Mary books

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Book Readings, Organs and Spires

I saw the notice on the Tasmanian Writers Centre news.
".... any writers interested in reading during an event planned for the 150th anniversary celebrations of the charming St Mary's Anglican Church... Dr Lindsay Hutchinson will be presenting an organ recital on the beautiful 1860 pipe organ..."

I play (kinda) organs, Ray also loves classical music, we are both published, Hagley’s small village less than an hour’s drive away.

                                  “Why not?” thinks Mary.

We are just so honoured to have been able last Saturday evening to share together in this beautiful old church. This is a painting on a card available for sale at the church (and also with the photos used here with permission). Perhaps to many of you reading this, 150 years may seem only a very few compared to the old church buildings where you live. It is certainly not the oldest church here in our comparatively “new” Australia.

Ray and I only fully realised this when visiting a cathedral in England for the very first time. We stood in awe before the plaques on walls of Canterbury Cathedral with names and history going back to the first century AD. And after living for two years in England and able to meander through the beautiful countryside, we could not get over the fact it seemed every village, no matter how small, had a church spire reaching to the heavens as a testimony, a reminder of the God who loves and those who gather to worship Him.

And the book readings? Well, Ray was able to choose a reading from each of his devotional books relatively easier than I could from my novels, especially from his From Eden with Love. How many weddings have been celebrated here and how many will in the years to come. How many times has that wonderful pipe organ of only about three octaves and a relatively few stops peeled out for both weddings, funerals as well as lead in worship songs?
In this celebration of the years of a church where so many, many people have worshipped, I ended up choosing a couple of pages from my Return to Baragula set in that small village’s old wooden building. It certainly did not have a beautiful area for an altar and paintings as does St Mary’s and my second reading was harder to find. We all know only too well that saints and sinners sit in church pews. I decided on a passage in Justice at Baragula that mentions the heroine’s sad attitude to going to church when her own spiritual life has lapsed.

The prominent spire reminded us of our God who deserves all our worship, honour and commitment. The old organ sounded out reminding us of the many faithful who over many years have sung out their faith and love. We can only pray our writing efforts God also used to remind folk that He loves us despite all our failings, that He has placed us in the Body of Christ who gather together all over the world to worship and praise Him together – and that whether in a grand cathedral, a beautiful but smaller church like this St Mary’s, simpler wooden structures – or perhaps even under a tree or a hidden room in dangerous places in our crazy world where being a Christian is a death sentence.

Whenever and wherever we can, let us never neglect opportunities to gather together to worship, to pray, to hear the Word of God that nourishes and guides us to walk closely with Him.

Oh, and when you visit Tasmania, don't forget to find St Marys at Hagley, a testimony to generations of faithful folk in our beautiful Island State seeking to honour our Lord.


  1. Wow, what a great opportunity. I would have loved that. Thanks for sharing. XXOO

  2. Sounds like the perfect venue for readings, Mary.
    I'm glad to have hooked up to your blog too, from among those on the Christian Writers Downunder blog roll.