Encouragement for the Journey 25 January 2015

Encouragement for the journey 


Greetings fellow travellers

One of the things that I have been pondering as I begin this new internship placement in earnest now is the question of communication. When you are in a new relationship there is a lot of uncertainty and many new discoveries to make. There is the history of this fellowship to learn and begin to understand, and that is made up of the stories of people past and present. Then there are the stories of individual people in the congregation and the story of the north shore itself and how it has changed and developed its own character as a place. And there is the character, flavour and shape of worship each week, given a different voice and nuance by the different folk involved in leading and preparing.

My involvement in all of this is essentially a matter of communication – of listening and sharing, of giving time and attention. Because of how new everything is, as I have prepared for worship I have had at the back of my mind the question ‘who are these people that I’m talking to? What do I know of them to be able to meet them where they are with the gospel?’ Any communication that doesn’t ask this question has limited hope of being heard, and rightly so. Why waste your time listening to someone who hasn’t got a clue what your life is like? Why give your attention to someone who hasn’t considered who will be listening?

This is a good question for me to consider at this stage of my time here, but it’s also a good question to take to the gospel itself. Who were the people Jesus was talking to? What did Jesus want to communicate that would be good news for poor, oppressed Jews? And for the rich? And for powerful rulers? And for Roman officers? And for the marginalised? And that is also good news for us today and for people throughout all the ages between and still to come?

Somewhere between Jesus’ first proclamation that the kingdom of God was near and Peter’s first sermon on the day of Pentecost, the good news become that Jesus is the Christ; that God has come near, so near in fact to be one of us, and that through Jesus God has worked the reconciliation of all things.

Could it be that the good news of the kingdom of God is that the kingdom itself looks like, tastes like, smells like, and has the flavour of Jesus’ life? And that is a life of love within us, among us, not far from us…as present and as near as you allow it to be?




January 31, 2015 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey 18 January 2015

Encouragement for the Journey


Greetings fellow traveller,

Upon returning from leave this week, and opening my mail I found an invitation to attend the deconsecration of All Hallows Methodist Church in Campbells Bay, where I had been parish minister. It was being closed due to a very low seismic strength reading.

This is not the first church building, nor will it be last, to be deconsecrated, and then used for another purpose from which it was built for. Former church buildings are being used for a variety of purposes including: Night Clubs, TV Studios, Cafés, Light engineering workshops and upmarket homes. There is no single reason why church buildings cease to be places of worship and home to communities of faith. However, the current trend of reduced church attendance here in New Zealand, will see increasing numbers of church buildings, take on new forms of use and place in our communities.

Church buildings offer communities of faith many positive opportunities to grow and create healthy transformational communities of hope and grace. However, because of the bond that develops between people and the church building, this strongly influences how that community sees itself. Namely, the community of faith becomes strongly identified with church as a building; failing to see that the church is always the people who happen to use that particular building space for their worship, fellowship and acts of service. For the church is always people, people, people.

We could describe our church buildings at St Aidans and St Luke’s as our Tūrangawaewae. This is one of the most well-known and powerful Māori concepts. Literally tūranga (standing place), waewae (feet), it is often translated as ‘a place to stand’. Tūrangawaewae are places where we feel especially empowered and connected. They are our foundation, our place in the world, our home. I like that idea that our church buildings provide an opportunity where we may be empowered and feel connected, so upon our leaving, we are ready to serve and be instruments of healing and hope in a hurting world.

Of course this empowering and belonging happens within our ultimate belonging, within the mystery we name as God, the One in whom we live, move and have our being. May this year ahead offer you moments of being empowered and belonging in your community of faith, within the eternal presence of God.

Meanwhile Peace


January 31, 2015 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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encouragement for the journey 4/1/15

Encouragement for the Journey


As I reflect on the beginning of a new year three things have been rolling around in my mind. The first is a poem by the 13th century mystic Rumi:

The Guest House.

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all.

Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honourably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

The second is this inspiring quote from Dag Hammerskjold that I came across several New Years ago:

For all that has been: Thanks.

For all that is to come: Yes!

And the third is a quote from Carl Jung:

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.

These three suggest to me a courageous and a gracious approach to life, acknowledging that many things come to our door and tumble us over, leave us gasping and flapping and wondering how to tell which way is up. And yet, for all that, there is still a blessing to be discovered from the experience. Sometimes the things that come to the door of our lives are from interactions with other people and it is easy to miss the opportunity to welcome self-knowledge, show grace and offer compassion when our attention is focussed on ‘their’ problem.

Whatever comes to your door this year, may you find grace, gratitude, humour and honour keep you company through each day.



January 13, 2015 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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