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Methodist Church Blog

Weekly Homily for Sunday 24 January 2021




Greetings!

My offering this week is a homily of when Jesus calls Simon and Andrew, James and John to follow him.

My aim is to have a weekly offering to the Church and I invite our presbyters to also share their own offerings across the Connexion!
Either message the Church FB account or email offerings to info@methodist.org.nz

Every blessing to you as we move into 2021.

Andrew Doubleday
President
Methodist Church of New Zealand
Te Hahi Weteriana o Aotearoa

Christmas message from the President

Greetings,

Rather than written communication, I've chosen to offer a Christmas message through the medium of YouTube.

Simply click on this link: https://youtu.be/B2Mf64JglDc


Every blessing to you as you transition through this Christmas season into 2021

Andrew Doubleday

President

Methodist Church of New Zealand

Te Haahi Weteriana o Aotearoa

Face Masks at Level 1

Tena koutou katoa

As we move through Advent and the Christmas season, we are mindful of the need for continued vigilance regarding our current COVID-19 Alert Level.

Yes, we are at Alert Level 1 and yes, the Church is recommending wearing face masks at Auckland church services and events in response to the increased Government requirements regarding face coverings.

Foremost in our minds is the aroha we feel for our elders, our whanau and each other. It is important to keep our people safe at this time of increased travel, mingling and sharing.

We hope that all parishes throughout Aotearoa have continuing conversations about face masks and other ways for keeping people safe. Even with the hope of a vaccine being available, we still have months of care in front of us.

Reasoning for the Church's recommendation is available from 

http://www.methodist.org.nz/caring_for_our_people/covid19/facemasks/face_masks

With all our good wishes for a blessed Advent and Christmas

Tara Tautari
General Secretary

4/11/20


Greetings Te Haahi Weteriana, tena koutou katoa,

"..that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me." John 17:21 (NRSV) 

We warmly greet you all with love on this is our 93rd presidential blog and our last. Our first blog marked the first week of our Presidential term. During these two years and two months we have explored what it means to weave us together to proclaim life. We have prayerfully woven together all the various parts of Te Haahi Weteriana as best we can with God's help. 

 

It is important that we acknowledge all those who have contributed – young and not so young, presbyters, deacons, lay people, Maori, Pakeha, Tongan, Samoan, Fijian, South African, Zimbabwean and Korean. We have appreciated hearing your voices, your challenges and your hopes. It is our hope and prayer that as we listen and hear each other, our unfinished mat continues to be woven further and further as God the ultimate weaver continues to lead the church through what lies ahead. 

 

We also acknowledge those people who have prayed for us over these last two years. We have been aware of your prayers, love and support throughout this journey of many ups and downs. Throughout all we have experienced God's love and empowerment. We also appreciate the challenges that have been put to us, through which we have learned and grown in our understanding of being part of a diverse church and family. We thank you all for your understanding, patience and encouragement of us over these two years. 

 

We will continue to serve God and the Church that we both love. Setaita will resume her role as Director of Mission Resourcing working more closely with parishes and synods. Nicola will continue her ministry with the people of the Devonport Methodist Parish during 2021 as well as training for ordained ministry. Our experiences of these last two years have added to our kite of knowledge that will assist us on our journey forward in ministry and life. We thank God for all our blessings. 

 

We cannot express our thanks enough to our chaplains Rev Jill van de Geer and Te Aroha Rountree. They have kept us calm, they have offered support and pastoral care whenever we needed it, they have been present with us throughout. We pray God will continue to bless you both and your ministries. We acknowledge with gratitude the guidance and support we have received from General Secretary Rev David Bush. David, we wish you well and God's blessing as you conclude your appointment as General Secretary and begin a new phase of your life. Our final note of thanks is to our families – Maika and Peter and our whanau. Without their continued love and support we would not have been able to do it all on our own. We acknowledge their contribution to the life of Te Haahi Weteriana, which has been behind the scenes. Our love to you all and we thank God for you all. 

 

Lastly but not least, to President elect Rev Andrew Doubleday and Vice President elect Edwin Talakai. We wish you both well. We will continue to pray for you and support you both during the next two years. We pray that your journey will be as rewarding, and hope filled as we have found ours to have been. May God guide you and give you wisdom as you lead Te Haahi Weteriana over the next two years. 

 

For the last time, President Setaita reflects on our theme Weaving us together to proclaim life. 

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


 
4 November 2020

Weaving Us Together To Proclaim Life
"That they may all be one."

John 17:20-23 NRSV


20"I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

Jesus is praying to his Father. It is the night of the last supper. Jesus has shared a meal with his disciples, washed their feet, given them a new commandment to love as he loves, and told them of his leaving. Now he prays. In these verses we overhear a portion of his prayer. He prays for us. Three times he asks God that we would all become one as he and God are one.

If Jesus is praying for our oneness then he is also recognising and rejecting the boundaries and differences that divide us. There are divisions within ourselves, our families and whanau, our churches, our clans, tribes, iwi, our government, our nation. We live in a world full of divisions – male or female; young or old; rich or poor; white or black or brown; Christian or Muslim; conservative or liberal; heaven or earth; divine or human. We could go on and on listing the boundaries that we encounter and all too often establish or promote. They are not just divisions they have become oppositions. These divisions exist not only in the church and out there in the world but primarily and first in the human heart. We project on to the world our fragmented lives.

For every boundary we establish there is a human being. Ultimately, boundaries and differences are not about issues. They are about real people, with names, lives, joys, sorrows, concerns, and needs just like all of us.

Hutia te rito o te harakeke
Kei hea te Komako e ko?
Uia mai koe ki ahau; He aha te mea nui o te ao?
Maku e ki atu
He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!

If the centre of the flax is cut out
Where will the Bellbird sing?
If you ask me; What is the most important thing in the world?
I would reply
It is people! It is people! It is people!


Whether or not we admit it the boundaries we establish and enforce are usually done in such a way as to 
favour us; to make us feel ok, to reassure us that we are right and in control, chosen and desired, seen and recognised, approved of and accepted. Often, it is in order for me to win someone must lose, in order for me to be included someone must be excluded otherwise winning and being included mean nothing. The divisions of our lives in some way become self-perpetuating.

Jesus does not pray for our tolerance, our getting along, or just being nice to each other.  He does not even pray that our differences would be eliminated. Instead he prays for our oneness. He prays that we would be one as he and the Father are one so that our oneness would be the revelation of God's


presence to the world. Oneness in the midst of difference becomes a sacramental presence of God's life in the world. 

That does not mean, however, that we lose our identity or individuality. Jesus does not stop being Jesus and the Father stop being the Father because they are one. Oneness is less about numbers and quantity and more qualitative. Jesus and the Father are one because they love and give themselves to each other. Oneness is a quality of life – God's life. Jesus' prayer for oneness is ultimately that we would all be and live like God.

This is ultimately the vision, aspiration and faithful prayer contained in our theme "Weaving Us Together To Proclaim Life" for Te Haahi Weteriana O Aotearoa.

Oneness is not about eliminating differences. It is about love. Love is the only thing that can ever overcome division. Over and over Jesus tells us that.

*Love God. Love your neighbour. Love yourself. Love your enemy.

Our love for God, neighbour, self, and enemy reveals our oneness, and the measure of our oneness, our God-likeness, is love. In love there may be differences but there is no division.

It is Love alone, and only in and through love, can we be Woven Together in the midst of our differences and hence Proclaim Life. When we, ourselves are one as the Father and Son are one and they in us as one, the World will know that God sent Jesus, the life which we Proclaim.

God's love knows no boundaries. All are loved fully, completely, and uniquely as each needs.

God does not even draw boundaries between Jesus and us. God loves you the same as he loves Jesus.

God loves your neighbour the same as he loves Jesus. God loves your enemy the same as he loves Jesus.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life." John 3:16 NRSV

For far too long we have dealt with each other through our boundaries, differences, and divisions. When we deal with others through our divisions we label, do violence, and argue in our defence. And we struggle to see no oneness in that.

Though Jesus is praying to the Father, you and I will in large part be the ones to answer Jesus's prayer. God's answer to Jesus' prayer is through us. We answer his prayer every time we choose how to love, who to love, where to love. It is time we answer Jesus' prayer and deal with one another in love.

It is with humble gratefulness to God, at the completion of our term of Presidency, that we place the church leadership in the loving hands of the incoming Presidential Team trusting that God's perfect Love would continue to Weave Us Together to Proclaim Life.

Nicola Teague Grundy
Vice President 
 
Prayer for this week

Holiest Mystery,
Community of love,
Creator, Christ, Spirit,
connecting, caressing, cajoling
us into the image of wholeness
tattooed on the heart and the soul
of every living thing.

We are not alone,
never isolated except in the imagination
of our wounded hearts.

Christ abide in us,
and we in Him,
and the joy of this is why we sing,
and why we pray,
and why we take our place
in this happy communion.

Thank you for this banquet of love,
this feast of joy,
this miracle of common purpose
In Christ
Amen.

Adapted from This Happy Communion by Bruce Sanguin

30/10/20

 


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


 

30 October 2020

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

Vice President

 

 


Prayer for this week

Lord of time and timelessness,

we look back with gratitude at what you have done for us and through us.

We look forward in anticipation for the completion of what you have begun again in us

We look forward in awareness, eager to respond to the signs of hope in our midst.

Teach us to rest secure in your presence, accompanying us on the way.

Inspire us to acknowledge the signs of hope

found always in Jesus, the Christ,

in whose name we pray.

Amen.