Avril at Romsey

… and Lancefield and Riddells Creek and Mount Macedon

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