Roxy is the chaplain at St. Cuthbert’s college in central Auckland.
There are three things that have struck me deeply over the last ten years with regards to the teachings of Jesus and the way that we as church organise ourselves and live our faith and life journeys.
First of all, before my ordination training, I took classes in Church history (I had managed to avoid this entirely while studying for my theology degree back in the 90’s), and in one of the books I read, the author observed that even within the first 350 years of the Christian faith – before Constantine can be blamed for institutionalising us and aligning us with power and status – even before that, those who were perceived as heretical – doctrinally questionable or incorrect – were treated violently. Continue reading
Bruce Hamill has written a response to Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, Rt Rev Richard Dawson’s comments in the Autumn edition of Spanz about what is distinct and unique about the Presbyterian tradition.
Richard’s musings in the most recent edition of Spanz (Editor’s note: read the article here – pg 3) helpfully focused a discussion that has been brewing for some time among Presbyterians in a period of declining interest in denominational difference. Continue reading
I have this image of Santa in my mind. It is not a Christmas card Santa in snow and with reindeer, nor is it of Santa on the final float of the Christmas parade with smiles and waving his hands. Continue reading
Murray Rae is Professor of Theology at Otago University and a Presbyterian Minister. He was also an editor of Candour in the 1990s.
When we look back to the sixteenth century, to the time of the Reformation, we see a world vastly different from our own. The great Reformer, John Calvin, could hardly have imagined the world we now inhabit. He might have struggled to recognise as well the present reality of the church — its form, its daily life, its existence on the margins of society. The form of society itself is also very different now than it was in Calvin’s day, and so the church faces challenges in mission that Calvin is unlikely to have envisaged. It is curious then to look back at reformers like Calvin, to figure out what made them tick, and to try to understand the concerns of their own time. Continue reading
Here’s an adapted reflection from a sermon I preached at The Village Church, Christchurch on 25 June. The text was Matthew 10: 24–39. The context was new buildings coming ready, and some voices wanting to go back to what we once had
As I have thought my way into this week’s reflection I have had a few visitors.
The first was Kobi Yamada and his book What Do You Do With An Idea? I love the way the book evolves from black and white to full colour as the idea takes hold. Isn’t that how ideas work out? They turn up and try to speak into your already fixed view of things. They are looked at, prodded and poked, often ridiculed, slept on, and either forgotten or picked up. Continue reading
I have been experimenting this year on how I frame the prayers for congregational worship. I’ve been calling the early prayers in the service of worship ‘Prayers on the way’ as a way of finding a language for what is going on for those who are strangers to some of the old language, and those of us who are bored by some of that stuff! And I’ve been calling the prayers in the later parts of the service ‘Prayers for the road’. The feedback from people has been positive, though quite a few others seem not to have noticed!
I wonder sometimes about what we lose when we step back from preparing prayers by either making them up in the moment, or borrowing prayers from other sources. Both practices, of course, have their place. The prayers that rise up in the moment can be profound, but they risk carelessness in language and theology, and sameness in content. The prayers others have crafted can draw on a wonderful collection of prayers from those who have prayed before us and those who pray around us, but if not carefully curated and adapted, they risk being in a language and style that is far from the world of the people before us. Both styles can also encourage a kind of laziness, where those who prepare worship simply bounce off for whatever is in their head or reach uncritically for whatever resource they can find to rescue them. Continue reading
Jill Kayser is our epic PCANZ Kids Friendly Coach!
When asked to write an article on explaining the Reformation to children, I realised I needed to boost my own knowledge. Martin Luther gained some credibility in my mind some years back when I attended a conference led by an amazing Lutheran called Rich Melheim. Listening to this ‘Luther-inspired’ man I had a ‘When Sally meets Harry’ experience: ‘I’ll have what she’s (he’s) having!’ and so I set out to discover what this ‘one man who changed the world’ Continue reading
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
What better way to start the New Year than with wine? Continue reading