Surrender

The first meeting of the Aidan and Hilda Geelong group is a garden BBQ when we share personal stories and end with Night Prayer. We visit Tim and Jay Jeffries. Tim is director of Praxis, which trains young people for a whole life. He and Jay have just had twins!

Queenscliffe Uniting Church chooses our new book for its Bookclub. The Perth Anglican publishes an excellent review which ends: ‘The prayers are inspiring – Australian images abound. But these liturgies and prayers are more than carefully crafted words and poetry, read carefully they draw together the thoughts raised throughout the book, and present a poetic epilogue to the work. This book deserves a close reading and is likely to find a place in Australian culture amongst writings by David Tacey and Michael Leunig. The retreats, talks and workshops currently being undertaken throughout Australia by the authors, will no doubt focus on this book, but there is an opportunity for others to purchase and read and gain insights from this pivotal book. ‘

Two days preparing for SURRENDER. A new medication knocks me out. I decide not to use it again. SURRENDER is Australia’s largest gathering of its kind, which seeks to introduce Christian young adults to issues of social justice, radical discipleship and incarnational mission. The conference is hosted by a number of missional communities and organisations working amongst the poor, and run in relationship with Indigenous Australians. The Conference runs for three days with over 1200 people attending. We arrive at the large auditorium at Belgrave Heights Convention Centre. Helpers are creating a marquee village which houses the displays of many organisations. Most overnighters camp. I have a bed to myself.

One of the speakers is Justin Duckworth, popularly known as New Zealand/Aoroteara’s hippy bishop, who greets the local Aboriginal elder with a Maori haka. Another is Neville Naden, Chair of the Aboriginal Evangelical Fellowship. A South Sudan choir and Burmese cooks participate. I join with Aaron Strumpel from USA and Joel McKerrow to lead each morning worship session. This intersperses Aidan and Hilda Australianised Prayer Patterns with songs from Aaron and prayer poems from Joel. I also lead a 90 minute workshop on ‘Rhythms of Contemplative Spirituality - journeying to the heart of God through daily prayer rhythms, contemplation, silence, and creation’. Uncle Rex, an Aborigine from the Northern Territory, followed my workshop. ‘We have always known these things’ (such as God speaking through creation) he tells white fella Christians. Tears keep coming as I listen to stories of misplacement and abuse from ‘The Stolen Generation’, but also of these hurt people finding Jesus and becoming one family with Jesus followers. I am deeply moved by people here. This is perhaps the most significant convention I have been part of in a life-time. The Aidan model of indigenous mission, so rare in recent centuries of western mission, is here, at last, being practised.

Posted at 21:07pm on 21st March 2015
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