Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Monday, December 8, 2014

Me being "me".

Staff at a local bank took up a collection for the Night Shelter- $500 
My friend won a prize with this photo of the Iona Church on a hill above Port Chalmers' main street.
The little Sawyers Bay Church. 
The damaged noticeboard - the edging had come off when it was kicked off it's uprights.
Built in a better time...
When we walked into the local Church on Sunday, the lady elder who looks after the place was giving the announcements. They have responsibility for two Church buildings. There is a quaint little timber Church in Sawyers Bay named "Emmanuel". That is the building they are using at the moment. Then there is the granite stone historical Church which overlooks Port Chalmers. It is named "Iona" and has an historical clock. Usually they meet on alternative Sundays in each building, but Iona Church is being restored. The clock, important to Port Chalmers community, is being started again this Sunday. The elder, who does a marvelous job, announced that the noticeboard at Iona had been ripped off its uprights and needed to be repaired. I am sure she looked at me at that point in time? It was interesting....there is an "odd" man who lives in Sawyers Bay. He is quirky. He wears robes, and crosses and a variety of outlandish clothing. He feels like he is a bit of a prophet. His name is Andrew, and he comes to the local Church from time to time. He had noticed that the noticeboard had been kicked down, so with a precious bit of his rope had tied it up again. I got talking to him on Sunday asking how much damage had been done and he seemed a very nice amiable guy, offering to help me fix it.  After Church I went to Mary the elder and offered to repair the noticeboard. We went, picked it up and on Sunday afternoon I repaired it, sanded and repainted the edging. Today we went around and replaced it on its uprights.  I got to look at it and decided that it was a reasonably frail construction. It would have been easy to kick it down, with small nails holding it in place. It was put there, I decided, when the local vandals respected Church buildings and left them alone. I have bolted and screwed it back into place. It will look nice for the dignitaries coming to the start-the-clock ceremony on Sunday. I am tending to become church-handyman and that's OK.
Hopeful trend...
It was communion time on Sunday and they handed around communion, little individual glasses for the wine. It was an embarrassment for those who prepared because there were not enough glasses for the number attending. They were used to smaller numbers coming to church. We are pleased because even though it is a small church, there does seem to be more consistent attendance, and there is a warm feeling, laughter, support and care expressed among the small group. I am lined up to lead the service next Sunday. I have been asked to include children (there are two in the one family) in the service. It will be the second time I have preached this year and the first service I have led. I checked with one man about hymn tunes I have chosen to use.  I said, "I'm on deck next week." "Yes" he replied, "I was so pleased to hear that. You have the right sort of charisma to be doing that!" .... I told them, "It will be different! It may be the first and last time you ask me." A younger woman said to my wife, "Don't let them talk him into doing it all the time. He is meant to be retired!" I'll report on how it goes... I will have to be all ready, prepared and gadgets in place by 10 a.m. We have got used to leaving home two minutes before Church and arriving on time. I'll need to get back into that busy Sunday morning mode this weekend.
Night Shelter AGM.
We had our Night Shelter Trust Annual General Meeting. I had to write a report, and run the meeting. I was re-elected chairman again. I was a bit reluctant. The deputy chair who ran that part of the meeting described the job as "relentless" and he is right. We are raising funds to purchase the building - we needed to go public and ask for people to donate for operational costs, it looked like we were going to run out - the manager is off with "Post Traumatic Stress disorder" because of a nasty incident at the shelter - I have to negotiate what leave he can have on what pay... and we are not flushed with funds - but the people of Dunedin are stepping up and supporting us - we need to thank them - but there is trouble at Phoenix lodge and we have to sort it out- there are funding applications I need to be doing... etc. etc.  I have lost sleep worrying about it all. Every day there are phone calls and emails to respond to, meetings to attend and things to do. I am out of my comfort zone and busy, it does not feel like I am retired - I just don't get paid for it. I am keen to hang in there with the Night Shelter Trust at least until we own the building. 
Christmas Day dinner.
There is a charitable Trust who has taken over the running of Dunedin's community Christmas Day dinner.  We organised our last one last year after running it for 25 years. This group are doing it in the town hall. They look like they have a great line up of sponsors and donors. They are hoping for greater numbers than ours had, and the mayor is attending theirs.  They graciously touched base with me the other day, and included me in a photo in the newspaper. They want to carry on the "spirit" of what we did.  I have a mixture of feelings. I will probably be a bit jealous if theirs is more successful than ours was. I should not be, but it is a human reaction. - Some of their sponsors we had asked for help, but they had refused us. I guess because we were running it in a Church. - I got to thinking that I will miss having Christmas with some of our old friends, the street characters of Dunedin. - I will miss the busyness, the wave of generosity of people, the volunteers. - Then I am concerned about some aspects of their plans, but is my concern genuine, or is it just because they've seen a better way to do things?  I hope they have a great day. It will go well, they must do it in a way they are comfortable with and theirs' will evolve just like ours did. I am thrilled it is not dying out. On the day I guess I will feel strange just having family around but that too will be a special treat - they have missed out on attention for years.
On my facebook timeline I shared two thoughts.... both seem relevant .. somehow?

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