Greetings everyone,

Palm Sunday this weekend; Jesus enters Jerusalem and willing or unwillingly wittingly or unwittingly engages with forces ranged against him.  Yet, his entry is marked with cheers and applause and psalm singing – it’s a strange world.  What is popular does not always appeal to the powerful.

Palm Sunday is one of those days in the church calendar when the symbolism is sharp – psalms and palms and donkeys, triumphal entry, and coats strewn along the way, hosannas ringing.  Let’s enjoy the resonance and dissonance this year too.

Palm Sunday and Easter Day, children will have activities related to the Gathering theme ready for them in the church.  We welcome them to our Gatherings.  Good Friday will be quieter with books and toys available.  They are still welcome!

Recruitment of a new Rainbow Room person is proceeding – interviews just after Easter.  We hope to be settled for term 2.  Rainbow Room will happen on April 8th, then there will be a 3-week break for the holidays.

A few weeks ago we celebrated another man – this time for a century of living.  Lloyd has written to thank all who worked together to make the day a “splendid occasion”.  He thanks the choir for their special contribution, the Council for the citation and gifts of pounamu.  He writes that he wore the pounamu at the Readers/Writers event in which he was involved.   Lloyd mentions too the “wonderful” morning tea and the cake.  I join him and Shirley in thanking everyone, especially Jim Cunningham who stepped in to lead the Gathering that day.

Attached to this email is a message from the Moderator of the PCANZ, The Very Rev Richard Dawson.  In it he encourages you to all take a break at Easter!  I hope many of you WILL be finding time to relax at Easter anyway.  Now you can do it with Moderatorial blessing!

A practical detail:  Soon we will be asking for a donation to Presbyterian Women of Aotearoa New Zealand’s (PWANZ) mission projects for the year.  This should have been close to International Women’s Day but now we will do this after Easter, probably April 15.

General Assembly 2016 stated “That a PWANZ Special Collection be taken on the Sunday nearest to International Women’s Day each March to support the ongoing advocacy role of Presbyterian Women Aotearoa New Zealand locally, regionally, internationally, as well as at the United Nations.”    PWANZ adds: “We need funds to expand the work we do – we send delegations to the UN, we held an inspiring gathering in Mosgiel last year with more events planned this year – we all have lots of ideas and even though we are frugal it all costs. We get no funds from PCANZ and we are asking parishes to support us.”

See you among the palms on Sunday!            Susan

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