Letter from the Vicar 29 March 2015

Fr Andrew Starky small

Dear Friends,

Welcome to S. Michael’s as we begin Holy Week together on Palm Sunday. Today’s liturgy starts in the school and then we process with palms to recall Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. We hold the excitement and expectation of that occasion before the Passion of our Lord.

We come now to the most significant part of the liturgical year, when we enter most deeply into the journey of Christ as he accomplishes his purpose for our sake. I encourage you to enter fully into the liturgies over the rest of the week, beginning with the Stations of the Cross this evening at 7:00 pm.

Each day will begin with Morning Prayer at 8:00 am Monday–Thursday and this will be followed by the School Holy Week Devotions, to which parishioners are welcome (8:40–9:00 am). School Mass will be on Wednesday. Apart from this, no morning Masses will be celebrated during Holy Week. Monday–Wednesday the Masses will be at 6:00 pm, after which clergy will be available to hear confessions.

On Maundy Thursday our Solemn Mass begins at 7:30 pm, and this is followed by the Watch, which will continue until 9:00 am Good Friday, when Morning Prayer will be said. I remember from last year the Watch being a very beautiful and holy time of waiting upon God. Then the Children’s Tableau follows at 10:00 am and the Solemn Liturgy for Good Friday at noon.

Holy Saturday morning brings many together to prepare the church for the Easter celebrations. Holy Saturday is sometimes known as ‘tomb day,’ the day when all hope seemed lost because Jesus had died, and was not yet risen. It is a very important day because it accords with the experience of many for whom death has come, but signs of resurrection are yet to appear. It is a mystery as to what went on in the tomb of Jesus, yet obviously the power of God was at work, and it is this hope that can sustain us through such times when any hint of resurrection seems far off.

On Holy Saturday at 7:30 pm we gather round to light the new fire, and then the beautiful ceremonies of the Easter Vigil announce to a darkened world that Christ is risen indeed. This is followed by glorious celebrations of resurrection joy on Easter Day at 8:00 am, 10:00 am and 7:00 pm.

I am thankful for the faithfulness of this community during the weeks of Lent. As well as the normal celebrations of the daily Mass, people have supported the Stations of the Cross, Morning Prayer and the Lent Studies. I also know of many acts of kindness and mercy that parishioners have engaged in in these weeks, and I am sure there are many that I don’t know about. One act of mercy that I encourage you to support as a parish is to gather up winter clothes and blankets etc for the City Mission. Geoff Paterson will be organising this and the collection will run from Low Sunday until the end of April.

Yours in Christ,
Fr Andrew Starky

Parish Notices

• Trumpet: please note that the new Trumpet contact details are on the front page.
• Donations for Easter flowers: envelopes are available at the back of the church
• Sales Table: today after Mass. Tickets available for the Easter raffle, $2 each or 3 for $5. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012).
• You are invited to a cup of tea or coffee after the 10am morning and 7pm evening service each Sunday.
• Keeping Good Company presents Even in Death by David Winfield. See poster. Today 2:00 pm, tomorrow 7:30 pm, at Academy Funeral Services Chapel.
• Vege Co-op: orders and deliveries on Wednesdays. Details Kathryn Starky.
• Lunch at Regatta on Avon: Easter Day 12:15 pm. Details Kathryn Starky.
• Annual Reports to the parish office, preferably by email, by 14 April, please.
• Royal School of Church Music: presentation of awards and workshop with Andrew Reid (Director), followed by refreshments. 15 April, 8:00 pm at S. Michael’s.
• The Meditation Group: no meeting on Easter Monday, resuming 20 April. Details Kathryn Starky (385 0197) or Margaret Maclagan (359 9215).
• The Bible Study Group resumes on 20 April. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
• Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts.

Preparations for Easter at S. Michael’s

• Flowers: offers of help to Diana Smith (960 4100).
• Names for foot-washing on Maundy Thursday to John De la Bere, please.
• Maundy Thursday Watch: after the Mass, the Blessed Sacrament remains on the Altar of Repose until the next day. Members of the congregation keep watch for an hour during the night. If you can do this, please sign the list in the porch, so that we can ensure that at least two people are present at all times.
• Working Bee in the church: Holy Saturday 10:00 am.
• Supper after the Vigil: on Saturday evening the celebrations will continue with an Easter supper in the parish lounge, to which you are all warmly invited. It would be appreciated if you could bring some light nibbles or a drink to share.
Offers of help to Claire Preston, please.

Letter from the Vicar 22 March 2015

Fr Andrew Starky small

Dear Friends,

Welcome to S. Michael’s today for Passion Sunday. The focus of Lent moves ever more directly now to centre on our Lord’s passion and death as we approach Holy Week. One of the important disciplines of Lent is personal examination. This leads to a deeper recognition of our own sin, indeed our separation from God. For many Christians a sacramental confession before a priest is a significant part of the pilgrimage of Lent. In A New Zealand Prayer Book He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa, this is called ‘Reconciliation of a Penitent’.

Traditionally the Anglican stance on confession to a priest is summed up in the words, ‘All may, none must, some should.’ The reality is that in most Anglican parishes private confession is rare, and it is even fairly uncommon in Anglo-Catholic parishes which might be expected to have retained this tradition. Many Anglicans possibly feel that the General Confession that begins the Mass is sufficient to clear the decks with God. Many informal conversations include penitential material, but they aren’t formally sacramental. Our confessions in any context, whether alone, in the Mass or in general conversation, are always joyfully received by God who desires to forgive our sin. However I do think that for many, receiving a personal message about the mercy of God proclaimed personally in private confession is a great gift worth having.

Recently Pope Francis proclaimed a Holy Year of Mercy for his Church during Penitential Celebration. He said that reconciliation opens up a gift of mercy from a merciful God. ‘Be merciful, as your Father is merciful (Luke 6: 36).’ Francis writes, ‘Coming out of the confessional, we will feel its force that restores life and returns the enthusiasm of faith. After confession we will be reborn.’ One of our Anglican forebears, Thomas Becon, chaplain to Archbishop Cranmer, wrote that ‘Confession bringeth high tranquillity to the troubled conscience of a Christian man.’

The Sacrament of Reconciliation, which brings the grace of mercy, comes with certain special protections. Our prayer book states, ‘The priest exercises this ministry in complete confidentiality. The penitent is therefore able to confess in the assurance that the priest will not refer to the matter again, except at the penitent’s request, and under no circumstances will ever repeat to another person what has been divulged.’ (p.750)

It is important to prepare for confession prayerfully and intentionally. The grace comes not so much in the number of sins recalled, but rather in the depth of desire for God’s mercy and forgiveness as the foundation for a changed life.

I encourage you to consider making a confession in preparation for Easter. During Holy Week, priests will be available to hear confessions in the Pilgrims’ Chapel and in the Lady Chapel following the 6:00 pm Masses on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week, and at other times by appointment.

Yours in Christ
Fr Andrew Starky

Parish Notices

Sunday School: during the 10:00 am Mass. Details Marla Hughes (960 0753).
• Donations for Easter flowers: envelopes are available at the back of the church.
• Sales Table: today after Mass. Tickets now available for the Easter raffle, $2 each or 3 for $5. 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).
• The Vestry meets on Tuesday, beginning with Mass at 7:00 pm.
• Vege Co-op: orders and deliveries on Wednesdays. Details Kathryn Starky.
• Resonance Ensemble: concert celebrating the 100th anniversary of Lilburn, a snapshot of NZ’s history of music with live commentary. Conductor Philip Norman. Thursday 26th March, 7:30 pm at S. Michael’s. Door sales $20 and $15.
• Keeping Good Company presents Even in Death by David Winfield. See poster.
27, 28, 30 March 7:30 pm, 29 March 2:00 pm at Academy Funeral Services Chapel.
• Annual Reports to the parish office, preferably by email, by 14 April, please.
• Lunch at Regatta on Avon: Easter Day 12:15 pm. Details Kathryn Starky.
• Royal School of Church Music: presentation of awards and workshop with Andrew
Reid (Director), followed by refreshments. 15 April, 8:00 pm at S. Michael’s.
• Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts.

Preparations for Easter at S. Michael’s

• Flowers: offers of help to Diana Smith (960 4100).
• Volunteers to make palm crosses on Saturday, 10:00 am. Details Claire Preston.
• Names for foot-washing on Maundy Thursday to John De la Bere, please.
• Maundy Thursday Watch: after the Mass, the Blessed Sacrament remains on the Altar of Repose until the next day. Members of the congregation keep watch for an hour during the night. If you can do this, please sign the list in the porch, so that we can ensure that at least two people are present at all times.
• Working Bee in the church: Holy Saturday at 10:00 am.
• Rehearsals for clergy and servers: reminders will be sent to all concerned.

Letter from the Vicar 15 March 2015

Fr Andrew Starky small

Dear Friends,

Welcome to S. Michael’s for Mothering Sunday. Today we are delighted to welcome the community of S. Michael’s Church School as it joins with the Parish to celebrate this important day when we give thanks for and honour mothers.

Mothering Sunday comes at the midway point of the season of Lent, and it is a day when we lighten some of our Lent disciplines to recall the ultimate victory that has been won through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The fourth Sunday in Lent has been traditionally known as Laetare Sunday, after the Latin antiphon which begins, ‘Rejoice Jerusalem!’ Flowers, which are not used during Lent, are brought into the church on this Sunday and the rose vestments are used.

The tradition of Mothering Sunday on this day arose in England quite naturally when children would bring simple posies to their mothers. Such children were often working away from home, and as they walked home on this Sunday they would pick wild flowers from the roadside to present to their mothers. I always find this a very touching story. In our age our children generally live at home, yet our lives can become so busy that we struggle to find the time to make simple acts of appreciation and gratitude to our mothers. Mothering Sunday is all about thanksgiving, and so we celebrate with a joyful Mass.

Please do join in the Mass today, and I am delighted that our new school serving team will be helping to lead us, along with the Young Voices group, directed by Paul Ellis. I particularly want to draw your attention to the recently announced award to Paul, our Music Director. He has been made a Fellow of the Royal School of Church Music, which is a very prestigious international award and a great honour for him. It recognises decades of service to church music in cathedrals, churches and schools, as well as his contribution nationally and internationally to the RSCM. It particularly recognises Paul’s work with young people and the great encouragement he has given to young singers and musicians, as we have been privileged to see and experience here at S. Michael’s.

Following the Mass we are all invited to share refreshments and a sausage sizzle on the green in front of the classrooms.

Yours in Christ,
Fr Andrew Starky

Parish Notices

• Sunday School: during the 10:00 am Mass. Details Marla Hughes (960 0753).
• Donations for Easter flowers: envelopes are available at the back of the church.
• Sales Table: today after Mass. Tickets now available for the Easter raffle, $2 each or 3 for $5. 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 7:15 pm in the school staffroom. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
• Lent Study Groups: times on Services and Activities Page.
• Vege Co-op: orders and deliveries on Wednesdays. Details Kathryn Starky.
• Contemporary Mystics: Spiritual Guides for the 21st Century—monthly series beginning with Joy Cowley on Thursday, 6:00 pm at CSN Retreat House, 300 Tuam Street. Email spirit@stlukesinthecity.org.nz for details.
• Keeping Good Company presents Even in Death by David Winfield. 27, 28, 30 March at 7:30 pm, 29 March at 2:00 pm at Academy Funeral Services Chapel. See poster for details.
• Royal School of Church Music: presentation of awards and workshop with Andrew Reid (Director), followed by refreshments. 15 April, 8:00 pm at S. Michael’s. Please let Louise know if you can help.
• Large TV available, in good order. Details from the parish office.
• The Needlework Group: details Ros Calvert (322 6078).
• Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts of groceries and other household items.

Letter from the Vicar 8 March 2015

Fr Andrew Starky small

Dear Friends,

Welcome to S. Michael’s on this third Sunday of Lent. The Epistle reading today speaks about the cross. When we begin the Mass the first thing the presiding priest does is to lead the community in making the sign of the cross. This is the pre-eminent Christian symbol. Whilst in our minds it may be associated with being Catholic, in fact it is used by Orthodox, Lutherans and many Anglicans. Indeed, like the Creeds, there is nothing in it that is at all denominational. When we follow the sign the priest makes it is a way of joining together as a community, as we recognise that all that is done in the Mass is in the name of the Trinity: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

The sign of the cross recalls the chief mysteries of our faith. By its name and shape it recalls the passion and death of our Lord. As we make this sign in our own body it signifies that the baptismal life that we lead includes suffering as we take up our cross and follow Jesus as disciples. The sign of the cross is also a profession of faith and hope in the redemption that Christ won for us on the cross.

We might also understand that this sign indicates our intention to worship God with our mind, our heart and our strength, as we touch first our forehead, our breast and our shoulders. When the Gospel is about to be read, this is further underlined as we make a small sign of the cross on our forehead, mouth and breast. This calls us to meditate on the Gospel with our mind, to speak it with our lips and to take it into our heart, that we may become ever more Christ-like.

The outward signs that we make can encourage others as part of our proclamation of the Gospel. But most powerfully, when we choose to make these actions with our body they become part of an interior transformation into the likeness of Christ. That is what the Christian pilgrimage, and most particularly the season of Lent, is all about.

Sunday School
Marla Hughes has informed me that she wishes to stop leading the Sunday School at Easter. The Vestry received this information at its last meeting and wants to express its appreciation and gratitude for the excellent ministry that Marla has contributed with the children over quite a number of years.

This provides us with an opportunity to think about the future shape of our ministry to and with children in the 10:00 am Mass. We will be considering fresh possibilities before seeking to make any permanent appointment to the Sunday School. I invite suggestions and indications of interest from parishioners.

Mothering Sunday
Next Sunday we will be joined by S. Michael’s Church School for Mothering Sunday. This is a very special Mass as we reach the mid-point of Lent. Parishioners are encouraged to bring small posies of flowers, which will be blessed and given out during the Mass. Afterwards we will join with the School for our usual refreshments and a sausage sizzle on the green in front of the classrooms.

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).
• 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).
• Lent Study Groups: times on previous page.
• Vege Co-op: orders and deliveries on Wednesdays. Details Kathryn Starky.
• The Parish Trust meets on Wednesday at 5:15 pm.
• Christopher’s Classics: concert on Thursday at 8:00 pm, pianist Lixin Zhang.
• Saturday Breakfast: 14 March at 9:45 am in the parish lounge. All welcome. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012).
• Retreat in daily life: 14–21 March, S. Christopher’s. Contact Margaret Shearing shearingz@inet.net.nz for details.
• Contemporary Mystics: Spiritual Guides for the 21st Century—monthly series beginning with Joy Cowley on 19 March, 6:00 pm at CSN Retreat House, 300 Tuam Street. Email spirit@stlukesinthecity.org.nz for details.
• Keeping Good Company presents a contemporary Passion Play 27–29 March. Details davenjo@xtra.co.nz or 348 5653.
• Large TV available (free), in good order. Details from the parish office.
• The Needlework Group: details Ros Calvert (322 6078).
• Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts