Traditional Ash Wednesday services say ‘Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.’ We converted that on Wednesday night to the concept that ‘we are stardust’. Think, every element in us is from the original Big Bang. We are kin to everything living and non-living on the planet. The implication is to care for our kin. The 40 days of Lent are a chance to pay more attention to how we walk on the earth and with others. (Doing that for 40 days might become a habit!)
On Wednesday we identified what we’d do for the planet and others, saying “I remember I am stardust and to stardust I shall return.” There was a feel of being at one with the cosmos and all other creatures; a special moment.
Saturday is Harvest Cafe night! There have been heaps of offers to help. Wonderful! It’s a first for St Andrew’s. Make sure rainbow people you know hear of it. Invite them. Come yourself.
On Sunday we begin the first of three Pride Festival Gatherings. (see Wellington Pride Festival programme.) I’ll be reflecting on the view of God, Bible and humanity which accepts the rainbow community as an integral part of church and society.
People who want to give to the Don Borrie Memorial Fund will find details in the March 10 OOS.
At the congregational conversation on March 3 there was support for making some ‘noise’ about Manus Is./Nauru detainees. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-31/behrouz-boochani-wins-australias-richest-literary-prize/10768688 Watch this space. Parish Council discussed this this week. (Jenny Simpson’s donated to St Andrew’s library Behrouz Boochani’s award winning book, smuggled out of Manus Island by text messages).
Also, on Sunday Norman Wilkins will speak about his desire to support the Children’s Strike on Climate Change on March 15. https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/384012/climate-change-protest-on-school-day-divides-mps Do people think as St Andrew’s we should corporately respond to this? We will take a straw vote on Sunday, so please give this some thought. Feed any comments you may have to Margaret Rushbrook, (both), Jenny Simpson (Manus Island) and Norman Wilkins (Children’s strike).
It’s International Women’s Day Friday 8 March. On the nearest Sunday, General Assembly asks for a special offering to support Presbyterian Women of Aotearoa NZ (PWANZ, formerly APW). There’ll be a retiring offering this Sunday and, since this is short notice, another opportunity on Sunday March 17. PWANZ says: “We need funds to expand the work we do – we send delegations to the UN, we held inspiring gatherings around the country 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.” PWANZ each year carries out two special projects alongside Methodist women. https://www.presbyterian.org.nz/national-ministries/presbyterian-women-aotearoa-new-zealand/special-project This year their projects support: a. Bellyful which provides meals to NZ families with newborn babies and families with children struggling with illness, b. The Fijian Social Empowerment Education Programme (SEEP). The PWANZ Special Project will help support Go Organic! Grow Organic! in villages where it works and new villages specifically targeting i-Taukei (indigenous Fijians) landowning units where major developments are planned or underway. https://cws.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Special-Project-Fiji-2018-Backgrounder.pdf
March seems to be the month when everything is happening! Please do what you can and have the wisdom to know what you can’t do! A daily prayer for Lent: “On this day, let me breathe deeply, love wisely, think carefully, act wisely, so I may be truly human, meeting the sacred in my life and the life of others. So may it be.”
Go well on your journey, Susan
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