Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Bronx

Just thought I would check in.

Had real fun trying to check in on Wednesday. Amongst the bits of paper I photocopied to leave with Bonnie and then left on my desk was my eticket out of the USA. And I needed that to get into the USA. And the Air NZ desk was shut till about when I flew out. Air India would not accept my itinerary. In the end I got United Airlines to print me off a copy of my eticket. Air India kept telling me it was supposed to be a paper ticket because it did not say eticket on the computer, and I kept saying they don't issue paper tickets.

I was glad to get on the plane, which was not very full, so I had lots of room, even if it wasn’t the nicest or cleanest of planes. I put my hand in the pocket in front of me and got stuff on it. The food was not so great. Not even curry!!!I don't want to know what!!! But we were well looked after.

After I arrived on Wednesday I was taken out for dinner at a seafood place at the crab shanty on the cost. I had crab!!! With bib etc... It was great. I got to bed about 11pm, which was 4am London time. I was a little stuffed.
Yesterday went for a tour around the Bronx, then to the cloister, a French monastery rebuilt right at the top end of Manhattan. really nice medieval art stuff, mainly religious. Very nice.

Today is the first day of Ramadan, and I am going to the main Manhattan mosque with Masud, which will be very interesting. then we may go through China town.

more later

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Sunday and Monday in England:

Sunday I was really tired, and in the end went to lunch with Janet, and then had a go at my sermon while watching rugby on TV. Not a good combination.

Monday was far more energetic.
I went into London, and went to Covent Gardens, which was lots of fun. Lots of shops and market stall, good food, and great buskers. I thin went to the British Museum. I was hoping to see the terracotta soldiers, but that display starts Thursday. Never mind. I wondered around for about 2 ½ hours. Highlights for me were seeing the Assyrian material. I have never seen that kind of stuff before, and it was quite moving. I really enjoyed learning about the history of Christianity in Nubia (?) now part of Sudan, which was Christian until the 1500’s. and some of the history of Islamic world. There are some photos up on the facebook site

Had an excellent dinner out with Rod and Pam. It was great to see them again.

Today chilling with Janet, before heading off to New York.

Saturday in England

I had a stunning Saturday.
I trained into London, found a pub, sat down and watched a grand and emphatic performance by the All Blacks. Apparently not underdone! Interestingly the southern hemisphere teams look much more up to this competition that the “home nations” and France, who largely look awful.
In a state of euphoria (and two very nice beers) I ambled down Charing Cross Road wondering what I might do next when I found…….

So I bought a full price ticket, and had a really good time. Eric Idle has done a really good job reworking the basic “Holy Grail” script, getting some classic songs like “Always look on the bright side of Life,” and “Spam, spam spam spam” as well as getting some nice little plot twists and even social commentary. They even take a few swipes at musicals, with two songs called “a song like this”. I’d go back and see it again in a flash.

I wandered around Soho after that, and China town, eventually finding a nice pub that did steak and Guinness pied, with mash spud and veges, and which served Timothy Taylors Landord, quite the best beer I have had here.

Then off to meet Megan and to go to Gracein Eeling. I have wanted to go to this for a while, and it was really nice to be there. It was the first “service” after the summer break (which seems a little weird to me) and after greenbelt, so not so many people, and not do long. But it was nice to talk to people after in the cafĂ©, including Johnny Baker. I really would like to get something like this going at home again.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Photos of John in England

check out here for photos

War memorial

On Monday I went to the new NZ war memorial, which is next to the Wellington Memorial near Hyde Park. It is a really interesting piece. From one point of view they look like poles blown over in the wind. At another, a series of white crosses, and up close they become really interesting sculptures.

IAYN meeting

The meeting of both the Steering Group and the full group of the International Anglican You, h Network are now over. I think they both went really really well, even if I wasn’t in charge of either. Our meeting of the Steering Group did a good job of planning out our time, and working out who was in charge of which sessions. We had a clear vision and worked well to reach it.

People are rightly going to ask was it worth the money. And for me the answer is yes. I had lunch with Evans from the Sudan. He is only just appointed as the Provincial Youth Officer, having done the work as a volunteer over recent years, especially through the war. He now knows he is part of a network that knows him and cares for him, prays for him. His church still uses 1662, so to participate in liturgies written by young people was just amazing. He wants to go home and talk to his bishops about that and start working with young people and youth leaders preparing youth written liturgies. He has had time to talk to other officers dealing with similar issues to him and to gain ideas and encouragement. It was a huge week for him, and we helped make that happen. There will be some in Aotearoa New Zealand that will be unconvinced by that. Their focus is what is happening in our part of the world, and they can be scornful of any attention paid to the rest of the world or other issues. I cannot live in such a confined and compassionless space. If anything, as my eyes are opened to the issues facing young people around the world, so I am made more aware of what is happening in my own country and church, and my commitment tot work at those issues increases.

At our closing worship we had the gospel reading about mustard seeds. I wondered as I listened what this conference offered me. Seeds are the answer. Seeds are sown that will take time to take root and grow. Anglican Seeds! I realise each time I go away to things like this that my sense of who I am as an Anglican. At each of these events I encounter anew the Catholic tradition, and I realise that I am slowly becoming more catholic in my approach to liturgy anyway. Watching Douglas preside today, watching the priest at Walsingham, preside in such a devout (and ritualistic) way was very moving. I observe things, and new things make sense to me. I wonder ho I can take these into my work with young people.

I also reflected to myself during the closing worship how experiences like this have left me in a different place to many of my colleagues. What I want to achieve is often different to them. It feels bigger, less describable. I want to change how young people see the world. I want them to be overwhelmed by God, and to seek to live for God. I am not so interested in training them for ministry, or giving them leadership skills. That seems too small, too little a goal. I want to them live faithful lives which drip of God. And to do that takes much more than what we do, and what we are trying to do. We are aiming too low, too small.

O well. Enough of the ranting.
Some highlights include:
• Being with some of my friends from last time, like Steven, and meeting new people, both from my region and other places. It was great to meet people from Sudan, Tanzania, Japan, Honk Kong, Pakistan, Brazil, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Australia, South Africa, Egypt, Scotland, Ireland, England, and USA. It was sad people from two other provinces were unable to be there because their visas arrived after their flights left. (A cunning ply maybe?)
• Doing some excellent and creative work on how we might have a presence at Lambeth next year, including an interactive labyrinth focussed on the bishops’ role among young people.

• Spending the day at Walsingham, the site of pilgrimage after a woman had visions of the house of Mary in 1061. She built the house, and people came to pray and be healed in the well next to the church housing the house. It was destroyed by Henry 8th, but in the 1920’s the Anglican vicar rebuilt the house and the pilgrimages began again. Lovely Anglo Catholic, devoutly and yet humbly presided at Eucharist. Enthusiastic yet honest and real Rector, who spoke very passionately about the story and the effect of the place on pilgrims, and on their bus drivers. Yet he is not full of the propaganda, and played down aspects of the story. It was a great day.
• The worship that my friend Sam Dessordi organised and facilitated. It was creative, and yet deeply Anglican.
• Presiding at the opening service, and using the great thanksgiving written for Forum last year, and modified for Top Parish by Michael and me. It takes seriously the theology that all those present at the Eucharist are celebrants, and that the priest is the president. So the people say most of the words, including the “Take Eat” and “Drink this”.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Hi From London

I have arrived.
I went to the gym before I left, and hurt my leg. It is still not good, and at times it as hard getting in and out of the seat, but as long as I kept it straightish I was ok.

We are staying very near Hyde Park, so Michael Tamihere and I went for a very slow walk around it for two hours, which was nice. We found Priness Dianna's "fountain" which is really like a circular stream. Very poignant on the 10th anniversary of her death. All in all it was a nice way to spend an afternoon.

We got back to Lancanter House, and our IAYN group was all here. So we have been working away at our agenda, and it all looks good. You can see what we are on about by clicking on the link

Where we are is really a german youth hostel, so there are lots of germans on staff. It is strange being in England with the staff struggling with English.

I need to go read the draft Anglican Covenant as I am leading a discussion on this