Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mid-Winter Festival

I attended for the 3rd time.  Saturday was postponed as heavy rain began about an hour before, thankfully just as I started to get ready. Sunday was much nicer and less crowds than usual so I managed a front position. I had a sausage sandwich then hot cinnamon and sugar nuts with mulled wine while I waited. Unfortunately my camera battery ran out half way through the fireworks.  In preparing the movie for uploading, I discovered that lightening the picture made it a bit blurry.The theme was "A Frosty Night"
Actually it was not too bad a night. We had more frost a week earlier and heavy frost is forecast for this weekend. We had snow yesterday, quite heavy while I was waiting for the bus to go downtown,  but very little settled and rain with strong winds last night have washed it all away.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

More on Prayers

I recently asked for prayers for Bruce.

I can now report that Bruce passed away at 11am yesterday, Sydney time. It was the clot on his lung that mercifully killed him not the fungus which had attacked his sinuses, destroyed his eyesight and was attacking his brain.
My sister and her friend visited him again last Sunday and think he may have recognised them.  Prayers for his older brother Malcolm who was never the practical one, which exasperated Bruce,  and did not expect to be the one left to deal with estates etc.

I also asked for prayers for my sister and her operation to remove her thyroid. Apparently it was successful and the pathology found a small 4mm cancer, fully removed, so it was just as well she decided on the operation rather than less invasive treatment.

I am worried that, more than 10 days later, her voice is still very hoarse. She is seeing the specialist today.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Anglican ??? Worship in Sydney

In yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald, a writer described recently attending a Baptism service in a Sydney Anglican church. Some of the comments.

"To be fair, it's a while since I attended a christening or indeed a church service, but I did expect that I would recognise both. I didn't. Not the words, not the hymns, not the prayers (other than the Lord's Prayer).

The service began with ''OK. We'll get started now.'' Well, we sort of did. I presume it was an attempt to be contemporary, but really the service sounded like it was being made up on the spot; there was no flow, no structure, and no sense of occasion."

"Clearly, churches no longer attract the congregations they once did. No doubt there are myriad reasons for this, and perhaps the adoption of an informal approach is thought to be more appealing to a younger generation. But it is hard to see how the complete dumbing down of the hymns, the content and the structure of any form of worship does not do a disservice to everyone, particularly the young.
Whether you believe or not, there is a sense of importance and occasion in a service with form and structure. Dare I say tradition?"

I happened to also read the latest monthly bulletin from St James, King Street where Fr Andrew Bowyer writes about his time there. On arriving Fr John Stewart, at that time Acting Rector,  told him the three principles of worship at St James were “diligence, dignity and devotion.”

That is why parishioners travel from all over Sydney to worship there.  I had elderly friends in the Blue Mountains tell me, with tears in their eyes, that the local services did not seem Anglican and they were unable to travel regularly the long distance to St James.

One Christmas morning we took my mother to St Stephen's Anglican church at Willoughby. We were unable to get her to the very early service and were surprised when at the next service the rector arrived in shirt sleeves and tie.  The only part of the service I recognised was the creed and I left when the congregation were asked to raise our hands if we were saved.

When I wrote and complained that the service was not Holy Communion, the rector did apologise that had not been made clear in the local advertisements but also told me he believed that too many people took communion unworthily at Christmas. I was too flabbergasted to reply.

Many (most?) of the churches in the Sydney Diocese are Anglican in name only.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Michael Kirby speaks

I am indebted to Calamity Jane at Pie in the Sky for the following interview.
It refers to a book  "Five Uneasy Pieces" a copy of which Calamity gave me when I was in Sydney at Christmas.  I was back in NZ by the time of the Sydney launch where parts of this video were filmed.
I think I have written before about how much I admire Michael Kirby who is a retired Justice of the High Court of Australia.
We grew up in the same suburb, he was five years older than me and his brother, also a judge, was in my class.  We went to the same 2 primary schools (North Strathfield and Summer Hill) and high school (Fort Street) then to Sydney University where he studied law and rose to great heights and I specialised in education. Parish boundaries meant that I mainly worshipped in a different Anglican church to him.  I purchased a book he wrote "A Private Life: Fragments, Memories, Friends" when I was back in Sydney in April but left it there for my sister to read as she did spend  time in the same parish as him. I found we had some of the same teachers. I hope to bring it home and reread more slowly in August. 

I note Michael refers to worshipping at St James, King Street, one of the few inclusive Anglican churches in the Sydney Diocese. The book launch had to be held in a Uniting Church although written by Anglicans. Michael Kirby refers to those who keep to the old literal interpretations of these texts as being narrow and arrogant. 
That would be one of the more polite terms I would use of Peter Jensen (archbishop of Sydney) who I believe has demanded that his vile diatribe against same-sex marriage be read in all Sydney parishes today. Just as well I am not in Sydney as, while feeling for the rector of St James, I would have no alternative but to object in some way, if he follows this directive at today's services.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Aotearoa is not for sale

Today I marched in Dunedin in a protest against the government selling public assets. This seems to be a worldwide disease of governments.  I was again amused to find us being led by a pipe band. The newspaper says there were between 1 and 2 thousand marching.
After a week of rain, sleet and even some snow up here on the hills it was a sunny but cold day, good for marching.

Monday, June 04, 2012


I am in several minds about continuing this blog but there has been one good reason for it and that is asking for prayers. I am glad to see that Birdie no longer needs to post about her cancer treatments (although we still continue to pray) but now has time to post funny comments which are generally lost on me due to our differing cultural backgrounds.

My major concern now is a good friend of my sister.  Bruce was best man at her wedding and is now 80 years old. He had many weeks of sinus headaches requiring hospitalisation but about 2 weeks ago we learned he was back in hospital as the sinus fungus had progressed to his eyes and he was blind. That was bad enough but it has now attacked his brain and he needs a 24 hour nurse. When my sister and her close friend (her bridesmaid all those years ago) visited yesterday he was hallucinating, and wearing mittens to prevent his hands doing damage and he now has a blood clot on the lung. They were able to calm him a little by holding his hands but both left in tears, He only has one older brother, Malcolm,  neither married.

There is no point in praying for recovery but rather a quick and peaceful end to his suffering.  Prayers for Malcolm and for Bruce's friends.

Another friend of mine had a much happier end a few weeks ago. Bill led our Monday walking group and although 86 years old was much fitter than me at least until the last year.  He regularly avoided Dunedin winters by returning to Scotland where he was born for 5 to 6 months of the year.  He and his partner were in Malaga, Spain and had walked around the city in the morning. He then swam 4 lengths of the hotel pool, went to have a shower and collapsed and died.  Prayers for his partner and his family back here in NZ but thanks for such a good death.

Finally please pray again for my sister who is to have a 2nd thyroid operation next Friday. Her first was in 2002 and I remember her being quite ill afterwards and staying in hospital. Now it is day surgery but still worrying at age 78.