That word that gets used in church circles, but have we ever stopped to ponder what its’ true meaning is? If you are like me, you’ve heard it a few times and are familiar with the context in which it gets used, but haven’t ever truly dug deep enough to get the full understanding.
I (Guy) am excited that this week we are starting our journey to Christmas through Advent. What a wonderful treat for us to spend the next 4 weeks preparing our hearts for the arrival of the Saviour of the world. Just has we have been going through Mark asking ourselves, “will we recognise or run away”, we now will journey together to prepare ourselves, with anticipation, for the coming arrival of the one we are challenged to recognise. Peace. Hope. Joy. Love. These are the points we will journey through on the way to celebrating the arrival of Jesus.
This week we are excited to join together as a whole parish for the AGM Thanksgiving celebration to share in all that God has done among us this year, to do some family business (AGM Business) and to share about Gods Peace, his Shalom, and how that wraps into who we are as a people and what we are steering towards as our priorities for 2022.
We are aware that we are fast approaching our new traffic light system for NZ in the coming weeks. Just a heads up that today (Friday) we are expecting communication from the Diocese and Provincial House of Bishops regarding the way the church is looking to position itself regarding gatherings etc. So we will first let our Parish Council know and then we will distribute this to the wider parish as soon as we can communicate that clearly to you all.
Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
May you go about this week, and as we gather this Sunday for a gigantic celebration of all God has done and is continuing to do through us, be full of peace. May your heart rest in Him and the wonder and splendour of what is happening around us.
Much love and blessings from your now Co-Vicars,
Guy, Summer, Emily, Andy
Kia Ora All Saints Whānau,
We are writing to you at the end of day 2 of our ordination retreat. We are sitting together over onion dip and a bit of rosé, after a long day of reflection and challenge as we prepare our hearts and minds for our ordinations on Saturday. This afternoon, Bishop Ellie spoke with us about our call as priests to our people and how precious are people are to us. As we listened to her words we held each of you in our hearts and together felt so honoured to have been called to our flock at All Saints’.
We are looking forward to having as many of you as possible join us on Saturday as we are ordained. Since numbers are limited please let us know if you’d like to attend. Spots are limited but we both still have some places available. If you can’t join us, both ordinations will be streamed on zoom. The Bentons’ service is at 1pm on Saturday and the Spences’ is at 5pm Saturday.
BENTONS | SPENCES
This Sunday we have our Central Gathering which is a great thing off the back of ordinations. We will be exploring together the last of our 3 values – Jesus Centred. We are also celebrating Christ the King Sunday, which can be a weird concept for our society as we don’t always think of royalty as something positive. With an elderly monarch and in a Kiwi culture that doesn’t always respect authority, and for whom ideas of royalty are sometimes bound up with a colonising narrative, we likely could struggle to get our minds around the concept of Christ the King. But as usual with Jesus, expect the unexpected. At ordination retreat we’ve been led in reflection around Jesus’ ministry and what that means in concept and in practice. We look forward to exploring this together with you on Sunday.
Please continue to hold us all in prayer in the lead up to ordination. We look forward to seeing you this weekend!
Arohanui ki a koutou
Andy, Emily, Guy and Summer
Kia ora, All Saints whānau,
Can you believe how quickly Christmas is creeping up on us! We are about two weeks out from the start of Advent and one week from our ordinations, which previously felt like forever away. I (Emily) am enjoying planning with Andy what our Christmas traditions will be with Leon and how we can create great memories whilst representing the reason for the season well. One of my biggest hopes is that we can instil in Leon an attitude of generosity and an aversion to consumerism. This is challenging when these values seem to be countercultural in our individualist world where we are taught to strive for status and riches.
In our House Churches over the coming week we will be looking at our second All Saints value of 'authentic community'. Truly authentic community involves putting the needs of others in our church whānau before ourselves, giving generously to those in need, and accepting help when needed, much like the early Church is described in Acts. This follows on well from Andy's talk last Sunday on Missional Living; we should be incarnational, opening our lives to others and not being afraid to be fully present in the spaces in which we find ourselves. In order to be a community looking out for one another, we first need to know what others need, which means truly engaging with those around us. Andy and I have been so blessed to have been invited into the homes of several parishioners over this year and have greatly enjoyed getting to know people despite being unable to offer hospitality in our own local home (as of yet - stay tuned). We hope that over time with continued deeper points of connection we can understand one another better and actively love one another so that none of us remains in need.
So I wonder how God may be challenging you in this next season: do you need to refocus your values to help you live generously and selflessly? Do you need to become aware of the needs of those around you? Do you need to consider how you become incarnate, opening your life to others? I encourage you to use the next couple of months to really dig deep into an active faith which causes us to care for each other deeply, bring light and life to those who need it, and keep Jesus at the centre of it all. And may God bless you richly as you do.
Ngā mihi nui,
What a joy it was to gather with our community on All Saints Day. We saw 75-100 people come through our doors at our Trick or Treat party. I (Andy) have had so many positive comments about this party and it was great to see people enjoying the day and serving the Hataitai people.
This week we begin explaining our core values here at All Saints. You may have seen them on the top of the newssheet and when Parish Council discussed them in August, we never thought it would take this long to roll them out. But I am looking forward to talking about Missional Living this week.
Missionaly Living really talks about being Incarnational and to illustrate that point I love this story of a church in Switzerland:
This is the story of a church that was built way in the highest mountains of Switzerland. It was a beautiful church that had been built with great care by the villagers who lived nearby. But there was one thing that the church didn't have. It didn't have any lights. You couldn't just go into the church and switch on the lights like we do here. Yet every Sunday evening the people who lived on the mountain-side opposite the tiny church saw something magic happen. The church bell would ring and worshippers would wind their way up the mountainside towards the church. They would enter the church and then all of a sudden the church would light up brightly. You see the people had to bring light with them - so they brought lanterns. When they arrived at church they would light their lanterns and hang them around the church on pegs set in the walls, so the light would spread all around. If only a few people came to church the light would be very dim because there would only be a few lanterns. But when lots of people came to church there would be plenty of light. After the service the villagers would take their lanterns home. At this time, to those who watched from a distance, it was as if a stream of light poured out of the church and over the mountainside. For many it was a sign that all was well. God's light was with them and in them. The only time the little church lit up was when people were there. That's when it truly became a church. That's when the light shone most brightly.
Missional Living is about being the light - which gets stoked at church - into the community, in the workplaces, schools, cafes, parties and dinners. This is about living our lives as Jesus did - with others, pouring ourselves into the community we find ourself in. I look forward to exploring this more with you this Sunday.
Some sad news came in this week that Janet Woolcott died at Te Hopai. We are waiting for confirmed details of her funeral but will let you know when we get details. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.
Would you like to join me (Ginny) for a prayer vigil for the end of COP26 at Anvil House, L2, 138 Wakefield St, 630pm Friday 12 Nov.
The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, known as COP26 is a meeting of world leaders and climate activists from the 1st to the 12th of Nov 2021 to drive ambition and action towards climate change.
There is an in-person gathering at the end of COP26 to pray for our global leaders, for lasting action, commitment, and momentum, for climate justice; for God's wondrous creation.
Bring yourself, your friends, our congregation, and join in prayer for a brighter future.
Register here to receive email updates and daily prayer resources: http://eepurl.com/hwW9P9
More details here:
Please let me know if you would like transport, or to meet before or after the vigil for coffee