Avril at Romsey

… and Lancefield and Riddells Creek and Mount Macedon

Thank God!

Australia is apparently about to change its policy on the mandatory detention of asylum seekers. As in, we’re only going to detain those who may be a risk to the community (which I’m hoping will never include children). A long way from perfect, but bringing us closer to the rest of the civilised world.

Thanks be to God!

And, in other news, my quote of the day:

The duty of the Christian as a peacemaker is not to be confused with a kind of quietistic inertia that is indifferent to injustice, accepts any kind of disorder, compromises with error and with evil, and gives in to every pressure in order to maintain ‘peace at any price’ … Peace demands the most heroic labour and the most difficult sacrifice. It demands greater heroism than war.

That was written by Thomas Merton in 1980, and I found it quoted in my book of the day, Holy Superheroes! Exploring the Sacred in Comics, Graphic Novels and Film. Which I heartily recommend most of all to Pete, but also to anyone interested in faith and/or comics. Other freaks like me.


July 28, 2008 Posted by | Life, etc., Pop Culture | , , , | 5 Comments

Go to Bali!


I never thought I wanted to go to Bali. My image of it was tourist areas full of drunk Australians, the “I’ve been to Bali too” stereotypes (to quote Redgum). But I loved it.

First, of course, was the weather. Sitting here now wearing two jumpers and woolen tights under my trousers I’m longing for the warmth of the Balinese winter. (When we arrived back in Melbourne and the pilot announced that the local temperature was three degrees the entire plane groaned.)

Then there were the people, who really were friendly and welcoming. One thing that amazed and impressed me was that I didn’t see any road rage in the time I was there – and this was with motorcycles and cars and buses cutting across each other all over the road.

The conference was held at Dhyana Pura, the Place of Meditation, a hotel owned by the Protestant Christian Church in Bali, which had fairly simple but very comfortable rooms surrounded by absolutely beautiful gardens – which people were watering with hoses and sprinklers! The food was great – I have to admit that I have a weakness for nasi goreng for breakfast.

I enjoyed spending time with 60-odd Uniting Church ministers. I’ve realised that I’ve been feeling a bit lonely here in the Macedon Ranges. My friends all live elsewhere, and while I love my people here I always have a sense that I am “the minister” when I’m with them and that I can never fully let myself go. It was incredibly relaxing to be, as I was at the conference, merely the newest and the least of the Uniting Church ministers.

Any downsides? Well, I got sick one day because I took my anti-malarials on an empty stomach. That led to a couple of hours of vomiting and Isabel kindly telling me that I looked “like crap”. And while I loved the night we spent in Blimbingsari and the family I was billetted with I have to confess that I do not like squat toilets and washing with a bucket and dipper. I’ve done it before, I’ll undoubtedly do it again, but when it comes to washing I’m completely westernised! I only saw one “Ugly Australian” in my time there – a man in the market at Ubud loudly telling a woman to “speak English” and then hugging her, obviously making her uncomfortable. But that was it. 

Last week and this morning, rather than preaching on the lectionary readings, I told my congregations about my time in Bali and what I’d learned from the Balinese church. Here’s today’s version: Continue reading

July 20, 2008 Posted by | Life, etc., Ministry | 5 Comments

Ordination Date – Extended Dance Mix

So, remember how months and months and months ago I said I had an ordination date and that it was April 13 and then due to circumstances way beyond my control and mainly to be blamed on the inter-conciliar nature of the Uniting Church in Australia I found out I didn’t have an ordination date at all? Well …

Let’s try this again.

I am being ordained at the Church of All Nations, Palmerston Street, Carlton, at 2.30 pm on Sunday the 5th of October, 2008.

Everyone welcome!

July 15, 2008 Posted by | Ministry | | 6 Comments

A Wedding Sermon

It’s been a while since I posted a sermon, so here’s the sermon I preached yesterday at the wedding of two of the Janet Clarke Hall alumni. I made it through the service without crying, but got weepy when I was thanked in the speeches and had to be comforted by the groom’s mother. Plus, they gave me a beautiful teapot! The reading was 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. Continue reading

July 13, 2008 Posted by | Ministry | , | 7 Comments