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Spirituality – October 2012

Awakening our presence, some may describe this as the ‘The Spiritual Journey’ or ‘Spirituality.’ It is helpful to not get hung up on the terminology rather engage in the practice itself.  Within our Christian tradition we seek to walk the Jesus way.

 

For me, Jesus was a fascinating man, teaching with words and by action. He had a beautiful mind and a wonderful imagination whose practice of compassion was deeply subversive. I like to imagine that Jesus had beautiful eyes. Those who gazed into them would have felt the infinite gentleness of the Divine. Within our tradition, Jesus is the decisive revelation of God and shows what a life filled with God may look like.

 

Of course when we catch glimpses of Jesus, we do so through the eyes of others who were writing for their faith communities, perhaps up to fifty years after Jesus died. There is a particular story that is a favourite of mine in the gospels. It tells of a man casting out demons, and Jesus’ disciples get very upset that he is doing this because he is not part of their close-knit disciple-group and they try to stop him, without success.  Jesus offers those wonder filled words “Don’t stop him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”

 

For me, the concept of the demonic is not the issue; rather it is the attitude of the disciples and the response of Jesus, that interest and fascinates me.  Jesus is suggesting change your thinking, this person is not your enemy, nor a threat to you, but, someone who is walking a different road to you, but never the less is still with you and together you can both serve me, howbeit, in different ways.  At the heart of this story Jesus is teaching his disciples how to accept difference, to learn from their mistakes, offering another way of being and responding to life. Along with Jesus honouring the eternal presence in this man and invite his disciples to do likewise.

 

Along the journey of my life, I have experienced the truth of this story. During my teenage years in late 1950’s and early 1960’s I attended a church in Liverpool UK, whose theology was ultra conservative evangelical and extremely anti Roman Catholic. The preaching week by week taught intolerance and only those with the same views and theology were going to be in heaven and the rest were to be condemned to the fires of hell.  Looking back to those days it was most unhealthy and echoed the intolerance and bitterness of the wider community of inner city Liverpool of that era.

 

The influence of that church stayed with me for quite some years. It was

2.

through my theological training, study and reflective reading along with my delightful encounters with catholic nuns and monks my thinking and attitude changed.

 

In an ironic twist the writers who have most enriched my life and ministry have all been Roman Catholic such as Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Tony De Mello and John O Donohue. Even though they have all died, they still mentor me beyond the veil through their writings.

 

Looking back on my life, as an impressionable teenager, I was too easily influenced, my thinking was flawed, faulty and contributed to seeing myself as superior to others, just like the disciples who wanted to condemn the person who was no part of their group.

 

Jesus continually challenges our perception of ourselves, of other individuals, of other groups and of life itself. Along the way we move from a narrowness of spirit to catching glimpses of God present and at work in all kinds of unlikely people in unpredictable ways and places.

 

Jesus taught through the contagious power of a loving example, rather than by an unhealthy desire for uniformity. The Jesus’ Spirit is always tolerance, for each person will express their own uniqueness and echo their own presence. Travelling the Jesus pathway we will leave the land of exclusivity, make a border crossing, into the country of inclusivity.

 

For me the church is by definition an inclusive community, where differences are honoured, respected and enjoyed, for at its centre, is the inclusive God.  This is stated very eloquently by John Wesley founder of the Methodist Church:

 

“I have no more right to object to a man for holding a different opinion from mine that I have to differ with a man because he wears a wig and I wear my own hair; but if he takes his wig off and shakes the powder in my face, I shall consider it my duty to quit of him as soon as possible”

 

The thing which I resolved to use every possible method of preventing was a narrowness of spirit, a party zeal, that miserable bigotry which makes many so unready to believe that there is any work of God but among themselves”

 

These words written 18C Century and are still very relevant for today. The conviction that our beliefs and our methods alone are the ONLY way continues to cause more tragedy and distress in the church than almost

3.

any other thing. There are many ways to God, for God has a secret

stairway into every heart. No person or church or group has a monopoly on the truth of God.

 

I still believe the Church or as I prefer to describe it, ‘an unfolding faith community’ can still offer a place where people can put down roots, experience belonging, to grow and flourish as persons, as couples, as families. Regardless of: ethnicity, gender, education or sexual orientation.

 

For each person is unique, and therefore precious, in each person there is a priceless treasure, a sacred presence. Therefore we honour and respect in each other – the hidden value that is in no other.

 

God is present in each other – the eternal echo within. In meeting each other we meet the echo of Christ.  Our relationship with Christ is a journey in and of love we learn to see, to think about others, our world and ourselves differently, with love and great compassion. We need to preserve and nurture our differences.

When we do this we can fully inhabit our own uniqueness, our own personal integrity of presence of being in the world. For this is how we recognise and revere the right of the other – to be different from us.

 

I want to offer you this poem from Ibn Arabi (1165 – 1240 Sufi Mystic and Philosopher) which offers hope and possibility for living with difference.

 

                There was a time I would reject those

 

There was a time I would reject those

who were not of my faith.

But now, my heart has grown capable

of taking on all forms.

It is a pasture for gazelles,

An abbey for monks.

A table for the Torah,

Kaaba for the pilgrim.

My religion is love.

Whichever the route love’s caravan shall take,

That shall be the path of my faith.

 

Meanwhile Peace in the dignity of difference

Alf

 

4.

October 6, 2012 in A Little Extra, Newsletter by

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St.Aidan’s Meandering – October 2012

Greetings –  What are your thoughts on the new Herald?  Takes a bit of getting used to – still finding my way round!  And what about Richie McCaw’s sabbatical – can he take a break and retain his form for the next World Cup??  The Silver Ferns certainly gave us some excitement with their (narrow) wins over Australia – the first Test was probably the best game of netball I have ever seen.  As the Australian Captain remarked after the game, every member of the N.Z. team was a winner – best Kiwi team she had seen (and she has been in the game a long time).  And Valerie finally got her Gold!  A generous occasion provided by ANZ and good to see the ‘Cloud’ being used again.  Brought back memories of the fun and camaraderie we had this time last year, with teams and supporters roaming round Auckland for the Rugby World Cup.

 

Wasn’t the ‘Floral Affair’ a wonderful success.  A big ‘thank you’ to the organizers and to those who provided excellent entertainment, food and flowers.  There are always lessons to be learned on a ‘first’ occasion.  The ‘HIGH TEA’ was a knock out and there were many smiling faces at the end of the show.

 

BIRTHDAYS  This month we say Happy Birthday to Kimberley F;  Mary A (I think it is 89 for Mary this time);  Margaret S;  Yvonne M; Pat  R;  Rob Ripley over in Oz.  We hope you all have a happy day and lots of good things.

 

OUR LOVE & PRAYERS go to Wendy Franklin for her recovery in North Shore Hospital

To Joan Spencer also recovering in North Shore Hospital;

To Gerald and Kay, that they may continue to find strength;

To John Chambers that he will respond to rest.

We are pleased to report that Fleur is recovering well after surgery and is appreciative of prayers and well wishes.  And Alf is recovering well and his back is healing well.

Robin decided not to travel and enjoy the warmth and beauty of France.  Instead she spent the time in Southern Cross Hospital having hip replacement surgery.  She is recovering well under the loving nursing expertise of sister Isabel (sisterly love ???)

 

OUT AND ABOUT

Bev A is looking forward to a visit from daughter Sally from the Gold Coast.  They will do a bit of tripping round while Sally is here and have an interesting programme planned.

 

Now we no longer have to go to the Himalayas to witness a mountain rescue.  During his last visit to Ruapehu, Colin experienced just such a rescue.  Colin writes:

 

“I was skiing at Whakapapa in excellent conditions on Friday 21 September. As usual the piste* was hard packed in the early morning but brilliant sunshine melted the frosty snow to give easy skiing by noon.  Three friends and I skied the “Black Magic” off piste run outside the ski area to the west.  This area is remote and not patrolled by the Ski Patrol, there are no warning signs for the numerous hazards so skiers must be able to cope with challenging conditions.

 

We were 3/4 of the way down the run when we heard a cry for help.  A skier had fallen down a hole and could not get out.  As I am the fastest skier of our group I skied to the base of the chair lift to request the attendant call Ski Patrol.  I met two Ski Patrollers at the top of the lift, we ascended a T-Bar and I led the Patrollers to the accident site on our skis.

 

The victim was a 46 year old man from Tauranga, skiing with his daughter.  He skied over snow covering a small waterfall, broke through the snow and fell 4-5 metres to the base of the waterfall.  He broke his collarbone plus he was soon suffering from hypothermia from falling in the ice cold water.  He was still calling for help when I arrived with the Ski Patrollers.  Although we could hear his calls he could not hear our response from the surface.

 

The Ski Patrollers called for help and there were soon 5 Patrollers present.  There were no nearby rocks to secure a rope so 3 pairs of skis (including mine) were buried in the snow horizontally at a depth of at least 1 metre, with a webbing strap from the centre of the skis.  Imagine a T cut in the snow with the skis at the top of the T.  We had a 3-1 purchase on the rope, lowered a Patroller down to the victim and hauled both Patroller and victim up together.  I was hauling on the rope with four others.  The victim was loaded on to a sledge and taken to the emergency room at the base of the ski field.

 

The Ski Patrollers were very skilful in their work, did not rush the job and set up a back up belay in case the hauling rope broke.    A dramatic afternoon for Colin.”

 

Thank you Colin for sharing that with us.  One wonders where the victim’s daughter was and did you hear anything further of the skier and his recovery.

 

JUST A THOUGHT – Have you offered your name for any of the Church rosters?  The cleaning is not onerous and can be shared by two people (not necessarily ladies);  the flowers do not have to be elaborate – a simple vase is fine;  door duty is easy and help is always available for entering the records afterwards.  Please think about it, your help is needed.

 

Look forward to seeing you at Rise n Shine, Kids n All and Friday Fun Night.  You may be able to help with food or a simple activity.

 

A PARTING THOUGHT  – –    IT’S NOT WHAT YOU DO,  IT’S HOW YOU DO IT

IT’S NOT WHAT YOU SEE , IT’S HOW YOU LOOK AT IT

IT’S NOT HOW YOUR LIFE IS, IT’S HOW YOU LIVE IT

 

Go well and safely……………….

 

*piste:  a ski run for compacted snow

October 6, 2012 in Newsletter, St Aidans Meandering by

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From my Heart to Yours – October 2012

When I watch the United Nations General Assembly in action, I admire the theatre of the occasion, the rhetoric of the speeches and the richness of ethnic diversity. I have noticed how some speakers offer a way forward along the road to reconciliation, extending an olive branch of peace.  While others use ‘put downs’ judging others harshly, poking fun and like children playing in a school yard when things don’t go their way, stamp their feet and walk out, because they don’t like what they hear or to make a protest. I readily admit the differences between some Countries are immense, with Gulfs of mistrust and Himalayan size walls of miscommunication ever present.

 

Throughout human history, the differences between, women and men, Nations, ethnicities, cultures, and religions have always been present. It is these differences, which form the very fabric of the rich tapestry of human existence on this spinning orb, within our ever unfolding wonder filled universe.

 

One of the wonders is there is a sacred presence within each person. Our mission if we should choose to accept, is to gradually learn how to live, so as to awaken or if you like know our own presence. So we may hear the eternal echo from another’s presence.

 

Awakening our presence, some may describe this as the ‘The Spiritual Journey’ or ‘Spirituality.’ It is helpful to not get hung up on the terminology rather engage in the practice itself.  Within our Christian tradition we seek to walk the Jesus way.

 

For me, Jesus was a fascinating man, teaching with words and by action. He had a beautiful mind and a wonderful imagination whose practice of compassion was deeply subversive. I like to imagine that Jesus had beautiful eyes. Those who gazed into them would have felt the infinite gentleness of the Divine. Within our tradition, Jesus is the decisive revelation of God and shows what a life filled with God may look like.

 

Of course when we catch glimpses of Jesus, we do so through the eyes of others who were writing for their faith communities, perhaps up to fifty years after Jesus died. There is a particular story that is a favourite of mine in the gospels. It tells of a man casting out demons, and Jesus’ disciples get very upset that he is doing this because he is not part of their close-knit disciple-group and they try to stop him, without success.  Jesus offers those wonder filled words “Don’t stop him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”

 

For me, the concept of the demonic is not the issue; rather it is the attitude of the disciples and the response of Jesus, that interest and fascinates me.  Jesus is suggesting change your thinking, this person is not your enemy, nor a threat to you, but, someone who is walking a different road to you, but never the less is still with you and together you can both serve me, howbeit, in different ways.  At the heart of this story Jesus is teaching his disciples how to accept difference, to learn from their mistakes, offering another way of being and responding to life. Along with Jesus honouring the eternal presence in this man and invite his disciples to do likewise.

 

Along the journey of my life, I have experienced the truth of this story. During my teenage years in late 1950’s and early 1960’s I attended a church in Liverpool UK, whose theology was ultra conservative evangelical and extremely anti Roman Catholic. The preaching week by week taught intolerance and only those with the same views and theology were going to be in heaven and the rest were to be condemned to the fires of hell.  Looking back to those days it was most unhealthy and echoed the intolerance and bitterness of the wider community of inner city Liverpool of that era.

 

The influence of that church stayed with me for quite some years. It was through my theological training, study and reflective reading along with my delightful encounters with catholic nuns and monks my thinking and attitude changed.

 

In an ironic twist the writers who have most enriched my life and ministry have all been Roman Catholic such as Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Tony De Mello and John O Donohue. Even though they have all died, they still mentor me beyond the veil through their writings.

 

Looking back on my life, as an impressionable teenager, I was too easily influenced, my thinking was flawed, faulty and contributed to seeing myself as superior to others, just like the disciples who wanted to condemn the person who was no part of their group.

 

Jesus continually challenges our perception of ourselves, of other individuals, of other groups and of life itself. Along the way we move from a narrowness of spirit to catching glimpses of God present and at work in all kinds of unlikely people in unpredictable ways and places.

 

 

 

Jesus taught through the contagious power of a loving example, rather than by an unhealthy desire for uniformity. The Jesus’ Spirit is always tolerance, for each person will express their own uniqueness and echo their own presence. Travelling the Jesus pathway we will leave the land of exclusivity, make a border crossing, into the country of inclusivity.

 

For me the church is by definition an inclusive community, where differences are honoured, respected and enjoyed, for at its centre, is the inclusive God.  This is stated very eloquently by John Wesley founder of the Methodist Church::

 

“I have no more right to object to a man for holding a different opinion from mine that I have to differ with a man because he wears a wig and I wear my own hair; but if he takes his wig off and shakes the powder in my face, I shall consider it my duty to quit of him as soon as possible”

 

The thing which I resolved to use every possible method of preventing was a narrowness of spirit, a party zeal, that miserable bigotry which makes many so unready to believe that there is any work of God but among themselves”

 

These words written 18C Century and are still very relevant for today. The conviction that our beliefs and our methods alone are the ONLY way continues to cause more tragedy and distress in the church than almost any other thing. There are many ways to God, for God has a secret stairway into every heart. No person or church or group has a monopoly on the truth of God.

 

I still believe the Church or as I prefer to describe it, ‘an unfolding faith community’ can still offer a place where people can put down roots, experience belonging, to grow and flourish as persons, as couples, as families. Regardless of: ethnicity, gender, education or sexual orientation.

 

For each person is unique, and therefore precious, in each person there is a priceless treasure, a sacred presence. Therefore we honour and respect in each other – the hidden value that is in no other.

 

God is present in each other – the eternal echo within. In meeting each other we meet the echo of Christ.  Our relationship with Christ is a journey in and of love we learn to see, to think about others, our world and ourselves differently, with love and great compassion. We need to preserve and nurture our differences.

When we do this we can fully inhabit our own uniqueness, our own personal integrity of presence of being in the world. For this is how we recognise and revere the right of the other – to be different from us.

 

I want to offer you this poem from Ibn Arabi (1165 – 1240 Sufi Mystic and Philosopher) which offers hope and possibility for living with difference.

 

                There was a time I would reject those

 

There was a time I would reject those

who were not of my faith.

But now, my heart has grown capable

of taking on all forms.

It is a pasture for gazelles,

An abbey for monks.

A table for the Torah,

Kaaba for the pilgrim.

My religion is love.

Whichever the route love’s caravan shall take,

That shall be the path of my faith.

 

Meanwhile Peace in the dignity of difference

Alf

 

October 6, 2012 in From the Minister, Newsletter by

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REVIVING THE FLAME – October 2012

Every two years the PCANZ (Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa NZ) convenes a General Assembly. This year it is to be held in Rotorua and I will be attending on your behalf.  At each Assembly the Church elects a new Moderator this year it is the Rev Ray Coster. He has written a series of studies. They are on his theme: “Reviving the Flame: Living in the power of God’s presence and the presence of God’s power”

There is an opportunity to participate in these studies on the following Tuesday evenings in the Lindisfarne Lounge

 

                   Tuesday 9th October 7.30pm – 9.00pm

Study One: Reviving the Flame: Living in the power of God’s presence                                   and the presence of God’s power

 

                    Tuesday 16th October 7.30pm – 9.00pm      

Study Two:  Living with a resurrection mind-set

 

                    Tuesday 23rd October 7.30pm – 9.00pm     

Study Three: The WHY of mission and the HOW and WHAT of                                               a resurrection Church mind-set

 

                   Tuesday 30th October 7.30pm – 9.00pm      

Study Four: 25 Putting the resurrection Church into action – The fruits of                              the resurrection mind-set

 

I will facilitate each evening, with much participation from those who attend. I look forward to journeying through these studies with you

 

Meanwhile Peace

Alf

October 6, 2012 in A Little Extra, Newsletter by

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Dates for your Calendar for October 2012

Monday 1st  October     10.00am Drop-In Morning with guests from Regency and Shoal                                    Bay Villa.    

Tuesday 2nd October     7.00pmCome to Quiet’ Lindisfarne Lounge.

Sunday 7th  October      10.00 am Kids N All – Theme”Welcoming & Celebrating”

Tuesday  9th October    7.30pm -9.00pm “Reviving the Flame” Lindisfarne Lounge.

Sunday 14th October     10.00 am Service of Quiet & Reflection.

Tuesday, 16th October  7.30pm – 9.30pm “Reviving the Flame” Lindisfarne Lounge.

Wednesday 17th Oct     7.30pm Church Council in Lindisfarne Lounge.

Friday 19th October      12.15pm Roast Meet Lunch. (Phone Margaret 483-5680) to book                                  a place.)

Sunday 21st October     8.30 am RISE N SHINE – Youth Sunday

                                      10.00 am Interactive Service of Worship.

Thursday, 25th October Midday – Items for the November Newsletter please.

Friday, 26th October     6.15pm Friday Fun Night Lindisfarne Lounge. 

Sunday 28th October     10.00am Morning Worship & Communion.

Tuesday 30 October     7.30pm – 9.00pm”Reviving the Flame” Lindisfarne Lounge.

Sunday 4th November    10.00am. Kids N All “St Aidans Birthday Party. 

Monday 5 November    10.00am Drop-In Morning with guests from Regency and Shoal                                    Bay Villa.    

 

 

CONTENTS

Page 1 to 4                    From My heart to Yours (ALF)

Page 5&6                       St Aidan’s Meandering

Page 7&8                       Keeping You Informed & Reviving the Flame

Page 9                           Civil Defence, Northcote Response Plan

Page 10                         Spencer Lounge Art

Page 11                         Rosters

Page 12                         Dates to Remember

 

You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.

Kahlil Gibran (1883 ~1931) Lebanese poet, writer, artist and mystic

You are surrounded by gifts every living moment of every day. Let yourself feel appreciation for their presence in your life and take the time to

Acknowledge their splendour.

Lon G. Nungesser  Writer

12.

October 6, 2012 in Dates to Remember, Newsletter by

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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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