29 November 2020
DOING OUR WORK
Over the next few months.
How we do our theology in the place we are in?
It is surprising what areas we are led into by the fact that we are one of the oldest parishes in Papatoetoe. The cemetery is recognised as part of the district's heritage. While our main focus is on the living, we also have responsibility for graves of some of the early settlers in the district.
You may have noticed that the cemetery has had some of the very old gravestones restored and made safer, and that the angelís head is back on the monument under the big tree.. This work has been done with a small grant from the Manukau Heritage Fund supported by our Local Board. There is ongoing work to be done and a grant for stage two has been applied for. Dave Pearson and David Bradbury are our specialist heritage architects who are overseeing the process. As they move between Christchurch and Auckland a lot at the moment their expertise from down there is being used here as well. We also need to thank our team of weedeater users who faithfully keep the cemetery trim Ė they donít like to be named - but some of you will have seen them busy in the hot summer days.
Often, we have the opportunity to talk with people when they come to wander around the cemetery, conversations which can lead in many directions. Mrs James Hunter Ė the Elizabeth Hunter of Mrs Hunterís tea rooms , whom Hunters Corner is named after is buried in our graveyard and the local town centre association has asked if we can have a Mrs Hunterís tea party to help the district remember its heritage, sometime in the winter months. These are opportunities for us to connect with the people around us and for them to get to know us in a natural and non threatening way. Never underestimate how these encounters can grow into friendships and sharing of our faith by being welcoming, nor how much we can learn from others.
As you all know, our parish is participating in the new way of training ministers with Nathan Pedro being a great addition to our church. I remind you that instead of students of the ministry going to Knox in Dunedin for a number of years, as in the past, the ministry training scheme is now run by the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership, based in Dunedin but also with an Auckland centre.
Students for the Ministry of Word and Sacraments within the PCANZ have usually completed, or are completing, their theological degrees by the time they enter the selection process and are then accepted for two year ministry formation by the Knox Centre. In the new scheme they are placed in a parish as an intern. 70% of the internís year is spent in supervised ministry, normally in the parish setting, and 30% of their time is spent in structured learning, including the attendance of block courses organised by the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership. The learning requirements of the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership, including the internís attendance of block courses, have priority over the ministry needs of the local congregation.
As a parish we benefit from having another person around to contribute as well as our mentoring of the intern. Now we are taking part in another experiment as for three months after Easter, [starting April 7] Nathan is exchanging with Tani Haunga, who is at St Andrews, Symonds Street.
Interestingly, this reflects a very old connection when from 1854 on the ministers of St Johns and St Andrews, John Macky and David Bruce often exchanged pulpits and shared ministry in the Auckland region. Tani, like Nathan, will bring considerable gifts and a lot of experience to us. Those who are part of the ministry review groups for Nathan will enjoy Tani, as you continue to serve the church as a whole in helping to form its new leaders with your insights and careful observations. She is looking forward to getting to know us. We look forward to working and growing in faith with both Tani and Nathan and do know that you are all part of this with your encouragement and wise feedback. We all have our part to play in producing our new ministers. It gives me great hope for the future of our church, which although it may look very different, will be guided by able and faithful people, called by God into Godís service.
Paul prayed for the church at Phillippi and his prayer still stands for us and those churches around us.
And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, 11having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God. [Philippians 1: 9 Ė 11]
May God be beside you as you walk through Lent towards Good Friday and the hope of Easter Day.
Rev. Margaret Anne Low
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