Kia ora e te whānau,
I wonder how your week has been, and whether things are starting to feel more like the new ‘normal’?
It was a wonderful service last week on video, and we had such lovely feedback for Ellen and team, what a reassuring thing it was to see familiar faces and words!
This coming Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week, Palm Sunday. One of only two major festivals for us is to be held in a completely different way, without being together physically, without banners, flowers, live organ playing, or children running up to light the rainbow candle.
It will feel very strange. And I notice there’s a call to delay Easter in some parts of the church worldwide.
But I can’t help wondering how the situation we are in can also be interpreted through an Easter lens, or could the Palm Sunday Jesus have something to say to us, here and now?
Maybe for one thing, the beauty of presence. Still moments of sitting in the sun with a coffee, waving to our neighbour. The presence of God, Spirit.
Smiling at the beleaguered supermarket worker in gratitude for their service, giving and receiving – the human Jesus dignifying all he met.
Sending money to the food bank, phoning someone we know is living alone, contributing our prayers and words to issues of justice that are happening all over the world right now. Faith in action.
The Palm Sunday Jesus invites us to follow him into a life stripped of defensive pride and self-righteousness, a daily practice I find relevant no matter where I am, or what I’m doing.
Joy Cowley’s description of Jesus riding into town on a borrowed motorbike with L-O-V-E tattooed on his knuckles reminds us of the surprising and even shocking way Jesus was experienced by those who met him.
May we too remember, not to be so busy looking for him in familiar places that we miss the parade happening elsewhere.
I am delighted to welcome Rev Niki Francis to St Andrew’s on the Terrace, in a half-time stated supply role, until the end of June.
Niki and I trained together at Knox Theological Hall in the late 1980s, and since then she has travelled the world doing all kinds of interesting things!
It will be a most unusual way for someone to start a supply role, online. But I’m sure you’ll enjoy getting to know her over the internet until we can be together again in person.
I’ll let her introduce herself through these words:
Kia ora koutou katoa
I am a Pākehā New Zealander of English, German and Scottish origin who has lived in 10 cities in 6 countries and worked in a range of occupations including parish minister, hospice spiritual carer, army chaplain, not-for-profit senior manager, historian and researcher. I am a wife, mother to two adult sons and stepmother to two adult daughters, all of whom live in other parts of the world.
I am committed to the historical Jesus who stood with the poor, the outcast, the marginalised and the oppressed, and challenged the status quo. His life, as recorded in the canonical gospels and non-canonical books, highlights the importance of relationship, community, compassion and inclusiveness. I believe his life provides us with a guide for living in any time, especially in this time when the earth is at risk, compassion seems lacking and we are experiencing a desperate need for understanding, peace and justice.
As you will be aware, the St Andrew’s centre has closed and with it a good deal of our income. Our finance team are carefully looking at how to manage over the coming months, and It would be great if those who usually give by envelope or cash, could for the period of lockdown, switch to internet banking. Every little bit helps!
The church bank account details are: St Andrews on The Terrace, BNZ Lambton Qy, 02-0534-0004022-02
REMINDER OF CIVIL DEFENCE NUMBER
For those who don’t have anyone who can help access urgent supplies – the Wellington number is 0800 141 967, open 7am-7pm.
If you can’t find a friend, neighbour or family member to help, don’t struggle alone.
To view the full e-news click on this link: https://mailchi.mp/6efb1df6e8c3/this-weeks-newsletter-from-st-andrews-on-the-terrace-3842853
A message from the moderator of our church regarding this year’s assembly gathering:
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Kia Ora, Talofa lava, Kia Orana, Fakaalofa lahi atu, Anyoung haseyo, Malo e lelei, Taloha ni.
Warm greetings in Christ’s name.
As our Prime Minister has reminded us since the first case of COVID-19, these are unprecedented times.
Who would have thought only a few weeks ago, that as a country we would have closed our border; we would be in lockdown; and many of us would be joining together from our own homes via the internet for our worships services? The pace of change has been swift and very necessary. We fully support these and urge you to do likewise.
We all know these measures may go on for some time and that we will not be returning to normal – whatever that might look like – anytime soon. We read that any measures that will successfully “flatten the curve” in the coming weeks or months will also extend the curve further out. No-one knows for how long, and many of our parishes and people face uncertain times.
The competence of our Government, Ministry of Health and Civil Defence officials, doctors, nurses and health workers, plus the sheer resourcefulness and resilience of people all around us, is humbling and encouraging. Please continue to pray for these people and their families.
Our local arrangements team for Assembly have highlighted some of the travel and other issues we face as a result of COVID-19 if we continue to plan a General Assembly in Hawke’s Bay for this October. While still six months away, the administrative responsibilities for our Assembly require us to fulfil various tasks now. Some important local arrangements need to be confirmed – and costs incurred. Presbytery clerks/executive officers tell us they are struggling to name who should be commissioners, especially elder commissioners, and to make accommodation and travel arrangements is almost impossible. At this time of lockdown and uncertainty, there are many more urgent tasks that folk are facing.
We have listened to our public health and epidemiological experts who remind us that the measures we need to have in place will be required for some months. Even then, no one should imagine that the COVID-19 season will have ended, certainly not on a national scale.
We have asked, what is the Spirit saying to the Church? We have spent time in prayer.
In the light of this, we, as the Moderator and the Assembly Clerk, using the provisions of the Book of Order Section 14.29(2) have made the decision to postpone General Assembly until September/October 2021, to be held within the bounds of Presbytery Central.
We recognise this is a bold step.
We want to give surety and relieve pressure off our parishes and presbyteries in making this decision, so that time and energy can be devoted to the pressing issues presented by COVID-19.
We recognise the implications of this decision and will be working on those in the days and weeks ahead. We will keep you informed as we proceed.
We invite you to join us in praying for our country; our people; our Church. And let us… “Stay home, wash our hands, and be kind”.
Na, ma te Atua, nana te tumanako, e whakaki koutou ki te hari, ki te rangimarie, i runga i te tumanako ki a ia, kia hua ai to koutou tumanako, i runga i te kaha o te Wairua Tapu./ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)
Ngā mihi nui
Rt Rev Fakaofo Kaio, Moderator
Rev Wayne Matheson, Assembly Executive Secretary