Letter from the Vicar 20 December 2015

Dear Friends,

Welcome to S. Michael’s on this fourth Sunday of Advent. Today we light the candle for love, the fourth candle on our wreath, as our waiting and praying in preparation for Christmas draw to an end. The focus comes closer to Bethlehem and the birth of Jesus to Mary. We notice that the stable in our church is slowly filling up. Last week we had simply a manger and the animals. All was as it would ordinarily be. But it is to the ordinary that the extraordinary love of God breaks in.

Today we see the figures of Joseph and Mary praying with expectation near the empty manger. This might bring you to think about the empty mangers in your life that you wait and pray beside with longing. The reading from Hebrews expresses that longing as a desire to do the will of God. It is that obedience which marks out the special grace of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was chosen from among women tobear our blessed Saviour.

Tonight at 7:00 pm we welcome parishioners and visitors alike to the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols. The first of the readings comes from Genesis and expresses our human estrangement from God. While many would see this story as a parable, the deep human wound it points to is very real. The subsequent readings express great desire and hope for healing of this wound. These expectations are finally fulfilled in the birth of Jesus our Saviour. The implications of his coming are expressed in the great passage on the incarnation from John’s Gospel, which is the climax of the service. The Service of Nine Lessons and Carols provides us with a unique opportunity to consider the big picture of the story of salvation and to relate that to our own life and circumstances as we approach Christmas.

Lent 2016: Lent begins very early (on 10 February) and I want to alert you to our planned special programme. We have invited a series of speakers to help us prepare for Easter as we grow in understanding and appreciation of the tradition that we embrace here. The speakers include Fr Michael Blain, Sr Kathleen Rushton RMS, Fr Bosco Peters, Fr Peter Williams, and each will help us to reflect on how what we do here at S. Michael’s expresses the good news of the kingdom. The idea is that we will have a light lunch following Mass each Sunday of Lent and then a study from about noon for one hour. Further details will be available in the New Year.

 

Maranatha—Come, Lord Jesus!

Father Andrew Starky

 

Parish Notices

  • CWS Appeal envelopes are now available for your gift at Christmas. Please return these at any of the Christmas services.
  • Christmas Flowers: please give donations to Jill Woodside today. The flowers will be arranged on 24 December from 9:30 am.
  • Sales Table in the hall today. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012).
  • Last chance to buy tickets for the Christmas Raffle to be drawn today.
  • Children’s Crib and Carol Service: tomorrow at 6:00 pm.
  • Michael’s School is now on holiday until February.
  • The Vege Co-op will resume next year at the beginning of February.
  • Book Swap: Sundays in the hall and weekdays in the lounge. Koha to parish.

Letter from the Vicar – 13 December 2015

Dear Friends,
Welcome to S. Michael’s today on this third Sunday of Advent, which is called
Gaudete Sunday. This name comes from the first word of the traditional entrance
antiphon and means ‘Rejoice’. It is a Sunday when, traditionally, the penitential
focus of Advent is relaxed and we allow the joyful expectation of the redemption
offered through the coming Saviour to begin to emerge. We show this by lighting the
rose candle for joy on the Advent wreath, by the use of the beautiful rose-coloured
vestments, and by omitting the Asperges (sprinkling with baptismal water).

As we draw nearer to Christmas and the end of the year, with all that must be done,
we can feel an increasing weariness. There seems to be so much to do and the
pressure of everybody trying to do it all at once can be very stressful as we move
around congested roads and shopping malls. The temptation at this time could be to
cut back on prayer and worship in order to get more time.

During the week I reflected on a saying of Jesus, “Come to me, all you that are weary
and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11: 28) This
reminded me that even, and indeed, especially, when we are under pressure, when
we are tired and weighed down, that we need to draw near to Jesus to find rest.

This rest is not the kind of rest we might find in sleeping off Christmas dinner, but
rather it is the rest of Sabbath. Sabbath was a sign that the people of Israel had left
their slavery behind and were now serving their God. Sabbath rest for us is when,
having found our freedom, we rejoice.

I am delighted to see the position of Children and Youth Ministry Developer now
advertised. I think this is such an exciting development for our parish and school.
Please pray that we may find a really good person to fill this role among us, and if you
know anybody who might be suitable, encourage him or her to apply.

We are adopting the practice of reserving some gluten-free wafers, so please indicate
to the priest if you would like to receive one at Communion.
Maranatha—Come, Lord Jesus!

Father Andrew Starky

 

Parish Notices

  • Christmas Flowers: please give donations to Jill Woodside or leave in the office during the week. The flowers will be arranged on 24 December from 9:30 am.
  • Verger: expressions of interest are invited from people willing to act as verger for weddings and funerals. Please speak to Fr Andrew.
  • Sales Table: Sundays after Mass. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012).
  • Christmas Raffle: great prizes to be won. Tickets today from Anne Ladd or from the office during the week—$2 each or 3 for $5.
  • The Vege Co-op will take a break after this Wednesday, resuming next year at the beginning of February.
  • City Mission Carol Service: Wednesday 7:30 pm at the Cathedral.
  • Pre-Christmas Working Bee: brass cleaning etc. Saturday from 9:45 am.
  • Children’s Crib and Carol Service: 21 December at 6:30 pm.
  • Book Swap: Sundays in the hall and weekdays in the lounge. Koha to parish.

 

Advertisement for Child and Youth Ministry Developer

Are you skilled in working with young people?
Do you want to make a positive difference to young people?

An exciting part-time opportunity, starting in 2016, has become available at Christchurch S. Michael’s Parish to work with children and youth in the Church and School.

The successful applicant needs be theologically articulate; able to relate to the younger age groups; and eager to grow the number of children and youth at services and at almost every aspect of the life of the School and Parish. This appointment would be for between 20-25 hours per week for 52 weeks of the year depending on applicant and ministry needs.

The role will involve:
• Creating a youth group based on the intermediate aged children at the school
• Creating a Young Adult group
• Assisting with our Children’s Church programme
• Participating in school life through supporting weekly School Mass, lunchtimes, sporting and musical activities, school trips and other extra-curricular areas
• Presenting some Religious Education curriculum within the school
• Supporting existing ministries and serving on the Outreach Committee
• Engaging in Diocesan activities with S. Michael’s young people
• Leadership development
• Building positive relationships and other associated duties
• The position will allow for suitable hours for preparation/administration/reporting

The successful applicant will be involved in the S. Michael’s youth and children’s community on a regular weekly basis.

The preferred applicant for this position will have:
• Commitment to God’s ministry and worship
• An active engagement and understanding of the culture and ethos of Anglo-Catholic worship and school life
• Professional manner and ability to work in a church/school environment
• Leadership skills
• Commitment to receive further Christ-Centred Youth Training
• Evidence of ability to relate to and be accepted by young people
• Clear written and oral communication skills
• Reliability to manage own time and priorities
• Ability to pre-plan and manage weekly young people programmes
• Knowledge and ability to fulfil all Health and Safety requirements when working with young people
• Ability to work as part of a wider parish team and to be accountable to the Vicar and Wardens

Applications, which must include a CV and cover letter, to be sent to:

Child & Youth Ministry Developer
S. Michael and All Angels, PO Box 4022, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand. By email: smaa@xtra.co.nz
If additional information is required please contact the Vicar’s Warden, Michael Graveston on
(027) 358 0010. Applications close on 22nd December 2015 at 5.00pm.

Letter from the Wardens 6 December 2015

Dear Friends,

Welcome to S. Michael’s on this second Sunday of Advent. It is good to be here.

This morning, as we light the second Advent candle, the candle for peace, our attention is drawn again to the Advent wreath, this year constructed from specific and significant dried laurel and bay leaves, with the addition of doves. The dove is a special symbol in the New Testament, reminding us of the sacrifices in the Temple, and of the Holy Spirit descending like a dove at the baptism of Jesus. The doves on our wreath were the inspiration of John Atkinson, who still has a real interest in our parish, and we are told these doves flew in from the USA. After the service, come up and admire the wreath if you can’t see the doves clearly from where you are.

We hope not to have to look too far as we advertise for a part-time Child and Youth Ministry Worker for our parish and school. At the last Vestry meeting we were made aware of an extra source of funding, offered by Bishop Victoria for this purpose, and we were happy to accept it. This has enabled us to widen the scope of the role. As a parish, we will still be required to make our contribution as previously agreed by Vestry. If any parishioner would like to assist with funding for this important work we would be very thankful. Please contact Fr Andrew or the Wardens directly.

 Currently we are ready to offer a position of 20–25 hours each week for the full 52 weeks of the year, somewhat expanded from our original thinking. We have thought hard about the type of tasks that may be undertaken and the background and experience of the person who might be able to fill this position.

 In that respect, it remains paramount that the person must be theologically articulate, able to relate to younger age groups, and eager to grow the number of children and young people at services and in almost every aspect of the life of the school and parish.

 We expect to advertise in the very near future, and look forward to having our Child and Youth Ministry Worker ready to start at the beginning of the 2016 school year.

Please pray for all involved.

Michael Graveston, Vicar’s Warden

Claire Preston, People’s Warden

 

Parish Notices

 

  • Donations for Christmas Flowers: please give to Jill Woodside or leave in the parish office during the week.
  • Verger: expressions of interest are invited from people willing to act as verger for weddings and funerals. Please speak to Fr Andrew.
  • Sales Table: Sundays after Mass. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012).
  • Christmas Raffle: tickets today from Anne Ladd or from the office during the week—$2 each or 3 for $5. Donations still welcome for prizes.
  • School Carol Service: today at 5:00 pm.
  • Taizé: Ginny Comery’s daughter Liz will be coming to play the flute at tonight’s service. All welcome.
  • Because of the funeral tomorrow there will not be a Mass at 10:00 am.
  • The Needlework Group: final meeting for the year tomorrow, DVD evening from 7:00 pm at Joy Coulter’s. Details Joy (342 9013).
  • Vege Co-op: orders and deliveries on Wednesdays. Details Kathryn Starky.
  • Michael’s School: Thursday 8:40 am final School Mass, 6:00 pm prizegiving at Christ’s College. On Friday the school closes at 12 noon.
  • Saturday Breakfast: 12 December, 9:45 am in the parish lounge. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012).
  • City Mission Carol Service: 16 December 7:30 pm at the Cathedral.
  • Book Swap: Sundays in the hall and weekdays in the lounge. Koha to parish.
  • Inasmuch Basket: please continue to support the City Mission every week with your gifts of groceries and other household items.

Letter from the Vicar 29 November 2015

Fr Andrew Starky small

Dear Friends,

Welcome to S. Michael’s as we begin Advent together. Last Sunday we celebrated Christ the King in grand style and now our tone changes as we begin to wait on the Lord’s coming. Today the Mass begins with the Asperges, which is the sprinkling of baptismal water. This provides emphasis on the penitential aspect of this season by reminding us of our baptism and the promises that were made then. At 7:00 pm tonight we offer the Advent Carol Service, one of the real highlights of the year.

Whilst the liturgical seasons have a certain logic and progression to them, they also each possess an inner character which has its own graces and challenges for us. Advent calls us to stand with the Old Testament prophets and patriarchs, and indeed all faithful Israel as it waits and hopes and prays for the coming of the Messiah. Advent is sometimes called the season of the Virgin Mary because God answers this great longing by causing his Son to be announced, conceived, and then born of her, as we shall hear over these coming weeks. Indeed the promise made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah is fulfilled. This gives the season of Advent an underlying joy as we approach Christmas. Our place in the story of salvation calls us now to wait and pray for the second coming of Christ when all things will be fulfilled.

Waiting is something we are not good at doing. In this age of instant gratification and communication, waiting seems like a scandal. Yet the ability to wait and to pray is a critical spiritual strength required in these days, and it is one that we can nurture and develop by the use of spiritual disciplines over the weeks of Advent. Such thoughts are a particular challenge for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere where the coming weeks are characterised, even in church life, as a season of parties and winding down for a well-earned summer break.

It is good to accord this season at the very least one extra spiritual discipline. This could be an extra attendance at a weekday Mass. It could be attendance at Morning Prayer, which happens at 8:00 am on weekdays in the church. It could be by using the readings list provided in the Trumpet today and choosing a quiet time each day of ten minutes or more to wait on the coming of the Lord.

I am delighted to announce that the Very Revd Michael Brown will be joining the clergy team at S. Michael’s. The Very Revd Michael was Vicar of Merivale before moving to Wellington to be Dean, where he oversaw the completion of the Cathedral building.

Maranatha: Come Lord Jesus
Fr Andrew Starky

Parish Notices

• Verger: expressions of interest are invited from people willing to act as verger for weddings and funerals. Please speak to Fr Andrew.
• Sales Table: Sundays after Mass. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012).
• Christmas Raffle: please speak to Anne Ladd if you can donate items suitable for prizes.
• Lunch at Regatta on Avon 12:15 pm today. All welcome. Details Kathryn Starky.
• The Bible Study Group: final meeting for the year tomorrow. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
• The Needlework Group meets on Tuesday. Details Ros Calvert (322 6078).
• The Rolleston Home Group meets on Wednesday, 11:00 am at 111 Tennyson St, Rolleston. Details Jenny Daniels (347 7629).
• Vege Co-op: orders and deliveries on Wednesdays. Details Kathryn Starky.
• The Parish Trust meets on Wednesday at 5:15 pm.
• Canterbury Shakespeare Society Christmas Celebration: pot-luck meal in the parish lounge, Thursday from 6:30 pm. Details John De la Bere (981 7582).
• Garden City Orchestra Messiah Sing-Along: combined choirs, on Saturday 7:30 pm at S. Michael’s. Door sales $15 and $10.
• School Carol Service: next Sunday at 5:00 pm.
• S. Michael’s School Thursday 10 December: 8:40 am final School Mass. 6:00 pm prizegiving function at Christ’s College.
• Book Swap: Sundays in the hall and weekdays in the lounge. Koha to parish.
• Inasmuch Basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts of groceries and other household items. New toys and books for children are particularly needed for Christmas presents, and also food suitable for the Christmas lunch.