Greetings Te Haahi Weteriana, tena koutou katoa,
God is not unjust he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people (Hebrews 6:10)
|This week we honour Rev Andrea Williamson who died on the 9th August. Andrea will be known to many people around the church and the community. Her tribute records the roles she has fulfilled in her ministry both as a lay leader and then as a presbyter.
The end of the tribute gives thanks for Andrea as a courageous, wise lady who was a beacon of hope for those who at times find it difficult to put their trust in God. The Methodist Church of New Zealand will miss her, we will miss her vibrancy, her joy of life, her passion and compassion for people. Both of us have worked alongside Andrea in different capacities. Her verve for life and enjoyment of life is something we will remember of her. We offer to Peter and their family our love and prayers. We pray that you will be conscious of God's peace at those times when you miss Andrea the most, and that you will know the presence of Christ in the days ahead.
A memorial service for Andrea will be held sometime in the future due to the lockdown restrictions. Unfortunately, the re-emergence of Covid-19 in the community has sent those of us in Auckland back to level 3 restrictions and the rest of you to level 2. During this week President Setaita has been meeting daily with the Ministry of Pacific People and the office of the Prime Minister to work with other Pacific leaders to ensure that those most vulnerable in our community have up to date information, along with the social support they need.
While going back into lockdown has been disappointing, we are once again reminded that we have been warned to take the advice of medical professionals and scientists rather than those advocating conspiracy theories. Also please note the material prepared on our behalf from the connexional office relating to safe practice in our churches. Please everyone stay safe – wash your hands, stay home if you are sick, get tested if you show any symptoms of Covid-19 and look after yourself, your family and your neighbours.
'Ofa atu fau, Nga mihi nui.
Setaita and Nicola
We thank Peter who has allowed us to share this video prepared for Andrea's funeral.
Andrea Joan Williamson
The funeral and celebration of the life of Rev Andrea Williamson was to have been held on Friday August 14th. Covid-19 restrictions allowed the family to share a brief farewell on Wednesday morning. A memorial service will be advised when we are able to gather again.
The death of Andrea Williamson on 9 August 2020 just a few days after her 65th birthday brought to a close a varied and vibrant ministry in both Church and community.
Andrea was born in Preston, Lancashire, England. Her father, an assisted immigrant, worked for the Post Office, settling in Howick and worshipping initially at Howick and then later at Pakuranga Methodist. It was here, aged 12 that Andrea met Peter who was to be her future husband. Peter Williamson was at that time a member of the local Baptist Church.
Andrea's faith was real and vital. She truly enjoyed her walk with God which had come alive through participation in an ecumenical 'Life in the Spirit' Seminar. Andrea's life was to be characterised by the desire to "walk in the Spirit".
Ministry was through the lay led early service at Pakuranga, participation in the Lay Witness Programme of World Methodist Evangelism, and most importantly as 'parents' of a rapidly growing Bible Class.
Andrea formally trained as a counsellor when their adopted children were old enough, and began to broaden her practice into spiritual direction and ministry supervision. Participation in TELM (Training Equipping for Lay Ministry) proved to be foundational and hugely important. It was the genesis of moving Andrea's work as a counsellor from 'job' to 'ministry'.
In 2001, Andrea was inducted as Vice President alongside the late President Rev Aso Samoa Saleopolu. To understand the significance, this was a time of uncertainty and conflict in the Church as many had left the Church due to the Conference decision to accept Gay and Lesbian persons into ordained ministry. Andrea was a member of the Aldersgate Fellowship and an executive member of the Evangelical Network. Conference saw in Andrea a person who could address the conflict. Andrea was very proud to have that trust and saw her ministry as helping to 'still' the conflict and restore relationships.
In the three years following her VP term Andrea was asked to act as a Co-facilitator of the Tauiwi meeting at Conference. A daunting task, but one where she gained the trust and co-operation of the members.
When Peter responded to the call to ordained ministry Andrea provided the support of a Lay person with the particular role of making sure the music used in worship was diverse.
The move from Christchurch to Whangarei brought new opportunities with a Chaplaincy position at North Haven Hospice. Andrea experienced a profound sense of call – she truly enjoyed the role and felt that she had discovered her life's work.
At the time they moved to Papakura, Andrea received the diagnosis of advanced cancer, with potentially limited life expectancy. The opportunity arose to be a Chaplain for Counties Manukau Police District. This became the next love of her life. She loved the Police, their sense of humour, and the energy of the role. On 21 July 2020, she was presented with an award recognising Andrea's "dedicated service as our Police Chaplain and our beloved friend".
Andrea's call to ordained ministry caused her intense struggle. She had been diagnosed with cancer, and wondered how to respond. Her ordination in 2014 was in the face of a period of poor health. The effectiveness of her ministry and Chaplaincy proved the call to be valid.
The Church surrounds Peter, their two adopted children Anna and Rachel (and their birth mothers and families) and their 3 grandchildren with prayer and care. We give thanks for a courageous, wise lady who was a beacon of hope for those who at times find it difficult to put their trust in God.
|Prayer for this week
We are mindful of those of our church family
who have lost loved ones this week.
We pray for all who are grieving, suffering, lonely, and who feel abandoned.
We give thanks to you for love that
Gives us life and holds us through the hard days.
We give thanks for friends who share our joys and sorrows
Thanks be to you God
For the hope of your son