Photo Journal: A Day at Sister Eveleen’s House

Yesterday I spend the day at the Sister Eveleen Retreat House, in Sumner Christchurch with my good friend Gideon. Sr Eveleen House is a contemplative retreat environment in which many seek to experience God’s presence, find rest and replenishment, listen to their heart and God’s leading in their lives. The house overlooks Pegasus Bay and is around the corner of Whitewash Heads. Stunning views that truly celebrate God’s creation.

And inspiring place in an inspiring environment that’s all I can say.

But let the images do the talking. I can’t get enough of the beautiful scenery there, this time I guess the sunset over the bay was just to amazing to not notice and photograph.

Photo Story: The Sister Eveleen Retreat House and Whitewash Heads

As part of the Alpha  course we are following a weekend of seminar sessions was organized.

The weekend sessions took place at the Sister Eveleen Retreat House in Sumner.According to the website:

Sr Eveleen House is a contemplative retreat environment in which many seek to experience God’s presence, find rest and replenishment, listen to their own heart and God’s leading in their lives. Sr Eveleen bequethed this house to the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch in 1939 as a house of prayer and spiritual help. It is owned by the Anglican Church and runs ecumenically. The spiritual ministry at Sr Eveleen Retreat house is rooted in western Christian contemplative spirituality.
Set on Scarborough hill Sumner the retreat house overlooks Pegasus Bay in a stunning natural environment, with a range of coastal and beach walkways.

What an amazing place this turned out to be and the perfect environment for a weekend of Alpha with the Holy Spirit as a central theme. The serenity of the place sort of opens you up completely. Quietly imagining I could be writing books or music there.

Prayer gets a different dimension when you are in such an environment an  could so imagine how contemplative prayer would be an amazing experience there. That day, looking out over the bay with all you could hear was the rushing of the sea; AMAZING.

Now I don’t know about you but I pretty much sure that ever since my childhood days I have been fascinated by rays of light coming through the clouds. I remember vividly one of the pictures of an old illustrated Children Bible and how these rays of light appeared to symbolize the communication of God (the Bible itself speaks of the rainbow as a reminder of the covenant with Noah). It was a sign of God trying to tell you something if only to let you know that He was there right with you. For some reason that always stuck with me, believer or not. And I was not disappointed on that day.

If the weekend was indeed all about God in our life, about being filled with the Holy Spirit than this view seemed most certainly a sign to me that he was there to make the Alpha weekend a success.


On the way back from Hanmer the day before I was to leave New Zealand to remigrate to the Netherlands, the view below appeared in the mirror of the car and  ended up stopping the car and sitting there almost in the middle of the road to take pictures.The picture below has been on the front of my mind all the time in the Netherlands.

In light of what was said earlier in this post and in hindsight I have often wondered whether this was more than mere coincidence. That question became all the more real when after my return back in New Zealand, for some reason I felt like I needed to drive out for some pictures of the red northwester evening skies. I never saw what you see below when I made the picture but could not believe my eyes when I was developing pictures.

When a face like that, on top of all the other things that were happening and being experienced, looks at you from the skies, well what shall I say. Anyway back to beautiful Sumner and Whitewash Heads.

A Sunday Afternoon Walk

Later on the Sunday afternoon, after the Alpha course I went for a walk up the cliffs: the Whitewash Heads of which I had heard but never been. Again an amazing though tiring experience. Being one of those hurried Dutchies I tend to go to fast uphill and you are always paying the price for it. The walk may have its steep moments but the views most certainly make it all worth while.

A very special Sunday indeed.

Summer evening at Sumner Beach

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Photo Journal: Evening Picnic in Sumner

I for one am always in for eating in the open air. With winter coming up we best try to enjoy as much of the sunshine as we can. So earlier this week we took the boys out for diner at the beach. The day started relatively cold. A snail agreed on the nippiness and as soon as we opened the window in the morning he quickly came in trying to find some warmth.

Later that day it became time for diner at the beach. School uniforms off and beach clothes on, off for an evening picnic. Nice and simple: some bread, cheese, and other stuff to put on the bread and some juice.

The boys loved it, for one because the are very energetic and sitting at the table is not one of their greatest virtues. In between bites they now enjoyed the sand, water and all that came in with the tide, no matter how BIG

or small.

Me and my wife just enjoyed each other, the boys, the sound of the sea  and the beautiful evening skies which at times looked like a painting.


Rapanui, Sumner, Christchurch

With three boys, the beach is always a great place to go and that’s exactly what we did the other Sunday afternoon. Sumner is a great place to do just that, have the boys climb the rocks, dig an build sandcastles and other structures and just enjoy the sound of the ocean. Weather wise we were not that lucky as it started to cloud and fog up. At the same time that made for some beautiful pictures. We parked the car an got on the beach near shag rock, at the start of the estuary. It is funny how some things you start to take for granted and that had certainly been my case where it comes to the landmark Shag Rock.

Rapanui or Shag Rock stands at the entrance to the Heathcote/Avon estuary. This distinctive rock, known as Rapanui since Waitaha times, is one of the oldest landmarks of the South Island. Rapanui means “the great sternpost”. It marked the way into the estuary, a guiding stone indicating the vast wetlands beyond that in pre-pākehā days extended across the present site of Christchurch. (Source:

And since a picture says more than a thousand words here some additional shots of the beautiful scenery.

And Rapanui was not the only discovery to be made. While walking along the beach I saw something white that looked like a skull, and indeed it was with the rest of the seal still attached to it and half gone and then there were the enormous laps of seaweed that can only make you imagine what incredible forests there must be below the surface.

What a great day it turned out to be despite the weather.