Letter from the Vicar 8 March 2015

Fr Andrew Starky small

Dear Friends,

Welcome to S. Michael’s on this third Sunday of Lent. The Epistle reading today speaks about the cross. When we begin the Mass the first thing the presiding priest does is to lead the community in making the sign of the cross. This is the pre-eminent Christian symbol. Whilst in our minds it may be associated with being Catholic, in fact it is used by Orthodox, Lutherans and many Anglicans. Indeed, like the Creeds, there is nothing in it that is at all denominational. When we follow the sign the priest makes it is a way of joining together as a community, as we recognise that all that is done in the Mass is in the name of the Trinity: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

The sign of the cross recalls the chief mysteries of our faith. By its name and shape it recalls the passion and death of our Lord. As we make this sign in our own body it signifies that the baptismal life that we lead includes suffering as we take up our cross and follow Jesus as disciples. The sign of the cross is also a profession of faith and hope in the redemption that Christ won for us on the cross.

We might also understand that this sign indicates our intention to worship God with our mind, our heart and our strength, as we touch first our forehead, our breast and our shoulders. When the Gospel is about to be read, this is further underlined as we make a small sign of the cross on our forehead, mouth and breast. This calls us to meditate on the Gospel with our mind, to speak it with our lips and to take it into our heart, that we may become ever more Christ-like.

The outward signs that we make can encourage others as part of our proclamation of the Gospel. But most powerfully, when we choose to make these actions with our body they become part of an interior transformation into the likeness of Christ. That is what the Christian pilgrimage, and most particularly the season of Lent, is all about.

Sunday School
Marla Hughes has informed me that she wishes to stop leading the Sunday School at Easter. The Vestry received this information at its last meeting and wants to express its appreciation and gratitude for the excellent ministry that Marla has contributed with the children over quite a number of years.

This provides us with an opportunity to think about the future shape of our ministry to and with children in the 10:00 am Mass. We will be considering fresh possibilities before seeking to make any permanent appointment to the Sunday School. I invite suggestions and indications of interest from parishioners.

Mothering Sunday
Next Sunday we will be joined by S. Michael’s Church School for Mothering Sunday. This is a very special Mass as we reach the mid-point of Lent. Parishioners are encouraged to bring small posies of flowers, which will be blessed and given out during the Mass. Afterwards we will join with the School for our usual refreshments and a sausage sizzle on the green in front of the classrooms.

Yours in Christ,
Fr Andrew Starky

Parish Notices

• Sunday School: during the 10:00 am Mass. Details Marla Hughes (960 0753).
• Sales Table: in the hall after Mass. Donations welcome for prizes for the Easter raffle. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012).
• You are invited to a cup of tea or coffee after the evening service each Sunday.
• The Meditation Group meets tomorrow at 5:15 pm in the parish lounge. Details Kathryn Starky (385 0197) or Margaret Maclagan (359 9215).
• The Bible Study Group meets tomorrow at 7:15 pm in the school staffroom. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
• Lent Study Groups: times on previous page.
• Vege Co-op: orders and deliveries on Wednesdays. Details Kathryn Starky.
• The Parish Trust meets on Wednesday at 5:15 pm.
• Christopher’s Classics: concert on Thursday at 8:00 pm, pianist Lixin Zhang.
• Saturday Breakfast: 14 March at 9:45 am in the parish lounge. All welcome. Details Anne Ladd (981 5012).
• Retreat in daily life: 14–21 March, S. Christopher’s. Contact Margaret Shearing shearingz@inet.net.nz for details.
• Contemporary Mystics: Spiritual Guides for the 21st Century—monthly series beginning with Joy Cowley on 19 March, 6:00 pm at CSN Retreat House, 300 Tuam Street. Email spirit@stlukesinthecity.org.nz for details.
• Keeping Good Company presents a contemporary Passion Play 27–29 March. Details davenjo@xtra.co.nz or 348 5653.
• Large TV available (free), in good order. Details from the parish office.
• The Needlework Group: details Ros Calvert (322 6078).
• Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission with your gifts