Sunday, March 21, 2010

Worshipping in Dunedin

I am an Anglican. It is how I was brought up and, even in Sydney evangelical churches of the 50's and 60's, we followed a set liturgy with robed choirs and the priest wore a surplice and stole. I loved wearing cassock and surplice when I sang in the junior choir and later when I read Evening Prayer. After I gained an Arts degree from Sydney University I was so proud to wear my Arts hood when I preached.
Watching on TV the services in English cathedrals with processional crosses, candles and robed clergy always brings a lump to my throat.

I am quite happy for others to have simpler forms of worship but it is not for me. At school, my closest friend was a Presbyterian.  He was overjoyed to show me a book he was reading which described the Presbyterian church as the church of duty while the Anglican church was the church of beauty.  It was just gentle ribbing as we both shared our love of Christ even if our form of worship was different.

As the Sydney diocese began to become less and less Anglican, I searched out churches where they still used the services in the Prayer Book and the priest wore robes. It was a sad fact of life that there were less and less robed choirs as church attendance declined. I also gradually became accustomed to the modern communion service in the Australian Book of Common Prayer rather than the 1662 which I knew off by heart.

When I went to teach in Catholic schools I became used to making the sign of the cross and recognising the altar and the service of Mass was very similar to the modern service used in Anglican churches.

I have walked out of Anglican churches when the priest walks in wearing a collar and tie, as the anger I feel makes Holy Communion impossible.

It was a great joy for me to begin worshipping at St James, King Street. Of course the main reason was the acceptance of people of all sexualties but on the great Holy days when I attended Choral Eucharist rather than Sung Eucharist and we had a full procession with Cross, candles, incense and robes, I had trouble to stop the tears of joy from flowing.
Even on ordinary sundays when I attended Sung Eucharist, there was still the Cross, candles and robed clergy. I have come to love the dignity and meaning of the Sarum form of worship used at St James.

My first choice of worship in Dunedin has been St John's Roslyn. There is a robed choir and the priest wears robes. There is a processional cross. I am glad to see the church is nearly full most Sundays with many young families. I do not really like the service and hymns being projected onto the wall but guess that makes it easier for many. As an old, single, curmudgeon, I am irritated when parents allow their children to run around the church during the service. However the people have been most welcoming and I have come to know some of the men my own age over Morning coffee.

However I have wanted to experience some of what I missed at St James so have tried to attend the cathedral. On previous visits to Dunedin I attended the cathedral but both times were on Remembrance Sunday so the morning service was not the Eucharist but a special community service.

Since moving here, I have attended on Ash Wednesday and for the consecration of Bishop Kelvin. I attended Said Eucharist early one Sunday in the side  chapel as I was meeting overseas friends and showing them around the city for the day.
Two weeks ago I attended and discovered it was Commonwealth Sunday and again no Eucharist. This was mildly annoying as the cathedral website is hopelessly out of date and did not show this.

Today I have finally succeeded in attending choral Eucharist in the cathedral. The choir singing and organ playing was beautiful. The robed procession was good but no candles or incense. The congregation was smaller, although this might have been an illusion due to the size of the cathedral, and certainly older.

The greatest thing for me was that, although the Dean preached and presided at the Eucharist and his preaching is good, the assistant priests distributed and I received the bread from Rev Juan Kinnear, an openly gay partnered man. I hope one day to hear him preach and, even more importantly for me, to see him preside.

I will probably become a parishioner of St John's Roslyn but make an occasional visit to the cathedral.

I would like to attend a service at All Saints, Dunedin which is more high church but will leave that until after Easter.  It's webpage is also hopelessly out of date and is still advertising the Christmas services. Bishop Kelvin Wright is well in the forefront of communication technology and the webpage of St John's Roslyn is always up to date. I wish other churches would see the importance of this in these times.

I must admit to a longing for the services of St James, King Street but am glad to be out of the Sydney Diocese and know I could not have continued the 2 hours each way of train travel to worship there.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Need Help in Trip Planning

While a major reason for my big move was to leave the Sydney Diocese, an equal reason was to move to a cool climate and another was to free up the funds tied up in the block of land next to my house in the Blue Mountains.

I purchased the block a few years after the house in the mid 80's. It protected the view over the valleys from my house and I  enjoyed landscaping the upper section of it. I did not enjoy maintaining the garden as I got older.  It had a cliff of about 10 metres dividing the upper 20% from the lower 80%.  I do not remember when I last went down the bottom.  My house block was similar but the upper section was more  like a third.

A problem developed when I became eligible for an age pension from the government. The Australian government takes into account all assets other than the family home and block in assessing the amount of pension. They counted the neighbouring block of land as an asset but I could not earn any interest on it nor spend any of it.

I knew it would be very hard to sell on its own and most potential purchasers (young couples) of the house were uninterested in the extra land.  I was very thankful when a middle aged couple agreed to buy both.  I have allocated the money from the land sale to future travel.

Which brings me to the point of this post. I need to at least book my flights soon.

I have long ago booked and paid for 2 nights in Oberramergau (Sept 20&21) so planning hinges around those dates. I want a month in Europe before and a month in USA/Canada afterwards

A Round the World Trip allows 5 stopovers. I intend them to be Sydney, Bangkok, Frankfurt, Chicago-Toronto, and San Francisco or Los Angeles. Bangkok and LA or SF are mainly to allow me a good sleep as I detest long flights.

My vague itinerary at the moment is to arrive (after 10 days in Sydney) in
Frankfurt on Aug 20(1n)
Train to Copenhagen (1n)
Overnight ferry to Oslo(1n)
Train to Bergen (1n)

Board Hurtigruten ship for 10 nights cruising the Fiords up to Kirkenes and back to Trondheim

Train back to Oslo (2n)

Train to Copenhagen (2n) (I visited Oslo and Copenhagen in 1974 but guess they have changed)

Train- overnight ferry-train to London about September 9.

Undecided here for 10 nights except I have a dream to attend the Last Night of the Proms (ok in the park opposite) on September 11 and must be in Munich on September 19.

I have never been to Ireland, would love to return to Lakes District and have a friend in Bradford. (Have not been to UK since 1980).  Paris always beckons but perhaps I could give it a miss and hope for future trips as I spent 2 weeks there in both 2002 and 2007.

After Oberammergau, I hope to fly from either Munich or Frankfurt to Chicago on Sept 22 (arrive 23) and stay 2 nights. (I spent 24 hours there in 1999)

Back on trains I plan to travel to New York (undecided about travelling on Lakeshore Limited or Cardinal)

I want to worship with Rev Elizabeth at Chatham on September 26 and there is also a possibility of a Brokeback meeting in New York that weekend.

I have about 9 days to see Boston (was there in 1980), perhaps visit Fran in Albany (Hi Fran) and Motheramelia in Maine and see the Fall colours.

The last Cat from Yarmouth to Portland is about Oct 9 (2010 timetable not yet posted).

I have allocated 6 nights to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island then back on train.

Overnight to Montreal (4 n)

Quebec (2n)

Ottawa (3n)

Toronto (4n with a day to Niagara and back)

Not sure why I allocated the nights that way, am certainly open to advice there.

Then possibly 2 nights in either SF or LA. have been to both and prefer SF  but would like to visit a church in the Diocese of LA.

Finally Dunedin via Auckland.

Some comments - I hate flying but know it is a necessary evil if I want to travel from the bottom of the world.  It is why I go for so long at a time - to make the trip worthwhile.

I love train travel and am quite fond of ship travel although am wary of a long cruise and this will be the longest I have ever spent on a ship at one time but hope the Norwegian scenery will make it all worthwhile. I think I would be bored on a long ocean cruise.

Would appreciate any advice either publicly or by private email (see profile).

Friday, March 19, 2010

Jensen comments : no surprise there

Peter Jensen who is titled Archbishop of Sydney has issued a tirade against the Episcopal Church and the confirmation of the election of Mary Glasspool as Bishop.

Well no surprise from this high priest of hate. I will no longer personally acknowledge his title.  I am overjoyed to have left the diocese he purports to lead. The gospel of hate preached by him and his cohorts has caused me and many others so much grief over the years.

I have met and read and heard Bishop Gene Robinson and consider his work and preaching to be an example of true Christian Love. From what I read, Mary Glasspool is like minded. I rejoice in the news that she is to be a bishop.

I only weep for the many people in Sydney who are turned away from Christ by the words and antics of the Jensenites. Some have found acceptance in other churches including MCC who has many ex-Anglicans among its members, many have lost their faith and a few (two I knew personally) have resorted to suicide. This is the evil that is generated by these so called ministers.

I thank God for keeping me safe through the years of living in that diocese and finally leading me to one of the parishes which do not toe the Jensen line.
Although the parishioners of St James, King Street are generally polite, there is always a titter of amusement throughout the congregation if Peter Jensen is mentioned and while he is prayed for in the usual way during the prayers of the faithful, most privately use the immortal words of 'Fiddler on the Roof' that Peter Jensen 'be kept far away from us'.

The only words of his that are worth quoting are:
"The election of Bishop Robinson in 2003 was not an aberration to be corrected in due course. It was a true indication of the heart of the Church and the direction of its affairs."

And I praise God that this is so. 

There are a number of reasons why I would not and could not move to live in Los Angeles but as already described in previous posts I have found a diocese in Dunedin and a Bishop who teaches and displays God's Love for all of Creation.

Sadly I now find it hard to recognise Jensen et al as even Christians. Their teachings display none of the Love of Christ found in the Gospels. Unlike them I do not pretend to know the mind of God but I do believe in His infinite Mercy. I will pray that they experience it and are turned from their thoughts of hate..

Monday, March 08, 2010

Muslim demands

News today from Australia that a Muslim leader advocates that some aspects of Sharia law should be allowed in Australia.   He is not advocating the draconian stoning of women for adultery nor cutting off hands for theft.  Rather it is something to do with divorce allowing the husband to decide if the children can go with their mother and her new husband. From what I know, Australian courts decide such matters taking most account of the welfare of the children and that is how it should be.

He cites examples where traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander laws are recognised. That is a completely different case. They were here first and had their land invaded. Muslim people have chosen to come to Australia and need to realise they therefore chose to accept the laws of their new country. Australia has a long history of immigration and I have never heard of the Italians, Germans, Chinese, Indians, Jews or Buddhists asking for special laws.

I have just moved to New Zealand. The laws are almost the same as Australia but there are some differences. However I will need to adapt where necessary.   I do not expect New Zealand to change to suit me. If a country had laws which were difficult for me to accept, then I would not move there.

The Muslims wonder why they have troubles being accepted in their new country. These sort of demands indicate why.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Bishop : Sermons, Photos and more

Bishop Kelvin has posted his first sermon as Bishop, the sunday after his consecration (about 12 minutes)

Also the sermon at the consecration by Alan Firth (about 15 minutes). I found this a very challenging sermon.

These are the first in the Diocesan sermon archive.

Also a description and excellent series of photos can be found at Anglican Taonga.

Monday, March 01, 2010


Unless I used the flash my little camera would only work  in the cathedral after a lot of beeping so the only photos I have is the one I took before the service commenced while the choir was practising and from outside the cathedral afterwards as Bishop Kelvin was shaking hands at the door.
I sat next to the wife of the Bishop of Nelson. Nelson is the evangelical diocese of New Zealand but I do not think is as extreme as Sydney (that would be hard).

It was very impressive. I was a little disappointed that none of the bishops wore their mitres (except Kelvin after it was presented to him). I have never been in the presence of so many bishops before. New Zealand has three archbishops, one Maori, one Polynesian and one Pakeha (white). The Polynesian Archbishop died earlier this month so just two presided.

The Cathedral senior and junior choirs combined with the choir of St John's Roslyn which I thought was a nice touch.  After the procession of choirs then cathedral staff, diocesan clergy, visiting clergy, and bishops which took forever,  Kelvin walked in with his wife, followed by his adult children and other family members and many parishioners of St John's.

The preacher was a lay parishioner of St John's,  a young man who was very good. I hope it will be online later.  He began by describing how one is advised to count the silver after guests have left a dinner party.  Last November St John's was asked to host the Synod meeting which was to elect a new bishop. When the synod left, they had stolen our vicar.

In his speech of thanks Bishop Kelvin said he began as he stood at the back of the cathedral by being overawed at a cathedral packed with people, the Organ voluntary followed by the Maori karanga (greeting sung by a woman) ringing through the cathedral. Then when the Gospel was read and he turned to face the congregation he saw that in his words "it was just you, all my friends".

And more important - from Kelvin himself