Kia ora All Saints Whānau
This coming week is Holy Week. For me each year I (Guy) feel the temperature rise as we walk closer to the cross! Take those steps with Jesus leading up to Jerusalem where ultimately we stand with Jesus in the most uncomfortable place where he offers himself for us!
I don’t know about you but there is this sudden rush from Palm Sunday to Maundy Thursday and Good Friday where we are speeding along then we slam right into discomfort, we get there and we want to so desperately jump straight to Easter Sunday where we can celebrate again that Jesus won. There is something profound about sitting in the middle of that very uncomfortable place of Jesus serving his people and sharing a final meal then taking that very hard road to the cross where he took on the weight of Sin that we might be saved. This coming week I encourage you all to not try to mask the discomfort of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday as we celebrate Holy week this year. Ride the passion of Palm Sunday but when we get to the end of the week may we walk with one another, sit with one another, pray with one another, watch with one another, ask the questions with one another.
There is a piece of scripture where it talks about some disciples that are walking the road to Emmaus after Jesus had been crucified and they were walking home. No doubt despondent, sad, angry, wondering what on earth just happened. They had just thrown all their eggs in the Jesus basket and the bottom had fallen out! But what is fascinating to me is that they are walking together! This is a small and maybe insignificant piece that I find so profound each year I read it! They walked the road together.
You and me, you and your friends, let us not walk the road alone. May we choose to walk the road together. A road that leads to life a road that leads to freedom. A road that leads to God redeeming the world. From start to finish, God never stopped chasing us, never stopped longing for relationship, never stopped pouring out his grace on us. To the point of finally sending Jesus for us to which we still rejected him! May we know this Holy Week the closeness and comfort of the God that never stops chasing us. You are worth so much that the God of the universe never stopped and wont stop chasing you.
This week as we walk towards Easter together lets remember our Young People as they prepare for Easter Retreat together starting Good Friday. Pray for them to encounter God in a real and powerful way.
Maundy Thursday we will have foot washing, final communion before easter and stripping of the altar, this service will end in silence.
Good Friday we will walk with our Catholic brothers and sisters towards the cross. This will go from All Saints to St Patricks. Come and join us as we make that journey with one another. Ending at St Patricks for tea and hot cross buns.
Easter Sunday is the celebration of Jesus rising again! Come celebrate with us at 9 and 10:30am
Make sure you check out all the other opportunities to engage in the life of the Parish, please don’t hesitate to reach out if you want to chat, share ideas, pray or connect.
We love you a lot!
ngā mihi nui
Ps if you missed last weeks Vicars letter click here to read it.
Kia ora All Saints Whānau
As most of you know, during Lent we have been participating in the Diocesan Lenten Study and listening each week to Bishop Justin and various speakers from the Lambeth Conference which Bishops Ellie and Justin attended last year. Lambeth is a conference of the global Anglican Church where we have the opportunity to hear the voices of fellow Jesus followers from all over the world.
This past week the theme of the video and study was hospitality. I hope that you all have had a chance to watch the video and have some discussion with others in our community about the content. I know our house church found it very interesting and a really great conversation followed.
In the video we heard people from all over the world talking about what hospitality means in their culture. It was fascinating. Some people talked about inviting people into their home, some discussed opening their lives to others. Some described hospitality as loving others as Jesus would and one person even talked about how in the Bedouin culture hospitality means to protect the other.
What followed in our house church was an exciting and practical conversation about how we as a church family can show hospitality. The conversation went way past having people over for dinner, and included a fair amount of vulnerability about what we all struggle with when it comes to hospitality. Where we ended was in an exciting pact to begin to open ourselves up to the people in our individual circles of connection that God might be putting before us to love and love well. We agreed that together we would be intentional about asking God who those people are and then commit to prayer and accountability within our house church to ensure that we respond to God’s prompting to show radical hospitality to those people.
At the end of the video Bishop Justin said that he thinks a path to renewal in the church in New Zealand is for each of us to take seriously the challenge to show hospitality to people frequently and regularly. It got me thinking about how powerful it would be to test that out here at All Saints. Imagine the God conversations we would all be having if we chose to regularly dig deep with those around us who don’t know God. Let’s keep challenging one another in this area and continue to pray for renewal around us.
Kia ora All Saints Whānau.
This week as I (Guy) spent time reflecting on where we are in the year I was suddenly struck by how quickly things are moving. We are midway through Lent and before we know it Easter will be on our doorstep. Take a minute, take a deep breath, wherever you are, work, home, in the midst of all your children or drowning in study!
This week as we enter week 4 of our Lent study with Bishop Justin we take a look at Suffering and Hospitality and how present and connected they are. We might not feel like we suffer much for our faith where we live, maybe we have a bit of rejection every now and then, maybe some ridicule, a bit of mockery, Peter reclaims what has been turned into an insult and proclaims “if you suffer for being a Christian, this is something to be proud of because you’re suffering like Christ” what a powerful statement! Christ truly did suffer for us! That we might have life. Verse 8 says “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins” and then in Verses 9-10 the love is worked out as hospitality and an outward posture towards the other, this is the kind of love, present in spite of and in response to suffering, which truly defines the Christian community.
What does it mean to suffer for Christ in our community, how do we spite that suffering continue to show hospitality, love, dignity and respect to those around us. Maybe its people who are hostile to you, people who claim what you believe is false, refuse your hospitality because of your faith, relationships in your family that suffer?
As we come towards Easter where we relive that road Jesus travelled for us where we laid out the greatest act of suffering and hospitality for us all let us reflect on our own journeys, ask yourself what are some of the ways you have suffered for the Gospel? What are some of the practical ways that you have received hospitality from those who are different to you?
With Easter just around the corner, I wanted to highlight some of the easter gatherings.
This year we will have a Maundy Thursday foot washing and stripping of the alter service at 7pm, the Good Friday walk through with our Catholic brothers and sisters will happen on Friday morning, Easter Sunday gatherings will be on at 9 and 10:30. There is loads to get involved in. If you would like to help serve in any of these spaces please feel free to email me email@example.com I would love to serve alongside you as we retell the Easter story and make our way towards the cross.
There is also loads of other opportunities to get involved here at All Saints, scroll through the newsletter this week, meals to make for the spences, parties to get along to, communities meals!
Much love to you all! Be blessed in your gatherings this weekend! May the lord be close and maybe you be renewed by the confidence of the Gospel!
Kia ora All Saints Whānau,
I sit here writing to you, marvelling at the mystery of life. This week we have rolled as a community through the highs and the lows together. We have felt grief as we preparing to support our friends Gerald and Diana in the farewelling of their son Thom. And we have shared joy together with Andy and Emily in the safe arrival of Jasper and Arlo earlier this week. On Tuesday, Summer, the kids and I popped up to the hospital to visit with the Spences and were greeted by a very excited Leon. He was sitting with Andy and Jasper and when we asked who his daddy was holding he responded with great pride, “baby Jesus!”. Straight from the mouths of babes! I thought to myself, “well I guess he has just come from there so… easily confused”. There is a prayer in the ANZPB that goes like this:
God our comforter, you are a refuge and a strength for us, a helper close at hand in times of distress. Help us so to hear the words of our faith that our fear is dispelled, our loneliness eased and our hope reawakened. May your Holy Spirit lift us above our natural sorrow, to the peace and light of your constant love; through Jesus Chris our Lord. Amen
We know that during life we go through trials and tribulations, and something that is ever present in my heart and mind is how close and real our God is, not only during these times, but all the times in our lives. It always feels, however, as though it’s during the times of intense joy and intense pain that we sense and feel that closeness more evidently. It’s also during this time when we as brothers and sisters wrap around each other, sit in the ashes together, feel the joy together, listen, bring offerings of food, serve one another, make cups of tea, laugh, cry, share stories. We point each other to the refugee and strength of God, and praise God together for all he has given.
Discipleship is the whole of life. It’s not just the bit we do on Sundays. We share in each other’s journey, both in joy and in pain. We show up for one another. We go deep with one another. We practice vulnerability and we love well.
So let us not miss the beauty around us as we sit in this time as a community, both mourning and rejoicing with our friends, and constantly pointing each other towards our great God! With love, Guy Benton
Kia ora All Saints, Guy here this week and welcome to week 2 of Lent. I have been thinking this week what it means for us as we journey towards the good news of the resurrection , who we are as Jesus followers in this season, as we talked about on Ash Wednesday, of being called home and remembering who our father is and how no matter who we are, where we have come from and what we bring to the table, the love and forgiveness is infinite. This week we have Bishop Justin bringing us another reflection in our Lent series on the topic of What is Holiness? Looking at the passage from 1 Peter 2 and how Holiness is no separation, we don’t become holy alone but with God and others, and as we get together for 9am and house churches this week there will be a chance to really dig into and around this session.
You may have had the opportunity already but if you haven’t there is a new Stations of the Cross art trail along the Moxham Ave brick wall throughout Lent. Adam de Jong and I spent some time early in the week slapping up Stations of the Cross posters for people to walk through and reflect upon during Lent. Please feel free to share these pictures or our Facebook post with your community if you think there are people who would like to walk past and engage. There have been a number of community members who have given feedback about how great it looks and thankful for the opportunity to walk through.
Please take the time to scroll through the newsletter this week as we have a number of ways for you to engage and participate here at All Saints.
Some key highlights are that this week is our House Church Sunday so we will have our 9am Gathering here at the centre and for the wider congregation we are all meeting in our House Churches.
Andy and Emily are now on leave as the expect the arrival of the twins, continue to pray for them as they prepare and ready themselves. For any parish or pastoral related queries please contact Ginny or Guy and Summer at the office or on firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Here are two ways for you to get involved one more specific than the other but great opportunities all round.
March 18th we are partnering with Seeds to feeds in hosting a delicious lunch that celebrates the mighty salad and the sometimes overlooked pickled vegetables. This appetising lunch has been designed to show case the versatility of our garden produce. The Hataitai team will be taking simple, everyday ingredients and turning them into super scrumptious salads! Think satay inspired noodle salad, pickled bean with rice and cumin, lentils, roast vegetables, foraged greens and more! Click the link in the e-news for more info.
We have been the coordinators of household items for a couple of refugee families new to wellington over the last week while, in conjunction with Red Cross and the Anglican Movement.
We are looking for a person to help us coordinate this ministry here at All Saints. Being the person who puts the word out about what’s needed, organising where the stuff comes to and how it gets to where it needs to go. If you feel like this is something that is stirring your heart. Please see the notice and contact Ginny or Clergy for more information.
As we clamber our way towards the cross may you continue to shine the light of Christ! May you continue to push and pull each other along! And may you so find that even in all your weakness, frailties, and sin know that he calls you home always!
Much love and Blessings, Guy