Kia ora te Whānau
Gratitude is the word and feeling on my mind this week. I feel gratitude at many levels. I am grateful that in New Zealand we can largely go about our normal lives, while understanding how hard life is elsewhere in the world, especially in India and Brazil. I am grateful that the Christian World Service is running a special collection for India. We are being invited to contribute – details to follow. I am grateful that the COVID-19 vaccine is being rolled out in New Zealand and I don’t mind that the Government is drip-feeding information about how and when exactly this will happen because I understand that running a vaccination programme for the whole country is a big deal. I acknowledge that the special low temperature storage requirements for the vaccine present particular challenges. I am grateful for the public health specialists who are working this out.
I am grateful that our Croft organ has been reinstalled and the result has exceeded our expectations. I am especially grateful to all the musicians and participants who performed pro bono in our Welcome Home Concert. What a joy it was to hear the variety of music performed – and so many wonderful organists! And I appreciate what a responsive and lively audience we had. Take a bow too, the ‘best little fundraising committee in town’ and helpers. I am thrilled that the total takings for the concert exceeded our target of $4,000. Richard and Laetitia are still working through the sums and we will let you know where we stand with total fundraising as soon as the figures are to hand.
But there is some very sad news this week. David Gault, a long-standing member of our community, died on Wednesday evening. Our thoughts and prayers are with Janice and family at this time. David’s funeral will be held at St Andrew’s on the Terrace at 11 am on Tuesday 11 May. The family invites you to attend. When I think of David’s contribution to our community I am filled with gratitude for all the support that he gave over many, many years wearing his legal hat. This work was often unseen but hugely important – most recently in relation to the organ contract. David was always generous with his time and knowledge. He was a key figure on the Board of Managers and Session during John Murray’s time as Minister.
This coming Sunday 11 April, Rev Norman Wilkins will lead worship. This will likely be Norman’s last time to lead worship at St Andrew’s on The Terrace before he and Linda start their transition to Christchurch. They will be back and forth to Christchurch over the coming weeks so we shall still see them. I am very grateful to Norman and Linda for their considerable contributions to life at St Andrew’s over many years. Parish Council is planning a lunchtime farewell for them on 20 June. We will advise details in due course.
I give the last word on gratitude to Charlotte Brontë:
For my part, I am almost contended just now, and very thankful. Gratitude is a divine emotion; it fills the heart, but not to bursting; it warms it, but not to fever.
A word from Norman:
I am writing this on Good Friday (Orthodox calendar April 30). Linda and I have just returned from the St. Nectarios Orthodox Church next door where we went to view their Epitaph (the decorated tomb of Jesus) and we were given a blessed flower from it.
It is yet another little event that reminds us of what we are leaving behind. Last Christmas our son in Christchurch said that they would really like to have us living nearby and that it would be sense to be living close when the time came that there was just one of us. Also our home in Petone is really high maintenance. Moving makes sense but we are going to miss our life in Wellington enormously.
I remember just over twelve years ago walking down the aisle having taken my last service as the parish minister and thinking (or praying) “Thank you, I have fulfilled my calling well and now my private life begins.”
Being no longer the parish minister, it felt empty not knowing people as we walked down the street, shopped in the supermarket and Mitre 10 and all those things of ordinary secular life.
We have decided to take this plunge and start again while we have the energy.
As we struggle to find our new minister, St. Andrew’s is experiencing that not many people (or suitable people) see the Ministry being a good career choice. My experience leads me to believe that is a mistake. On Sunday I am going to reflect on the lives of just a sample of those people whom I have served. They were actually living scriptures that gave me a glimpse of the Word that is God. If you are there you will see why I would say “my cup runneth over”
“Living Wage” Norman has made a submission to the Hutt City Long Term Plan 2021-31 on behalf of St. Andrew’s and if you would like a copy please email him at email@example.com or ask for a printed copy.
To view the full e-news click here: https://mailchi.mp/6db10b572a8b/this-weeks-newsletter-from-st-andrews-on-the-terrace-4752082