Last Sunday (10 April) I completed a six month assignment as interim priest in the Northland-Wilton Parish, Wellington. This appointment followed the move of Canon Deborah Broome to minister in Napier.
The focus of this ministry has been to lead Sunday and other occasional worship services and to offer pastoral care for the Parish, with home visiting a priority. Two baptisms and one funeral were completed. Both Christmas, Holy Week and Easter services were highlights of this ministry time. The pre-Christmas community carol service (led jointly with the Wilton Catholics) drew 200 to attend, despite the bad weather. During Lent two study groups convened jointly with the Wadestown Anglicans. The study theme, 'Generous Hospitality' offered plenty of challenges to those of us involved.
The Northland-Wilton Anglicans humbly proclaim they are, 'The Church at the Heart of Our Community.' They are not far wrong. While at the centre of St Anne's life together is the worship of the God whom we know through Jesus Christ our Saviour, the people work hard to be caring and supportive of the wider Northland-Wilton community. The Free Food Friday barbeque offered outside St Anne's fortnightly is well appreciated and it usually takes less than an hour to get rid of the 40+ sausages available. The monthly Thursday munch draws a number of elderly and shut in people. Of particular interest is the Messy Church offered monthly on a Sunday afternoon. This offers a very creative time for children and families to be together while reflect on life and faith issues inter-generationally. The beautifully modernised St Anne's hall is well used for regular and occasional community gatherings.
While I have completed interim ministry assignments previously, notably in Island Bay and Levin Parishes, the intentional and transitional nature of such ministry has been reinforced during this time. Reflecting on this ministry I have written on this theme in a paper entitled, 'Interim Ministry Priesthood'. This is currently being reviewed. A link to it may appear soon in this News Blog.
This ministry has concluded with the appointment of the Reverend Paul McIntosh of Karori being instituted as permanent priest in charge on tomorrow - Fri 15 April.
Nga mihi ki a koe e hoa,
A message shared during worship at All Saints, Haitaitai, Wellington
Trish McBride is a member of the Association of Christian Spiritual Directors - Aotearoa New Zealand and an active spiritual director and counsellor in Wellington.
Trish McBride has experience also as a chaplain in a mental health context, counsellor and educator and writer who's lived in several different religious traditions.
In this programme she talks to Mike Gourley about the role of spiritual directors.
This is part 1 of a 2 part series on Spiritual Direction. Part 2 is an interview with Anne Hadfield a past executive member of the Association of Christian Spiritual Directors. Watch this space.
Indeed, my introduction to Christianity as an adult was gained by regularly attending mass at Our Lady of Victories Church in Sockburn, Christchurch. The depth of community, scholarship and devotion that I have witnessed amongst Catholics is immense. My current spiritual director is a Catholic sister. The teaching of Alexander Shaia has greatly impacted me during the last year. We count amongst our closest friends a Catholic couple who have left the Church to join a protestant one; who are deeply disturbed by some of the hierarchical abuse issues they are witnessing in the Church.
I was prompted to make this post after one of this couple made a Facebook post referring to this article:
From the National Catholic Reporter, it begins:
I single out these two quotations from the Bishop elect's 'sayings' as striking a chord with me. “So it’s about using the skills and passion I possess, and the experiences I’ve had in the last 25 years… and bringing those to bear to help the Anglican Church to realign a little bit... to realign to be a force for transformation in society.”
I like that. Not throwing the baby out with the bath water. Recognising that there's a bit of treasure (taonga) there in the old girl. Affirming the treasure, while facing change in those areas where the church is on the wrong path; heading in the wrong direction and focusing on the less important things than on the majors like justice and compassion and practical loving action.
Justin's obvious compassion and commitment to the weak, marginalised and those on the 'edge' of society excites me. I wasn't at the electoral synod, but I want to offer a great thank you to everyone there who had the vision, faith, fortitude, courage and other commendable things to choose this man to lead the church forward in the southern North Island. I am excited too to read that it seems this man is a man of prayer who will act by seeking to discern God's will each step of the way.
Kia Kaha Justin... Stand tall and be strong.
A Prayer for this time...
"I pray for this man of peace and courage
May Justin and Jenny, their family and close community,
Be a strength for one another always on this journey.
Increase wisdom and discernment in this waiting Bishop.
Grant him and the people he will lead as Christ's shepherd
Unity, faith, renewal of hope, respectful relations and
Mobilise them as one in Christ's name to serve faithfully,
So that healing, hope and honour may abound in our land."
This is a place where we can discuss mentoring, ministry and what we have found helpful for sustaining our inner lives and good relationships.