Broken City Centre


the demise of the price waterhouse cooper building – once taller than the one on the left of the photo

I have been showing two groups of people around the city centre of Christchurch this week.  In many ways it feels like life has returned closer to normal until one drives into the CBD.  There are blocks of city that are so bare now that it is disorienting.
The Press today idenitied another series of buildings that are going, uncertain or staying.  Most seem to be going, see more:

One lovely part of the city that is staying is New Regent Street – a wonderful boutique street that is prfoundly lovely and quite out of place with much of what was developed in the city.  The ugly building at the end of the street (as pictured) is one building that might not make it – here’s hoping, as immediately behind this monstrosity is the Avon River… what a vista to recover!

Listening to Babel by Mumford & Sons


I am loving the new Mumford & Sons album, Babel.  I received a deluxe version on Saturday (which has three extra tracks including The Boxer with Paul Simon!).  It is early days but three tracks are really standing out – the catchy I Will Wait, the thoughtful Lover of the Light, and the extra track Where Are You Now.
While there is a degree of ‘same-ness’ to their first album on the first few listens – the differences emerge and now leave a lovely aftertaste, or better, a lovely ear-worm (the sound that stays even in the silence – this time a good one!  This all helps to maintain my self-imposed ‘Celine-free’ ear-worm zone).  The lyrics hold piles of small gems – many in the theological/faith category.  The tunes are mixed in style but with their trademark folk sound.
If you enjoyed Sigh No More, you will also enjoy Babel.  The New Zealand concert to come is much-anticipated!!!!

Nursery Closure after 60 years

Anne’s family tree nursery is closing tomorrow after 60 years.  The economic situation and fashions in gardening and horticulture have contributed to its demise.  Allenton Nurseries near Ashburton has been a significant supplier of ornament and fruit trees in New Zealand for many years.
I recall visiting the nursery in 1980 0r 1981 when I worked at the Plantorama tree and shrub nursery near Timaru.
Anne’s father was interviewed a few days ago and the article can be seen here:

Glasshouse News

The glasshouse produced its first contribution to our fine home dining experience last night when it yielded a lovely sample of lettuce leaves to a delicious salad!
The photograph was taken today after the lettuce raid and it really is very hard to tell where we grazers have been!

glasshouse four weeks after start-up

Most of the rest of the glasshouse crop is coming along nicely – 6 varieties of tomato, a cucumber, two chillies, 6 capsicum and a few trays of seeds.

Tips and thoughts on Daylight Saving

Hey, we only have until the 30 September to prepare ourselves for Daylight Saving!  Daylight Saving tips and thoughts from MarttheRev:
1. get some sleep – we lose an hour and it is a jolly long time until we get that hour back!
2. make the most of early morning walks – for a time you lose the early light – it just disappears overnight!
3. forget the idea that you are really saving daylight – it is a myth.  I have been researching this and it is a fact that there is not an extra hour of daylight at all – they just adjust the clocks to make it seem as if you have extra daylight!  Honest!  Well, I think I am being honest… maybe I am wrong…
4. for if you were saving it, where would you store it?
5. maybe someone is storing it – like a world power or secret government ministry.  Maybe Gerry Brownlie is storing it somewhere.  Gerry, if you are reading this, can you give me a definitive answer?  Please don’t ask John Banks about how to answer definitively!
6. Will the storing of daylight be something iwi and hapu can make a claim against under the Treaty?
7. Has anyone thought of saving daylight in the summer when there is tons of it (more than we need!) and relocating it to winter when we don’t have enough?  We could even export it to places like Antarctica and Sweden (where, according the Swedish novelists everyone is killing each other – brutally – and often in the dark because they have too much dark)!
8. Just in case, if we do export the daylight we save, can we get some extra police just in case people start killing each other in the extra dark we will inevitably get?
9. Is there a ‘just right’ daylight/dark ratio so that we can export carefully and thoughtfully – you know, so that it is better for the environment?
10. Should we consult younger generations before we export daylight?  I only ask this because they will end up with less than us older ones have had and they might be a bit grumpy.

Sermon from Sunday

16-9-12 St Stephen’s in Bryndwr Proverbs 22:7 & Mark 8:27-38
Being bound in order to be free
Sermon by Mart the Rev

Last week as part of one of the readings we heard the proverb: ‘The poor are ruled by the rich, and those who borrow are slaves of moneylenders.’
I was waffling on about something else that day and didn’t pay it much attention, but it stuck in my mind all week. What really brought it home was what happened on Thursday after the very Big Wednesday Lotto draw was made and someone in Tauranga won the $27million first prize. Apparently the odds of winning the first prize of the Wednesday Lotto is quite a few several millions to one – it is easier for a Cinderella carriage to turn back into a pumpkin than it is to win Big Wednesday! But still people try. They really do try! Continue reading

A Great Gathering

On Sunday morning our breakfast church Gathering was especially good with the ‘naming ceremony’ for little Chelsea and the welcome addition of family & friends.
Thanks to the various people who put in a bit extra – food, hospitality, 27 children! (not counting two babies), and who contributed to some really interesting reflections on parenting and how we honour the young people among us.

Fringe Jesus

I preached last Sunday on the tendency Jesus had to hang out on the edges of towns and cities where, of course, edgy and marginalised people are to be found.
Here are the words…
Mark 7:24-37  Jesus on the margins   Sermon by Mart the Rev
I am interested in the context of the two healing stories from Jesus ministry that we heard this morning.  The first, the encounter with the Syro- Phoenician woman who badgered Jesus into offering just some of the crumbs from the table of the ‘Chosen People’ so that he would heal her daughter’s malady, and the second, the healing of the deaf man who could not speak clearly because of his disability.  Both stories are from the margins.  One, across the border in what we now know as Syria (an interesting place for Jesus to go!)  The other, in the region of the ten cities of the Decapolis.  The Decapolis was the name given to cities that the Greeks and then the Romans had developed over the centuries.  They were cities influenced more by these cultures than by the cultures of the natives of the regions in which they were located.  They were cosmopolitan cities and the population of these cities was mainly Gentile.  The only one of these cities mentioned in the gospels is Caesarea Philippi – and then only in reference to Jesus and the disciples visiting the villages nearby.  Continue reading