Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Privileged parson...

I am a retired minister, but somehow not retired. Being chairman of the local Night Shelter Trust has been like a full-time job, because we have been on a campaign to raise $595,000 to purchase the buildings we currently rent. We have $42,000 to go and I am getting excited because I sense we are soon going to meet our target. Secondly I do "Industrial Chaplaincy" visiting the Fire Stations and a local brewery. I also do voluntary chaplaincy with St John Ambulance. 
Last Friday I got a call from a man who used to come to the drop-in centre we held at the Church I retired from. He copes with mental health issues. In 2002 I conducted his mother's funeral when she died quite unexpectedly. He always said he wanted me to take his father's funeral, and last Friday his father died.  He rang saying "David said he would take my father's funeral." That was not what I had said really, but I thought that I ought to. I met with the family and spent a long time gathering their memories. On Wednesday I conducted the funeral. I am good at funerals. It took me a lot of work in preparation, a bit of stress and nervousness, but I could tell even during the service that my words were helpful and healing. Feedback after the service confirmed that. I was absolutely exhausted but knew that sense of fulfillment.  A sort of, "For this I was born" experience. 
Today I went into the brewery to do my chaplaincy time there. I had several long conversations. People seemed to want to talk with me. A couple of guys let off steam about issues. Others just talked naturally about life and events. Another raised a family sadness he faced. It felt "good". It felt like I was "connecting" in the journey of life with these people. Again I felt privileged.
I am a fortunate man indeed. 

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