It’s that time again – the end of March. This is the month your annual donation total is calculated. Thank you all very much for the increased level of giving we are noticing in the accounts.
April is the month charitable organisations start working on sending you receipts. Then, in time, you apply to the government and get a third back! It’s a good scheme. You give to the organisation and the government joins you in doing so.
This year’s March 31 is this Sunday. To top up your donations to St Andrew’s, you have a couple of avenues. 1. Internet bank this weekend using the account number on the order of service (remember to put your name as a reference) or 2. your donation in the plate on Sunday will count as part of this tax year. Taking advantage of this scheme strikes me as being ‘cunning as a serpent and wise as a dove’! If you don’t have a donation number recorded with us, and put cash in the plate, this is a good time to get a number so your donations can be recorded and you can get that one third refund next year! Contact the office. firstname.lastname@example.org
The charitable donation refund scheme is an example of government assisting churches as well as other charities. This month we have seen interweaving of government/policing and religion as police have moved to protect mosques and synagogues. Freedom of religion is a highly held value in New Zealand. I was told by a Human Rights staff member last year that freedom of religion trumps other rights. This is a privilege we need to hold carefully for Christianity and for other faiths.
Another closely related high value of our country is free speech. Can anyone say anything? Should anyone say anything? When do we draw the line at what is acceptable wordage in the public domain? It is always good to think carefully when we find ourselves wanting to shut down someone else or not to listen to alternate views. Unless their speech is rip-roaring hate speech, sometimes an uncomfortably different view is worth listening to as it may raise a valid point. Our discomfort may be not due to their speech being ‘bad’ but to our views being challenged.
St Andrew’s sits in an interesting position regarding these rights and values. We say everyone is welcome here. Do we have only some people in mind when we say that – or indeed IS everyone welcome here? If we welcome especially vulnerable people how can they feel safe while at the same time robust debate continues? How far will our tolerance reach – how far should it go? These are important high values which we do not discuss often. They are worked out in a real world with real people.
An A4 booklet of the three reflections from the Pride Sunday Gatherings is available for a koha in the church or posted. These are good to give to rainbow people you know who’re wondering if the church is a place they can be. You may find them helpful for your own interest and knowledge.
The first of this round of cluster groups is on Saturday! This Sunday, beginning the second half of Lent, we will look at the story of the Lost Son and the Prodigal Father. It is a fifth Sunday so no group meeting after church. No doubt people will find a restaurant! Norman Wilkins will be leading the Gathering on April 7. (I will be present but will just have been to Sydney for a seminar on ‘Spirituality in a Contemporary Jungian Psychoanalytic Context‘. Goodness knows what that will tell me!) Then April 14 is Palm Sunday, April 18, Maundy Thursday, April 19, Good Friday and April 21, Easter Day.
Looking forward to seeing you Sunday
To view the full e-news click on this link: https://mailchi.mp/f897e2fe3d12/this-weeks-newsletter-from-st-andrews-on-the-terrace-1467989