My introduction to meditation in the Christian tradition in August 2004 was akin to discovering an oasis in a desert. I had been wandering this spiritual desert for more than 20-years but finally I had a place to call home. I connected with the meditation community in Auckland and met many people including Fr. Peter Murphy who then, as now, is a mentor to many in the New Zealand community. In 2008 I became a founding trustee of NZCCM and have served on the national committee in various roles ever since.
Highlights include hosting the 2015 John Main Seminar, a Meditatio Seminar in 2019 and in November 2017 meeting a young Frenchman, Thomas Litzler, at a teaching day I was leading in my parish. When Thomas told me he was a horticulturist, I encouraged him to visit Bonnevaux as I felt his skills would be appreciated. A year later, almost to the day, Thomas launched his first web talk from Bonnevaux. Because of this unique link with Bonnevaux, the New Zealand community donates funds each year for the development of the orchard and gardens.
Currently I am the NZCCM Auckland regional coordinator and in March became a novice oblate of WCCM. In May I received an invitation to Zoom with Fr Laurence. He asked if I would give an online talk about my work as a hospice chaplain. At the 2019 Meditatio Seminar I gave a talk on The Contemplative Care of the Dying. The basis of my talk is this: when I started working at Harbour Hospice in 2013, I discovered that my meditation practice had prepared me for the role in ways I could never have imagined. My work often involves periods of silence and stillness, of being at peace with not knowing what is going on, of navigating deepening levels of presence, of using the mantra as a way to prepare myself for each new encounter with a dying person. I absolutely love working at my local hospice here on Auckland’s Hibiscus Coast.
The other reason Fr. Laurence wanted to talk was inviting me to join the WCCM Guiding Board. This is a huge honour for the New Zealand community. It is also a great honour for me. I have worked and volunteered in the not-for-profit sector for many years and prior to becoming a hospice chaplain, I had a long career in marketing and communications. I hope that what I have learned through life’s many twists and turns will be put to good use during my time on the Guiding Board.
I am married to Liz; we have two daughters, Victoria and Emily. Emily and her husband Paul have three daughters, Lucy, Georgia and Thea. Liz and I are conservation volunteers and love exploring New Zealand’s many national parks. Each Wednesday at 1730 hours I lead a meditation group at my local Catholic church, St Francis by the Sea in Manly on the Hibiscus Coast. My life is blessed in so many, many ways.