GRACE NOTES – February 2020

An inclusive Christian community in Auckland, New Zealand

GRACE NOTES – February 2020

HAPPY NEW YEAR

What a wonderful summer we have had so far, I would love to have summer all year long but I know many of you would disagree.

So far this summer Fred and I have managed to take two small breaks, one to New Plymouth and another to Dargaville and Rawene. We are hoping to have another escape from Auckland before the cooler weather is upon us and before normal routines become more established.

I have had my granddaughter Stella to stay a couple of times and had exchange breaks with my friend from Matamata.

This year will see our new friendship between St.Andrew’s and St.Aidan’s develop. I anticipate new friendships, some new music and a deeper understanding of what it means to be a Christian in a changing society.

Matt has prepared us well for the year ahead and Colin is keen to set us on the journey. May we all join together with love and commitment for our joint future.

From MATT

I just wanted to write and say thank you so much for the beautiful gift basket you gave me and the family, as well as the very kind words in the card. We really appreciated it and the kids have already started tucking into some of the goodies. We will enjoy the rest when we go for a picnic! 

We were all sad to be saying goodbye to St Aidans. Even though Ally and the kids haven’t been able to get there every week, it has been a very special place in this season of our lives as a family. 

I’m sorry I missed some of you yesterday and couldn’t say goodbye properly, so to echo my words from yesterday, I want to say thank you again for inviting me to come and serve with you for the year. Your love and kindness, encouragement and support has really helped me gain in confidence, and feel more at peace with how I understand God and express that as a minister. My time with you has been healing and affirming. Thank you so much.

I will miss you all, along with the beautiful building and Northcote. I will certainly stay connected as to how the year unfolds and how the process of discernment goes. 

You will remain gratefully in our hearts and in our prayers.

Love and blessings

PAT & COLIN in France

The snow is falling today, thank goodness, it is really needed, and it is like being inside a little snow scene ball that has been shaken! The wind is blowing strongly so I haven’t been out yet. We are OK but have had a few health issues that I hope will go away before we return. Colin has had some good skiing and I walked the first week with our English friend who has now gone home.

JOHN RAILTON

I have just finished reading “Jane Haining” by Mary Miller. Jane, who was from Galloway, North West Scotland left Scotland in 1932 to work at the Church of Scotland’s Jewish Mission School in Budapest where about 70% of the pupils were Jewish. Jane was matron of the girls boarding school. As the war approached the tensions of antisemitism grew stronger and she was instructed to return to Scotland in 1940. Her reply was ‘The Jews are now entering their most dangerous period – nothing would induce me to desert them…if these children need me in days of sunshine ,how much more do they need me in days of darkness’. Jane was arrested by the Gestapo in 1944 and taken to Auschwitz and murdered in the gas chambers. Jane lived a life of love and courage. Jane’s life is commemorated in the Garden of Righteous at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, at Strathbungo Queen’s Park Church in Glasgow and in Dunscore Parish Church. See me if you would like to borrow the book.

This poem is in memory of Shirley Murray who has written many of the words of hymns we have come to love. Shirley passed away 25th January 2020.

Something beautiful for God

In my seeing

In my being

Something beautiful for God

Let the Spirit make of me.

Something meaningful and true

In my living

And believing

Something meaningful and true

Something beautiful and new.

Blessings for a great 2020.

From Rosemary: All Hands to the Trench

We dug for four hours. Son Geoff, and family and even Granny. Geoff decided the evening before that the next day was to be the day we dug a trench from the lagoon at the end of the beach and the sea.

In winter the torrents from the hills keep the lagoon open to the sea which flows back in at every tide, flushing it out. But in summer, the sluggish trickle was not enough to clean it out. It was up to the community to keep it open. So far, no one had bothered.

With hands and spades and wet suits (not Granny) we looked professional. The trench was to be nearly a metre wide with sloping sides so that it was more difficult for the sand to collapse, according to the strategist with some past experience.

As soon as the walkers on the beach saw what was trying to be accomplished, they would help.

They didn’t.

They came, they admired, they queried, they worried, they gave advice, they offered us Christmas cake, but they didn’t help.

We dug and we dug. For four hours we dug, each with our own idea of what we should do. Nine-year-old Sophie kept sitting in the trench undermining the sides. The teenager was the first to tire and wanted to retire to the surf club to go knee-boarding. The 11 year-old, the reluctant starter, wouldn’t leave when we just wanted to retire with the tide not quite there. Granny had to have frequent rests but, of course, persevered.

Reluctantly, Geoff gave up and we all went home for lunch. The sea just hadn’t cooperated.

Later, the teenager rode along to a vantage point. He came racing back. We had won! The sea was pouring into the lagoon swirling upstream, cleaning out the debris. We just hadn’t waited long enough for the tide. We rushed along to admire the result of our handiwork.

It would be only a few days before the sand bank blocking the lagoon entrance would build up again. But we had done it! That was all that mattered on holiday.

Rosemary Bold

Memories from Margaret:

The Brown Paper Parcel Dog.

One day, when Grandma was nearly four years old, there was a knock at the back door. When Grandma and her Mum when to answer it, they saw Jack Jones straddling his bike and on the bar of his bike was his son John Jones. In Johns arms loosely wrapped up in brown paper so that his shoulders and shining eyed little head were uncovered, was a black Scots Terrier puppy. “Happy birthday Margaret” they said, “We are delivering your birthday present”

Grandma could hardly believe it, because the one thing she had longed for, more than anything in all the world, was a dog of her own to play with. She had lots of dog friends – Danny Cunliffe, Typo Lynch and Scout Ellis, were her favourites, but a dog of her own was out of this world lovely. 

“His name is Hamish Adair Margaret, he’s a pedigree dog from Christchurch,” said Jack Jones. 

Grandma didn’t care what he was. She called him Ham and she loved him to bits. He had the brightest brown eyes with a fringe and curly black hair. 

Grandma’s fourth birthday was celebrated in the garden, where Hamish chewed Bernadette Knowles shoelaces under the party table. 

 The birthday cake was beautiful. On the plate around the cake were beautiful little pink and white mice, one for each child to take home. The mice had long gelatine sugary tails, which tasted delicious. Grandma’s Dad had brought them home from Christchurch on his last business trip. Grandma knew they tasted delicious because she had been licking them every time she passed by the large oak sideboard where Grandma’s Mum had stored them for the party.