pasture.

As for the two Ministers, Kevin Andrews and Philip Ruddock, involved, thankfully they are now backbenchers but as I have written to both of them, they should resign as members of parliament as they bring shame to our whole nation. Both of these humbugs have said they are not sorry for protecting Australians. It is Australia that needs protection from them and their disgraceful laws and bigotry. One good thing about the report is that the Howard security laws rushed in after September 11 are to be revised. They were a disgrace to any democratic country. I read Howard refused to give evidence and forbad his staff from doing so. To me that is an indication of guilt. At least we are rid of him.

Sadly Philip Ruddock occasionally worships at St James and my appreciation of the Gospel is ruined as we sit in pews which mean I am looking directly at him during the Gospel reading. I have suggested he join the other right wing bigots in the cathedral. He is a complete hypocrite as shown that, while a member of Amnesty International, he happily imprisoned women and children refugees for years.

I am also very annoyed that the present government has said they do not need to apologise to Dr Haneef as they were not in government at the time. This was also true when the indigenous people of Australia were being abused but thankfully this did not stop the present government from making that wonderful apology. Why is it that liberal (small l) governments seem to be unwilling to upset the conservatives? Our new government, while doing much that is good, has been very disappointing in regards to climate change action and while it has worked for gay rights, these are kept low key in case the conservatives are upset. The same seems to be apparent in some of the early actions of Barack Obama.

Dr Haneef says he holds no grudges against Australia and may even return to live here. The man is a candidate for sainthood in my opinion.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ho Ho Ho

I cannot believe I was conned into paying 25 Euros for this photo back in May at the Arctic Circle. The joke was on me. I give permission to laugh. Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Aussie Christmas 2

On a more serious level. I have always loved the Australian Christmas Carols written in 1948 by John Wheeler and William G. James. I remember first singing them when I was in the junior church choir in the 50's. It is hard to find the music online due to copyright.
I have found the wonderful Australian soprano Yvonne Kenny singing the five best known but embedding is not allowed.
My favourite is the third one she sings.
The fourth one sung is known as Carol of the Birds
  1. Out on the plains the brolgas are dancing
    Lifting their feet like warhorses prancing
    Up to the sun the woodlarks go winging
    Faint in the dawn light echoes their singing
    Orana! Orana! Orana to Christmas Day.

  2. Down where the tree ferns grow by the river
    There where the waters sparkle and quiver
    Deep in the gullies bell-birds are chiming
    Softly and sweetly their lyric notes rhyming
    Orana! Orana! Orana to Christmas Day.

  3. Friar birds sip the nectar of flowers
    Currawongs chant in wattle tree bowers
    In the blue ranges lorikeets calling
    Carols of bush birds rising and falling
    Orana! Orana! Orana to Christmas Day.

Brolga :
A red-headed grey crane (Grus rubicunda) of north eastern Australia, noted for its graceful courtship dances.
Currawong :
A large black bird (Strepera graculina) of eastern Australia, with an attractive call including the sounds "curra – wong".
Friar Bird :
A large brown honeyeater(Philemon corniculatis & spp), of eastern Australia, with the head bare of feathers, to allow access deep into flowers.
Lorikeet :
Any of a number of small, arboreal parrots found in different parts of Australia.
Orana :
Aboriginal word for dawn ... or, in this sense, greetings or perhaps welcome!.
So next Thursday you can imagine me calling Orana to you all on Christmas Day

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Aussie Christmas 1

Some education about Christmas in Australia
First some terms: Esky, Swaggy and Rusty Holden Ute.

Now enjoy and let me know if any other translations are needed (Oh, boot = trunk)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bishop Spong

I have pinched this from Episcopal Padre. I have discussed elsewhere my confusion over Bishop Spong. I have never heard him preach (not possible in Sydney) but have heard him interviewed on our local radio. I have been impressed. I cannot agree with all his writings and they are certainly not those of an orthodox Episcopal (Anglican) bishop. He was allowed to preach in the Brisbane Cathedral by the Primate of Australia much to the disgust of the bishops and the rest of the gang who run the Diocese of Sydney. My beliefs and theology are probably closer to theirs but they do not preach a gospel of Love like Bishop Spong. I believe Truth can be found in many areas and God speaks through all sorts of people not just those who can sign up to the orthodox line. I would rather listen to Bishop Spong than the hate filled exclusionist ravings of Jensen et al. I find this sermon excerpt comforting and uplifting. Please listen and enjoy.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Another link passes

My sister has just rung to tell me that one of Mum's closest friends, Jean, has been called home by God. She was a year or two younger than Mum (who would have been 99 now).
In Mum's last years they would ring each other regularly but both being very deaf would speak across each other which often had me chuckling (Mum had a loud speaker on her phone so I could hear every word). Jean had 3 daughters, the youngest died in a car accident while a teenager, the eldest died of cancer about 10 years ago. So she had sadness in life but did have many grandchildren while Mum had none. The middle daughter came to Mum's memorial service and has had the difficult task of visiting a mother who did not know her in the last few months. Thankfully Mum's mental capacities were good until the last day or two. My sister and I will attend the service next Monday. While a blessed relief, it is still a sad Christmas for the family. My prayers are with them.
I like to think that Mum and her are now chatting and catching up and can both hear each other perfectly.
Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord
And let perpetual light shine upon them.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Priscilla the Musical

My blog about La Cage Aux Folles led me to buy the CD. While playing it I remembered that I had considered seeing Priscilla, Queen of the Desert - The Musical. I saw the film many years ago (1994) and one of the ladies I walk with told me rather sheepishly last year that her son is a dancer and a member of the cast. I do not know if my frequent asking how he is going has caused her to put two and two together yet. She is very proud of him and has travelled to Melbourne and Auckland to see the show.

It has returned to Sydney where it started and I thought may have finished but found it had 2 more weeks to run and this week there were specials of two for the price of one. I thought I would ask my sister to go to the Wednesday matinee but she had something else on and so we ended up at the Wednesday evening show. Not the best for me with a train home only every hour and Priscilla is on at the Casino quite a distance from the station. Fortunately my brother-in-law came to the rescue. He was going to meet my sister at her local station but decided to drive into the city and pick us up. The show ran overtime but a quick dash got me to the train with 5 minutes to spare, the next and last train of the night was 70 minutes later. As it was I arrived home at 1am, waaay past my usual bedtime.

We both enjoyed it although I was a little embarrassed, being with my sister, at the language. Her comment to her husband was: it was great music and costumes but very crude. I enjoyed the disco hits from the early 80's when I use to dance the night away.

It is opening in London next year, I am not sure how the comedy will translate, some changes were made for New Zealand. I think much of it would be unintelligible in the USA. For example as the bus travels west from Sydney to Alice Springs it passes through Top Ryde, Rooty Hill, Bumbaldry and Cockburn. These are real places. I worked at a school in Rooty Hill for 8 years which my mother found embarrassing.
I did like when one drag queen announced they were going to Alice Springs, the other said he had always wanted to sing on top of Ayers Rock. The reply was "Oh Great, just what the country needs, A cock in a frock on the rock"
I found a copy of the finale on Youtube. I thought the frilled neck lizards were amazing.

I hinted when discussing La Cage Aux Folles that I found drag shows embarrassing.
When growing up and trying to come to terms with my gay orientation I was very uncomfortable at any allusion that I might be a woman. The very first time I went to a Gay Rights meeting I was mortified when the MC kept referring to us as 'girls'. As a High School teacher I have always had to try and maintain a masculine persona. In my amateur stage activity I have been happy to be the cowboy, pirate, man about town.
From another angle, I have found the straight world is happy to see drag shows and laugh at female impersonators but have a very different attitude to a masculine guy 'coming out'. So La Cage and Priscilla were acceptable but not Brokeback Mountain.

Anyway I have managed to suppress these feelings and enjoy the shows.

Monday, December 08, 2008

School Reunion

Some of you kindly asked for a report so here it is.

The reunion was of my class of 1988 so they would now be about 36-37 years of age. I believe there were about 100 there including 10 members of staff. It was a senior boys Catholic college which was a unique school. When I started there in 1976 it had about 250 boys in years 11 and 12 collecting students from 5 feeder schools. It was hard to get a place so the standard was high and I thought it was nirvana. By the time I left in 1991, it had 500 boys, still just years 11 and 12 (16 & 17 yrs old) , coming from just 2 feeder schools so the standards had fallen greatly and I was not sorry to leave. They closed the school in the late 90's as the Diocese now prefers colleges to include the full years 7 to 12. Strangely the State school system is now creating these senior colleges.

The reunion was held in a large Sports Club near to the school but about 80 km from my home so I decided to book into the Travelodge Hotel which is above the club for the night and to travel each way by train. Not being willing to leave my car at the railway station on a Saturday night (vandalism is rife) I had to walk the kilometre to and from the station, unfortunately up hill and down both ways.

Almost exactly 4 years ago there was a reunion of my class of 1979. This was when the school was smaller, I knew most of the students and although I was not 'out' until a year or so later, a small group of gay students quickly took me into their group (outing me to the staff of that time by telling me to come and join the photo being taken of the gays) and I had a wonderful night.

Last night's year group came from the time of larger cohorts when everyone knew my sexuality and I only taught about one third of them so last night I spent more time with my fellow teachers.

The Principal of the time was present for about 1 hour. He is a religious brother, now in his late 70's and still teaching full time. I felt a bit guilty saying I had retired in my early 60's. I know he had a hard time having to defend my continued employment to several groups of parents at the time but has always remained friendly to me. The principal who followed was less supportive although much younger.

I will use initials for the students as I know too well the power of google.

I was disappointed that I did not meet up with DF who sent me the email in the earlier post. His name was on the list but I did not teach him and only had a grainy class photo to go by, so may have missed him. I think I will email him this week.

Most conversations on these nights are about what they have done since school, usually how they loved my subject and my teaching although they rarely used Geography in later life but like to tell me little bits they still remember and are sorry for all the trouble they caused (which I have usually forgotten).

I approached SD myself. He is very tall so stood out and although he had a completely shaved head, I recognised him easily. He was in my Student Advisor group (we kept these groups for the 2 years and saw them daily, following their general progress through the school). Shall I say he was a sensitive boy and was obviously delighted last night that I recognised and approached him. After general discussion as above, I took the opportunity when some of the others standing in the group were discussing their children to ask SD if he had any family. He said no but was very attached to his sister's children. He went no further but I will always wonder.

LS approached me and I recognised him immediately. He spent most of his time in class tormenting me. He readily admitted he had been a handful but he was the type of student who would mock my idiosyncrasies, drive me crazy as he prevented me finishing the lesson but usually have me end up laughing despite myself. He had the most avant garde haircut of the night and told me he was a hairdresser (hmmm) but soon described his children (ohh). He now owns a chain of shops with over 80 employees many of them apprentices so says he now understands some of the responsibilities of a teacher.

My night was made by PD. He was also in my student advisor group as had been his brother GD 7 years earlier. GD had been in a group of very religious and very bright boys with whom I had developed a special bond as they took the top level in Geography. They were at the school when the local television station's news program kindly outed me by zooming in on me while sitting in a gay rights meeting. It was all over the school the next day and I remember their shocked looks.

I asked PD how his brother G was going and he replied that he was living happily with his male partner. Then he added. Can I speak seriously for a moment. I want to thank you for being so open and honest about being gay. It taught us a lot as we respected you so much as a teacher. It made it so much easier when my brother G came out many years later. We use to stand up for you in the playground when the other guys knocked you for being gay. You were our teacher and our student advisor and we told them we loved you (yes he used the word love).

I was overwhelmed, Thank You God for PD and his words to me. They made my night.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I am What I am

Thanks to Doorman-Priest for reminding me of this. Sometime in the 1980's I was taken to see 'La Cage Aux Folles'. I usually avoid Drag shows, they make me uncomfortable (probably connected to my upbringing) so would have been unlikely to attend of my own volition. I saw the show 3 times (only Les Miserables have I seen that many times) and the last time I took my mother and my sister. As I commented on D-P, each time Albin sang 'I am what I am' at the conclusion of Act 1, I had tears streaming down my face. No wonder it became a gay anthem. It was only when I discovered that God truly loved me as I am that I was able to find true happiness.
I know the song became famous as sung by Gloria Gaynor but for me it has more meaning sung by an openly gay man, John Barrowman, who is great eye candy. I chose this version as it explains the setting in case you are unaware. Only problem, it still causes tears.

It has just hit me I am going to a reunion next Saturday night of my class of '88. About the same time. I was completely 'out' at that time and it was difficult, some of the students had difficulty accepting me. A bit nervous about how I will be treated. I had an email a few years ago from one of the students of that year who wrote "although not apparent as a young guy it was important to have people like you in the school. Made life a little easier."
He is on the list of attendees so am looking forward to meeting him. I usually find some other 'family' at such reunions, not always the ones I would have expected when I was their teacher.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

More on Opera House (musings)

The Opera House was opened in October, 1973. I went to the city that day but was more interested in taking photos of my idol, the Queen. I ran several kilometres through the city snapping photos of her ( I was not yet 30). I was very busy preparing for my long planned world tour at the time. I left in May 1974 intending to take 9 months touring Asia and Europe and flew first to Bangkok. Americans I met were continually asking me about the Opera house and surprised that I had never been inside. Sadly my father died 3 days into my 9 months trip and I flew home. After seeing Mum settled I left again at the end of June now intending 6 months (but it only lasted 4). I thought I should attend a performance at the Opera House. They were playing Macbeth. I studied Macbeth for my final school exams which meant spending the whole year going through it line by line. By that time I hated Macbeth (the years have mellowed and I can now enjoy it again). I left at interval but now I had visited the Opera House. As I have said I cannot count the number of visits (mainly operas and symphonies not shakespeare) in the years since. And in March 2006, I sat on the steps to again see the Queen (sadly probably for the last time).

Advent Blogging

I read Pluralist Speaks and felt very depressed. I must admit I have trouble understanding his blogs. My university degrees are in mundane subjects of Economics, Geography, Education and Librarianship and I do not easily follow philosophical discussions. However Adrian indicated he does not believe in a supernatural being yet he attends Anglican services twice on Sunday and I think 2 or 3 times per week. Any comment I feel like making would sound like it comes from the fundamentalists both he and I dislike. I rarely attend actual services more than once per week although I do go to courses which are run by the church mid-week from time to time. I attend the Eucharist to come closer to God. I rarely do more than nod to anyone else in the Church and have no idea of the names of the people with whom I exchange the peace greeting every week nor anything about them. I have gone down to coffee afterwards but stood there without speaking to a soul. I prefer to go to a nearby coffee shop where the coffee is better, though more expensive and the barista does say hullo. I cannot imagine going to Church if I did not believe in God. My sister joins me in church about once per month and we go to coffee together afterwards. After 3 years as a parishioner , the Rector still says "Nice to see you" and nothing more each week. I have had some brief discussions with the Assistant Priest and he is much more friendly and approachable and does indicate that he recognises me as a regular. This is partly my fault, I have always been a bit of a wallflower until I get to know people and I have learned to keep apart from church people because of the general attitude to gays in the Sydney Diocese.
Anyway I feel sad that someone goes to church several times per week yet apparently believes none of it.

Much happier blog reading came from Telling Secrets. Again our rector's sermon on Advent Sunday was hard to follow, he preaches at top speed. What I understood was good but I have forgotten it now. It was delightful to read such a meaningful and down to earth sermon by Elizabeth Keaton who had such a wise Grandmother. Then I enjoyed the very meaningful "Interview with God" posted by Robert at musings with an episcopal padre. A lot to think about there and beautiful pictures.