Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Monday, September 6, 2010

Hit the decks running...

A flying start...
We arrived home from our big seven week overseas trip on Thursday. (Hitting NZ at 1 a.m. and home at about 10a.m.) I went into the office on Friday catching up on emails, phone messages and some people. We also helped out at the Drop-in centre in the evening. We, of course, were quite tired. At 4:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, when the earthquake hit Christchurch we were already awake, having had a milk drink and had been discussing my future. Do I want to get back into the fast paced lifestyle? Was my work really making a difference, or was it just a vain life-support system for a dying institution? After the quake we turned over to go to sleep and my cell phone buzzed with a text from my son in Christchurch. Another text meant we rang him to see how he was. We were well awake when around 7 we had a phone call from other son, (and wife) at Auckland airport, fresh back from Poland and now unable to get to Christchurch. With phone calls going backward and forward, he managed to get a flight to Queenstown. Dunedin daughter and son-in-law offered to go there to pick them up and return them to our place... but that meant that I had to take on their normal duties of doing the Church newsletter and preparing the Sunday morning powerpoints. So Saturday till late at night was spent working as well as preparing the service for Sunday. The fast paced lifestyle had started! Yesterday, my 62nd birthday, I had off and fixed up an improved kennel for our returning dog, went shopping and had dinner with friends at night. This morning I have come into the office at 8 a.m. to start life in earnest again.
I am excited by the possibilities.
While overseas, I saw some churches going in similar directions that we are going in and I was encouraged. We are looking to launch a "Sustainability hub" as part of our Space2B, and this is a great step forward. Already there are sustainability activities in our facilities, this will bring a focus. There is a possibility that an ecumenical day time drop-in centre might happen in our facilities. All this sort of stuff is a fulfilment of my dream for the church as a hub of life-enhancing activity in the centre of the city.
But... at the same time I am fearful of the responsibilities.
The workload, the needed skills and the challenges ahead make me apprehensive. How do we make our worship more enjoyable and relevant? How are we going to resource all this growth? Do I have the skills to lead change and keep people "happy"? And how am I going to improve my pastoral ministry in all this?

I visited the new Bunnings hardware store yesterday. (I felt unfaithful to the Mitre ten Mega store) They were not busy, but I looked at the staff doing their work and thought, "Wouldn't it be nice to have a relatively simple job like that?"

In the early hours of this morning when I should still have been asleep I was inspired by this statement I read:

"The Church, like Jesus, is meant to measure us at our tallest, to celebrate our divinity from the moment of our birth, to keep our focus on the beckoning horizons of possibility. It traces for us the hidden shape of God in all creation, the smile of God in all reli8gions, the transforming power of the Holy Spirit in a world called the body of God. The Church is there to reveal to us another courageous way of living, a way of believing in the light while still in the dark." (By Daniel O'Leary in Tui Motu magazine)

So I hit the decks running today. A new start in my Church work - the beginning of my 63rd year of life. A busy day of planning, preparation and chaplaincy, which will end with an important Church leaders' team meeting tonight. I am excited, fearful, still tired and with a touch of a cold coming on. Wish me luck or say a prayer on my behalf.

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