St Aidan’s Meandering – Dec 2012/Jan 2013

Greetings – Time to wax lyrical again and enjoy the lovely roses that seem to have flourished in the wet spring; the early pohutukawa already flowering at beach and bush; the song of the tui high up in a tree mocking me as I hang the washing; the fairy lights in Birkenhead shops. It really is a pretty time of the year.

Also a time of reflection as we think about the past year; our Drop In mornings and Roast Meet luncheon which continue to bring pleasure and interaction to our older members; Messy Church and Friday Fun Nights – an extension of the Church into the community, together with the voluntary involvement with Northcote Primary pupils in reading, maths etc; Rise and Shine and Kids n All services on Sunday bringing younger families to enjoy breakfast and fun at Church.

We had our Jazz Concert and the successful Floral Affair to enjoy the company of others and to raise funds for St. Aidans. We have celebrated special anniversaries of the Church and become contributors to Facebook – letting folk know what goes on at St. Aidans. We have ‘Come to Quiet’ for contemplative prayer. We have enjoyed beautiful music from our musicians played on the white piano, presented by the Sharrock family to remember dear Edith Sharrock, a member for so long. The church flowers continue to bring us joy from week to week.

It is good to see (bionic) Robin looking well and managing her new hips. Your outlook will be much brighter for the summer, Robin. Thank you Isabel for your care.

Our thoughts for health are with Wendy and Betty and Ralph

We wish a Happy Birthday in December to Anne Glenny, Bill Houghton, Judith Houghton, Fleur Taylor, Alf Taylor, Gerald Sharrock; in January to Jessica Franklin, Rachel Hurr.

Wedding Anniversary congrats go to Judith and Bill Houghton, Jimi and Willie Colven, Andre and Helene Muller. We hope you all have a happy celebration


Jeanne has been a busy girl – not only did she record an excellent time in the N.S. Marathon, but she also completed her B.Ed degree !! Congratulations from us all Jeanne.

Several folk visited the Sculpture Exhibition at Narrow Neck in November, funds to Women’s Refuge, and found it interesting and enjoyable. Certainly a great setting. There were also some enthusiastic comments from those who visited the Sculpture Park at Kaukapakapa.

There will be lots of outdoor activities for us to enjoy over the summer months – watch out for those in your parks.

The Hansens will reside at their castle in France where it will be a little cooler than here, but it will be nice to have the family together over there and it will be nice to have a visitor when Alf is in Europe

Edith F had an amazing journey in Vietnam. I was lucky enough to tag on to a group from Manly Methodist Church, some of whom had been there several times and organised a ‘Wendy Wu’ tour through the travel agent at Manly. It began with a 10 hr flight to Singapore, overnight there, then a 3 hr flight to Hanoi next morning. It was very hot. Admission to hotel was not till pm so it was straight into sightseeing under the care of our Vietnamese, English speaking guide who took care of us from then on. We had an interesting run down on the history and the ultimate unification under Ho Chi Minh, visited historical buildings including Ho’s Mausoleum where he lies in state. In heat of the afternoon an unscheduled rickshaw ride was arranged for everyone in which we were ‘pedalled’ through the streets of Hanoi amidst the 6 million motorbikes which came towards us like a ‘wall’, but fortunately went round us! The traffic, and the way it moves, has to be seen to be believed, as do the loads (of people and goods) that are carried on the motorbikes.

There were treats – like the cruise round beautiful Halong Bay among the 2000 rugged islands and fish farms, with lunch on board; the moonlit cruise on the river in Saigon, with dinner, music Chinese style and lovely dancing girls; emotional moments when we visited the Cu chi tunnels, saw the size and extent of the tunnels and some of the horrific booby traps, in the regenerated forest; a retail complex where the assistants are all handicapped in some way and the proceeds go towards their livelihood; a ‘shelter’ in Saigon where a group of nuns care for and educate the little girls who have been sold into prostitution – we were able to take gifts in our cases for the girls and their babies; our last dinner was at a restaurant where young people from very poor homes are trained in restaurant duties – delightful young people served us our meal. We had a cooking lesson in a remote spot reached by small rickety boat up a river. Hotels in Hanoi, Hoi an, Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) were excellent. Our own bus transport in each centre was good and our guide outstanding. The tour was called “Vietnam Impressions” appropriately – it certainly left a lasting impression on that group of people.


May the blessings of Christmas be with you and may the New Year be peaceful.

I am retiring from my role as Editor and Ralph Penning will be interim editor for the next six months. My thanks go to those who have contributed to our newsletter over the years. Special thanks go to Alf, for his thought provoking contributions and Edith, who keeps us up-to-date with the “St Aidan’s Meanderings”

Thanks also to Shona Ripley-Lafu, who prints the Newsletter each month.


December 20, 2012 in Newsletter, St Aidans Meandering by

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Meanwhile Peace – Dec 2012/Jan 2013

Alf I admit, when I first read this, I nodded in agreement. For on a global perspective this quote may be true; the world is not a better place because of Christ. Of course this is the macro view, or big picture perspective. But, wait there is always more happening; on a micro level, communities are making a difference in the lives of individuals. Sometimes it is easy to lose sight of what is happening right under our noses.


Looking at the Christmas story, the big picture, there is no room anywhere, everywhere the NO VACANCY sign is up.  Yet, that is not the end of the story, there is a space available, in a barn with the animals. Not a place where we expect human beings to sleep never mind give birth to a baby.  Yet for many millions in our world today, they live with their animals, week in week out. Returning to the Christmas story, on a micro level this made all the difference to a young couple and the birth of their baby.


There is a hidden theme weaving its way through the Christmas story, it is present, but hidden, it is making a difference for good, namely taking a risk for love. Read any part of the Christmas narratives and something good, something beautiful happens, which is the difference that makes a difference.


This is what I want to highlight for this Christmas, making a difference for good.  It is also the focus of our mission statement here at St Aidans; we are an inclusive Christian community seeking to make a difference starting with ourselves.


In highlighting making a difference on a local, or micro level, is not denying or ignoring the macro or global level. Indeed I am reminded of the slogan:


‘Think Global, act locally’


This phase has been attributed to Patrick Geddes (1854 – 1932), who was a Scottish biologist, sociologist, philanthropist and pioneering town planner. The original use of this phrase was in environmental issues, to consider the health of the whole plant while focusing on the particular local issue. Each is interconnected with the other.


I readily admit that it is very easy to be so overwhelmed by what is happening on a global level that we forget the local level and vice versa, we can be so absorbed at what we are doing on a local level, that we forget the larger picture of how we fit into the world.


This was brought home to me a few weeks ago when I was a guest at a NZ Citizenship Ceremony held at the Bruce Mason Centre. The variety of ethnicities and cultures present was truly amazing.  Truly we are living in a global village.

Courtesy of Wikipedia: the term ‘Global Village’ is a term closely associated with Marshall McLuhan, popularized in his books The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (1962) and Understanding Media (1964). McLuhan described how the globe has been contracted into a village by electric technology and the instantaneous movement of information from every quarter to every point at the same time. Today, the term “Global Village” is mostly used as a metaphor to describe the Internet and World Wide Web. On the Internet, physical distance is even less of a hindrance to the real-time communicative activities of people, and therefore social spheres are greatly expanded by the openness of the web and the ease at which people can search for online communities and interact with others that share the same interests and concerns.


Sometime after creating the term ‘Global Village’ McLuhan started to use the term ‘Global Theatre’ to emphasise the changeover from consumer to producer, from acquisition to involvement, from job holding to role playing.  Space forbids a fuller explanation of what he actually means by this term. But my imagination began to wander, for it offers a way we may view life.  Is life just a role we play, we adopt a role, and never actually share what is happening deep within our being. The reality of the outside world is kept at a distance and the language of the heart is never revealed.

This echoes the words of the Bard himself William Shakespeare in ‘As you like it’:


All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;


We may feel at times that we are acting a part on the stage and we wonder if what we are living is real and / or what is a fantasy. Then all of sudden, something happens, just like what happened on:

The evening of 22nd November 1963,  British novelist and playwright David Lodge was watching one of his own creations, a satirical revue.


The theatre audience was enjoying the play, in a particular scene they laughed as an actor in the play showed up for an interview with a transistor radio clutched to his ear, demonstrating his characters blasé indifference to life


The actor then set down the radio and tuned to a station so that music, news and commercials played in the background while the play went on.


The suddenly that night a voice came on the radio with a live news bulletin.

 “Today the American President John F Kennedy was assassinated”


The audience gasped, and the actor immediately switched off the radio, but too late.


In an instance the reality of the outside world had shattered the artificial world of the theatre. Suddenly what action took place on stage seemed superficial and irrelevant.   On the stage of our lives, at different times reality breaks in, and we are changed forever. For some it is a telephone call from a family member, while for others it is sitting in a doctor’s room hearing a diagnosis, while for others the death of a loved one leaves us changed forever.

In these moments, we experience the language of the heart, we are unable to rationalise and reason ourselves out of what we feel. For the 17th Century French Mathematician Blaise Pascal was right when he wrote ‘The heart as its reasons, which reason knows nothing of.’


The language of the heart is the language of life itself.  Isak Dinesen (Author: Out of Africa) tells the story from her years spent in Africa. One day, out in the bush, she came upon a beautiful snake its skin glistening with subtle, variety of colours. She raved so much about that snakeskin that one of her house servants killed the snake, skinned it and made it into a belt for her. To her great dismay, that glistening skin was now just dull and gray. For all along the beauty had lain not in the physical skin but in the quality of its aliveness.


Christmas, in its various ways of perception is also a time for appreciating the aliveness that is present in another human being, present in the language of the heart, to feel strangely warmed, to feel the pain of separation in a ways which reason knows nothing off.  It is a time to think about the big picture, also were we are able, to act locally, seeking to make a difference for good with love with those we meet locally within our communities.


I take this opportunity to wish you and those you love, deep peace and love this Christmas season.


May you risk love to make a difference in the life of another human traveller.


I leave you with this poem:


The Risk of Birth, Christmas, 1973


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


– Madeleine L’Engle


Meanwhile Peace



December 20, 2012 in From the Minister, Newsletter by

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Although the food bank has not been rushed off its feet of late

(famous last words!), on carrying out a survey of the food bank

stocks, there are some areas which could do with a top up.

When shopping it would be wonderful if you could please pick up:-


Biscuits                         Sweets                                 Plain Baked beans

Small Marmite, honey and peanut butter                 All tinned fruit

Instant coffee               Hair Shampoo                     Jellies

All tinned vegetables   All jams                                Tomato sauce

Drinking Chocolate       Wash-up liquid                    Council rubbish bags

Laundry powder                                                         Paper kitchen towels

With Christmas around the corner, could you please start thinking about  suitable items. It is perhaps best to start collecting for the festive season now as it will arrive with the usual rush.

 Many thanks to the St Aldan’s folk who have contributed to the Interchurch Food Bank during 2012.

                                                                                       Matthew Davies

December 20, 2012 in Newsletter, Notices by

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Dates for December 2012 and January 2013

Sunday 2nd December   10.00 KIDS N ALL Christmas Celebration

Monday 3rd December  10.00am Drop – In Morning with residents from

Regency & Shoal Bay Villa.

Tuesday 4th December  7.00pmCome to Quiet’ Lindisfarne Lounge


Sunday 9th December    10.00 am  Advent Service of Quiet & Reflection

Sunday 9th December    3.00pm   ‘SHARROCK’S EUROPEAN ODYSSEY’

                                                                   @ 11 Kaiku St, Northcote

                                       Please bring a plate with something on it to share

Wed 12th December      7.00pm Church Council in Lindisfarne Lounge

Friday 14 December     12.15pm Roast Meet – Lindisfarne Lounge


Sunday 16th December  9.30 am RISE N SHINE –Christmas Celebration

Sunday 16th December  7.00pm  Service of Remembrance –  An opportunity to remember those who have died and whose presence lives on in a different way


Sunday 23rd December  10.00am Morning Worship & Advent Communion

Christmas Eve 24th December 7.00pm Christmas Eve – Family Celebration

Christmas Day              9.30 am @ St LukesMethodistChurch Northcote


Sunday 30th December   9.30 am @ St Aidans Service of Quiet led by Alf

Sunday 6th January       9.30 am@ St LukesMethodistChurch Northcote

Sunday 13 January       9.30 am @ St Aidans Morning Worship led by Alf

Sunday 20th January     9.30 am @ St LukesMethodistChurch Northcote

Sunday 27th January     10.00am @ St Aidans – Worship led by Rev Bob Scott


Sunday 3rd February     10.00am @ St Aidans KIDS N ALL led by Kids Friendly                                           Team


Art & Embroidery Annual Display

The annual display of the Art and Embroidery Groups will be held on Friday, 7 December from 10.00am to 12 noon.

The display will be officially opened at 10.30am followed by morning tea.

All interested persons are welcome to attend.


December 20, 2012 in Dates to Remember, Newsletter by

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Connections & Communications – Dec 2012/Jan 2013

  • Café Style Church:  The Church Council has decided to trial a new type of Service starting from March next year. This will take place at 9-30 a.m. on the third Sunday of each month and is an evolution of the current  Rise & Shine Services which have been held successfully over this year. It will replace both the current 8-30a.m. Rise and Shine Service and the Standard 10-00 a.m. Service. The intention is for all ages to meet at 9-30a.m. for a light breakfast and following Worship, seated round tables in a Café style setting. The “Rise & Shine” gathering will have morphed into an all ages group with a starting time hopefully more acceptable to all, ages. Let us give it a fair go in trial as part of our “smorgsboard” of regular Service types.


  • CWS Christmas Appeal: Once again the Church Council encourages you to support the Christian Word Service Christmas Appeal as part of our Mission. More information will be posted on the notice board, and details and envelopes will be made available to you during December.


  • Iona Property Trust. As those at the Annual General Meeting will know, The Trustees who administer the Iona Retirement Village on behalf of St Aidans Congregation, are elected each year for a three year term. New Trustees elected at the AGM in September were Mary Boyd and Annette Hay.   Sadly, for health reasons, Ralph Penning, who has served several terms as trustee, has tendered his resignation, which the Trust has accepted with much regret. The current Trustee contingent comprises, Colin Reid, Chairman, John Chambers, Deputy Chairman, Jocelyn Williams, Bruce Hay, Mary Boyd and Annette Hay.


  • Alf’s Study Leave: As earlier reported,- part of a Minister’s employment package includes an allowance for Study Leave at the rate of a little over a day a month of employment tenure.  Alf will take study leave from 13th January 2013 and will head for the U.K. for that purpose. He will combine the Study Leave entitlement with a short period of Annual Leave to enable him to also visit relations while in England, and he also hopes to pay a short visit to the Hansens at their “Chateau” in France.  Alf will return to our pulpit by the second Sunday in March when we expect him to be fully refreshed, enlightened, and bubbling with enthusiasm and ideas. Good wishes and God’s Speed Alf.  We all wish you well.

December 20, 2012 in Newsletter, Notices by

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