A friend so Kind – Irene Gruber

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Irene’s beloved Dragons

Oh you’re a Manly fan?  What are we going to do about you!  And like this, for many Manly fans, great friendships start. 

A dear friend of mine Irene Gruber passed into glory this Monday.  As passionate about her Dragons as I am about the Sea Eagles, she nevertheless deigned to watch many a Friday Night Football with me.  

We met when I arrived in Canowindra to study at the Cornerstone Community there.  Ian and Irene had gifted the land the training centre was built on, and their farm was, back then, the principal source of work.  Their cottage at the end of the quaintly named Cucumber Lane became a cherished haven away from the deprivations of first year training at Cornerstone.  

Irene was born in Carcoar, into the Kind family.  And I have this song called “A friend so Kind” which just seems so incredibly pertinent to Irene’s passing.  

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Our Champions

BarbariansI might be biased but on Saturday I witnessed one of the toughest team performances I’ve ever witnessed or been a part of in forty years of watching and playing rugby. Our University of the Sunshine Coast Under 12s team is a rag tag mob of boys drawn from nine or so local schools. I get the privilege of being their trainer – part of a coaching team of four guys (and sometimes I wonder if the kids or the coaches have the most fun).

We’ve had a really good season. Rain meant we didn’t get a training session in before our first trial so we’ve steadily built momentum and cohesion as the season has progressed. We finished the season in second place, in the process beating every other side in the competition at least once.

But going into our knockout semi final against the third place Brothers, we knew we were in for a massive game. They’re a very successful team who have been top two for the past three years. We’d beaten them earlier in the year but they were injury depleted then. Now they were coming at us full strength.

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Lest we forget ….

Duncans WW1 serviceLike many of his peers my grandfather seemed very reluctant to speak of his years on the Western Front in World War One.  All we have is a few small snippets of information about his service – though from it we can see how his years with the Scottish 9th Division changed our family history irrevocably.

Perhaps the most priceless relic we have of Duncan Grant’s war effort is a transcribed record of his war history.  In his own hand he summarised his military service on the plinth of a Dewar’s whiskey Highlander statue.  The artfully inscribed words let us know that he was involved in the full horrors of the war.  He was present for some of the most intense and horrific battles.

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God of Adventure

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA pastor recently asked: ‘Where in the Bible do you find camping culture mentioned?’   Well, I’m glad he asked because I’ve been reading an excellent book by Bruce Dunning called ‘God of Adventure’ which establishes the biblical validity of ‘Christian Adventure Learning’, arguing a case that liminality (conscious awareness) and adventure learning combine to be one of God’s principle tools to connect with his people, challenge them, and have them participate in his redemptive purpose for his creation.

The book takes the reader through more than one hundred biblical examples of adventure learning and camping.  For example:

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Light a candle

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs the majority of QCCC Mapleton’s bookings are repeat bookings the year here settles into a fairly steady rhythm. 2012 is drawing to a close and QCCC Mapleton draws the curtain on hosting 400 groups and 25,000 guests.

The week before Christmas is given over to a charity group who bring a lot of kids to Mapleton in the first week of holidays to let their hair down. A lot of the kids come from a tough home situation and the week is about giving them some respite and coping strategies and mechanisms.

The “new year” kicks off again on Boxing Day with Family Summer program. Before we know it the busyness of Term One will descend and off we go again. So this week is a bit of an introspective time, thinking about what we’ve achieved this year and planning for what is to come. It’s fitting that the backdrop to all of this is the group we’ve hosted this week, because they bring so many reminders about what’s important about what we do. Read more of this post

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