Friday, 25 April 2014

Tasmanian priests practice spiritual survival


This week the priests from Hobart and Devonport Stakes participated in a 3 day hike at Freycinet Peninsular. Their 30 kilometre walk included a 454m climb to the top of Mt Amos, overlooking Wineglass Bay. The climb was as difficult as it was breathtakingly beautiful. It was a camp that required physical ability, and their survival instincts were almost evident with their design of whalebone spears and skinning and preparation of fresh cooked eel, that one of the priests managed to catch.

The purpose of the camp was to help the priests understand their duties now and in the future as priesthood holders. On the first day, they paired up as they walked and were asked to memorise scriptures about the creation. They were also asked to discuss what the three most beautiful places they had visited were. They also theorised how the mountains around them were formed. They shared their discussions and scriptures later in a post-dinner devotional with the theme: "Recognising the Lord's hand in all things."

The next day was the day they all climbed to the top of Mt Amos. As they walked, they were asked to ponder three questions that would help others understand who they were: if you were an insect, what insect would you be? if you were a colour, what colour would you be? In your opinion, what would be the difference between survival and resilience, if there is a difference? In the devotional later that evening and as we sat on the beach at (non-alcoholic) Wineglass bay, the priests shared what insects they would be; butterflies, ants and bumblebees were amongst some of their responses. They shared what colours they would be; it came by no surprise that a lot of their colours were inspired by the nature surrounding them: the blue of the sky, the green of the plants and the blue of the ocean. The reasons to the responses they shared helped make the devotional a truly bonding experience and it finished with a great discussion about resilience and survival; both physical and spiritual.

On the last day as we hiked back to the car park over the 'Saddle', the priests were given one last challenge: each of the priests had to make the passing tourists smile. Each priest was successful with this challenge and had made each of those tourist's day a little bit better. They were told that something as simple as that is part of their responsibility to care for the saints, but not just the saints; in fact, anybody that they come in contact with.

All in all, you could say the whole hike was challenging but enjoyed by all. It was physical as well as spiritual and there were a lot of memories created.

P.S If the priests are reading this blog, remember what you were invited to do: record these experiences and memories down so that you don't forget them.