funeral poems

I’ve been inspired to write a couple of poems .  Two people in the church died recently, both were elderly.  The first received a sense of his mother ‘visiting’ him on the day he died – he was most surprised.  The second had been a choir singer and the blessing I gave at the end of the service picked up on a way of seeing her free of the pain and experiencing those moments musicians sometimes have when they become at one with the notes.  I picture Beethoven’s Ode to Joy as his reaching into the communion of the Triune God and hearing something that he could then translate.

the collection

this woman
who birthed me
came
at the end

to collect me

as if
there had never been
a separation

as if
death was not the wall
I had always thought
it was

as if
when it comes
time for me
to let
out
my
last
breath
those who have been
are welcoming me

as if
what will be
and what has been
meet
to join hands
in the circle
of my
now

now,
if you
command
the science
of this

if you
demand
the science
of this

if you
insist on
the science
of this

don’t ask me
don’t ask me

for I suspect
or even know
what you
‘discover’
in the asking

will
only
take
this
woman
away
from
me

the song

picture her
positioning herself
against the pain
straightening her back
one last time

observe her
listening for the song
this ode to joy
finding her part
entering on the eighth bar*

lean in close
hear her singing
first as admirer playing catch-up
but in no time at all
becoming alive in the notes
traversing that fleeting space
between last breath and first

* eight/waru – resurrection day

Homegrown resourcing to kick-start 2019 – Jose Reader

analysis blackboard board bubble

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As you contemplate the New Year, you might be on the hunt for fresh inspiration in your ministry, so we’ve compiled some resources that might be just what you’re looking for…

Conversations

This website, developed by Presbyterian minister, Silvia Purdie, provides resources for faith and life. On this easy-to-use website, resources are categorised by use (baptism, funeral etc) and season, so it’s easy to find what you’re looking for. See what is on offer: http://www.conversations.net.nz/ Continue reading

Encouragement & a prayer – Martin Stewart

I’m very conscious of demands that Christmas brings on ministers and their families in this festive season.  I’m currently preparing for Christmas #29 as a minister.  It should have been #30 but I skived off one time making the most of the opportunity that a shift between parish ministries gave me!
I know we all like to be creative and fresh each Christmas but the simple reality is that we are coming to the year’s end and most of us are catching a sniff of holidays looming close… so we box on, stagger, or limp towards 11am on Christmas Day, and often present ourselves to our families as tired wrecks…  Every now and then I wish Jesus was born in September! Continue reading

Universal anxiety and Psalm 139 – Hyeeun Kim

This is a shortened version of the sermon, Dr Hyeeun Kim, adjunct lecturer, Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership and lecturer at Laidlaw College, gave at the recent graduation service of Knox graduates.

belief bible book business

Have you ever woken up 2am in the morning and panicked about something that was not going well, especially, a mistake that you’d made? If yes, you have experienced universal anxiety.

Universal anxiety is based on a common belief: “If they know all of me, they won’t like me”. We all live with it at some stage of our lives. Those people who come from more challenging backgrounds, tend to have it more intensely: “If they know all of me, they will look down on me, laugh at me, hate me, reject me, humiliate me or condemn me”. Because of this anxiety, we often hide some truth about who we are and pretend something we are not, so that we can be accepted. Continue reading

Engaging with charismatic and Pentecostal Christianity today – Kevin Ward

group of people raising hands silhouette photography

In this article by Kevin Ward, senior lecturer at Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership, Kevin discusses his realisation that re-engaging with the charismatic movement is critical for our future as a Church. Find out why.

We are all only too aware of the explosive growth of charismatic and Pentecostal churches in New Zealand and elsewhere since the 1960s, and the decline of most other forms of church since the 1960s. The 60s have been called the “expressive revolution” which lead to the significant culture changes that came to be labelled post-modernity in the 1990s. This can be seen as “the recovery of the experiential to complement the cerebral”. Continue reading

Living Library – Steve Taylor

“The Living Library looks to be a wonderful resource. I look forward to strolling through the pages at a leisurely pace. Thank You.”

We tend to imagine a library as a quiet place full of books. Some new, some dusty, a place of solitude and silence. But what if books could talk? What if a library was a place of conversation, where you could ask a gifted practitioner a question, or listen to someone share from their experience? This would be a living library, connecting people with people so that theory met practice and practice met theory. Continue reading

Giving and Receiving – Lisa Wells

christmas xmas gifts presents

The annual season of gift-giving and receiving is nearly upon us. The malls have been decorated since October and the advent calendars (with Ninja Turtles, super heroes, Barbies and other commercially appropriate images) are prepped with daily chocolates for the beginning of December when the unavoidable countdown begins. What does this teach us about giving? Is it that the anticipation is sometimes better than the reality? Continue reading

Walking the talk: ethics in practice – Wayne Matheson

In the second article in this two-part series, Assembly Executive Secretary, Wayne Matheson presents some ethical scenarios for discussion and outlines the key elements of the Church’s Code of Ethics.

Our Code of Ethics applies to all representing or working for the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, including ministers, employees and volunteers.

So what does it say? Continue reading