Showing posts from September, 2005

Northern Ireland

I have been in Northern Ireland now for 4 days. It has been fascinating. On Thursday my host, David Brown, the Church of Ireland (Anglican) Youth Director, took me for a wee tour of Belfast. Shankhill, Falls Road, along the "Peace lines" where there was rioting, shooting and protest last week. It feels hard and brutal. The murals are so sad. Republican areas fly the Irish flag (which includes the Protestant Orange) and the murals are largely of their glorious dead, and the IRA and Sinn Fein. Loyalist (Protestant) areas are bedecked in red white and blue, little pendants flying zig zagged down the street, like a party, only not. And Union Jacks on every pole. It was oppressive as an NZ republican. And so many of the murals are for the various Paramilitary groups, and depict armed masked men point an automatic weapon out at the viewer. Kids grow up seeing these. It is so sad. In the face of all that I can only say I found Belfast harrowing. The divisions are so deep. It is so

More of Geneva:

More of Geneva: Today did not quite happen as expected. Everything takes longer than I expect. I did bus to France to post my packages home. It seemed wrong to catch a bus into another country. But fun. I have sent all my Taizé stuff home and the WCC material as well. Nearly 2kg worth. Then Michael and I went for coffee, a harder thing than expected. We bussed back to the Ecumenical Centre, where I visited the book shop, thinking the world day of Prayer for Peace service was happening. I thought it was at 12noon, but it was really 12.30. So I sat outside, began reading a book of memoirs by one of the Corrymeale founders, and ate the chocolate bar my family sent over with me in the sun. Lovely. It was nice to be in a service again. This week is the first time I have not been in regular community prayer since I arrived nearly 4 weeks ago. But I would describe it as stilted liturgy. The kind I think Simon is talking about (see one of the comments down below) I had the same experience las


Geneva I have now been in Geneva for two days, mostly doing study leave stuff and also being a tourist. But first, Taize! Saturday and Sunday were very hard. It was really hard attending services for the last time. I have so enjoyed being here, worshipping in this way. And to know that this could be the last time I was attending each of the services, maybe ever was a very disturbing thing. And saying goodbye to people who had become friends and who I know I will never see again was sad. And finally, I was almost the last to leave. And that felt profoundly lonely. But also good. I appreciated the time in the afternoon in the church journaling and praying. It was a good way to finish. So now Geneva. What a beautiful city, and so much here. Monday I went to World Council of Churches. I discovered that the General Assembly next year has a youth focus, and that churches have been asked to nominate young people to come as delegates. The youth person is really struggling to get nominations,

Thoughts about Taize

Here are some random and initial thoughts about my time in Taize The sense of welcome and coming home I felt even as I arrived and saw Casa there, and the welcome signs. There was so much still uncertain, and yet, I felt welcome and at home. At peace I think I would call it. It was just so good to be here. And then going to night prayer at 8.30, having rushed down some very welcome simple dinner, and first breathing in the sights and the sound of the singing, being embraced by that, and almost floating in that, and then looking up straight ahead to Brother Alois, the new Prior sitting only meters away, and realising that only 3 ½ weeks earlier, in this most sacred place, in this service of worship that is so soaked with the presence of God and the sense of God’s peace, Brother Roger was murdered, there, only meters in front of me, and in front of all these brothers, gathered peacefully, and in front of all those young people, gathered for prayer at the beginning of their week searchin


Phew What an amazing few days. Friday was an intense day with Francis. I went up to the Hermitage, where you can feel the presence of Francis and his early brothers. I walked the hour UP the road, and once I arrived I sat and prayed and wrote poetry there for a couple of hours. After I came back I revisited the lower basilica of St Francis, and his tomb, which has five of his most faithful friends buried around the outside edge. It was an amazing experience to be in their presence twice in one day. I finished by praying before the crucifix, arms outstretched, as Francis encouraged his followers to do. An odd thing to do with hundreds of tourists around, but amazing. I mean, who knew me anyway! Dorothy, Anne and I were going to try and have a Eucharist at the Franciscan Ecumenical Centre, but failed to raise anyone, so had an informal one at a local café. The quirky thing was when we got back from dinner we discovered an Anglican Eucharist nearly finished in the chapel at the guest hous

Assisi Three

Today has been huge in so many ways. We three set off down the hill after morning prayers to find San Damiano. It is about 1.5 km out of town down a steep hill, though olive groves. This wee church was where Francis heard the crucified Christ ask him “to rebuild my church” He took this literally, and rebuilt not only the run down San Damiano, but also several other churches in the Assisi region. San Damiano became the place of residence for Clare and her followers, and so is significant for the second order as well. The Poor Clares as they are called moved to the new basilica when Clare died, and the OFM friars now fun the site. Unlike the basilicas up in the town proper, tourists don’t tend to go here. It is a simple little church, which a replica of the crucifix that hung there in Francis and Clare’s time. (The real one hangs in The Basilica of St. Clare) It was deeply moving to pray there, and in the various other rooms and chapels from Clare’s time. To be in the place where these

Assisi in word

Yesterday Dorothy Brooker, Anne Moody and I (all having been at IPTOC) travelled from London through Rome to Assisi. Once we arrived at the guest house of St. Anthony, we wandered down to the Basilica of St. Chiara (Clare). The crucifix that Francis and Clare prayed before, and which so shaped their lives is in one of the side chapels in the Basilica. It was a profound thing to pray before it as well. We then enjoyed the jazz being played, the café lifestyle, and finding places that Dorothy and I had been to on previous trips, like Casa Papa Giovanni Guest House. After and early night, we had a good night sleep. So good I failed to hear my alarm this morning, and so ran out of time to do much online. Hence the pictures alone on the last posting. I barely got those up. Today we went to the Basilica of St. Francis. This was an interesting experience for me. To cope with the number of pilgrims coming to be near the remains of the saint, Brother Elias, at the Popes instruction, built tw



Travel Log

This is just going to be a travel log. Since I arrived nearly two weeks ago I have mainly be in Canterbury. Some highlights of my time there have included both the tour of the Cathedral, and then a candlelight pilgrimage around the Cathedral with reflections and prayers at various important places. Our final service was in the undercroft, and our new Minister General was commissioned. She is the Rev Dorothy Brooker from NZ, the first woman to hold this post. It was also good getting a broader vision for what we as Franciscans can be and do. I really enjoyed getting to know other Franciscans from around the world, and from the other orders. I would also have to say going to Whitstable on the coast, for Fish and Chips on Friday night and a pint was pretty cool as well. Yesterday I came up to Staines, near Heathrow. Today I went into London, and met up with Lydia, a young woman from Tauranga who is over here on her big OE. We voted, and did our bit to keep the evil blue

Franciscans and liturgy

I have now been in England for a week. I am attending the Inter-Provincial Third Order Chapter of the Society of Saint Francis. I am one of three people from the New Zealand and Melanesia Province. There are also three from the Provinces of Europe, the America’s, Australia and Africa. This is also a joint meeting with our First Order brothers and sisters. We pray together, have input together, eat together, study scripture together, but meet in our separate orders. The Third Order is a n "Order" within the Franciscan Family. It comprises people who find the life of Saint Francis attractive, and feel a call or vocation to live by the principles he lived by. We are a dispersed community of women and men, some married, some single, living in our own homes and doing our own jobs. We are a community in that we pray for each other, we meet when we are able, and we encourage one another in living and witnessing to the Christian life. We are a community in that we share the greate