Kia ora e te whanau. Well I’m sitting at gate 31 at Auckland airport beginning my E News for this week and hoping it will be finished by the time I reach Wellington.   Lucky my flight ticket was a flexible one because after my UCANZ Meeting in Hillsborough my siblings and I went to offer prayers and words of encouragement to my brothers mother-in-law who is dying.  You know how everything happens because the minister is in town for a short time? It was indeed a privilege and an honour to be able to lead prayers for Safaira  a Minister’s wife (faletua) who has faithfully served her God and her church throughout her and her husband’s lifetime both before and after he died. She was able to sit with us in the lounge and she could speak to us from the heart thanking us for the privilege of being able to pray and worship with her.  Even though she was in much pain she hid it well.  

In our gathering prayer this Sunday we begin with the words “we come with the knowledge of people who have nurtured the Christian faith over the centuries.  This beautiful servant of God is one such woman.  

At the UCANZ meeting I handed in my resignation as co-chair of UCANZ effective immediately as I have not been able to do justice to the role since my concussion.  Next year would have required me to become the “Chair” for the next two years and I find my own ministry commitments at SAOTT more than enough.  I will remain a member of the Standing Committee, but this will require 1 hour zoom meetings per month and a twice-yearly meeting in Auckland.  As opposed to a weekly zoom meeting overseeing the work of the Executive officer and approving financial accounts and budgets, definitely not my Forte.   

This fourth Sunday of Epiphany the lectionary reading is the story of Jesus healing the man with an unclean spirit.  My theme is “Discerning the impure spirits”.  In the bible when an unclean spirit threatens someone in this case Jesus we call it legion or demon possessed because it is scary, unfamiliar and something we don’t know how to handle.  An exorcist is often called upon to get rid of the demon.  Today we have diagnosis for some of these conditions.  I’m not going to give any examples because I am not a psychiatrist and my amateur knowledge would actually be offensive to try and categorise or name.  But like it or not we all have impure spirits that visit us sometimes in our lives.  I’ll say a bit more about this in my reflection on Sunday.   

A reminder that I am in the process of planning our special anniversary service at Petone foreshore on the 25th February 2024 with Te Kakano o te Aroha’s minister. The worship committee will have met on the 1st February to look at and plan our part of the service.  Please put it in your diaries.  I’m not sure what time this will be held as I see it was once early morning and at another time it was 2pm.  So watch this space. 

My actual midday flight was cancelled today so I was put on a 2.15pm flight in seat B row 28 meaning because I was at the back of the plane, I had to take the stairs and not the privilege of the airbridge carrying my cabin baggage down and up the stairs.   And now here I am squashed between two men writing my E News competing over the armrests.  The plane had to make two attempts to land as it was swept up by strong gusts of wind coming from the north so had to circle around then come from Titahi Bay.  With a great sigh of relief and clapping we landed after the second attempt.  I had visions of catching a bus from Palmerston North airport.  I’m home now.   

Thank goodness I have a great and flexible dog sitter who enjoys having my house to himself and loves walking the dogs.  

Major lesson learnt by me in the last 24 hours?  Always pack extra medication with you as you never know what might happen! 

Hope you are all OK, remember I am only a phone call or an email away.  Be gentle on yourselves and take care.  Nga mihi, Fei.

You can read the full E-news here: https://mailchi.mp/2be88fedfad3/this-weeks-newsletter-from-st-andrews-on-the-terrace-9435744

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