Vicars Letter - 28 April 2023
Kia ora All Saints whānau
Welcome to the third week of Easter! Isnt this fun? Im ploughing through my chocolate over here. I am also aware of important it is for us not to lose sight of the Cross and Resurrection. Especially as we make our way out and about this week as part of our Go Sunday rhythm. That’s right this week is our first official Go Sunday of the year. A time in our rhythm of being family where we take a break from doing in the room together and looking each other in the eye at House Church together and we push out of our comfort zone into our community with the mandate to “GO” and make disciples.
The beauty of doing Go Sunday in the midst of Easter is that like I said at the beginning let us not take our eyes of the pain and miracles of Easter as we go out, why? Let us be aware of the pain that still exists amidst us, the struggle, the wrestle and the toil of our communities, both for those with a lot as they try to control things themselves and or live with the anxieties of providing more and more or living up to standards, and for those who have nothing, the struggles and toils of making ends meet and living day to day. May we also be reminded of the hope of the resurrection, that against all the powers and principalities Jesus rose again as the ultimate example of peace, love and sacrifice. There is that scripture that gets rolled out each year around this time in reference to those who went to war John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. I struggle to see another piece of scripture that has been distorted and twisted from its original meaning than this one. This is a prime example of society using scripture for its own gain. This was one that points us toward loving a god who ultimately loves us! That love that captivates us because the love we see in return. As Jesus went towards the cross to take on the weight and might of the word for us! (not that we might recruit for an imperial machine)
So whether you are, cleaning the kindy, turning sausages in Miramar, helping at food for thought, weeding and planting in Mt Vic or knitting together for Gods creation, may you keep your eyes completely fixed on the power of the Easter story as you Go. Invite your friends who don’t know Jesus to help serve alongside you.
I have noticed within our young families group the ease at which we are able to invite normally resistant families to come alongside us. “Hey we have shut down services at all saints this weekend as we go into our community, we are cleaning up at the kindy would you like to come with us.” The response as been powerful!
Who are you thinking of? A workmate? A family member? A neighbour? Someone you walk past everyday on the street?
May you be filled with the courage and zeal of the Lord as you go out this weekend with your groups! May you see and hear things you didn’t think were possible!
As we continue to reup on why we do what we do, God is with us as we gather at large, as we gather in our smaller groups, and as we gather with our community! Church is cancelled or stopped! Its gone out – where it belongs!
I am so proud of each and every one of you all! I am praying for you as you gather this week. Praying for God to move in a real and powerful way.
Vicars Letter - 21 April 2023
Kia ora All Saints,
This week as I sat and listened to the twins cry - it struck me that they cry out to Emily or I to help them, to intervene and to give them some peace. It is pasionate and it is unrelenting. Is this a picture for God's people?
Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord; Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.
I found it interesting because often in prayer I want to pray once aand then figure that God heard me - so he will intervene if its his will. That is not the picture the Psalmist above gives. There is a pleading an unrelenting nature, much like those cries in the middles of the night. The passion here for God to intervene into their situation is immense, if you read on further in the Psalm you can see that it involves the whole of the person. Do we get this passionate about seeing God transform our situation? How many of us are pleading with Jesus to change our community, passionately asking God to intervene?
As we lean into prayer this week and then head into giving month in May - my prayer is that we all (including me) are again choosing to give our whole life to Jesus and God's Kingdom. A reliance on God and a passion to see this world transformed by the gospel will lead us again to plead and passionately intercede on behalf of our people, our friends and our community. Let us cry out to God!
This week we are back for Central Gatherings, a great part of our rhythm where we can get in the room together and celebrate and worship together. Coming up next week we have another great part of our rhythm, Go Sunday, where we look to impact the lives of those around us. This is a great chance to go serve but also to invite your friends to come along. Often church services or small groups can be places where it is "too Christian" to first introduce people to God, but when you are out weeding, serving others food, cleaning a kindy or knitting for the SPCA, there is a greater chance to just build relationship and show that your faith is real and practical. So invite that colleague along who showed an interest in what you do outside of work or that uni friend who just mentioned what church was like. It is these opportunities where they can come and see that we are not weird or crazy, but rather full of faith!
Also coming up in two weekends time is Regional Training Day with the Diocese. You can find out more information here. The lineup is looking great and the workshops well worth attending! Grab a car load and head on out to Tawa on the 6th May.
Bless you all!
Vicar Letter - 14th April 2023
Kia ora All Saints whānau
Easter has been and come for another year!!... or has it? Of course not! Easter goes for 50 days following Easter Sunday. What a treat. A good excuse to eat hot cross buns and easter eggs for a significant period of time, sounds good to me (Guy)! Oh and we celebrate the 40 days Jesus was on earth before he ascended to heaven and the 10 days between that up until Pentecost where we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit.
It always feels like the start of the year starts with a hiss and a roar! Before we know it we are into Lent and Easter and we blink and suddenly we are saying to each other “it’s April already, Lord have mercy” I mean I literally had that conversation this week.
Take a deep breath! Lean in! There is a bunch of things for us to dig into as a community coming down the line, that are both invitational and challenging.
Something ive been thinking about and this letter wont do it justice so am keen to flesh this out more with individuals and groups; is what is God calling me into as an individual and part of a team? Where are we going as a community and where are we resting in God in preparation of where God is calling us.
Something that is easy to fall into is the perpetual waiting… We don’t want to fall into the trap of drifting along not knowing, waiting, wondering and isolated from others. We are called to be in community, to walk this road together, we talked recently about discipleship and what that means in regards to whole of life and doing that alongside others, allowing each other to speak into our lives. How are we discerning Gods will for us together. As individuals, alongside our friends, as teams, missional communities reaching out to our communities, as a parish together as we establish and live out our DNA as missional disciples.
There is real excitement and joy as well as fear and trepidation as we live out our call as missional disciples of Christ. We know that Gods love drives out fear (1 John 4:18) and so what is holding us back from living out that call to reach out to those around us? Whether through community engagement, conversations, or action.
As we go through the Easter season together, leading up to the celebration of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and onwards through the year, let us not sit in the wondering, waiting or unknown, let us walk firmly in the hope that we profess and let us dream and scheme with one another about how we can get involved in a group/team/ministry that is going to push and pull us each closer day by day to the risen Jesus! What an adventure!
There are a number of ways to get involved in the Parish as part of our regular rhythms and worship together, Sunday Gathered worship engagement, House Churches, Midweek Hospitality, Childrens ministry, Rest home support. Or maybe you are passionate about starting a team of people who are out in our community building relationship and sharing the good news with people seeing their lives transformed in Jesus. Out on the edge of the parish, not alone being rouge, but with a team of others who are also heeding the call to reach those around them. We are use to being in the centre where everyone is gathered together but what does it look like to mobilise our people to the edges.
We are all part of the body of Christ and we all have a role and a part to play in the building of the Kingdom.
May we be renewed by the good news that Jesus died and rose again for us that we might have life, and may we be impassioned and emboldened to share that with those around us.
There is a lot for us to lean into and loads of places to find community where we can wrestle with what God is saying to us and what we are going to do about it.
Lean in, walk that road together, discover the risen Jesus together.
If you want to talk more about where you might find a place to serve and live out your faith, feel free to email me and we can grab coffee! (got to spend that allowance somehow.)
Vicar Letter - Easter 2023
Kia ora All Saints Whānau
Last night (Tuesday evening) I had the privilege of gathering with our huddle of leaders from the parish, we meet every 2 weeks as part of an intentional discipleship journey, to pray, share how we are doing, dig through some content and discuss what we feel like God is highlighting to us. This is not the first time I have had this feeling but as I sat there on Tuesday night I had this overwhelming sense of love and friendship for them. These are my people, and I am theirs. As we push and pull each other towards Jesus, as we ask each other what we feel like God is saying to us and what are we going to do about it. As we challenge each other on ways we can lead others into and towards the kingdom of God.
I wonder about how the disciples felt about their mate? As they reclined and ate together, as he said his last words with them, as they walked to the cross together, as they waited for his return not knowing what was going to happen! Experiencing the return of Jesus on that Easter morning.
Let us journey together this Holy Week with a sense of wonder and expectation not only of the miracle of the resurrection but also the pain and the sadness that must have been felt during those last days leading up to the cross, upon the cross and that long Holy Saturday as they waited, wondered, and I’m sure thought it was all over.
The greatest act of self-emptying love the world has ever seen is about to play out! Let us not forget the magnitude of it all! All for You and Me!!
There are a bunch of spaces for you to participate in over the next few days, Maundy Thursday will open with a light meal from 5:45pm with the service starting at 7pm which will include foot washing, communion and stripping of the altar, this service will end in darkness and silence. Good Friday (10am) is a chance to walk with our Catholic brothers and sisters through the stations of the cross starting here at All Saints and making our way down through Kilbirnie park finishing at St Patricks church. Holy Saturday is a chance for you to spend it waiting, thinking, pondering. Easter Sunday we gather back together for 9am and 10:30 gatherings, celebrating the resurrection and the great victory that Jesus won!
As we journey together this Holy Week, may we find real power in the reflection and tradition of Easter, may we also see real power in the great sacrifice that Jesus made for us by laying down his life that we might have life and how we might lay our lives down for the other! May our hearts be set ablaze for the Kingdom! May we be seen running just as those first disciples ran to see the empty tomb.
Much love and blessing during this season!
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