Sunday, November 26, 2006

Worshipping in New Zealand (Aotearoa)

It has been a delight to worship in the South Island Cathedrals of New Zealand.
On October 29 I attended Choral Eucharist at Nelson Cathedral. Nelson has always been regarded as evangelical and has provided bishops for the Sydney diocese but probably not these days. However the service was Anglican (which is a term difficult to apply to much of the Sydney diocese these days).
The celebrant was the Dean (Very Rev Charles Tyrrell) and the preacher was one of the assistant priests Rev Yvonne McLean. The Cathedral dominates the city from a hill to the south and is quite modern having been completed in the 70's. The pews were very comfortable and I was made to feel welcome. However I do not like having to keep the wafer and dipping it into the chalice. They were to have a family fun night on October 31 as an alternative to Halloween (Better than fulminating against it). I gather Halloween is bigger in NZ than Australia.
On November 5th I attended Choral Eucharist at Christchurch Cathedral. This service was packed as it was the 125th Anniversary dedication festival of the Cathedral.
Again the celebrant was the Dean, Very Rev Peter Beck, who welcomed me twice but there were a lot of people, assisted by the Associate Dean, Rev Diana Rattray. The preacher was Bishop David Coles.
The Offertory hymn was "Give thanks for life" words I do not remember seeing before although the tune was familiar. I became quite emotional at the verse
" And for our own,
our living and our dead,
thanks for the love by
which our life is fed,
a love not changed by time
or death or dread,
I had been disappointed that my itinerary meant I missed All Souls Day at St James the week before as I had wanted to attend in memory of Mum. This hymn assisted.

At the beginning of the service a new altar cloth was dedicated. It was bright red and had many languages embroidered in gold. There was a comment about the dedication being delayed due to controversy. On returning to the Cathedral later I asked the guide about this controversy. He said it had been opposed by evangelicals because it included writing from the language Sanskrit which is pre-Christian ?????? He asked "Do you know the sort of people who run the Sydney Diocese? I groaned and said "Only too well."
Finally on November 12 I attended St Paul's Cathedral in Dunedin . Being Remembrance Sunday the morning service was a special service of Thanksgiving with both the RSL and the Cathedral Choir. This was very moving but I attended again in the evening for Choral Eucharist. A small congregation as this is usually a service of Evensong. At both services the preacher (and celebrant at the Eucharist) was the Dean, the Very Rev David Rice. His accent obviously shows he was educated at Duke Divinity School, North Carolina.
I was excited to see that, in the week before, the Bishop of Dunedin had created controversy by ordaining as deacon a man who is living openly in a gay relationship. Apparently this man is a member of the cathedral congregation and the Dean has had to front the media on the matter. The Diocese of Dunedin also made history by consecrating the first woman Anglican bishop Bishop Penny Jamieson in 1989. Of course she was not welcome in the Diocese of Sydney.
It was nice to worship back at St James, King Street but I did not enjoy the 85 km drive each way. (I walked in Nelson and Christchurch and it was only a 4km drive in Dunedin.) However St James is still under the control of the Archbishop of Sydney so we are unlikely to see women priests any time soon and as for the ordination of an openly gay man !!!!!!!!.
So much points to my emigrating to Dunedin - time will tell.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Women priests

I will continue to push this point. Below is a letter to the SMH last week by Sue who is a good friend and officiated at my mother's cremation and memorial service. Before Mum's death, Sue came and anointed and prayed over her. Mum appreciated this very much. We had to ask a male priest who only knew Mum slightly to celebrate communion with us. He was very kind and helpful but it would have been wonderful if Sue could have celebrated communion. I cannot understand or support the Sydney Anglican diocese in their out of date ideas. My career has been in a female dominated profession and so I have had a number of women as bosses. Some have been marvellous, others hopeless as was true of the men. I do not see why in the 21st century women should be subordinate to men.
Ban makes no sense

I am an Anglican deacon ordained in Sydney in 1996. At that time I was chaplain at the Children's Hospital at Westmead. Because I did not become a priest when the men in my cohort did, I was not authorised to administer communion to families at the hospital, many of whom were from the country and missing their country connections.

In the two churches in which I have since ministered, I lead services, preach, conduct baptisms, funerals and weddings and engage in pastoral care of our church family. When my senior colleague goes on holidays or is away on Sunday, my congregations are puzzled that I cannot conduct services in his absence. Ours being a tradition that values communion services, we are forced to arrange for a locum minister to conduct services on those days because I am not authorised to do so.

The system makes no sense. Your article ("Anglican women regroup to fight ban on ordination", October 5) points to Chris Albany's motion in the October Synod, which simply asks for women to be recognised as priests so that parishes which would like to have a woman in that capacity are free to do so.

Reverend Susan Emeleus St George's Anglican Church, Paddington

Peter Norman

For a person who does not usually follow sport and dislikes the Australian passion for it above everything else, I have been very much moved by the death of Peter Norman.
As you approach Central on the train, you can see the famous photo from 1968 which some person (most likely an Aborigine) has painted on the wall. What an inspiring man and how wonderful that the two Black men involved that day should fly to Melbourne and be his pall bearers. They are truly sportsmen of whom we can be proud.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Exclusive Brethren

In the early 90's I was retraining as a librarian and sought work wherever possible. I had one job which required me to interview 8 people in a street and hopefully finish on Saturday. In one of my areas of Katoomba-Leura were households of exclusive brethren. I loved interviewing them as one could turn over the pages on cigarettes, television and radio as well as voting patterns and finish the interview in quicktime. When I asked one, who told me he did not watch television, listen to the radio or read newspapers, what he did with his time he told me he went to church and prayed. I nearly said "How do you know what to pray for?"
Apparently they are no longer willing to leave democracy up to God but are working surreptitiously to prevent leftist parties , particularly the Greens, from being elected. They have tried to dig up dirt about Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand. Heavens her husband was seen being hugged by a man on the night of her re-election!!! They particularly have it in for the leader of the Greens in Australia, Senator Bob Brown who, as an openly gay man, must be the devil incarnate.
Of course that weasel, Howard will not speak against them because they support his conservative views. He thinks it better to criticise Muslims who might hold unAustralian values. I know whose values I would rather adopt and it is not those of the Exclusive Brethren.
We are told they are astute and wealthy business men but I have been unable to find which businesses they own. I wish someone would tell me so that I might avoid doing business with any of them.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Steve Irwin

I agree with Germaine Greer. I am sorry a man died and am especially sorry for his wife and children. It is a pity he didn't consider them more. However He was an embarrassment. He abused animals and he was an example of the worst in the Australian character. This country gives state funerals to Irwin and Packer but hardly notices the death on the same day of a wonderful children's author like Colin Thiele.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Flag Burning

I agree with Helen Irving in the SMH Flames of protest should be seen from more than one viewpoint While I would never burn the flag, I no longer wear it with pride as it has been shamed by this government and the fact that the people continue to vote for it. There are a lot worse things that can be done than burning a piece of cloth. A democracy allows freedom of speech and expression. As Helen says flag burning is not even illegal in the USA where they have always had a higher regard for their flag. I do honour the soldiers who fought under it but that was at a time when it stood for high ideals. I even respect the soldiers who fought in Vietnam and now in Iraq even though I believe both wars to be wrong.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

David Hicks

This misguided, foolish boy is becoming a hero because of the actions of the US and Australian Governments. He should have been tried long ago. Even my conservative friends are beginning to say this. Of course Howard and his mates are beginning to feel the winds of public opinion and are now talking about bringing him home if he is not soon brought to trial. This is not about justice. Bush and Howard do not believe in the concept. They are only interested in saving their own political skins. The USA is no longer a democratic state and Australia is being dragged down the same path.

Asylum Seekers & Indonesia

Congratulations to those few Liberal Members and Senators who forced Howard to back down and withdraw the Asylum Bill. It was going to make Australia an even more inhospitable and unfeeling country than it already is.
So the Indonesians will be upset. Bad luck. They seem to forget our Government gave half a billion dollars in aid after the Tsunami. I regret the small donation I made and will not be giving any money to help those in Indonesia in the future. And this is not religious discrimination. My last small donation in July was to a hospital in Gaza

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.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Woman is presiding bishop in the USA

I am celebrating

"Jefferts Schori was elected presiding bishop, making her not only the leader of the Episcopal Church but the first woman to lead any member of the global Anglican Communion.

The American delegates later cheered as the Rt. Rev. Jefferts Schori, the bishop of Nevada, was presented following closed-door balloting, and they confirmed her election.

But their initial gasp signaled more than surprise -- after breaking new ground and causing a deep rift by electing Anglicanism's first openly gay bishop in 2003, the Episcopalians had challenged tradition again. "
Of course the blinkered leadership here in Sydney will not be celebrating. Is it time for some of us in the medieval Sydney Diocese to ask for alternative oversight? Anyone would be better than Jensen but a woman would be marvelous.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Sydney Anglicans made to pay

Good to see the Jensens had to pay for their mistreatment of Dr Goodenough
No Apology, but Church opts to pay up
It is sad to see the Church's dirty linen washed in public but the more the Jensens and their followers are exposed in the media the better. It is difficult to worship in this misogynist homophobic Diocese. Thankfully I can obtain some relief at St James, King Street, a beacon of light amidst the unrelenting darkness
Howard is obviously at home with the Sydney Anglicans He never apologises either.
I particularly agree with Dr Goodenough's comments
"What woman in her right mind, would volunteer... what intelligent woman is going to want to join a denomination like this?" she said.

"The Sydney Diocese, under Peter Jensen, risks being remembered in history as the most poorly administered ever. He is an absent, pontifical irrelevance.

"You cannot get through to him no matter how politely you write your letter.

"He wrote his thesis on the witch hunts.... need I say more?"

Saturday, June 17, 2006


Starting this blog on 17/06/06 My homepage is