Showing posts from 2007

May you have time to breathe life afresh this Christmas


Was Jesus born
in this Bethlehem spot?
Not a nice stable at the back of an inn,
but the animal end
of an ordinary house-cave
among the dung and the feed?

Did Mary breathe deep,
hold and push
in this underground smoke darkened shrine?

Did Joseph stand helpless
among the men
safe away from the
blood, pain and tears
around a fire warmed
against the winter chill?

Did the whenua of God
lie on this
star shaped spot
where millions have prayed?
Is it here God inhaled that life giving breath,
and exhaled that first joyful cry?

I don’t know!
And none of it matters…
Unless Jesus is born in me
this Christmas
Unless I breathe life afresh
with God
Unless I leave the helpless men
at the safe end of my cave
and join the woman in the
messy hand dirtying work
of giving birth to God’s world today.

May you have time to breathe life afresh this Christmas

John Hebenton tssf
Anglican Youth Network Facilitator: Tikanga Pakeha
Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia
15 Farm Street, Mount Maunganui 31…

A conversation on “mission-shaped youth ministry”

The Big E 2008
A conversation on “mission-shaped youth ministry”
Vaughan Park, Long Bay, Auckland
9.30am on Tuesday 3rd to 4pm on Thursday 5th June 2008

Our world is changing. Young people are changing. The way we do youth ministry is changing. Or at least it needs to change. Don’t believe me? Here are some figures from the last census
• Between 2001 and 2006 the percentage of New Zealanders who called themselves Christian dropped from 60.6% to 55.6% of the population
• For nearly every age group under 40, between 40-50% answered “no religion” to the religious affiliation question.

We are increasingly living in a country where young people in particular have no idea what the Christian story is, or who Jesus Christ is.
It is time to ask some hard questions about what we are doing and why, find new ways forward, and redevelop some of our old ways. Some of the questions we need to address might include:
• What are the issues you face in youth ministry?
• What is Youth Ministry?
• What is the end p…

Thoughts on leadership

A couple of weeks ago I attended (and helped run) Raukura, a training event for run by Toru for the diocesan and regional youth staff in the Anglican church in Aotearoa-New Zealand within Tikanga Maori and Tikanga Pakeha. Each of those attending were asked to write a reflection on what leadership is for them based on the presentations (by Bishop Philip Richardson, and Rev Jemma Allen) and the discussions that ensued from these. This week I went to Fiji to run some of the Manu Rui module for the archdeaconry youth co-ordinators in Polynesia, and Don Tamihere was to run his biblical modules. Sadly, Don injured himself and was not able to go, and so to fill in the extra sessions (apart from sitting one out in Nadi airport when the flight was delayed for three hours) I reused some of the leadership material, and the draft reader that Don had prepared for Raukura. What is below is my reflection based on both these events, my earlier reflections on being a priest, and the course on Leadersh…


So, I did the ride. Seven hours, forty eight minutes. Bugger! I was hopoing for a lot faster than that. This was the first time I have done this ride confident I woudl do a good time, feeling fit and ready, and I did my second slowest time, but over an hour. I was gutted. But life is like that really. Some fo the things you feel most ready for, most prepared for just don;t work. And some of the things you feel least ready fro are the things that do work and come off.

The good thing was that next year it will be easier to beat that time.

One of the thing that really annoyed me was this women beat me as well. I guess that means there is hope for me yet.

A New Joshua Tree

So, this is vaguely exciting:

We too often forget the wonder of places like Ethiopia, its long heritage, and its ancient link with Christianity. A rich country, yet now so poor. I found wave of sorrow a powerful song because of that. How to link today with our roots is an important task.

I still rank this as U2's best album and look forward to its re-realease. So how cool is this?

"Just Enjoy The Coffee"

I was just sent this on Anglicans All. Being a coffee enjoyer and a Franciscan I enjoyed it.
I hope you do to:

Even if you are not a coffee drinker...Have a good day!!!!

A group of graduates, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups - porcelain ,plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite, telling them to help themselves to the coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee, the professor said: If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the simple and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases, it is just more expe…

We Will Rock You

Our family went up to Auckland on Sunday night for "We Will Rock You", the musical written by Ben Elton and Queen. Bonnie and I went to see it in London, and really enjoyed it, and wanted to take our Queen loving children. it was great. God see it if you can. Annie Crummer as killer Queen as fantastic. And the guy who played the lead role was better than he who played it in London. (this is the one who got inot the top three in the tv competition for a new lead signer for INXS, which does come up)

They had done really well to indigenise it, with lots of references to NZ and NZ music. I'd go again in a flash. And it is so funny!

Thoughts on Psalm 119

I always feel ambivalent about this Psalm. Part of me really struggles with the exhortation to read scripture as “law”, a set of moral codes to live by. God forbids this and allows this kind of stuff. I struggle with that.

But I also read it as an invitation to love scripture, to have a great passion for scripture, to read it as life giving and world changing. Francis was passionate in his love for scripture, especially the gospels. I hear the ongoing call to be in love with scripture, to spend time each day immersed in scripture, to need scripture and God more than I need water or food. I respond to that. I desire that.

Priested 20 years ago today

Twenty years ago I was ordained an Anglican Priest by Archbishop Brian Davis in Feilding. 20 years!!!! I struggle to believe it has been that long. 20 years and never a vicar. Is that something to be proud of???? And I have only worn a clerical collar sic times in those years, and not for my priesting either (I did for my deaconing to keep mum happy) Is that something to be proud of?

Some reflections:
Leadership: It has been a gift to be a priest and yet to spend most Sundays in the congregation. I get a glimpse into both worlds. And the worlds are different. It still amazes me how many clergy think of their parish as “theirs” to do with as they see fit, and then get really surprised when laity get grumpy. We need to find models where lay and ordained are able to work much better together. We need new models of leadership really.

Catholic: One of the joys of going to international Franciscan things has been experiencing a more catholic approach to worship, in the sense of being more cont…

Yusuf Islam

While I was on Long Island I was re-introduced to Yusuf. I knew his music years ago when he was Cat Stevens. He has now put out another album called "An Other Cup". And it is great. Some of it is like the old Cat Stephens. Some lyrically is deeply influenced by his Islamic faith, and one or two are musically influenced by the Arabic style. It is a joy to listen to. But not so available in New Zealand. You can order it on-line though "Real Groovy". Enjoy.

Fidel and Che

On Monday I had a basal cell cut out of my head, and have had to take things very quietly so as not to do anything nasty to the stitches.
As part of my taking things quietly I watched a DVD of a TV mini-series called Fidel and Che.
It was not the greatest thing I have ever watched But two things stood out for me. The first was a a statement at the end of the “movie” by Fidel to America. “Before 1959 your policy towards Cuba was to exploit. After 1959 it was to destroy. Your policy is that American businesses should be able to sell what they like to who they want where they want, with your military backing them up, and the CIA assassinating anyone who stands in their way. And you call this democracy?” It summed it up for me really. And Castro stood strong against that and was determined that Cuba made decisions for Cubans to benefit, and not American businesses.
The second was associated with this, and is a warning to anyone in leadership. He became entwined with his vision. It was his v…

what to do now we have lost to france

Again! Who can believe it?
Anyway, here are my thoughts about how to win the next world cup:

Keep Graham Henry - he is one of our most successful coaches ever

Loose every game between now that then so that people don’t pump up just because they are playing the All Blacks

Only play if we get real refs and real touch judges - no more people in their first big game who clearly have no idea what a forward pass is, or what a deliberate block is either, come the think of it.

Only go if we can play in black. What is it with the silver? What are we, the all silvers??? Give me a break.

Give up. We can’t win it. So what??? We are the best team in the world. They can keep their silly little cup. Ours are much bigger anyway.

New York

I have been home a week now. In between meeting with bishops and trying to catch up on sleep, I have struggled to do much, hence the lack of a posting.
Anyhow here are some thoughts on New York: I began writing them on the flight home.

I was in Union Square, New York a couple of nights ago. It is one of my favourite places in New York. There is always something happening there, always!!!! It is not really glitzy, It is a quite space in the midst of noise and mayhem, of the need to be somewhere. As I walked through last night, there were heaps of couples sitting, talking, kissing, just being together. It was so nice. I missed Bonnie a lot at that moment, but it was nice to see couples being happy to be together. And dispersed throughout these couples were homeless people trying to sleep on the benches. There were others just sitting, students and others reading in the darkly lit area. There is this great mixture of life: love, despair, discomfort, joy, grief, all mixed up in one place. A…

Francis, Clare and the Holy Cross

Yesterday was the feast of St. Francis, when we celebrate Francis, and remember his transitus from this life to the next.
A few weeks agao I preached in the Bronx on Holy Cross day. I had no idea what that was about. I found out it was when tradition St. Helena (Roman Emperor Constantines mum) found the true cross in Jerusalem, on the site of what is now Holy Sepulchre.

In my sermon I talked about how John saw the cross as the point of Jesus glorification, not the ressurection or ascension. I then used Francis and Clare to explore what that might mean. I was amazed at how much of my conversations with Masud informed that.
Any way, here are soem jotted thoughts from my notes:

Francis and Clare faced their own absolute poverty in the absolute poverty Christ on cross:
Only in realising own poverty were able receive great gift of love from God
If we do not face own poverty we end up constantly trying do things in our own strength
Trying to prove to selves and others deserving we are
Don’t w…

The Bronx

Just thought I would check in.

Had real fun trying to check in on Wednesday. Amongst the bits of paper I photocopied to leave with Bonnie and then left on my desk was my eticket out of the USA. And I needed that to get into the USA. And the Air NZ desk was shut till about when I flew out. Air India would not accept my itinerary. In the end I got United Airlines to print me off a copy of my eticket. Air India kept telling me it was supposed to be a paper ticket because it did not say eticket on the computer, and I kept saying they don't issue paper tickets.

I was glad to get on the plane, which was not very full, so I had lots of room, even if it wasn’t the nicest or cleanest of planes. I put my hand in the pocket in front of me and got stuff on it. The food was not so great. Not even curry!!!I don't want to know what!!! But we were well looked after.

After I arrived on Wednesday I was taken out for dinner at a seafood place at the crab shanty on the cost. I had crab!!! With bib …

Sunday and Monday in England:

Sunday I was really tired, and in the end went to lunch with Janet, and then had a go at my sermon while watching rugby on TV. Not a good combination.

Monday was far more energetic.
I went into London, and went to Covent Gardens, which was lots of fun. Lots of shops and market stall, good food, and great buskers. I thin went to the British Museum. I was hoping to see the terracotta soldiers, but that display starts Thursday. Never mind. I wondered around for about 2 ½ hours. Highlights for me were seeing the Assyrian material. I have never seen that kind of stuff before, and it was quite moving. I really enjoyed learning about the history of Christianity in Nubia (?) now part of Sudan, which was Christian until the 1500’s. and some of the history of Islamic world. There are some photos up on the facebook site

Had an excellent dinner out with Rod and Pam. It was great to see them again.

Today chilling with Janet, before heading off to New York.

Saturday in England

I had a stunning Saturday.
I trained into London, found a pub, sat down and watched a grand and emphatic performance by the All Blacks. Apparently not underdone! Interestingly the southern hemisphere teams look much more up to this competition that the “home nations” and France, who largely look awful.
In a state of euphoria (and two very nice beers) I ambled down Charing Cross Road wondering what I might do next when I found…….

So I bought a full price ticket, and had a really good time. Eric Idle has done a really good job reworking the basic “Holy Grail” script, getting some classic songs like “Always look on the bright side of Life,” and “Spam, spam spam spam” as well as getting some nice little plot twists and even social commentary. They even take a few swipes at musicals, with two songs called “a song like this”. I’d go back and see it again in a flash.

I wandered around Soho after that, and China town, eventually finding a nice pub that did st…

Photos of John in England

check out here for photos

War memorial

On Monday I went to the new NZ war memorial, which is next to the Wellington Memorial near Hyde Park. It is a really interesting piece. From one point of view they look like poles blown over in the wind. At another, a series of white crosses, and up close they become really interesting sculptures.

IAYN meeting

The meeting of both the Steering Group and the full group of the International Anglican You, h Network are now over. I think they both went really really well, even if I wasn’t in charge of either. Our meeting of the Steering Group did a good job of planning out our time, and working out who was in charge of which sessions. We had a clear vision and worked well to reach it.

People are rightly going to ask was it worth the money. And for me the answer is yes. I had lunch with Evans from the Sudan. He is only just appointed as the Provincial Youth Officer, having done the work as a volunteer over recent years, especially through the war. He now knows he is part of a network that knows him and cares for him, prays for him. His church still uses 1662, so to participate in liturgies written by young people was just amazing. He wants to go home and talk to his bishops about that and start working with young people and youth leaders preparing youth written liturgies. He has had time to talk t…

Hi From London

I have arrived.
I went to the gym before I left, and hurt my leg. It is still not good, and at times it as hard getting in and out of the seat, but as long as I kept it straightish I was ok.

We are staying very near Hyde Park, so Michael Tamihere and I went for a very slow walk around it for two hours, which was nice. We found Priness Dianna's "fountain" which is really like a circular stream. Very poignant on the 10th anniversary of her death. All in all it was a nice way to spend an afternoon.

We got back to Lancanter House, and our IAYN group was all here. So we have been working away at our agenda, and it all looks good. You can see what we are on about by clicking on the link

Where we are is really a german youth hostel, so there are lots of germans on staff. It is strange being in England with the staff struggling with English.

I need to go read the draft Anglican Covenant as I am leading a discussion on this


I am off

I am sitting in Auckland airport about to fly off for 4 weeks. Firstly I am in england for a week and a half at the International Agnlican Youth Network conference at High Leigh. then I go to the Bronx for a few days, even preach there, and then attend the Ministers meeting for TSSF for a week, before returning home for a three tikanga meeting with the Bishops. Wahoo is all I can say.

I will try to keep blogs going during that time, even photos maybe


Mission Shaped Youth Ministry: Conference in Australia:

Mission Shaped Youth Ministry: Conference in Australia:
To be honest I was a little underwhelmed and disappointed with this. But I suspect that was more my fault, with too high an expectation really. AS a result I did nto engage as much as I had hoped. But that was my problem. I often (I discovered in Dunedin) try to persuade people, and maybe I did not have the platform to persuade people of my great ideas. That is a little humbling.
But I did gain quite a lot of insights and have some really good conversations.
• I really liked the honesty and frustration about just how successful the emerging church stuff in England is, and eh fresh expressions/mission shaped church initiatives. It is early days. It is small. Who knows how long lasting it will be, or effective in reaching people who know nothing about Christianity?
• I enjoyed the beginning of the discussion on what the rich Anglican tradition offers mission. I was also frustrated at the level of engagement with that. It seems this sis…


Some thoughts from the Leaders in Congregations course with Kevin Ward:
• How can you be alone with your own/God’s thoughts wired with someone else’s?
• The role of leader in the future is to identify, mentor, resource and trust young people to create church for themselves and their peers. Through this we might learn what church might be, rather than what church is now. To do this we must not fear the future. That reminds me of something Steve Taylor said at a thing he did earlier in the year, that we are a resurrection people, not a crucifixion people, so rather than focussing on the immanent death we should focus on the new life that God is bringing through this death. ( at least I think that is what he said)
• I was struck by how often church leaders (and maybe others) identify the problem that needs fixing, and then the solution, and then they set about persuading others to act ion it. I have to say from my experience, that the problem is not quite accurately identified, and the solu…

large chunks of scripture

It has been awhile.

I have been pondering this comment and question from Ben. I think it is a great question, and I am not sure I have any easy answers.

BTW - following on from your thought about having large chunks of scripture read out in church and re-installing that in our evening community I can report back that people have really taken to it and it's become a highlight of the service for me (and others I suspect) and as an aside to your post I have come across one recent frustration and that is people who say that they want "deeper teaching" in the service. As we explore that idea more I discover that they want more teaching on peripheral Scriptural themes rather than just constantly hearing the central gospel themes. My frustration comes when I don't feel like they/me/we have really got a grasp on "living out" as opposed to just "knowing" those central themes - do you keep banging away until people seem to get it and live it? Do you move on t…

What was Francis’s foolishness?

About a month ago I went to the Solomon Islands in my capacity as Minister Provincial of Third Order, Society of Saint Francis.
A big part of what we (The Minister General, Dorothy Brooker also went) did was to lead some studies for the local TSSF members. Here are some fo my thoughts from the first of these.

What was Francis’s foolishness?
Well many things really:
One was to not only read scripture, but to pray and to be shaped and moulded by scripture, especially the gospels. This meant he was not only open to the bits be liked, but also the hard bits, like Jesus’ invitation. To the rich young man to go, sell everything he has and “come follow me.” We tend to gloss over that one. Or the story of the Good Samaritan, (which is not about good neighbourly behaviour, but answers who is my neighbour….people I do not normally include in that) As an aside, at a conference I was at yesterday, someone talked about a t-shirt he had seen which said “Jesus loves porn stars” There was great mirth an…

my own thoughts

I am in Dunedin at a leadership in congregations course for my Otago M.Min.
Some random thoughts:
• As I watch young people walking down to university and work with their mp3 players/ipods plugged in, I wonder what the cost will be of people never being alone with their own thoughts. Their world is filled with others thoughts in the music. Will people be able to sit alone with only themselves and their thoughts? Will the be able to sit in silence with God? If not, what will that do to their soul, and our society.
• As we struggle to introduce and manage change in our churches, will it be enough? I listen to leaders talk about gearing up for the next change, and think of my own pseudo Gen X frustration with the lack of change. And I am old. Our change is so slow and laboured, compared to what young people swim in. Will it eve be enough? Or should we stop trying, and instead of trying to change what we do, should we just change people’s imaginations so that they can allow new things to eme…

Beginning to Pray

I was lent this book in the Solomons. It is old, published in 1970. But I have not read anything like it before.
Anthony Bloom was the Russian Orthodox Archbishop for Britain. He grew up in France after the Russian Revolution, and trained to be a doctor, which he continued to practice after becoming a monk.

This short book begins with an interview with Anthony which in itself is really interesting.

The next 100 pages deal with prayer, using stories from the Orthodox tradition and the gospels. It is delightfully written, easy to read, and profound.

He begins by stating that the absence of God is the necessary beginning of real prayer! Until God is absent we rely on feelings we generate ourselves and our own efforts. When we live with the absence of God, then and only then are we forced to admit our absolute dependence on God, and that prayer is a gift from God. I have never read anything like that before.

The chapters are:
• The Absence of God
• Knocking at the Door
• Going Inward
• Managing T…

Where does your chocolate come from?

Ever wondered where you’re chocolate comes from? Ever thought that child slaves helped pick it? Ever wondered about who suffers for you to indulge in some yummy dark stuff?

I got this email from a colleague about three weeks ago.

"Hi all

We are putting together a petition to encourage the producers of 60 Minutes to investigate the Chocolate industry here in NZ in particularly where they source their Coco beans from, and we hoped that you could support us in doing this by posting this on your blog/website and linking to the petition:

The reason we are doing this is because we want to do something that will (1) help people focus on the issue of modern slavery (2) we want people to be more ethical and thoughtful in what they consume (3) because we want to eat chocolate with a 'relatively clean' conscience knowing that it is slave free chocolate and the only guilt we feel is knowing we have eaten far too much.

So if you would like to join us and distribute a petition in your netwo…

Being Relevant

Kia ora
I ahve just finished our major youth event, national anglican youth forum. This is one of my hihglights for the year, partly because it is young people that organise and run most of it, which is enormously life giving, and at times really stressful. They do things differently from me, and are at times way more conservative in their spoken attitudes. (I am not so sure about their behaviour though). For me, this event is the living out of what I am on about, offering young people the tradition that has given me life, and then giving htem permission to recreate it. The worship services are mixed, and liturgical, and nothing like what I expereince at church, or what soem people say young people want. They are creative, at times reflective, sometimes loud. And they speak to young people because young people have organised them.

And I am about to go to the Solomons for a week with the Franciscans. You know our motto, join the Franciscans and see the world. I am a little nervous, and a…

Manu rui

I have just finished running the second Manu Rui, a running worship for young people in an Anglican setting. It has been hard work, getting people there, and convincing those who come that Anglicanism has anything to offer young people. The Prayer Book and liturgical tradition are hard to sell. And in a way, they are right. It is not entertaining. It often does no offer instant feelings and responses. It is about spiritual growth and development over the long term, over life. It is solid and deep. Not quick, shallow and entertaining.
But is was good being with even a few who were at least interested in exploring this.
Here are some headings of what I think Anglicanism offers young people. Maybe I will say more some time.

Flow – the flow on liturgy offers a much deeper worship experience that what we often offer young people.

Ritual – there is a growing body of writing on the importance of ritual in changing how we see ourselves, each other and God. For example that rituals of Powhiri an…

Some light entertainment

This was where I found it.
There you go.

Apologies to Hillsong lovers

I some how found this today. It tickled my fancy. While slightly harsh on Hllsong, it does raise some of the issues I have with Hillsong and Parachute, to be honest. A fine line is treaded.


Anglican Worship, a relic of the past?

One of my colleagues sent an email out today advertising the up coming Manu Rui training event in Christchurch.

One of his youth pastors replied as below. I include it as it raises some important issues, and I also include my response.

My kids would have no interest in this at all; their
focus is simply not on denominational breakdowns and focii. As a church we need
to focus on WHERE OUR KIDS ARE (ie not in Anglican churches) and visit there,
rather than trying to get kids to visit us (worship wise or
whatever). We've been around hundreds of years and kids have voted with
their feet.
Modern youth ministry is totally ecumenical
(ie easter camp, 82 youth groups), so this is not something I would spend time
on myself.
I agree there are treasures, and I personally value
aspects of Anglicanism, but not at a youth level. We struggle even
having "readings" (even in modern version); our kids want increasing
informality and less heritage. They collect the latter later in life, when
they h…

Conversation Sermon - and apprenticeship model

Last Sunday (yesterday) my son Michael and I did a conversation sermon. It was the Diocesan Top Parish event, and the bishop thought it would be good for a young person to do the sermon. But for some reason he was not so keen to do it! So I offered to help him, and he thought that would be doable.

So, we met and did a wee lectio divina thing on the gospel reading. We read it out loud once and named the words or phrase that stood out. Read it out loud again, and this time Michael listed his questions. We then went away and did some work on those questions.

Then we re-met a day or so later and went through our answers. Then read the passage again and talked about what God might be saying to us as a church and as individuals in this reading. We then worked together to construct a conversation. We went away and did work on our respective bits. Then we rehearsed it a few times.

It went well. It was a bit rough on occasions, but overall I was impressed by the model. I had never done this befor…

Lenten Reflections

Last week I was at an Anglican Ministry Educators meeting in Wellington. Our guest speaker was Steve Taylor speaking about Emerging church stuff. There is a blog interview about this about to appear.

As part of that Steve talked about some Lenten material he has put together around good practices. I really liked this. It reminded of the Irish Penitentials, which were about developing the virtues rather than penance for the sin.

I have tried to approach Lent in that spirit this year Instead of just giving up computer games, I have thought about what virtue I wanted to build by doing that – spending time with my children. Instead of just giving up swearing at bad drivers, I decided to build the virtue of praying for peace for those who annoy me (bad drivers) – I keep forgetting this one. It has made all those silly giving things up for Lent so much more meaningful

Ship of Fools

Thanks Megan for this site. The mystery worshipper is worth a breif look at least.
Off to auckland tomorrow for a Toru meeting, to do some more work on my worship for young people in an Anglican setting module.


On a lighter (amd yet maybe not) note

What is Good Worship in the Anglican Tradition?

Here are my initial thoughts revamped through the comments of others. But I would really love to hear more comments. Really!

Worship is about offering your whole body as a living sacrifice, so worship is engaging of allows/invites people to participate with their whole bodies
§ Worship is about action, so it is not just “what we do on Sunday mornings”. Worship is defined by a life that pleases, honours and glorifies God, it is a mystical encounter with the risen Jesus through our work with those around us as well as what happens on a Sunday morning (Michael Treston)
§ Worship is Trinitarian in scope – we’re encouraged to participate with the Son in the power of the Spirit in the worship that is already taking place within the inner life of the Trinity. This theological underpinning helps us not to ‘try too hard’ in the sense that it’s not all about us and how well the worship band are playing and the sound is being mixed. Of course that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ‘try hard’ to bri…

What is significance in youth ministry

This is a very telling posting from Sam Harvey. Less fluff! more substance.

Liturgy Website

This site offers all kinds of liturgical resources for Anglicans in Aotearoa - New Zealand. Bosco is really passionate about Liturgy. What he offers is not everyones cup of tea, but it is still really good to have a New Zealand Anglican resource.

he also has all sorts of other material there.

worth a look

What is good “Anglican” worship?

I am trying to put together a sheet with some thoughts around what good anglican worship might look like with young people, to help those doing worship with young people. So here are some inititial thoughts. Please comment on this, be as harsh as you like


Some thoughts:
§ it has a flow (it is more than singing praise songs)
§ it invites everyone to take part however they are able
§ creative use of the prayer book (?)

Use of scripture
§ Big chucks are read out so that we can hear it
§ Uses the Lectionary

Sacramental - includes communion
§ More than words and thoughts but: Visible word of God Non verbal Non intellectual Affective Outward Focusing:
§ Not so much concerned about us but with what God is doing in the word – invites us to be concernced about the world and to prayer for the world

§ Anglicans are a people who worship in common Those in this church/place/camp Those across country and around the world – we worship with them as well. § Use of plural language Not a…

Lenten Resource

I wrote this resource for Lent last year based on the writings of St. Augustine of Hippo. It is a prayer resource, to be prayed with each day. Let me knwo what you think

Final Posting on "We and I" music... for now?

This is the edited version of what Ben has sent me. My response follows.

Hey Ya

I actually don’t disagree with any of this – I think there is an inherent weakness in taking the “I” model too far, but I think the same about taking “we” too far as well. In fact if you’d just simple said

Yes, we as individuals need to respond and make it out own, and so we need the “I” songs, but they need to be put into the context of us as God’s community

In your blog then I would have been in complete agreement – a balance that allows for individual ownership of a relationship with God as a member of all of God’s people both living and departed.

We actually facilitate this by

a) writing songs that reflect “we” (like - We want to walk with you or Almighty God…which is actually just from the prayerbook) cos to be honest there aren’t that many good “we” songs out there
b) Changing songs that can easily be changed such as Jesus be the centre (be OUR source…) and “Open the eyes of OUR heart”

However I also think t…

an african proverb


Youth Ministry

I wrote this a few years ago. it is a summary of what I think youth ministry is all about.

Youth Ministry is an umbrella term that describes the systematic attention the faith community gives to young people which enables them to reach their full God created potential. That is, everything the faith community is involved in that promotes both healthy development and faith growth in adolescents.
v As a communal and relational ministry, it encompasses the whole faith community's work of nurturing, encouraging, and sustaining the relationship young people have with God as part of the church and the world.
v As an incarnational ministry, it takes seriously the whole person and all their needs, including physical, cognitive, emotional, social, moral and spiritual.
v As an incarnational ministry it also takes seriously all the contexts in which the young people live. This includes working to both provide a climate within our faith communities, and in the wider community, which foste…

Response to Ben

Thanks Ben.
This is what I am hoping this blog will do at times, and that is encourage people to take my up on my outrageous statements.

First off, I clearly have overstated my case. I am not even remotely interested in having an "I vs. We" debate. I believe that both are needed for all the reasons you laid out Ben. That is my real issue, that I attend event after event and all we ever sign is "I songs". We need more we songs, and we need songs that are both I and we. It isn't that hard to write them, I change the words of songs all the time to we, and it works. Sometimes I just change the chorus words, sometimes just the verse words.

Now, I really can't let Ben get away with some of what he said.

Yes Scripture uses "I", as do a lot of our great hymns and prayers. But to intimate that the Hebrew Scriptures only use "I" is false. Their great creedal statements of identity all use we. "We were slaves in Egypt...." Again and again the…

There is nothing like getting an absolute pasting on your blog.

I put this in the comments section as well, but thought I would put it here to. While some of the comments reveal how passionate people feel, I am glad that it has sparked that passion and response. But I do feel I have been slightly misunderstood, so I make the following responses.

Firstly, I am really sorry if I caused hurt. I thought that the event was a great event overall. And those who commented are right, I should have said so on the blog. I did tell some of the organisers that at the time, and again in my evaluation. And I did raise these issues in my evaluation, and other issues I felt needing addressing. Yet overall it was a well run event.

But part of my role in to “to work with others to broaden & deepen the church's understanding of youth ministry so that it is seen as ministry: to youth, for youth, with youth & from youth.” One of the ways I do that is through this blog and offering comments on what I experience at various youth ministries. Were these comments …


Sam has posted a really interesting post on his blog.

It would appear he takes a very different standpoint from me. But we are in fact very close.
I am not advocating for making young people Anglican, but offering the richness of the Anglican tradition for the ongoing life of faith for young people. Michael Warren, an American Catholic Youth Ministry writer and teacher once said that the purpose of ministry among young people is to offer the tools and foundations they need to continue to grow all their lives. By going for what seems good for now, we risk leaving young people at greater risk of getting into their late 20's and 30's and discovering that the Christianity they have been offered simply fails to deal the issues and questions they are facing. Alan Jamieson has written a lot more about that is him books researching why so many people leave Charismatic, Evangelical and Pentecostal Churches.

But, I don't think many people really know what their tradition is about or ho…

another response

Thanks to the young person who has just put up a post.

Youth Yeah was for all the church, Each parish was invited to celebrate it as it chose to. most chose to do nothing. Each Dicoese was invited to celebrate as they chose to. i can make no comment other than that. Information and invitations for sent out for each of the five national and three tikanga events, including Forum, by me. I can make no comment as to what ahppened beyond that. I as constrained by what diocese do with that.

I applaud the baptist church you go to. But the politics is still there, maybe just not so easy to see. Sadly, we are all human.

And I am much more frustrated thta the role models are not offered you in you parish than I am about anything that we do at a Diocesan level. That is where we really have to lift our game. Why? because we are letting poeple like you down!

But if you think I am being too harsh, fair enough.


Biblical imagination

I am currently at a Block Course on New Testament Theology being taken by Professor Joel Green from the USA.

Today we looked at Narrative Approach to doing Biblical Theology. What struck me was the statement that the task of the preacher and teacher is (Joel said this way better) to invite the hearers to have their imagination shaped by the biblical story.

“The antidote to ignorance is not the amassing of facts, but the enlightenment that comes with a realignment with God’s ancient purpose."

Instead of getting people to learn more about the bible, or using the bible to prove the point we are making, or to show people how to live a successful or Christian life (using 'appropriate' proof texts), what people really need is to have their imagination opened by the biblical story in such a way that they see the world and themselves differently, in line with the great Biblical Story of creation, redemption and new creation, and so live their lives differently. Part of that is that…