Grace Notes – Dec 2018, Jan 2019

An inclusive Christian community in Auckland, New Zealand

Grace Notes – Dec 2018, Jan 2019


Where has the year gone? I think it is true that the older we get the quicker
time seems to rush by.

I am told that the secret is to focus as much as possible on the present
moment, that is the only real moment we can count on.

It’s a bit like meditation really; something like following the silent
communion service we had with Warren last week.

David & Rosemarie

A Taste of India

Almost two months ago Rosemarie had to travel to Delhi on business. I
offered to be the ‘bag’ boy and we decided it was too far to go without
spending some time exploring. We chose a 14 day tour of Rajasthan – which
proved to be a wonder filled adventure. And no, we did not get sick or get a

Our tour included hotels, breakfast, a car and driver and local guides in all
locations – all for NZ$100 per day each. Lunch and dinner was an extra NZ
$10 per meal each, as long as you like Indian food. We loved it!

This area is referred to as the golden triangle and is well trod by tourists, but at no time did we feel like we were two of hundreds. Being in the north the land is quite dry but still capable of growing a large variety of crops.
The history is fascinating, the Moghul Kings who came south from Persia
ruled India for some 300 years from the 1500’s and had enormous wealth and power. They left behind a legacy of palaces and forts that make most of those in the UK look small. Of course the best known of these is the Taj Mahal, a piece of architectural perfection built as a mausoleum to a king’s wife. The fact that it is still in such good condition is testimony to the craftsmanship that existed in this well ordered civilisation.

We visited Palaces, forts, rode a camel in the desert, rode an elephant, visited temples, were blessed by a holy man at one of India’s pilgrimage sites, and were taken to quite a few special shops that we would never have found ourselves. Yes, we did buy quite a few items – clothing, carpet and jewellery.

The co-existence of old and new is fascinating to behold (tuktuk drivers
studying their smart phones!) as is the blend of religions. The women are so
colourful. Almost everyone seemed to have a job to do. And everywhere we
went the water seemed to be potable.

So don’t believe all the horror stories you hear, we suspect most of them
relate to 30+ years ago. But it’s not for everyone as it’s quite hot with lots of

Simon, Stephen & Rachel

Simon, Stephen and Rachel had a wonderful month on holiday in England.
We flew to Paris for a few days lapping up the culture; Eurostar to London for 8 days then drove around England.

We visited many Cathedrals, museums and historical ships.

Highlights for Stephen were the falconries, zoos and the squirrels and
lorikeets in Kensington Gardens.

I enjoyed meeting and staying with cousins in Leister and experimenting with the acoustics in the Chapter House of York Minster Cathedral – no
microphones required there.

Simon was reminded of his visits as a child with his father to some old ships.

A publican in a town out of Salisbury identified my accent saying NZ women are the only people in the world who say “Yisssss” (Yes).
A few days in Singapore on the way back enabled us to do more touristy
activities and break up the long flight.

We really enjoyed our travels and learned a lot along the way.


Just really an update regarding Bella…..things are going more smoothly at
home now after a rather rocky start! There has to be a phone contact with
Starship every Monday and she has to go in there every Thursday, and she is having some schooling from Starship .

Andre & Helene

Andre and Helene enjoyed a lovely holiday cruise to Vanuatu, Fiji, Mystery
Island and The Isle of Pines. Helene flew to Sydney a week in advance to visit her sister there. The two of had a wonderful time together and were able to treat son Johan to a Sunday lunch with them. It is always good to catch up with family. The cruise was decided on rather impulsively but it proved to be just what we needed to give us a time of complete rest and relaxation with many of the days spent at sea. Soon after returning home we were able to celebrate the 18 th birthday of our grand-daughter Hannah who has just completed year 13 at Northcote College and hopes to continue her studies at Auckland University next year.


A small (but important) correction from last month: Title of ‘moving’
song in chapel in Queenstown: “You Raise Me Up” – did you spot the

Our Floral Afternoon on November 3 was very enjoyable – the beautiful
floral displays were striking, entertainment light and pleasant, good
fellowship and of course good afternoon tea. Our thanks to the
organisers. It was quite a day for me as the Long Bay Baptist Trust
held a dinner and entertainment for their tenants (me) in the evening.
Their Chinese members put on a lovely musical item in striking
costumes which was something quite different – very colourful.

A friend and I attended ‘Morning Melodies’ at Bruce Mason. The programme by the Airforce Band was to commemorate Armistice Day 1918 (100 yrs) and contributions were played by a Scottish piper and Marion Burns. The Last Post was beautifully played by the lead trumpeter, just like Anzac Day – very moving. Another a poignant reminder for us all were the thousands of white crosses in the Domain. Particularly heart rending were the smaller groups of crosses to the memory of 2, 3, and even 4 sons from a family lost.

What a wonderful farewell her family had for Yvonne Mathieson on
November 28 – a fitting tribute to a wonderful lady – such a full life and so
interesting to us all. Good to meet up with her Guiding friends – still meeting
as the Trefoil Guild !

It’s that time of the year again when life becomes madly chaotic. It’s also a
time to stop and reflect on what is more important……..presents or the
presence of those around us.

I trust that you will all have a Merry Merry Christmas, keep safe and enjoy
the relaxation of the summer holidays.

Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the
imagination and life to everything.” ? Plato

God Bless

Story of Adam & Eve’s Dog

Adam and Eve said, ‘Lord, when we were in the garden, you walked
with us every day. Now we do not see you any more. We are
lonesome here, and it is difficult for us to remember how much you
love us.’

And God said, I will create a companion for you that will be with you
and who will be a reflection of my love for you, so that you will love me
even when you cannot see me. Regardless of how selfish or childish
or unlovable you may be, this new companion will accept you as you
are and will love you as I do, in spite of yourselves.

And God created a new animal to be a companion for Adam and Eve
And it was a good animal and God was pleased.

And the new animal was pleased to be with Adam and Eve and he
wagged his tail.

And Adam said, ‘Lord, I have already named all the animals in the
Kingdom and I cannot think of a name for this new animal.’

And God said, ‘I have created this new animal to be a reflection of my
love for you, his name will be a reflection of my own name, and you
will call him DOG.
And Dog lived with Adam and Eve and was a companion to them and
loved them.
And they were comforted.
And God was pleased.
And Dog was content and wagged his tail.
After a while, it came to pass that an angel came to the Lord and said,
‘Lord, Adam and Eve have become filled with pride. They strut and
preen like peacocks and they believe they are worthy of adoration.
Dog has indeed taught them that they are loved, but perhaps too well.’
And God said, I will create for them a companion who will be with them
and who will see them as they are. The companion will remind them of
their limitations, so they will know that they are not always worthy of
And God created CAT to be a companion to Adam and Eve.
And Cat would not obey them. And when Adam and Eve gazed into
Cat’s eyes, they were reminded that they were not the Supreme
And Adam and Eve learned humility.
And they were greatly improved.
And God was pleased.
And Dog was happy.
And the Cat . . .
didn’t give a shit one way or the other…….