Letter from the Vicar 1 November 2015

 

Fr Andrew Starky small

Dear Friends

Welcome to S. Michael’s on All Saints’ Day. This is the day when we remember and honour all saints in a common feast, although sometimes little has been recorded about their lives. During the year we celebrate the major saints who are shared by tradition with the whole Church. Many are commemorated in the stained glass windows of this church, and as we celebrate their feasts during the year we put a lighted candle in their windows. Our General Synod has also asked us to remember other forebears in the faith, many of more recent times, who have influenced the Church both globally and in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia. Their stories are included in the publication For All the Saints.

In a general sense a saint is anyone who is in a state of grace, which of course doesn’t necessarily preclude living people. At baptism we begin a journey of sanctification, and with the help of the sacraments of grace we move towards sainthood. We have been created in the image of God, and the saintliness of our lives is what gives glory to God. The saints whom we remember collectively usually have one or two particularly striking aspects of sanctity which call us to admire their example. Alongside this their failings may also be seen. They provide inspiring examples of saintliness lived within the struggles of daily life. In more recent years it has been good to see many more women and non-Europeans added to these lists.

The Creeds speak of the communion of saints. This helps us understand that saints are not simply fine Christians of yesteryear, but that they have a continuing and active life as the Church in heaven. They spend this life in the prayer and praise of God. From this comes the idea that we can ask them to pray for us, indeed to add their prayers to the prayer of the Church on earth. This has been frequently misunderstood as somehow diminishing our prayer to the Holy Trinity, who ought to be the only object of prayer. However, asking a saint to pray for us is really no different from asking a friend on earth to pray for us, which we do all the time. We know how encouraging that can be. In the same way many Christians throughout the centuries have also found great comfort and strength by calling on the prayers of the saints, and by tradition they have certain specialities.

The Church has always given particular prominence to S. Mary the Mother of Jesus, the Queen of Heaven, which is why we recite the Hail Mary at each celebration of the Mass, asking her to pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.

Yours in Christ

Fr Andrew Starky

Parish Notices

Help for the City Mission: the Mission has called for a clothing and furniture drive to replenish stock in their Op Shops, as they are desperately short of all basic household items for people in need. These can be collected (365 0635) or taken to 276 Hereford St or any Great Opportunity Shop.
Sales Table: in the hall after Mass. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012).
Lunch at Regatta on Avon today at 12:15 pm. All welcome. Details Kathryn Starky.
Te Waiora Annual Thanksgiving Service: today, 2:30 pm Darfield Baptist Church, 15 Greendale Road. Speaker Revd Kevin Tapper.
Recital: Eric Apperley (organ) and Mark Apperley (guitar) present a varied programme today, 3:00 pm at S. Michael’s. Koha to the Organ Fund.
• There is a cup of tea or coffee after the evening service each Sunday.
Walking Group: anyone interested in a brisk walk in Hagley Park on Mondays meet at the west door at 8:40 am. Details Kathryn Starky.
S. Michael’s Women’s Fellowship Group: Tuesday after the 10:00 am Mass. Please remember to bring gifts for the City Mission. All welcome. Details Pat Evans (358 0127).
Vege Co-op: orders and deliveries on Wednesdays. Details Kathryn Starky.
S. Michael’s Climate Action Group: meets Thursday, 1:30 pm at 37 Aynsley Terrace. Details Claire Preston (342 4650).
• The Canterbury Shakespeare Society AGM is on Thursday, 7:30 pm in the parish lounge. Details John De la Bere (981 7582).
• The Meditation Group meets next on 9 November, not tomorrow. Details Margaret Maclagan (359 9215) or Kathryn Starky (385 0197).
• The Needlework Group meets next on 10 November, 7:15 pm in the parish lounge. Details Ros Calvert (322 6078).
• The Bible Study Group meets next on 16 November, 7:15 pm in the staffroom. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
Book Swap: modern books available for exchange, Sundays in the parish hall and weekdays in the lounge. Koha to parish funds.
Inasmuch Basket: please continue to support the City Mission with groceries etc.