Tuesday, November 21, 2006

2 sleeps and counting

Not that I'm excited about heading to Tassie or anything... but... :-)
Today I farewelled the last of my house guests (who were so good that they even cleaned my house for me whilst I cooked dinner for another friend who was coming that night- although they did get to enjoy the leftovers of the dessert, which I think they enjoyed :-)

So now, it's just me and my car, and the empty suitcase/s, boxes etc that I have to pack for my 8 weeks away. Hard to know where to start really, because 8 weeks seems like such a long time, and it's terribly tempting to want to pack up everything I own and take it all with me (although, gone are the days when all of my worldly possessions could fit into my car as they did when I first moved from Sydney to Hobart 19 years ago).

And of course, I think I'll have to give the car a good clean, not just to make a good impression when I arrive, but because with all the foliage that has been dropped on it by the trees here, a fair bit of wattle flower buds and leafy things have found their way into the crevices around the opening of the hatch, (which I'm sure the Tasmanian Quarantine folk will have conniptions about if it's still there when I try to get onto the boat).

Hmm... I think I might go and make a cup of coffee and start making a few lists of things I need to take with me (Note to self: must remember to pack the coffee and stove top espresso machine, and Caro sized coffee mug!)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A New Toy

For some time now, I have been thinking about getting a digital camera, as I haven't really had a proper camera for a long time, and it would be nice to be able to take pics especially when I'm on placement.

So after a bit of research (gotta love the web!) I decided that the camera that had the features I was looking for, in my price range, was the Kodak Easyshare C743.

So, when Anita was visiting last week, and we went to Richmond for a dose of retail therapy, I popped into Dick Smith to see if they had any in stock. They did! and now the baby is mine!

I have been taking happy snaps all over the place, so hopefully will eventually end up with some pictures worth keeping (and I will be able to add some more pics to the blog.)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Reflections on my first year as a candidate

My first year as a candidate is over!

Fri 3rd Nov:

It’s Friday afternoon. The last Friday of the academic year. As I sit with my fellow-first year candidates in our final peer formation group for the year, there’s a sense of grief as we look at each other around the table.

“Well, that’s it then: the end of our first year.”

As we reflect on the year, and offer it to God, we are all struck by how quickly this year has passed.

It really has been sobering to see how quickly this year has passed. It worries me that the rest of my candidature will go screaming past just as quickly, and I will get to the end of my training, feeling as if I have only just started, and still have SO MUCH to learn. (Although, I suppose this would be a good attitude to have, going into my first placement as a ministry intern, as no matter how much study I do, or experience I get, there will always be much more to learn).

Last night we celebrated the College Valedictory service and dinner, where we formally farewelled the candidates who have completed this part of their ministerial training and are about to go (or have recently gone) into a ministry internship placement, or other area of service or further study. It was a special time, and also a bit sobering as those of us remaining realised that will be US being farewelled very soon!

It's not just about the academic study
I have been truly blessed since arriving here, to not only have the chance to catch up with existing friends in Melbourne, but also to have made many new friends, among the candidates and faculty of the UCA theological college, and also with a number of other students from my various classes. I have formed a number of close friendships which feel like they will last long past our days at College.

I remember a comment made to me by a couple of friends in Hobart, when I was accepted as a ministry candidate. They said that the church needed more ministers like me, who were "real". I understand what they meant by that comment, and why they said it, but have to say that as I look around me at the faculty and fellow candidates in the theological college (and also at the candidates for ordination in the Anglican and Jesuit colleges) I am certainly not the only person who is "real". There is a wide variety of personalities (and the faculty especially are all mad as cut snakes- and I love that! :-), and people all bring stuff from their pasts that have helped to form them; and even things they are going through now- I have really learned a lot about faith and grace amid suffering from some of my fellow candidates. I can only hope that when life gets tough for me, I can face it with comparable integrity and guts.

I am also active in the UCA Theological Students’ association, and was elected Secretary for 2007, and have also been the Uniting Church candidates’ rep to the wider students’ association for the UFT (which also incorporates the Trinity Anglican, and Jesuit Theological Colleges).

Spiritual Direction
During the year I have also been working with a Spiritual Director, which has been great, and (among other things) he has helped me to identify the source of some of the excitement for me- it’s in the fact that my studies are enabling me to engage my intellect with my faith in a profound and new way. That’s why I think the Groundwork in Theology unit was my favourite subject- it really gave my brain a workout and made me look at some of the aspects of my faith that I had taken for granted in a new light. My SD has also helped me to work on developing a deeper intimacy with God, through different ways of praying, and he has also helped me to recognise and celebrate the "God moments" in the everyday stuff of life. I'm looking forward to continuing my work with him next year.

Poor Possum

Today I helped a baby brushtail possum meet his maker. :-(

As I went out my back door to put some washing on the line, I was rather startled to see what I thought was a dead possum lying in the bright sunlight on the concrete outside my door. As I was contemplating how best to dispose of the poor creature, I noticed an ear twitch, and then looked more closely and realised he was breathing.

The poor baby (because he was quite a youngster and very small) was in a bad way, blind and with some kind of injury to his head, and his breathing was laboured and raspy. I tried to move him onto a flat cardboard box so I could slide him into the shade, but when I touched him, he got up and started walking around in circles rather dazedly, and ended up making his way to lie down again against the wall under my clothes line. So I then propped a box against the wall, making a shelter for him to protect from the heat of the sun.

A dash inside to the computer, a quick search looking for a phone number for a wildlife agency (tried for WIRES, but realised that must be specific to NSW), and eventually found the number for Wildlife Victoria's 24 hour rescue Wildline.

Within an hour (and after some advice to wrap the possum in a blanket and put him in a box inside the laundry for protection) a volunteer from Wildlife Victoria arrived to take him away to a vet. She confirmed my fears that the poor possum was in such a bad way that the only humane thing to do was to have him put down, but hopefully his last hour would have been a little less traumatic than if he'd just been left to die (it was a good thing I was at home today and had to put some washing out).

Friday, November 10, 2006

A beautiful end to a stressful week

Today I submitted my final B. Theol. essay for the year.
Woo-hoo! bring on the dancing tenors! :-)
There are still a couple of smaller pieces of work for my Friday Program course which I need to hand in on Monday, but by comparison it will be a pleasure to finish them off over the weekend, as today's essay had really been a bit of a monkey on my back, so I'm exceptionally relieved to get it out of the way.

To celebrate the end of a stressful week, this evening I attended a concert at Queen's College:


Bach arr. Brahms
Chaconne in D minor from Violin Partita No. 2
Anne Veinberg (piano)

Gabriel Fauré
L’Horizon Chimérique (song cycle)
Matthew Champion (Baritone) & Anne

Joseph Haydn
Variations in F

Franz Liszt
Vallee D’Obermanm

Martin Wright
The Eighth Day (song cycle)
Matthew & Anne

(This is the première of Martin's new song cycle, which was composed particularly for Matthew, and is a setting of five poems by George Herbert around the themes of Easter.)

Anne is an incredibly talented pianist, and was amazing.

Matthew has a beautiful baritone voice, and is a fellow chorister in the Queen's College choir.

Martin, who composed the final song cycle on the program, is a good friend and fellow ministerial candidate, whose diversity of talents seems to know no bounds.

It was a very enjoyable concert, and a delightful way to finish off a stressful week of exams and assignments.

Monday, November 06, 2006

I'm in lerv...

... with a younger man!
Quite significantly younger, in fact... Nafatali Christiaan Brown-Nafatali came into the world on Friday 27th October, so that makes him all of 10 days old (give or take a few hours). He is the newest resident of Bucknall Court, the theological college community of units where I live (and is the 5th child of one of my fellow ministerial candidate, Samasoni, and his wife Epa).

Today, in a break between studying for tomorrow's Mark exam and groping for some words of wisdom to write in my Theological Issues take home exam paper, I popped in next door to pay my first visit to the new arrival (of course, I would normally have been over much sooner, except I've had a bit of a cold this past week, which I didn't want to share).

He is SO CUTE!! He was sleeping when I arrived, but Epa passed him over to me to nurse, and he snuggled in, wriggled around a bit, and after a while opened his eyes and gave me a couple of big smiles (and yes, I know, all child development gurus will say kids can't really smile at that age, but hey, that's my story and I'm sticking to it! :-)

He also managed to fill his nappy whilst I was holding him (lots of interesting faces pulled in the process of that, too), and I generously allowed his mother to deal with that.

Update-13 Nov: I now have a photo, so you can see for yourself just how gorgeous he is (note that he is already practising his royal wave to his adoring fans! :-)