On Wednesday 5 December 2018 Porirua Anglicans gathered in St Anne's for a day of prayer. This involved folk attending one or more prayer sessions: 6am, 9am, noon, 3pm, 6pm, 9pm. Each session lasted 30-40 minutes and was developed around a theme.
In promoting this day in an email the night before I had observed, "Porirua Anglicans are a people of prayer who have seen much of God at work through prayer. Tomorrow we expect that our praying will make a difference. Let's respond to God's word." I ended with this scripture of encouragement,
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
The Church's new year has just begun with us celebrating Advent last Sunday. So it's time for new beginnings; new resolutions; new hope believing that God is doing a new thing in our midst. It was with these thoughts before us that we launched our day of prayer. Those gathered heard these verses from Isaiah 43 read,
18 “Remember not the former things,
So we are encouraged to pray that God will do the new things in our midst that perfectly reflect God's will for the Church and for the people of Porirua. We take heart for the housing renewal and regeneration plans recently announced by the Prime Minister and we see these as a sign of the spiritual renewal coming. We pray that Porirua Anglicans will be at the forefront of those committed to the renewal and regeneration of our city. That they will be bearers of new hope into the future.
“The war to end all wars,” was how the first world war was perceived at the time. The world, in its shock at the extent and the cost of WW1, thought humanity may have come to its senses with this war. Sadly, this war did not end wars. If anything the terms of settlement ensured that WW2 would follow after a short time.
It is the nature of people, that we fight for what we believe is right, and sometimes that results in physical confrontation. Other times, as our gospel today asserts we, “cheat widows out of their homes” (Mark 12:40) or, otherwise dispossess the oppressed unjustly. The capacity of humans to be inhumane knows few bounds.
Today, as we celebrate 100 years since the WW1 armistice on 11 November 1918 we are compelled to continue praying for peace. Peace for ourselves including peace of spirit; peace for our closer ones. Peace in the nation and world peace. Wherever there is absence of peace we pray God of all, may swords continue to be turned into ploughshares and sophisticated armaments into food for the hungry and justice for the needy.
This Sunday 11 November 2018 marks the centenary of the first Armistice day - the day when WW1 ended. To celebrate we are invited to do four things at St Anne's, Porirua:
PLEASE DO JOIN US FOR THIS HISTORIC EVENT.
The Reverend Jenny Dawson will lead the eucharist with members of the Waitangirua Anglican Community at Russell School this Sunday - 28th October 2018. This monthly 10am gathering invites all associated with the congregation to come and give thanks for the month that has been and to pray for the coming month. Visitors are welcome to this gathering at the School in Fantame Street, Waitangirua.
The St Anne's congregation in Ranui Heights will have guests from Auckland - Rev Dr Derek Tovey and his wife Lea. Derek was lecturer in New Testament studies at St John's College, Auckland for many years. Derek's mother is Marjorie who accompanied Dr Jocelyn Williams (Porirua Anglican) home, after she had nearly died of Hepatitis B - as mentioned last Sunday. Derek & Lea spent two years with Porirua Anglican priest Terry & Margaret Alve at St John's College as neighbours. Derek and Terry were ordained deacon together in Christchurch Cathedral in 1980.
Derek & Lea will be with one of their ex-students Elaine and write, "One of our ex-students, Elaine Roub, is coming to NZ. She is a daughter of the past principal of the Murree Christian School, in Pakistan. She is an American, in her late forties, and a 'missionary' in Belfast, Northern Ireland. At the beginning of this year Elaine received a Churchill Fellowship for research on bereavement."
A fourth guest in this service may be the Reverend Rochelle Grace a daughter of the Parish and deacon with the Rota Waitoa Maori Church at Elsdon. Rochelle will join us if she can be relieved of duties at Rota Waitoa. She too is a former student of the Tovey's at St John's College.
After the service both congregations are invited to join together at the home of church members Casey and Shannon and boys at 12 Kohika Grove, Elsdon for a barbeque lunch with their neighbourhood.
Our Bible reflections this Sunday will speak of happy endings - Job's blessings after his suffering; Jesus' eternal and perfect high priesthood; and Blind Bartimaeus' gaining sight because of his faith. These scriptures are a fitting corollary to our St Anne's focus last Sunday on St Luke - Healer and Evangelist. The one who delighted to talk about the blessings of Christian faith and encourages us to pray for the sick and tell of the Good News about Jesus.
Luke 10:8 If the people of a town welcome you, eat whatever they offer. 9 Heal their sick and say, “God’s kingdom will soon be here!”
While Jesus was with them, His disciples experienced the healing power of God when they prayed for sick people. The people of St Anne's, Porirua similarly experience this. I know from personal experience. St Anne's folk prayed intensively for my five year son who had leukaemia in 1996. Today Caleb is a robust 28 year old working in IT with Kiwi Bank. Just this week elderly Bill assured me that he is alive because of the prayers of St Anne's folk - several times he has been dying in hospital to discover the healing power of prayer.
This healing Eucharist on St Luke's Day 2018 at 12pm on Thursday 18 October will again offer us encounter with the healing Christ. As you come, remember to bring friends and family; anyone who needs healing. We will pray and anoint people with oil believing that God will be present to heal the sick, bless the discouraged and comfort the afflicted. Then we will give thanks by sharing communion together. All welcome regardless of who you are. Come and be blessed by God.
And to follow up we will continue to focus on healing in our worship on Sunday 21st October at 10am in St Anne's.
027 600 1926
We are looking forward to our inspiring family festival celebration on Saturday the 17th of November, 2018 at Wellington Cathedral of St Paul as we celebrate our Diocesan Thanksgiving and Ordination service. This day is our opportunity for everyone to come together as diocesan family to celebrate the ordination as deacons and priests those responding to God’s call to be the gatherers of the faith community; and to celebrate how God has been answering our prayers with and through us over the last five years, transforming us and our local communities as we partner with Him.
It really is open to everyone – and we know that when you come, you’ll go back to your community full of appreciation of God’s goodness, and excitement for the opportunities to be a blessing and to make a difference. So we encourage all – from Ruapehu to Seatoun, leaders and parishioners, young and old will to come together, learn together, and continue to build the bond of family.
We’ll update you on how the day will run as we get closer to the event. Please pray for Bishop Justin, Bishop Eleanor, all the ordinands and their families, and all diocesan personnel involved in the discernment and ordination process.
Members of the Porirua Anglican Communities