Trip to Buninyong
Yesterday the weather forecast was for storms, hail, thunder, even snow in the mountains, but we were optimistic and set off to attend a funeral of a former colleague of Peceli, the Rev Alex Hodgson. The sun shone nearly all the way. Buninyong is an hour away, before reaching Ballarat and the beautiful countryside included a mountain. It was the first inland town proclaimed in Victoria and where gold was first discovered in the area leading to the huge Gold Rush in the 1850s. Then they expected the town to boom so large buildings were constructed, the Town Hall, and fine churches. However prosperity ended and the town reverted to a pastoral settlement with about 3000 people.
Rev Alex Hodgson was at St Andrews Uniting Church in the 80s, the time when Ormond Rd (where Peceli was the minister) and St Andrews were a joint parish, so we came to know, love and respect Alex and his wife Bernice and used to meet them every Friday morning, and also the ministers swapped pulpits at times. The funeral was a fine tribute to a gentle man with a large heart and even a radical sense of compassion for all kinds of people. The music was a celebration - with a group of musicians leading the loudest congregational singing I have ever heard at a funeral. Drums, keyboard, guitar and singers with microphones. No 'Abide with me'. No 'Amazing Grace', but 'Let us sing to the God of salvation', 'I the Lord of Sea and Sky' ;and 'Because He lives'. The music used with the photographs of the life of Alex included a song by the Seekers and 'Wonderful world.'
Also it was good to see a very old style church full of people and the garden included a Labyrinth which is a beautiful way to use their land.