As the words of one of our songs goes, “Advent has come, Christmas is near”
It all seems somewhat surreal. We are in the midst of a global pandemic and yet preparing for the celebration of Christmas. To have come from lockdown into a time of rapid preparation for our Christmas celebrations requires us to make some adjustment to our lives.
Some good news during our time of lockdown. Congratulations to the Reverend Merlene Walker who received her permission to officiate as Deacon in the Pukekohe Parish, working with me mainly in the area of pastoral care. We did acknowledge this in the Zoom service at the time.
My apologies for not publishing a November Messenger but with the changing times we have experienced, our planned activities for that month were already being cancelled before you would have received that edition. This time I hope we can proceed with our plans and celebrate in a significant and meaningful way the wonderful coming of
Christ to live on earth, amongst the people and to experience the highs and lows just like each of us.
In church, as we enter the season of Advent again this year, we will be lighting our candles on our Advent wreath. What better things to reflect on than those four words that we associate with the candles, hope, joy, peace and love? These are all brought together by our faith.
It is our faith in our loving and caring God that can help to sustain us in these times. It is these four words that are the reason Jesus came and was born. He came into a torn and broken world and for that birth, more than 2000 years ago, seeking to bring hope, peace joy and love to all people, and for his coming, we are eternally grateful.
Unfortunately, not all the people accepted him then and the divisions that separated people in Jesus’ time continue today. The lack of acceptance of differences of beliefs, values and the consequent actions of a significant number of people in our world, with the focus being on “me and us” more than “we”, doesn’t help.
However, it is important that we remember that in order to care for others and our community we must first care for ourselves.
There are two periods of preparation and reflection in our church calendar when we are intended to stop and reflect on what we do and how we react to others. The Season of Lent as the lead up to Easter and the Season of Advent as we lead up to Christmas are times to reflect, re-evaluate our values which demonstrate how we use our God-given gifts of time, talents and money. It is time to stop and to count our many blessings.
I heard comments on television this week where a presenter was saying the word “sorry” is over-used in our world today. To me it is just the opposite. The words, sorry, please and thank you are not used enough. We all say and do things that are wrong and can hurt others. This so often happens unintentionally. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes. The words please and thank you remind us to be grateful and that we should not take the love, generosity and care extended to us for granted.
If we look at our Eucharistic services, this is part of the pattern of what we do and say each time we gather. We say sorry to God and to others and then we must accept the forgiveness that we receive through Christ, forgive others and ourselves and move on.
In our prayers and in our prayers of Confession, Absolution, Intercessions and Great Thanksgiving we again give thanks to God for all the blessings in our lives and we need to give thanks for others. Our failure to be able to see the world through the eyes of other people and to try to understand their experiences is unfortunate.
Helping with the food parcels or with our Seasons grief and loss programmes has helped to broaden the world view for many of our helpers.
Even though people may only live a few streets apart, their worlds may be very different. This has really been demonstrated through our recent months.
In this Season of Advent let us spend some time reflecting on why Jesus came to live amongst the people, and the peace, joy, hope and love that we can bring to others.
Among any challenges we face in life may you find the same peace, joy, hope and love.
Christmas blessings to you all,
ARE YOU ABLE TO HELP PLEASE?
If you are able to assist with gifts to go out with our Christmas food hampers this year or with contributions to the food hampers themselves, this would be really appreciated. If it is possible, we would appreciate these being left at the church by Sunday 19th December. Please leave any gifts unwrapped so we can determine the recipient’s age and if it is most suitable for a boy, girl or either. Thank you.
Let us remember the words of the song.
He came singing love, and he lived singing love;
he died singing love. He arose in silence.
For the love to go on we must make it our song;
you and I be the singers.
He came singing faith, and he lived singing faith;
he died singing faith. He arose in silence.
For the faith to go on we must make it our song;
you and I be the singers.
He came singing hope, and he lived singing hope;
he died singing hope. He arose in silence.
For the hope to go on we must make it our song;
you and I be the singers.
He came singing peace, and he lived singing peace;
he died singing peace. He arose in silence.
For the peace to go on we must make it our song;
you and I be the singers.
So yes, it is now our turn to be the ones to carry on the love, the faith, the hope and the peace as we make these our song, we must be the singers.
What does that mean to us as individuals?
What does it mean to us as a parish?
What does it mean in our homes, as we relate to our families and friends,
To our neighbours and our community, to our world – God’s world?
Bishop Ross Bay recorded a sermon for use in online worship on Advent Sunday 2021.
The Gospel passage was Luke 21:25-36, and the text of the sermon follows:
I was interested to hear last week that the Cambridge Dictionary has announced its Word of the Year for 2021. It’s a word that has been looked up globally online 243,000 times this year, having not previously figured in any noticeable way. The word spiked earlier in the year when the NASA craft that bears this name made its descent to Mars in February.
The word is perseverance. The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as “continued effort to do or achieve something, even when this is difficult or takes a long time”. The team at Cambridge think that the word perfectly captures the undaunted will of people across the world to never give up, despite the many challenges of 2021. Cambridge
Dictionary is the top website in the world for learners of English, and they say that perseverance is not a common word for students of English to have in their vocabulary.
I think that perseverance is a perfect Advent word, a word that should very much be part of the vocabulary of Christian believers, and maybe in this year more than any other. When I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by work back in July, I jokingly said, “I could do with a week in Level 4 right now just to make everything stop so I can catch my breath.” A few weeks later I got more than any of us could have imagined or ever wanted, and most of 4 months on, at least in Auckland, we are sitting hopefully on the edge of some easing restrictions that will allow activity to begin to return to workplaces and communities, and of course to our churches.
Perseverance has been a virtue much in demand for people. It is a virtue that has been a mark of the people of God from the beginning.
We might think of the family in the ark waiting for the floods to recede; of Abram and Sarai as they longed to see the promise of a child come to pass; of the Hebrew people travelling to the Promised Land; of Exiles in Babylon waiting for their return to Jerusalem; of the many years with the absence of prophecy and the expectation of a Messiah; of the establishment of Christian faith in an Empire hostile to it.
Jesus warned and encouraged people that their faith would need to be worked out in situations of great challenge and even mortal danger.
We have read today from part of his teaching in the Temple in the days leading up to his arrest. His words to the disciples take on this increasing focus about things to come, things they must prepare for, about maintaining hope in the coming kingdom of God. This is the final verse we heard: “Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the
strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
That’s a statement about perseverance, and in it I see two things for those who seek to find themselves standing at the coming of the Son of Man. One is discernment and the other is prayer.
The whole of this short passage is wrapped around signs for which people must be alert. Jesus urges people to pay attention to what goes on in the world around them and to discern the activity of God within it. The parable of the fig tree reminds them that this kind of discerning interpretation is not foreign to them, and that they must learn to
develop a spiritual discernment that can help them to identify, point to, and join with the activity of God.
But as this won’t always be an easy thing to do, followers of Jesus will also need to draw on the strength of God through prayer. Both these things are works of prayer, I believe, for they are works and gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit who enables us to understand God’s work, and it is the Spirit who gives us the strength to undertake it with God.
What are we seeing now, and for what do we need strength, that we might persevere and stand with Christ and before Christ in the work of the kingdom?
As we move into this new Covid-19 Protection Framework, the traffic light system, vaccination certificates are the key issue. They will unlock the opportunity for people to take part in a lot of community activities. In a lot of cases they will determine whether people can keep their jobs.
As an organisation that gathers groups of people together for worship and activities, the Church is subject to this as well. We are having to find ways to work within the new framework and all of the requirements and restrictions that it places on us as we go about our work. We are a community that puts a high value on hospitality and welcome and tries to offer a place to belong for people no matter what their circumstances. It will be hard for us to tell people that they cannot come to gatherings that require certificates, especially for corporate worship.
As you will know I have been an encourager of vaccinations as an important mechanism in building the health resilience of the community to manage and ultimately overcome the impact of this virus. The population is reaching a strong overall vaccination level.
For a variety of reasons some people are choosing not to be vaccinated, and some people are not able to be.
We are constantly asking ourselves what it means to show love for one another, love for our neighbour, and within this health environment we believe that vaccination is a tool for that.
But in the community in general there is a great risk that the unvaccinated population will be judged and blamed for their decision, not just unable to fully participate in many activities, but spurned for their decision.
That is not who we are.
We must work at what it means to show love for all people and how we will offer ministry to all through this time. We are having to make some necessary decisions about how to manage church life while not losing sight of the fact that God’s love is for the whole world and for all people. We must be driven by love and not by fear.
A friend of mine recently sent me this quote from Bishop Steve Charleston, a retired bishop in the USA. He wrote:
“We are still fighting the pandemic. I am not talking about the medical one, but the other one, the psychological one: fear and anger. The two go hand in hand. As fear continues to chase people into corners, fracturing community and obscuring reality, people become more frustrated and angrier. Against this condition there is no vaccine other than faith. We must be motivated by something stronger than what makes us afraid.
We must act out of a greater purpose than anger. Faith is the antidote and every faith community the clinic. Pray strength to all those seeking to replace fear with love and anger with compassion.”
As we persevere through this pandemic, we are discerning what is best to do as we play our part in a health response. As we do so, may we not lose sight of the work of God and the presence of the kingdom, and persevere through all that is challenging us about how we continue to be the Body of Christ in this time. How do we reach out to all with the love of God?
May the Spirit grant us the gift of discerning wisdom as we read the signs of our time, the gift of strength to persevere through all that is challenging, that we may stand as the people of God before the Son of Man.
Sunday Readings for December 2021
December 5: First reading: Baruch 5: 1–9; Gospel: Luke 3: 1-6
December 12: Isaiah 12: 2-6; Luke 3: 7-18
December 19: Luke 1: 47-55 Luke 1: 39-45
December 26: 1 Samuel 2: 18-20, 26 Luke 2: 41-52
VISITS TO THE CHURCH PREMISES DURING RED LEVEL COVID RESTRICTIONS
- Scan in or sign in
- Have your vaccination certificate ready to be viewed (remember these do expire after 6 months)
- Wear a face mask when meeting with others who are not part of your bubble
- Keep a minimum distance of a metre
- Use hand sanitiser which is in all buildings
- One visitor at a time to the parish office
- Please do not congregate on the steps in front of the office
- Stay in the area in which you are working or meeting when other groups are in progress
REGULAR OPPORTUNITIES FOR WORSHIP
Sunday Worship Times
Each Sunday 8am & 9.30am Holy Communion
(Currently in one kind – wafer only)
1st Sunday 11.15am Holy Communion (Nora Brown Hall)
St Paul’s Buckland
Only 2nd Sunday this month 11.15am Holy Communion
Everyone must scan or sign in for services held in church. Signing in must be done by scanning the QR code or by signing your name and adding contact details on a slip of paper and placing this in the posting box.
We do ask that people wear a mask and use hand sanitiser.
Vestry intends applying for exemption to hold a service for a group of up to 25 unvaccinated people in the Nora Brown Hall in parallel with the 9.30am service. I am sorry but we do not have the authority to do this at the moment. Government requirements prevent us meeting together at this time.
Please do not read this as a judgement statement. It is an interim measure to try to help reduce Covid in our community. We know there are people who are not able to be vaccinated for a number of reasons and apparently vaccination certificates are available for those who qualify for an exemption.
Remember: We are all children of God and while we endure restrictions, some separation is deemed helpful in reducing the transmission of the virus, so let us hold each other in prayer for the healing of our community and our world.
Vestry have had two surveys relating to our response to the Covid information we have been given. These relate to the formation of a policy document for the diocese in relation to how we are to respond to the vaccine situation.
None of us wants to see a division within the community and the church. Government policy is aiming to reduce the presence of Covid in the community.
We are now able to gather, in person, with 100 people if we all have vaccination certificates.
We intend seeking an exemption to have services for 25 people who are unvaccinated in Nora Brown. The procedure is not yet in place for this but I am hoping it will soon be available.
We have continued to have a Zoom service each Sunday morning throughout lockdown and we will carry on with this. Thank you to everyone who has helped to facilitate this.
We know that not all of you will feel ready to come back to church in person at the moment. You should wait until you are ready and take your time before taking this step. It is particularly important that you should stay at home if you feel unwell.
We will continue running Zoom services as well as gathering in person in church and it is my intention to do this on an ongoing basis.
If you know of anyone who like to have the online link, please let me know or tell them that they just need to give me their email address.
Replacement of the Memorial Arch
Agreement has now been reached on the insurance payment for the replacement of the arch. The diocese has offered a top-up for the expenses if this is needed.
The new arch will be further back from the road with a seat joining the remains of the original arch to the replacement. Do feel free to talk to Jan about this sometime when you are on site if you would like to know more about this.
The settlement removes the insurer completely from the project and it is over to us to proceed as we wish.
Council applications have now been made. The building date depends on the availability of the specialists we are working with. Some of our contractors have travel plans which will delay the process. Being realistic, we are aiming for the dedication to be around Armistice Day 2022, 11th November, which is the same time we had planned for this
Church Seismic Strengthening
The structural engineer and the architect are trying to improve the visual appearance of the proposed nave reinforcement steelwork. The architect considered the suggested drawings were not really suitable.
A mutually acceptable design has been agreed and the structural drawings are being amended. The computer visualisation model is also now being completed by the architect ready for our presentation.
Once we have the material available, we will have a presentation of this work to a parish meeting. We will let you know the date when this is confirmed.
Our thanks to all those who have kept the grounds in such good order during the period of lockdown. This is much
appreciated. A special thank you to the Browns for maintaining the community garden.
Most food parcels contain silver beet from our community garden. Thank you to Leaderbrand vegetables: We now add lettuce and broccoli to our food parcels along with potatoes, carrots and onions supplied by A S Wilcox and Sons.
Watch this space for a more information about a Community Networks Franklin Expo in March of 2022. Pauline Brown, Vicky Mee and Jan are involved in the organisation along with members of Waiuku Zero Waste and
hopefully many more will be coming in to join us for the event. Anyone who has any suggestions for this event please speak to one of the parish team who are involved.
Karakia for Creation
E te Atua o te aroha, our loving Creator,
Mountains and oceans,
Mighty kauri and playful tui,
All creation belongs to You.
Remind us of our role as caretakers and gardeners.
Send your Spirit to renew our hurting world.
Give us courage and strength
To simplify our life, to share what we have,
To bear the cost of change
And sow seeds of hope for future generations.
Through Jesus Christ who is reconciling all things even through the
PROPOSED DATES FOR MAJOR EVENTS 2022
Parish Fair!!! Possibly 20th January??
Unfortunately, we have had to postpone the fair until January ?? 2022. It will of course be subject to any Government requirements at that time.
We desperately need income because as you can well imagine with Covid, our income has dropped and like all of us we still have outgoing commitments to meet. Not only are our offerings down, but we have also not had income from people using the premises. The premises have been very busy and well used to be able to offer support to people in need.
Sunday 1st May
Musical performances and floral displays
Launch Fundraising for Restoration
Saturday 12th November
St Andrew’s Restoration Fundraising Dinner at the Pukekohe Town Hall.
WHIO (Blue Ducks)
By Keith Gardiner
Whio or Blue Ducks are incredibly special. They are found only in New Zealand, and only on rivers with rapids and rocks, often on the edge of forests. Whio have no close relatives anywhere in the world.
Whio do not quack. The male duck goes ‘fee-o, fee-o, which is why they are called ‘Whio.’
The ducklings have extra-big, webbed feet to help them swim against the strong currents. The ducklings dart between the boulders, catching insects in the water or scraping them off rocks with their rubbery bills.
Whio eat mayflies and stonefly nymphs and caddisfly larvae insects.
The parents are great parents. For three months they look after their ducklings, teaching them how to survive and protecting them from danger.
The wild rivers are full of dangers and because people are changing the wild rivers this, along with the threat from stoats, mean the Whio are threatened.
Health and Safety Policy
THERE IS A DEFIBRILLATOR INSTALLED BY THE OFFICE DOOR
A copy of the Parish Health and Safety Policy, along with the processes required for the implementation of the policy, is available on the shelf at the back of the church, published on our website or available from the parish office.
An evacuation plan is in each area for the church and complex.
Reid Anderson Hall: Assembly area is the car park behind the hall unless the location of the emergency situation is on the south wall preventing evacuation on that side of the building. In this case, the assembly area is by the road in front of the church.
Nora Brown Hall: Assembly area is by the road in front of the church or on the vicarage lawn depending on where the emergency is.
Other rooms in the complex: Assembly area move to the vicarage lawn.
St Andrew’s Church: Assembly area is by the road at the front of the church.
St Paul’s Church: Assembly area is by the road at the front of the church.
First aid kits and accident reporting sheets are located:
1. Reid Anderson – In the cupboard over the small hand basin, by the back door in the kitchen.
2. Nora Brown – on the shelf above the microwave. Record sheets are next to the microwave.
3. Parish office – 2nd to top shelf on left side in the back room. The office is locked when unattended.
Forms are to be completed as soon as the accident has been dealt with.
Treatment, including resources that are used, is to be recorded on the sheet.
Vicar: The Rev’d Jan Wallace 238-7723 Home 238-7228 Office 0274-521-366 Mob
Chairperson: Jan Wallace
Treasurer and acting Vestry secretary: Karen Stevens
Wardens: Pauline Brown 021-1823703 Glenis Kerr 238-5136
Synod Reps: Vicky Mee
Vestry members: Jocelyn Brodie, Renton Brown, Richard Gibbons, Maggie Gibson, Helen Halliwell, Julie Perelini, Philip Watson
Buckland Reps: Jim Moore, Vicky Mee
Parish Ministry Team
Vestry Wardens: Pauline Brown and Glenis Kerr; Family: Gael Crimmins; Communications: Cecily Daroux;
Community: Vicky Mee Sustainability Pauline Brown; Pastoral Care: Rev Jan Wallace, Rev Merlene Walker
Treasurer Karen Stevens
Central Vestry Trust Board Treasurer Ros Phillips
Parish Recorder Keith Gardner (Parish Envelope Scheme)
Parish Administrator Judith Tucker
Office Hours Monday to Thursday | 9am ~ 2pm
Address 31 – 37 Queen St, PO Box 338, Pukekohe
Email address firstname.lastname@example.org
Op Shop 9am ~ 12 noon on Fridays and Saturdays. Wednesdays have been suspended for now. The Op Shop will not be taking donations until the New Year. Thank you.
Community Programmes at Pukekohe Anglican Church
SPACE For you and baby. For the first year of baby’s life. Several groups are run each week to keep the age range of the babies within about 3 months. Term time only.
OASIS Music & Coffee group. A natural progression from Space for preschool children. Mon & Fri 9.15am ~11am
Term time only.
THE SELWYN FOUNDATION For the older members of the community. A hot lunch is available for a small charge.
Transport can also be arranged. Tuesdays 9.30am
ST ANDREW’S SENIORS’ FELLOWSHIP GROUP For older members of the community – exercise, morning tea and cards. 9.15 am Thursdays.
SEASONS An after-school group held at 4pm on Thursdays for children who have experienced a significant loss
or grief in their lives. An adult programme runs at various times. Phone 0274521366 for information.
CHRISTMAS WORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
All require vaccination certificates
Sunday 12th December 7.30pm – Nine Lessons and Carols
If fine this will be on the vicarage lawn – please bring a torch and folding chair if you are able
Monday 20th December – Blue Christmas Service
Acknowledging that Christmas can be a hard time especially when there are people missing from our Christmas table for any reason at all. It may be recognising the challenges we have faced this year.
Friday 24th December, Christmas Eve
❖ 5pm service incorporating a family Christmas Pageant on the vicarage lawn
❖ 7.30pm Buckland Christmas Service, St Paul’s
❖ 11pm Christmas Eve Mass (Number restricted to 100 – will be relayed to hall if needed)
Saturday 25th December, Christmas Day
8am and 9.30am
Sunday 26th Boxing Day one service at 9am at St Andrew’s