Letter from the Vicar 1 March 2015

Fr Andrew Starky small

Dear Friends,

Welcome to S. Michael’s as we continue our pilgrimage in Lent. Today our reading from the Gospel recalls the Transfiguration of Jesus. One way of understanding the Transfiguration is that on this occasion Jesus’ divinity shone through his humanity.

When we come to Mass we begin spiritually to climb a mountain, as Jesus and his disciples climbed Mt Tabor. Our steps are marked quite deliberately. The first is our intention to come to Mass, and our preparations as we clarify our intentions for prayer and our need for forgiveness. When we arrive it is customary to dip our fingers in the stoup (the small dish of baptismal or holy water by the door), and make the sign of the cross. We do this as we enter the church to remind ourselves of who we are, a baptised child of God, and to whom we belong, the triune God. Some will then choose to light a candle near the statue of Our Lady for a particular prayer intention. Before taking our seat we genuflect in reverence to the Blessed Sacrament, which is held in the wakahuia. This is the living presence of the Lord in our midst. Then comes a time for silent prayer as we await the beginning of the Mass.

In the Mass we become part of a community as we continue our journey together up the mountain. We begin with praise and then offer our communal confession to God for the ways in which we have fallen short as a people of God. Following the Absolution declared by the priest, we pray the Collect. Next is the Ministry of the Word and we hear the Scriptures read and reflected on, followed by the Prayers of the People. As we draw near to the summit we exchange the Peace with each other, knowing that it is only the gift of the peace of Christ shared among us that enables us to make the final steps towards the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. After receiving communion we begin to descend the mountain in the Prayer after Communion and the Dismissal, as we are sent out to be the people of God in the world.

During Lent it is good to be even more mindful about our journey in the Mass and to remember that in this journey we also will be transfigured. The celebration of the Eucharist enables something more of the divine life of the Holy Spirit within us to shine through our humanity as we go about our daily lives and ministries.

The Vestry were heartened to receive notification from Christian World Service that our contribution to the Christmas appeal was $2790. Well done, S. Michael’s!

Yours in Christ,

Fr Andrew Starky

 

Parish Notices

Sunday School: during the 10:00 am Mass. Details Marla Hughes (960 0753).
Sales Table: in the hall after Mass. Donations welcome for prizes for the Easter raffle. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012).
Lunch at Regatta on Avon: today at 12:15 pm, all welcome. Cost $12. Details Kathryn Starky (385 0197).
• You are invited to a cup of tea or coffee after the evening service each Sunday.
• The Bible Study Group meets tomorrow at 7:15 pm in the school staffroom. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
• The Needlework Group meets on Tuesday, 7:15 pm in the parish lounge. Details Ros Calvert (322 6078).
• The Rolleston Home Group meets on Wednesday, 11:00 am at 10 Elizabeth St, Rolleston—reflections on the first two Lenten Studies from Gratitude & Grace. Details Jenny Daniels (347 7629).
Vege Co-op: orders and deliveries on Wednesdays. Details Kathryn Starky.
Lent Study Groups: times on previous page.
• The Canterbury Shakespeare Society meets on Thursday at 7:30 pm in the parish lounge. Details John De la Bere (981 7582).
World Day of Prayer: S. Michael’s joins with other inner-city parishes for the annual service on Friday, 10:00 am at Knox Church. Details on poster.
Christopher’s Classics: concert on 12 March by highly talented 13 year old pianist. 8pm.
Retreat in daily life: 14–21 March, S. Christopher’s. Contact Margaret Shearing shearingz@inet.net.nz for details.
Keeping Good Company presents a contemporary Passion Play 27–29 March. Details davenjo@xtra.co.nz or 348 5653.
Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts of groceries and other household items.

Letter from the Vicar 22 February 2015

Fr Andrew Starky small

Dear Friends,

Today we gather for the first Sunday of Lent and I welcome you to S. Michael’s. This date has a particular poignancy for Christchurch, being the fourth anniversary of the earthquakes which devastated our city. In these years much has been accomplished, yet for many people the trauma of that day, and the impact of the earthquakes generally, continue to be keenly felt. These concerns will be prominent in our prayers today at the beginning of our Lenten journey.

Lent is a time of renewal for us personally and for the Church. The readings that we hear over these weeks are chosen for those preparing for baptism at Easter. For those of us who are already baptised, they invite us on a journey towards the renewal of our baptismal vows at Easter.

Lent is also a penitential season. On Ash Wednesday we received the sign of the cross in ash on our foreheads. This means we own up to being a sinner, and the sign of the cross means we look for redemption to the saving death of Jesus. For those who have become separated from the Church, the season of Lent is a time to draw near again, bit by bit, that we may celebrate our own personal reconciliation at Easter.

Once again I invite you to use the Lenten Prayer of S. Ephrem the Syrian:
O Lord and Master of my life, keep from me the spirit of indifference and discouragement, lust of power and idle chatter.
Instead, grant to me, your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love.
O Lord and King, grant me the grace to be aware of my sins and not to judge my brother or sister; for you are blessed now and ever and for ever. Amen.

Pope Francis in his Lenten Message for 2015 spoke about the indifference that is one of the hallmarks of this age. We are subjected daily to a diet of commercial ‘news’ or infomercials, which packages some of the serious concerns of the world along with advertising and trivia. The understandable response is indifference as our own ‘first world’ problems take centre stage, and selfishness results. The season of Lent invites us to look a bit deeper into what is going on, and to dare to be discomforted by it. Such discomfort is a holy discomfort when it leads us to prayer. This gives the Holy Spirit the opportunity to ‘make our hearts firm’ (James 5: 8). A firm heart is a merciful heart, one that will be strong enough to make a stand, and generous enough to offer help.

Please pray for me as I do for you.
Fr Andrew Starky

 

Parish Notices

Sunday School: during the 10:00 am Mass. Details Marla Hughes (960 0753).
Sales Table: in the hall after Mass. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012).
• You are invited to a cup of tea or coffee after the evening service each Sunday.
• The Meditation Group meets tomorrow at 5:15 pm in the parish lounge. Details Kathryn Starky (385 0197) or Margaret Maclagan (359 9215).
• The Bible Study Group meets tomorrow at 7:15 pm in the school staffroom. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
Finding your place in God’s story: Alistair Donaldson, 11 Mondays from 23 Feb. Details Laidlaw College (354 4270 ext 901).
• The Vestry meets on Tuesday, beginning with Mass at 7:00 pm.
Vege Co-op: orders and deliveries on Wednesdays. Details Kathryn Starky.
Lent Study Groups: details on previous page.
Lunch at Regatta on Avon: next Sunday at 12:15 pm, all welcome. Cost $12. Details Kathryn Starky (385 0197).
World Day of Prayer: 6 March, 10:00 am at Knox Church. Details on poster.
Retreat in daily life: 14–21 March, S. Christopher’s. Contact Margaret Shearing shearingz@inet.net.nz for details.
WW1 Centenary Project: thanks from Jill Woodside to all who made poppies. The national target of 18,000 is close to being reached.
Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts.

Message from Ben Randall
For the beautiful icon and card that were part of the gift I was given at Candlemas to mark my leaving for S. John’ —thank you to everyone. I will treasure this. It is incredibly special for me to have an icon of S. Michael from my home church. I look forward to seeing you all again and consider myself amply blessed to have your support, prayers and friendship sustaining me.

Letter from the Vicar 15 February 2015

Fr Andrew Starky small

Dear Friends,

Welcome to S. Michael’s today on this last Sunday before Lent begins. Inevitably our thoughts today will be tending towards preparation for Lent. The purpose of Lenten disciplines is to increase our capacity for liturgy as we approach Holy Week and Easter. In those liturgies, which mark the climax of our calendar, we have the opportunity to grow up yet more in every way into him who is the head, into Christ. In our prayer today and in the days ahead let us reflect on the things we might do during this period that could be useful to this end. Lenten disciplines traditionally come under three headings, prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

Our intentions in prayer during Lent might be to set aside special time for personal prayer. The Meditation Group is one good place to receive encouragement in this. You could make an intention to attend an additional Mass during the week or to increase your Sunday attendance. Another option is to attend Morning Prayer, which will be offered at 8:00 am on weekdays in the church. We will also offer Stations of the Cross at 5:00 pm on each Sunday of Lent. Prayer is intimately linked with study, and you could resolve to attend the Lent Studies or the parish Study Group. Sometimes during Lent people have been moved to offer themselves to the choir or to the serving ministries.

Fasting during Lent involves altering our usual routine in some way. It may be that this involves food or alcohol or regular exercise. Spiritual disciplines need to be holistic so that we come to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Some things can start to dominate our lives in unhealthy ways, and today those things can frequently be electronic. Lent is a good time to work on anything that has begun to get out of proportion in our lives.

Almsgiving means giving to the poor. Perhaps our fast frees up something that can be offered for the good of others. There is much need in our city as well as in the world at large. Lent is a time to engage anew with the poor and needy. This means being prepared to build relationships with them so that we give more than a few coins, indeed we share our very selves with them.

Yours in Christ,
Fr Andrew Starky

Parish Notices

Sunday School: during the 10:00 am Mass. Details Marla Hughes (960 0753).
Sales Table: in the hall after Mass. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012).
• You are invited to a cup of tea or coffee after the evening service each Sunday.
• The Bible Study Group meets tomorrow at 7:30 pm in the school staffroom. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
Vege Co-op: orders and deliveries on Wednesdays. Details Kathryn Starky.
Finding your place in God’s story: Alistair Donaldson, 11 Mondays from 23 Feb. Details Laidlaw College (354 4270 ext 901).
Lunch at Regatta on Avon: 1 March at 12:15 pm, all welcome. Cost $12. Details Kathryn Starky (385 0197).
World Day of Prayer: 6 March, 10:00 am at Knox Church. Details on poster.
• The Needlework Group: details Ros Calvert (322 6078).
WW1 Centenary Project: anyone interested in knitting or crocheting poppies please speak to Jill Woodside (338 9590).
Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts of groceries and other household items.

Gratitude and Grace: Through Lent with John
All are invited to join a Lent Study Group
either at S. Michael’s or Holy Trinity Avonside
Tuesdays 10:30 am at Holy Trinity, after Morning Prayer at 10:00 am
Wednesdays 7:30 pm at Holy Trinity

Thursdays 7:30 pm at S. Michael’s

Letter from the Vicar 8 February 2015

Fr Andrew Starky small

Dear Friends,

Welcome to S. Michael’s today. Friday was Waitangi Day and in our Mass today we remember and give thanks for the Treaty, and we pray that our nation will continue to grow towards the aspirations of those who signed. There is often a level of tension around Waitangi Day as some Maori air grievances and Pakeha face uncomfortable aspects of our history. As much as that is important, we also need to be thankful for the measure of progress that has been made in settling Treaty claims and in developing opportunities for Maori to flourish as New Zealanders. It remains a challenge to us as a nation, though, that Maori continue to be well over represented in our prison population and statistically have poorer health and education outcomes. There is no ground for complacency.

The early Anglican missionaries were the midwives of the Treaty, in many respects.That history has led our Church to reflect in a serious way about how we as a Church could provide a governance model that demonstrates partnership. Hence the development of the Three Tikanga structure. This represents a journey rather than a destination, and the Church still has much to do to fulfil the vision embodied in our revised constitution.

Each parish unit can work towards this vision itself. For us, it was a highlight last year to welcome Bishop John Gray to bless and re-dedicate the wakahuia. The wakahuia, which hangs centrally in our church and contains the Blessed Sacrament, embodies the living presence of Christ in this place. The blend of Maori and English tradition which it represents, as well as the Gospel and Maori motifs in the carving, make it an extraordinary bicultural taonga.

This week the School returned and it was with joy that at the first School Mass we welcomed Marshall Diggs as Principal. I am sad to inform you that Barbara Byers has been made redundant from the School, as unfortunately the small numbers in the junior school had made reorganisaton necessary. Barbara was herself a pupil at the School, and over many years she has made a huge contribution to both School and Parish. We will miss her greatly and we wish her every blessing in the future.

This afternoon at 1:00 pm we are having a parish picnic at Riccarton Bush, and at 2:00 pm we will be entertained with a performance of Peter Pan. I look forward to seeing you there and enjoying a relaxing time together.

Yours in Christ,
Fr Andrew Starky


 

Congratulations to Fr Andrew on his appointment by the Bishop as Warden of the Community of the Sacred Name, renewing the close ties S. Michael’s has always had with the Community.

Preparations for Lent:
Ash Wednesday 18 February: Masses at 8:40 am, 10:00 am and 7:00 pm.
• By next Sunday please return your palm crosses to be made into ashes.
• Our Lent Study will begin on Thursday 19 February at 7:30 pm in the lounge.
We will be following the book Gratitude and Grace: Through Lent with John, by Lynda Patterson and Peter Carrell. All are welcome.
Stations of the Cross will be at 5:00 pm on Sundays during Lent.


 

Parish Notices

Sunday School today and every Sunday during the 10:00 am Mass. Details Marla Hughes (960 0753).
Sales Table: in the hall after Mass. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012).
Parish picnic today at 1:00 pm. Details Michael Graveston (385 9766).
• You are invited to a cup of tea or coffee after the evening service each Sunday.
• The Meditation Group: tomorrow at 5:15 pm in the church. Details Kathryn Starky (385 0197) or Margaret Maclagan (359 9215).
Vege Co-op: orders and deliveries on Wednesdays. Details Kathryn Starky.
• The Parish Trust meets on Wednesday at 5:15 pm.
Celebrating 75 years at Taizé: events at the Cathedral on Wednesday. Email taizechristchurch@gmail.com for details.
Saturday Breakfast: 14 February, 9:45 am in the parish lounge. Details Anne Ladd.
• Marlon Williams: concert at S. Michael’s on Saturday at 8:00 pm.
• The Bible Study Group meets next on 16 February at 7:30 pm in the school staffroom. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
• The Lent Study Group begins 19 February at 7:30 pm in the parish lounge. All welcome. Details from Fr Andrew.
• The Needlework Group: details Ros Calvert (322 6078).
WW1 Centenary Project: anyone interested in knitting or crocheting poppies please speak to Jill Woodside (338 9590).
Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts of groceries and other household items.