Greetings from USA
To our Dear friends at St. Aidan’s, “On the Shore”:
We just had a look at the St. Aidan’s excellent website, and felt the urge to send a few lines from this part of the world to our “family” in New Zealand.
We have appreciated SO much the contacts with some of you over the years; including Alf and Rinny, the pastors both after and before our last time with you.
How wonderful to read of the many exciting things happening on Onewa Road (and nearby) on the North Shore. We are pleased to see the many new and challenging aspects of your own ministry, and how rewarding it is for your pastor and wife to share these experiences with all of you. Both pastor Alf and the congregation are fortunate to have each other.
It is always good to get your newsletter (thanks to Ralph P. for that), and to see names of many of you who were there during our trips across the Pacific. The last one, hard to believe, being seven years ago. Seems like only yesterday (as the saying goes) that we spent four great months from September 2007 to January 2008, while the Westras were in the UK for a study leave.
We are well settled in Sedona; now going into our fourth year. We keep our ties to Tucson, where we lived for forty years and raised our three children, two of whom, Doug and Jennifer, still live there with their families. Our son Jeff and his family live in Iowa, and we get to see them a couple of times a year, usually at holiday time. We enjoy trying to keep up-to-date with our seven grandsons and one granddaughter.
Our own church home, the Church of the Red Rocks, which is part of the United Church of Christ (formerly called Congregational) keeps us very occupied; and even though John does not have the pastoral duties, both of us manage to find many meaningful opportunities to take part in the ministries of the church. Jean has just served as chairperson of the Christian Mission Commission, which is responsible for the contacts with and support given to various service agencies in the community and elsewhere. John has been the organizer and chair of the social justice committee, which engages the church in the kinds of social issues that are facing a changing culture in this great (but frail) nation. For example, the immigration crisis that has caused much sorrow and loss to persons who wish to become part of America.
We do send our best regards to all of you, and we know that 2015 will be another fine year as your pastor and congregation continue the meaningful ministries in the name of Jesus Christ, as part of the New Zealand Presbyterian Church.
With much love,
John and Jean