Monthly Archives: April 2019

Sunday 28 April 2019

NOTICES:

A very warm welcome to you all this morning. After the service please come through to the Lounge for a cuppa and a time to talk. Many thanks to Rev Alan Webster for leading today’s worship.

EcuAction 2019 Forum Series: Climate Change & a Faith Response, Knox Church Centre, Bealey Ave

 
Four Thursdays in May, 5pm for 5.30 – 7.00pm (Refreshments at 5pm)


Presenters:

  • Climate Change & The Atmosphere: Richard McKenzie (May 9)
  • Climate Change & The Earth: Colin Meurk (May 16)
  • Climate Change & Capitalism: Charles Drace (May 23)
  • Climate Change & Water: Kathleen Gallagher (May 30)

Each forum will also feature a respondent from a Faith tradition before the topic is opened up for “Questions, Answers & Comments”
All Welcome. Koha to defray expenses please
Organised by EcuAction, a Canterbury based Interfaith Network.
Further info from: ecuactioncanterbury@gmail.com, or Marilyn 021 061 3940 or Mary 021 387 088

Open Forum, Tuesday 14 May, 7-9pm

Growing our understanding of Islam

The past couple of months have highlighted for many of us how little we know about the Muslim faith, both locally and globally. Rev Dr Bill Shepard will be speaking from his life-time of interfaith understanding. Bring your questions about Islam, and the issues that lie behind the acts of terror we have recently witnessed.

Bill Shepard lectured in Religious Studies at Canterbury University for many years, specialising in Islam. 

All welcome. No cost. Supper included.

Kowhai Lounge, Cashmere Presbyterian Church, 2 Macmillan Ave

Thank You: $560 was raised by our special offering to the Te Raranga (all churches) gift to help victims of the massacre in Christchurch.

Fireside: Women are very welcome to join us at any meeting whether they come just occasionally or regularly.   Fireside is “the women’s group” of our church which usually meets on the last Tuesday evening of each month.   We plan to meet at 7.30pm on Tuesday 30 April in the Church Lounge at 43 St Martins Road.  Diane Claughton will talk about the conference organised by the United Nations that she attended recently.  Enquiries:  ph Margaret 336 8936.

Office Hours: Anna’s Friday hours this week 3rd May will be 11am-1pm.

Men’s Group meets this Thursday 2nd May in the church lounge, beginning with a shared tea at 6pm. Rob Meier will be sharing some travel stories. Tony Blackler 332 0554.

Articles are now required for the next ‘Messenger’. Deadline is Friday 17th May. Email contributions to anneke.howie@gmail.com. Thank you.

For your diaries: The next Parish Breakfast is on Sunday 12th May, hosted by the Men’s Group.

Wednesday Walkers: 1st May check with Sonya 339 7038 for this week’s destination.

LAST CHANCE to order bacon today: Hellers Short Cut Middle Bacon. $8.00 per pack 400gm (12-14 slices). Delivery late May (date to be advised). Joan 337 1648.

Crafty Crafters: Meets on Thursdays in the Church lounge 10am-12noon. New faces are always welcome. $3 per session. Contact Lyndsey 388  1264 for more information.








Managers’ Report

Council Rubbish bins… have been purchased.  The red and yellow bins need to be kept locked inside.  They are a common source of material for church arsonists.  The green bin will be kept outside.

Church cleaning… will be undertaken commercially every two weeks.  All users will need to check floors after use and use the vacuum cleaner stored in the kitchen to remove crumbs etc.

Building contract….all payments will be finalised shortly.  We anticipate all our reserve funds will be extinguished to meet final payments.

Insurance….a revaluation of the church for insurance purposes is in progress.

Insulation…..at the manse is being upgraded to meet 2008 standards.

Church piano…. has been repaired and tuned.  We still have a second piano to give away.

Security fencing…..we have 10 sections of fencing for sale.  If you know of someone seeking portable fencing please contact the office.

South Elder Care….we approved an application to the Manchester Unity Welfare Fund to running expenses of our Elder Care Programme (approx. $8,000).  We also approved including in this application funding to purchase a defibrillator for use on site.  (approx. $2,500)

Compliance….as part of Council Compliance for our building we have to have a number of regular checks of systems within the building.  Eg fire alarm.  These need to be undertaken by an Independent Qualified person (IQP).  We will engage an IQP shortly realising that this will be an added ongoing cost. (we estimate $500-1000 per annum)

Concreting around church….we are progressing well with removing old concrete and laying new concrete paths.   Bike racks are being installed.  Fencing will be installed to make the back part of the section secure, and a deck built out from the lounge sliding doors to create an indoor/outdoor space.

Spaces for hire…. We have set negotiable prices for hiring the auditorium, lounge, and meeting space.   A conditions of use contract and booking form have also been drawn up and all users (including church users will need to fill out the booking form so we can accurately maintain a booking schedule for spaces.  We need to generate income from building usage to help meet costs of maintaining and running the complex.  These spaces have also been advertised on our website.

Lockdown and security…. We do not have secure private spaces in the complex.  Our best defence is vigilance and for those who are on door duty to seek police assistance if there is any suspicious behaviour.  Security cameras are installed around the property and more will be installed.

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Anzac Day 2019

There Has To Be A Better Way…. Matthew 5:3-9,21-22

   Fred was well on in his eighties when I got to know him.  He was a lovely old chap, and we had some good talks together.  One day he told me about his experience of going to war and how he had served in the Pacific in World War Two.  His descriptions of some of his experiences of living in the jungle had me awestruck   Fred had seen some terrible things, and I might say had done some terrible things.  I suspect I only heard the sanitized version.  To kill even in times of war is not something that one crows about. For him it was something that had to be done, but I suspect it left him with many many sleepless nights.  As we talked one memory that really seemed to bother him was going to Hiroshima just weeks after the war ended to survey the damage and assess the effects of the atomic bomb.  The devastation he said was like nothing he had ever seen or imagined..  He described how the nuclear explosion had sucked all the air out of the area and then when it rushed back in everything was flattened, even huge factories. 

   He admitted he had not liked the Japanese.  He spoke of a friend who had lived through the brutal treatment of prisoners.  Fred believed the Japanese deserved the atomic bomb, though as he said few of them really understood what it was.

   But then he saw Hiroshima.  He recounted how he and a mate had walked though the flattened rubble.  Passing by a small pile of bricks that had been sort of fashioned into a small shelter they saw a small girl behind a wall.  As Fred spoke there was a quiver to his voice.  She was, he thought, about 5 years old, and her clothes were tattered rags falling off her body. Her eyes were sunken and she was terrified of these strange white men in their military uniform.  Of course she had no English and they had no conversational Japanese. As far as they could tell she was alone with no-one to take care of her.  She was obviously scavenging for survival. I could sense he could still vividly recall the scene as if it were yesterday.  He recalled his feelings of helplessness as he realised she was just a little child and probably her parents were dead along with any extended family. Here was a little five year old alone, helpless, and fending for herself. None of this was her fault, and yet he knew she would soon die of exposure to radiation.  Fred a soldier who had seen it all, shed tears.  That’s war, and that’s why I hate it he said.  He still believed we had to defend ourselves and fight for our freedom, but why he asks did they drop the bomb on a civilian target with little military significance.  Why couldn’t they have found an area not so heavily populated.  Fred went on talk about more recent wars in Iraq and the lies that were told.  There has to be a better way he said.

There has to be a better way.

   As we gather on another ANZAC day we remember those like Fred who have served in armed forces to protect and defend a way of life we hold dear.  Some of us will remember family members or friends that never returned.   For those that did return this day is a day of mixed emotion.  No one who has lived through war want’s to glorify the killing, but we do want to honour the ideal of sacrifice for the common good and the standing up for what we hold dear.   Out of control madness and evil sometimes needs to be forcibly stopped, but let us ever forget the plea of Fred that there has to be a better way.

   That way I believe has much to do with working to build a world where respect and human dignity is taught and practiced.  We have to learn that it is wrong to demean another human being.  We have to learn that it is right to honour one another with good manners, respect, and the gift of empathetic attention.  It is right and part of the other other way that Fred longed for to go out of our way to listen to another human being and to seek to understand their story and how that has shaped their point of view.  The way begins with upholding human dignity.  Jesus said you know it’s wrong to murder, but I tell you, ‘you murder someone when you speak ill of them or find some way to put them down or demean them.’  You as good as murder someone when you consign them to scrap heap and don’t care, and then you are in danger of being cast on the scrap heap and fire of hell yourself.  These are strong words that should have us reflecting on our own propensity to writ  others off or put them in boxes.  The other way that Fred spoke of is not easy.  

    Most of us will easily say we are peace lovers, but Jesus invited us to be peacemakers and there is a huge difference between the two.   Peacemaking requires real effort, and sacrifice.  It takes hard work to reach out and look over the fences of fear that divide us.  It takes hard work to siddle up to those ‘other sort’ of people and begin to engage in some way that helps us see that they are human like me.  It takes hard work to look beyond the stereotypes and images often created by others to see human faces in those labelled different.

   Peace lovers often talk of tolerance and are happy if you do your thing and it doesn’t disturb me doing my thing.  Peacemakers know there will inevitably be conflict as we work to engage and find the goodness in one another.  There will be discomfort and clashes that will be painful as we are faced with differing lifestyles and values.   Jesus never promised us it would be easy as we seek to build bridges across the divides of race, age, sexuality, and so on, but in the end even in war the guns have to be put down and the hard work of peacemaking begun.

   We are a varied and diverse community and have become more so in recent years.  Even in my own whanau I find huge diversity. We see things differently.   Religion, politics, sport, race. I acknowledge that my way of seeing will be shaped by my journey.  Others have had very different journeys.  We see things differently.  We know this in this city where tragedy has opened our eyes to our Muslim brothers and sisters.  There are some real challenges in front of us now in how we can live with diversity and respect that is more than some lovey dovey sweep our differences under the carpet and proclaim our one-ness.   The way Fred dreamed of I think begins with our common human-ness and yet seeing sacredness in one another.  Seeing the presence of God in every person was something Jesus encouraged his followers to do.  Nurturing habits and practices like good manners and taking time to consider how it might be for another rather than just looking after yourself is where this other way begins.  

  Jesus said blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.  I invite you to go from here this morning to work hard at this task.  Do not leave it to others.

Putting the hard yards and sacrifice in to genuinely listen and understand those who are different.

To the Freds of the world I want to say I have searched for and I hope upheld is a better way. .

Dugald Wilson April 25 2019 0 Grid

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The Power of Jesus is Alive

Easter 2019 John 20:1-18

   It was different back then.  You didn’t put the body in a casket and dig a 6 feet hole.  They actually practiced a recycling way.  When a death occurred it was important to attend to the burial immediately.  We saw this tradition in the desire for our Muslim brothers and sisters to bury their dead as soon as possible.  Ideally burial happened within 24 hours. As soon as death was certain the deceased eye’s were closed.  The corpse was washed and then wrapped and bound.  Perfumes and ointments, usually nard, myrrh and aloes, were used for the ritual washing and the body wrapped in a shroud with the hands and feet bound with strips of cloth.  A special cloth was placed over the face.  Again as we saw recently the corpse is carried on a funeral bier rather than a closed coffin to the burial site just outside the city walls.  Traditionally this was a cave or large tomb carved out of the soft limestone rock that is found all round Jerusalem.  The body would be taken inside and laid out on a limestone plinth or shelf.  The entrance would then be sealed by placing a large rolling stone that moved in a cut channel and left for a year.  At the end of that time relatives would return to gather the bones that were left and place them in an ossuary or bone box which might be engraved with the person’s name and stored elsewhere or within the tomb itself. 

In Jesus’ case his family owned no tomb but one of the disciple band Joseph of Arimathea did and he offered the unused tomb for the burial. It seems that this is where the preparation of the body took place but that this task was not completed on the Friday before the Sabbath began at 6pm.  The Saturday being the Sabbath meant the work had to be delayed until early Sunday morning but that’s when the drama began.  Where was the body. 

      Mary assumed someone had stolen the body, and was obviously distraught. The earliest versions of Mark’s gospel which represent the earliest Christian stories have no stories of resurrection appearances, just the empty tomb.  What did happen?

   There have been some interesting suggestions.  Most Muslims believe Jesus who they recognise as their second greatest prophet never really died on the cross.  The person who died was a substitute.  Others believe Jesus didn’t actually die on the cross and was taken down still breathing, and when he was put in the tomb and as he lay there in the cool or possibly with the aid of some special drugs administered by the disciples he came round again.   Whatever Jesus ascended to God and will come again.

  Other people talk of the resurrection as if it were a resuscitation of a dead body.  After 2 days in the tomb as a dead person somehow Jesus human body came to life again as if someone performed CPR on him and got his heart beating again….a resuscitation. 

   Yet others claim the disciples were suffering from cognitive dissonance, the phenomenon whereby people who believe something strongly go on believing it even more strongly even when faced with evidence to the contrary.  In other words they denied his death by actually reporting seeing him alive again.  Their minds tricked them into actually seeing him and meeting him, but actually it was all in their heads.  Grieving people I have found often have powerful meetings or encounters with those who have recently died and some of us will know this. 

   Interesting theories.  I think the disciples had no expectation that Jesus would rise from the dead, but it seems clear they encountered something –  a new  presence.  Jesus’ risen body had many of the properties of as an ordinary body – he could talk, eat and drink, be touched and so on, but it seems even closest disciples  didn’t recognize him until he somehow opens their minds.  Mary and the disciples on the road to Emmaus engage with him but don’t immediately see him as Jesus. It’s only when they break bread together that they recognise him.  He has other strange properties too.  He could appear and disappear in a manner not unlike Captain Kirk of the Starship Enterprise. He can appear in the midst of a locked room, and it seems he can appear in one location and shortly after in another location hundreds of kilometers away.  He only seems to appear to those he knew.  There are no recorded public appearance after the crucifixion.  The appearances simply don’t fit any normal patterns.

This of course is very frustrating for scientific minds like ours. Science likes to study phenomena that can be repeated in laboratory conditions and this event, the resurrection of Jesus just isn’t one of those sorts of events. 

   I believe that there was a physical reality to this new way of being, but I don’t think I can tell you much more.  There is real mystery here.  If you want to get theological I think it’s important there was a physical reality to the resurrected Jesus because this physical earthy stuff is what Jesus was all about. However in the end these history questions of what actually happened come up against a bit of a brick wall.  A better question is what does it mean for us now?    

   For me the reality that God raised Jesus to life gives me hope.  It tells me that God’s love is stronger than the powers that killed him.  I rejoice because in Easter is the affirmation that goodness is stronger than evil, love is stronger than indifference and apathy, light is stronger than darkness, truth is stronger than lies, and life is stronger than death.  All that separates and injures and destroys in the world does not have the final say.  The power that reconciles and heals and loves is stronger.  The powers of goodness and life in our world are stronger than the powers of death, destruction and darkness.  The stone was rolled away and Jesus wasn’t left defeated by the powers that consigned him to die on the cross.  In our reformed tradition the cross is always empty.   The cross was not the final word.  Death is not the final word.  This is a hope that sustains my faith and my life.  This is the great hope of Easter and it means I live with with a confidence that all will be well.

   But the resurrection is not just a hope or an idea.  I believe that the risen presence of Jesus is a living power.  All that Jesus stood for in healing, in reshaping, in opening our lives to life is not just an historical reality but is a living reality.  There is a power, a presence of Jesus alive in our time that we can invite into our lives and which can shape our living and live in us to be the continuing living presence of Jesus.  Compassion, kindness, truth, goodness.  Power to affirm and draw the best out of others.  Power to work to heal the wounds in others and in ourselves.  And on this day I invite you to be more aware of this active power and presence.. 

   You may find yourself moved deep inside by something that stirs you.    Seeing another human being abused in some way.  Seeing someone in need of healing.  Seeing God’s creation abused, seeing the sacredness of life trampled.  Here in Christchurch the terrible events of March 15th still weigh heavy.  Human beings just like us gathered in worship gunned down.    Our deep passions, our tears I think are closely connected with this living presence of Jesus.  

   In our personal journeys  we experience pain or tragedy.  There may be dark and dull days which engulf us.  Sometimes I think of these days as sitting in the tomb of darkness.  It may take weeks or months or even years but the day comes when it seems there is a ray of light, and the stone has been moved away just a fraction.  Often people will say that time heals, but I don’t think it is time.  I think the living presence and power seen in Jesus is at work, patiently working in our lives leading us from the tomb to the dawn of a new day.

   The earth is warming rapidly and slowing human beings are waking up to the reality that we are responsible and our children’s children deserve a future.  The power of seen in Jesus is alive. 

   The truth of Easter is that Jesus is alive.  Whispering, nudging, inviting, calling us to work with him in shaping a new earth in the power of love.  He’s continuing to reveal the evil and the darkness of the world, and to show us another way.  He is continuing to meet us as he met Mary outside the tomb, to call us lovingly by name, and to invite us to participate with him in shaping a new world of goodness, respect, and peace.

   Jesus is alive, and he invites us to take his life into our life. One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle.  He said, My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.  One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, selfishness, resentment, inferiority, false pride, superiority and ego.  The other is Good.  It is joy, peace, hope, serentity, humility, kindness, generosity,, truth, compassion and faith.”  The grandson thought for a moment and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf wins?”  The old Cherokee answered simply, “the one you feed.” 

   That’s why we gather Sunday by Sunday – to feed on the presence of Jesus, to be nourished by this presence, to encounter his love and truth, to be shaped by his life.  We need to take the life of Jesus into our hearts, and we need to be warmed by his love and compassion for us and all people we meet….and so we come to this meal.

    Together we can and will shape a new world of goodness, respect, peace, and justice for all.

Dugald Wilson 20 April 2019

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Easter Sunday 2019

NOTICES:

A very warm welcome to you all this morning. After the service please come through to the Lounge for a cuppa and a time to talk, and join in the Easter Egg hunt!

Image result for nz anzac poppy

Anzac Day Service Thursday April 25th 9.30am. This will be a short simple service in which there will be opportunity to remember family members who have served in the armed forces. Morning tea will follow, and offers of Anzac biscuits can be left with the Office.

Thank You: $560 was raised by our special offering to the Te Raranga (all churches) gift to help victims of the massacre in Christchurch.

Pathways Group invites you to join the group for coffee/tea and reflection on Saturday 27th  April at 10am at the church.  The topic for discussion is “How do we find comfort in our faith?”  All welcome.

Men’s Group meets on Thursday 2nd May in the church lounge, beginning with a shared tea at 6pm. Rob Meier will be sharing some travel stories. Tony Blackler 332 0554.

If you notice any defects that need remedying in the building please notify the office as soon as possible so we can communicate these to the builders.  Please do not wait for someone else to report something as by then we may be out of our guarantee period.

Wednesday Walkers: 24th April Meet 9.30am at the church for a stroll around St Martins. Coffee at the church. All are welcome. Joan 337 1648.

The Parish Office will be closed this Thursday 25th April (Anzac Day).

Bacon Fundraiser: Hellers Short Cut Middle Bacon. $8.00 per pack 400gm (12-14 slices). Orders close NEXT Sunday 28th  April 2019. Delivery late May (date to be advised). Joan 337 1648.

NO Crafty Crafters this week.







Managers’ Report

Council Rubbish bins… have been purchased.  The red and yellow bins need to be kept locked inside.  They are a common source of material for church arsonists.  The green bin will be kept outside.

Church cleaning… will be undertaken commercially every two weeks.  All users will need to check floors after use and use the vacuum cleaner stored in the kitchen to remove crumbs etc.

Building contract….all payments will be finalised shortly.  We anticipate all our reserve funds will be extinguished to meet final payments.

Insurance….a revaluation of the church for insurance purposes is in progress.

Insulation…..at the manse is being upgraded to meet 2008 standards.

Church piano…. has been repaired and tuned.  We still have a second piano to give away.

Security fencing…..we have 10 sections of fencing for sale.  If you know of someone seeking portable fencing please contact the office.

South Elder Care….we approved an application to the Manchester Unity Welfare Fund to running expenses of our Elder Care Programme (approx. $8,000).  We also approved including in this application funding to purchase a defibrillator for use on site.  (approx. $2,500)

Compliance….as part of Council Compliance for our building we have to have a number of regular checks of systems within the building.  Eg fire alarm.  These need to be undertaken by an Independent Qualified person (IQP).  We will engage an IQP shortly realising that this will be an added ongoing cost. (we estimate $500-1000 per annum)

Concreting around church….we are progressing well with removing old concrete and laying new concrete paths.   Bike racks are being installed.  Fencing will be installed to make the back part of the section secure, and a deck built out from the lounge sliding doors to create an indoor/outdoor space.

Spaces for hire…. We have set negotiable prices for hiring the auditorium, lounge, and meeting space.   A conditions of use contract and booking form have also been drawn up and all users (including church users will need to fill out the booking form so we can accurately maintain a booking schedule for spaces.  We need to generate income from building usage to help meet costs of maintaining and running the complex.  These spaces have also been advertised on our website.

Lockdown and security…. We do not have secure private spaces in the complex.  Our best defence is vigilance and for those who are on door duty to seek police assistance if there is any suspicious behaviour.  Security cameras are installed around the property and more will be installed.

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Good Friday 9.30am

Call to Worship:

Leader:          Today is a solemn day.
Today is a day we remember the powers of darkness
are strong and real.
Today we recall that the presence of God, seen in Jesus, was consigned to the cross to be silenced and extinguished.

ALL               We have seen these powers, we know these powers.  Here we seek another power seen in the Christ who died that we might find life.

Singing:        Go to Dark Gethsemene (Tune: Petra)

Prayer:

Reading:        Matt 26: 36-52                   The Arrest      

                                                                David Beaumont

Reflection:     Power….

Reading:        Luke 23:13-26, 32-47        The Crucifixion of Jesus

                                                                Janet Dunn

Singing:        Were you There

Reflection:     The cross…. Something is wrong

Making:         Palm Cross

Singing:        Lift High the Cross ©Shirley Murray (AA)

Prayer            with the Lord’s Prayer

Reading:        Mark 15:40-57                   The Burial

                                                                Fern Wakefield

Reflection: The Love that will not let go

Benediction:

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