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Encouragement for the Journey 26 August 2012

Encouragment for the Journey

Greetings fellow traveller 

Like many of the Saint Aidan’s family, I like to travel, and recently I have been fortunate to accompany Kerr, my husband, when he went to a conference in Boston. Our time in Boston was sandwiched between a short stay in San Francisco, where I had never been, and a few days with friends who live near Andover, north of Boston. My trip was enjoyable, energising and refreshing, and Alf has asked me to share some of it with you.

San Francisco is a vibrant, exciting city which seemed familiar because it has featured in so many books and movies. I enjoyed the diverse groups of people and the amazing variety of architecture. We walked up and down the hills with their ‘little cable cars’, and enjoyed Fisherman’s Wharf with its old style fishing boats and bustling tourist shops and seafood restaurants, and, a surprise to me, a large group of wild sea lions who come in to bask at the end of one of the piers. The Golden Gate Bridge was mostly hidden in fog, but we saw a little of it.

At the conference I renewed friendships with people Kerr has worked with over the years, and I got to know new people. The venue was a historic hotel with amazing public rooms in the style of an old French chateau, and I attended some of the sessions just to enjoy the ambience. I explored the neighbourhood and learned something of the history of Boston – its early Puritan settlement, and later challenges to British rule, ‘No taxation without representation’ and the Boston Tea party, leading to the American Revolution and independence from Britain. Walking the ‘Freedom Trail’ and being in the buildings where these historic events took place is an amazing experience. Boston also has beautiful parks and gardens, and I even had a drink and a hamburger at ‘Cheers’.

Our friends took us for walks and drives in the New England countryside, including a walk round Walden Pond near where the philosopher Thoreau had his cabin in the woods, and we spent lazy mornings in their garden, enjoying breakfast while watching humming birds at the bird feeder.

The company of good friends, good food and conversation and interesting reminders of historic events – these are all experiences we can have at any time, but somehow, away from home and concentrated into a short period of time, their impact is heightened, and I appreciate them even more.

Meanwhile Peace

Nan

 

August 29, 2012 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 12 August 2012

Encouragement for the Journey

Greetings fellow traveller, 

This week our Kids Friendly Team met to plan for Messy Church, Rise N Shine and Friday Fun Nights. During our conversation we explored how children could be our teachers. Traditionally adults teach children, but as any good parent and teacher knows, children teach adults, provided we adults are open and receptive to being taught.

Some years ago I came across the expression ‘Lifelong Learning.’ Wikipedia describes this: ‘As the ‘lifelong, voluntary, and self-motivated’ pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons. The term recognises that learning is not confined to childhood or the classroom, but takes place throughout life and in a range of situations. During the last fifty years, constant scientific and technological innovation and change has had a profound effect on learning needs and styles. Learning can no longer be divided into a place and time to acquire knowledge (school) and a place and time to apply the knowledge acquired (the workplace). Instead, learning can be seen as something that takes place on an on-going basis from our daily interactions with others and with the world around us.’

When we intentionally become lifelong learners, something magical happens, we come alive, life once more is interesting, and we become less self-centred.

Being a lifelong learner, we generate and engage with LIFE and our whole being refuses to stagnate. We radiate a positive energy which includes hope and love. Consequently, when despair attempts to pay a visit, it has difficulty getting through the doorway of our soul.

I am sure you have met people, in whose presence your soul is strangely warmed and the conversation is truly delightful. Please note you are in the presence of a lifelong learner. Enjoy the experience and see what you can learn!!!!

Not only individuals can be lifelong learners, but also, communities and organisations may be similarly described as ‘A Learning Organisation or Community.’ Through the concept of lifelong learning a particular group of people together continue to learn new ways of being and functioning to enable it to respond healthily, with integrity and authenticity to the ever changing environment it finds itself in and among. I sense St Aidans is becoming such a learning community, especially, in creating a trusting environment in which we may engage in dialogue and discussion. For who knows what we will learn and discover along the way?

Meanwhile Peace in our learning and discoveries

Alf

 

August 29, 2012 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for Journey 12th August 2012

Encouragement for the Journey

Greetings fellow traveller, 

This week our Kids Friendly Team met to plan for Messy Church, Rise N Shine and Friday Fun Nights. During our conversation we explored how children could be our teachers. Traditionally adults teach children, but as any good parent and teacher knows, children teach adults, provided we adults are open and receptive to being taught.

Some years ago I came across the expression ‘Lifelong Learning.’ Wikipedia describes this: ‘As the ‘lifelong, voluntary, and self-motivated’ pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons. The term recognises that learning is not confined to childhood or the classroom, but takes place throughout life and in a range of situations. During the last fifty years, constant scientific and technological innovation and change has had a profound effect on learning needs and styles. Learning can no longer be divided into a place and time to acquire knowledge (school) and a place and time to apply the knowledge acquired (the workplace). Instead, learning can be seen as something that takes place on an on-going basis from our daily interactions with others and with the world around us.’

When we intentionally become lifelong learners, something magical happens, we come alive, life once more is interesting, and we become less self-centred.

Being a lifelong learner, we generate and engage with LIFE and our whole being refuses to stagnate. We radiate a positive energy which includes hope and love. Consequently, when despair attempts to pay a visit, it has difficulty getting through the doorway of our soul.

I am sure you have met people, in whose presence your soul is strangely warmed and the conversation is truly delightful. Please note you are in the presence of a lifelong learner. Enjoy the experience and see what you can learn!!!!

Not only individuals can be lifelong learners, but also, communities and organisations may be similarly described as ‘A Learning Organisation or Community.’ Through the concept of lifelong learning a particular group of people together continue to learn new ways of being and functioning to enable it to respond healthily, with integrity and authenticity to the ever changing environment it finds itself in and among. I sense St Aidans is becoming such a learning community, especially, in creating a trusting environment in which we may engage in dialogue and discussion. For who knows what we will learn and discover along the way?

Meanwhile Peace in our learning and discoveries

Alf

 

August 15, 2012 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 5th August 2012

Encouragement for the Journey

Greetings Fellow Traveller,

Last weekend I once more visited a book sale, this time I was fortunate to discover some very good CD’s for a bargain price of a $1.00 each. Among my treasures was a CD titled Our New Orleans. It is a collection of tracks honouring the resilience of the people of New Orleans in the wake of the flood of August 31st 2005 after Hurricane Katrina.

The music of course is Blues, Cajun with a hint of jazz. In the booklet that comes with the CD are these words: ‘You can rebuild a city, but can’t re – make it. So, we need a surety, a reminder in the fresh face of disaster, where we’re all strangers and afraid, that when new life percolates out of the dried streets and flooded weed patches, off the porches and out of the bedrooms – out of whatever’s left in New Orleans – something vital will be intact, some marker in our hearts, if nowhere else, by which we can say, Yes, that’s where we were, that’s, what we heard, that’s what we knew was good and worth preserving, that’s who we were and are. That’s where we’ll start again. There are some things you just mustn’t lose or life’s not life for any of us.’

If we are prepared to be taught, then all kinds of people can be our teachers. This may happen in a variety of ways, especially through their writings and in our many encounters with one another human being. The people of New Orleans teach us so much about ensuring that the heart and soul of a community needs to be preserved and treasured, for that is what gives life, if you lose that, there will be no life.

Here at our faith community, many influences contribute to making St Aidans what it is becoming. With David and Liz leaving for France, we honour their contribution to the life and spirit of St Aidans and we who remain will continue to foster and encourage the new life that is percolating up in and among us. We each play a part in maintaining this percolating experience.

Let us taste and enjoy the spirit of St Aidans, for who knows, perhaps you are here at St Aidans for such a time as this …….

Au Revoir to David & Liz

Meanwhile Peace in the Dignity of Difference

Alf

 

August 7, 2012 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 27 July 2012

Encouragement for the Journey

Greetings fellow traveller,

The English Language continues to evolve with new words added, while new words are given new meaning. Take the word ‘spin.’ The traditional meaning would include turning, revolving, to spin yarn, or a spider spins a web. However, in recent years the word ‘spin’ has taken on another meaning, as the following courtesy of Wikipedia shows:

In public relations, spin is a form of propaganda, achieved through providing an interpretation of an event or campaign to persuade public opinion in favour or against a certain organization or public figure. While traditional public relations may also rely on creative presentation of the facts, “spin” often, though not always, implies disingenuous, deceptive and/or highly manipulative tactics.

Politicians are often accused by their opponents of claiming to be honest and seek the truth while using spin tactics to manipulate public opinion. A group of people who develop spin may be referred to as ‘spin doctors who engage in ‘spin doctoring’ for the person or group that hired them.

An aspect of this practice of ‘spin doctoring’ is very evident within the military who use the term ‘ collateral damage’ to mean the number of innocents an army destroys in its assault on military targets. In this process human beings are objectified, seen as expedient, just a number instead of a human being a person of worth and dignity.

Even in the church people can be objectified instead of seen as a person with hopes, dreams and fears. I am thankful I follow a Jesus who did not use spin or treat people as objects rather each person who he related to was valued, respected for who they were, namely a fellow human being whose right iss dignity and respect.

When we resist the temptation to ‘spin’ and ‘objectify’ people, instead value the uniqueness and wonder of difference and appreciate the creativity that flows when people are together in an unfolding discovery of community. Then people will be valued and respected as travellers together on the journey of hope and courage.

Meanwhile Peace in the dignity of difference

Alf

 

August 2, 2012 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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