AAL Victoria September Chapter Meeting

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Location

2 Brunswick St

2 Brunswick Street

Room 400.G.03

Fitzroy, VIC 3065

Australia

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We will be starting at 4.00pm with a paper by Michael Wallace, who is a Ph.D. student with the ACU Centre for Liturgy. Michael is a priest of the Diocese of Dunedin, Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia. He studied arts and theology at the University of Otago and Ecumenics at Trinity College Dublin. He is currently Vicar of Dunedin North, Chaplain of Selwyn College at the University of Otago and Canon of St. Paul’s Cathedral Dunedin. Michael's doctoral work is based on the topic Defrosting Christmas: locating the liturgical year in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Michael will be sharing a paper with us, 'Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades?’ (Job 38:31) The potential for inculturation in the celebration of Matariki.

Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars known in English as the Pleiades, the Seven Sisters or Messier 45. Matariki is also the name of the festival connected with the re-sighting of the stars each year in June or July after approximately four weeks during which they fall below the horizon. The Matariki festival is associated with remembering the dead, change in seasons, planting and harvesting.

In Aotearoa New Zealand the Matariki festival was celebrated widely before Europeans arrived. Due to disruption of Māori customs and culture caused by loss of land and urbanisation, celebration of Matariki dwindled in the early twentieth century. Celebrations re-emerged in the 1990s, since 2001 Te Papa Tongarewa/Museum of New Zealand has organised an extensive programme of Matariki events and promoted observance of the festival as an event of national identity. In 2019 Matariki was observed by hundreds of thousands around the country celebrating with a wide range of activities.

Matariki has evidently struck a chord with New Zealanders, but its re-emergence raises many questions. The focus of the festival is a little difficult to discern; is it New Year, midwinter, harvest, Thanksgiving, Halloween or a festival of national identity?

It could be argued that the reborn Matariki is a festival in search of meaning or an attempt at inculturation of various Northern Hemisphere festivals, or a festival being re-purposed in order to promote a nationalistic agenda.

The fact that promotion of Matariki is needed in a majority Christian country indicates a failure of inculturation of the liturgical year into the NZ context. The lack of a midwinter festival and associated rituals connected with the Christian calendar have left a void which the church has not filled, and which others are now filling without reference to Christianity.

In this presentation Michael will invite us to explore how ‘to bind the sweet influences of Pleiades’ and how celebration of Matariki might assist Christians in Aotearoa New Zealand to inculturate the liturgical year.

At 5.00pm we will move to the beautiful surroundings of the chapel of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop for Evening Prayer. We will be drawing on chants from Taizé to enrich our worship time, so it's a chance to bring your voice and help the chapel echo with the sound of our praises.

After Evening Prayer we will continue with discussion of the 2021 National Conference over some nibbles and a drink. We want the conference to be hospitable, enjoyable, stimulating, and fruitful for all. We aspire to attract an audience from Australia and our wider regional neighbourhood. This meeting will focus on the conference theme. This part of the meeting will be an opportunity for open discussion.

Date and Time

Location

2 Brunswick St

2 Brunswick Street

Room 400.G.03

Fitzroy, VIC 3065

Australia

View Map

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