Encouragement for the Journey
Greetings Fellow Traveller,
Today is our 125th birthday, a time to honour the past, celebrate the present and become hopeful of the future. I have had the privilege of being involved in a number of Church Anniversary celebrations. Naturally each was different, but all embodied the themes of remembrance, celebration and hope.
When St Aidans was formed in 1888, NZ Society was vastly different than today, time and space forbid a detailed comparison. One significant difference was that Churches were an integral and essential part of the community. When the early settlers, commenced their colonization of NZ and learned to live and work alongside Maori, some of the first buildings to be built after houses, was a church building, a school and of course a hotel. The local church played an integral part in both rural and urban communal life.
For those of us within communities of faith, we now find the church on the periphery, on the edge of society. The church is generally perceived as totally, irrelevant, legalistic, and judgmental along with being an ancient anachronism no longer needed in a modern society. Once we appreciate and understand this, we can commence what I term ‘bridge building’ across the gap that exists between the church and the wider community. This is what we have sought to do here at St Aidans with our Drop Inn, Roast Meet, Friday Fun Nights, Being Teacher Helpers at Northcote Primary and ARK@S, our Kids N All and Café Services are all attempts to offer alternate ministries which demonstrate community in action. There are no limits to what kinds of Bridges we may build linking communities together.
Across these bridges we meet each other, human travellers seeking meaning in the midst of our lives. Along the way we offer the unconditional love and grace of the gospel of Jesus, not just in word, but allowing our actions to speak louder than words.
In our celebrations today:
May you enjoy an awaking of memories, of the people and activities of yesterday, take delight in the energy and love of the present moment, and be touched with hope, for the unknown future always beckons ……