Greetings Te Haahi Weteriana, tena koutou katoa,

We are in the last few weeks of our term of office and it does not lessen our ministries, our heart to serve and our availability for people and the church. Both of us are away from Auckland this week, President Setaita has been in Christchurch since last Friday and from Saturday this week Vice President Nicola will be in Dunedin. We also look forward to a 165th anniversary celebration at the Devonport Methodist Parish over Labour Weekend. All of this and an election as well. So please note there is still time to register and don't forget to vote.
                       
Recently all Synods and Te Taha Maori will have received a paper about the resolution of claims of historic abuse of children in care. Synods were encouraged to discuss the paper and consider the recommendation that money be put aside to help cover the costs of resolving these claims. However, money is only one aspect of the resolution.

This week President Setaita, along with General Secretary David and Jill Hawkey Chair of Methodist Alliance, have been meeting with some of the victims of abuse. The purpose of the meeting has been to offer in person an apology on behalf of the Methodist Church. It has been a week of tears and testimonies of healing, renewal and hope for new beginnings. President Setaita notes that this has been one of the highlights of her term of Presidency.

"It is having to look the abused person in the eye and saying I am sorry, on behalf of the church. For the church to be there to cry with the person, to rejoice with the person and to see the hope that the person (and in some cases their whanau) walk away with, is more than a privilege. To witness the healing that takes place when an abused person is believed, is powerful."

Each person is offered a piece of pounamu, which is received with such gratitude and brings them to tears. One of the things that has been common in all these meetings is the conviction that God is real and present – it is this that brings hope. At the end of all the meetings, President Setaita just sits and cries – tears of compassion and tears of joy.

These meetings will continue, and Vice President Nicola will be attending one in the future. Throughout our term of office, it is in the meetings with people, listening to their stories, these are the blessings. Being able to sit alongside people who are often in the background and acknowledging their service, thanking them on behalf of the Church. This is one of the highlights that we treasure as we move towards the end of our term and look to another new beginning with new leadership. This week President Setaita reflects on the change of seasons.

'Ofa atu fau, Nga mihi nui.
Setaita and Nicola
 13 October 2020

A New Season 

"To everything there is a season, a time for every person under heaven."
Esslesiastes 3:1



We serve a God of season. We see it in creation. God created the seasons that are based upon the rotation of the Earth as it orbits the Sun. The seasons change as the earth moves, but the sun in our planetary system remains constant, and everything revolves around it.

 

Though we serve a God of season, God does not measure seasons with clocks and calendars, but with your experience in the Lord. Every aspect of our life is like a season and there is a purpose for those seasons. There is a reason for the season.

There are seasons you will prefer not to go through. But looking back, you can agree with me that, you will not be who you are today, without that season. You may not understand why you went through it, but it shaped who you are. There is a reason for that season.

Today can signify the end of one season and the onset of a new season. In just over three weeks time Te Haahi Weteriana will reach the end of the current term of leadership, ready to begin with the leadership of the next Presidential team and General Secretary. In one weeks' time Aotearoa will embrace the beginning of a new term of leadership with a newly elected government. In our journey with covid 19, Auckland now joins the rest of New Zealand at alert level 1, having ended (hopefully for a long season) alert level 2.

If the season that has just ended for you, started and ended of your own accord, we can let God begin a good work in us this new season.

New seasons come with changes. Whether you have been a Christian all your life or not, whether you have been a Methodist all your life or not, when you start a new season, it comes with change. You, have changed, remember we serve a God of seasons. Even in God's creation, God created the seasons. Each season is different from the others. Some are meant for things to grow, and other for things to die off.

Summer – plants reach optimal growth

Spring – plants begin to grow

Winter – leaves die, sustainer being the root. If the root is not solid, the whole plant will die.

In some seasons the days are longer, in others the night. 

  Looking at Peter, he entered into a new season when Jesus called him to follow Him. "As Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.  And He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fish for people. Immediately they left their nets and followed him." – Matthew 4: 18-20

In the morning, Peter was just an ordinary fisherman, by evening when he met Jesus, he became fisher of people. Peter stepped into a new season and was changed. He was made into and transformed into something he wasn't.

Fishing for people is different from fishing for fishes. It's not necessarily easier, but the outcome is grander. In fact, it is more challenging to fish for people than fishes. Looking around the church and the body of Christ today, I am sure will agree with me. But fishing for people is definitely more rewarding.

The new season comes with its challenges. A new terrain, new obstacles to cross, and new milestones to set. Remember, last season, you already had your routine. Whatever they were, good or bad, you had them. This new season, if you continue with the old approach, you might surprise yourself.

Members of Te Haahi Weteriana o Aotearoa, let this new season be one where God starts a new work in you. Phil 1:6 "I am confident in this that the one who began a good work in you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ."

The sun remains constant, and as the earth rotates around it, the earth changes its season. In many ways we see the signature of the same artist in our lives. Much like the earth, our lives should revolve around the Son, Jesus Christ. Our lives will change, and we will enter and exit many seasons, but the Son remains constant yesterday, today and forever.

Yes, the seasons will change but if Jesus is at the centre of it, whether its spring, summer, or winter, if your root is solid, transfixed onto Jesus in the centre … while the past season might have failed you or not be up to par, THIS SEASON WILL BE A VICTORIOUS ONE FOR YOU IN JESUS NAME.

1 Corinthians 15: 58 "Therefore my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labour is not in vain."

'Oku ou 'ofa atu fau kia kimoutolu mo e lotu hufia
Setaita T Taumoepeau K Veikune

 


Prayer for this week

God of love, God for all,
your purposes are more beautiful than we can possibly imagine.
Fill us with your Holy Spirit.
Help us let go of all that holds us back.
Open our lives and our churches to new seasons of humility and faith, of change and growth.
Shake us up with the Good News of Jesus and show us the way. Amen