Last Saturday I had breakfast with a wonderful group of people from Lismore Uniting Church. I have to be gluten free, and often 'bring my own' to such events, so I hope I didn't offend anyone. The sharing of food amongst friends is one of the greatest marks of hospitality I know. I humbly apologised to them, as I talked about their gift, and the gift of hospitality that we're able to share.

I grew up on a farm at Coopers Shoot via Bangalow - and whoever arrived down the dirt track that led into our property would be welcomed. They would receive a smile, a handshake, respect, & a cuppa. Even the Jehovahs Witnesses received the same treatment; as we may not always agree, but hospitality was a core virtue that would not be neglected. There were no locks on the doors, and there was a simple chain on the farm gate to keep the cows in. Everyone was welcome.

I live in a fairly comfortable world. I don't mean it is perfect - just that it's mainly predictable. So it has been a bit of a surprise to me to meet new friends whose lives to date have been decidedly uncomfortable and unpredictable.

I have got to know several families who have settled in Lismore having previously lived in places like Congo, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Sudan. Many of these friends always call me 'pastor'. When I say to just call me Ian, they respond by saying "Yes, pastor"; so I guess that means I'll keep being called 'pastor', or 'past' for short. (Good aussie habit  that  one - making every word shorter).