The Burning Bush

burning-bush-logoWhat’s with our logo? After our fires this week it seems like a good time to figure out why a bush on fire is the symbol for our church.

You’ll remember the story – Moses was out with his sheep one day and he spotted a fire. He rushed to check it out, then realised that the bush was not blackening or burning out. The fire just stayed there and kept on burning. He came close and heard God speak to him out of the fire, and the conversation changed everything, for Moses and for his people. Continue reading

The Port Hills Fires by Silvia Purdie

port-hills-fireWednesday 15 February 2017 won’t be easily forgotten by the people of Cashmere. The fires had started on the summit of the Port Hills on Monday afternoon. By Wednesday morning the focus of fire-fighting was over the hill as the fires pushed down towards Governors Bay. Smoke billowed up and over the top, down over Cashmere. Our home is at the head of Bowenvale Avenue, and by lunchtime the valley was filled with smoke, and ash was drifting. You could hardly see the top of Sugarloaf. Continue reading

A less regulatory church – Martin Stewart

I wonder a lot about how we are going to get through this season of decline in the church.
We’ve been told for long enough that emerging generations of Christians do not relate to or own denominational distinctiveness – they relate to a community of living, kind and faithful people.  In light of this, I think we have to loosen up and be more enabling of what these people are saying to us!  I figure that a continuation of our regulatory approach to things will not help here.  The Book of Order will not save us!  Continue reading

St Paul’s Opunake: the light shines again

A walk-through Christmas display is one of the many new ways St Paul's is serving its community

A walk-through Christmas display is one of the many new ways St Paul’s is serving its community

Four years ago, St Paul’s was a church with a congregation of 25 in the rural town of Opunake in Taranaki (population 1360). They had no employed minister and no children or families attending their Sunday worship or connected with their church.

The leaders decided that if they were to survive they would need to focus on mission. But where should they start? Continue reading

Sermon for New Year – Andrew Nicol

Andrew is the minister at St Margaret’s in Christchurch.  He preached this sermon on New Year’s Day 2017 at a combined service of the Knox, St Margaret’s St Mark’s, St Lukes & The Village congregations, held in the St Andrew’s College Memorial Chapel.

According to Rolling Stone magazine “Won’t Be Fooled Again” by The Who is the 134th greatest song of all time.  For the young at heart I mean the theme music from CSI Miami.

From a certain point of view, this may be a pretty apt New Year resolution.

The song gets to the point most clearly in its famous last line, “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

At the turn of the year we are again faced with news of self-interest, power and control.  Somewhere between our memory and our dreams it can seem that things don’t really change.  Continue reading

Vaughan Park Retreats

2017 Retreat Programme

Vaughan Park Anglican Retreat Centre in Long Bay, Auckland has recently launched its Retreat Programme for 2017. Vaughan Park is a special place to go on retreat – a place of hospitality, conversation, healing and spiritual encounter. We would love to welcome people to this sacred space.

Over the years, we have enjoyed the company of many people from the PCANZ who have come to stay or held meetings at Vaughan Park. Might it be possible for Vaughan Park and the Retreat Programme to be mentioned in the next Candour blog with a link to the Programme? We think that there may be some Retreats that would be of interest to your readers.

If there is any further information we can help you with, please let us know.

Thank you for your help and support.

Blessings on your day,

February and March:

For full details and to register please click on the linked retreat heading that you are interested in.

email@vaughanpark.org.nz

Christmas Candour

A few final thoughts for the year…

  1. 25th. This year is so good – a Sunday Christmas… almost a whole week between last Sunday and Christmas Eve. And, no meetings! Glory to God in the Highest!  Could we look to Sunday-ising Christmas?
  2. Summer heat. Some emperor decreed that we should celebrate the birth of Jesus on 25 December but he failed to take into account the implications for people from the other hemisphere. Silly man!  Actually, I don’t even think he knew there was another hemisphere!
    I quite like the lights and the wrapped up warm idea of a winter Christmas but can’t be bothered going to the other hemisphere to experience it and missing out on summer here!  I also think that some separation of Christmas from summer holidays and school starting would be more helpful for families struggling to pay all the bills. If it wasn’t for strawberries and raspberries I would advocate for a June Christmas celebration in NZ.
    Lynne Barb has offered some thoughtful things about a southern hemisphere Christmas here: http://www.lynnebaab.com/blog/some-christmas-thoughts-from-the-souther
  3. Timing. I feel like I have had the best year of my life – truly, I have had a lot of fun and inspiration – new friendships, writing, poems, tramping, an Australian adventure, my band getting together after 34 years, big exciting developments in our church life, and my daughter Hana getting engaged to our dear friend Will. But I got the timing wrong. I conked out two weeks ago and now I am limping to Christmas.  I have no complaints though – being in a team ministry has made it possible to get through a lot of things, but I’m done.  I hope the stuff for Christmas passes muster for I am drawing very deeply from the well!
    4.  Rest.  Anne and I have holidays starting mid-January, so we are holding the fort until then.  Fortunately, it is usually a slow patch, and there are no meetings scheduled (I wonder what it will be like to have a whole string of evenings off!).  We need the rest, and it looks like it will come to us.  May it also come to you and your loved ones.  Maybe that is the best thing about a summer Christmas, we work it hard until Christmas Day and then the NZ world stops, takes a breath and kicks off its shoes.  So…

    May the barbeque not run out of gas.
    May the car not break down or the tent rip.
    May the phone not ring with sad tidings.
    May you find beautiful spaces to re-create and re-imagine in.
    May the company you keep be light and friendly.
    May the earth not shake, the seas not roar, nor your skin burn.
    May your jandaled feet not blister or crack.
    May the cool air in the evenings refresh you.
    May the challenges of next year come slowly.
    And may the God who graces us in Jesus Christ,
    so grace you that your cup regularly overflows!

 

Thank you for an amazing year: 2016 in review

Thank you to all of our readers: 2016 is not quite finished yet, and we have already reached some great milestones here on the Candour blog:

  • the blog reached more people,
  • we have posted more stories,
  • received more comments, and
  • have more followers than in 2015.

These are all good signs – indicators that you are finding the Candour blog useful, so thanks for the endorsement of our work. Continue reading