Stated supply Ministry
Many of you will already have heard that Rev Dr Hilary Oxford Smith has decided that she will not accept the 50% stated supply position at Saint Aidan’s. This is disappointing, but we accept and respect her decision. Thank you to all the people who had offered assistance with furniture for the rented house for Hilary Oxford Smith.
Our Interim Moderator, Rev Dr Carolyn Kelly, is working with Church Council and the Ministry Settlement Board to ensure the continuation of good ministry in the Community of Saint Aidans. We have had some excellent visiting preachers and also excellent ‘do it yourself’ services, and we thank everybody who has been involved.
Now we look forward to working with Rev Martin Dickson in this time of transition.
Saint Aidan’s Anniversary Sunday will be Café Church service on Sunday 20th November.
White Ribbon Day
We will acknowledge White Ribbon Day against family violence on Sunday 27th November.
Christmas and January 2017 Services
Please see details elsewhere in the newsletter.
All Saints High School in Tamil Nadu
Fund raising at Café Church services has already raised over $600 for this school in India. It is hoped that we can bring this up to $1000 by the end of the year, and the money will then be sent to the school. You can put something in the jar at Café Church, or put a marked envelope with a donation into the collection plate. Thank you.
Nan, for Church Council
Prayer for General Assembly 2016 –http://www.pcanzassembly.org.nz/prayer
The key to understanding Assembly is realising that above all else it is a spiritual event. Assembly was, at it’s heart, always meant to be an exercise in discerning the will of God and this is always something that involves the Holy Spirit and prayer. I believe we have allowed ourselves to stray somewhat from this perception of this gathering and that we need now to return to prayer in order to see GA deliver the kind of results we need from such a big effort.
So I call now the whole Church to gather together as Presbyteries and parishes and, indeed, as individuals, to pray for this event.
To help with this a resource will be made available called ‘5 Smooth Stones of Prayer’ which will provide some direction for prayer. This has been distributed to all parishes in September. The key requests of these 5 Stones are confession and a prayer for unity in mission both to the people of the world and, indeed, the world itself.
I would hope that churches and individuals would use these prayers often in the weeks leading up to Assembly, and, indeed, during Assembly. But you needn’t limit your praying to these themes. You certainly may pray more specifically for me and for the officers of the church and Assembly. You may pray for our Church as you see fit and you may pray for the world in like manner. But whatever you do please pray!
Prayer themes (five smooth stones)
- God forgive us
We pray this as confession for we know that many of the worst problems we face are of our own making, both within and without the Church. Let us confess together our great need of Christ’s redeeming work in our lives.
We pray this as a confession that we are not separate from the lost world but identify with that world in that our need is the same as everyone else’s. We need Christ just as all do. We pray this so that God may work in greater ways through us to both love the lost and save the world. We can do this only as we ‘die to self.’ Our crucifixion with Christ is God’s opportunity to work with resurrection power through us.
- God save us…from evil
The New Testament (NT) recognises that we face evil in the form of something other than our own evil. (For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.) Our duty is to recognise this (deliver us from evil), be prepared for it (roaring lion), and resist it (resist Satan).
We pray this also as it relates to ‘powers and principalities’ for evil will and does use whatever it can to destroy God’s good work in us and in Creation. We must pray against the evil inherent in powers and principalities, and pray that they might be used for God’s purposes and God’s Kingdom.
- God lead us…to love
Love is the most profound expression of God’s presence and person in human experience. The NT is clear that ‘God is love’ by which it means that God is found and understood most fully in the true expression of love for another. Therefore the Church’s clear mandate is to be a place of love and to be a clear expression of love in all it does.
We need to pray that all that we do both in public and behind closed doors is imbued with love. Justice, then, is a form of love as is joy, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. All these are expressions of love.
Love is also the key to bringing Christ to a lost world. Jesus said, “They will know you are Christian by your love.” So much depends on how and how well we love.
- God empower us…to share the Gospel.
Perhaps the most significant part of the Church’s life is to be ‘witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and to the ends of the earth’. But this requires the working of the Holy Spirit within the Church for we find that without the work of the Spirit we do not have the means to truly impact the world.
- God help us…to heal the world
The context of the Church is the natural world which enables our survival. Unless we treasure this and make sure it survives human civilization we will lose the only true home we have and we will destroy the habitat of many other creatures of God. We have a basic duty to care for and protect the environment and, indeed, to repair the damage we have already done.