Letter from the Priest-in-Charge

Dear Friends,
The belief that prayer makes a difference, that it achieves marvelous
results, is continually being verified by experience, however difficult it
may be to explain how and why it does so. (Alec Vidler)
Prayer is a significant aspect of Christian life. Jesus emphasised in his teaching the
importance for persistence and perseverance in prayer. He himself rose early to
pray, and invariably, at key moments in his ministry, the Gospel writers record that
he spent time in prayer. Prayer was a natural part of his close relationship with
Abba, Father.
We are all familiar with the prayer Jesus taught his followers. It is debatable whether
he ever intended this prayer to be locked into a fixed form, or whether his purpose
was to teach the essential elements and trigger points of prayer. I’ve been reflecting
recently on one particular phrase, ‘Your will be done on earth’, and asking what this
means for me.
We can discern the will of God clearly through the teachings of Jesus and we know
there is a great deal that happens on earth that is sad, abhorrent, unjust, tragic and
contrary to God’s will—and it continues despite our prayers. Words from Proverbs
come to mind, ‘The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the
good’ (15: 3), as well as those from the last Shakespeare play I saw at The Court
Theatre, ‘Did heaven look on and would not take their part?’ We can all understand
the anguished cry of the Psalmist, ‘Look upon the world you have made; see how full
it is of darkness and how violence inhabits the earth … why do you hold back your
hand?’ (Psalm 74). We struggle at times to comprehend how God responds to our
prayers when nothing seems to change.
Bishop George Appleton, a very wise spiritual thinker, writes, ‘God is powerless to
change the external conditions except through people involved in them.’ He adds,
God ‘works within the spirit of individual believers and in the unitive, co-operative
relationships of people.’ We have to discern our part in bringing about God’s will on
earth and what we can do to fulfil it. As we pray this petition in the Lord’s Prayer we
need to be prepared for consequences, because it requires a commitment to align
our wills with the will of God. This will have a changing effect on the way we see,
and so on the direction and behaviour of our lives.
Thanks be to God.

 

Canon Craufurd Murray

Greetings from Father Andrew

Dear S. Michael’s,
Greetings to you all. Today (7 September) we have arrived at the Community of the
Resurrection at Mirfield for a two-week stay. Since we left home we have spent a
lovely month in Canada with Kathryn’s family, based in Saskatchewan and
including a short visit to the Rockies.
On our first Sunday we worshipped at the Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Holy
Family in Saskatoon. The diocese built a wonderful new cathedral about five years
ago and chose to site it on the growing edge of the city. The congregation reflected
the growth of the city and there were many young families attending. As we left
Canada we had time between flights to travel to the Anglican Cathedral in the
Diocese of New Westminster in Vancouver for Sunday morning Mass. Once again
we witnessed an inspiring liturgy.
Since we have been in England we have visited the parish church of S. Nicholas
Bromham in Wiltshire where my ancestors worshipped. Many are buried there in a
Chancery Chapel. We were fortunate to have a couple of days with Fr David
Stevenson, Mary Stevenson’s son, who is the Parish Priest of S. John’s in Watford.
We were glad to be there for their Messy Church service, which reflected Fr David’s
wonderful gifts of connecting with the community along with the support of his
partner Robin and the growing parish. The parish is also just launching a new
Church School, a very exciting development.
Last Sunday we attended All Saints Margaret Street in London, where we were
warmly welcomed. It was great to meet up with Doug Pasea at the Mass. We also
attended Evensong and Benediction, which we found particularly moving. The
church is looking resplendent after restoration work and new lighting.
We are very thankful to have all these opportunities and most grateful to all who are
making this possible by your ministries in the parish and school. Know that you are
in our prayers and please continue to pray for us.
Grace and peace,

Fr. Andrew Starky

Letter from the Priest-in-charge 11 September 2016

Dear Friends,

I remember attending morning worship at an Episcopal (Anglican) Parish Church in Scotland a few years ago with my brother-in-law. There was a splendid sermon by a retired (woman) priest of diminutive size, on ‘Blessed are the pure in heart’. It engaged me from beginning to end and left interesting leads for my thoughts to pursue.

As at S. Michael’s, everyone was invited to share in refreshments afterwards. Apart from a brief exchange at the serving counter, as to what we wished to drink, no one approached us or made any attempt to speak to us. The congregation had clearly gone into their familiar clusters and were having an enjoyable catching-up time. We—seemingly the only visitors in the hall—were ignored! No one showed the least bit of interest in us. It was a strangely isolating experience after sharing together in the liturgy. I would like to believe that this never happens at S. Michael’s.

I’m very aware that visitors and those entering S. Michael’s for the first time will join us for worship for many different reasons. For example, some will hope to be embraced by a community, even if only for a short time while they are on holiday, others will want to remain in their own space, comfortable only with passing contact. There will be those who are weighing up our congregation to see if this is where they want to become involved, others will be seeking God’s strength and guidance for issues with which they are wrestling.

For those of us firmly entrenched in this parish, it means we have to reach out in greeting while always remaining sensitive, so that we avoid leaving anyone with the feeling they are being cornered! This is a responsibility we all share. We can never predetermine where any approach might lead although we may well find ourselves surprised at the outcome. Often what we describe as ‘chance encounters’ can turn out to be far more than we expect.

These thoughts were taken further for me at the beginning of the week, when we remembered (in our Church Calendar) Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who had been canonised the day before. I read at Mass from one of her meditations: “I think the greatest suffering is being lonely… I have come more and more to realise that it is being unwanted that is the worst disease that any human being can ever experience.” Within the congregation, as well as with those we meet wherever we go, we can always try to ensure that no one is left feeling alone and unwanted.

Thanks be to God.

Canon Craufurd Murray

 

Parish Notices

  • Patronal Festival: the Feast of S. Michael and All Angels will be celebrated on Thursday 29 September with a Festival Mass at 7:00 pm. Following the Mass, all are invited to share in a light supper in the parish hall. Parishioners are requested to bring a plate of finger food to share, something that doesn’t require heating. This may be dropped off in the hall prior to the Mass. We look forward to seeing you all there.
  • Preparations for Michaelmas:
  • Donations for flowers to Jill Woodside or Louise.
  • Working bee for brass cleaning etc on Saturday 24 September from 10:00 am.
  • Parishioners with medical or first aid qualifications: please speak to Michael Graveston.
  • Cecilian Singers: Spring Cadenza, today 3:00 pm, Harewood Rd Methodist Church. Guest artist Angus Simmons. Details Elisabeth Alberts (358 1155).
  • Parish Trust: Wednesday 5:15 pm.
  • Luke’s Spirituality Centre—Voices of Aotearoa: Hymn writer Colin Gibson on music and spirituality. Wednesday 6:00 pm at Mary Potter Community Centre, $10. Presentation to Colin of Hon RSCM Award by Paul Ellis, President RSCM NZ.
  • Bible Study Group meets 19 September 7:15 pm. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
  • Reverse Greed: first of four seminars 6 October 5:30 pm at Knox Centre. See poster.
  • Needlework Group meets monthly. Details Ros Calvert (322 6078).
  • Student Christian Movement Aotearoa seeks Chairperson, volunteer position. Details from the parish office.
  • Sales Table: Sundays in the hall. Helpers needed, speak to Anne Ladd (981 5012).
  • Marmalade available on the sales table. Empty jars to the box in lounge please.
  • Book Swap: Sundays in the hall and weekdays in lounge.
  • Vege Co-op: orders and deliveries on Wednesdays. Details Jill Woodside.
  • Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts.

 

Purging Carbon, dollar by dollar

Open seminar organised by S. Michael and All Angels Climate Action Group

Tomorrow 7:00 pm in the church

Introduction by Bishop Victoria, on our obligation to be good guardians of the Earth

Speaker Rod Oram on climate change, money and a sustainable economy

Followed by light supper in the parish lounge

Letter from the Priest-in-charge 4 September 2016

Dear Friends,

During the past week, we kept the Feast Day for the Builders of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia (1 September). My address at Mass that day was on the building-blocks of the Anglican Church, and on the foundations of Scripture, tradition, reason and experience. Strong and reliable foundations are necessary for any building. We are only too aware, at first hand, how destructive the forces of nature can be and their scant regard for the things we construct for our shelter and protection. And this has parallels in matters of faith. Often, for Christians, the environment is hostile. We are exposed to a world climate that frequently batters us with intimidation, ridicule, prejudice, greed and the gospel of self-interest. How, then, do we fare when subjected to the storms of life? Have we ever been surprised at how some of our strongly-held principles and values have folded with embarrassing ease?

When Jesus used an illustration about foundations in one of his parables, he spoke of the importance of the ground on which we choose to build. And since the damaging Christchurch earthquakes, we have become very conscious of the need for much ground improvement and remediation. This also applies to the life of the spirit. We need to be aware that, from time to time, some spiritual remediation may be required.

Reflecting on this, my mind has kept returning to an aspect of the Gospel a fortnight ago (Luke 13: 10–17), about someone ‘with a spirit that had crippled’ them and who could not ‘stand up straight’ in the presence of Jesus. It occurred to me that there are times when this person can be viewed as our representative. We all have conditions—attitudes, opinions, regrets, resentments, anxieties, insecurities—that cripple us, and Jesus calls us to come to him in order to be healed from them. He asks us to make the choice to draw closer to him. There is no coercion. But the outcome, if we respond, is that we are freed to change our stance and to look at the world around us differently. However, like the official mentioned in the Gospel, we may not feel that this is the right day on which anything about us should be changed. How wrong can we be! The beginning of Spring, in the garden, is a good time to improve the soil for planting. I would suggest it is also a very good time for some remediation in the ground of the soul.

That same Gospel passage spoke of ‘the entire crowd rejoicing’ at what Jesus was doing. We too can discover that same joyfulness as we experience the presence of Jesus liberating and releasing us from all that has a crippling effect on us.

Thanks be to God.

Canon Craufurd Murray

 

Parish Notices

  • Michaelmas: Festival Mass 29 September 7:00 pm.
  • Parishioners with medical or first aid qualifications: please speak to Michael Graveston.
  • Bible Study Group meets tomorrow 7:15 pm. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
  • Meditation Group: Tuesday 5:15 pm in lounge. Details Margaret Maclagan (359 921).
  • Needlework Group: Tuesday 7:15 pm in the lounge. Details Ros Calvert (322 6078).
  • Rolleston Home Group: Wednesday 11:00 am, 107 Tennyson Street, Rolleston. Details Jenny Daniels (347 7629).
  • Vege Co-op: orders and deliveries on Wednesdays. Details Jill Woodside.
  • Quaker Lecture: A Peaceful World, Marian Hobbs. Thursday 7:30 pm. See poster.
  • Cecilian Singers: Spring Cadenza, next Sunday 3:00 pm, Harewood Road Methodist Church. Guest artist Angus Simmons. Details Elisabeth Alberts (358 1155).
  • Purging Carbon, dollar by dollar: 12 September 7:00 pm at S. Michael’s. Speaker Rod Oram—climate change, money and a sustainable economy. Introduction by Bishop Victoria, on our obligation to be good guardians of the Earth.
  • Sales Table: Sundays in the hall. Helpers needed, speak to Anne Ladd (981 5012).
  • Marmalade available on the sales table. Empty jars to the box in lounge please.
  • Book Swap: Sundays in the hall and weekdays in lounge.
  • Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts.

 

Guest Preacher at Evensong

Tonight we welcome Revd John Paton, Precentor of Christ Church

Cathedral, Oxford, which is also the Chapel of Christ Church College.

John studied classics and was organ scholar at Merton College. He has

worked at Sherborne Abbey and Southwark Cathedral, and has been a

parish priest in Surrey. Now on sabbatical he has completed an intensive

German course at the Goethe Institut in Bonn. In Christchurch he

hopes to investigate what ChristChurch and Christ Church cathedrals

can do together to foster the link which they have had ever since the

Godley days.

 

Pastoral Care Team

West: Claire Preston 342 4650 Central: Michael Goodson 355 5374

North: Brenda Withell 383 2422 South: Jill Woodside 338 9590

East: Stella & Alistair Kinniburgh 021 0240 3247