Monthly Archives: July 2018

A new feature in the rebuild is a cross in the front wall

Posted in Photos | Leave a comment

Caring for Creation – Climate Change

Global Warming… Luke 14:7-14

It is a very simple message about humility and hospitality. Jesus noticed that people liked to sit in places of honour. They liked to sit at the top table at weddings and enjoy the good life. They liked to receive the best treatment. Traveling first class can be fun but it’s also addictive. It’s very easy to think this is normal and forget that for most it isn’t normal. Jesus said be careful, be humble.
He then talks of who you might invite into your own home for dinner. Is it just your friends and people who are just like you? Is it people who are already part of your circle of friends and family? Jesus talks of another way when he says make sure you invite the others, the poor, the ones you don’t normally mix with, the ones that don’t really matter. And he says when you do this, when you invite the people from outside the fence to your table you’ll be blessed.. You’ll learn something.
Now I suspect there is plenty here to challenge in the way we live our day to day lives. Humility and hospitality are key elements of a Christian life. Our celebration of communion where we all gather around around a table no matter who we are is a constant message and reminder of how it is in the kingdom of God. All are equal, and it doesn’t matter if you are Donald Trump or Joesephine Bloggs you are welcome. We are all interconnected as part of Gods creation.

I wonder what that might have to say to us as we address one of the most pressing issues in our world – climate change. However we might want to look at it, we are part of the small group that sit around the top table and there is plenty of evidence we are very good at thumbing our nose at everyone else in the world. They don’t matter. Who cares if the people of Tuvalu no longer have a home because the ocean has risen. I think it’s now an established reality that the world is heating up and that human activity is “extremely likely” to blame. Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are now at levels “unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years.” Sea levels are expected to rise and the oceans have acidified as they have absorbed increased levels of carbon dioxide. We can expect more mosquitoes, more extreme weather events, and a shrinking of land mass as oceans rise.

I see varying responses. The United Sates seems to be backing right off. They have a president who is more interested in saving coal miners jobs than taking a lead in addressing climate change. We may go tut tut, but I wonder whether as individuals we are pretty good at saying someone else’s problem. So what if hurricane wipe out life on some Pacific island or sea level rise destroys millions of homes in Bangladesh. So long as we are OK all is OK. Those others don’t really belong at our table. As a nation it’s easy for us to say we are just a very small contributor to the greenhouse gases that seem to be at the heart of the problem. But when you bring it down to the personal level there are only ten nations in the world that emit more greenhouses gasses than we do – per person. When it comes to pumping out carbon in various forms we punch well above our weight. The global average of carbon dioxide equivalent per person is something like four metric tonnes per year, but we manage just under 20 metric tonnes per person – five times the global average. Of course a key issue for us is cows – we have a lot of cows out there belching out methane, which is actually a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. The only good news is that it doesn’t last as long in the atmosphere. To put it bluntly we sit at the top table in terms of lifestyle and we need to open our eyes and make some real changes to our lifestyles. We need to invite others to our table and understand we are part of a global issue that affects us all.

So where are the problem areas? Well we know for us kiwis the cows are an issue as they produce lots of methane and we also put lots of nitrogen onto the land. The methane is a short term greenhouse gas, but unfortunately it’s much nastier than CO2. We are going to have to find ways to reduce these emissions. The obvious answer is reduce the numbers of cows. But dairying is carrying our economy. It’s not easy. We have good people working on resolving this. It’s easy to point the finger elsewhere and say others need to change.

What about us? City folk. One of the big issues for us is that we consume lots of stuff, and just about every product or service we use causes CO2 emissions in its manufacture or in the transport to get it to us. Ensuring we consume less and live more simply is possibly one of the biggest things each of us could do. Buy products that last and don’t have to be replaced regularly. We often don’t need to replace our perfectly good cell phone or TV so why do we? Buy products without packaging. Sharing more stuff with others would really help. A group like us could start a stuff to be shared resource bank. Literally all the stuff we have is killing us and will certainly kill the planet if everyone has what we have. Cutting down consumption of stuff and living more simply is fundamental to a future planet that resembles the good creation God longs for.

Another major contributor of our CO2 emissions is our love affair with cars. We have more cars per head of population than just about anyone else in the world and we love to use them all the time. We could be walking or cycling more and incidentally enjoying better health, but no, even if it is a short trip to the shops we use the car. We have a great public transport system in Christchurch but often buses trundle around half empty. Far too many of us have never used a bus. Land transport, cars buses, trucks, including the trucks and other vehicles carting around all the stuff we really don’t need, accounts for about 40% of our CO2 emissions and it’s growing rapidly.

We also love to travel by air and we need to remember that one return flight to a European city produces about ten metric tonnes of CO2 per passenger, or two and a half times the global annual average in one hit. Travel is good as it reconnects us with family and opens our eyes to other cultures and peoples, but we really need to be careful about how often we use planes. Planes also bring in all sorts of food from around the world. How good it is to have Italian kiwifruit out of our season, but remember those imported food items are adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

We are it seems very definitely at the top table gobbling up the best food and living as we wish while the earth it seems is heading towards death and destruction for many. Climate change will affect all of us but it will be the poor who suffer most. It’s time we invited others to our table and looked beyond our narrow self interest.

The Bible has a term that describes what is required, and it’s the term repent! Repent means changing direction and that is never easy. It requires work and effort. But currently the way we live is the equivalent of taking our place at the top table and saying to hell with everyone else. Jesus would simply call it sinful, and invites us to head down a different road.
I don’t for one minute suggest it will be easy. There isn’t any immediate threat that we can see will threaten us in the next five minutes so why get worried. There is no elephant standing on our toe so why do anything? We find it hard dealing with issues that aren’t immediate and don’t have immediate effect. Like the frog being heated in hot water it’s easy to put off jumping out of the pot until of course it’s too late. Toss in an element of uncertainty because we actually don’t know precisely what will happen as greenhouse gas concentrations increase, and it becomes incredibly easy to put our head in the sand and hope that it won’t be so bad for our grandchildren as the scientists tell us.

I believe Jesus Christ came to heal and save the world, and as a faithful disciple I need to change my lifestyle. I believe Jesus cares so much about this sacred world that he would sacrifice even his life to save it, so where is the sacrifice in riding my bike or the bus more often. I believe Jesus meant what he said invite others to sit down and share our table and our life with them. Picture the people of every low lying country, listen to the cries of species going extinct as temperature rises. Hear the weeping of the planet, and the weeping of God..

I know I can’t solve the issue by myself, but I do believe we can be light and salt. We can work together to reduce the amount of carbon we are putting into the atmosphere. We can do things like choosing to live simply, sharing what we have – couldn’t someone with skills amongst us start a sharing pool of tools and other items, buying things that last. Reduce, recycle, reuse. Be someone who leads the way with an electric vehicle. I’m blessed to be fit enough to bike. I know I could use the bus more. Reduce our trips by air. , ensuring the power we use is generated by renewable means. Simply doing what everyone else does isn’t enough – we are called to be a light. We are called to be salt. God has given us responsibility to care for the earth. Conversation, encouragement, creative thinking, courageous action.
Let’s stop sitting around the top table with our heads in the sand. The first step is simple…. We have a coffee or cup of tea after worship. Have a conversation. Share something you already do that helps turn this beast around. Celebrate that. Then see if you can agree on something you can do together that will help honour the call to be salt and light.

Dugald Wilson

Posted in Sermons | Leave a comment

Sunday 15 July 2018

While our Church Building is Repaired we are meeting each Sunday at The Mineral & Lapidary Club 110 Waltham Rd (next to Waltham School) at 10am.

We would love to have the opportunity to welcome you.

 Sunday 22nd July 2018

 The Building Team reports that interior colours have been chosen with a light off white for the walls and a dark black for the interior columns.  Carpet tiles will be a dark grey with slight pattern.  We have been advised that the structural steel work has been more complicated than estimated with numerous alterations to the design and costs for the engineering monitoring have increased from the estimated $7500 to a new estimate of $17,000.  Small amounts of soffit containing asbestos have been removed in the foyer.  The builder has also recommended that the sliding doors from the lounge to the exterior should be replaced as they leak and an estimate of cost is $10,000. The electrical wiring work in the rebuild is being re-costed as we need to reconnect power to the Sunday School rooms and provide significantly more power outlets throughout the church. The extra cost will be approximately $20,000. We are grateful for the recent allocation from the Presbytery of $66,000!

The Session have hired Peter Burley to produce a feasibility study of possible activities that we might house in the new church.  We are wanting the building to have significantly more use than in the past and want to explore possible uses that meet our mission of “discerning, modeling, and teaching what makes for true aliveness.”  We have been successful in applying for funding for the total cost of this project from the Alpine Presbytery Mission Fund.   Expected outcomes would be that we will:

  1. More clearly identify needs in the community that fit with our mission
  2. Determine how to develop and utilize our buildings
  3. Develop an operational plan that will ensure activation of (2) including a workable budget

We hope to have a final report by mid September.  This work will hopefully be of assistance in applying for funding from community trusts who will want to see clear evidence that this is a building that will be used to serve the community.  Peter will hopefully give a short update after worship on 5th August and will seek feedback from us at that time.

 Thank you to the Fireside members for this morning’s delicious breakfast!

Parish Midwinter Lunch NEXT Sunday 22nd July 12 noon at the Cashmere Club – $24.50 per head. (Please pay on arrival at the venue). Last chance to sign up TODAY!

 Wednesday Walkers 18th July: Meet at 9.30am in Mary Muller Drive (off Chapmans Rd) for a walk around Hillsborough. Coffee at Castle Rock Café. All welcome. Anneke 328 7459.

Session meets this Wednesday 18th July 7.30pm at Joan Mac’s.

 Crafty Crafters meets every Thursday 10am – 12 noon at Beckenham Methodist. New faces always welcome. See Lyndsey McKay for more information.

Wool for Waltham Cottage: The knitting club is seeking donations of 8 ply  wool or acrylic for the blankets they are knitting for Nurse Maude Hospice.  Any donations welcome – please pop them in the box at the back of the church. Lyndsey McKay 388 1264.

 Waltham Cottage Foodbank:  Please consider adding an extra item or two to your weekly groceries to help fill the Cottage’s larder. Not sure what to buy? Cereals, tinned fruit & fish, pasta, soups and personal hygiene products are always welcome.

Dementia and Loss: Tuesday 17th July, 10.30am to noon. Dementia Canterbury (Unit 3, 49 Sit William Pickering Drive, Burnside – behind “Café 43 Degrees”). With dementia comes change and loss – both for the person diagnosed, and for families. Experienced Social Worker Elizabeth Hamilton will outline some of the changes and losses for family members and how to live with, and through them. There will be time for questions. This seminar is specifically for family members and friends currently supporting a person with dementia. Each month Dementia Canterbury runs FREE Community Education Seminars. These seminars are designed for families and wh?nau supporting someone with dementia.

Bookings are essential as places are limited to 30 participants.

Register online: admin@dementiacanterbury.org.nz  to attend these FREE Seminars. Everyone is welcome! Contact Dementia Canterbury for more information 379 2590.

 

Family Quiz Night at St Anne’s Sunday 26th August 5pm. $10 adults, $2 kids. Details next week!

Posted in Services | Leave a comment

Sunday 8th July 2018

While our Church Building is Repaired we are meeting each Sunday at The Mineral & Lapidary Club 110 Waltham Rd (next to Waltham School) at 10am.

We would love to have the opportunity to welcome you.

 

Sunday 8th July 2018

 

The Building Team reports that interior colours have been chosen with a light off white for the walls and a dark black for the interior columns.  Carpet tiles will be a dark grey with slight pattern.  We have been advised that the structural steel work has been more complicated than estimated with numerous alterations to the design and costs for the engineering monitoring have increased from the estimated $7500 to a new estimate of $17,000.  Small amounts of soffit containing asbestos have been removed in the foyer.  The builder has also recommended that the sliding doors from the lounge to the exterior should be replaced as they leak and an estimate of cost is being obtained.   The electrical wiring work in the rebuild is being re-costed as we need to reconnect power to the Sunday School rooms and provide more power outlets throughout the church.

 

The Session have hired Peter Burley to produce a feasibility study of possible activities that we might house in the new church.  We are wanting the building to have significantly more use than in the past and want to explore possible uses that meet our mission of “discerning, modeling, and teaching what makes for true aliveness.”  We have been successful in applying for funding for the total cost of this project from the Alpine Presbytery Mission Fund.   Expected outcomes would be that we will:

  1. More clearly identify needs in the community that fit with our mission
  2. Determine how to develop and utilize our buildings
  3. Develop an operational plan that will ensure activation of (2) including a workable budget

We hope to have a final report by mid September.  This work will hopefully be of assistance in applying for funding from community trusts who will want to see clear evidence that this is a building that will be used to serve the community.  Peter will hopefully give a short update after worship on 5th August and will seek feedback from us at that time.

 

Parish Breakfast NEXT Sunday 15th July 8.45am. Brought to you by members of Fireside. Come along and enjoy winter warming porridge and other yummy goodies. Gold coin koha appreciated.

 

Foot Clinic TOMORROW 1-4pm at Beckenham Methodist. New volunteers always welcome – come along and have a look at what’s involved or speak to Lyndsey McKay 388 1264.

 

Wednesday Walkers 11th July: Meet at 9.30am in South Library carpark (river end) for a walk around Beckenham led by Benjamin.  Coffee at Novel Cafe.  All welcome.  Sonya 027 253 3397.

 

Crafty Crafters meets every Thursday 10am – 12 noon at Beckenham Methodist. New faces always welcome. See Lyndsey McKay for more information.

 

Parish Midwinter Lunch Sunday 22nd July 12 noon at the Cashmere Club – $24.50 per head. (Please pay on arrival at the venue). If you would like to come, please add your name to the list at the back of the Church, and indicate how many will be attending. We need to know numbers by next Sunday at the latest. Any queries? Speak to Allison 332 0554.

 

Wool for Waltham Cottage: The knitting club is seeking donations of 8 ply  wool or acrylic for the blankets they are knitting for Nurse Maude Hospice.  Any donations welcome – please pop them in the box at the back of the church. Lyndsey McKay 388 1264.

 

Waltham Cottage Foodbank:  Please consider adding an extra item or two to your weekly groceries to help fill the Cottage’s larder. Not sure what to buy? Cereals, tinned fruit & fish, pasta, soups and personal hygiene products are always welcome.

 

 

Prayer Requests: A book is located in the foyer for anyone to write in prayer requests. If suitable these requests will be actioned in public worship. In making a request please ensure if people are identifiable they have given permission.

Posted in Services | Leave a comment

Healing – Mark 5:21-34

Healing is a strange and mysterious business. I wonder if you have ever stopped to reflect on the healing power that resides in each of us. Cut your finger and what happens?
First up there’s blood gushing and that’s not good so your body sends messages to close down the blood supply – a little like turning off the water when the pipe bursts around home. It also sends in special proteins in the blood like fibrin and platelets to create clots and scabs to encapsulate the wound and give a protective covering. This happens within seconds but the repair work at the site will take much longer. There is usually an inflammatory response with a team of cells (including macrophages and neutrophils) sent in to clean up the site and get rid of baddies. Your body can then start rebuilding damaged tissue. New blood vessels are made that can help more blood reach the wound, and special cells start adding substances in preparation for rebuilding cells. It’s putting in the plumbing and the framing in the repair of a house as the wound is built over.
In the final stage of wound healing, a lot of remodeling occurs. Special proteins that were needed for early stages of healing are replaced with tools used for remodeling. A tissue called collagen is important for strength, durability, and scarring of your new skin. There are the final touches put on the house to make sure everything is in the right place. The electrician is involved as nerve endings that were damaged in the injury need to be rebuilt. After all the work is done, you have a completed repair!
The amazing thing I think is that all this just happens. This healing power is built in. It’s alive within each of us.

I think that healing power is of God.

I think we can encourage that power with medical knowledge, with love, with prayer.

I think that power is at work within each of us but it is also all through the universe.

We read the story of the haemorrhaging woman and I bet the question on most minds is ‘how Jesus did that?’ How did he fix her, and what was this faith stuff. We would do well to remember Jesus’ original hearers weren’t so interested in the ‘how’ question because miraculous healings like this were part of their world. People came to Jesus expecting healing. I suspect it is only the dramatic healings that were remembered and there were many other much less dramatic instances of what we might call ‘small steps along the way of healing.’ Some healing might have involved the strength to face what was, or maybe a growth in understanding with no physical changes. Healing is not just physical quick fix. Whatever in Jesus’ world healing happened when the gods smiled on you. Our world view is quite different and we need to be careful getting hooked on miraculous happenings that catch our eye.

Healing is about fixing something that is broken, but what is it that is broken. With Jesus it was usually something bigger than just the individual involved. In our story this morning we should take note that it was a woman involved. What in God’s name possessed her to touch a man and a rabbi. It was a big no no. I know when I greet my sister in law in Malaysia I never touch her. Men and women lead basically separate lives unless you are married. You eat in different spaces. Men touch men and women touch women in public. That was true for Jesus’ world. This woman was literally risking a public stoning in her actions. The original witnesses to this healing had plenty of raised eyebrows.

What courage she had to break the norm. Jesus talks about her faith, but what does that faith look like? Courage to say this issue can be fixed, courage to reach out and do something, courage to trust God might be at work in Jesus. This woman is a wonderful example of faith. She is a great encouragement for every time we sit back and say nothing can be done, or nothing makes a difference. Climate change is much bigger than me… God is small….. we are powerless. Think about this woman and have courage to do something!

But this healing makes you also wonder about the new Jesus community founded where men and women seem to freely mix and women are treated with real respect and value. This woman was reaching out in a radical way and risking public humiliation for breaking norms and rules of acceptability. She was unclean, and she made Jesus unclean. Those rules seemed to disappear in the Jesus community although later the men managed to reinstate some. The healing going on here was something much bigger than a personal fix it job. There were deeper things going on. There was a power released through Jesus but it was more than a ‘fix the physical issue’ power. He was giving witness to a whole new way of being community where there was no longer slave and free, male and female. It’s about relationships, acceptance, love, forgiveness, gratitude, self valuing….. getting a whole lot of things in order including our relationship with God..

The healing power of God was seen in healing individuals, but inevitably there was a societal healing involved as well.

In our society healing has become very individual focused, and very physically focused. We wait for new miracles in the forms of new drugs and new surgical techniques to fix our bodies. We have faith in science, but religious faith has been side-lined. Prayer and healing – that’s for the nutty Pentecostals isn’t it? But it’s strange that scholarly research consistently tells another story. Dale Matthews, Associate Professor of Medicine of Georgetown University, says I encourage everyone in my office to exercise regularly, eat properly, quit smoking, avoid excessive alcohol use, take medicines correctly, wear seatbelts and so on. Should I also tell them to pray, read scriptures, attend worship and work in a soup kitchen? When I look at the research my answer is an emphatic YES! Harold Koenig, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Duke University has a similar message. He points to recent studies that show that religiously active people live longer and have more robust immune systems. Mainline religion is by and large good for us. Others like Herbert Benson Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard point to the beneficial effects of prayer on healing and the importance of a relationship with God and the importance of faith communities who surround us with love and care. Religion is about connection – connection with God and connection with a faith community and by and large these connections are good for us. Prayer is about building that connection and re-orientating our lives in God. It’s not about calling down supernatural intervention, but about setting free the healing power of God that is present within and around us.

I’m interested in headlines telling us that mental health rates are sky rocketing and I can’t help thinking it has something to do with a lack of good religion, a road map to live by, and a sense that we are connected to something bigger than us. Rocketing rates of anxiety have something to do with the reality that our society has rejected religion and faith. Good religion offers a framework to live by, and offers meaning when we hit the big crunches of life like death or some other crises. It is good for us. Having a sense that we are part of something bigger is good for us. There are exceptions of course and religious communities can go horribly wrong, but by and large participating in this community of faith is good for you.

I think the evidence is overwhelming that there is a strong link between spiritual practice and health and it’s time for mainline churches and Christians to get their heads out of the sand and recognize talk of healing in our midst is not kooky or weird, but it is a core part of what we are here for. I believe there is a healing power within each of us that can be awakened, strengthened, and encouraged through prayer and the experience of love. It’s not that we should reject traditional medicine and the huge advances science has heralded in treating illness. They are also an expression of the healing power that is God. I hold on to a belief that God can be present in all treatments – drugs, diet, surgery, alternative medicines and therapies, counselling, love and acceptance, and spiritual practices. But what puzzles me is that people don’t turn to prayer and don’t ask for prayer more often. I don’t think I have a particular gift of healing but I’m happy to pray any time that the healing power of god will be set free in some way. There will be some in our congregation who have gifts of releasing God’s healing power, but I suspect they hide their gift for fear of being labelled kooky.

Calvin Presbyterian Church in Pennsylvania is typical of a mainline church with a healing ministry. They said healing was an important part of their journey as a group of Christians. They appointed a prayer minister to lead this area of their work. The person currently exercising this ministry, Diane McCluskey, is a Reiki master and massage therapist. She believes healing comes not just through spoken prayer but through other means such as massage, reflexology, and other practices. At Calvin they regularly offer a time for healing prayer and the laying on of hands. They are discovering the practice of healing and prayer is important in their life as a Christian community, and you know what – they are a growing church. People see that religion makes a difference, and that the power of God is alive in their midst.

They have found at Calvin that healing is not just about physical healing and it isn’t just a personal matter. Healing will often mean someone finding a greater wholeness in their life and will often lead to someone understanding more deeply their unique purpose in life and their part in God’s plan to heal the world. People who experience God’s healing will often be turned outward and begin to undertake some ministry to others in the community. It’s not just about a personal physical fix. They have discovered at Calvin that some people seem to particularly channel the power of God’s healing – they have a gift of healing. They have also discovered that typically healing is not a dramatic event but that it is a process that takes place over time. It often involves being healed from the damage of un-forgiveness, or a sense of rejection and unworthyness. So it may involve finding God’s forgiveness for some event in our past, or the letting go of a grudge that we have been holding for some time. Invariably it will result in the discovery of greater acceptance of ourselves and a stronger sense of wanting to serve God in serving others.

I invite you to take the healing power more seriously.
The healing power that is of God.
The healing power we can encourage with medical skill and knowledge, with love, with prayer.
The healing power that is alive in you and through all through the universe.

Dugald Wilson 1 July 2018

Posted in Sermons | Comments Off on Healing – Mark 5:21-34