Monthly Archives: May 2019

Sunday 2 June 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.  

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.

Men’s Group will meet on Thursday 6th June at 6pm in the Church Lounge for a shared tea and chat time.    The speaker for the evening will be David Hodder talking about Predator Control.

All men welcome and we look forward to seeing you there.  Contact Tony 332 0554 if you have any queries.

MenzShed at St Martins is underway…. 35 blokes gathered last Monday and enthusiastically endorsed the setting up of a St Martins MenzShed.  A small steering team has been formed.  We’ll meet again on Monday July 1st at 7.15pm to talk further.

Help fill the Pantry at Waltham Cottage: With the colder weather and the need for warm nourishing food, Adrienne suggests the following:

Baked beans, breakfast cereal, tinned stews, tinned tuna, soups, jams, biscuits, pasta and noodles along with chickpeas and tinned tomatoes.

Everything you contribute is so gratefully received.

Please keep it coming.  Many thanks. Irene Gray, Session Clerk.

Wednesday Walkers 5th June: Meet 9.45am at the church.

Court Theatre trip Thursday 19th September 6.30pm to see “The Pink Hammer”, a Kiwi comedy. Expressions of interest to Sue Saunders 960 7657 please. Cost will be c$49 & discount available for Super Gold Card holders.

Next Movie Nights are SaturdayJuly 6th  (when we’ll show the adult movie “Green Book”), & then August 4th 5.45pm at church – bring your takeaway tea (eg fish and chips) drinks provided. Movie starts at 6.15pm and finishes at 8pm.

Irene would like to thank you all for the love, prayers & support she has received following her accident. 

Christian Meditation – a new group

 Jesus often withdrew to places of stillness and solitude to re-orientate his life in God.  Early Christians practiced mediation.  Today this practice has often been ignored, yet passages like  “be still and know that I am God” attract us.  Spiritual teacher of our time Fr Thomas Keating said “silence is God’s language”.  A new group is starting with the aim of learning and practicing the art of Christian Meditation.  

   Christian Meditation is based on: stillness, silence and simplicity. The aim is to move closer to union with God by sitting quietly. To aid us in being still we are invited to repeat in silence the word “Maranatha” which means “come Lord”.  We come in simplicity, not asking for anything, or seeking to tell God anything, just wanting to be open to God. We are leaving busyness and self-consciousness aside to let God transform us deep to deep. We’re not thinking about anything, spiritual or otherwise, just seeking to be in the presence of God and to be wholly present to God.  Those who persevere will inevitably see the results in their lives, “the fruits of the spirit” (Galatians 5): love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

   Meditation does need to be regular, and it does require discipline.

The new group will meet for the first time at St Martins Presbyterian Church, 43 St Martins Road, on Tuesday June 11th at 7pm.  If you are interested come and see.  The group is not for experts, but for people interested in exploring a form of prayer that is much needed in our time.  Our aim is to meet weekly for those who can make it, but to also encourage a daily personal practice of mediation.

   For more information make contact with Dugald at dugaldwil@gmail.com or go to www.christianmeditationnz.org.nz &/or www.wccm.org

Weekly Peace Bell Meditation

Do you want a more loving and peaceful society?

Do you want a safer and more caring community?

Do you want acceptance and celebration of diversity, not hatred and violence?

There are many ways.

Come and pray/send positive intentions every Friday

for a more peaceful, caring and safe Christchurch.

If you are available for this type of group action join us in spirit or in actuality for 10 minutes focussed silence at 7.45am every Friday in Hagley Park at the Peace Bell (Botanic Gardens) in solidarity with our Muslim community.

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Christian meditation – new group

   Jesus often withdrew to places of stillness and solitude to re-orientate his life in God.  Early Christians practiced mediation.  Today this practice has often been ignored, yet passages like  “be still and know that I am God” attract us.  Spiritual teacher of our time Fr Thomas Keating said “silence is God’s language”.  A new group is starting with the aim of learning and practicing the art of Christian Meditation.  

   Christian Meditation is based on: stillness, silence and simplicity. The aim is to move closer to union with God by sitting quietly. To aid us in being still we are invited to repeat in silence the word “Maranatha” which means “come Lord”.  We come in simplicity, not asking for anything, or seeking to tell God anything, just wanting to be open to God. We are leaving busyness and self-consciousness aside to let God transform us deep to deep. We’re not thinking about anything, spiritual or otherwise, just seeking to be in the presence of God and to be wholly present to God.  Those who persevere will inevitably see the results in their lives, “the fruits of the spirit” (Galatians 5): love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

   Meditation does need to be regular, and it does require discipline.

The new group will meet for the first time at St Martins Presbyterian Church, 43 St Martins Road, on Tuesday June 11th at 7pm.  If you are interested come and see.  The group is not for experts, but for people interested in exploring a form of prayer that is much needed in our time.  Our aim is to meet weekly for those who can make it, but to also encourage a daily personal practice of mediation.

   For more information make contact with Dugald at dugaldwil@gmail.com or go to www.christianmeditationnz.org.nz &/or www.wccm.org

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Sunday 26 May 2019

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 Hugh Perry for leading our worship.

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.

Help fill the Pantry at Waltham Cottage:

‘Thank you’ for a super bumper lot of groceries that was contributed last week. It certainly helped fill some of the space in the cupboard. With the colder weather and the need for warm nourishing food, Adrienne suggests the following: Baked beans, breakfast cereal, tinned stews, tinned tuna, soups, jams, biscuits, pasta and noodles along with chickpeas and tinned tomatoes. Everything you contribute is so gratefully received. Please keep it coming.  Many thanks.

Irene Gray, Session Clerk.

Court Theatre trip Thursday 19th September 6.30pm to see “The Pink Hammer”, a Kiwi comedy. Expressions of interest to Sue Saunders 960 7657 please. Cost will be c$49 & discount available for Super Gold Card holders.

Bacon Fundraiser: Joanwill be picking up the bacon tomorrow. All money owing must be handed to her TODAY please.

Wednesday Walkers 29th May: Meet 9.30am at Elmwood Park in Heaton Street for a walk around the area. Coffee at McCafe in Merivale. All welcome. Judith Mackay 027 688 1861.

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 28th May in the Church Lounge at 43 St Martins Rd.  There will be some planning talk first before Joan and Joan tell us about their recent trip to Adelaide and Melbourne. Enquiries: Margaret ph 366 8936.

St Martins MenzShed based in the Community Building (Old SS Rooms at the back of our section).  We will have an initial meeting MONDAY 27th MAY at 7.15pm to gauge interest in setting up a group to run a menzshed in this area and take the first steps to get this project moving.  Please tell blokes of the neighbourhood about this initiative that will provide a meeting place for men, and we hope will be a place where women will be invited to learn practical skills.

Movie Nights are being planned for NEXT SATURDAY June 1st, then July 6th, August 4th 5.45pm at church – bring your takeaway tea (eg fish and chips) drinks provided, movie starts at 6.15pm and finish at 8pm. 

EcuAction…. The seminar this week was entitled Capitalism and Climate Change.  Charles Drace claimed there appears to be a link between climate change and neo-liberal policies adopted by governments from the 1970’s onward with less government control and free market policies.  Governments appear to be cautious about adopting policy that will reduce carbon emissions.  Most western economies (and others) are dependent on fossil fuel extraction or animal farming which produces greenhouse gases, and we are locked into these systems for economic survival.  There is however hope in the voices of our young people who are demanding change because they see more clearly the disastrous future that awaits the planet as we pay lip service to this issue. 

Jim Consedine spoke from a faith perspective and drew our attention to modern prophet Thomas Berry who said: “The industrial economy is not sustainable.  It is a failing system.  It is closing down the planet in its most basic modes of functioning.”  Jim reminded us that much of our thinking about economies fails to take into account natural processes and the gift of the earth and its resources.  We need to consider human wellbeing and the wellbeing of the natural world alongside company profits.  He also championed Pope Francis and his encyclicals, particularly Laudate Si (On the Care of our Common Home).  Nature can not be regarded as something separate from ourselves, nor as a mere setting in which we live.  Pope Francis encourages us to build an integrated ecology.

Next Thursday Kathleen Gallagher speaks on Climate Change and Water. 5.30 -7.00pm at Knox Church, Bealey Ave.






An evening with John Bell….Five of us from St Martins  joined with others to sing with John Bell and hear some of his wise insights into the importance of singing which links us with God.  John is a member of the Iona Community in Scotland and believes singing is good for our souls.  Too often we have been told we can’t sing so we don’t.  We often feel we have to hit the right notes and do it well, when letting it flow from our hearts is what is needed.  Much of the singing we did together was without accompaniment.  The melodies were often quite simple, but we discovered music unlocks places deep within.






Session Report:

Session noted with thanks the retirement of June Service as our morning tea coordinator….thanks June for  organising and facilitating this ministry!

A 24 page report from General Assembly concerning Euthanasia is available.  If you would like a copy please contact Dugald or the office.

We thanked the St Mark’s/St Anne’s Anglican Parish and Beckenham Methodist Church for their generous gifts to celebrate our return to the church.

Conditions of use contracts have been drawn up for hiring the church complex.  The Session also approved an alcohol policy.

We expect we still have a final bill to pay of approx. $36,000 to the contractors and can report we have money in hand to pay this.

We are slowly building up usage of the complex with regular users now being Sit and Keep Fit, Craft group, Foot Clinic, and a decision by South Elder care to return to the complex when it is secure with fencing. 

A newcomers form has been drawn up and placed in the foyer which we invite newcomers to fill in.   This will give us information to prepare a nametag and facilitate delivery of a newsletter.  We have asked Heather Crew, Janet Dunn, Ken Austin, and Jill Grierson to be people who welcome newcomers, but of course this is something we all need to work at. 

David Beaumont has retired from leading services at Archer Home.  Thank you David for your ministry there.

Dugald will receive the gold card in August this year and is looking to retire early in 2020.  The Presbytery will be approached with a view to setting up a ministry settlement board.

Session will appoint a Child Safety Protection Officer by 1 August.

A proposal to hold a regular afternoon communion service especially for seniors is being examined to see if there would be sufficent interest.

St Martins Meditation Group….  We plan to initiate a group that would learn and practice mediation together.   We will have an initial planning meeting for those interested on Tuesday June 11th at 7.00pm. 

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Peter and the Sheet

Acts11:1-18

Peter was a fisherman.  He worked on boats.  Most fishermen I know who work on boats are pretty rough sort of characters who are pretty handy with their hands.  You have to be able to fix things on a boat.  You  work hard and play hard.   

So when we read of Peter falling into a trance we assume this is not normal for him.  Practical, hard working, blokes like him don’t start seeing visions.  Having a bit much to drink maybe, but you don’t have trances out on a fishing boat when there is fish to catch.  By the way the Greek word used for trance is the word ekstasis from which we get our word ecstasy, but I don’t think Peter was doing drugs. 

There’s something else about Peter.  He’s an observant Jewish man.  You don’t think of hard working fishermen as religious but Peter and all the Jewish people of his village kept the Torah and like most religious systems it had much to do with avoiding impurity.  There were foods you were not allowed to eat.  No pork, shellfish, reptiles or rabbits, or birds of prey.  Fish had to have scales and fins.  Animals had to be slaughtered using the shechita process in which all blood was drained and the killing was done in a humane way, and only animals that had a split hoof were allowed.  You even checked that eggs had no blood in them, and meat and dairy products were not to be eaten together.    

But impurity laws also included people.  Touching a dead body made you unclean.  Going into a non-Jewish house made you unclean as did sharing an eating vessel with them.  Basically non Jewish people were unclean.

But back to Peter’s ecstasy trip.  I need to point out it occurs in the middle of the day so probably we can rule out drinking.  It’s so important that it gets reported on twice in two chapters of the book of Acts.    He sees a sheet coming down from heaven and it’s filled with all sorts of food.  Did you recall some of that food? Reptiles, birds of prey, all sorts of four footed animals without split hooves– unclean life.  But Peter hears a voice saying, “get up kill and eat.”  Peter is shocked and resists.  He’s not about to break years of religious habit and practice.  Eat that sort of stuff and someone is bound to say he’ll go to hell. But the voice persists telling him to not call anything impure which God has created.  This happens three times and the sheet then goes back up to the heavens.

So what was Peter to make of it?  His gut reaction was shock and resistance.  But what was that gut reaction based on.  Years of religious teaching, reading the scriptures, the expectations of the religious community he was part of.  It’s based on his devotion to God.  He resists God in the name of God.    It’s possible to resist God’s call to growth by appealing to your religious convictions.  Confusing isn’t it..

But as soon as the trance is over there’s a knock at the door and there are three men there…. A couple of slaves and a soldier – Romans.  There were ‘them’ and ‘us’ and these guys are definitely ’thems’.  They say come and meet our leader who was a Roman centurion – an officer of rank.  Peter feels the urging of the Spirit to go and true to character is prepared to take a risk.  Things in life are not entirely random and along the way he seems to work out the vision, because when it comes to entering Cornelius’s house he says,’ God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean.’   And let’s be clear here.  This centurion washed every day and scrubbed up very well indeed.  His sandals were clean and shiny, his clothes spotless.  Unclean simply meant you didn’t think someone else was worthy or to be valued.  Unclean meant you could be nice to someone but actually you wouldn’t invest any energy to care for them.  Unclean meant that in your eyes they were not up to it, not really a fellow child of God.   Uncleanliness had to do with despising, writing off in some way, not respecting.  Unclean people are people we would prefer not to bump into or welcome into our lives…. Unclean is anything we would prefer not to enter or engage in our lives….a person we don’t like.  But it could also be some thing we don’t want to engage with in our lives, something we want to push away, a brush with cancer or illness.  It could be something about ourselves or past that we just want to bury and pretend doesn’t exist.

We don’t talk about people or things as unclean, but there are people we don’t want to engage with, there are things we don’t want in our lives. Unclean is not just then, but now. 

Peter was brought up in a faith that said Romans were not good people, not real people.  He’s almost certainly never been inside a Roman house before.  Stories had been told about how Romans ate unclean food, and had wild parties with much drinking and all sorts of carrying on.  Romans had crucified his messiah Jesus so there was a personal story as well.  I suspect there were other personal stories involving family members killed or raped by brutal Roman crackdowns in his home town of Capernaum.  Romans, especially soldiers, were not of God.   

The story tells us Peter thought about this.  Actually he battled with what happened next for years and I think never really quite got it.  God was at work in these unclean others.  God was bigger than his little clan.  Thank God Peter trusted his moment of ecstasy. 

He crossed the threshold, and I suspect feeling very uncomfortable, engaged with these outsiders.  And he discovered that his picture of them was blown out the window.  It turns out they were human like he was.  They did things differently but they were reaching out to search for God and the fulfilment and peace of true life.  God’s Spirit was alive within them.

This is huge.  Peter’s understanding of his religious convictions are being turned on their head.  The scriptures were quite clear.  Gentiles were gentiles and therefore unclean.   Romans worshipped idols and did disgusting things.  Things were simple, black and white.  But things now were turned on their heads.  The apple cart had spilled apples everywhere.  Peter’s whole way of looking at the world and others was shattered.  There is a word that describes what Peter faced and it’s the word DISRUPTION.   

But disruptions are the often the source of our growth.  You travel and taste, you meet people from other tribes, you read new things, you see other ways, you hear new perspectives and you discover your previous ways of categorising and labelling and believing don’t work any more.  I’ve seen it many times.  Someone vehemently opposed to homosexuals discovers a friend is gay and….We thought Muslims were all bloodthirsty terrorists but now discover they have aspirations similar to us.  And you have a choice.  Circle the wagons and hold fast to what was, or take the plunge to open yourself to something new along with the pain of leaving the old ways behind.  It’s actually exciting because your world becomes larger but it also becomes more complex.  It can be liberating, but also traumatic like the carpet being yanked out from under you.  But once you’ve tasted you can’t untaste.  Once you’ve seen you can’t unsee.

Peter crossed the threshold into the centurion’s house knowing this was risky business.  Heaven knows what would happen or what all his friends would say.  But he also felt something calling within…. This was the very right thing to do.  The Jesus Spirit within was urging him on.   

I wonder….is there someone in your family, is there someone in this congregation you see as unclean. 

Is God whispering of looking to disrupt something in you, to open your eyes to something new?  To enlarge your vision.  To enlarge your understanding. 

I believe our faith is about a journey in which we always have something more to learn, some new surprise to shake us free from the prison of comfort, some new step of growth.  I find it easy to slip back into a pattern of thinking I know it all and being an old dog that has no new tricks to learn.    

It’s strange but often God is speaking in our lives through those we label outsiders.  God speaks through the ‘not welcome’ places, the struggles in our lives, the places of pain.  The earthquakes or catastrophe’s where the what was smooth becomes rough and broken.   Haven’t we seen God at work in the outpouring of love and the hard work of reconciliation that so many are committing to following our massacre.    Learning the them’s are actually us. 

Listen, take note, and see what you can learn from the ‘not welcome’ places and the ‘not welcome’ people of our lives.  Listen for the Jesus Spirit within and take a risk.

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Sunday 19 May 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.

Pathways is a friendship and study group in our congregation which is growing together in faith.  It meets monthly on a Saturday morning for about 90 minutes and this month will begin looking at a series of 5 studies looking at relationships.  We will look at family relationships, church relationships, relating to strangers, broken relationships and how they might be mended, and our relationship with God. 

Members of the group say this is a really good group to belong to and journey with.  It is gentle, relaxed, friendly, and at our level.

If you would be interested in popping along to check out the group this month would be a good time to do this as they start a new series.  Talk to Peggy Cree, Hilary Moore, Elizabeth Penwell, Sue Saunders, Jill Grierson, Margaret Shanks, Alice Shanks or Rob Connell for more information or join us THIS Saturday 25th May at 10am.



Church Cleaning: Every three weeks, the facilities will be cleaned commercially by Moonlighters Cleaning. We are seeking volunteers from the congregation (men and women!) to clean the church plant in the intervening weeks. Please add your name to the list on the clipboard in the foyer if you can help. A list of duties required is also available. Thank you to those who have already volunteered.

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.

Family Movie Night Friday 24th May 7pm at Opawa Community Church, cnr

Opawa Rd & Aynsley Tce. This month’s movie is “Robots”. Free entry; drinks & nibbles for sale. All welcome.

Wednesday Walkers 22nd May: Meet 9.30am at the Bus Exchange by Lichfield/Colombo corner. Coffee venue TBC. All welcome. Sonya 027 253 3397.

Bacon Fundraiser: Joanwill be picking up the bacon on Monday 27th May. It would be appreciated if the money owing could be handed in next Sunday please.

EcuAction Seminar Report

This week Colin Meurk spoke about Climate Change and plants.  He reminded us that we will see significant loss of plant and animal life with the latest UN report saying a million species will go extinct by 2050.  As habitat warms and changes in other ways many species will not adapt quickly enough while other species will thrive.  He supports declaring a climate change emergency.  Colin was particularly keen for Christchurch to recognise the wonderful diversity of life found in our city and to declare our city a National Park City as London has done.  He wants to encourage initiatives that help people link more strongly with nature.  He also encourages the growth of native flora and fauna and taking pride in our unique heritage rather than importing plants for our gardens and city spaces.

Fr Frank Kelly spoke from a faith perspective and reminded us of our responsibility as outlined in Genesis 1 to be caretakers and trustees of the earth.  We do not own the earth, God does.  He also commended Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si. (Praise be to You) This is the second encyclical of Pope Francis. The encyclical has the subtitle “on care for our common home”. In it, the Pope critiques consumerism and irresponsible development, laments environmental degradation and global warming, and calls all people of the world to take “swift and unified global action”.

Next Thursday at 5.30pm Charles Drace speaks on Climate Change and Capitalism.






Session Report:

Session noted with thanks the retirement of June Service as our morning tea coordinator….thanks June for  organising and facilitating this ministry!

A 24 page report from General Assembly concerning Euthanasia is available.  If you would like a copy please contact Dugald or the office.

We thanked the St Mark’s/St Anne’s Anglican Parish and Beckenham Methodist Church for their generous gifts to celebrate our return to the church.

Conditions of use contracts have been drawn up for hiring the church complex.  The Session also approved an alcohol policy.

We expect we still have a final bill to pay of approx. $36,000 to the contractors and can report we have money in hand to pay this.

We are slowly building up usage of the complex with regular users now being Sit and Keep Fit, Craft group, Foot Clinic, and a decision by South Elder care to return to the complex when it is secure with fencing. 

A newcomers form has been drawn up and placed in the foyer which we invite newcomers to fill in.   This will give us information to prepare a nametag and facilitate delivery of a newsletter.  We have asked Heather Crew, Janet Dunn, Ken Austin, and Jill Grierson to be people who welcome newcomers, but of course this is something we all need to work at. 

David Beaumont has retired from leading services at Archer Home.  Thank you David for your ministry there.

Dugald will receive the gold card in August this year and is looking to retire early in 2020.  The Presbytery will be approached with a view to setting up a ministry settlement board.

Session will appoint a Child Safety Protection Officer by 1 August.

A proposal to hold a regular afternoon communion service especially for seniors is being examined to see if there would be sufficent interest.

St Martins MenzShed based in the Community Building (Old SS Rooms at the back of our section).  We will have an initial meeting on a Monday May 27th at 7.15pm to gauge interest in setting up a group to run a menzshed in this area and take the first steps to get this project moving.  Please tell blokes of the neighbourhood about this initiative that will provide a meeting place for men, and we hope will be a place where women will be invited to learn practical skills.

St Martins Meditation Group….  We plan to initiate a group that would learn and practice mediation together.   We will have an initial planning meeting for those interested on Tuesday June 11th at 7.00pm.  This is a group for beginners and explorers.  The group would meet in the church complex every week for to practice meditation for 20 minutes and to for a short learning time.   Stillness is a way to hear and know God more closely in our lives.  It is anticipated this will be an ecumenical group using mediation techniques as outlined by the World Community for Christian Meditation.  See www.wccm.org

Movie Nights are being planned forJune 1st, July 6th, August 4th 5.45pm at church – bring your takeaway tea (eg fish and chips) drinks provided, movie starts at 6.15pm and finish at 8pm.  Possible movies on offer:  Paddington, Green Book,  Moana. 

Paddington is a family movie that also has serious messages of the wonders and importance of hospitality.  It is partly animated, but is a fun movie that will bring a smile to your face as Paddington Bear is accepted into the Brown family home in London after travelling there from deepest Peru. 

Green Book is a recently released and widely acclaimed adults movie. It is a 2018 American biographical comedy-drama set in 1962.  The film is inspired by the true story of a tour of the deep south by an African American classical and jazz pianist and his white Italian American driver. 

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