Kia ora e te whānau
Winter is officially a month away but the shorter, colder days remind us that it is well on its way. For a lot of us, this means switching heating on, digging out warm clothing and preparing warming meals. But for many New Zealanders it means more hunger, illness, and anxiety about housing and children’s welfare. In Sunday’s sermon slot, Wellington writer Max Rashbrooke addresses to us about inequality in Aotearoa New Zealand with his talk ‘More alike than we are unalike: meeting the challenge of inequality’. You can read about Max and his work on these websites:
Hopefully the talk will lead to further discussion in St Andrews about responding to the challenge of inequality, bearing in mind that the eight points of progressive Christianity include a commitment to walk this earth with radical compassion, inclusion, and bravery to confront and positively change the injustices we experience as well as those we see others experiencing.
I came across this apt quote about love by UK writer and academic Patricia Duncker from her book “James Miranda Barry” (1999):
Love is not feeling, child, nor even the passion of lovers, which always seeks only its own gratification. It is the act of caring, of giving, the act of protecting the weak, the helpless, the imprisoned and the desperate. Love is the hand raised in defence. You cannot love and keep your hands clean.
Duncker is clearly talking about love as a verb. This is quite a challenge at any time, but especially now as we all respond in our own ways to the Covid-19 pandemic and perhaps wonder about the future. Be gentle, be kind, take care of yourselves and others around you.
You may have read debate about churches reopening for services in the context of Destiny Church’s assertion that they would go ahead with in-person services regardless of Alert Level 2 regulations. Rev Allister Lane of St John’s In the City here in Wellington has written an excellent response based on Christian ethics. I recommend it. http://www.stjohnsinthecity.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/A-response-to-Destiny-Church.pdf
On another note, last week the finals of the Race Unity Speech awards for year 11 to year 13 students were held in New Zealand with the topic ‘Titiro whakamuri, kia anga whakamua – To face the future, look to the past’. You can hear some marvellous speeches, which give real hope for the future, on https://raceunity.nz/. I recommend listening to at least some of them.
Kia ora koutou
I mentioned last week that the South Island Organ Company was keen to get going with the contract for restoring the Croft organ.
Their first major task is to dismantle and ship it to their workshop in Timaru. SIOC was all set to go in April but the plan had to be put on hold. Now, just one month later it really is happening. This is a very exciting development!
The team from Timaru, led by their site manager Moritz Fassbender, will arrive on Monday morning 25 May to begin work. Moritz will have a team of four to help him with the delicate task of taking the organ apart and loading it into the container.
The container will be on site for two days – Wednesday and Thursday 27 and 28 May (no St Andrew’s car parks will be available during this time).
Restoration work will take place in SIOC’s Timaru workshop for 8 or 9 months or possibly even longer, depending on how long it takes to get various components from overseas.
As we couldn’t hold the farewell to the organ concert, we plan to have an extra special welcome back concert next year, all going well.
We had planned to arrange a viewing time for you to come along, meet the team and see the dismantling in progress. But this will now not be possible due to the restrictions in place at level 2. Instead we will make sure that we have a photographic record.
Tony Kirby has kindly agreed to help with that. So watch this space. It will be good to have photos for posterity – perhaps some photos can feature in the 180 years publication that Lois and her committee are planning.
And a plug for the continuing fundraising effort – we re nearly there but not quite. A number of show pipes are still available for sponsorship. Bruce is selling loads of firewood, Andrew is organising ‘Bid for a Bach’ (see notices below) and plans are being made for more fundraising activities during the spring/summer in anticipation of social restrictions being lifted. You can go on to our website to reserve a pipe and make a donation or get in touch with the office if you want to buy firewood or help in any way. (For those who are waiting for a sponsor a pipe certificate, never fear these will be sent out shortly. That task is part of Laetitia and Jillene’s catch up list – quite a long list of things that could not be done from their homes).
This moment represents more than three years of hard work. A huge thank you to everyone who has helped us to get to this point.
Looking forward to being back in the church before too long…
To view the full e-news click on this link : https://mailchi.mp/ea5fac9e806d/this-weeks-newsletter-from-st-andrews-on-the-terrace-3859969
Update on the Moderator’s Appeal for Vanuatu
Three weeks ago I launched a Moderator’s appeal for Vanuatu in response to the scale of damage caused by Cyclone Harold.
This Category 5 Tropical Cyclone wreaked tremendous havoc on Vanuatu’s northern Islands on 6 April, as we have seen on our Global Mission Facebook.
Through your generous support for the recovery work by our Church partner Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu (PVC), our beloved congregations and members have raised $33,000 as of 15 May. Well done for giving so generously in the current circumstances.
The fact that we can respond financially even while we face an uncertain economic future is testament to the deep faith within our membership, and of the strong commitment that we have to our partner Churches. While we are unable to send anyone to help due to Covid-19 border restrictions, the financial support will be a significant boost to the PCV’s rebuilding programme.
Our Church has been quick to send much needed funds. In the first week after the cyclone, the PCANZ donated emergency funds to Talua Theological Training Institute, which had sustained serious damage. The following week we forwarded further funds to contribute to the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu’s support for communities affected by Cyclone Harold, and also by volcanic ash fall which was simultaneously causing serious problems on Tanna Island.
In a letter of thanks to donors, the PCV General Secretary Allen Nafuki made note of our donation, he wrote: “On behalf of the PCV a massive thank you to every group and individual who made a donation to the Church’s effort to support all those affected by Tropical Cyclone Harold and the volcanic ash fall on Tanna”.
A subsequent letter from the PCV has indicated the size of the recovery programme ahead. The total damage to PCV buildings and property across five presbyteries, including Talua College and Navota Farm, is estimated to be in excess of NZD $500,000. The PCV has made the difficult decision to close Talua College until 2021, in order to concentrate on the rebuild programme.
The PCV has approached its other partner churches for financial help, so whatever our Church contributes will be added to this collective effort.
I invite you to continue to give what you can, as the need is great for our brothers and sisters in Vanuatu. The appeal will conclude on 9 June. You can donate online to the PCANZ Global Mission account number: 02 0500 0086963 10 with the reference Cyclone Appeal. Cheques can be mailed to the PCANZ Assembly Office, PO Box 9049, Wellington 6141. If donating online, send an email to email@example.com to request a receipt.
I know that our Church, the PCANZ, acknowledges and is grateful to the Rev Phil King PCANZ Global Mission Coordinator, and the team at our Assembly Office, for coordinating this appeal. Surely, to give to help another, in your own hour of need, is of the highest action of love.
Rt Rev Fakaofo Kaio
Moderator, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand