A week in Wellington! Tuesday morning we left Palmerston North and headed off for our last church workers conference. This time it was in Wellington. These conferences are always a great time of relaxation, learning, devotion, and growth. Ken and I find them very unique - a time to meet with LCNZ Pastors, church workers, and LSM leaders as well as the LCNZ President for three days. We stayed at Our Lady's Home of Compassion - it is run by nuns and had gorgeous grounds, including a grotto! It used to be a hospital but was shut down a few years ago and now is used for conferences, prayer retreats, healing retreats, etc. On Wednesday night we had the "pilgrimage" (we all go out to a pub of some sorts) at the Back Bencher, a pub next to Parliament that was themed off all the politicians! It was really fun.
The one on the left is supposed to be Helen Clark, New Zealand's Prime Minister!
The Church Workers of the LCNZ!
Thursday the conference was over, so Ken and I took the afternoon to enjoy Wellington - we love it there, plus we found a new favorite hang-out spot (we over-did going to Mac's brew bar): The Malthouse. Really good food and great selection of beer on tap from all over the north and south islands!
Friday I worked with Mark Whitfield and Guy Jansen to set up for Segue, the first ever LCNZ worship and music conference. It was such an honor to be a part of the planning committee for that event! Set up was a bit shaky (the tv blew up, the LCNZ projector was still in Palmerston North, but the cd player worked just fine!) I also spent a bit of time practicing for Sunday morning worship - Mark asked me to play piano for the entire service (a traditional liturgical setting by David Haas). It was really fun to have something challenging to play - I was quite glad that Mark asked me. During all this time, Ken was busy preparing his devotional message for Sunday evening's Bach Cantata (we'll touch more on this in a few paragraphs).
Practicing practicing practicing!
Friday afternoon Ken and I went down to the Bee Hive (Parliament) for a tour. It was very informational, but by the end of the hour I was ready to be done. We ended up talking to a Canadian fellow who was also on the tour - he sounded pretty homesick for North America. Ken and I are happy that we are finally beginning to feel at home here in New Zealand - not that we don't miss the states (trust me, we definitely went through the homesick stage!!!) but we're just finally feeling like we know New Zealand enough to feel completely comfortable. It's a neat feeling. That night we babysat Mark and Leanne's children (we stayed at Mark and Leanne's home after the church workers conference through the Segue Conference). We love Mark's house - it's right behind the church up a small flight of stairs! How convenient is that?!
Ken and I at the Bee Hive (picture courtesy of our Canadian friend)
The inside of the church
Segue began at 9.30am Saturday. There were about 20 people total (a good turn-out for the first one). The programme began with a Taize service that I played the piano for. Then we had Guy Jansen's keynote address on "What is Worship?" before breaking up into practical sessions (ie worship band, organ, speech, etc...). Ken really enjoyed learning more about speaking and communicating - Wendy Bruge, who was the presenter for that breakout session, told him that he is a natural at speaking in front of people and gave him a few tips at how to perfect his art! I was a presenter for a break out session on Scripture Songwriting. I really enjoyed sharing with others some things I learned from other songwriters (at the Noise Conference I went to a few months back) as well as some hints I've learned as I write music. The evening ended at Fisherman's Table for some fellowship time together. Ken and I both went to bed with highs from the day - it was so wonderful to meet new people from around the LCNZ (as well as some Anglican attendees) and to see the conference go wonderfully! It was quite the success! Thank you Lord!
Guy Jansen's opening session (Pauline introducing him)
Sunday morning service was beautiful - it was Reformation Sunday (so festive colour of red) so of course we sang A Mighty Fortress by Luther. I really enjoyed playing with the pre-service worship band (a team formed on Saturday as one of the break out sessions for Segue that had a member from Christchurch, Wellington and Palmerston North! The new LCNZ worship band??) as well as playing all the liturgical music. It was a challenge, but an enjoyable one at that! That afternoon we had our closing Segue session which was poorly attended. But those who came found it very beneficial as they had a chance to talk to Guy Jansen and pick his brain on worship, as well as speak with the Segue planning team about improvements for next year. Everyone agreed that the weekend was phenomenal and needs to happen again...soon! I will keep you up to date as the Segue team meets to debrief and see what the vision for the LCNZ is. Exciting times! Sunday evening was the Bach Cantata - Ken did a wonderful job on his devotional message (using some new breathing techniques he learned from Wendy on Saturday!) The Cantata was based on the Matthew passage about paying taxes to Cesar, but giving to God what is God's. The Cantata itself was beautiful and afterwards there was champagne and cake to celebrate the St. Paul's Bach Cantata's 1st birthday! This music ministry in the Wellington has been just wonderful this past year (cheers to many more to come!) - in fact, it has been done so well with the use of many professional baroque musicians that the services are advertised on the radio as well! There were well over 100 people there that evening to celebrate. We went to dinner with Pasty and Mark, a Taiwanese couple our age from Botany (Auckland) that came to the Segue worship conference. We hit it off really well and had a great time - they took us to a Chinese restaurant and ordered all our food for us! It was really yum (even the squid!) and we had a great time getting to know each other and learn more about Taiwanese culture. We look forward to hanging out with them again in January when we travel to Northland.
Ken after his devotional
So we didn't get home until 12:30am Monday morning. Lucky that it's our day off! It also happens to be Labour Day for New Zealand although Ken did labour on some work he
needed to catch up on, as well as a looooong run (preparation for that marathon coming up this march). I cleaned the house and did laundry since it was a sunny, but windy day (means fast drying clothes!) We had such a wonderful time in Wellington this past week! It was a blessing to be energized and refreshed from both conferences. Ahhhh....life is good!
(A Wellington frog sending you greetings!)