I was getting ready for bed after a long day at General Assembly today, when my brain said “E News”. So here I am writing E News from my motel room in Botany.

The funeral of Margaret Rushbrook was lovely, the floral arrangement on her coffin consisted of flowers and vegetables from her garden at home. We had a good turn out from SAOTT at her funeral I counted over 30 people from our church. It was good to share her funeral service with Jim Cunningham.

Earlier I had tried to change my plane ticket the day before to Auckland and was unable to do so without incurring $400 in change fees etc. Probably cheaper to buy a new ticket. Any way after no luck with Air New Zealand after waiting an hour after midnight on Monday night only to be told they couldn’t change it and I had to go back to the booking agent, it was 1.45am before I hit the hay. I woke up on Tuesday morning to a text from Air NZ saying, “due to forecast wind conditions your flight is likely to be disrupted. They then gave me the option to change my flights at no cost. I thought to myself, thank you Margaret! Straight after the funeral I rushed to the airport for my 4.45pm flight, I got there 10 minutes before baggage check-in closed. I arrived at the Moderator’s inducation service at St Kentigens College in time having missed the Powhiri.

I’m not sure if I’m allowed to share this outside of Assembly or not. Today, Thursday in the morning at GA23 part of the discussion that came up when the outgoing moderator presented his report on the gathering that took place in October last year on the issue of inclusivity etc. All speakers spoke of how tired they were with the issue of sexuality etc. and one young pacific island woman youth rep. stood up and said “why are we even talking about rainbow issues” There’s only one rainbow and that was God’s rainbow that spoke of promise, not the use of rainbow as it is presented today and she continued, the bible is clear about rainbow’s and its all about God’s promise to Noah and not about rainbow people. Or something to that effect. I was next to speak and I was very proud to stand and make it very clear that I was the minister of St. Andrew’s on the Terrace and we were an inclusive rainbow church made up of many rainbow people who lead our church and that we are all made in the image of God. I talked about how I was involved in the initial talks on “inclusivity” and how there is still a lot of pain and hurt in our church experienced by the LGBTQI community. I then mentioned how I had been approached by a lesbian woman if I could marry her because her father recommended me. He was also a Presbyterian minister but is still coming to terms with his daughters sexuality and her impending marriage. I said, he gave me a hospital pass, because the rules of the PCANZ will not allow me to marry her and her partner. He didn’t want to marry her but Fei could even though I would be sanctioned by the church. I then went on to support the recommendation that we continue as a church to keep the conversation going. No one else spoke in support of the recommendation but it was passed. Not surprisingly many people approached me afterwards to commend me and speak in support. I thought where were they when the recommendation was being presented, why didn’t they speak out publicly then instead of having a quiet word with me after it was all over? It was comforting to have our own Marilyn Wallace who is acting convenor of Book of Order there from SAOTT in support.

It is quite hard to gauge where some of my colleagues are at on this issue, both Pacific and women. Tomorrow I have been given leave to attend the funeral of Rev Ron Lauese who I have known for nearly 50 years, a great friend we even trained at Knox Theological Hall together.

This Sunday is World Day of Communion and our service at SAOTT will be led by Rev Doug Lendrum and Rosemary Lawrence.

Right, its past my bedtime and I’m very tired. Po marie. Fei

You can read the full E-news here: https://mailchi.mp/98a7e9ffe821/this-weeks-newsletter-from-st-andrews-on-the-terrace-9397500

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