Letter from the Vicar – 29 January

Dear Friends,

Welcome to S. Michael’s as we celebrate Candlemas. On this very special feast we bring together a number of significant themes. We remember how our Lord was presented in the temple, and how Simeon prophesied about his future. What we know as the Nunc Dimittis forms part of this prophecy. It includes the words describing the salvation Jesus will offer as ‘a light to lighten the Gentiles and to be the glory of thy people Israel.’ It is from this that the tradition of lighting and blessing candles arises. This feast also has a focus on Our Lady, both in her purification according to the provisions of the Law of Moses, and also in Simeon’s prophecy that a sword will pierce Mary’s heart also.

This feast has sometimes been described as being like a hinge. We find our attention slowly swinging from the celebrations of the Incarnation of Jesus over the past forty days since Christmas, towards the upcoming season of Lent and the remembrance of the passion and death of our Lord.

For us in the Southern Hemisphere this feast also coincides with the beginning of theschool year, and so we will pray for our school as it begins tomorrow. Today we also welcome the return of the choir, Children’s Church, Evensong, and all the other meetings and activities in the life of the parish. For some, a time of holiday will have brought renewed enthusiasm and excitement about all the year may hold. For others, the thought of all this renewed activity may feel rather burdensome. In the Feast of

Candlemas we find both the joyous celebration of the Incarnation and the recognition of the cost of Jesus’ vocation. It provides an excellent opportunity to consider the call of Christ on our life and what our response will be this year.

Following the 10:00 am Mass today, at about 11:45 am, we are going to begin a Walk for the Planet along the banks of the River Avon in the direction of Victoria Square.We will go first to the Edible Gardens and then aim to be back in Victoria Square about 12:30 for the Parish Picnic. The walk has been arranged by the Climate Action group in the parish.Many people throughout the Anglican Communion are observing a fast on the first day of each month to pray about the world’s climate. We encourage parishioners to join with them, and this Wednesday is 1 February! There are many ways of doing this, so use your imagination. Possibilities include coming to Mass, having a vegetarian day, or spending some time picking up litter in your neighbourhood.

Yours in Christ,

Father Andrew Starky


Parish Notices

  •  Keeping the church open: for this important ministry we need more volunteers, especially people able to cover occasionally when needed. Training and support will be provided. Details Alastair Scott (353 5153).
  • For the Vege Co-op to continue for another year, a new co-ordinator is needed. The job involves taking the orders and handling payments, then every Wednesday collecting the produce and supervising its distribution. For more details please speak to the Wardens or the Vicar.
  • Today’s flowers are given in memory of Elaine Stanford.
  • S. Michael’s School: the new school year begins tomorrow.
  • Meditation Visit: tomorrow Liz Watson, member of the World Community for Christian Meditation will be here to talk to us 1:00–3:30 pm. All welcome. See the WCCM website christianmeditationnz.org.nz for background information.
  • The Parish Trust meets on Thursday at 5:15 pm in the school.
  • Bible Study Group: 6 February 7:15 pm in staffroom. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
  • Canterbury Shakespeare Society: Thursday 7:30 pm in the parish lounge.
  • Meditation Group: 7 February 4:00 pm in the parish lounge. Details Margaret Maclagan (359 9215) or Kathryn Starky (385 0197).
  • Needlework Group: 7 February 7:15 pm. Details Ros Calvert (322 6078).
  • Saturday Breakfast: 11 February 9:45 am in the parish lounge. Details Anne Ladd.
  • Sales Table: from next Sunday. 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.