Chasing the Wild Goose

This page is for those of you interested in spirituality.  Find articles, events and links to spirituality issues here.

The Churches of the City of Perth invite you to a


Many People, One Footprint 

9-15 May 2016

Launch at Elizabeth Quay 12 noon on Monday 9 May 2016

Exploration of church denominations throughout the week

With a pilgrimage procession on Sunday 15 May starting at 1.00 pm at St Mary’s Cathedral then on to Wesley Uniting Church for 3.00 pm and to St George’s Cathedral for 5.00 pm 

All welcome

For more information contact Rev Frances Hadfield at

9275 3144 (Tuesday and Wednesday) or mobile 0410 698 595


Interesting Spirituality Link

Abbey of the Arts – transformative living through contemplative and expressive arts, following Benedictine spiritual guidelines.  This site has interesting links, online classes and free prayer resources.  You can sign up for their regular newsletter and submit your own poetry or art.

Book Review – A Life of Faith, Roland Ashby

If you are looking for meditative reading, books are usually the go. They go about things with system and planning. You can learn step by step.
But for sudden insights – the detail that a writer might think superfluous but turns out to be extraordinarily stimulating, and the nuts and bolts you don’t see in the finished spiritual house – interviews are just the thing.
This collection of interviews by Roland Ashby for TMA over the last fifteen years is very stimulating. The subjects include Rowan Williams, Laurence Freeman, Richard Rohr, Michael Leunig, Joan Chittester and David Tacey. They are all people you would like to hear more about.
Ashby is an excellent interviewer. He asks the simple questions we would like answers to, such as how precisely his conversation partners pray. But he can also draw them out by quoting intriguing phrases from their own works or other spiritual classics. The conversation then moves in surprising and illuminating directions.
The collective impression left by these interviews is one of great intelligence and humility brought to large questions, and an encouraging shared search for simplicity. A faith to live by needs to be both large and domestic, and here we find ourselves taken to the mountain tops and back to the pots and pans.
In addition to these interviews there is also, in the Appendix, a fascinating conversation between Rowan Williams and Michael Leunig. They spark off one another. Leunig remarks: “In our culture there’s an Australian pride in our irreverence. And yes, it’s a healthy irreverence, but I always feel it’s sad that children are often asked too young to abandon their natural reverence.”
To this Williams replies by recalling Stanley Spencer’s painting, Consider the lilies. “Christ is a very bulky, rather graceless, middle-aged man, shabby haired and heavy browed, on hands and knees, in a sandy waste looking at a tiny flower. It makes those words, ‘consider the lilies’, quite different and quite fresh. The sort of vague pious feel that that quote so often has suddenly becomes real because it is visualised in a very bizarre and challenging way as God’s reverence for God’s creation.”
Listening to this conversation the idea of reverence, and of so many other things, fizzles and sparks in the mind.
The Revd Dr Andrew Hamilton is a Jesuit Priest and Consulting Editor of Eureka Street Magazine.

The Path of Contemplation

All beings are words of God, His music, His art.  Sacred books we are, for the infinite camps in our souls.  Every act reveals God and expands His being. I know that may be hard to comprehend.  All creatures are doing their best to help God in His birth of Himself.  Enough talk for the night. He is laboring in me; I need to be silent for a while, worlds are forming in my heart.

                                                                                    Meister Eckhart


World Community for Christian Meditation

Christian Meditation is offered by the World Community of Christian Meditation (WA Community) in association with St George’s Cathedral Centre for Spirituality.  The host, Kevin Crombie, a prominent member of the Cathedral community, welcomes participants from 5.00pm until 5.45pm each Wednesday in St Saviour’s Chapel (under the Soldiers’ Memorial Chapel).

[The world community use of the symbol (ABOVE) of two doves perched on a chalice is inspired by the 5th century mosaic in Galla Placidia in an early Christian church in Ravenna, Italy.  The dove is the symbol of the Holy Spirit in Christianity and the water symbolises death and rebirth in baptism. The birds, one looking inward and one looking outward, symbolise the active and contemplative dimension of human beings, and the harmonising of each dimension that we strive to achieve in meditation.]

Venue: The Cathedral.  For location and parking information, please click here.


Coffee, Prayers and Spirituality

Spirituality and Energy Security – Mr Andrew Pickford, Managing Director, ISSA Indo-Pacific

As a consultant and researcher in the field of energy, Andrew Pickford will discuss the spiritual considerations of energy. This talk will cover topical matters around our energy use and conservation, such as the ‘rationing of energy’, as well as philosophies behind political decisions related to associated infrastructure. For example, the talk will examine the values and beliefs which guide how we consume electricity. Crucially, it will ask what value our society places on energy and whether this is any different to other civilisations and periods of history.  Plunger coffee, prayers, and a presentation, with an opportunity for questions and discussion.

Time: 9.30am – 11.30am.

Venue: Friends’ Room, Lower Burt Memorial Hall, 38a St Georges Terrace.

Entry: $5.00, including coffee or tea, and muffins.

Please book your place so that we can cater for you and ensure everyone has a seat. Registrations must be with Bishop Murray by the Monday before the event you are attending. Phone 9325 5766 or email:

Coalition for Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Detainees Need Gift Cards

CARAD is an independent not-for-profit organisation working with people of refugee background who now live in Western Australia.  Our priorities are:-

advocating for positive change in the refugee determination process to ensure fair and humane treatment for all

- supporting community based asylum seekers and refugees with emergency accommodation and a small living allowance if they are not eligible for other funding

- coordinating a volunteer program providing English language and homework support to adults and children from a refugee background

- speaking out against mandatory detention – visiting, supporting and advocating on behalf of people held in detention centres in Perth, Christmas Island and Curtin.

We have an emerging need for gift cards to give to clients so that they can purchase food or clothing.  These are easy to get from Coles/Myer, Woolworths (Essential or Groceries only) or IGA.  Add a gift card to your shopping basket, and send it to the CARAD office (245 Stirling St, Perth WA 6000).

We recommend that the sum on the card be between $20 and $50.
Please SHARE this message -we have hungry, cold clients NOW.

Labyrinth Event

The Council of Churches in partnership with the Dayspring Centre for Christian Spirituality warmly invites you to participate in a Labyrinth Walk.  The Labyrinth will be open for two days – Wednesday 30th May from 10.00am – 7.00pm and Thursday 31st May from 9.00am – 3.00pm at Wesley Uniting Church in the City. Orientation and talks on the history of the labyrinth are available along with refreshments and a bookshop.  For mor information: Isobelle Shortreed at


Let your God love you……

Edwina Gateley

Let Your God Love You

Be silent.
Be still.
Before your God.
Say nothing.
Ask nothing.
Be silent.
Be still.
Let your God look upon you.
That is all.
God knows.
God understands.
God loves you
With an enormous love,
And only wants
To look upon you
With that love.

Let your God—
Love you.

From Born in Lancaster, England, Edwina Gateley’s educational experiences have awarded her a Teacher’s Degree from England, a Masters in Theology from the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago and certification as an HIV counselor in the State of Illinois. From 1981 to 1982, Edwina lived for nine months in prayer and solitude in a hermitage in Illinois. In 1983, she spent over a year on the streets of Chicago, walking with the homeless and women involved in prostitution. Within these two experiences were the seeds of her ministry that would be realized in 1983 when she founded a house of hospitality and nurturing for women involved in prostitution. Numerous groups and individuals, including the Governor of the State of Illinois, the Mayor of Chicago, the late Cardinal Joseph Bernadin, and the former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, have publicly commended Edwina’s work and ministry. Edwina is currently writing, leading retreats for abused and marginalized women, and serving a “Mother Spirit” for Exodus, a program in Chicago for women in the second phase of recovery from prostitution. Edwina continues to give talks and retreats internationally. She is available to speak of her faith journey, and her struggles to be faithful to her call to urban ministry and mission. She also speaks on Transformation, Justice, Mission, Women in the Scriptures, Mysticism, Prayer and Spirituality.

A Father, A Son, and Two Important Questions

When Walker Brown was born in 1996, his parents Ian and Johanna knew something was wrong. Seven months later Walker was diagnosed with CFC — cardiofaciocutaneous syndrome, an extraordinarily rare genetic mutation that didn’t even have a name until 1986, or a genetic test until 2006. Estimates vary, but as few as 300 people in the world have CFC. As the months unfolded, it became clear that Walker was profoundly disabled.

As a baby he cried non-stop for hours. He has the signature facial dysmorphia of CFC. He never sleeps through the night and can’t talk. Eating difficulties necessitated a feeding tube. Significant heart and skin irregularities compromised his health. Worst of all, Walker would hit, bite, and scratch himself. Before long his medical record was six inches thick. The first geneticist that Ian Brown met told him that there were only eight other cases in the world. “Eight: it wasn’t possible. Surely we had been blasted out to an unknown galaxy.”

Brown later learned that CFC was caused by a random mutation in three genes. As a “fairly conventional atheist,” he understood the implications: “The scientific definition of evolutionary success, of a successful random mutation, is one that allows the organism to survive and reproduce. Nature alone would not have allowed my son to live. By the judgment of a geneticist, Walker was a deleterious effect of nature.” Brown didn’t resent the geneticist who used those exact words. “What I resented was the idea of my son’s life reduced to a typing error in a three-billion-long chain of letters, to one dinky nucleotide.”

So what is the meaning of Walker’s life — to himself, his family, and society? Is he no more than a “deleterious effect” of genetics? Brown’s memoir, The Boy in the Moon, tells how he’s tried to answer that question. The book has won numerous prestigious awards in Canada (where Brown lives). The New York Times named it one of the top five non-fiction books for 2011. I can’t remember reading a book that’s so carefully crafted, so brutally honest, so tenderly written, and so life-affirming.

The book describes the upheaval in his family and marriage, the sleep deprivation, the emotional exhaustion, and financial worries. He battles the bureaucratism of public schools, hospitals, and government agencies, most of which are staffed by competent and well-meaning people but which nevertheless standardize “one size fits all” protocols guaranteed to stymie the many. The internet made connections with other CFC families possible, and Brown visits them to trade stories. When Walker turned eleven they faced the agony and necessity of placing him in a group home (where he flourished): “Life with him and life without him: both were unthinkable.” Aggravating it all were the chronic feelings of guilt, shame, and failure that haunt parents of the profoundly disabled.

One of the many people Brown met was the fellow Canadian Jean Vanier, who in 1964 started the first L’Arche (the French word for “shelter”) home for the severely handicapped. Today there are over one hundred L’Arche homes in thirty countries. The purpose of these specifically Christian group homes, says Vanier, is not to “normalize” the disabled according to the standards of society, or to solve all their problems, which is never likely to happen, but rather to celebrate them as sacred gifts of God who have their own gifts to offer us.

Brown first visited the L’Arche community in Montreal. He then traveled to meet Vanier at the original L’Arche home in Trosly-Breuil in France. For several days he lived among the disabled, ate with them, talked with the staff, and experienced their community. It made a profound impact on him. During his interviews with Vanier, the latter insisted that whenever we meet a severely handicapped person, they want to ask us just two questions. Do you consider me human? Do you love me?

When we meet a profoundly disabled person, says Vanier, we go through several stages in our relationship with them. We probably begin with fear or pity at their appearance and behavior. Perhaps we progress to help them. Maybe we even respect them for who they are, although at this stage we still consider them less than normal. Finally, says Vanier, if we meet the disabled on their own ground, we behold them with wonderment and thanksgiving. We embrace them as fully human and love them for who they are. We can even see the face of God in them, for God uses the weak to confound the strong.

Brown describes the many things that he’s learned from Walker, like the difference between a genuine problem and a petty complaint, the sweetness of a single day, and precious time with his wife and daughter. But Walker took him to even deeper places. “I’ve begun simply to love him as he is, because I’ve discovered I can; because we can be who we are, weary dad and broken boy, without alteration or apology, in the here and now. The relief that comes with such a relationship still surprises me.”

Brown is an atheist, so he doesn’t see the face of God in Walker as suggested by Vanier. But he resonates with Vanier’s two questions: do you consider me fully human, and do you love me? Life with Walker has deepened his love. Walker had horribly bad luck in the DNA lottery, but he’s also the antidote to our many forms of false-consciousness; he never tries to be anyone but himself. He invites us to love him like he is, which is about the best thing any human being could ever hope to give or receive.

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love… Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another… If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother or sister, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother or sister, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother or sister.”See Ian Brown, The Boy in the Moon; A Father’s Journey to Understand His Extraordinary Son (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2009), 293pp.


The Good Shepherd


Gospel writer John
loved a good agricultural metaphor;
(were there many other kinds
in a pre-industrial age?)
Jesus, lover of people,
welcomer of ratbags
and friend of troubled souls;
likens himself to a shepherd
who cares only for the welfare of his sheep.
Animal rights proponents would love him
because he reckons the life of the human shepherd
to be more expendable
than those of his ovine flock.
But we all know that it’s not about sheep.
It is about people,
individuals like you and me,
who, we are assured,
are loved and valued,
watched over and cared for
by the one he calls Father.
Furthermore, the metaphor implies,
we are all part of something bigger,
joined into one huge flock
of disparate humankind;
each member of which
is also loved and respected,
cared for and wept over
by that same Father;
and expected to do the same

© 2012 Ken Rookes River of Life, Loddon Mallee Presbytery, Uniting Church