Letter from the Vicar – 26 February 2017

Dear Friends,

Welcome to S. Michael’s. Today we complete our series of readings from the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus calls us to a consideration of what actually drives our concerns and what we trust in ultimately. Will it be God or money? The reading asks us to consider the things we worry about and to think about where the seat of our worries is to be found. His message is that if we want to truly live life abundantly, then trusting in God and seeking his kingdom is the way to go.

This week we have witnessed two very moving services focused on Oi Manawa, The Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial, adjacent to S. Michael’s. In the first on the eve of the anniversary, the families who lost loved ones and those who were seriously injured in the 22 February earthquake were present for the unveiling of the names of those who died, among them Beverley and Earl Stick of S. Michael’s. In the second service on the anniversary itself, the memorial was formally dedicated and opened by the Governor-General, and many wreaths were laid in remembrance. On both occasions the connection with S. Michael’s was noted and appreciated, and our involvement welcomed. This is a privilege and creates a responsibility for us to have our doors open to welcome those who come seeking solace after their visit to the memorial. Otakaro, who planned both services, are to be commended for organising these two very moving and appropriate occasions so well.

This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday and marks the beginning of Lent. Lent is a time of preparation for the great festival of Easter. I encourage you to attend Mass on Ash Wednesday to mark the beginning of your personal pilgrimage to Easter as part of this church community. During Lent it is customary to adopt some extra spiritual disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. We have often spoken of prayer and fasting, but less about almsgiving. Almsgiving means giving to and helping people who are poor, as distinct from the general running of the parish.

In the life of the parish almsgiving is administered through the Vicar’s Discretionary Fund. For Ash Wednesday and Maundy Thursday the Vestry has agreed that during the Solemn Mass there will be an alms collection which will be added to this fund for the purpose of helping those in need.

We have all been delighted to see how the two historic banners have been so beautifully framed and positioned on the back wall of the church. Today we pause in the introit procession to dedicate them once again to the glory of God.

 

Yours in Christ,

Father Andrew Starky

 

Parish Notices

  • Palm Crosses: please return these in preparation for Ash Wednesday.
  • Lenten Appeal for Anglican Missions: envelopes available at the back of the church.
  • Angel Pockets/Blankets: the Women’s Fellowship invites parishioners to join them in knitting and crocheting wraps for stillborn babies. Details and patterns available from Jill Woodside (338 9590), who is also collecting the completed wraps.
  • Tree maintenance: parking on site will be limited on Tuesday morning.
  • Vestry meets on Tuesday, beginning with Mass at 7:00 pm.
  • Meditation Group meets weekly beginning this Wednesday 12:00–12:30 pm in the Pilgrims’ Chapel. Details Margaret Maclagan (359 9215) or Kathryn Starky (385 0197).
  • Youth Group: Do you know anyone who would like to join our Youth Group? We have two groups on Wednesdays—Year 7/8 (4:00–5:30 pm) and Year 9 and above (5:00–6:30 pm). Details from Shaun Graveston.
  • Lenten Quiet Day: Gratitude and Risk. Thursday 9:00 am–4:00 pm at CSN Retreat House. Leader Revd Megan Herles-Mooar. Bring your own lunch, tea & coffee provided.
  • Canterbury Shakespeare Society meets Thursday 7:30 pm in the lounge.
  • World Day of Prayer: Friday 10:00 am at Knox Centre. Details on poster.
  • Bible Study Group: meets 6 March, 7:15 pm in the school. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
  • Needlework Group: meets monthly. Details Ros Calvert (322 6078).
  • Sales Table: in the hall after Mass today. 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 of groceries and other household items.
  • Lent Book Reading Group begins after morning tea next Sunday Being Disciples: The Essentials of Christian Life by Rowan Williams 12 noon–1:00 pm in the parish lounge
  • Stations of the Cross: weekly during Lent, Sundays 5:00 pm in the church

Letter from the Vicar – 19 February 2017

Welcome to S. Michael’s,

 

In the past week we have been astonished by the large fires on the Port Hills and very saddened by the loss of life and property in them. We are also just a few days away from the sixth anniversary of the deadly earthquakes of 22 February, which are still so fresh and troubling in many memories.

This year the National Earthquake Memorial is being opened on the Avon River adjacent to S. Michael’s. We have watched its careful construction over many months. This has been matched by the care of Otakaro who have sought to surround its opening with as much sensitivity as they can. Let us pray that after it is opened it will be a place where the deep groaning of people’s spirits will connect with the everlasting arms of God, to provide solace, comfort and hope to all those in our city and beyond who have suffered so much in the earthquakes. S. Michael’s stands nearby with our doors open to welcome all who are troubled and those who mourn. Our prayer is that they will be comforted and find peace.

Today we continue our reflections on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Once again he stretches the boundaries of the Christian life well beyond the traditional understandings of his day and of ours. The readings from both Leviticus and 1 Corinthians pick up this theme by emphasising the call to holiness. This is what we understand when we speak of the journey of sanctification which begins at our baptism and is nourished every time we celebrate the Eucharist. In the season of Lent, which is just a few weeks away, we take this call to holiness to heart with even greater depth.

Serving at Sunday Low Mass: currently we have just one server available for Sunday Low Mass at 8:00 am. This server would like some relief from having to serve every week, so if you think you could help out, please contact me. Training will be given as required.

 

Yours in Christ,

Fr Andrew will offer a presentation on his recent study leave next Sunday 12 noon–1:00 pm in the parish hall after a light lunch at 11:30 am.

 

Parish Notices

  • Lent Studies—a Book Reading group with discussion on Rowan Williams’ book Being Disciples: The Essentials of Christian life. This book has six short chapters and is written in a simple and easy to understand style. It contains the wisdom of a remarkable Bishop and scholar, of our age, about living the Christian life. Sundays during Lent beginning 5 March, 12 noon–1:00 pm in the parish lounge. Please indicate your interest as soon as possible so that sufficient copies may be ordered.
  • Appointment: the Vicar and Wardens are delighted to announce that Alice Bates has been appointed permanent part-time Parish Administrator.
    Her hours will be Tuesday to Friday 9:00 am–12 noon.
  • Palm Sunday: 6–8 large palms are required to decorate the pillars in the church on 8 April. Contact Jill Woodside (338 9590) or Lawrence Watson (359 3054).
  • Palm Crosses: please return by next Sunday in preparation for Ash Wednesday.
  • Bible Study Group: meets tomorrow, 7:15 pm in the school. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
  • Women’s Fellowship meets in the lounge on Tuesday, 10:45 am (after the 10:00 am Mass). Speaker Kathryn Starky on her recent travels. All welcome. Details Pat Evans (358 0127).
  • Angel Pockets/Blankets: the Women’s Fellowship invites parishioners to join them in knitting and crocheting wraps for stillborn babies.
    Details and patterns available from Jill Woodside (338 9590).
  • Closure of Oxford Terrace: no access to our car park on Tuesday 4:00–10:30 pm, and Wednesday 10:00 am–3:00 pm.
  • Voices of Aotearoa—A Time of Trust: Joy Cowley. Wednesday 7:00–8:30 pm at Mary Potter Community Centre 442 Durham St Nth, $10. Details on poster.
  • Needlework Group: meets monthly. Details Ros Calvert (322 6078).
  • Sales Table: in the hall after Mass today. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012)
  • Book Swap: Sundays in the hall and weekdays in the lounge. Koha to parish.
  • Tree maintenance: there will probably not be parking available on site during the
    morning of 28 February.
  • Meditation Group will meet weekly beginning 1 March 12:00–12:30 pm in the lounge. Details Margaret Maclagan (359 9215) or Kathryn Starky (385 0197).
  • World Day of Prayer: 3 March 10:00 am at Knox. Details on poster.
  • Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts of groceries and other household items.

Letter from the Vicar – 12 February 2017

Dear Friends,

 

Welcome to S. Michael’s. Today we continue with the reading of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, as he seeks to help his disciples to understand what following him really means. We hear his challenge that his followers are not to claim righteousness from outward shows of virtue. Rather, he calls them to an inner journey of self-examination which grows out of a transformed heart. As we approach Lent in a few weeks, we know that this is a time to consider our lives and put in place disciplines so that we may become more Christ-like.

Committing to extra study is one way of nourishing us on this journey. Last week I spoke of the book group which will run on Sundays during Lent 12 noon–1:00 pm, based on Rowan Williams book Being Disciples (details below). Also I would like to commend to you the S. Michael’s Bible Study Group, which meets weekly during Lent, every Monday evening. Peter Oakley describes the intentions of the group for Lent this year: Nobody who has sung in a church choir will forget singing Sir Edward Bairstow’s The Lamentation in Holy Week. Tenors recall the sustained pianissimo notes at the top of their range, but everybody recalls the poignant words edited from the Biblical Lamentations, which in this setting do service to recall the mourning of Jesus’ death.

With this fascination with the text, the S. Michael’s Bible Study Group has scheduled the study of Lamentations in the Lenten studies leading up to Holy Week. But there is more: Lamentations is a pivotal work for the study of Hebrew poetry, and was a key to the gradual realisation that much of Hebrew prophecy is also expressed in poetry rather than prose. So our study of Lamentations will be an opening to look at the wider subject of Hebrew prosody, and the implications from that to the interpretation of the Hebrew part of the Bible.

As we come now into the Lord’s presence in this beautiful church we are invited to be still, and to use this time to consider our deepest desire. Perhaps this is a desire to praise and worship God with thanksgiving and joy: perhaps it is a desire for healing and comfort. Whatever it is, it becomes part of the offering of the Mass. As you see the procession bring forward the bread and wine, know that your offering accompanies that and is graciously received by God.

 

Yours in Christ,

Fr Andrew Starky

 

Parish Notices

  • Fr Andrew will offer a presentation on his recent study leave 26 February 12 noon–1:00 pm in the parish hall after a light lunch at 11:30 am.
  • Lent Studies—a Book Reading group with discussion on Rowan Williams’ book Being Disciples: The Essentials of Christian life. This book has six short chapters and is written in a simple and easy to understand style. It contains the wisdom of a remarkable Bishop and scholar, of our age, about living the Christian life. Sundays during Lent beginning 5 March, 12 noon–1:00 pm in the parish lounge. Please indicate your interest as soon as possible so that sufficient copies may be ordered.
  • Keeping the church open: for this important ministry we need more volunteers, especially for weekends and for people able to cover occasionally when needed.Training and support will be provided. Details Alastair Scott (343 5153).
  • Angel Pockets/Blankets: the Women’s Fellowship invite parishioners to join them in knitting and crocheting wraps for stillborn babies. Details and patterns available from Jill Woodside (338 9590).
  • Richard Peters has been appointed as Vestry representative on the School Board, toreplace Robert Maclagan, who resigned last year after many years of sterling service.
  • Health and Safety Committee meets tomorrow, 5:00 pm in the lounge.
  • Outreach Committee meets tomorrow, 7:30 pm in the lounge.
  • Youth Groups meet Wednesday beginning 4:00 pm. Details Shaun Graveston.
  • Bible Study Group: meets 20 February. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
  • Needlework Group: meets monthly. Details Ros Calvert (322 6078).
  • Sales Table: in the hall after Mass today. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012).
  • Book Swap: Sundays in the hall and weekdays in the lounge. Koha to parish.
  • Theology House Courses 2017: Diploma of Christian Studies (NZQA): http://www.theologyhouse.ac.nz/anglican-studies-at-theology-house/ General ministry training: http://www.theologyhouse.ac.nz/learning-events/
  • Mary’s Addington 150th anniversary: 18 February: Parish Dinner 5:30 pm at S. Martin’s, Lincoln Road. 19 February: Celebratory tea party at 1:00 pm in Church Square with food, fun and music. anglicanstmary@gmail.com or 338 3598 for details.
  • Narropera: If you are interested in joining a party to attend the German opera gala on 19 February, or Der Freischütz on 19 March, please contact Yvonne: yvonnepasea@gmail.com
  • Advance Notice: Oxford Tce will be closed (no access to our car park) 21 February 4:00–10:30 pm, 22 February 10:00 am–3:00 pm.
  • Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts of groceries and other household items.

Letter from the Vicar – 5 February 2017

Dear Friends,

Welcome to S. Michael’s. Last week I wrote about how Candlemas marks a move from our celebrations since Christmas of the Incarnation of God in Jesus Christ, towards a focus on preparing for Lent, which begins this year on 1 March. Over the next few weeks we are invited to consider our lives and what will be a helpful spiritual discipline to adopt during the season of Lent. We begin to think about what will help us to grow in faith as disciples. Today’s Gospel reading speaks about disciples being salt of the earth and light to the world. This calls us to examine both the authenticity of our life as a disciple of Jesus and our willingness to engage in the kind of works that will bring glory to God.

To help consider these things I am proposing to run a Book Group during Lent, based on a recent publication called Being Disciples: The Essentials of Christian life, by Rowan Williams, the previous Archbishop of Canterbury. It has six short chapters and the idea is that we would read them and then meet to consider the discussion questions and any other aspects that arise from it. The current Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, writes about the book, “Here is quite the most beautiful writing on discipleship I know. I am grateful for the inspiration that I find in these pages. I commend it to those who have been on this journey for a long time, as well as to anyone who wonders what on earth following Jesus is all about.” My comment, having read the book on my study leave, is that it is written very simply and is easy to understand. I think the book distils the wisdom of a remarkable Bishop and scholar, in our age, about living the Christian life. If you are interested, please let me know as soon as possible so we can order the books in time to begin Lent. We will determine the time and place of meeting once we know who wants to participate.

Also, during Lent both the Youth Groups, Years 7–8 and Year 9+, are going to be using a resource Growing as Disciples: A Youth Resource, by Christopher De La Cruz, published by The Thoughtful Christian.com. These youth groups will take place on Wednesdays beginning at 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm respectively at the church. Please contact Shaun Graveston or Alice Bates for further information.

Yours in Christ,

Father Andrew Starky

Parish Notices

  • Keeping the church open: for this important ministry we need more volunteers, especially for weekends and for people able to cover occasionally when needed. Training and support will be provided. Details Alastair Scott (343 5153).
  • Bible Study Group: meets tomorrow, 7:15 pm in the school staffroom. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
  • Needlework Group: meets Tuesday, 7:15 pm in the parish lounge. Details Ros Calvert (322 6078).
  • Saturday Breakfast: 11 February 9:45 am in the parish lounge. Details Anne Ladd.
  • Sales Table: in the hall after Mass today. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012)
  • Book Swap: Sundays in the hall and weekdays in the lounge. Koha to parish.
  • Theology House Courses 2017: Diploma of Christian Studies (NZQA): Theology of Church, Being Anglican, Building Intergenerational Community, Gospel of Luke. Information http://www.theologyhouse.ac.nz/anglican-studies-at-theology-house/ including dates for registering and enrolment. General ministry training: Preaching, Te Reo for Liturgy, and others. http://www.theologyhouse.ac.nz/learning-events/ Contact Jill Short, admin@theologyhouse.ac.nz or 341 3399 for more details.
  • St Mary’s Addington 150th anniversary: 18 February: Parish Dinner 5:30 pm at S. Martin’s, Lincoln Road. 19 February: Morning Service of Thanksgiving to be followed by a celebratory tea party at 1:00 pm in Church Square with food, fun and music. anglicanstmary@gmail.com for details.
  • Narropera: If you are interested in joining a party to attend the German opera gala on 19 February, or Der Freischütz on 19 March, please contact Yvonne: yvonnepasea@gmail.com
  • Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts of groceries and other household items.