23 February 2018
In the Community
Dr Allan Davidson in his speech at the 150th celebrations mentioned that
"Public worship Sunday by Sunday is the glue which holds together the life of a parish. But the parish also has a public face through the men and women who day by day live out their discipleship in the world. ?.. As well as the many activities within the parish people have been involved in witness beyond it. The Dingwall Home and Friendship House, to mention just two examples, are places where people from this parish have given lively expression to their faith.
How do you begin to measure the impact which a parish has on the life of people? How do you calculate the influence of what happens on Sunday on what people do on Monday and the rest of the week in their work, their family, their recreation?"
To reply to Allan?s question is probably impossible and only God really knows the effect of the people of this parish on our community. .Love cannot be measured, integrity weighed or truth counted.
From the earliest times people from this parish have built and maintained the community. They been involved in education, starting with the building and staffing of the first school. Many members of the present congregation gave and still give service to School boards and PTA?s , how could one estimate the impact of those people?s service in the community?
Some of our people are Justice?s of the Peace, an unpaid task in which it is necessary to be available to the public who need their services. It makes a difference to have someone who can be trusted and can give good guidance when you are seeking help for documentation, especially if you are a new immigrant feeling your way through the strange customs of your new land. Who can measure the impact of a friendly face at a time of stress?
Those who help in Youth groups, scouts guides, the Brigades, touch the lives of many young people. On Wednesday at the 150th lunch I heard a wonderful story about a 17 year old whose name was being written on the banner of memory for those who have gone before us. Many had given up on her before she came to Dingwell and met one of our church families. Before her tragic death she had changed from a frightened defensive girl into a young woman who was making good choices for her life. this had taught the family concerned never to give up on anyone. How many more young people, many of whom you will never hear about, did the people of this parish touch with caring love, and in turn were challenged in their own attitudes?
As the hoardings arise round the city and we are reminded that local body elections are about to take place. I see a familiar face which appears in the congregation of St Johns.. Politicians are public people, so I asked Ian about his role in the council.. Ian McGechie, has served his community, first on the Papatoetoe City Council and since 1989, for fifteen years, he has been on the Manukau City Council and at present chairs the Council?s Transport Committee as well as being involved in a number of other community bodies. Why is Ian on the Council? He feels he can make a difference when Council policies are being made which involve health, safety and a community which cares about how young people grow and develop. Policies well made make a huge difference to our daily lives and to the way in which the community can relate .
We are not called to be an isolated group keeping itself pure, Jesus calls us to follow him into the streets, workplaces and shopping areas of our City. To be responsible citizens, responding to our community by being the salt, making things tastier, bringing life and colour, being the yeast where one little bit changes the whole loaf.
By the grace of God this parish has been doing that for 150 years, seen and unseen, and in faith we continue to follow Jesus into a very different community to that of 150 years ago. May God bless you on your journey.
Margaret Anne Low
[Copies of Dr Allan Davidson?s speech and of Rev Sharon Ensor?s sermon are on our website, or phone the office and ask for a copy to be left out for you]
Rev. Margaret Anne Low
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