One of a series in Mornington Church, November 2008
The Testimony of Robyn Freeth, last in a memorable series in which members of Mornington Church shared their faith journey in their own way. Robyn is seldom heard as a speaker in the Church but her testimony made a deep impression.
We used to start Sundays off with mousetraps – beetroot & cheese and tinned sardines. By the time I got out of bed they were usually cold and cardboard like, but still a good start before all seven of us took to our bikes, the smallest on the special seat behind Mum, through the track from Wingatui to Mosgiel to arrive in our matching sweaters at Mosgiel Methodist Church. Afterwards going wild in the hall (pushing each other around on the tea trolleys if no one was looking) while the grown ups drank their tea. Then we could make the pilgrimage back home to the smell of the Sunday roast. Not every Sunday was exactly like that, but that’s how its stuck in my mind. The welcome and warmth from the folk at church – and the care they had for each other and our family were a huge influence on my growing up. As I got older and they were desperate for Sunday School teachers, me and my friend Fiona Miller agreed to take it on cause we liked doing the crafty stuff with the kids, however the Sunday School Superintendent and bible class teachers were a bit full on for me at the time, and when I was sat down upon a chair and prayed around for the holy spirit to descend upon me and fill me up - absolutely nothing happened – I obviously wasn’t a chosen one and not cut out for religious enlightening. So I was in all truth relieved when I started work and moved into town – the perfect excuse to get away from it all! I still really enjoyed going back to Mosgiel Church, seeing the congregation and ministers, and chose to get married there several years later, even though I was living in Auckland at the time. After a small brush with an evangelistic church in Auckland which was attended by my Mother-In-Law, I saw the light and we moved back to Dunedin. Then Lynley introduced me to Mornington. Here I discovered a beautiful church, and an open, non judgemental, non pushy congregation that let you get involved at your own pace and to your own level. The ministers spoke a lot of sense about everyday things, and the support I got when I had my children was overwhelming, and although you were all blissfully unaware of my marriage breaking up, the comfort I got when I came on a Sunday and could quietly reflect and put things into perspective was invaluable to my sanity. It was ok to feel like I did and it would all turn out ok.
Essentially I quietly cruise through life taking the bumps and highlights with the minimal of fuss, often not noticing stuff (not because it wasn’t important) and I’ve discovered that my faith is very much the same. I live it quietly and everyday, I don’t shout it from the rooftops or try to bring it into conversations. It’s a way of living and treating others so that you in turn feel you are using the gift of life to its full potential.
The other area of my life that provides me with friendship and sanity is singing. It was here that I came across a song written by Horatio Spafford after he lost his only son in 1871, his fortune in the great Chicago fire, then two years later his four daughters in a shipping tragedy. Spafford travelled to meet his grieving wife and wrote these words as his ship passed over where their ship was lost.
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.