LETTER FROM THE MINISTER
The glorious days of summer are almost finished as we
get our children or grandchildren back to school and pack up our
summer gear into storage. I noticed that this has been a hot summer
so the beaches were full with people cooling off day and night. One
of the perks of living in the city with nice clean beaches readily
accessible is that we can work hard during the week and during the
days and on the beach in the afternoon or the weekend. Summer has
reminded me of the dynamic and changeable life we live, and how
we react or feel differently about our world or lives with the changes
even in the weather. By the way, I am vowing to remember the hot
summer air on my skin when there will be freezing cold winter days
in the later months of the year.
We have a love-hate relationship with the word “change”. We all
know that change is part of life and we must change with the times,
but we also don’t like changes. Most of us think that we need
something unchangeable or constant in our lives, especially after the
years of changes we have already experienced in our lives. We are in
for a huge disappointment if we think that this is possible.
For most of us, the most promising and comforting thing about the
church is its immutable, immovable and unchanging character or
even the images of God. But we know that the church is not
unchanging, even God is not unchanging.For God to be active and
alive, creating and recreating, generating and regenerating, and to
deal with us and meet with us where we are, God must be changing.
Even in the scripture, God changes his mind again and again,
especially when it comes to us.He changes his mind to forgive,
redeem, and bless us with life.
This is exactly what we see in Jonah. At the end of that story, God
reminds us that because of his love for us, his concern for us and the
world, God changes.
The church is not a random organization, an interest group gathered
because of our personal interest. We believe that the church has
purpose, and not our purpose but purpose of God.
Andy Doyle, an Episcopalian priest from Texas,USA writes in “Church:
a generous community amplified for future”. He reminds us that
though we might think that our smaller numbers, lack of people and
physical resources, and ageing congregation somehow mean we are
coming to an end if we trust that God has purpose for all his people
and purpose for the church, instead of thinking the worst, we ought
to be excited and actively engaged with the new and changing
circumstances and times. God is in this, and we are invited to
whatever purpose God has. So instead of insisting on a ‘certain way
of doing things’ according to our memories and experiences of ‘being
the church’, Andy Doyle more or less says we are to be willing and
ready to shape and reshape our structures and change our ways to fit
the work that God is doing and calling us to do.
So as we begin this year, I pray that we will hear God calling us out of
our set ways and with excitement and anticipation open ourselves up
for the new way of being, as a church and as an individual.
Michelle J S Shin Minister
From the Minister
An inclusive Christian community in Auckland, New Zealand