Letter from the Vicar – 14 February 2016

Dear Friends,

 

Welcome to S. Michael’s on this First Sunday in Lent. Today we celebrate Mass and then we will move across to the parish hall for a light lunch and the first of our Lenten Studies.

Lent is a time when we go back to basics and recall the foundations of our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The writer of the Book of Deuteronomy had a similar intent in calling his hearers to remember the story that had led them to the land that had been promised them. They were asked to take some of the first-fruits of that land and present them to the priest, with the words that told the story of their faith tradition. An inclusive celebration follows, involving aliens along with Levites and all the people of Israel.

This is the basis of our story as Christians, a story fulfilled in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We here at S. Michael’s also have a rich story to tell. I am delighted that Fr Michael Blain is here to help us understand where we have come from and the riches that we bear. This exercise helps us to understand the greatness of God and the courage of our ancestors in the faith, upon whose shoulders we stand. As with the Israelites, we are apt to forget our story and to become consumed with the problems of the present. When we understand the past, we can put our present decisions into context and begin to see a way forward.

As Christians we have often bemoaned the exclusivity of the Jewish faith as it has been presented to us in parts of the New Testament. This reading from Deuteronomy is far from being alone in the Old Testament in proclaiming the universal embrace of God to all people, and the desire that all should be included in the celebration of God’s goodness. Lent is a time for us first to consider how, as a Church now, we limit the full participation of people who might be considered ‘alien’ in some way, and then to resolve to give them a full welcome to the celebration. When we have enacted this and borne the cost of it we will have understood something very important about the journey of our Lord to the cross.

May you have a blessed and holy Lent.

 

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Andrew Starky

 

Parish Notices

> Reminder: the current Trumpet email address is printed every week on page 2.
> Sales Table: Sundays 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.
> Bible Study Group meets tomorrow and weekly during Lent, 7:15 pm in the school staffroom. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
> Women’s Fellowship Group meets in the old library in the school on Tuesday after the 10:00 am Mass. Speaker Jon Russell.
Parking available off Durham Street, all welcome. Details Pat Evans (358 0127).
> Vege Co-op: orders and deliveries on Wednesdays. Details Kathryn Starky.
> Meditation Group meets on Wednesday on 5:15 pm in the parish lounge.This year the group is meeting on the first, third and fifth Wednesdays of the month. Details Margaret Maclagan (359 9215) or Kathryn Starky (385 0197).
> Bishopspark Open Day: Wednesday 1:30–4:00 pm. Afternoon tea provided.
> World Vision Night of Hope at S. Aidan’s Church, Friday at 7:00 pm.
> Earthquake Commemoration: there will be a Requiem Mass at S. Michael’s on Monday 22 February at 7:00 pm.
> World Day of Prayer will be held this year at S. Michael’s, 4 March at 11:00 am. Details to follow.
> Needlework Group meets monthly. Details Ros Calvert (322 6078).
> Book Swap: Sundays in the hall and weekdays in the lounge. Koha to parish.
> Headspace: 10 March 9:00 am–2:00 pm, Grace Vineyard Church, 150 Ferry Rd. A pastoral training day with health specialists, equipping and resourcing leaders in the church for the future health of our churches and communities and focusing on mental, emotional and community health. Speakers include Bishop Victoria. Free entry, lunch provided. Enquiries ken@kingschurch.co.nz or 366 3437. Register with debbie.baugh@cdhb.health.nz for catering.
> Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts of groceries and other household items.

Letter from the Vicar 7 February 2016

Fr Andrew Starky small

Dear Friends,

Welcome to S. Michael’s. Today is the last Sunday before we begin Lent, and the readings have a strong theme of call and response for us to consider.

Like Isaiah, when we come to the Eucharist we are called into the presence of the One who overwhelms us with his holiness. Our response to this is reverence. Reverence is humility in which we remember who God is and who we are as human beings. Our initial response to the goodness and holiness of God is to recoil because we feel inadequate or unclean. Yet it is the very nature of God to want us, not to grovel in the naughty corner, but with all our shortcomings to go forth and be ambassadors of his love in the world.

In today’s reading from the First Letter to the Corinthians S. Paul says, “For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received.” This has been called the stewardship of the faith. We are called to pass on the resurrection faith that we have received. Sometimes we find it hard to know how to talk about our faith and our tradition. The purpose of the Lent Series coming up is to give us words to speak of what we believe to others who are looking for words of hope and life.

When we start to do this we can quickly find ourselves in the deep. The level of people’s questions and needs can be quite overwhelming, and perhaps we find ourselves rowing quickly back into the shallows and away from where the catch will be found. The purpose of the season of Lent which is about to begin is to deepen our faith in the God who will not abandon us to our fears.

In this Mass today, and during the next few days, I encourage you to consider what you will do this Lent by way of reverence to the holiness of God and to equip yourself to be a catcher of people. As we place our palm cross in the bowl to be burnt for ashes, we recognise how our hosannas have at times rung hollow in relation to our deeds, or lack of them, over the past year. We receive the mark of ashes on our head in the Ash Wednesday Mass to signify our desire to turn back to God once more.

Yours in Christ

Fr Andrew Starky

Parish Notices

Reminder: the current Trumpet email address is printed every week on page 2.
Sales Table: in the hall after Mass today. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012).
• You are invited to a cup of tea or coffee after the evening service each Sunday.
Flowers in Transition: displays by Jenny Gillies and Patricia Proctor at the Cathedral until 15 February. Entry $8.
Outreach Committee: Tuesday 7:30 pm in the lounge. Details Michael Graveston.
Vege Co-op: orders and deliveries on Wednesdays. Details Kathryn Starky.
Lenten Breakfast: Saturday 9:45 am in the parish lounge. Details Anne Ladd
Bible Study Group meets next on 15 February, 7:15 pm in the school staffroom. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
Bishopspark Open Day: 17 February 1:30 – 4:00 pm. Afternoon tea provided.
Earthquake Commemoration: there will be a Requiem Mass at S. Michael’s on Monday 22 February at 7:00 pm.
World Day of Prayer will be held this year at S. Michael’s, 4 March at 11:00 am. Details to follow.
Headspace: 10 March 9:00 am–2:00 pm, Grace Vineyard Church, 150 Ferry Rd. A pastoral training day with health specialists, equipping and resourcing leaders in the church for the future health of our churches and communities and focusing on mental, emotional and community health. Speakers include Bishop Victoria. Free entry, lunch provided. Enquiries ken@kingschurch.co.nz or 366 3437. Register with debbie.baugh@cdhb.health.nz for catering.
Needlework Group meets monthly. Details Ros Calvert (322 6078).
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.
Today’s Voluntaries at Evensong: composer Alexandra Thomson (1867–1907). The daughter of William Thomson, Archbishop of York, she studied under John Naylor, the organist at York Minster, and composed a number of works for organ, solo voice and choir. She emigrated to New Zealand in 1897.

Letter from the Vicar – 31 January 2016

Dear Friends,
Welcome to S. Michael’s on this Celebration of Candlemas. Candlemas is a beautiful feast when we celebrate Christ coming into the world as its true light. The biblical setting is the Presentation of our Lord in the Temple in Jerusalem forty days after his birth, in obedience to the Law of Moses. The Gospel account speaks of the extraordinary prophesies that take place within this normally tightly-scripted ceremony. The Gospel of Luke and the Book of the Acts of the Apostles go on to tell of the fulfilment of these prophesies.
In our liturgy today we are each given a candle which will be blessed and we then carry them in procession through the church. This is an entrance procession, but it reminds us that when we go out into the world, a world that has some very dark spots, we bear the light of Christ with us. We go out carrying not a candle but the Holy Spirit within us, whose power kindles in us the gifts of grace so that we may shine with the light of Christ. This happens every time we celebrate the Mass and it is called the epiclesis. We draw attention to the importance of this part of the Prayer of Great Thanksgiving which begins, “Send your Holy Spirit…” by ringing a bell. In the epiclesis we are praying that the Holy Spirit will come and make the gifts of bread and wine the body and blood of Christ, and that we, the people of God gathered, may be renewed for the service of God’s kingdom by being filled with the Spirit’s grace and power.
With our summer holidays past we stand today on the threshold of another year. School begins tomorrow at St Michael’s Church School and for many others. Candlemas marks the return of the choir and of Evensong, which is a delight. Candlemas also marks a shift towards the season of Lent, which is coming up in just ten days. The pre-Lent period is an important opportunity to consider what kind of disciplines we will take on during the season of Lent. In that discernment, think and pray about what would help you to grow more and more into the likeness of Christ. I encourage you, particularly, to make the Lent Studies each Sunday a part of your Lenten intentions this year. The bookmark and information sheet give all the details.
Yours in Christ,

Fr. Andrew Starky

 

Parish Notices

 

  •  Christmas Flowers: Sincere thanks for your generous donations.
  • Lunch at the Regatta on Avon: today at 12:15 pm. Details Kathryn Starky.
  •  S. Michael’s School: the new school year begins tomorrow.
  • Bible Study Group: tomorrow 7:15 pm in staffroom. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).Needlework Group: Tuesday 7:15 pm in the lounge. Details Ros Calvert (322 6078).
  • Rolleston Home Group: Wednesday 11:00 am at 10 Elizabeth St, Rolleston. Everyone welcome to join us. Details Jenny Daniels (347 7629).
  • The Vege Co-op resumes this Wednesday. Please order and pay for your pack today. $12 gives you a bag of vegetables and a bag of fruit. Order on Sundays for Wednesday pick up. By dealing directly with growers the Vege Co-op makes fresh fruit and vegetables affordable. It was started following the earthquakes and now has six hubs. Our St Albans hub provides 500 bags. Details Kathryn Starky (385 0197).
  • Meditation Group: Wednesday 5:15 pm in the parish lounge. Details Kathryn Starky.
  • Canterbury Shakespeare Society: Thursday 7:30 pm in the parish lounge.
  • Saturday Breakfast: 13 February 9:45 am in the parish lounge. Details Anne Ladd.
  • Sales Table: from next Sunday. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012).
  • 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.