Letter from the Vicar and Parish Notices – 26 March 2017

Dear Friends,

 

Welcome to the school and parish communities as we join together today for Mothering Sunday. I especially greet those who are new to S. Michael’s Church School this year, and I hope you will feel welcome here. Mothering Sunday is one of the highlights of our school year, when we express our thanks and admiration for mothers. Yesterday was the Feast of the Annunciation, when we recalled how the Angel Gabriel came with a message to Mary that she was to be the mother of Jesus.

Our readings today are taken from that celebration and they help us to remember how courageous and true this young woman was to the purposes of God.

Mothering Sunday marks the halfway point in the season of Lent. Lent is our preparation season as the Church gets ready to celebrate Easter. Up until now we have been focused on penitence. This means reflecting on our own life and where we have fallen short of the goodness of God, and how God forgives us through his mercy. Mothering Sunday is like a little breather before we begin to direct our attention towards the suffering and passion of Jesus as we look ahead to Good Friday.

One of the things we can realise in these weeks is how the challenges and suffering in our own lives connect in some way with Jesus’ passion. For example, you may be someone who wakes in the night with worries, and you might then understand more about Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane before his arrest. The services in the next few weeks will touch each one of us in very personal ways. Indeed that is their purpose, so that when we arrive at Easter and celebrate the resurrection, we experience the new life of Christ in the particularities of our own life situation.

As you wait for the Mass to begin today, spend a few moments thinking about your life at present and perhaps one thing you are especially thankful for and one thing that troubles you at the moment, and bring these things into your prayers today.

Following the Mass we will, weather permitting, join together for a sausage sizzle and refreshments on the school lawn with games for the children, so do please stay and enjoy the fun.

 

Yours in Christ,

Father Andrew Starky.

 

Children’s Church is held regularly on Sundays during the 10:00 am Mass. It is led by our Youth Ministers and their helpers and all children are welcome.

 

Parish Notices

  • Bible Study Group: Mondays 7:15 pm in the school. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
  • Vestry meets on Tuesday, beginning with Mass at 7:00 pm.
  • Meditation Group: Wednesdays 12:00–12:30 pm in the Pilgrims’ Chapel.Details Margaret Maclagan (359 9215) or Kathryn Starky (385 0197).
  • Euthanasia Seminar: Saturday 9:30 am at the Cathedral. See poster for details.
  • Daylight Saving ends next Sunday. Clocks go back one hour.
  • Ben Randall’s first Eucharist: 4 April, 7:00 pm at the Cathedral. All welcome.
  • Lunch at Regatta on Avon: Easter Day at 12:15 pm. Details Kathryn Starky.
  • Posters for Stations of the Cross and Holy Week Services available from the office. Please take one for display at your workplace or for friends.
  • Sales Table: Sundays in the hall after Mass. Raffle tickets, $2 each or 3 for $5, available Sundays in the hall, weekdays from the office.
  • Book Swap: Sundays in the hall and weekdays in the lounge. Koha to parish.
  • Needlework Group: meets monthly in the lounge. Details Ros Calvert (322 6078).
  • Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts of groceries and other household items.
  • Preparations for Easter:
    • Donations for flowers to Jill Woodside please.
    • Palm Crosses: these will be made on 6 April from 10:45 am in the lounge. Helpers required, also donations of flax. Details Kathryn Starky.
    • Working bee: 15 April 10:00 am in the lounge.

Letter from the Vicar and Parish Notices – 19 March 2017

Dear Friends,

 

Welcome to S. Michael’s as we continue our journey in Lent. Many of us have heaved a sigh of relief as the rains have fallen softly on the paddocks and gardens of Canterbury in recent days. I was conscious how hard the ground had become, and how much it needed such a gentle rain.

In the season of Lent we can become aware how our heart has become hardened through the pains and struggles of life. We can find ourselves unwilling to be merciful, unwilling to be kind, unwilling to be understanding of others. Our prayer can seem as if it is running through the cracks as we struggle to cope with life’s demands. Just as it was for the people of Israel, it is so easy for us to focus on all the things that are not as we would like them to be, and to forget to trust that God will provide. It is hard to trust when all the evidence we see before our eyes screams the opposite. Instead of turning to God in prayer we are apt to turn against each other, and begin to look for scapegoats to blame.

Perhaps you find yourselves amidst a lot of criticism at the present time. Criticism can be hurtful, and there is always the temptation to become defensive. But if we can slow down our responses and bring that criticism and that hurt into our prayers, then God can show us a way forward that will be life-giving. Jesus knew he would receive criticism about his interaction with the Samaritan woman at the well, as we shall hear. He was willing to bear this criticism in order to convey the gift of living water to her. She was so delighted that she went into the city to proclaim, with joy, her testimony about Jesus.

There are times that, with the strength of God, we need to be prepared to bear disapproval. This is especially when it means bringing good news to those, like this woman, who are on the fringes of society. The gift of Lent is that we can allow our hearts to be moistened by the grace of God, so that we may become joyful heralds of our risen Lord to those who most need to hear this good news.

 

Yours in Christ,

Father Andrew Starky

 

 

Giving to S. Michael’s:

Next Sunday is the last Sunday in the 2016/17 tax year. Many people have already chosen to give by Automatic Payment. If you wish to change to this system please speak to one of the Wardens. Also, contact the Wardens if you prefer to use (or continue to use) the envelope system, so that the right number of offertory envelopes can be prepared. This year’s tax receipts will be available shortly.

 

Parish Notices

 

  • Flowers for Mothering Sunday: please bring small posies for blessing and giving to mothers and caregivers next Sunday, when we will be joined by the school community.
  • There will not be Children’s Church next week because of Mothering Sunday.
  • Lenten Appeal for Anglican Missions: envelopes available at the back of the church.
  • Bible Study Group: Mondays 7:15 pm in the school. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
  • Women’s Fellowship meets Tuesday at 10:45 am (after 10:00 am Mass). Celebrating S. Patrick—green theme for clothing and food, a limerick and/or an Irish joke. Any contributions for Walsh House for Easter would be appreciated. Details Pat Evans (358 0127) or Jill Woodside (338 9590).
  • Workshop: care and presentation of church linen, and how to set up for the liturgy. Tuesday 7:30–9:00 pm in the parish lounge. All are welcome to attend.
  • Meditation Group: Wednesdays 12:00–12:30 pm in the Pilgrims’ Chapel. Details Margaret Maclagan (359 9215) or Kathryn Starky (385 0197).
  • Voices of Aotearoa—Writing in a Broken City: Fiona Farrell. Creative voices shaping our spirituality. Wednesday 7:00 pm at Mary Potter Centre.
  • Ordination to the Priesthood: Ben Randall, Saturday 5:00 pm at the Cathedral. Ben’s first Eucharist will be on 4 April, 7:00 pm at the Cathedral. All welcome.
  • HeadSpace 2017: 30 March from 9:00 am. Details from Alice and on poster.
  • Euthanasia Seminar: 1 April 9:30 am at the Cathedral. See poster for details.
  • Sales Table: Sundays in the hall after Mass. Raffle tickets, $2 each or 3 for $5, available Sundays in the hall, weekdays from the office. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012).
  • Book Swap: Sundays in the hall and weekdays in the lounge. Koha to parish.
  • Needlework Group: meets monthly in the lounge. 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 – 12 March 2017

Dear Friends,

 

Welcome to S. Michael’s as we continue our journey in Lent. Today we hear the Gospel story of the Transfiguration. This seems a marked contrast to last week’s Gospel story of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. If last week’s focus was on sin and temptation, this week’s is on the vision of God’s transforming holiness that Jesus holds before us in his transfiguration. Perhaps this physical phenomenon may seem well beyond our experience, but it is, in fact, our intention each time we celebrate the Mass. When the priest says, “Lift up your hearts,” and we respond,

“We lift them to the Lord,” we open ourselves to this possibility and pray to make it our own.

During Lent the Parish of St Mathew’s Westminster in the Church of England is sending out daily podcasts. These are a video clip lasting a minute or involving a reading of poetry or prose associated with Lent. I can recommend these to you and you can contact them at lent@stmw.org to sign up.

There are many things at S. Michael’s that contribute to the beauty and reverence of our worship and that require the sharing of skills and knowledge. One very important area is the church linen. We are offering a workshop on 21 March 7:30–9:00 pm in the parish lounge about the care and presentation of the church linen, and how to set up for the liturgy. All are welcome to attend.

It has been marvelous to see how the new Earthquake Memorial has quickly become a focus for visitors from our city and beyond. This has brought more people into S. Michael’s already. We continue to be in the midst of road works on Durham and Lichfield Streets. The work to re-configure Oxford Terrace is also about to begin. This will involve, in the first instance, the closing of Oxford Terrace at the Durham Street end, and the creation of two way traffic in and out to S. Michael’s from Montreal Street. We propose, also, to open the access from our car-park on to Tuam Street to make it easier for people to exit to the south and east. Those wanting to exit and travel north will be able to drive west along Oxford Terrace and turn right on to Montreal Street. You will find full details on the enclosed insert. At this stage there are no changes happening to the Durham Street access and parking area. Whilst all this is trying our patience at this time I do believe that the intended result will be a great enhancement for the immediate environment of S. Michael’s.

 

Yours in Christ,

Father Andrew Starky

 

  • Lenten Appeal for Anglican Missions: envelopes available at the back of the church.
  • 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.
  • Young Adult Gathering: today 2:00 pm at Beat Street Cafe. Invitation to join a group from S. Michael’s meeting with other young people (Year 13+) for fun, discussion, fellowship and faith exploration. Details Alice Bates.
  • Bible Study Group: Mondays 7:15 pm in the school. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
  • Meditation Group: Wednesdays 12:00–12:30 pm in the Pilgrims’ Chapel. Details Margaret Maclagan (359 9215) or Kathryn Starky (385 0197).
  • Sales Table: Sundays in the hall after Mass. Raffle tickets, $2 each or 3 for $5, available Sundays in the hall, weekdays from the office. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012).
  • Book Swap: Sundays in the hall and weekdays in the lounge. Koha to parish.
  • Needlework Group: meets monthly in the lounge. Details Ros Calvert (322 6078).
  • Voices of Aotearoa—Fiona Farrell: 22 March 7:00 pm at Mary Potter Centre.
  • Ordination to the Priesthood: Ben Randall, 25 March 5:00 pm at the Cathedral.
  • HeadSpace 2017: 30 March from 9:00 am. Details from Alice and on poster.
  • Euthanasia Seminar: 1 April 9:30 am at the Cathedral. See poster for details.
  • Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts of groceries and other household items.

Letter from the Vicar – 5 March 2017

Dear Friends,

Welcome to S. Michael’s on this first Sunday in Lent. On Ash Wednesday we began our Lenten journey. Today we celebrate Mass and hear readings that go right to the heart of our human predicament. But they don’t leave us there. We hear also about how Christ, through his obedience to God, has opened the way for us to be made righteous in the sight of God through his grace.

This season culminates in the Easter Vigil when, traditionally, new believers were baptised and brought into the Church. The readings during Lent are carefully chosen to provide the basis for catechesis, or preparation for baptism. If you are considering baptism and would like to be baptised at the Easter Vigil, or you know someone else who is interested, please approach me. At present we have one candidate in preparation.

For those of us who are already baptised, Lent provides a time to revisit the fundamentals of the life that we have chosen to lead. A key part of this is reconciliation both with God and with our neighbours. We can find ourselves estranged. Lent is a time to ask for the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that we may both receive the forgiveness of our sins, and be able to grant forgiveness to those who have sinned against us. This is the tough part of Christianity because it calls us to open our heart to trust in God’s mercy and forgiveness, and to let go of the grudges that strangle our soul. This Church offers the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which is an opportunity for you to confess your sins to a priest in total confidentiality and then receive the gift of mercy. I encourage you to make time for this during Lent and approach one of our clergy.

During Lent there is an invitation to adjust our lifestyle and try out some new practices to help us prepare for Easter. Such changes will bring new order and holiness to our life so that we can indeed live out the abundance that Jesus promises. Forty days is long enough for new habits to emerge, and the continuing provision of feasts of the resurrection on the Sundays (which are not counted as fast days) keep the goal of redemption before our eyes.

 

Yours in Christ,

Father Andrew Starky

 

During Lent S. Michael’s supports your journey by offering:

Daily worship: Morning Prayer 8:00 am Monday–Thursday in the Lady Chapel,

Mass 10:00 am weekdays 9:00 am Saturday. Sundays as listed on page 7.

Study and Meditation

Bible Study Group Mondays 7:15 pm, Reading Group Sundays noon–1:00 pm,

Meditation Group Wednesdays noon–12:30 pm, Youth Groups Wednesdays 4:00 pm

The Sacrament of Reconciliation by appointment.

 

Parish Notices

 

  • Lenten Appeal for Anglican Missions: envelopes available at the back of the church.
  • Sales Table: in the hall after Mass today. Raffle tickets, $2 each or 3 for $5, available Sundays in the hall, weekdays from the office. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012).
  • Angel Pockets/Blankets: Jill Woodside (338 9590) is collecting the completed wraps.
  • Bible Study Group: Mondays 7:15 pm in the school. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
  • Needlework Group: Tuesday 7:15 pm in lounge. Details Ros Calvert (322 6078).
  • Meditation Group meets weekly, Wednesdays 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.
  • Young Adult Gathering: next Sunday 2:00 pm at Beat Street Cafe. Invitation to join a group from S. Michael’s meeting with other young people (Year 13+) for fun, discussion, fellowship and faith exploration. Details Alice Bates.
  • 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.
  • Thomas Merton and Mindfulness: Helen and Bosco Peters 16 March 7:30 to 9:00 pm in the Chapman Room at Christ’s College Thomas Merton, the son of a Christ’s College Old Boy, became one of the most influential spiritual writers of the 20th century and has influenced thinkers in the popular Mindfulness Movement. All welcome, see poster for more details.