Hello everyone,

There are few words we can use to express the enormity of the events of this past week.  Many groups are doing exactly the right thing – dealing with gun ownership, raising money, bringing flowers, reporting tragedy, feeding responders, opening churches.

This is the kind of event which could just fill our minds for a week or two then (unbelievable though it might seem now), fade until the next anniversary which the media thinks is worth naming.

We need to grieve what this has done to us.  It is not just this event, but what it makes us think of.  Having your eyes so brutally opened to the reality of what can happen ‘even’ in New Zealand will take some adjusting to.  Our NZ history rises up to meet us; we find there varied, and not always good, reactions to overseas workers, overstayers, indigenous peoples and religious minorities right from the beginning.

So let’s breathe deeply and think.  Think about what contact needs to be made to find out what minority groups whom we want to support really need. Then let’s think and plan carefully about how we might sustainably provide the human support and presence which will help best over the long term.  I have some contacts given to me of another denomination already thinking specifically of the status of hijab-wearing Muslim women, for example.

And let’s think carefully about what advocacy and letter writing will be most effective in asking for action in different areas from our parliament and other institutions and how persistent we might need to be in those contacts.

Jesus was arrested while at prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane and killed, though innocent.  The parallels are stark.  All his potential was cut short too, like the 50 others we mourn today.

Tonight, two significant concerts – one the ILGA farewell concert where ‘our’ Glamaphones open for the Topp Twins at the Michael Fowler Centre.   Also, a free concert at the Cathedral with Wellington choirs performing the Karl Jenkins’ Mass, The Armed Man (both at 7.30pm).

Thank you for your donations to PWANZ – the total given was $272.  Also, $145 was given as koha at the March 9 café and this will be passed on to the Tonga Leitis organisation. (Leitis = trans women)

Today I am going to the Presbytery Gathering for the ministers’ half day and will attend the morning of the Saturday Gathering.  Lois Robertson is your representative on Saturday where the Moderator will be speaking on relationships.  Timely!  The Younger group meets Sunday afternoon.  Email in if you want to know more.  minister@standrews.org.nz  Next week I will take a couple of days off, probably Wednesday and Thursday, to catch up a little.  This Sunday we celebrate the opportunity some of us have to be ‘Human, Rainbow and Christian’ for our third Pride Gathering for 2019.  See you there!

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