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30th August 2020
Alpine Presbytery Gathering
Registration is now open for the Gathering, which is to be held at
The Village, Bryndwr, 11th & 12th September. Go to: https://forms.gle/5wfRGs8Sa3sCY6dB6, or you can also find the form on our website, on the Events
The Gathering is a chance for us to meet people from around our Presbytery and experience key learning and connecting time together. All ordained ministers and Presbytery Elders are encouraged to attend, but everyone is welcome!
The pre-Gathering event this time is the Rural Ministries get together: Stop for a moment and ask yourself what sort of ministry do you work in. Is it urban or rural? Rural parishes usually have a unique style and flavour compared to urban parishes. The issues they face can be very different, and the way in which they organise their parish life is often a response to the cycles of rural life and the community as a whole. We aim to gather rural ministry people together to encourage and challenge each other to be the very best that God wants us to be, where God has planted us. At times this might be physical but at other times it would be electronically. It would be a place to share ideas, get advice and develop resources for the mission.
So we invite those that wish to begin a journey of discovery together to meet over a BYO lunch from 12.30pm – 2.30pm to explore how we can encourage and support each other where God has planted us.
Draft outline of the Gathering
Friday 11th: * 12.30pm – 2.30pm Rural/small town ministries get-together * 3pm Aternoon tea * 3.30pm Welcome, devotions, introductions, commissioning of Martin Stewart as EO. Presentation and discussion around Strategic Framework * 5.30pm byo drinks (with nibbles provided) * 6pm Sit down dinner and celebration of Barry Ayer’s ministry * 8pm – finish
Saturday 12th: * 9am Worship, including changeover of Moderator * Comings and Goings – inductions and retirements * Presentation of Have a Go (including a video from Whakatu), * Morning Tea * 11am Speaker/Interaction – Donald Scott * 12.30pm Lunch * 1.15pm TELT review discussion * Any other business.
30th August 2020
Harm or Good?
We are told over the decades how fruits are important for our health and wellbeing. Scientific research has proven that certain fruits help our immune system to function well while other fruits help to nourish and strengthen muscles, ligaments, and blood cells and while other fruits tend to the outward appearance of the body. The thing about these scientific discoveries, is that its claims are constantly changing. What one research discovers to be good for you, another would claim the opposite. Over the decades people have operated within a guideline of a health food pyramid chart (you might recall) that was put out by health gurus for healthy living only to be told in more recent times that this food chart is doing more harm than good.
The Apostle Paul talks about the fruit in this way.
Galatians 5: 22 – 25
“……the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.”
Paul says that if we operate from the Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit is produced unlike in the flesh, we take in the fruit to produce results. Here Paul is saying live in God’s Spirit and the fruit love, joy, peace and etc. will overflow outwardly that reflects our personal connection and relationship with God. The fruit of the Spirit has and will never change for God is the same yesterday, today and forever.
The world has trusted the health gurus with guidelines to healthy living but have only managed to deceive it of its false claims. Many people are now paying the price for the damage done.
For Spiritual healthy living, Paul invites us to live in the Spirit by staying grounded in Jesus daily, take the time to read scripture and take time to have conversations with him who will guide, deliver and satisfy your needs.When you take a bite of a fruit today, ask yourself, what harm or good will this bring?
9th August 2020
Notice from Ashburton Christian School
We would like to start a new initiative in Term 4 called ‘Class Grandma/Class Grandpa’.
We are looking for Senior Citizens who are Christians within our community to come and be a Class Grandma/Grandpa.
This would involve coming in once a week/fortnightly to hear children read or help with a specific task. You would be based with that class for the rest of year. It is a chance for you to share your wisdom and for the children to build relationships over time. We would love to welcome you in to our school community and make you part of our class family.
If you are interested please call or email me to find out more.
2nd August 2020
A three series group study will once again take place during the week of the 16th August to the 1st week of September.
Study notes will be sent out next week for your reflection. Studying God’s word helps us to navigate through the ups and downs of our journey but also reminds us of God’s ongoing engagement in the world. Study will be done via zoom and face to face for those who prefer.
Please indicate your interest by sending an email to Arii.
All are welcome to fellowship and participate. A three series group study will once again take place
21st June 2020
‘RESPONDING AS MOTHERS TO RACISM’
– Lydia Johnson-Nokise
I find myself in a very strange place these days. I am an American, a female pastor and theological educator who has spent most of my adult life in cross-cultural theological education, in places as diverse as Jamaica, South Africa, Fiji and New Zealand. After supposedly retiring, I returned from New Zealand to my native United States in 2008; however (because God is full of surprises!), I returned to New Zealand last year and became the wife of Rev. Dr. Fele Nokise, minister of Newtown PIPC.
Not only is my own personal journey – living ‘betwixt and between’ diverse cultures – strange, but the times we are now living in are strange in the extreme. The global pandemic introduced new realities that in many ways seem to negate what is means to be fully human – ‘social distancing,’ ‘lockdown,’ ‘quarantine.’ The worldwide suffering caused by the pandemic has, in turn, unleashed widespread economic upheaval. And in the midst of this turning-upside-down of life as we have known it, the sin of racism recently reached a tipping point in the United States. The latest incident in a long history of police brutality against African Americans has unleashed wave after wave of protest and unrest, not seen since the days I came of age during the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s. African Americans, and their allies, have had enough, and their struggle has now spilled over to other countries around the world, whose citizens are being pushed to revisit their own racism. How do we respond as Christian women to this crisis in our New Zealand context?
During the nearly nine minutes that George Floyd lay on a Minneapolis street gasping for breath, dying from a policeman’s knee on his neck, he not only repeatedly gasped ‘I can’t breathe!’ He also, as he neared death, called out ‘Mama!’ He called for his mother. Whether or not we women are biological mothers, we are, in a sense, all mothers for those who are crying out from every kind of mistreatment and disrespect. How can we be mothers in the face of the racism in our own society?
I am immersed now in Pacific Islander communities within the PCANZ, and our Pacific Islander ministers, spouses and session clerks in the Wellington region have just begun an intentional dialogue about the Pacific Islander experience of racism – in New Zealand, and specifically in the PCANZ. This is a fruitful, if potentially painful, dialogue, as we search for Christ-like responses to the reality of racism in our midst. What do we have to offer as women to this quest for wholeness?
In a recent Newtown PIPC online service, where I have been leading the weekly ‘Children’s Time’ during our online worship while in lockdown, I showed pictures of mother hens sheltering their chicks under their wings, just as Jesus described himself as being like a mother hen in Matthew 23:39, when he wept over the state of Jerusalem: “How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her young under her wings.” I pointedout to the children that God too is compared to a mother bird several times in scripture, as in Isaiah 31, which says, “Like a bird hovering over its young, so the Lord will protect and rescue Jerusalem.” And Psalm 36 says, “How precious is your steadfast love, o God. All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.”
As women, as mothers, we seek to protect, to ‘gather people in’. In this mothering care, we cannot discriminate, caring for some while pushing others aside. It is in our motherly DNA to welcome and care for all. As George Webb lay dying at the hands of an uncaring police officer and called for his mother, I hope that he knew she loved him unconditionally. But, as more and more American women have said in recent days, “We are all George’s mama.” That is our calling as well, in our own context here in New Zealand. We must honestly ask where and how the scourge of racism continues to rear its ugly head in our own communities, and even in our church. And then we must respond with acts of caring, protecting, welcoming and loving the most vulnerable by sheltering them under our wings with Christ’s love in our hearts.
14th June 2020
It works both ways
The nation is now able to move freely once again after being cleared of covid19 and we did this together, the government leading and the support of the nation behind it. This could not have happened if we did not work together. It works both ways.
The work of Plains parish continues because of the leaders you have elected and entrusted to fulfil the task to the fellowship and worship life to be ongoing. You trust their guiding wisdom and decision making as to what is best for the church which is no easy task. Our task as leaders, is to listen and consider your thoughts and concerns as well as and most importantly, to hear what God’s Spirit is saying, test it, trust, and put into action what we believe is God led.
And although you have chosen leaders to envision a way forward, this envisioning is not theirs alone to carry but each and every one of us who connects ourselves to this faith community. Each of us have a task of responsibility, accountability, and missional focus to the ethos we believe in, that is, salvation in Jesus Christ alone. It works both ways.
Leaders believe they do not run on their own accord, but with the hope that you are with them not only watching from a distance to see things unfold, but actively involved in the ongoing maintenance and mission. It works both ways.
Jesus in his ministry here on earth put great importance in the function of body although different, parts are significant to perform its role for the whole to work.
This is the body of Christ that every part is joined and held together for it to grow and build up.
“From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Your ongoing support for your leaders are important to keep the work of the church alive and active but they cannot do this alone. Everyone has something to offer whether big or small and whatever it is, helps us build and grow. You might be wondering, “what can I offer?” Maybe start with this, examine what your strengths or giftings are and pray, ask God to show you where in his work could you help the leaders build and grow the ministry. Speak to your leader/s as to how you would like to help. We are all in this together, but we are not doing church life alone! We do it with God’s help and the leading of his Spirit. It works both ways, the leaders need your help and we need leaders. We need each other in the “Body of Christ”.
1 Thessalonians 5:11
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” Encourage and strengthen your leaders as they continue to serve. Support them in the work they do. Lend a hand if you are able. Lighten the load if you see the struggle and most importantly, constantly pray for one another and our mission and faith in Jesus Christ not to be swayed but steadfast.
7th June 2020
Trinity Sunday 7th June.
Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God almighty,
early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.
holy, holy, holy! merciful and mighty
God in three persons, blessed Trinity
Matthew 28; 16 – 20
The Great Commission
So, the eleven disciples went off to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had instructed them to go. There they saw him, and worshiped him, though some hesitated. Jesus came towards them and addressed them. ‘All authority in heaven and on earth”, he said, ‘ has been given to me! So, you must go and make all the nations into disciples. Baptize them in the name of the father, and of the son, and the holy spirit. Teach them to observe everything I have commanded you. And look: I am with you, every single day, to the very end of the age. The Trinity is an affirmation of the beautifully complex, dynamic, and great God who is three-in-one. Contemplation of and relationship with this trinitarian God is an awe-inspiring, holy experience that is at the heart of Christian worship .