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.