Are cellphones our newest worship tool? – Jose Reader

Jose works with the Communication Department of the PCANZ

Go on, admit it. You’ve taken a peek at your phone during a service, haven’t you?  If you can genuinely say “no” to this, then I suspect (though I have no hard proof) that you are among the minority.

Today our smartphones are always with us. We use them to talk to each other, purchase things, play games, take photos and even do our banking. Despite their increasingly ubiquitous use in other parts of our lives, smartphones remain largely invisible in church (surreptitious texting during services not withstanding). Continue reading

Why churches should partner with secular community groups – Jose Reader

Jose Reader is currently the Church’s associate communications manager, and has filled various roles within the Presbyterian Church’s communications team over the last 12 years.

This article from Christianity Today poses an interesting question: “How can we be light in the darkness when we only hang out with other candles?”. Author, Karl Vaters, explains how his Church used to partner exclusively with other Christian ministries, and now up to half the groups that they partner with for local community service are not Christian-based.

“No, we haven’t gone soft on our faithfulness to the gospel. And we have standards for those we will and will not partner with,” he says in the article.

His words resonated with me, because over the years I have worked in this role, I have heard many concerns about how we are in danger of watering down the gospel message to connect with people outside the church. One thing I took out of the article was that mission with the community and the sharing the gospel are not mutually exclusive; they can, and do, live side-by-side – certainly in Karl’s congregation, and no doubt in many of our Presbyterian and Uniting parishes around the country.

Read and be inspired by what this congregation is getting out of partnering with non-church groups: 8 reasons churches should partner with secular community groups – [link to: http://www.christianitytoday.com/karl-vaters/2017/march/8-reasons-churches-partner-secular-community-groups.html] (Thanks to Lisa Wells for sharing this article with me.)

 

Angles on Preaching I: “Yet this I call to mind” – Geoff New

Rev Dr Geoff New is Dean of Studies at the Knox Centre for Ministry & Leadership and is based in Dunedin.  He has a particular passion for preaching and has been a director in the Kiwi-Made Preaching organisation since 2012.

Lam 3:19-23

19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
20 I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

These words do not belong in the place we find them: The Book of Lamentations. When you consider the sweep of Lamentations, these words seem like a slip of the pen. A major slip. Continue reading

The Edge – Roxy Gahegan

Roxy is the chaplain at St. Cuthbert’s college in central Auckland. It’s her first call, and not at all where she was expecting to be when she set out on her internship. 

Last week I took a mid-week chapel service for a group of senior school girls. I began by introducing them to the book of psalms as a collection of songs and prayers that reflect the people of Israel’s responses to the journey of life and faith. Some of them are raw, and some polished. Some are personal and some are communal. Continue reading

Ecclesiastical Memes II – Darryl Tempero

Darryl is the Mission Coach for Alpine Presbytery and Minister of Kiwi Church, a new-ish congregation in Christchurch

It’s time to change our language folks.

First off, let me ask you something – Where do you go to family?

When I ask people that, they name a place where their family live and they go visit them there.  I push back and suggest that’s where they go to a family gathering, but it’s not the only place their family gathers.  Eventually we settle on the fact that this question doesn’t make sense.  We don’t go to family, we are family. Continue reading

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

Seeing Dimly

Some thoughts on translating the gospel in our culture by Martin Stewart

It seems to me that this is a season for renegotiation with our communities.
If we conduct a wedding or a funeral, we need to attend to the fact that many of those gathered do not share the faith we speak from – some may engage with aspects of it, others will resist it… many will have a prejudicial attitude that we can either reinforce or destabilize.

It does not seem appropriate to me anymore to roll out scriptural passages or make faith statements without some attempt at translating and gently inviting people into a God-filled way of seeing.  We can no longer assume people speak or understand our language.

It is a delegate space to manoeuvre in.  The opportunities for a gospel conversation are less frequent than they once were.  We can blow it instantly by rolling out the cliches, preaching at people, and talking as if we know everything.  We have plenty of cliches, many have a long history and need to be put to bed.  We have  got good at preaching at people who expect us to behave in this manner, but they have become few in number. And, of course, we do not know everything – we only get to see through a mirror dimly – we need to be careful, open, and honest about the space between what is and what will be.

This poem emerged out of an introduction I offered at a recent funeral – the image came from the hills around Makara in Wellington.
fence

seeing dimly
we want clarity before the mysteries
but we gain barely a glimpse
a passing shadow
a leaf falling from a tree

some have practiced a life of glimpsing
exhibiting a quiet confidence
insight to what exists in the space between things
knowing enough to know

an unforced word from one of them
can be a small seed of hope
a window to a horizon
a place to set one’s foot

 

Taking up the Te Reo challenge

Kia ora. It’s Maori Language Week this week, so when you turn on the TV, listen to the radio, visit your local library, or do any number of other things in the community, you’ll see Kiwis giving Te Reo a go.

This year’s theme “Whāngaihia te reo Māori ki ngā mātua”: helping parents to pass Te Reo on to their children, is very close to my heart. By virtue of my husband’s heritage, our children are of Maori descent, but as neither Les or I speak Te Reo, the kids’ Maori language skills are limited to what they learn at school. In this sense, I guess we are not a lot different from many other Kiwi families. Continue reading