Newsletter for Saints A and A
Northcote and Birkenhead Presbyterian Parishes.
The Faith Community of St Andrew’s
Birkenhead Presbyterian Church
Church Office: 172 Hinemoa Street
Birkenhead, Auckland 0626
Ph 09 4805745
Minister: Rev Colin Gordon
Cell: 021 854 066
The Community of St Aidans
StAidans Presbyterian Church
Church Office: 97 Onewa Road,
Northcote, Auckland 0627
Ph 09 480 2193
Kia ora koutou,
What a month of wonderful energy in terms of worship services and
combined gatherings formal and otherwise.
Thank you all for participating and ‘putting on your best face’, we
gain strength, courage and confidence with every experience when
we really stop to look fear in the face.
I will be back with you all the 30th March. In the meantime with
the many good folk across the parishes and with the Rev
Lorraine Francis, the mice will play while the cat is away.
Peace and grace to you all.
Hello everyone –
this week I am beginning my time with you all as a Stated Supply
minister while Colin is away. Colin and I thought I should start with a
short bio for you. I am Lorraine Francis; I am a Presbyterian Minister
and have served most of my ministry in the Northern Presbytery. My
longest terms have been at Somervell Presbyterian, Half time at
Orakei Presbyterian and St John’s Cooperating Church in Bucklands
Beach (Pakuranga). I have served a couple of churches for short
periods in the United Kingdom and Auckland. I have also served halftime on the Tamaki Campus of Auckland University as a Richard
Maclaurin Chaplain for a year.
I have lived in a few places overseas. I was born while my parents,
Rev Bill and Mary Francis were serving as missionaries at Onesua
High School, (New Hebrides) Vanuatu. We came back to New
Zealand before my parents enabled us to experience living on Niue
Island, followed by another stint back in New Zealand before taking
us to live for a year in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. With my husband, Dr
Ian Dittmer, we lived in the UK for a few years. Our second stay was
when Ian finished his training as a Renal Physician when we took our
eldest son, at 3 months with us and our second son was born while we
As a Renal Transplant physician, Ian is primarily based at Auckland
City Hospital in the Renal Department. Our two sons, William and
Alexander are currently both at home, again! William is actively flat
hunting with two friends and not having much success. He has
completed his master’s degree and is working for Ramset Reid
usually at their Penrose branch. Alexander is formally at Xiamen
University, Xiamen, China and had joined us for our family holiday
in Japan a couple of weeks ago. His University has banned anyone
from returning until they give permission, because of the Covid-19 so
he is back in NZ, and waiting to be allowed back to China to start the
second semester of his master’s degree.
As I discover more about this journey, this engagement between St
Aidan’s and St Andrews, the greater my amazement for your courage
and faithfulness to step into uncharted territory towards the future. It
is never easy taking risks, some folk are better at it than others and
like any journey this one will have ups and downs, blind corners and
easy down-hill gradients. Like we heard at the café service – there
will be mistakes. How we live together as we journey, will determine
our future. What future do you dream for? What will you join in and
As I wrote the last sentence with its challenge, I remembered the
excitement felt on Sundays with the combined worship, hearing
hesitations of not knowing what committees are meeting when;
observing the interesting events / groups / mission opportunities /
general ‘things’ (difficult and good) opening up as a natural
consequence of the engagement journey.
To add to the ‘spice’ of the engagement we have already planned a
Lenten Study series and would love to have both congregations
represented for the four weeks of gathering, praying, studying God’s
I have also floated – and so all feedback would be good to have
please, floated the idea of maybe some sort of a Passover meal in the
first week of April. I have heard that St Aidans have celebrated this a
few years ago. Might it be something to look at again as our Easter –
was Jesus’s Passover?
I am also wondering what you think of for a March Home-Dinner
hosting event where we either host or attend dinner with a couple of
people from ‘the other Saint’! I wondered if we might finish with
desert and coffee at one of the Churches. For either or both these
events I will need your help, please give me your feedback and what
you think will work to encourage us all on the journey.
I have enjoyed getting to know you through our time together on
Sundays and look forward to the weeks ahead.