Kia ora All Saints whānau,
The Benton family is preparing to leave for America next week. We currently have suitcases everywhere and some very excited children, already losing sleep in anticipation of all the fun they are expecting to have. As we wrap up things in New Zealand for the year, we have been reflecting on all that God has done. We are also anticipating sharing with our friends and family in the US all about the amazing things that God’s family is up to down here at the bottom of the world. It feels appropriate that this time of reflecting for us has come leading up to our AGM and the end of the church year as well. We are coming into the end of our second year at All Saints and it is so incredibly exciting to look at what God has done and imagine what might be coming next.
This year we have spent a lot of time learning together about the Kingdom of God, Acts and the early church, and mission efforts around the world. As we have journeyed through these very big concepts and stories that underpin our faith, we have seen the fruit of our learning play out around us. Our house church network has grown and strengthened, bringing church into our homes and neighbourhoods. We have pushed out of our normal rhythms and begun to serve our community on 5th Sundays, worshipping God with our hands and our feet rather than simply gathering with one another. We have seen amazing growth and renewed energy in programmes like Mainly Music. We have put on an epic Light Party that was the talk of Hataitai for days. And most exciting, we are hearing that people around us are wondering and gossiping about what’s going on at All Saints.
I could not be prouder of each of you; this is what the Body of Christ is meant to be about. We are living in a time and a place where most people don’t know Jesus or understand the incredible gift he gave. To share that with those around us, our lives must reflect our beliefs and we must stand out from the world around us. As a church, we must reflect God’s Kingdom. This is what we have been learning about in our Central Gatherings and House Churches all year, but to see the outworking of that learning so clearly is incredibly exciting.
Guy and I will be away in America for 7 weeks, spending the holidays with my family, allowing our children to spend time in that part of their culture, and sharing with all those we meet about what God is doing in New Zealand. We will keep you all in our prayers as we go and will return in January, excited to see what God has in store for All Saints in 2023!
Kia Ora All Saints Whānau,
This past Sunday, as a part of our response to Halloween, All Saints’ Day and a Go Sunday missional outreach, we hosted our annual light party at the centre on Sunday as part of our response to Halloween. There was a moment that day that I realised that we were not prepared for the number of people coming through the door to participate in the festivities. I stood there thinking to myself, “the flood gates have opened and there is nothing I can do, we all just have to roll with it!” It was an incredible moment, but I was equally daunted by the prospect that this event may be all over inside the first hour. I prayed that the candyfloss machine wouldn’t catch the building on fire (thanks Heather for tuning on the ventilation). I prayed the candy wouldn’t run out too fast. And sorry to the Verners, I forgot to pray for the popcorn and it ran out first! I prayed that one day people would be flooding in the doors to know and worship Christ.
Now, I have positivity high in my strengths and I’m usually the eternal optimist, but I also know that it is not me who controls revival. I am, however, convinced that as we continue to pray fervently and regularly, as we become bold in our understanding of the good news of Jesus, and if we can be creative and strategic about how we operate with those who don’t yet know Christ, the Kingdom is going to come in a real and powerful way.
As I read through Romans 8 I continue to be reminded of my/our identity in Christ. As we put our hopes, dreams and identity in Christ it is out of that space that we are able to be obedient to his will in our lives. As disciples, we can rest in the knowledge that we cannot work in our own power to bring about God’s Kingdom, but there is a very real invitation to join in the work that the Holy Spirit is doing around us. No amount of good works, great programs, or epic light parties can earn us a place in God’s Kingdom. It is by grace alone that this gift has been given to us and we are, therefore, asked to share that good news with those around us. It is this reminder of where my identity rests, and how I’ve been invited to share in the Spirit’s work in the world, that spurs me on as I think about seeing Gods kingdom come in this place and to those around us. Not through my own works or strength but through God’s.
Summer, the kids and I are heading off to America for the first time in 5 years. It is very exciting for our family and we feel so fortunate that we are able to go. We are looking forward to introducing Addison to Summer’s family for the first time. We will get to be with family for the Christmas holidays for the first time in 10 years. Our kids will experience their first American Thanksgiving and winter Christmas. We plan to visit family, friends, some of our teammates from our years of missionary work in Cambodia, and many other people who have been praying for us and supporting our ministry for nearly 13 years . We also hope to show our kids some of America and allow them time to get familiar with this part of their culture and identity. We will be away from Nov 16th through Jan 11th. Please pray for us, for safe and easy travel, for quick recovery from jetlag, and for the time we will have with the people we love. Pray for a refilling of the tank and energy for the new year, which we are already very excited about.
A couple of things that I would love to fill you in on and point your attention to,
Next week is our AGM so we will be having one combined service at 10am followed by a potluck lunch and the AGM. Please bring a plate and be ready to hear all about how our MAP process played out and what the next steps are for our parish. We as a parish council and clergy team are extremely excited to share with you all.
House churches only have a couple more weeks of gathering before we enter into Advent which is a beautiful season of preparation for the birth of Christ. So just a reminder that House Churches break over the summer so that leaders can have a much deserved rest. We will restart House Churches again in 2023 in the middle of February. If you have any questions please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org my hope is to put a video out shortly with some information on our hopes and dreams for House Churches at All Saints.
Lastly, New Wine Summer Festival happening Jan 19-23rd!
A group of us from All Saints are going along and hoping for more people to come and camp with us. There will be about 1000 others from the Wellington Diocese coming out for a long weekend of worship, teaching, fun, food and summer festival vibes.
There is something for the whole family. Each day, all age ranges have a specific zone for appropriate fun/content/input. Adult zone runs alongside youth/kids/preschool. It’s an absolute blast and a phenomenal way to start the year off together in the spirit of God.
You can register at the link here https://newwine.org.nz/festival/
If you are keen to come we will start to build a list of who all is coming so we can work out catering numbers and tents etc.
As always, you are all amazing! We love you dearly and we look forward to worshiping with you all on Nov 13 before we fly out.
Much love and blessings,
Light Party Success!
Last weekend our All Saints Centre was transformed into a giant party full of lollies, games, food/drink, toys, face-painting, and an indoor-access bouncy castle! And what an event it was - the centre was packed for several hours, with around 200-300 people from our neighbourhood joining the fun (it was extremely hard to count at any one time as heads were bobbing around everywhere!).
A highlight of mine (Emily) was seeing children so comfortable in our space, with parents often losing track of them among the crowd but catching up with them again soon. There were so many connections between various families there that everyone looked out for everyone else and it really felt like a community event.
Many people from the community were surprised that we weren't asking for any koha or payment, and that we had opened our space to people from all walks of life. This was a core part of our focus on our value of Missional Living this year: that we would give generously to others and open up our lives to those around us. We know that many of you miss the All Saints Day services, and they may make a comeback, but this year we are living out our role as 'saints' to connect with others and generously share the joy we have as Jesus-followers.
Perhaps next time someone mentions All Saints in our neighborhood, it may be more than the brick building on the corner, and instead the place where the blue fairy, dinosaur and flamingo, cowboys or kind church people hang out.
Kia ora whānau,
Go Sunday is upon us and we are super excited by the opportunties this brings us to meet our neighbours, invite friends to serve with us and to have God conversations in amongst it all. We have Food for Thought, the knitting group and our Trick or Treat Party as options and there are still more places to help if you would like or just come along to either of the last two on the day.
Sunday is also a day to celebrate All Saints Day. The readings for the day include Luke 6:20-31 or Luke's retelling of the Beatitudes. It is well worth a read as we head outside our walls this week. This reading ends with these words:
"But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you ... Do to others as you would have them do to you."
I think this is such a poignant message on All Saints day. We as the saints are sent out to bless others - even those we may not like or who treat us badly. Ultimately do to others what you would have them do to you.
May this be a reminder to us that as All Saints, and as we are all saints, may we be a people who love, bless and pray for all - even those hard to do that to. because God is calling us to be that light to the community.
May you be blessed as you serve, may you be blessed in your relationships, may you continue to shine your light into peoples lives and may your Go Sunday activities be full of love, blessing and prayer!
In Gods name!
on behalf of the Co-Vicars.
Kia ora All Saints
It is so great to be joining back together again this week for our Central Gatherings. A large group of us over the weekend attended Wellington Diocese Ministry Leaders Family Camp, this was in the past the old clergy conference, it has now become a place where Diocesan ministry leaders and their families gather for a time of worship, teaching and input, prayer, and of course loads of food and fellowship! This year the theme was all around multiplying churches, who are we apprenticing? Hospitality in our churches and a chunky focus on the work that God is doing in us so that God can do a work through us.
It was Powerful! There was a good amount of excitement, imagination, and creativity flowing through our All Saints Hataitai group! Many felt that God had highlighted some really key points for them and there had been some really powerful times of prayer and receiving from the Holy Spirit.
I’m sure that those who were there would love to tell you more about it on Sunday so please find someone who went and ask them about it!
I (Guy) am in Tauranga for a church planting multiplication conference with others from the Wellington Diocese with Bishop Justin. The focus across the two days is a mixture of what I looks like to plant churches and multiply and stories of people who have been planting and starting new things. From traditional church plants, missional communities, and one bloke to Tirau who started a gathering around mountain biking, food and a short message of Jesus. It is really exciting to think about what it looks like for us as a community when we prepare for the years ahead in regard to who it is that God has put on our hearts to reach out to and bring into a faith community, whether a traditional space as we see it, or if we are being called with a group of others to explore some creative ways of engaging our community. Pray for me today as this is the last day of the conference and we drive back this evening (Friday)
A couple of quick reminders about things to check out in the newsletter.
October 30th is out final Go Sunday for the year and is also the day that we are holding out annual Light Party here at All Saints. We are encouraging you all to gather your House Churches and your friends from the community to participate in some of the Go Sunday offerings.
Click HERE to sign up for a spot on one of the groups that is doing an activity.
Remember that on our Go Sundays we do not have any traditional gatherings happening on this day. We use this time as a time for us to push out into the community.
New Wine is an amazing summer christian festival that we would love to invite you to join us (co-vicars) at in 2023 over Wellington Anniversary Weekend. We will tent or caravan (or off site accommodation if you prefer) alongside 1000 others, eat together, and enjoy the phenomenal program for all ages of worship and discipleship. This is an amazing opportunity for us as a parish to gather together for a shared experience and set the year off together.
Click here for more information and sign up.
If you have any questions please feel free to email us or call us.
So much love to you all!