Solomon Isles blog - "Electric Cars" - Chester Cathedral

Solomon Isles blog - "Electric Cars"

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Dean Tim and wife Jen (also Cathedral Education Officer) are away from the Cathedral for three weeks in the Solomon Isles, preaching, teaching, working with the diocese and meeting the locals. Here's their second 'bumper' blog from the weekend.

Saturday 22 June

Friday night at Tabalia is called the 'Long Night'. This means the novices are free until Saturday morning to do their own thing, and they need to provide their own food, providing they are back in time for worship the next day. Chapel services today were simpler than the rest of the week and I will swear the attendance was lower than normal. The day has been a quiet one broken up by conversations with a few of the brothers, including Brother Augustine who had dinner with us in Chester a year ago whilst he was Head Brother. There has been time to read and to take a couple of walks down to the river. The brothers cultivate potatoes and carrots there, forage for jungle food like coconuts, and grow some crops we couldn’t recognise. A couple who had been sent to work down there today are in the picture (below).

Sunday 23 June

Last night had finished with a talk to the Brothers and Novices at Tabalia about our way of life in Chester Cathedral. In many ways, living with them had been like experiencing in our contemporary world the vibrancy of a growing medieval western monastic community. They connected well with the mission our Cathedral has now found for itself in its post-monastic guise. We discussed the ministry to visitors, our place in the wider diocese, our music and worship, our commercial and heritage sustainability, and our prophetic ministry. Shared concerns about climate change were strong and they were fascinated by the whole concept of the Gaia installation. They liked that we were paperless, and if they only had electricity 24 hours / day they would love to use screens rather than books for the words of worship. But the thing that left them most animated was that some of us drive electric cars. There are no such vehicles in the Solomon Islands.

They told us they had seen them in the movies but now realised they were real. Despite my really good sermon on Sunday morning, the main talking point has remained the viability of electric cars on Melanesian roads with big potholes. Speaking of which, we made our way back to Honiara this afternoon in the Provincial minibus. A slow and hard journey, but at least there is the air conditioning of Chester Rest House at the end of it after the unrelenting humidity of Tabalia - and a shower. Bliss.

The Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford

The Dean

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