Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Saturday, February 9, 2013

My week's jottings ...running, talents and birth.

Waitangi Day..  Run
In NZ February the 6th is a holiday. It is the day we recall the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi between the Maori and the Crown in 1844. There are special ceremonies and speeches at the Waitangi Grounds and often protests about Maori Grievances. It was called for a time "New Zealand Day" but was changed back to Waitangi Day.  I am proud to be a New Zealander, in general we have good humanitarian egalitarian ideals that are a significant part of who we are as a nation. On Waitangi Day I took time out to run on the Harbour side track. There and back is about 10k and I did it successfully. I was pleased to see the car though. That is the longest run I've had in a while. I was quite pleased with myself, I am feeling fitter.
Getting people together...
The Dunedin Night Shelter Trust has undertaken to purchase the buildings we are currently renting. We are doing this for several reasons. It gives us security of our operation - we can't be moved on by a landlord. It will enable us to help fund our Night Shelter part of the work. It will enable us to have a solid base to even extend our work for people needing supported accommodation.  I am the current chair person of the Trust and I called a meeting of those who will spearhead this fundraising drive. (We need $650,000) There were four of us who sat around a table in a cafe and we made plans to begin this drive for 2013. As we allocated tasks we recognised the talents of each of us. There is John, a property developer who has a vision, has a business eye, a social conscience and a real desire to set the trust on a good foundation. He has the personality to relate well with people and imagination to dream dreams of the way things could be done. There is another John who is a professional fund raiser. He knows the theory and practice of fundraising, has experience and also "can sell fridges to Eskimos". He is talented and experienced in this field. Then there is Kevin. He has years of experience in the charity sector. He has real wisdom and can sum up issues clearly and see the steps needed to work our way through them. He also is a great word smith and he knows lots of influential people in town. Then there is me. Well - my talents? I'm not sure where I fit in? I have years of experience dealing with people who could be our clients.  I have some credibility in the city as the long serving minister of a church known for meeting needs in the community. But after that, compared to the others, I have few talents to offer. It is frustrating.  I came up with an insight. As I listened to these three conversing and planning the steps ahead I was impressed. Then I thought, maybe my talent lies in getting the right minds together and letting the dynamic work, and helping to facilitate the process that others do as they share.  May be I am to draw out the talents of others, connect them together and keep them sharing their collective abilities. Any way, we are on this scary journey, wish us well. If you think you can help let's know.
Drop-in Centre started...
Since 1995 we at the Church have been running a Friday night drop-in centre for people. (The Upper Room) They arrive at 6:30 p.m. (though some start waiting at the door as early as 4:30 - 5!) They receive food, can socialise, play pool, table tennis, have hot drinks or watch TV in comfort until 9:30 p.m. My wife and I have been heading this up since it started and over the years this has been our constant activity every Friday night.  The Drop-in shuts from Christmas through January until mid February.  Friday Night was the first for this year.  A couple of our helpers are out of town so we were quite busy preparing. I was in the "Upper Room" making sure tea, coffee, hot water and soft drink were all present and correct just before we opened. I headed for the door to go down stairs. Tired from my day and my week I asked myself, "Why do I do this? Do they appreciate it? Some just take it for granted? I'd love to be home now? Why can't we just stop it, it will probably end next year anyway?" Then I heard the song playing on the radio. "He ain't heavy, He's my brother!" "Oh shut up!" I said under my breath, "OK - I get the point!" I opened the doors and greeted each one with a smile. My wife met them as they came in with a hot sausage, bread and tomato sauce, greeting each one warmly and pointing to the plates of sandwiches and filled buns available. "Oh I missed coming here!" said one man. One lady hugged us and all caught up in a friendly, warm way. "He ain't heavy, he's my brother." God reminded me of my calling through this old song.
Tonight our daughter-in-law in Christchurch is in hospital in labour awaiting the birth of what will be our second grandchild. We are receiving commentary through texts from our son. It has been a long day for them and we feel helpless, concerned, far away, but close and excited yet aching for them.  Watch this space. 

1 comment:

Dave Brown said...

Baby Theodore Tobias Brown born in the early hours of 10th. I'm a grandfather again.