New Day Herald

Sumitra Menon, Kerri Boyington (front), Lalage Craig, Michele Gennoe, Taru Hoogenboom, Stasia Conlon

A Magnificent Weekend in Sydney with the Traveler in 2023

Circular Quay — to most Sydneysiders, and especially on sparkling autumn days, it showcases our city like nothing else does. There is always something happening at Circular Quay – it is a magical place with eateries, buskers, art galleries; ferries and boats and ocean liners on the glittering harbour; the Opera House, the Bridge, and…travellers. And for a few days in March, it was home to one very special Traveler.

John Morton and Leigh Taylor-Young Morton’s visit was long-awaited – it had been three years since the last Aussie Conference and we were more than ready. Susan Skelton, with her usual aplomb, enthusiasm and efficiency, and a small team of assistants, had worked untiringly for months. Unlike previous years, however, the Tour was to include all the major cities, which meant that instead of a 3- or 4-day conference in Sydney, we would have three events over two days, for our feast of Traveler wisdom.

It was a magnificent weekend feast. Before the events began, there was the joy of getting to the venue by ferry – always exhilarating – and reconnecting with our fellow-students: mostly locals but quite a few from other parts of Australia, and from New Zealand (a shout-out to Suzie Temple and her band of merry Kiwis). It was both funny and sobering to see our older selves, some now with mobility devices, and so uplifting to experience the familiar and undeniable love and joy still present in us all. And of course, many of us had already had services with Vincent, Lesley and Chris earlier in the week. Such blessings.

A small digression here to acknowledge the teams behind the scenes: registration, supplies, open workshop, ministers and initiates meeting, and Blessingsfest. And Bob Zapf and Richard Price for their untiring work with camera and sound. While I myself was not involved in assisting much this year, I know from previous years how much love and hard work goes into getting the events flowing smoothly. God bless you all for taking such good care of us!

The first event was the open workshop. Leigh was introduced by the affable and eloquent Andrew St John, and she was gracious and impeccable as always in her presentation, taking us lovingly through the process of “Building the Strength of Spirit Within” to evoke our inner Spiritual Warrior. As often happens, I cannot remember much of the content but my notes tell me that Spiritual Exercises (SEs) are (surprise, surprise!) vital as a means of spiritual transport into Light, love, the Sound Current and the heart of the Mystical Traveler. Honestly, is there anything else we need to know? The whole workshop felt warm, Soul-affirming and joyful, and reminded us yet again that we have such wonderful tools and teachings at our disposal.

After lunch, at which the highlight was not the food but fellowship – thank you, Stasia Conlon for capturing the camaraderie so beautifully in your photos – we returned to the main room for the second part of the day’s delicious spiritual offerings: the Ministers and Initiates Meeting.

David Craven, he of the sonorous tones, was the MC for this part of the day’s events, which began with Andrew St John’s rendition of his composition, “Angel of Light”. Cheeky and fun-filled as he can be, Andrew’s love and devotion always shine through in service to the Traveler, this time in song. It was a beautiful piece. A few moments of solemnity followed as we remembered those who had moved into Spirit after having been a vibrant part of our community not so long ago. As I watched, I felt so blessed remembering good times with several of them who had been dear personal friends. I experienced myself resolving to be in greater appreciation of those still around me.

Service awards followed, presented by Vincent Dupont, with Robert McVicar and David Craven being worthy recipients – their contributions to MSIA Queensland and to the Aussie community at large, are immeasurable. These were followed by a “surprise” award to the ebullient Vic Vukovic, our quiet achiever, who has changed lives by offering his love, support and service with such joy and enthusiasm, however, wherever and whenever he can.

Vincent then gave us a Presidential update, touching on what was happening in Los Angeles, what was available to us via the digital medium, the impacts of recent changes on our community Down Under, and how we could serve and participate in those changes. He also led us through a tithing and seeding meditation – and I must say I do love the convenience of being able to seed via the MSIA app, rather than deal with the forms and envelopes of the past.

The next segment, after a short break, began with another heartfelt original song, this time by Louise Davidson. It was great to see that even though we hadn’t heard her in many years, Louise was still strong in voice and more importantly, in Spirit. Onya, Louise!

Then the part we had all been waiting for: John Morton took the stage. It was quite an unusual seminar, peppered with short J-R clips and anecdotes of the early days of MSIA, but flavoured as always with John’s exemplary devotion and call for each of us to connect with Spirit and focus on Soul Transcendence. John took questions as well, covering unconditional love to karma to prayer to kriyas to the Basic Self. Kerri Boyington tells me that her favourite quote of the evening was “Kind words are the songs of the Soul”. Gold. And my heart opened a little more when John said that there is no need to earn the Lord’s blessing; we just have to allow it…

Which gives me the perfect segue for talking about the final Sydney event: the Blessingsfest. Once again, pages of notes and such a wealth of information: on SEs, the Sound Current, the diverse ways in which the Traveler Consciousness works, the real meanings of confidence and integrity; and the experience of enthusiasm. John’s indefatigability at Blessingfests always takes my breath away – the ability to speak, standing, for four and a half hours without wavering once from his message of keeping our eyes on the Lord, and holding Soul Transcendence as our focus. I do believe he would have kept going if the hotel staff had not indicated that they needed us to leave.

But in the end, what stays with me is the still point, the sacredness of sitting at the Master’s feet, and absorbing the blessings, allowing them to enter my heart, my life, and knowing that all is well. Because, the blessings indeed already are.


Baruch Bashan.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *