Indeed Sunday 24 February was a day to remember at Russell School as the Anglican Congregation there hosted a Christian baptism and renewal service. Over 60 people attended from the local churches and communities to support Paula MacEwan and Amber Barclay-Williams who made baptismal commitments and Mai Sa who renewed her baptismal vows.
Local Priest Terry Alve began his message to those gathered by reflecting on the baptism service venue journey from Titahi Bay to Plimmerton Beach to Russell School. On Friday the weather forecast suggested a beach baptism would not be wise. While we had been praying for fine, beach weather until Friday; we changed our prayer (as sometimes we need to do) to ask for a storm so that the move to Russell School was justified. A hastily found inflatable birthing bath became a baptismal pool and the three ladies at the centre of proceedings didn't have to freeze as they were immersed in the pool - Matt had immersed his heating irons in the water for a few hours before the event. It was noted during the service that being baptised in a birthing bath captures well some of the meaning of the spiritual rebirth that baptism symbolises. Each candidate was sung a waiata after being immersed in the water and words of encouragement, scripture and prophecy were prayerfully offered.
Rev Cath Growcott - former Porirua Anglican Priest - conducted the baptisms, having been involved while in the Parish with the candidates. Rev Rochelle Grace who ministers in the local Maori Pastorate and Rota Waitoa Church led liturgy and included Te Reo Maori in the service and Interim priest in Charge Terry Alve shared the message and led the communion prayers. The Russell School congregation were gracious and generous hosts as they shared in setting up the venue and oversaw the catering which was sumptuous and plentiful.
Although it was the first Sunday of the school holidays there was a great turnout at St Christopher's for eucharistic worship last Sunday. Parishioners from the Porirua Cluster parishes of Pauatahanui, Whitby, Porirua, Titahi Bay and Tawa-Linden joined together for this fifth Sunday service. Tawa Associate priest Terry McIvor led the service, con-celebrating with Bishop Ellie who also preached a message centering on the Gospel story (John 4:1-26) of the woman at the well who encountered Jesus there. Peter Dennison, Pauatahanui warden, read the scriptures and Tawa parishioners provided the lead for sung worship and offered prayer ministry during communion. Youth pastor Luke spoke to the children about living water before they moved to watch a video.
Bishop Ellie in her Gospel reflection sketched a verbal picture of the woman at the well who, on the basis of recognising Jesus as a prophet, had the privilege of telling her fellow townsfolk about him. Jesus gave her acceptance and status and enabled her to be reconciled to God - the theme of the day's epistle reading (2Corinthians 5:16-20). Her listeners were left with invitations to consider their own encounter/s with Jesus, what it means for them to be reconciled with God and to be alert to not judge others.
A wholesome morning tea followed in the St Christopher's Annexe.
While it doesn't happen often, several of the Porirua Churches congregated at the Elim church for an evening of prayer and praise last Sunday. Those gathered were welcomed by Pastor Ken Roach from Elim and led by Pastor Geoff Malcolm from Freedom Church, Cannons Creek. Leaders from other churches joined in leading in prayer.
While Anglicans from the Porirua Churches were few in number, they enthusiastically joined in and, like all present, came away blessed by God. There was a strong sense that what we were doing together will have an impact on Porirua City and its Churches.
Members of the Porirua Anglican Communities