Wellington to Wanganui…

This morning we slept late — I had night terrors and snored, which woke Meg up, who woke me up and chewed me out and asked me to stay awake, which I couldn’t do — followed by breakfast with the other guest, Alan, at George Fox House.

We then went next door to the Quaker Meetinghouse, built in the 1930’s, and had a lovely meeting for worship with twenty-five members and attenders from around Wellington. Meeting was completely silent, but otherwise the structure was what you’d expect, except that at the rise of meeting, before announcements (which they call “notices” there was a call for “almost ministry”, an opportunity for anyone to speak who had ministry forming but hadn’t had it crystallize yet. I’m not sure how I feel about the practice — I know that Santa Cruz meeting has experimented with something similar, which they called “Afterthoughts” when we were there.

After the rise of meeting, we partook in a lovely prepared lunch potluck — just what they were doing, nothing special for us — and had lively conversation with a number of the Friends there before loading up and heading out.

We stopped about two and a half hours later in Palmerston North, where we had homemade cake with Liz, the sister of Janet, who’s watching our dog and is a regular attended at our meeting. Liz was a very gracious host, and we had a lovely conversation about a lot of things, including New Zealand politics and places to see on the North Island.

Then we headed to The Quaker Settlement, an intentional community of Quakers where we were going to spend the night. We got here around 6:30, just in time for a shared meal we didn’t know about, so we didn’t even have to go out to find food — we sat down and talked with a number of students on retreat here from Earlham School of Religion over dinner and chocolate zucchini cake.

After dinner, we got a tour of the twenty acres — a lot of it is being recovered, having originally been a Quaker school and operating farm until 1975. The folks living here are working to recover the land, which is mostly sandy soil dunes, with a combination of existing (mostly invasive) species and native species. They take a hybrid approach to the project, creating micro habitats for animals where there were none before. It’s really an excellent example of stewardship and recovering the land for future generations.

Tomorrow morning we’ll have breakfast and then join them in their morning worship before continuing on our way.

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