Francis and being all good (with lots of stuff about SPCA)

This can be listened to here

Gate Pa – Pet Sunday 2017

What I want to say:
today we celebrate two things
first is crazy saint of Assisi – Francis; and how when he embraced lady Poverty allowed him to see the goodness of God in all things and all people and all creation.
the amazing work of SPCA -> today give freely to support this work

What I want to happen:
people to see the goodness of people and creation
to support generously the work of SPCA

The Sermon

       1.     Introduction:

Today we celebrate
Firstly we celebrate the crazy little saint of Assisi, who turned the church of his time and his world on its head
Francis of Assisi
who through ½ million professed followers today in Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and other churches around the world,
continues to live among the poor and disposed in some of poorest countries
and challenge unjust ways of rich and powerful today in highest places

       2.     The Goodness of God

When Francis embraced Lady Poverty as his bride  - took literally command to sell all he had and give to the poor and then go follow Jesus
when let go of all he needed to protect
he found goodness
Goodness of God seen in creation and humanity

Richard Rohr – Franciscan Priest from USA writes
“The goodness of God fills all the gaps of the universe without discrimination or preference. God is the gratuity of absolutely everything. The space in between everything is not space at all but Spirit. God is the goodness glue that holds the dark and light  of things together.”
led him to do some very strange things
·        when robbers set about beating him and stealing his cloak,
o   he did not defend himself
o   instead stripped off all his clothes and freely gave them as well
o   clearly they needed them more than he
·        when known thief came door friary and was turned away, Francis ordered the brother to run after the man and kneel in repentance, and to bring the man back for as much food as he needed, even if that left none for the brothers
o   thief was awestruck by such generosity
o   within a short while came back – this time to become a friar himself
·        or in 1219 when he joined the 5th Crusade, and walked across the lines into the Muslim camp seeking an audience with the Sultan – the effective head of Islam in the Middle East
o   at a time, like now, when those of the other faith were defined by our differences and hated
o   Francis only saw the good, and without fear went to speak to his brother
These are the stories that inspire and trouble those who call themselves today
This is the humble man we honour today.
Who knew that “The goodness of God fills all the gaps of the universe without discrimination or preference…. (That) God is the goodness glue that holds the dark and light  of things together.”

       3.     SPCA

Inspectorate - Our inspectorate service is at the forefront of what the SPCA Tauranga is all about. Our Animal Welfare Inspectors attended 374 Animal complaints in 2016 compared with 351 in 2015.
This year - 351 complaints, with still 4 months to go till the end of the yearl
Many animals are successfully rehomed and the owners are prosecuted and fined. There are some instances where our hands are tied, however with the law on our side, we are able to deal effectively with all sorts of animal abuse and neglect and will do everything in our power to ensure the safety of the animals in our community.
Adoption - The SPCA Tauranga rescues and adopts over 950 animals through the ‘Betty Napier Animal Shelter’ every year. All animals adopted out by the SPCA Tauranga are de-sexed, vet checked, vaccinated, flea treated, worm treated, micro-chipped and come with a one year SPCA membership.
Fostering - Our foster parents play the vital role of teaching our young and vulnerable animals that they don’t have to suffer, they don’t have to go without meals and they can learn to be a part of a family. We rely hugely on the support of our foster parents as we simply don’t have the capacity to hold every single animal that comes in to us at our shelter until we can find them new homes.
180 puppies and six dogs that came into our shelter were fostered before adoption. Foster parents looked after 590 kittens and 105 mother cats who came into the shelter. (2015 statistics)
In 2016 we took into our care approximately 300 puppies, 500 cats, 800 kittens, 80 dogs, 100 other (rabbits, wildlife, etc.) almost 1800 animals (compared to 1600 in 2015), Number for this year is already 1200 animals.
All of these animals have entered our care and have needed our assistance in one way or another.  Sadly this care does not come free, the SPCA absorbs this cost for each animal, and although we charge an adoption cost, this minimal fee does not cover the cost of the care that we provide for each animal which can in reality be approximately $350.00 per animal, so as you can imagine any support, donations and the likes are much appreciated.   
Education - Education gives us a way to encourage the humane treatment of all animals through interaction, sharing information, stories and fun activities. We believe that through education we will help to improve the lives of animals in our homes and communities today and for generations to come. It is a vital component in our purpose of preventing cruelty to animals.


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