Kia ora All Saints whānau,
Repentance and Fruitfulness are the key themes we take away from our reading and 'Sentinels' study for this week. That sounds daunting!
It is another week coming to a close and we are still hearing about cases popping up all around our community. It is another week and still we see harrowing images from wars around the world. It is another week and we see another scandal from a leader in the church and an actor at the OSCARS.
Repentance and frutifulness sounds daunting but is so needed. We need God, we need to hear his voice, we need his peace and love to reign, we need to listen to God in how we respond and we need God to do the work at reconciliation. Our response as Gendy points out in the study is to '"change our mind to the mind of God" and then live that out so that God can produce fruit.
This week we are in house churches again and then next week we return to gathering together for Palm Sunday. In these house church we hope that this is exactly what is happening. We are aligning our minds to Christ and we are helping each other to live out our faith in God. That's why we have set aside the 5th Sunday (May 29th) as a day where we want to take our house churches outside the church walls. To make relationships with people and to grow God's kingdom. This is hopefully another step in encouraging us to be aligned to God's voice and will.
With Easter coming up this is another call to repentance and fruitfulness. As we all journey through this story (some of us will be doing that at the Anglican Youth Movement Easter Gathering) may we find Christ again; may we stop enough to hear and see the Easter story and remind ourselves of the saving power of God, through Jesus and by his Spirit. Be sure to join us on Good Friday as we hold stations of the Cross with the Catholics and at our 9am and 10.30am Services on Easter Sunday.
We continue to uphold you all in prayer and we are looking forward to being in the room all together once again next week.
Kia pai ō rā whakatā
Andrew Spence on behalf of the Co-Vicars
Kia Ora All Saints Whānau,
Lent in America always falls about 2/3 of the way through the school year. It hits at a time when generally the only other thing that’s going on is the anticipation of spring break for students. In NZ, however, it always rolls around right the beginning of the year when things seem to be ramping up. I’ve barely worked out which day I’m meant to be sending library books or togs to school for each child and then suddenly we are talking about who’s coming for pancakes on Shrove Tuesday. Since we have lived here in NZ I usually don’t feel like I am able to really take a deep breath and journey through Lent with anything except for a busy and distracted mind.
This year, however, Lent has come in the middle of this Omicron wildness that we all find ourselves in. While our lives haven’t necessarily slowed down, my mind has. I am still focusing on when library books are meant to go back to school, but there’s also this odd stillness that I have been feeling over the past several weeks. It feels as if we are all kind of waiting. We are waiting for the day when one of our family members tests positive and we will be stuck at home for 7 days. We are waiting to see which one of our friends or colleagues we won’t get to see for a while. For some of us, we are waiting until the day that we can safely see people in person again. We are waiting for case numbers to start to drop. We are waiting for life to go back to normal.
In this waiting, I have found my mind in a stronger than usual space of looking beyond the micro, day-to-day stuff that is right in front of me, and asking God to show me the bigger picture. Maybe it’s the hyper vigilance that has been exercised in all of us since the beginning of this pandemic, but I have found it somehow easier to stop, look around me, and really see. There’s a lot I don’t like about this season, but that bit I am really thankful for. The world around us is in a unique position where people are looking at things as they never have before - trying to figure out their lives through a new lens - feeling a bit untethered. These are the spaces in which hearts are particularly open to God.
As we walk out the rest of our journey through Lent this year, let’s be brave and have those conversations with the people around us. Let’s sit boldly in the place of considering how desperate the world would be without Jesus and offer a relationship to the people in our lives who don’t yet know him.
Kia ora All Saints Whānau.
We have reached the end of another week of being in the mixer of the Omicron wave. I (Guy) often feel like I’m playing a crazy game of dodge ball with this virus. The competitive nature in me is thriving off the idea that I’m still going, and I guess that’s a good thing in this scenario. I hope that you are all well out there. I have been hearing of a small number of you that have had to isolate but it seems for the most part that the parish is doing well and are supporting one another well.
This week we are entering into our 3rd week of Lent and we are continuing on a journey through our Lenten study, “Sentinels – Discerning New Life”. This week the theme is on the lost art of God conversations. Archdeacon David Rowe takes us through a reflection of how and why we should be regaining the courage and practice of having God conversations wherever we are.
He stresses the point of remembering our own first love when we met Jesus. What does it mean to be like the church of Ephesus and “recover your dear early love” (Rev 2:5 MSG)?
What is our role in our community and how do we have these conversations? How are we introducing people to Jesus who deeply knows and loves us and by whom we are being constantly and profoundly transformed?
I thought to myself that I would give it a whirl this week while I went out for coffee with my friend. As we were ordering we had to show our Vaccine passes. I made a joke with the server as they were scanning my pass that “this will validate me” (as you may know, the scanning app flashes up the word “Valid” once your pass has been scanned. I then proceeded to say, “scrap that, only Jesus can really validate me”. My comment was subsequently lost amidst peripheral banter and then not regained, but I thought to myself and I joked with my friend that we launched an opportunity and then missed it, but alas we were brave to try. My hope is that my very low bar attempt is inspiration for you to have a crack at some God conversations this week. Maybe this spurs you on to think about what you might say if you were asked about your faith or this person named Jesus that you’re so into. There are a number of resources we can help with if you need help articulating this in your own life. There is absolutely no judgement or shame in upskilling and preparing yourself in this way.
Please continue to stay connected with one another during this time. If you need help or assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact the Covid Response Team – 04 889 2023. There have been a number of people who have been assisted through this ministry, but what is most pleasing is that so many people have been supporting one another and with the slowness of the spread it seems that not everyone is down at the same time.
Also, if you aren’t in a House Church please contact me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). We have loads to choose from and a range of different times and locations. Remember there is also a group that meets at the centre on Sundays at 10am for worship discussion and prayer run by the Worsleys and Minnees.
Continue to pray and intercede for our country and the world! There is too much conflict and strain and we are desperate to see Gods kingdom break through and bring transformation in people’s lives. Let’s been those people! Let’s share what we know to be true and good! Let’s usher in the Kingdom in our patch of the world!
Hei konā mai me te aroha,
Rev Guy on Behalf of the co-vicars.
This week Parish Council met and we wanted to keep you updated with what was discussed. If you want to discuss them further then please contact one of the Parish Council members found at the bottom of this message.
We started the meeting with a reading from John 6:60-71 and prayer to centre ourselves on Jesus, his mission and our role as disciples of his. Then we got into the business of the agenda.
Maintenance was high on the agenda this week and we discussed looking at all the maintenance that is required for our Parish and putting that into a format that means we could slowly make our way through that list and set a plan of how some of that might get done.
We also discussed putting in place a process to have a discussion about our brick building. We looked at all the progress so far and we are now asking (if they agree) our sub committee to research some other parishes processes and come back with a suggested process for us to follow in helping us have a discussion about the future.
We appointed (as per regulations) several positions that need appointments for 2021:
Parish Council for 2022-23:
Kia ora All Saints Whānau,
What a world to be in right now. We (Spences) are isolating out in Waikanae at the moment where we can be away from any communal facilities, with two out of three of us with the virus so far. In God's usual way, it has turned out to be quite a blessing with the house looking out on the lagoon and lots of space for Leon to roam. I've seen 9 types of birds so far, including baby pukekos! We have also had some generous parishioners drop off necessities (and additional treats!) which has been great, and a lesson in humility as we accept the hospitality of others. We look forward to passing on this hospitality once we are in our new house in two weeks - another huge blessing from God. This reminds me of Corinna's sermon a while ago, about choosing to live out of a place of abundance, despite external circumstances - find the blessings and hold onto them.
I find it hard to put together any kind of update without acknowledging the tragedy in our world at present, with Ukraine and Tonga filling the news, as well as many other global struggles the media hasn't picked up on. Our world is increasingly in need of hope. Our hope is ultimately in Jesus, the redeemer of all humanity and creation, a person who is a solid foundation for us regardless of our shaky environments and personal emotions. If hope feels far off, take some time to sit in a calm place and ask God to sit with you. Then use any opportunity you can to share the hope we have with those around you.
1 Peter 3:15-16
Bless you all,