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  • Today's Activities...

    Another hot, sunny day in the antipodes… 27 degrees, very glad of my factor 50 sunscreen and probably the only person wandering around with their arms covered up (one lymphoedema sleeve and glove combo and  one tanned arm would just look silly!).  Using the second day of my tour bus ticket meant I got to see some different parts of the city, including climbing to the top of Mount Eden, visiting Eden Gardens (not the Garden of Eden!!), the entrance to Government House and the rugby ground.

    Eden Gardens is a pay-to enter public garden in a volcanic crater, funded to a greater or lesser degree by memorials – not just the ubiquitous benches, but little plaques on walls a bit like you might see at a crematorium – only without the crematorium.  What seems to be a new initiative was a pet memorial wall (only three plaques and some dried out plaster where had fallen off!).  I did like it as an idea though – a pleasant place to go to remember Auntie Betty or Uncle Bill, or Rover or Fluffy for that matter.  A nice café, lots of paths to walk along, nooks and crannies, wonderful planting – if as the twee poem goes 'you're nearer to God in a garden' what better place to draw near to lost loved ones?

    Setting aside the near impossibility of finding bread, biscuits, ready meals or even cooked meat (!) that do not contain soya, capsicums/paprika or both, my experience of supermarkets  which seems to fly in the face of the 'clean, green New Zealand' mantra.  Turning up with my own cotton bag and expecting that I'll use it has met with bewilderment… do I not want a single use, disposable plastic bag, then?  That'd be a no.  Intriguing.  I have had some nice NZ lamb chops and delicious sweet corn and lots of fresh fruit and have tried to avoid familiar brands in favour of indigenous ones where possible – nice gloopy yoghourts, 'interesting' museli largely devoid of oats. 

    Now it's time to relax and get my things together for tomorrow's trip to one of the islands across the bay from here

  • Glad About That...

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  • Te Whakarewarewa...

    This photo has the Llanfair PG air about it....

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    In Maori it reads "The gathering place for the war parties of Wahiao"

    and evidently

    "Te Whakarewarewa" means "The Gathering Place".

    It made me smile anyway.


  • Stereotypical Baptist Worship in NZ...

    This morning I worshipped at the nearest Baptist church to where I am staying - built/founded 1875 and could have been lifted out of any UK city, a typical Victorian preaching barn where, evidently Spurgeon's son was the first minister.  It was also typical in the the pulipt has been removed, the organ replaced by a worship band and a perspex screen shielding the drummer has supplanted the communion table as line of sight (no liturgical senstivity it seems).

    The choice of music was utterly stereotypical -  'Ten Thousand Reasons', 'How Great Thou Art' and 'Be Thou my Vision'.

    The sermon failed to impress - based on abuot three verses from Jame 1, it was exploring 'double-mindedness' by resort to simplistic proof texts.... examples suggested included 'single young man (looking for a wife)'... 'and I hope you are' said the preacher, which humanly speaking you might want beautiful, intelligent, welkahty not too bossy... but proof text says....  A shame as it was a good premise - being torn between 'worldly' and 'Christian' wisdom and working out which way to jump.  Alas a reference to God allowing illness to teach us stuff annoyed me: yeah, thanks for that!!

    More positive was the invitation in the intercessions to the call 'Lord in your mercy' to respond 'hear our prayer' in people's first languages.  I've often done that with the Lord's Prayer but I like the idea of using it for other responses.  It was also encouraging to hear them pray for the UK and US affected by such awful weather.

    Good use was made of inclusive language Bible translation, even if it didn't quite spill over into other aspects of the service.

    These were friendly, good-hearted people living out their faith in their context, welcoming people from many nations and trying to serve their community (e.g. a food bank). 

    I now that both RC and Anglican liturgies are intended to ensure that wherever you go in the world, you can join in with what's happening, even in a foreign language - maybe by defualt Baptist worship is headed the same way?!NZ 001.JPG

    So Dibley and Gathering Place people does this building look scarily familiar?!

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  • Upside Down...

    So, here I am hanging from the ceiling next to the tumble drier in my apartment: -

    upside down.jpgObviously I'm not really, the drier is mounted upside down above a top loading washing machine.  And, yes, shock horror I've been doing some washing!

    Today has mixed 'work' and 'pleasure' in some measure... a lovely leisurely cruise of the harbour followed by some delicious passion fruit ice-cream, then some reading of one the books I need to have read by the time the conference starts, at least if I am to get the most out of it.  I actually read one and a half other books during my flights, so feel suitably smug about that!

    Tomorrow I plan to worship at the local Baptist Church about 10-15 mins walk from here, and half wish I was a Mystery Worshipper so I could write a report for Ship of Fools...  Ah well, I'll have to do one here instead.

    Oh, and just for your reassurance, here I am right way up again!!

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