Tuesday 15 March 2016

A Presbyterian Xmas, 1943

(Excerpt from Lloyd Geering's 2015 book On Me Bike: Cycling round New Zealand 80 years ago.)

December 1943
"Three days before Christmas Day I went down to the Kurow railway station and consigned our bikes to Picton. That year Christmas Day fell on a Monday, and as it was my first Christmas as a parish minister I decided to conduct a service in the Kurow Church on Christmas Day. In those days this was something of a novelty in the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand, because our denomination had long followed the tradition of the Church of Scotland in abandoning the observance of Christmas, Lent, Easter, and all the saints' days as Romish practices for which there was no biblical warrant. The observance of what is known as the Christian Year was only just emerging in the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand when I was a student, having been introduced by the 'high-church' ministers whose lead I had decided to follow.
"An illustration of how strongly some people felt about this innovation comes from my own experience that very year. Nancy and I had two recently married friends, Rod and Olwyn Stockwell, to holiday with us over Christmas. Olwyn was the daughter of a staid Presbyterian minister and, on finding that I was conducting worship on Christmas Day, flatly refused to accompany us to church or allow her Anglican husband to do so, even though they were guests in our home. Nancy and I took no offence, but did allow ourselves to be quietly amused by it all." (p.100-101)

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