Lots of random things going on in my head at the moment. Maybe if I put some of it out there it will make more sense!
Last weekend was Synod, the governance meeting of the Wellington Diocese of the Anglican Church in Palmerston North. I was elected as one of our parish's Synod Reps, which is pretty cool - I went last year as an under-35 rep (which meant that I had speaking rights but not voting rights) and found it really interesting. I was really happy to get elected as the representative this year, and hubby came along as the under-35 rep.
This was a non-legislative Synod, which meant we were dealing more with reports from Diocesan committees than passing changes to canon law. It was a great weekend. Hearing some of the ways that God has been working through our Anglican Church was really inspiring, and see some of the changes we made at last year's Synod starting to take effect. One thing that we did last year was pass a covenanting process for new Diocesan religious orders, and Urban Vision took advantage of that. I spent quite a bit of time talking with some of the Urban Vision people, sharing our stories of religious and community life. I went to the Synod vested so spent a huge amount of time talking to people and explaining the call that I am following!
The Saturday night Thai meal with the rest of the Belmont Archdeaconry was awesome - great food, great company, and a wonderful chance to get to know some of the other Synod Reps a bit better. Had a fantastic conversation over dinner with one of the other Reps who had served in the NZ Army and had been a peacekeeper in all sorts of places. We were talking about the work being done in peacekeeping work by our Forces and what that actually means. It was so interesting, and it was really good to get a much better idea of what we mean when we send people overseas.
This week has been a frantic finishing of my final assignment for University - final final, as in the last one I have to do for this qualification! I have one more piece of assessment - a 3-hour exam - and then I'm done! Finished! Kaput! Finite! Applying to graduate - again! I get to add another bit of regalia to my academic dress and another collection of letters after my name - and attend another graduation ceremony (I quite like these so that's okay). Unfortunately, the down-side is that I have to prepare my exam notes and actually revise them....
At Synod, one of the cool things was that the Anglican Resource Centre had a stand there. Predictably, I went to have a bit of a look and found two books which looked good. Into the Silent Land by Martin Laird has turned out to be the most amazing book on the spiritual life that I've ever read. Period. He's a contemplative, and he writes about the practice of contemplation from a practical perspective. It's a wonderful little book - a how-to as well as what-happens-if-you-do. He draws on a number of the major writers, including the Desert Fathers, St John of the Cross, the writer of the Cloud, the hesychasts, and others. Making a big difference for me!
And next week, I'm off to Christchurch for work... hoping to see my sister and brother-in-law, and I will be interested to see how they are getting on with the rebuilding and other work after the earthquake.