Letter from the Vicar 12 June 2016

Fr Andrew Starky small

Dear Friends,

Welcome to S. Michael’s. Today our readings lead us to reflect deeply on what it is to be a forgiven sinner. Some people, like the woman in the Gospel today, are clearly branded as sinners in the eyes of society. While we don’t find the word ‘sin’ used in the media much these days, our society hasn’t lost the practice of stigmatising people. Such people are all too aware of their shortcomings. They often struggle to find accommodation and employment because of their past. The failings of others, though, are less obvious. It takes one such as the prophet Nathan to confront King David with the extent of his sin and its dire consequences. The story reminds us that while God may put away or forgive sin, its downstream effects in human relations can cause much heartache and take many years to resolve.

Each time we come to Mass we begin by acknowledging our sin and asking for God’s mercy and forgiveness. Most of us don’t like concentrating on our own transgressions, or our part in the shortcomings of our Church, or our part in national and global sin. At present we are all being challenged to consider our part in the degradation of our world. This is an uncomfortable thought which most of us would rather avoid. This week I attended the S. Michael’s Climate Action Group meeting to share some of the ideas and challenges which came out of General Synod regarding climate action, some of which is also a bit uncomfortable.

Our Church invites us to have that uncomfortable thought each time we come to Mass, so that each time we may also gain the experience of God’s grace in forgiveness and be equipped by the sacrament for loving action. If we limit our reflection to trivialities, then our experience of God’s grace will be little, as will the love we show others. The purpose of the exercise of confession is not self-abasement, but rather that we may receive ever more abundantly the mercy of God which enables us to be shining lights of love in the world.

Last Sunday the Christchurch Marathon was run once more. After last year’s fiasco the traffic flow went much better and most people found the roads less congested than usual.

I mentioned last week that there will be surplus furniture from the Old Stone Building for parishioners to take away. This will be available in the hall on Sunday 26 June, a week later than I previously advised.

 Yours in Christ,

Fr Andrew Starky

Parish Notices

  • RSCM Music Sunday today 2:00 pm at S. Michael’s. For congregation and choirs to mark the 90th birthday of the Patron, Queen Elizabeth II. Featuring John Linker (organist), the Cathedral Grammar Girls’ Choir and the Salvation Army Choristers.
  • Parish Roll update: the current roll is available at the back of the church for you to check your details. For any changes and for new parishioners please either email details to Louise or return the form to the parish office or to Gloria Moyle.
  • Sales Table: Sundays in the hall after Mass. Donations would be appreciated for prizes for the next raffle. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012).
  • Book Swap: Sundays in the hall and weekdays in the lounge.
  • Winter Clothing Appeal for the women who come to Walsh House. Please place contributions in the box in the parish lounge. Details Jill Woodside (338 9590).
  • You are invited to a cup of tea or coffee after the evening service each Sunday.
  • Lecture at the Cathedral: Tuesday 1:00 pm The History of the City Mission.
  • Meditation Group meets Tuesday 5:15 pm in the lounge. Details Kathryn Starky.
  • Outreach Committee meets Tuesday 7:30 pm in the parish lounge.
  • Vege Co-op: orders and deliveries on Wednesdays. Details Kathryn Starky.
  • Voices of Aotearoa: arts and spirituality series. Kath Rushton on Colin McCahon, Wednesday 6:00–7:30 pm at Mary Potter Community Centre. Fee $10. Details on flyer, from office@stlukesinthecity.org.nz or 366 2253.
  • Electrical work in the church 20–24 June. Access through the lounge for daily Masses.
  • Bible Study Group meets next on 20 June at 7:15 pm in the school staff room. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
  • Centre for Ethics and Spirituality launches at Christ’s College 23 June at 7:30 pm.
  • Will Christianity survive in Christchurch beyond 2020? Peter Lineham and Panel, 2 July 9:30 am to 12 noon at S. Mark’s Methodist Church, Barrington St. Cost 10. Registration: Andrew Donaldson stmarks7@clear.net.nz or phone 980 5002.
  • Needlework Group meets monthly, details Ros (322 6078).
  • Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts of groceries and other household items.