Paul has a blend of posts some of which bear strong evidence of his theological studies but his more personal posts are very easy reading with great photos to make his point. It’s clearly evident that he is a deep thinker, a family man and very fond of Western Australia, his home state. So please visit his blog and experience the richness for yourself.
Firstly, Kate has created such a wonderful way to share and meet, and I am so glad I have encountered her online. Now for something of myself.
I was raised in the heart of Midlands coal mining in Nottinghamshire, England. Dad was a coal miner from Nottinghamshire, mum was a factory girl from Derbyshire (they met at one the regular dance meets), they were both survivors of the blitz and hopeful for a brave new world. Dad applied to be retrained in 1955, but was refused as coal mining was a reserved occupation even then, as England was still recovering from the war and was in the midst of several other international skirmishes.
Dad was never convinced that the earth could continue to sustain consumable fuels and foresaw the end of coal mining in England. My parents eventually decided to emigrate, looking first to Canada (which they discounted because it was even colder in winter there), then to Australia. And so, in April 1965 we left England and travelled 14, 500 kms from where I was born to arrive seven weeks later in Fremantle, Western Australia on the hottest day in May for several decades, a shock to the system.
While I live so far from where I was born and have had no real desire to return to live, I still feel a connection (as we probably all do to our birth place) to Nottinghamshire. The only time I light up now about Test Cricket is when it’s at Trent Bridge, Nottingham.
I’m the oldest of three siblings, my sister Mel and brother Phil, all still living around W.A. Dad died 60 yrs young in 1990, and has left a hole in my life. Mum is still alive and is now 87, but that has been a difficult journey for me.
I met fabulous Lyn in 1982 and we married in 83, amazing that we can look back already over 34 yrs of being together. We went to live on her family’s farm in Northam in 83. In 85 our first child Jon was born and Hayden arrived in 87, and they have been a source of joy and focus for me. We part-time farmed from 84 – 96 and I still grieve aspects of that, it was challenging yet wonderful at the very same time, probably because we were completely immersed in life together. Lyn trained in counselling, and works as a highly successful psychotherapist. Jon is studying a second masters in criminal law, he married the delightful Anna in 2013 who is a scientist completing her Phd.
Lyn, John, Hayden and I with my cousin Rebecca in the farmhouse
Lyn and I built ourselves in ’87
I came from a long line of Church of England heritage down both streams of family. It is ironic that I sit loosely with religion yet at the same time find spirituality deeply satisfying. It’s a very long story but I felt called to serve as an Anglican priest, and was duly accepted for training in 1997. We moved to the city of Perth to do this and I was ordained in 2000. However, I sit loosely with authority (my life is full of irony) and I am more committed to interfaith dialogue.
I have moved a little in my work. Since leaving the farm I have served in Perth in two communities, and then in the wheat-belt in several communities from Merredin to Esperance, Kalgoorlie, Southern Cross, Mukinbudin, Nungarin, Trayning, and more. I eventually moved from Perth Diocese to Bunbury Diocese and served in Boyup Brook and Bridgetown, recently moving into Bunbury, the main city of the South-West. I work in both parish work, and education, and spirituality.
I really love meditation, and especially working with labyrinth’s too. I have had some experience working in interfaith or across other religions and I have a strong love of the teachings of Buddhism.
My education has been varied. I hated high school and I learned to ‘wag’ school at 15 and miss classes I couldn’t face. In those heady days of the early seventies you could be served underage and no one would worry so I headed for the pub and a schooner or two. I also managed to get away with staying for the ‘floor show’ as it was quaintly called. I failed to get into University after yr 12 (surprise, surprise) and repeated my TAE in 1976 and finally made it, studying history and political science. But I spent way too much time in the guild bar and working late nights, and deferred before I was thrown out.
I went off to work as a cleaner, then a gardener, I had my own small gardening round and did some landscaping contracts as well. I went into horticultural studies at TAFE and eventually, while living on the farm, transferred to agricultural studies. I loved it.
In 1987 I began three years of a theology and cultural anthropology degree, followed by a degree in Australian History and Religious Philosophy I 1996. This culminated in my ordination training with an honours degree in theology – my focus being the environment. Since then I have indulged more of my personal interests and have done post grad work in Spiritual Direction or soul companioning, and professional supervision. Ironic when I think back to how I hated school. But where I was stymied by secondary education, I was liberated in post secondary.
I really enjoy my extra curricula activity working with Dayspring Centre for Christian Spirituality as a member and presenter. I encourage journaling, meditation, circle dancing, labyrinth use, bush walking and camping as spiritual practices.
I am deeply committed to several causes, social justice, restorative justice (as opposed to punishment and revenge), compassion for refugees and interfaith dialogue, all of which gets me into a lot of hot water online.
I’m not one for flying. But we have been to Poland to see my oldest son’s in-laws and some amazing, and some sad places (Auschwitz being one). I have really enjoyed several visits to Canberra, and Sydney, loved Adelaide and the Adelaide hills (Harndorf in particular and the special treat of seeing Hans Heysen’s studio). I am one for bush walking, my youngest son and I have nearly completed the northern half of the Bibulmun Track, I’m half way through the Cape to Cape track on the south west coast. And have enjoyed many other trails. In 2014 a highlight for me was visiting Uluru and Kings Canyon, all deeply spiritual and significant for me.
I love my home, but this is also a preferred state of being for me.
me at Hans Heysen’s studio
I started blogging in 2012, but I found it hard to get going. I wanted to speak into the world but I wasn’t not sure what I wanted to really say. I originally started on Face Book with a side site for comment, but it wasn’t what I really wanted. Then I found WordPress and went with it. Blogging is for my creative expression, and which is at the same time, a means of wholeness for me.
I really love the vulnerability of writing, I have to put myself out there and see what happens. I have met some lovely people on line which is a great experience too, and I learn a lot from others, and I enjoy the reading and the dialogue.
My Favourite post is not one that was favourite for others, but which meant a lot to me personally: https://pvcann.com/2017/04/30/anzac-shiboleth-anzac-relgion/ I wrote in a fit of pique how I detest the marketing of Anzac Day and how it has become a false nationalism, disregarding the real trauma of Anzac’s at Gallipoli. It is important to me because we are creating a false national identity out of something we know nothing about, and it is a military identity rather than a creative identity. This has also been my most popular post online, probably because its controversial.
I love bush walking, camping, renovating, gardening, local travel, writing, and cooking, but a lot of my friends may not know that I love painting or that I am mad on trains and am an avid railway modeller.