Showing posts from 2008

Long time no post

Where did that 2 months go. And where did that Labour government go?? I will have to suck it in and try to cope with a National led right wing governemnt. I have to say the signs are not good. Any how, what I really wanted to say was I went to a youth service last night as part of my research. On one level it was not very liturgical. Not much prayer book used if at all. But, and it si a big but in my book it followed the gather story go framework, which was cool. As I thougth about the service though I wonder about how even with the framework there needed to be more thougth about how that impacts on how we do each piece, which did not feel so good. To be fair, the guy taking it was sick, and someone else did a great job stepping up to the plate at the last moment. But it made me think about lots of services I go to, for young and not so young. And often it feels like we not so much go through the motions,(although soemtimes it does feel like that) but that we pass through without as m

To hit or not to hit

The other day, actually the other week, there were too really interesting items on the front in the local newspaper. The first article was about a man who had been convicted for assault. He had thrown a bad of nappies at his partner. He was given home detention for this crime. Fair enough. Violence of any kind is not acceptable. Just below that article was another. It celebrated the fact that enough signatures had been collected a referendum about the so called “Anti-smacking” Act which removed the right of parents to smack children as a defence in the Crimes Act. This came about because New Zealand juries had thought it alright for parents to use horse whips, planks and hose pipe on their children. According to some people, these people are good parents and as such they should not be punished. Hmmm… I wonder if many people noticed the irony of those two articles. It is not alright to throw nappies at adults. It is alright to hit children. At times in the neighbourhood I live it, t

the function of liturgy? - what is mission

Annika helpfully left this comment on my post "the function of liturgy?": "Can you define 'mission' - I think it would help being very clear in what that would mean in today's world. Only once that is clear we can then move on and talk about liturgy's function in sending 'people out to join with God in mission.'" Well, that is a good question. Here is my very anglican answer: So what is mission? The Anglican Church uses these five marks or strands to describe what mission is all about. Here are the Five Strands of Mission: • To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom • To teach, baptise and nurture new believers • To respond to human need by loving service • To seek to transform unjust structures of society • To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth (Bonds of Affection-1984 ACC-6 p49, Mission in a Broken World-1990 ACC-8 p101) Mission can be described as a rope, and these are the fiv

Bible in a minute

the function of liturgy?

I met with Spanky Moore the other day to talk about my research on worship with young people in an Anglican setting. There is other stuff about that on this blog. I was trialling the interview schedule. One of the things we came to was the need to be a whole lot more specific about the functions of liturgy, and not just about the form. So I had questions about the structure and about the use of liturgy, but nothing about the function, partly because I had not so clearly thought or read about that. So I am learning about the need to do all this together: read, shape the question, interview and research, read more, work on the questions more etc... So what did we see the function of liturgy to be? 1. To provide a framework to gather people, tell the biblical story, and send people out to join with God in mission. 2. To provide a way to form the character of the whole community and the individuals involved to have an incarnational approach to God and mission. The heart of Anglican lit

and the musical version

Beached whale

memory verses

I was watching an australian kids dvd of chirstian songs. Many if not most of the songs were little memory verses all set to music to make it easier to remember. All good??? Maybe. but as I watched I thought of all those talks I have listened to which has used the line "there is a verse in the bible that says" I hate that line so much. It reduces teh bible to a ransom collection of proverbs. And the Bible is not a random collection of proverbs, and should never ever be treated as such. And as I watched this dvd I realised where some of that attitude comes from. Our education programmes which teach the memory verse, and nothing about the book that verse comes from, the author who wrote it, what the author was trying to say in teh book and how the verse fits in with that. And we never teach the whole bible, or the story of the whole bible, well hardly ever. and as a result, we end up with a view of the Bible as whakatauki, proverbs. Blah!!!


I was recently asked to comment on the decline of involvement of Anglican young people – or their drift from the Church – or even their drift into Pentecostal Church! Here is a response THE STATE OF YOUTH/LATE TEENS IN OUR CHURCH Some Observations by the Diocesan Youth Staff and the National Youth Facilitator of the Anglican Youth Network - Tikanga Pakeha When asked to comment on the state of youth/late teens in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa-New Zealand, and in particular on the decline of involvement of Anglican young people, the general consensus was question the assumption of decline. Up until a few years ago there was a feeling that we were failing with the older teens, and struggling with the younger ones as well. At diocesan events the average age was getting younger and younger. But over the last few years parishes and Dioceses have been much more proactive in their work with this age group. As a result there is now much less a sense of decline or that young people are mov

Mission Shaped Big E: June 3-5, 2008

About 17 people gathered at Vaughan Park, Long Bay in Auckland from June 3-5 to discuss Mission-Shaped Youth Ministry. This phrase has come out of the Church of England, and in particular, from a report published in 2005 exploring church planting and fresh expressions of church in a changing context. The basic idea is that we are increasingly in a non-Christian context in New Zealand, where a very large proportion of young people in particular know nothing of the gospel. Mission-shaped church suggests that we need to seek ways to plant the gospel in this context with no expectation of what shape the church those who respond might develop. This is very different from nearly all our models currently used which aim at brining young people into existing church structures. The point of the Big E was to offer a place where key figures in the Anglican, Methodist and Presbyterian churches could have a conversation about what if anything this might offer our understanding and practice of youth

More on youth worship at General Synod

I received an email today from one of the organisers of the monday night evening worship at General Synod. In it he said, "You’ll be pleased to know that some of your critiques have been bubbling away in the back of my mind and a general self awareness that sometimes when leading worship I just do what is easy or what I think the “audience” expects. I think that it is important to help people connect with God where they are at, but I have also felt called in the past to help people grow in their understanding of worship and to connect with God in deeper ways in the midst of our worship times" In about two weeks we are running a training event on Mission Shaped Youth Ministry I have been doing some reading as I am one of the presenters (and am feeling not ready really). I have just re-read the last chapter in "Mission Shaped Youth Ministry" edited by Tim Sudworth, which had some really interesting things to say about worship. The author, Chris Russell, contrasts c

Evening Woship at General Synod

I have just returned from our General Synod. One of the highlights for me was the evening worship on the Monday night, led by the band Phono. Antony Dancer had invited them to lead the worship which was also the launch of a DVD celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Hikoi of Hope. It was excellent contemporary liturgy (in my humble opinion) Not that they used lots of the prayer book. Or that we did lots of liturgical responses even. Most of the time they sang to a PowerPoint we watched. So how was that good liturgy? Well, it used the flow of the template. It used liturgical responses to Gather. The songs and PowerPoint were used to tell and reflect on the biblical story (Story), and the liturgical response at the end sent us out. (Go) Secondly, through the words on the PowerPoint and the words sung we heard and read “large chunks of scripture” – one of my pet subjects when it comes to worship. Thirdly it used both the singular and the plural pronoun, - another one of my pet subjects.

Leadership of Anglican Youth Worship within Tikanga Pakeha

I am about to send the following proposal to Otago Universtiy to do some research on Anglican Youth Worship. If you have any comments I would appreciate hearing them. Research Topic To explore both how the Anglican liturgical tradition is being used in worship for young people within the Anglican Church (Tikanga Pakeha in New Zealand) and the influences upon those who run youth worship, be they clergy or youth worker? Whilst the literature is clear about the power of the liturgical tradition both for shaping worship as a communal encounter with God, and as a tool for long-term faith and life formation, my experience in a variety of settings is that this tradition is rarely used in worship for young people in the Tikanga Pakeha Anglican setting. My observation is that the youth leaders who organise and run worship are either unaware of, or choose to ignore the power of, the liturgical tradition. I wonder about the role of their upbringing and experience of worship in leading them to


As I watched the various programmes last night about NZ at war, what stuck me most was how grateful I feel that I have lived at a time when I did not have to go to war, and be put at the mercy of foreign generals and comanders who really at times should not have been in control of a tea party, let alone a large number of men. I just feel lucky and grateful that I have not had to do that, and for me ANZAC day is about remebemring all those who did. I was struck by the news calling them "fallen heroes". But were they? Or were they ordinary New Zealanders who died, frightened, fighting for there lives, and the lives of their mates around them, wondering alot of the time what it was all for. Not heroic, not glorious. I remember in a war cemetry in Singapore among all the glorious notations one that said, "sorely missed". Much more honest. We should remember them as ordinary blokes whose lives were too often wasted. And we should also remember all those who came home, a


Today is ANZAC day, the day we remember New Zealanders who have fought and died fighting overseas "protecting our freedom". Well, most of the time, especially in the First World War, it is hard to know what they fought for. It is commentated on the day the ANZAC and other forces landed in Gallipoli to distract the Turkish forces and allow the Anglo French fleet to take the Dardanelles and attack Constantinople. April 25 1915. I have just finished watching the dawn service at Anzac Cove in Gallipoli, Turkey. The ANZAC spirit was born there, Australia – New Zealand (although listening to the Australian defence minister it seems it was really all about Australia). We were reminded of how poorly thought out, poorly planned and poorly led the whole expedition was. The story of the whole war really, incompetent British generals wastefully sacrificing the lives of there men, especially their colonial soldiers in poorly thought out, poorly planned and poorly executed battles that mo

what is poverty?

I was sent this today. iti s a little naff, but does raise some interesting questions, like: what is poverty? and how am I poor? One day a father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of showing his son how poor people can be. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?" "It was great, Dad." "Did you see how poor people can be?" the father asked. "Oh Yeah" said the son. "So what did you learn from the trip?" asked the father. The son answered, "I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land t

turning 50

I have been really bugged over the last few months about turning 50. When I turned 40, it took awhile, but I eventually got over it. I remember going for a walk at Rissington about 1 ½ months before the day and working it through, and coming back at peace with turning 40. why is it so much harder this time? Well, when I turned 40 I said to myself, “well that is the first half over, the rehearsal, so let’s get on and live this life!” And not a lot changed really. My youngest was still at preschool, and so I kept going to Playcentre several times a week. And school was still very important, and would be for a long time yet. All of them were still really involved in al the things kids do, and we were involved in what parents do. And it was going to be a long time before that changed. Well this time, my eldest has left home and is at university. Michael is in year 12, and will probably leave home in the next two years. And within five years Rebekah will have left too. Life will not just ca

A lot on

Life has been very busy lately. Easter was full on, as I have said. Before that I was at a series of meetings in Auckland and in Wellington. I have several events coming up, The Big E in Auckland on mission shaped youth ministry, General Synod, Anglican Youth Forum, and Manu Rui in Dunedin, plus designing an interactive labyrinth for Lambeth. But, this weekend I am off to Rotorua for a 100km cycle race, and then a wedding in Havelock North. It will be nice to have a break with no expectations. Having the cycle ride to train for has been great. I have had to do long rides, 80 or 90 km up some big hills, away from work, and all that needs to be done. It is great to have that. And it keeps me a bit fit. Not that the waist shows much benefit. But tommorrow, back to organising Toru things, getting ready for General synod etc... Yeah!!! I love this job


I really enjoyed the whole Easter journey this year. Our vicar got sick on Maundy Thursday, and I ended up doing all the Easter services, which I really enjoyed, even if I lost my cruisy Easter break. It was nice to journey, first from Palm Sunday, and then through the holy week (including a service of prayer and confession on the Tuesday night) and a Seder service and meal (including foot washing) on the Thursday night. This was my first service, and I then went on to "take" a reflective service on Friday morning and a Tenebrae service on Friday night, using PowerPoint and based on the Stations of the Cross. Really powerful. Then the service of light on Saturday night, and the two celebrations on Sunday, for which I wrote the sermon/poem below. This sermon was inspired by a sermon two young people in our Diocese preached at the closing service in the Cathedral for our Top Parish weekend. They prepared really carefully, and delivered it dramatically, constantly interacting bo

A Reflection on Easter

A Reflection on Easter Easter 2008 They huddled Numb Exhausted Stuck Filled with grief Filled with guilt Disbelieving Desperate Overwhelmed by darkness, sin, and death They wait Powerless Angry Afraid Hopeless Helpless Unsure Uncertain Where is God in all this? Why has God forsaken us? Wanting to bury the crucified one The disciples, Men and women Wait Are waiting The night never seems to end We too are numb Exhausted Huddled in our fear Stuck Sometimes filled with grief Sometimes with guilt Disbelieving Desperate Overwhelmed by darkness, sin, and death We too are powerless afraid angry: boy racers Taggers Gangs Murdering youth Those who do violence Those who seek to stop violence P Home invasions Terrorists The United States Suicide bombers Iraq Iran Palestine Afghanistan Israel Tibet The list goes on The government Politicians The tr

Larry Norman passes on to the next life

I just received this from a friends bog. Larry is gone. When I was younger he was so influential. I loved his music. He showed me Christians could do rock. It was sooo cool. And his concerts were great. So great. I have an abiding memory of him playing solo, and just holding us all with his playing and singing. Great times. We have lost a great soul. May you rest in God's peace, and rise in glory

My Reflections on the recent Theological Hui in Auckland

Last week I went to a theological hui run at our Theological College, to ehlp us use Romans to explore our life and unity as a church. Kathy Glieb did two main presentations which were really really helpful. To start as she did with an exploration of why Paul wrote this letter and what it purpose was helped put the whole thing in context, and made it much more useful for us today as a church. Paul wrote this book to the divided churches in Rome. Yes churches, not church. They were seriously split. And if you read the book you will see the theological reasons for those splits. Paul needed the support of those churches to help in his proposed mission to Spain. He needed to overcome some of the negative things that had been said about him, particularly that he was not friend to the Jewish Christian church, And he needed the churches to focus on what united them, the gospel and their common mission, rather than on what divided them, so that they could support this mission. Hence the let

Young Lives New Life:

This is a talk given at the Hamilton Ministers Winter Lectures, August 2007. It has taken me awhile to type it up! To start with, who am I? I am an Anglican priest, who has worked in youth ministry fro the last 20 years, both in the Methodist and Anglican churches I am a Franciscan I have a deep interest in spiritual formation And I am a husband, and a father of three children The topic, “Young Lives, New Life” can be read in a variety of ways. It can be read as meaning the new life “we” offer young people This way fits with picture we are constantly given of young people As either lost, hurt, in need Or out of control, drunk, being hoons on the road, or as violent or viscous criminals. From my own experience, nether of these pictures are very accurate. In fact my experience would suggest the opposite is true. The Australian survey across 15-30 year olds reveals that at least in Australia young people are happy and content, in fact are optimistic about the future. So what is ano

Ash Wednesday and Waitangi Day

Last night I went to a combined Ash Wednesday service with the local Roman Catholic parish. This in itself was a great symbol of acknowledging our unity and confessing our broken communion, a good way to start Ash Wednesday. Although much of the service was about our individual brokenness and need for repentance, it was placed within the communal brokenness. What caught me though was how this Ash Wednesday occurred on Waitangi day. I have often thought of this day as a day for celebrating the vision of those who worked for the treaty, and the vision behind it. I have also thought of the treaty as offering us as a church and a country a way of being. What I was reminded of this ash Wednesday is the ongoing need to repent how we have failed to live that out, and to start anew in seeking a just way in this land. Starting anew, recognising past failing, letting go of the crushing burden of that, and starting again to live it out fully. I know some within Tikanga Maori will be angered by

Prayers for Ed Hillary

Yesterday we said farewell to someone who showed us what it means to be an ordianry New Zealander. Our church ran a memorial service last night. Here are the prayers I wrote for this service as a tribute to the man and his legacy. Creator of life and light, We praise you this day for the beauty of your world, for mountains stretching ever towards the sky, the vast reaches of ice and snow in Antarctica, rivers such as the Ganges with thread on into the hills, for the radiance of dawn and the last smouldering calm of the sunset. We thank you for the life of Sir Edmund Hillary a life well lived We thank you for his many achievements for his great love of adventure, for his passion for the Sherpa people for his humility A man who showed us what it means to be “an ordinary New Zealander” God, Creator of mountain and ice Creator of all Hear our prayer Gracious God, surround us and all who mourn this day with your continuing compassion. We especially pray for the family and friends o

Something to start the year off on a good note - from an email

Two Choices, I know you'll make the right one. What would you do? You make the choice. Don't look for a punch line, there isn't one. Read it anyway. My question is: Would you have made the same choice? At a fund raising dinner for a school that serves learning-disabled children, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question: 'When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?' The audience was stilled by the query. The father continued. 'I believe that when a child like Shay, physically and mentally handicapped comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other pe