Generally Assembling #2

Well hello again.
I should be a prophet, it has rained and is raining and I got wet in dear old Dunners.  But a day has passed and I was in it and it was more than ok.

In summary:
The Ministers’ Resourcing Day was ok.
The gaggle of ministers turned out to contain not much gaggling and quite a pile of friends.  I reacquainted myself with more than a few of them and had several deeper conversations with delightful colleagues who I have never really had a yarn with before.  What we have in common of course outweighs our points of difference, but so often we don’t get to listen to each other, so we judge and misjudge.
Then I find that there are a quarter of them who I don’t know at all.
Then I find a relic or two from my years of training and we look at one another with amused looks on our faces.
Then the content of most of the parts of the day is really interesting.
So, I find myself in a warm haze of gratitude and I admonish myself for my cynicism and promise to turn over a new leaf, but the Assembly hasn’t really started yet, and I am still young and foolish.
The evening was ok as well.  I entered Knox Church in my new-found confidence because of Knox’s healthy seismic rating and had to sit at the back because it was full.  Up the back is raised a bit and thus it was easier to count the number of balding heads.
The powhiri was somewhat make-shift (the rain), and the service was long – two and a half hours my friends, and that after the half-hour powhiri!  At one point anyone who wished was invited to greet the newly installed Moderator and I immediately banned anyone from our back-row seating to even contemplate it as there were some 300 people sitting in front of us, and if they went, and we went as well, we would be there until Christmas!  As it happened no one greeted the Moderator because firstly, he got stuck behind the Columba College Choir and secondly, everyone got to listening to the choir and, as they followed the words that were being sung on their service sheets it was at the end of the song that the invitation to greet the Moderator during the song was printed.  Thus alone and awkwardly the Moderator stood throughout it all, stoically pretending that he was comfortable with the lack of engagement with him.  And my heart went out to him and I begged a chap from our row to go down and do the decent thing but he chickened out and the Moderator sighed and sat down.
The Moderator, of course, is Richard Dawson – Right Reverend Richard as we now call him.  He has become alliterated!   Richard was in my year group during our training as ministers – we have now sacrificed two of our year group to the Moderatorial Fires, but it shows our age – we began getting ‘done’ 30 years ago and now we are facing old age!  The RRR offered some thoughtful words in his sermon on Hope, including this wee gem: “As we’ve failed to listen to one another we’ve been unable to hear God.”  Yes!  I say.  Yes!  Yes!  Yes!
And the music was very good – very very good!
So, a good day, but one main thing to work on: decent coffee!  I say that every GA and still it is rubbish!

In anticipation:
We start at 8.30am tomorrow – and go at it until 9.30pm.  Um… are you kidding me?
We sorted two Council of Assembly notices of motion in an apologetic whirl at the opening service, so that leaves next to nothing left from its report… so… see you next time.
Maybe I am being mean, but this has got to be the most challenging of seasons of being the church and the group charged with discerning the future direction of the church doesn’t have much to say…so it must be ‘no worries mate, she’ll be right!’  I wish I was as confident about the state of things!
But you see, the agenda looks very light anyway.  I am not against light agendas, indeed I want them lighter and the Presbyteries being empowered to handle more of the stuff.  The problem is that we still mix the little business we have to do with inspirational stuff, and I usually end up going away from these events thinking that the business has systematically dismantled us and the inspirational stuff.
I think that we sometimes behave in ways that we wouldn’t countenance in our church communities where we care for each other.  So… why not talk this out and think a bit about how we want to be together more care-fully in Assembly?  But we don’t talk about it, and we carry on doing divisive stuff at each other as if it doesn’t matter, and as if God approves, and I question that… I really do!
So…tomorrow is coming to suck me into the 13 hour Presbyerianathon!  Yay!