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A Little Extra – December 2011/January 2012

Remember 80 years ago

On the 3rd July 1931 I was born in the house at 30 Church St, just down the road.

On the 21st November of that same year, the foundation stone of this building was laid.

On November 1st of that same year I was baptised in the old wooden building earlier on this site (by then shifted rearwards to about where unit 3 & 4 of Iona Close now stand). The records show the next baptism took place on 27th March 1932 so it appears I was the last baptism in the old wooden building.

My earliest memory of attending this church (still clearly with me) is of age about 3 at a Sunday School Anniversary Service when temporary sort of scaffold planking was erected in front of the high pulpit and the (then large) Sunday School contingent was arranged in the choir seats either side of the pulpit and the younger ones were stacked in front of the pulpit, high up on this scaffolding.

I was placed on the highest plank in the care of a couple of older children; and I can still picture that vast space below me and right down to the rear (now front)  of this auditorium packed with beaming faces of the adults.

The height obviously impressed me – It was nearly up to the clouds – if heaven is “up above the bright blue sky” as were were taught to sing, then that is the nearest I have ever been to heaven!

B.H.

 

Memories of St Aidans

We are gathered here today to celebrate the laying of the foundation of this church in November 1931.

Many people, here today, will have memories of St Aidans Church. Some of my memories are:
When the old church was moved back to allow the construction of this building, which became the Sunday School. Many concerts were held in the hall and of course we sang “Hear the Pennies Dropping” every Sunday.

The tennis court, at the back of the building, was a wonderful place to play, and I often think of the newspaper that lined the kitchen cupboards.

At the back of the new church were two rooms which were entered by climbing steep set of stairs. One of these rooms was used by the minister, and the other was used to assemble the choir members.

During my Bible Class years I can remember touring the district on Jordan’s truck singing Christmas Carols on Christmas Eve.

Sunday School Picnics were held annually and I can remember when one child fell into the creek, at Mairangi Bay. Bruce Hay and I had to jump in and rescue him. After than we never held a picnic at a beach that had a creek.

There must be several women in our congregation, today; who as Girl Guides, came to St Aidans to clean the brass vases, which are still in use today.

Alf Taylor’s Reflection, last week discussed the Aaronic Blessing. I can remember, as a Bible Class member, Bob McGhie who was Session Clerk, insisting that we sit in certain places in the church, so that we could help him with the singing of the “Blessing” during Baptism Services.

This building has lots of memories, for lots of people, and in our community we are well-known for our “Drop-In Morning”, for the elderly, our “Roast Meet Dinner” for those who live alone, and our “Floral Afternoon”, that has been held annually for 76 years.

Memories of this Church will be cherished forever.

M.K.

 

Memories of St Aidans

I have chosen to pay tribute to a special group of people who have served Northcote Church – Management Committees, sessions, Parish Councils, and in particular, those of 1930/31/32. Unless you have served on such groups, you have no idea of the worry, the heart ache, planning month by month, year by year.

Four years before the foundation stone laying, 19 parishioners voted for a new church: 11 for restoration of the existing building.

Early in 1929, the decision was made to build a new church. The committee of those years were messrs Lockie, Fawsett, Munro, Robertson, McKinnon, Broady, Clarke, Hay. What a leap of faith! The cost was £1267.

In 1930/31, the government’s revenue fell by half. World finances fell apart. In the midst of this financial turmoil, Northcote parish embarked on a huge enterprise. January 1931, 11,000 men were registered as unemployed. June 1931 – 51,000, 1932/33 – 80,000 then 100,000.

Public Service wages were cut by 10%, then another 10%. Old Age, War Pensions reduced. Child allowance 2/- per week, abolished. 1931 – 7,000 building tradesmen unemployed. Usual wages £2 plus. Dole £1. 1. 0 per week for three weeks. Then 1 week, no work, no dole. Married men £1. The church debt must have seemed enormous, equal to about $260,000 today. The parish struggled into the 1950s to pay back a small ASB loan. We are the beneficiaries and custodians of the 1931 church, plus, now with large additions, insured for $1, 152,000 (annual premium $5000).

I have special sympathy for the many treasurers who have, over the years, sweated over monthly balance sheets. To the workmen who crafted this little gem of a building, our thanks. From the laying of the foundation stone, to the opening on March 2nd 1932, ten week’s employment in 1931/32 must have been a godsend to those artisans. To all who contributed to this building 80 years ago, our grateful thanks.

Don Boyd.

January 16, 2012 in A Little Extra, Newsletter by

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Notices December 2011/January 2012

IMPORTANT NOTICE – St Aidans Website, new for 2012!

Welcome to our St Aidans website!

From time to time there will be opportunities for photos of our activities to at St Aidans to be put on the website. If you DO NOT wish to have your photo or any of your family published on our website, please let Alf know. It will be understood that if we do not hear from you then we have your permission. No names will be published.

Church Life Survey

Thank you for completing the Church Life Survey on November 13th. The results have now been collated, and, if you have computer access you can have a look at the reports and a summary of findings.

What to do

  • Go to the Church Life Survey website clsnz.com
  • Near the top of the page, there are two tabs, labelled Home and Reports. Click on reports.
  • Our Church code is: RHJEQAI
  • Our Report code is: DXZXBPFV (all upper case)
  • After you have put in these codes you will have a security check where you have to repeat the ‘squiggly’ letters. When you have done this click on ‘Submit Query’
  • This should take you to our reports. You can look at the summary of answers to various survey questions, and compare St Aidan’s with, for example, Northern Presbytery.

Celebrate!

Christmas is a time of celebration

Psalm 100 (NIV)

Shout for joy to the Lord of all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures for ever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

January 16, 2012 in Newsletter, Notices by

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What on earth is happening at St Aidans? – Dec 2011/Jan 2012

Each month, I want to comment on what is happening here at St Aidans and what is planned for the future. This will be a new regular feature for our Newsletter.

It is a cliché to say, ‘the times they are a changing,’ alas, it is very true. Of course, you know this well, we are living in changing times. The church, let us be specific, St Aidans is not immune from the flood of change that is sweeping the world and New Zealand. How we respond to such changing times will vary from individual to individual and from group to group. The danger is that we may become like the possum and freeze, or like the ostrich and bury our heads in the sand, refusing to acknowledge there is a problem.

St Aidans is seeking to offer a 21st Century response to the changes we are facing as communities of faith. I invite you to delight in and encourage what is unfolding before our very eyes. Of course I am talking here of Mission in its many guises.

We at St Aidans have adopted a Kids Friendly approach to honouring the place of children in our Community of Faith. Kids Friendly is an initiative of the PCANZ. You may have seen stories of Kids Friendly in SPANZ Magazine. Currently we have the following Kids Friendly activities happening at St Aidans:

  • Rise N Shine: 8.30am every third Sunday in the Lindisfarne Lounge. Its focus is on young families with breakfast and activities.
  • Tots N Toys: Takes place during school holidays for Mums to come and have fellowship while their tots play with the toys from our toy library.
  • Kids N All: Happens on the first Sunday of each month at 10.00am. Notice it is Kids and All, meaning inclusive worship for young and old.
  • Friday Fun Nights: This took place over the last six Friday evenings. From 6.15pm to 8.15pm. We cater for primary school children, with a light meal and activities ranging from making bird houses, Christmas decorations and games. Numbers have averaged around 23 children.
  • Developing relationship with Northcote Primary School: St Aidans has been invited to help children with their reading and maths next year (2012). This will be in half hour sessions and training will be given. Also groups of children will come up from the School and bring an item each term at our Drop Inn.

You will be aware that each of these activities offers a different approach to reaching out to families with young children.

Each of these activities is a Kids Friendly approach through various mission activities, they are not the traditional ways of a children’s ministry, they are, excuse the pun ‘tailored’ for a very fluid and changing community.

Yet, they are based on an inclusive gospel which seeks to honour and respect children and families. Remember the saying, ‘if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got.’ It is a trite saying but it does carry more than a grain of truth. The various Kids Friendly activities are attempts at responding to 21st century needs in a 21st century way. They are not the usual well known Church activities.

I fully appreciate that for some of our people our Kids N All service is too noisy and may not offer too much resemblance to a traditional Presbyterian Church Service. Yet, we are seeing children and parents come along who would not attend other kinds of services. Also, and this is important, there are other kinds of services in the month, which offer a different approach to Christian worship and discipleship. Truly one size does not fit all.

I have spoken before of how we are living in a society where the church is no longer at the centre of the community, rather, it is now firmly at the edge, on the periphery of the community. To serve and build bridges to the community, will require a methodology, which is relevant and meets the needs of our 21st century society. Our current Kids Friendly activities seek to build 21st century bridges from our community of faith into and with our community.

Let us encourage in ways, in which we are able, what is beginning to blossom and grow here in our community of St Aidans.

Any questions on Kids Friendly and the above activities please contact Liz Hansen or me.

Meanwhile Peace
Alf

P.S. Those of you who have attended recent services at St Aidans will have noticed our new projector and screen. I am curious what you think of the clarity and presentation. In future weeks, I will experiment in using the projector creatively to encourage us in worship.

January 16, 2012 in Newsletter, What an Earth is Happening at St Aidans? by

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From the Minister – December 2011/January 2012

Greetings Fellow Traveller,

It is just over three weeks until Christmas Day. The very word Christmas evokes different responses, for some it is the most wonder-filled time of the year, while for others it is just another day. Whatever our response, we cannot escape the ‘in your face’ marketing and advertising of Christmas by local retail malls. Enter any shopping mall, we are confronted, every which way we turn; by plastic Christmas trees, covered with lights and decorations, with a star on the top and ‘Snoopy’s Christmas’ blaring out of the sound system.

Christmas is filled with images; I mention one in particular, stars. We find stars on Christmas cards, in Christmas light displays and on the top of Christmas trees. Stars are an essential part of the Christmas tradition. Matthew’s gospel portrays a star guided the Magi (Wise Men) to honour Jesus’ birth. Some Biblical commentators say there was no star it was just a figment of Matthew’s literary imagination, while for others they question the orthodoxy of the Magi turning to astrology for guidance, while for others it was a star just as it is written.

Mention stars, and perhaps that song made famous by Sir Howard Morrison comes to mind:

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works Thy Hand hath made,
I see the stars; I hear the mighty thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed;

I recalled those words six years ago when on a December evening I stood silently in the Australian Outback and gazed in wonder at the beauty of the Southern sky. Without pollution or reflection of city lights, the sight was truly spectacular; I saw stars that night.

To comprehend and appreciate the vastness of space, imagine a marble represents Earth, then 300 yards away you place a basket ball this represents the Sun. On this model, the nearest Star to Earth, Alpha Centauri would be 49,000 miles away from the marble which represents Earth. The vast distances of space are truly incomprehensible, with still new galaxies being discovered. When I consider the vastness of the cosmos, and our ever unfolding universe, I become lost for words, uncertain how to describe what I am part of, for who am I, compared to such vastness and majestic beauty.

As long as we humanoids have walked on this planet called Earth, we have had a relationship with the stars; from astrology where the stars are interpreted as influencing our daily lives, to astronomy where the stars along with planets, comets and galaxies etc, are studied as part of an ever expanding and changing cosmos of outer space.

Space

The very word evokes different responses and takes on different meaning depending upon its context, for example:

  • Outer space – holding galaxies of our unfolding universe
  • An empty area – the space between objects or people
  • The space between words on this page
  • The wide open spaces – the space of a large unoccupied region
  • Commercial space – space available for business
  • I need space – the freedom to think and reflect

We may have a perception that space or air is empty – waiting to be filled. However, another way of looking at space is to imagine it, being pregnant with possibility for creative moments of wonder and beauty.

Without space our lives would be very different, in particular we would not see objects or persons as separate, there would be no boundaries, everything would be joined to something. The concept of space between objects and people produces freedom and an opportunity for creative expression, we could say, life itself.

The concept of space is one which can offer a helpful way of reflecting upon the Christmas stories and their place in our lives. Joseph and Mary, who was nine months pregnant arrive at the inn, the place is full, no rooms or beds available. There is no space for a pregnant woman, perhaps, the inn keeper took one look at Mary and thought, what happens if she gives birth in my inn and disturbs my guests. I will put her in the stable. In that stable, with its various smells and straw hewn floor, Mary gives birth to her son Jesus. The space of that stable embraced and welcomed the birth of a human being; the rest we say is his story.

Our lives may be like the inn, especially at Christmas time. We become overloaded; no room left, we are doing what we perceive has to be done. We are running on empty, becoming frazzled, anxious, weary and tired. Yet we keep going, controlled by the ‘shoulds’ and the ‘must do’s’.

Or, we may be like the stable, an ordinary place, yet, there is a different atmosphere, there is space, there is room to breathe and welcome strangers into its presence. The stable space, we could say is pregnant with the possibilities of what might come forth.

The contrast between these two spaces is evident and yet, if we are honest, most of us are like the inn, we continually live our lives on overload, having no space or time, to care and nurture our own soul.

The 16th Century Indian Mystic Poet Kabir has a delightful poem: The Guest is Inside

The Guest is inside you, and also inside me;
You know the sprout is hidden inside the seed.
We are all struggling; none of us has gone far.
Let your arrogance go, and look around inside.

When we look at our lives through the metaphor of the stable, there is room or space to welcome guests and to welcome the Guest inside us. Some have suggested The Guest is none other than the presence of God, now there are many names to describe this presence, from the indwelling Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Divine Mystery, ultimately the name is not important, for no name fully describes that which can never be fully known or described.  To mention God, we are transported into the world of faith, becoming lost for words, unable to fully describe our eternal belonging.

Our busyness contributes to sometimes fearful of being silent, to create space and met the Guest in the stable of our heart. We are fearful of what we may see and hear, for in the silence we come face to face with ourselves. The urgent recedes, we see what is important, what is essential in our life and what we may let go.

To look at what is happening inside the stable or essence of the heart, requires courage, a letting go of our arrogance, becoming open to the wonder and mystery of the sacred presence of love within. Sometimes in the wee hours of the morning, when we have difficulty sleeping, with thoughts that keep on going through our minds, like a CD playing the same track over and over again. We may hear in the distance or maybe very near – the sound of the morepork (in Maori, the Ruru). We continue to listen, and there in the darkness we may hear the Guest within speak.

We become receptive, for in this moment, we may hear the ‘fear not, ‘lo I am with you always, even to the ends of the world.’ We feel a comfort and strength, somehow, in the darkness we have been touched in the stable of the heart.

Julian of Norwich (15th Century English Mystic) has a wonderful quote:

‘All shall be well, and all shall be well,
and all manner of thing shall be well.’

Let these words enter the stable of your heart; feel a peace, that wells up from within, refreshing and renewing hope within.

When we take time to care for our inner world, to be silent for a little while, we will sense that we are not alone, for there is a presence within us. Let us not get lost in trying to define or name this presence, for the name of this Guest is not as important as knowing that we each have a scared presence or Guest within, who is present in the midst of our ordinary lives, within the sacred stable of our hearts.

This Christmas, when you see those nativity scenes and hear Christmas music and carols, maybe you remember the spirit of Christmas past, or special moments with family and friends, or how you would like to interpret the familiar Christmas stories. At the heart of Christmas and the stories, is love. Jesus’ birth and life demonstrates the power of love to touch and transform lives. That love sums up all I have attempted to say, that the presence of the Guest inside you and inside me is LOVE.

May this Christmas and through the unfolding days and months of 2012, offer you opportunities, of giving birth to moments of Love in Acts of Random Kindness. I leave you with this poem from Madeleine L’Engle:

The Risk of Birth

This is no time for a child to be born,
With the earth betrayed by war and hate
And a nova lighting the sky to warn
That time runs out and the sun burns late.
That was no time for a child to be born,
In a land in the crushing grip of Rome;
Honour and truth were trampled by scorn –
Yet here did the Saviour make his home.
When is the time for love to be born?
The inn is full on the planet earth,
And by greed and pride the sky is torn
Love still takes the risk of birth

Meanwhile Peace of the Prince of Peace – Jesus
Be with you and those you love this Christmas.

Alf Taylor

January 15, 2012 in From the Minister, Newsletter by

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Over The Tea Cups – December 2011/January 2012

Greetings – – The delicious fragrance of beautiful roses wafting in from the garden and the happy music of a tui chortling high in a nearby tree, together with all the other birds singing in the trees all tell me it is spring. Margaret and Malcolm enjoyed their tour of southern gardens in November, appreciating the peonies and other plants that we Aucklanders admire, growing in peoples’ gardens. It is a nice time to travel and no doubt the broom is brightening the countryside with its brilliant yellow flowers.

Some people do amazing things. Did you read recently about the 43 year old Lisa Tamati from New Plymouth running “ultra” marathons? Her challenges have taken her from the scorching temperatures of Death Valley and the Libyan Desert to the 222km trek over the Himalayas!! Her ‘sport’ is described by a colleague this way – “competitors push through physical and mental breakdown in an attempt to complete a course through the most inhospitable environment imaginable”. She has her sights set on the Antarctic 100km run, average temp minus 20C.

Then there is the story of 72 year old Fred Tooley, a supermarket worker from Glen Innes, who applied for and was selected to crew in the Clipper Round the World Race. Always a sailor, but never in ‘blue water’, he was thrown into a 2 year training regime of gym visits and sailing and navigation classes, realising his dream of participating in the Clipper Race. The only NZ port of call was Tauranga and the first sight of the south coast ‘was fantastic’. The race will end on the Gold Coast and Fred will return to NZ after Christmas. He says “if anybody else out there is retired… keen to fulfil their dreams, don’t think about it, just do it.”

It was good to see Edith Sharrock at church again. We send ‘get well’ wishes to those who have had the ‘everlasting’ cough and cold and to those in pain. Bev Alquist has had knee surgery and has moved to the rehab ward at North Shore Hospital, making good progress. We continue to remember Alison Chambers at Patrick Ferry House.

BIRTHDAY GREETINGS this month to Anne Glenny, Don Glenny, Edith Sharrock, Judith Houghton, Bill Houghton, Fleur Taylor, Alf Taylor and Gerald Sharrock.

WEDDING ANNIVERSARY CONGRATS to Bill & Judith Houghton, Andre & Helene Muller, Jimi & Willie Colven

BIRTHDAY GREETINGS for JANUARY to Jessica Franklin and Rachel Hurr

WEDDING ANNIVERSARY CONGRATS in JANUARY to Wendy & Joe Franklin, Yvonne & Don Matheson

What a busy and interesting month it has been – The Kids n All Grandparents’ Day was a success, as was ‘Rise & Shine’, with the accent on the Church foundation 80 years ago. No doubt about the coffee!! The ‘Drop In’ mornings and Roast ‘Meet’ lunches are well attended and appreciated by all who come. The Friday Fun Nights have really taken off with increased numbers each week. The children enjoy their meal and activities and go home laden with things they have made. December 2nd will be the last one for 2011.

It was great to see friends from the past coming together for the 80th anniversary of St Aidans present church, to think about the people who built it and nurtured it over the years. Interesting to hear stories about how things were and how they relate to ‘now’. We are fortunate to have folk who recall the early days and their stories revive memories for us all – Sunday School and Bible Class were an important part of our lives. Should we be considering inviting St. Andrews to join us more often – ? Wasn’t it good to see the church full, hear the wonderful singing to the superb music of Grace and Pat, to hear meaningful messages and to enjoy fellowship over morning tea.

SANTA PARADE Did you see some pretty flowers in the Santa Parade? One specially pretty one was Jessica Franklin who was a very excited little girl taking part.

A parade of a different kind moved through Takapuna recently – in the form of a “White Ribbon” motorcycle cavalcade on its way north to draw attention to the campaign “Men Against Violence”. Local members of the charity greeted the motorcyclists at St George’s church and exchanged greetings before they moved on through the North Shore to Dairy Flat, and eventually to Kaitaia. Quite an impressive sight.

Rita has had happy news from the family in Oz. Ramie has completed his first year at school and received two awards, one of which was the “Care” award for showing kindness and consideration to others. A good start, Ramie.

And Karen’s daughter Alexandra (21) is to take a 9 week internship with a company in Sydney towards her degree in Business Studies. She will take time out to come home for Christmas.

Liz & David Hansen are about to explore the wilds of Indonesia to visit Jenni, Eric and Lucas in their new home. They have been warned that it is ‘hot and sticky’ so we hope there’s a swim somewhere nearby..

Edith Fyfe spent a weekend with the Rotary Caravan Fellowship at Arataki, Havelock North. She and a friend stayed in a cottage in the camp and joined in the activities of the weekend. Their programme involved several local interest spots, finishing with a visit and talk at the Port of Napier where thousands of logs were being loaded for overseas as well as a container ship loading up. Napier expects 75 cruise ships in the season. Their large tug had been on stand-by at the wreck of the Rena.

We look forward to our Christmas tree and its decoration; to the Christmas Eve service of Carols and Communion and the combined service with St Lukes on Christmas Day.

Our thanks to all who have made our year so exciting and pleasurable; who have encouraged us to new beginnings; for our spiritual awareness and learning again to reach out and care for one another. May we carry this blessing to our families and friends over the holiday time.

MAY THE BLESSINGS OF CHRISTMAS BE YOURS AND MAY YOU FIND REST AND RENEWAL OVER THE HOLIDAY  TIME.

GO WELL AND SAFELY…..

Thanks, Edith, for your interesting and entertaining contributions each month.
M.K. 

January 15, 2012 in Newsletter, St Aidans Meandering by

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Service Times & Directions

Weekend Masses in English

Saturday Morning: 8:00 am

Saturday Vigil: 4:30 pm

Sunday: 7:30 am, 9:00 am, 10:45 am,
12:30 pm, 5:30 pm

Weekend Masses In Español

Saturday Vigil: 6:15pm

Sunday: 9:00am, 7:15pm

Weekday Morning Masses

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 8:30 am

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Wonderland, AK 45202
(513) 555-7856