I hope wherever you were that Easter was a good time for you and yours.
Here at St Andrew’s we had record crowds! I hear other churches in Wellington also had good attendances. (Perhaps people slipped church in between visits to Armageddon!) A small group enjoyed the quiet, contemplative feel of Maundy Thursday. Thank you to the team who with Fiona McDougal led us through the pain of Good Friday with one eye on the original Easter and another eye on the pain and suffering in our world today. The attendance was about the same as a good Sunday Gathering, with a well filled church. Thank you.
Easter Sunday was as special as it should be. Thanks to Vivien and the choir for their anthems, one a world premiere with Vivien’s beautiful music highlighting the words of a poem of mine commissioned by Harvest Fields in 1993. We hope this could be offered to other progressive churches for them to use at Easter too. Peter Franklin played wonderfully despite having heard just before Easter of his father’s death in England. He and his family fly out Friday 6th April, the funeral is on April 10th and they will return April 22. We have sent flowers and wish them well at this sad time.
Easter Sunday the church was PACKED! Extra chairs were needed at the back and though we had already copied extra orders of service, more were needed on the day (125 in total). Thank you to everyone who handled the situation and for the lovely lunch. It was a joy to celebrate with Norman and Linda.
And Yay! The Expungement Bill was passed into law this week. Gay men can apply to have criminal convictions prior to homosexual law reform expunged provided they were not acts which would still be deemed criminal. This is a huge advance. You helped by supporting our submission in the select committee stages. For detail, see: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/354050/historical-homosexual-sex-convictions-can-now-be-wiped and http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1804/S00016/bill-wipes-historic-homosexual-convictions.htm
On Wednesday (11th) I will be supporting our submission on changing gender identity on official documents.
Now Easter’s over, what do we do now? We tend to think during Lent, ‘after Easter…’. Originally, ‘after Easter’, the disciples had to re-group, re-think. They needed to grieve for what had been, and look forward to what might be. Many of the readings in Easter season are from Acts – about the action in the new church which began to grow in the aftermath of Jesus’ life and death.
The Church too has had a death in the family. Christendom has died in most places. For many of us, like Jesus did for the disciples, the mores and customs of Christendom have filled our lives, given us a language and a purpose. What do we do now? Well, come along over the next 6 weeks and find out! (smile). The series on emerging Church will be bookending April 22nd which is the Sunday closest to Anzac Day and April 29th which will be a special celebration of the Treaty since it was signed in Wellington on 29 April 1840. On April 8th and 15th and May 6th and 13th, we will look at the emerging church movement, what it is, how it can be and what that means for us here at this church.
Other advance notices:
First, a heads-up about a full fire drill/evacuation during the Gathering itself on Sunday April 15th.
Secondly, a special collection will be taken up on April 15th for the Presbyterian Women of Aotearoa New Zealand. This has been requested by our General Assembly for the work of this organisation within the PCANZ. It is extra to our regular offerings.
Thirdly, I will be on leave April 18-26th.
Also, scroll on down through the following notices and see information about the Christian World Service Refugee Food Boxappeal and the up-coming White Poppies Peace Scholarships Appeal.
See you on Sunday (the 8th) and perhaps at the congregational conversation after church. Then see you on Tuesday at Spirited Conversations – 6pm for dinner and 7pm to hear Katrina Harper talk about her work with Medecin sans Frontiers.
To view the full newsletter click on the following link http://mailchi.mp/e8be176072eb/this-weeks-newsletter-from-st-andrews-on-the-terrace-1380989