Greetings Te Haahi Weteriana, tena koutou katoa,
On our second to last week in office, we have been privileged to have spent time with the four people who will be ordained at Conference this year – Kimberley Chiwona, Tevita Kau, Tara Tautari and Simon Williams. The ordinands have spent time in retreat and preparation for ordination which is for life. They are being led by Rev's Arapera Ngaha and Misilei Misilei who are guiding them through a time of reflecting on their journey from training into a life of service and ministry.
While being with them we listened and shared our respective stories of our journeys, shared our passions, dreams, and hopes for the future, and prayed together. We were aware that they will continue with the mantle that has been handed on by those who have gone before them. We have faith that they will begin new journeys as ordained ministers putting into practice all that they have learned and experienced. Our prayers are with them all.
We have also been preparing for the Conference Powhiri where we will also acknowledge those who have died during the two years of our office. There are 43 people who we will acknowledge and pay tribute to – presbyters, minita-a-iwi and lay people. People who have been held up as exemplifying what it means to live a Christian life, people we have looked up to. We are mindful of and upholding their families in prayer. We wish to pay tribute to each of them in our blog today.
William Abbott, Bryant Abbott, Robert Andrews, David Baird, Raewyn Bayliss, Margaret Burnett, Bill Chessum, Maurice Copeland, Frances Crosbee, John Drylie, June Fuller, James George, Catherine Gibson,
Joan Hawley, Elsme Heggie, Muriel Ingles, Vonnie Keightley, Frances Kingi-Katene, Jackie Langdale-Hunt,
Derek Laws, Vilma Loader, Audrey Matthews, Melema'u Molitika, Fisiihoi Mone, David Mullan, Paewhenua
Nathan, William Nathan, Nomani Aiono, John Osborne, Christine Peak, Ruawai Rakena, Jim Rauwhero, Percy Rushton, Lynette Sadler, Asofiafia Samoa-Saleupolu, Hazel Simpkin, Philip Taylor, Pat Teague, Alexander Webster, Raymond Wicks, Florence Williams, Andrea Williamson, Robin Ziegler.
While we have been looking back and reflecting on what has been, it is also a time when we look forward with hope and excitement. A time for a new journey, new ways of doing things, new normals. For us we look back with gratitude and also look forward to new beginnings and new adventures in ministry and continuing to serve the God we love.
'Ofa atu fau, Nga mihi nui.
Setaita and Nicola
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. (1 John 3: 1)
This Sunday is All Saints day. A day that we recall those who for each of us model God's call to live an exemplary life in the world. A day that we bring into focus the God who does the unexpected through the lives of humans.
We tell stories of our heroes through the centuries. Our heroes may well be our parents, our ancestors, those people who inspired us or taught us important life lessons. They may be our teachers, our mentors, our critics and our encouragers.
They are likely to be people who have enabled us to grow and mature in our faith. People who have been faithful witnesses through hard times, who have made difficult decisions, who have been innovators. They won't have been perfect; they will have been human.
We may have their photos on our wall, and a sense that these people continue to be with us, to watch over us. Even though they have died, it is their love and compassion, their instruction and correction, their laughter and tears, their honesty and humility, their sacrifice and dedication, and most of all, their faith, that is their legacy and our example.
The passage from 1 John 3 reminds us that we are all children of God. It tells us of God's love for humanity. Love is the Word of God that created the world, and this creative love of God has the power to renew us and give us strength. When humanity
encounters hardship (and this year has been and continues to be a year of hardship for many), the creative Spirit of God can lift us up and renew us.
What a great gift of love.
We are being charged to love God and to love one another. We are being reminded that we are all made in the image of God.
We are all born with a purpose which involves living our life to the fullest and to be the best possible creation of God that we can be.
To receive the love of God is a gift, which we do not have to earn, but we must work toward doing our best in order to honour God.
As we look to All Saints Day, I am mindful of those saints who have died over the last two years. Those presbyters, minita-a-iwi, lay people who for many of us have been those who have lived an exemplary life of faith. Let us be inspired to live in this world showing the love of God through our actions.
As Christians, we live with hope in Christ, the hope that all things will be renewed, the hope that we will not remain the same but will become new. We have the difficult task of hoping in the things that will come. Our faith will take us there, sustain us, and keep us going forward.
Nicola Teague Grundy