Duncan Macleod is the other keynote speaker at the conference – a relaxed, wise, funny, godly, comfortable Uniting Church minister, who explained his job to my Anglican ears as being (sort of) the equivalent of a bishop in the Canberra area and who in his spare time writes blogs using different advertising clips to stimulate thought. He led us around the campus on a time-travelling trip from the locked room in the post-resurrection account by John, through an affluent centre-of-the-community church in Germany round about the Reformation, finishing at a present-day church which has been marginalised. Great fun. Very thought-provoking, especially as on our ‘travels’ we passed the chapel where the Korean church were worshipping complete with gorgeous costumes, a row of zithers and a rousing version of ‘How great thou art!’ with song words displayed in three languages. I have so much to learn about being a multinational global church.
We also had a fascinating dinner with a college student from the Pacific Islands and heard about the looming danger of global warming for his community, which lives on a snake-shaped island where nowhere is more than two metres above sea level and only one building has more than one storey. Imagine a whole nation of refugees if the sea level rises just a little. Of the islanders, 99% go to church and are committed Christians: perhaps one community where Messy Church isn’t needed!
It is very moving that each act of worship here begins with a reminder about the people whose land we are on and who have cared for it over the centuries, in this case the Durag people. We light a candle to honour them and acknowledge their stewardship of the land. I wonder what a similar act in the UK would involve: in our uprooted society, it might be a very helpful idea to remind ourselves of those who have gone before us in a particular geographical area.
Paul and I enjoyed an afternoon thinking about all-age worship with a group of delegates in a workshop setting, with a particular Messy emphasis of course.
Not reassuring to hear Qantas is making people redundant. Hope they sort things out before Sunday (she says, meanly and selfishly, but fervently).