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.