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A unique and fateful time

profiling Evan Lewis


 What motivates me?   God,  I hope.   But the service of God has to be worked out in particulars.
We live in a unique and fateful time.   Another god,  Mammon,  now lords it over the world.   He fascinates us.   But he is without pity.   And he cares not at all that he is destroying the earth.   Unless there is a successful rebellion against him quite soon,  human civilization will not survive the next century.   That gives me a substantial agenda of truth telling  -  in a world awash with lies  -  and community-building amongst people of good will.evan lewis pic
A healed world will be spiritually awake.   The vocation of the spiritual traditions  (and therefore of Christian society where I happen to find myself)  is to become pattern communities of compassionate devotion.   One way I try to contribute in my own community is by encouraging dialogue with our biblical heritage.      (Evan Lewis)
No sand,  and a long way from regular ministry work,  but for retired Dunedin minister,  Evan Lewis,  surfing the Internet has opened the door to communication world-wide.

http://www.dunedinmethodist.org.nz  is where you'll find Dunedin Parish's 100-page,  ever expanding website.   It's currently attracting international and domestic attention with around 120 'hits'  -  visitors to the site  -  a month.   Content includes justice and environmental issues,  worship resources,  theological reflection,  Bible readings,  new hymn music,  history and comment on Methodism and a section on gay and lesbian issues.   Local parish news also gets a mention.

Some pages  'present the fruit of creativity of our people,'  Evan says  -  featuring quips,  quotes and pulpit prayers.

On the net since June '97,  feedback e-mail messages come from around the globe  -  especially the US and Canada where Internet access is greatest.

Family influence was behind Evan's initial dalliance with the World Wide Web when son,  Jonathan,  home on holiday,  made him aware of the Internet's potential.

'As a result I upgraded my computer,  signed on with a provider,  then opened up a conversation with the parish about the possibility of establishing a parish website.   It turned out the same idea had occurred to others.   We set up an editorial committee and eventually went on-line.'

Anyone in the parish with the skills and desire to contribute to the site does,  says Evan.   Normally each page shows the name of the person creating it and reflects their interests rather than the official position of the whole parish.

The only theological guidance the parish has given is that the site be inclusive.   Among other things,  this means including people who think more traditionally as well as the more adventurous.   'I imagine all that the editorial group would ask is that contributors  -  besides being competent writers  -  should present something a bit original with integrity and openness,'  Evan says.

When not in front of a computer screen,  Evan is an author,  convenor of the Dunedin Methodist Unit for Justice,  Peace,  and the Integrity of Creation,  helps out at the Friday Mornington games club,  prepares the parish bulletin,  sets new material for the parish pew folders,  plays the piano,  sings in the choir and conducts worship when called on.


picture and story by Helen Corrigan
reprinted from 'Crosslink' with permission



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