Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Rhonda Mawhood Lee: Go a little crazy on St. Francis Day

We are rapidly approaching the Feast of St. Francis. Because I am away on the 7th, we are holding a pet service with the SPCA on the 14th. I have been wondering what I might say at that service. I found this to be a really helpful sermon from a fellow walker in the footsteps of Francis.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Living on the Crossroads

 Gate Pa –25th  Sunday in Ordinary Time
23rd September 2012
Hebrew Scripture:     Prov 31: 10 - 31            
Psalm:                         1         
Epistle:                        James 3: 13- 4: 3, 7-8a
Gospel:                        Mark 9:30-37

What I want to say:

overriding question is still
who is Jesus
what does it mean to be a loyal and fruitful follower of Jesus
questions disciples grappling with
questions Marks readers grappling with
are they our questions too?
 disciples are at a crossroad – just as Marks readers were (maybe?)
disciples on road of messiahood – road hope lead reign of God, power, domination

  • look forward to taking their place in this

Jesus is on road of Son of Man – road to Jerusalem, suffering, humiliation, rejection, death, and rising

  • way of humility

discussion spills into this week’s reading – Jesus picks up a child and says, whoever holds a child holds him, and so holds God
          Ø  what words described a child
          Ø  apply these to God
          Ø  ask what picture or words about God is revealed here?
          Ø  how do you respond to this (vulnerable) God
          Ø  what does it mean to be a loyal and fruitful follower of this God?

What I want to happen:

          Ø  want people to reassess their image of both Christ and God, and to ask, what does it mean to be a loyal and fruitful follower of this God?

The Sermon

   1.      Introduction:

- story of question at synod about being ashamed
on reflection not sure got it right
good company
whole section about disciples not quite getting it right
two stories blind man
o   blind man at Bethsaida takes two times (8.22)
o   blind bartemaeus after 3rd prediction upcoming death -> triumphal entry into  Jerusalem (10.46)
clearly - overriding question is still
       Ø  who is Jesus?
       Ø  what does it mean to be a loyal and fruitful follower of this Jesus
ð  questions disciples grappling with
ð  questions Marks readers grappling with
ð  are they our questions too?

   2.      Last week

Last week story Peter’s confession faith
seem to get it right, and then wrong
Is that what is really going on?
one commentators suggests that in Mark, Peter just gets it wrong, and he and disciples keep on getting it wrong
commentator suggests that Jesus and disciples are at a crossroad –
in fact different roads all together
just as Marks readers were (maybe?)
suggests –
       Ø  Jesus is on road of Son of Man
o   led Jesus to sit with all kinds of people
§  people on the edge
§  gentiles
o   road to Jerusalem,
§  road of suffering, humiliation,
§  rejection, death, and rising
è way of humility
       Ø  disciples on road of messiahood
ð  coloured by Imperial Rome and traditional theology
·         road all powerful God
·         road hope re-established reign of God,
·         power, domination
·         restores right order of who is in  and who is not.
è look forward to taking their place in this new kingdom
è some people in Marks community who are still look forward to taking their place in this new kingdom
è lot of Christians today
è these are ones ashamed Jesus and gospel
o   try to change it as Peter did
ð  Jesus rebukes Peter for demanding Jesus go down this road and says – get behind me Satan
o   it makes no sense to those looking for a messiah
§  Christians believe God rewards us faith with wealth, power, health, best seats – prosperity gospel, it is a heresy
§  pray gates heaven torn open, power God unleashed so that Gods reign will be restored.
§  look forward to day when righteous, those who are in, taken from this earth and receive their just reward.

   3.      The debate goes on

       Ø  discussion spills on through stories between last week and this
       Ø  certainly spills into this week’s reading
disciples having argument about who is the greatest?
è is this an argument that belongs to those on road of Son of Man
è why not?
o   imperial language
o   language messianic expectations
o   language of who is in and who is out
       Ø  Greek used says Jesus interrogates them about it
cos they know deep down this really isn’t what Jesus is on about
Jesus reacts to that by saying some crazy stuff about being a servant
– Jesus picks up a child and says, whoever welcomes/embraces  a child welcomes/embraces  me, and whoever welcomes/embraces  me welcomes/embraces  God
not we should be like the child (which is how other gospels phrase this)
God is like this child
he is really trying to help them get the difference between the two roads they are walking
he is really trying to help us get the difference between the two roads we are walking
è Questions
ð  what words described a child
ð  apply these to God
ð  ask what picture or words about God is revealed here?
ð  how do you respond to this (vulnerable) God
ð  what does it mean to be a loyal and fruitful follower of this God?

Old Door

An old door sits locked
in a concrete brick wall
beaten and chipped by
years of keeping its
secrets locked in quiet
darkness. The keys hang
wedged ceremonially on freshly
painted blue. Now both
decorate the ambience for
those gathered to savour
quiet lunches and ingest
dark coffees. I wonder as I
sip, when I will become an
old battered door decorating
the lives of others?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Waiapu Synod 2012 revisited

I received this question from my post "Waiapu Synod 2012"
Hi John, I'm curious after reading your notes about the Waiapu Synod ... Why do people think that appointing Synods reps from every parish who are under 40 to Synod, is a fundamentally good thing to do? Isn't synod about more than that? What happens if parishes don't have any under 40s available to appoint? Sounds like the church is panicking again and grasping at straws. Did the motion pass?
A good question. My response is that we have a really old synod. I am still one of the youngest clergy, and I am well into my 50's. we have one or lay reps under 50, which doubles when the youth reps attend. The truth is many of our parishes do not have many younger people, but even when they do they tend to look for older people to attend these august functions. Being older is the norm in our diocese. We tend to think that is what society is like (my cynical view). It used to be mandatory to have one of the two representatives at either regional conference to be under 35, but I moved and out clause to that, and parishes stopped even looking.I have sat in AGM's where the people approached were both in their 70's. They were just known better. I have wathced as younger people were replaced by people in their 80's. I have wathced as synod as got older and older and older.

Why do we need younger people? They grew up in a very different time form those of us who are older. Increasingly, many cannot remember a time without computers, cell phones, the Internet etc... All of that is normal. They bring a different way of seeing the world, seeing the church, of seeing what it is we are about. And it is a view we need to have at synod. We need to take note of it. Is that what synod is about? Yes it is. representing all the views that are and need to be in our parishes, not just the older point of view.

It is also a cunning plan to get more lay people into our synod. We are really really clergy heavy. Parishes have one lay rep, but there is no ceiling on clergy reps, and they are there in their droves. And we do almost all the talking. We need lay people there to take us on and offer another perspective. So yes, this is a good thing, and yes it did pass. I look forward to the day when we look for the best person to attend, not the one who had done it for ever, not the older person who is retired so available, but the best person including young people, what ever their age. This will help our parishes move to that day.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

innocence / Worldwide / News / Anglican Taonga - Anglican Taonga

It is sad that people have to prove that they are right by denigrating those they disagree with. It is sadder still when Christians resort to this. Did Jesus ever do this? No, he sat with those pushed to the edges, who were hated and despised and declared God's profound selfless love for them. Why o why do we who seek to walk in the footsteps of Christ seek to spread hate on others.

It is good to see religious leaders in this country taking a stand for humility and care for each other.

Waiapu Synod 2012

I took this from the Waiapu Diocesan news email. It is a good summary of what I was doing all weekend. I moved the motion on Resourcing Paid Lay Ministry. For me this motion is about how we value lay people in paid ministry. I was sad a vicar spoke against it, on the grounds that it would cost too much. We clergy do not get paid magnificently, but what we get is non negotiable, i.e. the parish has to pay it whether they like it or not. We are in a privileged position. Do we use that position to support and advocate for others or to maintain our privilege? Sadly my experience is that lay people have to keep negotiating (asking) which is pretty soul destroying. I know, being in youth ministry for 23 years meant I was treated like a lay person in many ways for much of that time. It becomes soul destroying and after a while you just stop asking and pay for it yourself.

This was a good synod really. We did some significant times in small groups, and studied scripture together using a lectio divina method. The young people did a very good presentation. Well done Saachi Kepa for her motion asking us to re affirm the 2010 motion on mutual accountability for our drinking.


Motions in brief

  • Youth voice: Synod agreed to find ways of meeting that will support respectful discussions and the sharing of a greater diversity of perspectives from all ages.
  • Resourcing Paid Lay Ministry: Synod will explore the resourcing and encouragement of those in paid, licensed ministry, including regular gatherings, training opportunities, covenants with parishes and paid sabbaticals. This reflects the significant development of lay ministry recently. 
  • Synod Representation: Each parish may have two lay representatives (currently it is one per parish), provided that one of those representatives is under 40. Mover Brian Dawson: “This is ageism, this is tokenism – but we still have to do something.”
  • Earthquake prone buildings: With many church buildings needing to be strengthened, replaced or demolished, Standing Committee will set up a working group to oversee the process and provide assistance by organising bulk inspections, technical advice and bulk contracts to carry out necessary upgrading.
  • Aged Care Work Force: Synod asks Government and DHB’s to acknowledge the work aged care providers, and to increase wages, improve employment conditions and commit to more employee training.
  • Marsden Cross Bicentennial Project: Synod has committed Waiapu to raising $30,000 among parishes and individuals to support the project at Oihi, Bay of Islands, to commemorate the bicentenary of the proclamation of the Gospel in NZ. This development involves a chapel, a gathering place, an interpretative centre and a series of eight pilgrimage way stations. The 20 hectares of pilgrimage land at Oihi is costing $1.6 million, with $300,000 still to be raised. The buildings are to be paid for by trusts, benefactors and probably some Government support.


An amendment to the Canon of Parishes to allow all parishes to have two wardens. Where there is no Vicar or Ministry Leadership / Support Team to appoint or recommend the second warden, the ordained person(s) with oversight of the parish will have that role of making such a recommendation to the Bishop.

An amendment to the Canon of the Waiapu Anglican Social Services Trust Board to allow the Diocesan Trusts Board to appoint eight trustees to WASSTB (including the Bishop or his nominee), to also be the directors of Anglican Care (Waiapu) Ltd, the board of the company for our aged care establishments.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Some quick notes on the previous few weeks

The biggest single event over the last three weeks has been being on holiday in Cairns for 9 days. We went for a wedding, and managed to squeeze in two other family birthdays, a wedding anniversary, a tiny bit of shopping, and a little bit of sightseeing. It was so nice being with Bonnie’s family, and being somewhere warm for a while.
Before we went I had a full day taking services at Fraser Manor, and meeting with Huikakahu Kawe, the Chairman of the Ngati Ranginui Iwi Society Inc. I asked for this to being a conversation with Ngati Ranginui now that they have settled. The Kaupapa was the upcoming 150th remembrance of the Battle of Gate Pa, and an invitation to Ngati Ranginui to consider how they might make more use of our facilities. It was low key, but a good start. I hope we can build on it.

The first Sunday back Cliff Simons preached, we farewelled our Parish Administrator, and held a missional mapping workshop, thinking about how we might engage with our wider community. I will blog about this separately. It was a good afternoon.

Last week I met with two couples preparing to get married, wrote a sermon on who let the dogs out, had a meeting to sort our music for the next month, had a meeting with the Wardens about life in general, and then a communication committee meeting to being to work on our parish magazine, and how we might promote the upcoming Pet Sunday and Parish Market Day. Later in the week I met with one of the priests who live in the parish, and another meeting with the new chaplain at our Aged Care facility.  I also had a meeting with AAW and Kahui Wahine to organise an interdenominational service for Christian women in this area. And we had preschool music. A busy week.

On Sunday we had a new youth intern start. I might blog about this separately as well. She is with us for 3 months. So instead of having Monday off (because this w2eekend is all about our Diocesan Synod) I spent the day with her, showing her around, organising a programme for her, helping her settle in. Tuesday we had our usual mid-week service, and the interdenominational service for Christian women. So quite a lot of time was spent getting ready for that, including doing a wee talk on the Good Samaritan. Wednesday morning we went visiting, and then I spent time doing admin. Thursday morning I did have off, (I am enjoying Game of Thrones) and then went visiting and wedding preparation for the afternoon. Tomorrow is preschool music and going to Synod.

My question in the midst of all this is what am I trying to achieve? What is my objective in all this? Where do others see us going as a parish and what is my role in all that. I need to do a lot more work on this. A key part of that is developing a sense of who I am in this place and time. Hmmmmm.