John 1: 9-13
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.
He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God--
Dear Nativity Family,
We feel so thankful for our Church and the many opportunities we have to be a blessing to our community through the special services we hold; Combined Services, Family services, Nine lessons in Carols, Taize, Choir, the beauty of candles and flowers and opportunity to sing the timeless carols which tell of our wonderful Saviour’s birth.
Joe and I are so privileged to be a small part of your journey this year, this wonderful, chaotic, amazing, messy year where we have all had opportunity to grow in grace, longsuffering, endurance, and other fruit of the Spirit!
Highlights of course; the new organ and a stunning organ concert fundraiser, our Parish Picnic, (we really know how to play well), what a great reflection of who we are as a family.
We so appreciated gathering in real time once again after Covid shutdown (we really missed each other) and thank God for an awesome team who worked their hearts out and so successfully led us through via church online and phone trees and genuine consistent pastoral care.
We are thankful for a hardworking Vestry and building committee who spent significant time and thought but made great decisions around buildings for the future and we can look forward to new heating in the new year, no longer the frozen chosen😊. Good mana!
New friends, new families, new ways of doing life and ministry as the whole Diocese enters conversations for pathways to mission. It has certainly not been boring!
The line in a song by Delirious that has resonated with me this week is “dancers who dance upon injustice.” This is part of the call of the Church.
As we think of the light Jesus brings, we know from the Christmas story it is a revealing light. A light which puts chaos to flight. As the verse from Johns’ gospel says, it is the condemnation of mankind that they loved the darkness more than light (Jn 3: 19-20). The light Jesus brings is something that shows things as they are, their true character and their true values.
Sadly, a recently released report from the New Zealand Royal Commission of Inquiry into historical abuse in State care and in the care of Faith-based Institutions stated that up to 256,000 children, young people and adults at risk were abused physically and /or sexually in state run and faith-based institutions across the nation from the 1960’s to 2019.[i]
It's not the kind of thing we like to hear about, especially at Christmas, but as Bishop Peter Carroll commented in a recent blog,” we can only be a Church shining the light of Christ out to the world if we have that light shining also on us, because we know we need help with our dark tendencies." [ii]
We have had a wake up this year… no matter how uncomfortable it makes us feel, the sad thing is here in our very own church, our dear friends Jacinda and Aaron Thompson encountered darkness. You will recall there is an apology to them from the Nelson Diocese on our website. Whilst we will never understand the cost or consequence for them, we must take a lesson from their courage and join them in the battle to bring all things into the light and protect anyone else from such suffering.
We can begin simply by being aware people have been hurt by the Church and we can choose to listen with empathy, and in doing so assist in healing. We must learn how to better prevent abuse in the future and how we can love people to wholeness again. I invite you to take the time to find the faith-based redress hearings on the Royal Commission website (www.abuseincare.org.nz)[iii] and listen or read people's experiences of harm, perpetrated by those trusted to care for them in faith-based settings.
Jacinda has worked with our Diocese to improve health and safety policy and procedures and has spoken at the General Synod on the issue of ministry standards [iv] as the wider Anglican Church works to reform how complaints are dealt with. She is also a Board member for SNAP Aotearoa a support group for survivors. The Church is deeply in her debt.
Throughout all this year of hardships and challenges let us press on to acknowledge God and grow in every aspect of Christian character. We have the immense joy of each other, of the love of our Saviour and the living Hope He has led us into. Moving together as one body, where if one part rejoices or is hurt all do, we will become more fully the true church God is calling us to be. Joe & I are so proud of belonging to a church that is willing to wrestle with important issues.[v]
So shine church! Shine! We look forward to seeing you at the Christmas services.
Rich Blessings from Sue and Joe.
[i] www.snapnetwork.org ; https://www.facebook.com/groups/519994202127538
[iv] : https://www.anglicantaonga.org.nz/news/general_synod/titled
Dear church community
We want to encourage you that we will STILL BE MEETING THIS SUNDAY at all services and will be strictly adhering to Ministry of Health guidelines as well as the Diocesan Coronavirus Policy.
Protocols will include:
Also, due to the size of our regular 10am service, we will be asking that children be signed into their programmes by 10am, prior to the church service commencing, as this will be considered a separate gathering.
We will also not be meeting together for morning tea following the 8am and 10am services, however, children will have morning tea provided during their activities. Canvas will also not be sharing food this week.
We understand that not all parishioners will feel comfortable meeting together during this time and we want to release you to make the decision as to what works best for both you and your family.
Our team are working on procedures that will ensure that our life as a church has a good sense of continuity and community, should regular services be prohibited.
We are continually monitoring the situation and will keep you fully informed along the way.
Go well and blessings,
The Ministry Team
It has been a wonderful privilege to minister among you during this time while the search is on for a new vicar or ministry leader for Nativity. We left Picton mid-March to move into and enjoy our retirement home. Five weeks later we began here at Nativity. The role of an interim minister is an interesting one that offers many opportunities. Part of my goal is to encourage you individually as well as build up the church as a community so that you be equipped to better fulfil the task that all God’s people are called to, to make disciples of Jesus in their home and community.
Right now the parish leadership, and especially the parish nominators, is working towards selecting of a new ministry leader (vicar) for your parish. It is my encouragement that you make this a matter of faithful prayer. Be praying for wisdom, insight and discernment. Be praying about God’s call for this church, what makes this church what it is, and where the Spirit is leading you as a community. Pray for the nominators as they carry out this important responsibility, for their partnership with the diocesan nominators and, for all discussions that will surround the process.
Finally be praying for the person who will come (and their family.) Be praying for God’s blessing to be resting on them and for your coming together to form the ministry that will lead you into the next stage of the church’s life.
Ministry is always a partnership. It is not the sole responsibility of one person but of us all. Therefore be praying for this partnership that it will be good and strong, one that seeks God’s Kingdom above all else.
Go well and blessings
Priest in Charge
"People don't care what you know till they know that you care" (John Wimber)
This morning Chris Donaldson, our new chaplain to Wairau hospital preached on caring. At the 10am service all ages translated that sermon into a craft activity that they could show care to someone else. Men and women, young and old got into an activity designed by our Children's ministry team headed up by Jonathan Wasley, one of the Priests on our ministry team. It was good. People were buzzing.
Furthermore Jean and Ken Rooney are back and like Chris and Suzanne Donaldson they are living examples of practical care that comes from a gospel base.
Tomorrow, Tuesday 19 September the Church Office will be shut from 1030am to midday.
Staff want to support our dear PA, Jude, by attending the funeral at Nativity, of her daughter in law.
Often it's when times get tough that people really step up. All sorts of our people have done just that. There are people involved in the funeral itself. There are people like the AAW ladies who have been setting up the hall, making the lounge look welcoming for family who want to be there before the service, and will be helping with the refreshments after. And for this last week are the uncounted people who have been praying.
Thank you Nativity family. You have opened your hearts - yet again.