The stars aligned again and there was a visitation of Great Noodly Elders upon the town of Cromwell.  The body count is as yet unknown, probably lesser than that of Yobbo-Shoggoth in the recent London Uprisings.  The Southern Presbytery gathered for its second annual meeting, this time in central Otago.

A ride had been arranged and I left at ten past one.   Tolerably on time considering I had mistaken last Friday for the departure and spent an hour waiting outside, including in the rain!  Comfortable traveling and good company.  The regions of the south were well represented with only a handful of parishes not sending a representative, oh, and the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership, ahem!

The catering was good.  The worship was evangelical.  I was disappointed at the lack of liturgy in the worship.  I enjoy liturgy and re-use in my personal devotions at home.   This was straight into the choruses and it was unremitting.  It was supported by musicians (guitar, electric organ, drum set) and I am more accustomed to piano and organ accompliment in worship.  So the worship didn’t work for me.  That is personal taste.  As the Presbyterian Church is in the midst of a generational change I have no doubt that I am in the minority.

It was also useful to look around the church plant.  It is a new one.  Cromwell was affected by the damming of the river to create Lake Dunstan and part of the old town was flooded.  The church built on a new site and promoted itself in the national church newspaper as being erected in one weekend.  I found Cromwell interesting as the buildings of the new town are all of the same age and design.  Is this is what the earthquake recovery for Christchurch is going to be like?  The architecture of the new church suffers for the fact that it does not stand out from the buildings around it.  I would suggest that it needs a steeple so it can be identified as a church.

I decided to be billeted with church members while I was there overnight so I could have some appreciation of the church members.  I expected to reflect the evangelical ethos of the congregation and they were very full gospel; comfortable, warm accomodation, and a cat which visited me in the night.  It didn’t stay.  I woke to frost on the ground, mist seething on the lake, dawning light on the mountains, and watching a bonfire in the field.

There is a lot of business to report to the Parish Council and I won’t go into it here.  Before we left I got to have a ride in the back of a classic Rolls-Royce with the license plate MI MINI.  The smell of the seats and the breeze blowing through the open windows took me back to memories of my childhood when we owned a Rover.

Home again and I keep stopping to take a photo of the snowfall outside Manono House.  I’m glad we got home a day before it threatened to close the roads.