I never know whether to say on the blog that I am going away or not. Anyway I have been away and in a most worthwhile way. Neither a conference nor a committee but on a cycle tour! A family reunion of 68 Carrells, Easter Sunday and Monday, led to six of us - me, two brothers, two English husbands of cousins, and my 74 year old uncle, who is fitter than me :) - embarking on the Alps to Ocean cycle journey, Mt Cook to Oamaru. I am back in Christchurch before the trip is completed today as I have a training obligation.
Apart from a little rain, the weather has been brilliant, showcasing the magnificence of the territory we covered through the McKenzie country, its hydro power schemes and increasingly irrigated farms, down, yesterday, through the Waitaki valley power stations and their lakes. In perfect conditions yesterday morning one the world's most inspiring scenes looked like this:
Mt. Cook at the head of Lake Pukaki - on our first day the mountain was shrouded in cloud so this was a quick reversal of our route at 9 am to take advantage of perfect weather.
Not being very fit, I didn't cycle as much as others, there being convenient car ferrying duties to do, and also some time required one morning for a repair to my bike (how it came to be damaged is another story - what happens on tour, stays on tour!). But yesterday I was determined to bike over Benmore and Aviemore dams. The former required a hill climb so steep to get to it that I had to walk part way. But the view was magnificent:
A photo or two doesn't capture the 'feeling' of riding across the top of a dam with a lake on one side and the outflow on the other, all showcased in brilliant sunshine, surrounded by solemn hills and accompanied by the sounds of silence. From that 'height' the trip moved to a beautiful ride around the hydro lake behind the next dam, Aviemore. In effect, as the day moved from Mt Cook, through lakes, dams, and imposing hills, we were riding in God's cathedral of the skies. In that perfect place of worship, controversy had no cause to form and grow.
Meanwhile, back in Christchurch and through the secular and ecclesial media, three proposals for designs for our new Anglican cathedral were being showcased. Taonga has the story here, with some insightful pictures of exterior and interior designs.
There is much to ponder here, and only a few short weeks in which to absorb the details and to make comment before the decision is made from 2 May onwards by our Church Property Trustees. Hopefully the consultation process leads to a lowering of the temperature of the controversy which has attended our cathedral. There is now something constructive to consider, talk through and decide on to the glory of God.