Monday, December 26, 2011

Reading NZ News - 2 Cities

It is now Boxing Day in both Sydney and Dunedin. I have been reading the Dunedin News.
An article written by a Dunedin journalist currently with family in Christchurch is quite sad.
" I pass the abandoned church where Christmas carols will not be sung "this happy morn". I pass the Postshop from where no Christmas cards were sent and a row of shops whose eftpos machines were silent this holiday season. I pass, also, the place where in February a man, quietly eating lunch in his van, was crushed to death."

Then I read about Christmas day in Dunedin There were 2 cruise ships in port and the Taieri
Gorge Railway carried 520 cruise ship passengers ( a record number)and other tourist sites recorded high numbers.

Comments (after finding many shops closed)
""But it's a beautiful place, and we'll be back," she said."

"This stop is a chance to get a decent cup of coffee, because you don't get it on the ship.

"We planned this to be a relaxing day, just sitting here, looking at the Robbie Burns statue."

While so proud of Dunedin and so thankful to be living there, I feel so sorry for Christchurch.
Jan Porter, of Brisbane, agreed. She was happy just to sit and admire the city's beautiful buildings.

"I even appreciated the seagulls - they're cheeky."

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Prayers again

Quite shocked to learn of renewed large quake activity in Christchurch and leading up to Christmas. Enough to make me try and post on this wretched IPad.
Fortunately no severe injuries nor destruction except more liquefaction which must be heartbreaking. However the psychological stress will be severe.
Perhaps I should not leave the country as the first quake in September 2010 I was in Norway, the next big one, Boxing Day 2010, I was in Sydney, the worst one Feb 22, I was in NZ but down the far south on Stewart Island. The next big ones, last June, I was in Europe and now this lot the day after I flew back into Sydney.
One day in Sydney and I dislike the humidity, showers, some heavy and traffic. Fortunately I am not driving. Dunedin has sunny but not extreme temperatures for Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas

I have never been a person for Christmas. Well I suppose I was as a child.  Easter is always more significant to me. Bishop Kelvin in his latest post has probably indicated one reason why.

I must say I am heartily sick of the whole Jesus is the reason for the season routine that I am supposed to be spouting at the moment. Let's get real! In solidarity with my distant pagan ancestors, I  have a decorated tree in the corner of my living room and over the next few days fully intend to indulge in the ancient, pre-Christian practices of feasting, giving gifts and singing carols. What's more, I will be doing the whole darned thing on the Saturnalia,  December 25. We humans had been celebrating in this way for centuries before we Christians wandered into the festivities, looked around, liked what we saw and surreptitiously forged our name on the bottom of the ownership papers. Of course it is all a load of pagan nonsense, but that's the point really.

Emmanuel. God with us. God fully present in the human condition, as much in the raucous celebration of the Saturnalia as in the witness of a peaceful sunset. As much in the worried crowds on Christmas Eve combing through the bargain racks on George St. as in the half hour of silent prayer. God is not, cannot be absent. 

It is almost a lost cause to try and equate the Christmas activities around us with the wonder of the Birth of Christ.
Our family gave up giving presents to each other aeons ago. I enjoy exchanging cards and, despite the cost, prefer real cards to internet ones. I enjoy Christmas lunch especially plum pudding. However it is now just 3 of us on Christmas day. I did not put up any decorations this year as it is pointless, no-one except the electricity meter reader would see them. The cards have been displayed.

I am flying across the ditch this afternoon to Sydney and will return on January 2nd. The forecast is not too hot but possible showers nearly every day. After a weekend of rain we now have a run of sunny days in Dunedin forecast until Christmas. I managed to garden at last yesterday and planned to spend an hour there today but it is looking increasingly unlikely. The airport shuttle is due at 2.30pm.

I would prefer to stay home and work in the garden. However I hope to enjoy Christmas Eucharist at St James King Street.  I will miss St John's Roslyn but most of my friends will be away with family anyway.  I really think we have Christmas at the wrong time of the year in the Southern hemisphere.  My doctor, who is from the UK, returned there for Christmas and said while it would be cold he preferred Christmas in the UK.

I have turned commenting off because I am leaving my beloved laptop at home and taking the hated Ipad. That was the biggest waste of money (NZ$1000) this year. I thought it would be like my Mac but have great trouble using it. I will have access to my sister's mac but not my bookmarks and passwords. I cannot find how to transfer these to my Ipad.

Enough grumbling

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hooray, they have gone.

The Dunedin Octagon occupiers have gone. They have been there 66 days.
Online comments from our city paper.
Our Mayor said
"While most people would agree with many of the issues raised, "the issues the group chose to highlight were overshadowed by the rights and wrongs of occupying a public space.
"I believe there is a residue of support for the causes they are highlighting, but the message I am getting from the community is why are they there this is our space and it looks awful." 
 One online comment to our local newspaper (my bold).
'Did the protestors achieve anything?
Did they? Absolutely. The proved beyond any doubt that there are people with great passion matched with equal parts of stupidity alive and well in Dunedin. The protestors claimed to represent 99% of the population. Not only do I think that rich, but I strongly suspect they thought that they had a mandate to do so despite quite a few of the 99% being against them. 

Of the people I mix with, the majority thought their protest pointless – not because their goals weren't genuine enough, but because they utterly failed to meaningfully convey those goals. No one anywhere could have pleased these protestors. They wanted to change something but they each had a different something! 

I support the right to protest. However when that protest is as poorly defined as the Occupy movement is, I think that right becomes weakened. I strongly doubt the protest had broad public support.  
My message to the protestors: we all know of the problems of capitalism, please go and invent a new economy and prove it can work – this should about 5 decades. Then get back us on your solution. We'll be delighted to know more.'
'This is the best Christmas present the Octagon could have received. Thank goodness it’s over.

We will all be able to walk again through our beautiful Octagon with our heads held high and without the embarrassment of chalk graffiti, tattered tarpaulins flapping in the breeze and lawns turned to mud.'

The council spent $3500 replacing the turf after the number of tents had dwindled a few weeks ago, They will be assessing today what more will be needed to repair the damage.

The photos of an Episcopalian bishop (retired) climbing a fence in his purple cassock to break into private property in New York was embarrassing. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Australia's Third Woman Bishop

And the First in NSW. Very pleased to see the Diocese of Canberra-Goulburn has appointed Archdeacon Genieve Blackwell as Assistant Bishop. It will apparently be 20 years next February since that diocese first ordained women priests. (It was the 2nd such ordination in Australia and I was present. I have always said the first, which was in Perth, was a bit far. )
At that time there were court cases as the Diocese of Sydney tried to prevent it going ahead. Apparently Sydney has been more cooperative this time.  Archdeacon Blackwell was once a student of Moore College and was taught by (now) Archbishop Jensen.
''I very much admire Genieve Blackwell,'' Dr Jensen said. ''However, I regret I am not able to take part in the service for reasons of conscience.''

The Bishop of Newcastle  will replace Jensen at the consecration. I presume the Bishop of Canberra-Goulburn Stuart Robinson will also be involved. (Do you need 2 bishops to consecrate a third?) 
I was disappointed when Bishop Robinson was appointed from the Sydney Diocese. It is amazing how some change when they move out.

Still we only have women as assistant bishops. Apparently the consecration of women as Diocesan bishops is still blocked in Australia.