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Showing posts from August, 2010

Sensible Sentencing

Over the last few weeks and months our journalists have made a lot of noise about the Fiji Government's censorship of the press. Where will the press's neutrality be they ask? How can they ask the balancing and critical questions?

Yesterday was the reporting of the Sensible Sentencing Trust annual event held in the Beehive in Wellington. Garth McVicars, the creator of this group was interiewed on TV1. And I had to wonder if I was watching an infomercial for the Sensible Sentencing Trust. Where, I wondered were the balancing and critical questions? Absent!!! Completely absent. Our media, or at least, TV1 (and my expereince is as bad of TV3) failed to do their job.

McVicars wants parole abolished. The interviewer (Greg Boyd) lamely agreed, wondered why things were as they were, and suggested that McVicars simply was stating common sense. Is this our cherished free press at work?
So is this what we want our country to be known for, as imprisoning more people per head of populat…

Law Changes and alcohol

Simon Power has announced some changes to the drinking laws. But good as they are, they are flawed. They are flawed because they are based on the myth that the drinking problem is a youth issue. It is not. Young people mirror what they see happening in the rest of society. They crave the same marks of adulthood they see exhibited by adults. Over 90% of heavy and binge drinkers in this country are adults, over the age of 20. These changes do nothing to address these, and therefore fall far short and doing very much. Until we change societal attitudes towards drinking teenage drinking will remain a problem. The two are linked. Unfortunately while we adults are very happy to pass judgement on young people and to highlight binge drinking among young people we are much less happy to look at our own drinking habits or those of our friends and colleagues, and much less willing to do anything about that. Just listen to what politicians will talk about. Listen to what many commentators will ta…

Job Vacancy - Three-Tikanga-Youth-Commissioner

This is an excellent job, for a passionate youth worker to help develop the youth ministry between and within our three Tikanga. We need a really good person. Are you that person?

Clare

This is another posting on Clare by Ted Whitham, Minsiter for Australia.

St. Clare

The 11th (whatever day that was) was the feast of St. Clare. She is the other half of the Franciscan story, who with Francis laid the groundwork for the radical new way of living the gospel. She ws the first woman to have a rule approved by the Pople for a religious order, a rule that included the priveledge of poverty. (all rules for were Benedictine up to that point). She was extraordinarliry egalitarian, all were equal in God's sight and so in the life of the Order. Teh wealthiest gave all their welath away, and could bring nothing with them,unlike other Orders. All shared the menial tasks that needed to be done, including Clare herself. She taught that one should look not in the mirro to see oneself each day, but into the mirror of the crucified Christ, to measure our life of love compared to that seen there. We follow in here footsteps as much as Francis'.

The Solomon Islands with TSSF - Day 8:

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Tuesday, last day! Andrew took us to the market, and we did a bit of shopping, bananas for us and Andrew, and sarongs for pressies and a good look around just for fun. And then coffee at th coffee place with Andrew and Luisa, and then I went off to meet chris Taro the provincial youth Officer. Great stuff. It was good to spend an hour with a fellow provincial youth person, and to hear about what they are doing, and to get a copy of their youth policy.

Then a quick  goodbye at the Friary and off to St. Agnes to pack. Betsy came round to say goodbye, and then we were off to the airport. Now I am on the flight home, back to the cold, to normal life, clean water, no bettlenut, no election speeches. Just same old same old New Zealand.


This has been a grand trip. I feel like I am getting a handle on how Melanesia works. I really valued and enjoyed having Sarah and Helene journey with me. It made it a lot more fun,  and they worked hard during chapter writing things up and recording some of th…

The Solomon Islands with TSSF - Day 7:

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Monday – it was cold that night. Cold! Andrew Tada told us a cold night (and he thought it as cold) meant a hot day. He was not wrong. WE left Honiara shortly after 8am on the brothers’ truck, with me on the back in a chair. Off we went out west to Hautabu, La Verna and Little Portion Friaries where the novices are trained and where the chicken farm and pig farm are. Andrew Tada had been first order when this was built, and he had been one of 8 brothers who with brother Giles built much of what is there. He told us about how they laid to concrete floor for the dining room and chapel in one 20 hour work session. The Formatters’ (those involved in Formation in the First Order from each Province) conference had been there the weeks before, in a specially build structure for the event. The only problem was that it had filled up with insects at night with the lights, and frogs had joined to party for the free feed. People were not so keen about that, especially those from Europe and Americ…

The Solomon Islands with TSSF - Day Six:

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Sunday. The programme said church at 6am, then breakfast at 8 with the brothers and chapter starting at 10. Could we start earlier? No, some people had commitments in their local parishes so would not be able to arrive until at least 10am. There was a service at 7.30am, so Sarah, Helen and I decided to go then, thinking that would give us plenty of time before chapter at 10am. We arrived late, to find 6am still going. That should have been a warning sign. 7.30 started at 8am, and after sermon, sung Eucharist, notices, long notices, and rev up about being a high church and so fasting after 12 midnight till after church including bettlenut and drink, we finished well after 10am. Lucky I had breakfast first. There are not extra prayer books, or hymn books. You bring your own. And the language has been simplified, so even the bits you think you know are hard to join in with because they are slightly different. But such and experience. The choir right in front belting it out. Clouds of inc…

The Solomon Islands with TSSF - Day five:

Saturday – day one of chapter! Chapter was the real reason I came over. The ministers meeting last year set out guidelines of areas wanting to become provinces in their own right, and even if Melanesia does not become a Province, it seemed to me that these set up the kinds of things that Melanesia needed to address, in particular, leadership structures, formation procedures and finance. So we began on Saturday by hearing the reports of the various office holders. Unfortunately it is election time in the Solomon’s so many of the area people were not able to come to Honiara due to either being committed to the election or needing to be home for the election we did not have any representative from Makira or Vanuatu, Makira being the more of a problem, and while we had people from Makira and Isabel, they were not the leaders of those areas. None the less, hearing the reports was really helpful. So was seeing the diagram Jimmy had put together of how the leadership worked. It was the first t…

The Solomon Islands with TSSF - Day four:

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Friday was quite the casual day really. Well, after we had met the Archbishop. I was able to talk a little about the third Order, who we are and to ask him to encourage them in COM. I left him some material about TSSF. We missed each other at St. Johns by a January Holiday. He replaced now Bishop James mason as the Melanesian student at St. Johns. He was about to leave to go to Fiji for the installation of Winston Halapua as the new Archbishop. So that was a nice link. Then we tried to meet people at the Diocesan office, particularly Chris Taro, the provincial youth officer, but he was not in.  So we went off to the Care Centre West of Honiara run by the sisters of the church and Melanesian sisters. This is for battered women, a place of refuge and healing.

We came back in to Honiara after that because William our driver needed to go to the airport to pick up Br George SSF, the Minister Provincial returning from PNG chapter. So after discussions Br. Martin SSF (from England) Andrew, Joh…

The Solomon Islands with TSSF - Day Three:

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Thursday began at 6.25am with Helene asking if I was awake, and saying prayers started in 5 minutes. I staggered out from under the mosquito net, and sown the steps to the church, where I sat listening to Fr. Hudson and others pray Morning Prayer. Because the English has been simplified, initially by Charles Fox, I couldn’t join in. And there were no books. But that was fine, sitting, in quiet, joining the prayers in spirit.



Then coffee up at our hosts house, before we went down to Charles Fox hut at the beach. This was where we had breakfast. And while there Charles talked about some of the miracles that occurred there, dancing crab shells, the stick he banged against the water tank when rain was needed, and it always rained. The rat that went to fetch something for him he had dropped. He seems to have a very Franciscan spirit. Charles talk us that Dr. Fox first lived in this hut, and then moved up into the house we had slept in, which is now being used by Fr. Stephen while he waits f…

The Solomon Islands with TSSF - Day Two:

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Tuesday, we were up bright and early the next morning (5.40am) to be picked up at 7am to catch the 360 Discovery ferry to Gela Island, and Taronaira village. We were greeted very warmly by Charles and Fr. Stephen and his wife Joanna, and the chaplain of St Clare's clinic, Fr. Sam. Fr. Hudson, the Chaplin to Taroanaira joined us as well for refreshments, and to talk to me about the service that night where I was preaching, and Stephen and Joanna were being admitted as Novices.

We then jumped in a little plastic boat for a 30-40 minute journey around the coast to Tulagi, the headquarters of the DOCS – Diocese of Central Melanesia. This island was the first colonial capital of the Solomon Island, and the scene of fierce bombardment and fighting during WW2. Fr’s Derek Vagi (vicar General) and Sam (Diocesan Secretary) showed us around, took us on a tour of the island (not large) on a road build by the Americans in WW2, and showed us all the deserted factories which make life hard for th…

The Solomon Islands with TSSF - Day One

Crazy stuff. We had to be at the airport by 5am (that was a shock in itself really) but Helene decided she needed a shower first, so we had our wakeup call at 4am. 4am!!!! The only thing you should do at 4am is go back to sleep. Fat chance. So I got up and had porridge for breakfast.

The flight over was good. I slept most of the way over to Brisbane, and after quick two coffees in Brisbane, read all the commentary stuff I had copied for the two sermons I thought I was delivering.

We were greeted warmly by TSSF brothers, John Ama and Andrew Tada and by some First Order brothers (Desmond and Martin) who were here for a formation conference at Hautabu. We missed Christopher John by a gnat’s whisker. He was boarding the plane we had just arrived on.

The Bishop of Chester was also on our plane to open a new wing of Chester house, the Melanesian Brothers rest house above Patteson House Friary (where Dorothy stayed last time) His daughter was flying out and was allowed through by customs to …