Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Another goodbye...

We went back to my old Church to attend a funeral. It was nerve racking going back. My first time in the doors since I retired, a place of many achievements but also disappointments and frustrations. But we had to go, 
Denys, the man who had died, was a very supportive friend during our time in ministry there. He "got" me, and was great with our drop-in centre folk.
My first real conversation with Denys was in 1971. He was chairman of the board of the local Bible College I had begun my ministry studies at. It was due to shut and go into partnership with the local Presbyterian Ministry training college. I was its last student. But this day I visited his office and told him that I had decided to go to Australia for my ministry training. That is a decision I would never regret. It was in our denomination's world "politically embarrassing" for this student to change his mind. Denys told me off. He said I was talking "tripe", he was disappointed and obviously angry at my decision.  Even when I began ministry at this Church in 1987 Denys told me that he found it hard to trust me because I had made that decision all those years before. It was still a sore point with him. But, in spite of that, we became good friends and he was very supportive of me. He would call at my office and take me for a cup of coffee, or sometimes shout me lunch. He understood that the Church ought to be working beyond its doors, and was truly supportive when I had that emphasis. When we went on holiday he would sometimes slip me an envelope with money in it and say, "Have a meal out on me." He has often slipped me an envelope with a cheque for the NighT Shelter. I had to be there as we farewelled this man. I am pleased he was a part of my life. 
 People were warm toward us today which was nice but they have a new minister now and we must move on. Well lived Denys, you were a thinking man, but best of all you could laugh at yourself. We had a lot of fun conversations and experiences together. 

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