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ADVENT 2017 // No.56

Taonga ANGLICAN

PEOPLE

Tonga’s turn Bishop 'Afa leads our Church’s newest see PEOPLE MISSION

Come to our aid O Lord! Putting our faith in global development

Called to serve the South

Bishop Steven Benford returns to Otago-Southland

A D V E N T

SILENCE & SOLIDARITY : : MISSION, MYANMAR & ME : : SAVING SCARED SPACE

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ANGLICAN TAONGA

ADVENT 2017

NEWS IN BRIEF

Disability community chaplain challenges "do-gooder" mentality THE DIOCESE OF Auckland's disabled community chaplain, the Rev Vicki Terrell, presented a Christian approach to disability at a national conference on ˈDisability Mattersˈ held at Otago University this November.

as equal members of the body of Christ — and recognises we all are made in the image of God. Vicki warned that the church cannot be fully itself without disabled people. In fact, she said, the church is poorer without disabled people's shared experiences and ministry to others. "A church without disabled people is a disabled church," she told the forum.

Her presentation "Challenging the do-gooder mentality from within the Christian tradition" proposes a radical vision of inclusion which counteracts stereotypes of disabled persons as passive receivers of Churches can start with the basics: Christian care. do not wait until forced to comply with building codes, she said, but The gathering of academics, choose to offer good hospitality. disabled people and service "A person should not have to ring providers on 28 November heard how both parties benefit when the ahead to make sure they can get church includes disabled people into the church or use the toilet."

Rev Vicki Terrell presents at the 2017 'Disability Matters' conference at Otago University.

said Vicki. "The real question is: how do churches help disabled people identify their gifts and empower them to participate fully in the body of Christ?"

Making buildings and worship services accessible is only the first move towards inclusion as churches' encourage ministry with and by disabled people,

SJCTB opens new initiatives fund THE ST JOHN'S College Trust Board and Te Kotahitanga have established a new avenue by which Anglican groups can apply for education funding. Anglican organisations, networks, ministry units or parishes will be able to make direct online applications to the St John's College Trust Board (SJCTB) to request pilot funding for between 1-3 years on new and innovative projects. All projects in the 'new initiatives' scheme will need to demonstrate they comply with the SJCTB Act by ensuring they include 'instruction in

the principles of the Christian faith.' Currently SJCTB education funds are allocated to approximately 10% individual lay and clergy scholarships, 25% St John's College and 65% hui amorangi and diocesan-delivered ministry education projects.

Under the new initiatives funding scheme, Te Kotahitanga will advise the Trust on how each application supports or counters the strategic "That means these are fresh directions and priorities for funds available to any Anglican Christian education, both across entity with fresh ideas to support and within the Tikanga, before the the Church's ministry into the Trust determines which will receive future." funding. to the level of distributions previously funded by the Trust."

According to the Secretary of SJCTB, Grant Hope, those figures are unlikely to change a great deal with the new scheme in place,

The new funding also offers an opportunity to shift away from paper-format applications into an online process.

At this stage SJCTB has not capped funds available for each application, or set a limit on the number of applications.

"The funding of new initiatives project will benefit from the Trust Board's past investment decisions, and the funding will be in addition

"We expect that the shift to digital will make it easier and more accessible for people to apply."

The new initiatives application process is now live at: https://www.sjctb.co.nz/newinitiatives-funding

Yale awards doctorate to Bishop Victoria Matthews

The Rt Rev Dr Victoria Matthews.

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BISHOP OF CHRISTCHURCH, the Rt Rev Dr Victoria Matthews has been awarded a doctorate honoris causa by Berkeley Divinity School, the Episcopal seminary at Yale University. The honorary degree recognises Bishop Victoria's contributions to church leadership as the first woman bishop appointed in the Anglican Church of Canada, former chair

of the Canadian Primate's Theological Commission and for her leadership of the Diocese of Christchurch through the aftermath of Canterbury's major earthquakes and subsequent 12,000 quakes since 2011. Bishop Victoria graduated from Yale with a Master of Divinity in 1979 and later served as a Trustee of Yale University

between 1995-2004. After receiving the honorary degree at a convocation service in the Marquand Chapel at Yale in November, Bishop Victoria delivered Yale University's 2017 Pitt Lecture, entitled, Mission versus Heritage: earthquake, wind and fire disturb identity, imagination and memory in 21st century Aotearoa New Zealand.


ANGLICAN TAONGA

ADVENT 2017

REGULAR

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18 ANGLICAN TAONGA ADVENT 2017

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18 Spirituality: Adrienne Thompson scans the horizon for skyscapes of the soul 24 Children: Diana Langdon helps kids enter into Xmas through their senses

September 17, 2017: with Archbishops Philip and Winston on either side, the newly-ordained Bishop 'Afa Vaka is presented to his people.

‘Finally. Finally…

This is what we wanted!’

Alfred Willis arrived in Tonga in 1902 – he’d served as Bishop of Honolulu since 1872, but quit Hawaii after its American annexation – and he remained in Tonga till 1920. Then, in 1967, Archbishop Winston’s father, the Rt Rev Fine Halapua – who was the first Tongan priest – was ordained a bishop, to serve as a suffragan under the Bishop of Polynesia, Bishop John Vockler. But Bishop Vockler resigned in 1968, and his successor1 didn’t want a back-up. So, when Bishop Fine retired in the early 1970s, that was it. He wasn’t replaced. For the last 50 years, then, Tonga – this distinct entity in the Pacific, with its own language, its own culture, traditions, and monarchy – has been without an Anglican bishop. Meanwhile, all Tonga’s other major denominations are now led by Tongans – the Catholics even have a Tongan cardinal – and all the constitutions and canons of these churches are written in the Tongan language. “The significance of Bishop ‘Afa’s ordination,” said Archbishop Winston, “is that the mission of God, for the people of Tonga… the leadership of that work is now being taken up by a Tongan, living in Tonga. “The mission here was started by a bishop. In the middle was another bishop… then there was a 50-year gap. “Now there is this bishop. “And there won’t be any more gaps.” *

Tongan Anglicans turned out in force in Nuku’alofa in September to support the ordination of the kingdom’s first as-of-right bishop. Lloyd Ashton had the privilege of being on hand to watch history being made.

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n overflow crowd of about 300 people squeezed in and around St Paul’s Nuku’alofa on September 17 to witness the ordination of the Rev Dr ‘Afa Vaka, who has become the first bishop of the new episcopal unit of Tonga. It was a festive occasion, with waves of choral music stirred along by the outstanding St Andrew’s High School brass band. There was pageantry – witness Sr Fehoko and the warriors from St Andrew’s School escorting the ‘gospel vaka’ into the church – punctuated by moments of quiet dignity, as when the bishops invoked the Holy Spirit to empower ‘Afa “for the office and work of a bishop in the Church.”

Tongan Anglicans are clearly delighted to have Rev Dr ‘Afa as their first bishop. But there was also a strong sense, too, that this was about more than the man. An almost tangible feeling that they are deeply satisfied that they now have – thanks to a decision taken at the Diocese of Polynesia synod in May – one of their own, living among them, as their leader – and that they are seeing, in their own day, the fulfilment of yearnings that go back more than 100 years. Actually, Tonga has had bishops before. But none as of right. As Archbishop Winston Halapua explains, Tonga was an unusual Anglican mission field – in that the first missionary to the Kingdom was an English bishop.

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So that’s the potted history. The received Anglican version, you might say. But to get a fresh angle on how Tongans see themselves, and on what Bishop ‘Afa’s ordination might mean for Tongan Anglicans, we turned to leaders of other Christian denominations in the Kingdom. And to Hon Frederica Fatafehi Lapaha Tuita2, who represented the Tongan monarchy at Bishop ‘Afa’s ordination. “If there are two things Tongans are proud of,” says Hon Frederica, “they're that Tonga has the last remaining monarch in the South Pacific – and that we are a Christian nation.” Those two things are connected, she explains – because King Tupou I, Tonga’s first undisputed leader, and the first of this present line of monarchs, “gave Tonga to

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Tonga’s Catholic Cardinal, Soane Patita Paini Mafi, agrees that Tongan confidence comes from being “monarchical on one hand, and independent on the other.” “We have a certain pride, therefore… which is engrained in our make-up. I hope that’s not a bad pride, but it’s there. We have that.” Cardinal Mafi was consecrated a bishop

Called to serve

in 20075, so he’s had 10 years to reflect on what that means for Tonga’s Catholics. There’s no doubt, says Cardinal Mafi, that having a bishop strengthens the local church – but it also “widens the sense of the universality of the church. “It’s the links to other brother bishops, to the wider church, the wider world… that’s very important, especially on issues that perhaps may sound local, but have wider implications.” “It gives us the platform to grow our relationships… and a sense of being recognised. Such a small country like Tonga – and now we are being counted among the stars, if you like!” Cardinal Mafi says that when he thinks of Bishop ‘Afa’s election, he thinks of the shepherd who knows his sheep6. “Having a local person who knows his flock, who shares the same culture, knows the hearts and minds of his own people, and is able to call them by name – I think that is very important. And ‘Afa has that pastoral heart.” Cardinal Mafi has known the Vaka family since his boyhood – and he’s come to know Bishop ‘Afa personally, because he’s a longserving member of an ecumenical team

34 Environment: Phillip Donnell makes Christmas simpler for the earth

Bishop Stephen Benford processes through St Paul's Cathedral Dunedin.

in the South

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n the space of ten minutes Steve Benford greeted a dozen visitors in three languages and made a personal connection with each one. “In this role my vocation calls me to

We Weare arecalled calledtotorepresent represent Christ Christ––wherever whereverwe weare. are.

represent this Church to the world, but at the same time, all of us, as baptised Christians, are called to represent Christ wherever we are, and to whoever we meet,” he says. Bishop Steven was standing atop the stairs of his cathedral for Taonga in November. Dunedin’s new bishop has wasted no time modelling the way he hopes to relate with his clergy. His inclusive style was evident even before he arrived – a month before he landed, every licensed clergyperson in the diocese received a hand-written letter from their bishop-elect. “I wanted to start out with a direct relationship, not by them knowing me from what others might say,” said Bishop Steven. The Rt Rev Dr Steven Benford was ordained and installed as the tenth Bishop of Dunedin in September.

The city’s St Paul’s Cathedral was packed on the evening of September 22 with 500 worshippers who welcomed the English priest and medical doctor as their new bishop. Bishop Steven (56) has quickly rekindled his strong connections in Otago and Southland, formed during the years he and wife Lorraine lived in the diocese with their young family. Lorraine is delighted to be back in the south, having grown up in Gore it is good to be nearer her seven sisters including her twin Heather and many more friends and rellies that have embraced the couple's return. One unexpected Dunedin link surfaced in a conversation at St Martin's North East Valley this November, when Steve and Lorraine met Dunedin North parishioner

Wayne Bridgman. Wayne, who is a twin himself, bowled up to Lorraine and said, “Years ago I met some twins from Gore: the Wintrup girls.” “Actually that was me.” said Lorraine. As Wayne and Lorraine put the pieces back together, it turned out the new bishop had plenty to thank Wayne for. In a conversation with Lorraine in 1978, Wayne had enthused about the UK Christian camps his friend had raved about. That led eventually to Lorraine's trip to England, where she met the young Steve Benford. “I never knew I was an international matchmaker!” says Wayne. “I know this kind of thing happens all the time in New Zealand,” said Bishop Steve, “but how many coincidences does it take to make a story like that? “Neither of them were even Anglican at that time. And now I'm here.” Steve and Lorraine are back in Aotearoa without their four children who were a big part of their life here in the early 90s. In those days, the family were part of St Luke's Church in Oamaru, the older children were starting school, and their youngest child was born. Now the Benford's children, Ashley, Jessica, Dominic and Justin are in their 20s – 30s, and are planning to stay on in the UK, but visits south are already on the cards. *

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Since his ordination Bishop Steven has been encouraged by flashes of hope and energy in the diocese as he has visited Oamaru, Riversdale, Lumsden, Gore, Alexandra, Cromwell, Queenstown, Clyde, and around Invercargill and Dunedin cities. He has been inspired to see ministries where Anglicans are reaching out beyond their church walls.

Bishop Stephen stands on Highway 1 looking south.

“I am a real believer in the grassroots approach, where Christians are putting ourselves where we can meet others’ needs,” he said. Prior to his return to Aotearoa, Bishop Steven served as vicar of the multicultural parish of St Joseph the Worker in Northholt, in the Diocese of London. In Northholt, he valued the cultural riches his many African and Asian colleagues and parishioners brought to church life, particularly through languages used in liturgy and cultural practices enhancing community life. “So coming here, I like that the Pa-keha churches include Ma-ori language. I was delighted to find that to chant, say or sing the Lord’s Prayer in Ma-ori is almost a given in Pa-keha- parishes.” Bishop Steven is keen to get his head around Te Reo Ma-ori and has a local Anglican tutor, Rauhina Scott-Fyfe. Rauhina works as Kotahi Mano Ka-ika language strategy advisor for Te Ru-nanga o Nga-i Tahu, which she took up this year, coming home from a stint at the Waitangi Tribunal. Even before Steven Benford let his name go forward last year, he knew his new diocese would come with clear and urgent challenges. For one, the latest census puts Anglican adherents in the region at the lowest level of anywhere in Aotearoa New Zealand. In fact, it was exactly when his old friend and former vicar, the Ven Bernard Wilkinson poured out the diocese’s situation last year in Oamaru, that Steve felt the unexpected call. “I was very happy in Northholt and not

How many coincidences does it take to make a story like that?

looking to move,” he said, “...but when Bernard asked: would you consider going forward? there was a powerful nudge.” When Steven felt that nudge he took his old friend and together they went to the garden to pray. That’s the way Bishop Steven Benford does things: always with prayer first. And he’s looking forward to leading a diocese that's energised by clergy and people who are empowered by scripture and walking in prayer. “Too many Anglican clergy find it hard to regularly read the Bible and to pray and that includes me,” he said. “But if we are going to flourish, and to bring the love of Christ into all we do, we have to be grounded in those two things first.” For five years in the early 1990s Bishop Steven worked as a GP in Oamaru and an anaesthetist at Dunedin hospital, a role he later continued for many years at a Yorkshire hospital while serving in part-time rural ministry and then with an inner-city church. Archbishop Philip Richardson – who presided at Steven's ordination with Archbishop Winston Halapua – sensed

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Peace campaigner any people think nonDr Sami Awad violence is just sitting acknowledges some say round a table, eating peace is an impossible hummus and having a dream for the Holy Land – but he tells dialogue," says Sami stories of a time when Arabs and Jews Awad. "But it is so much more than that. enjoyed a beautiful connection there. While in Aotearoa in October he talked to Taonga editor Julanne Clarke-Morris about his strategies and quest for peace and why nonviolence is a powerful tool.

These were no bunch of trendy, lefty, not very religious people.

ANGLICAN TAONGA

"It is resisting, and ending, structures of power and oppression — to counter anything that marginalises, limits, or violates people's human rights." Sami Awad is a Bethlehem-based Palestinian Christian campaigner for peace. His leadership in non-violence brought him to Otago in October, to share his story at the Dunedin Abrahamic Interfaith Group's annual peace lecture at Otago University. He has been a trainer for peace in the Holy Land since 1998, when he founded the Holy Land Trust (HLT), a Palestinian Non-Government Organisation (NGO) that uses principles of non-violence, "as the catalyst to end all forms of conflict, and establish an enduring and comprehensive peace in the Holy Land". The Holy Land Trust stands out, because it not only supports and empowers Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank, but also works with

Israeli citizens, local and overseas Jewish supporters and many other faith groups. Some commentators claim that conflict in the Holy Land is too complex to ever resolve, but the Holy Land Trust disputes that, and exists to prove it wrong —by teaching peace-making practices and leading by example. One of the most powerful ways to build peace, says Sami, is to tell the stories people need to hear to believe in peace. He begins with his own story. Sami Awad was born in the United States in 1971, to Palestinian Christian parents, Bishara and Salwa Awad. When Sami was a child the family moved to Beit Jala in Palestine, for his father to teach at Hope School, where he would later found Bethlehem's first Bible College. Sami returned to the United States in the late 1980s to study non-violence, gaining a degree in Political Science from the University of Kansas, and a Masters in International Relations from the American University in Washington D.C. Later he was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Divinity by Chicago

Then war broke out, and immediately tragedy struck. Sami's grandfather, who was a non-combatant civilian, was shot

landscapes and skyscapes of the spirit. Someone arrives at my home for spiritual direction. We settle down together in my little study. ‘Everything’s going really well,’ she says. ‘I don’t feel I’ve really got much to talk about this month.’ ‘Tell me about what you’re enjoying,’ I invite her. And she does, describing the busyness and zest of her full life. ‘I don’t feel distant from God,’ she says, ‘but I don’t feel involved either. Just sort of neutral.’ Behind her shoulder I can see: houses, hills, moving branches, a patch of grey sky. A bird zips across the space, its white cravat marking it as a tui. ‘What does that neutrality feel like?’ I wonder. She ponders for a while. She notices the shape of the neutrality,

Adrienne Thompson is a spiritual director and professional supervisor in Wellington. She is involved in the Stillwaters Community and Wellington Central Baptist Church. lekhika@paradise.net.nz

Deepen your faith Pursue your calling

Bible | Theology | Ministry | Counselling | Teaching | Leadership www.laidlaw.ac.nz

to Myanmar and back

Jacynthia worships at a Mara Evangelical Church in Yangon, alongside the Rev Lal Zar Laum Bawn from NCC Bangladesh.

back to the USA. That changed the deal for Sami. "I realised then that non-violence was a dangerous and powerful tool." Clearly that was the opinion of those in charge of the status quo. In 1996 when the Oslo Peace Process failed to carve out a political solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict Sami was not surprised. For starters they had taken religion out of the picture, as though religious needs did not have to be considered in the solution. Also, it never addressed the foundations of peace: factors like equality, respect, compassion, justice and mutual thriving. For deep peace, for hearts and minds to change, the story needs to change too, he says. "I realised that when I began my story with 'In 1948' it fed into the narrative that this is a land that has been in conflict, not for hundreds, but even thousands of years." says Sami. But he knows that is far from the truth. Not so long ago, everyday peace between Jews and Arabs, whether Christian or Muslim was the norm.

Jacynthia visits the main stupa at Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar's most revered Buddhist site.

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n Aotearoa, we take inspiration from stories in our Bibles and history books where Christians risk everything for their faith. But for many Christians in Asia, stories like those could easily be part of their daily lives in 21st-century mission. This October, I travelled to Myanmar (Burma) with three other Anglicans from Aotearoa, to attend the Christian Conference of Asia's Asia Mission Conference in Yangon city. The kaupapa was revisiting contextual theology in Asia – taking a critical lens to Christian witness in this huge and diverse region where almost everyone is a believer, but only the minority are Christian. Our team was made up of Robert Kereopa from the Anglican Missions Board, Bardia Matiu from Te Ru-nanga Whakawhanaunga i Nga- Haahi, plus Neill

Reviving the recent peace

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Jacynthia takes the measure of her crowd as they get to grips with Asian mission fields.

love around Christmas time? Which activities have been most meaningful and memorable in years’ past? How can you reach out to others? Perhaps another aim might be to spend less money and create less waste, and instead to create more stories and treasures to share in the future. We don't have to drop every festive tradition; instead try to scale back, prioritising the best and eliminating the excess. Here are some ideas to help slow down Advent and stop it becoming a mad dash of gifts, glitter and gluttony:

Not only that, he reckons a kinder, less harried Christmas will bring joy to our planet too.

Young Palestinian women learn together across class and religious divides.

"Now I begin my story with: before 1948." Before 1948 in Jerusalem's Musrara suburb, Sami's Christian grandparents lived alongside Jews and Muslims as good neighbours. But these were no bunch of "trendy, lefty, not very religious people," he says. "They were deeply faithful,

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ENVIRONMENT

Journeying in mission:

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pring in my suburb makes itself noticed with the first brave daffodils. The wild cherry trees — growing like weeds though the gorse, broom and regenerating bush — turn white with blossom, like a sifting of icing-sugar over the hills. Our lawn, ignored over the winter, starts to need mowing. The onion weed, so pretty with its white bell-like flowers, takes revenge for its execution with its powerful odour. I’m not naturally very observant, but I try to attend to the changes of the seasons. I notice the difference of light from spring to summer to autumn, and the subtle skyscapes framed by branches, bare, blossoming or leafy. Noticing is my craft. Noticing, and helping other people to notice the

Phillip Donnell longs for a holy Advent unsullied by stress, waste and pressure to spend.

After Jacynthia Murphy returned from the CCA Asia Mission Conference in Myanmar this year, the way she looked at Christian mission would never be the same.

dead by a sniper— in the street outside the family's home. Sami's grandmother stayed in Jerusalem to bury her husband (and father of her seven children) in the courtyard of their home. She then fled with the children to Bethlehem, where her brother lived. Sami's father Bishara was nine years old. His mother, who had shifted to Bethlehem expecting to be home soon, has still not returned 69 years later. Grandmother Huda Awad played a crucial part in where Sami is today. "She insisted that as a family, we would never seek revenge and retaliation for what happened to us. "And we would never remain silent in the face of violence and injustice." Instead, Huda preached the gospel to her children and grandchildren. "She told us to seek peace and reconciliation with those who do injustice to us." Sami was not the only family member to heed her words. In 1983, when Sami was 10, his uncle Mubarak Awad returned from years studying social work and sociology at a US Mennonite University. He set up the Palestinian Centre for Non-Violence in Jerusalem, where he taught non-violent resistance, inspired by Jesus’ way of peace and the writings of two men whose words he translated into Arabic - Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King. But when Palestinians started planting olive trees on illegal Israeli settlements, tearing fences down, or refusing to obey the army's curfews, the Israeli Government caught wind of Mubarak's influence, and in 1988 he was deported

'It's an absence!' she exclaims. 'I'm actually missing God.'

clouds coming in from the west, you say, ‘Storm’s coming’—and you’re right. And when the wind comes out of the south, you say, ‘This’ll be a hot one’—and you’re right. Frauds! You know how to tell a change in the weather, so don’t tell me you can’t tell a change in the season, the God-season we’re in right now.’ (Luke 12:54-56). Outside my window, rain patters, sparrows chirp, pale gold plumes of rangiora flowers bounce in a Wellington wind. Inside my heart, what is the Godseason I’m in right now?

34 ANGLICAN TAONGA ADVENT 2017

ADVENT 2017

WORLDWIDE MISSION

Walking the path of peace

for the Spirit

Adrienne Thompson opens the eyes of another's heart to look for God's presence in the humblest details of the season.

Noticing is my craft. Noticing and helping other people to notice...

Watching for the soul's weather as clouds fly over Wellington.

like nearly all the natives of Aotearoa. But now, in spring, the tips of every branch are bursting out into lighter, brighter greenness. It’s not the same all year round. When I walk in Zealandia, Wellington’s wonderful bird sanctuary, I go softly, slowly, ears and eyes both to attention. Something very small – a rustle of movement, a warble of song or a flash of colour – will stop me in my tracks. I stand still, looking and listening, waiting for a bird to reveal itself. Reflecting on my own journey, or walking with another person, is a similar process. We are at attention, noticing a passing shadow of unease, or a flicker of joy. We pause, look and listen. What’s going on here? What invitation to love or lament, joy or forgiveness, courage or relinquishment? How is God stirring in this interior forest of the soul? Jesus himself drew the comparison between watching the weather and spiritual interpretation. “When you see

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Searching seasons

the flavour of it. Gradually something becomes clear to her. ‘It’s an absence!’ she exclaims. ‘I’m actually missing God.’ Either of us could have short-circuited this observation. We might have made a swift diagnosis: life too busy, no time for prayer. We might have produced a prescription: ten minutes of prayer before breakfast, or a prayer-walk on the way to work. The air might have been thick with ‘shoulds’, with the pungent odour of failure or the nagging whine of guilt. Instead, this woman noticed what was actually there: a hunger, a longing, an emptiness that God was waiting to satisfy. I see my directee off, then remain standing on our deck. It’s drizzling, but not cold. I look at my garden. The thyme is thriving, perhaps it likes neglect? The parsley and chives seem healthy too, but it was clearly a mistake to put tomatoes in; most of them have died. Lots of little coriander seedlings are hard to distinguish from the blades of grass growing among them. I tweak out a weed and up comes a seedling with it. Jesus talked about leaving weeds to grow among the crops until the time of harvest, I remember. When my directee paused to notice what was happening in her spirit she found a sensation she named ‘neutrality’. When I practice this kind of reflection I may discover a sensation, or something else, an image perhaps. ‘Trapped in the shallows,’ was the image of my inner landscape recently. I was paddling in little pools, it was pleasant and safe, but I had missed the tide. I realised I wanted to be out of my depth, lifted and carried by the great waves. When I pause to look carefully at something as close to me as my own front garden I notice what I’ve never observed before. That tree is ‘evergreen’

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I S R A E L & PA L E S T I N E

29 Fiction: Imogen de la Bere takes us to Lundy Is. searching for the kingdom of Heaven

Bishops pray with Stephen as they gather for the laying on of hands.

“Now there is this bishop. And there won’t be any more gaps.”

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Theological Seminary. For years, however, Sami would tell his life story not from 1971, but from 23 years before. "I say sometimes jokingly say, if there's anything Palestinians and Israelis have in common, it's the opening line of their story," he says: "In 1948..." In 1948, Israel declared itself a state and as the Jewish people realised their long hoped-for independence as a nation, their achievement was celebrated round the globe. The state of Israel would be a place of safety and peace for the Jewish people, only three short years after their people had suffered the horror of the Holocaust. The day after Israel declared its state, the Arab-Israeli war broke out, which led to what Palestinians call the Nakba: the catastrophe. Thousands of Palestinians in the areas declared Israel lost their homes and land, some lost their lives, and all lost hope for independence as a nation, which they too had been promised during the British mandate of Palestine (1920-1948). The resulting loss of Palestinian property or access to property, livelihoods, identity, and political power after the Nakba, (which intensified following 1967's six-day war) remains a source of deep resentment, and even hatred for many Palestinians. The effects go right through Palestinian society, from water that costs five times more for them than their Jewish neighbours, to Palestinian school children being harassed by armed soldiers on the way to school. "Every aspect of our life - since 1967 has been monitored and controlled and determined by the Israeli military," says Sami. "Even if you wanted to open a shop, anything you wanted to do was controlled by the army." Many Palestinian youth respond with resigned defeat, or rage that sits just beneath the surface, which often manifests as disaffected apathy, or for a few individuals, hitting out with violence. For Sami Awad's family, the Nakba catastrophe was very close at hand. In 1948, Sami Awad's grandparents, Elias and Huda Awad were living on their 'quarter-acre' section in Musrara, a suburb of Jerusalem, just outside the city wall.

ANGLICAN TAONGA ADVENT 2017

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SPIRITUALITY

Dunedin's newly ordained bishop talked with Taonga Editor Julanne Clarke-Morris.

Hon Frederica Fatafehi Lapaha Tuita, who represented the Tongan monarchy at the ordination, flanked by the bishops after the service.

God” in 18393 – at a time when most Pacific Islands “were seeking protection from powerful nations such as America, England and Germany.” “By doing this,” says Hon Frederica, “Tongans believe we avoided being colonized and instead became a British Protectorate4. “So our culture and history are incredibly intertwined with our Christian faith,” she says. And Tongans believe this intertwining “sets us apart from our Pacific Island neighbours”, she says. Hon Frederica, who is an Anglican herself – she worships at Kau Sangato, or All Saints Fasi – acknowledges that Tongan Anglicans aren’t thick on the ground. There are just four parishes in Nuku’alofa, and one each in Ha’apai and Vava’u. But she thinks that “having a Tongan bishop serves as an empowerment for all of us,” she says. “It has taken many years to reach this point,” she says, and to witness Bishop ‘Afa’s ordination “is a privilege we do not take lightly.”

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Bishop Steven Benford has returned from England to lead New Zealand's southernmost diocese. His new see is a place alive with memories and connections, challenges and signs of hope.

Daniel Magda / Shutterstock.com

Anglican Taonga

ADVENT 2017

Ballantyne and myself for the Council for Ecumenism. The opening speaker was Sri Lankan Methodist and Emeritus Professor of Drew University, USA, the Rev Dr Wesley Ariarajah. He wasted no time in boldly laying out the mistaken assumptions that had often plagued evangelism efforts in Asia. For starters, western Christians have tended to assume that western culture was a necessary blessing, an improving gift to others that came along with the gospel, he said. "Westerners need to stop acting as the culture that saves," he told us. His challenge was for western Christians to take a step back and listen, rather than

to arrive with a stock standard suitcase of answers for each new culture they met. According to Dr Wesley, the 'saving culture' attitude leads to an approach to mission that aims to 'fix-up' the other, instead of searching for what will bring Christ's fullness of life to each people in their own time and place. "The problem is, people receiving the gospel might not want to be fixed." Wesley said. As he sees it, missionaries would be better off to wait till they understand others' points of view, then together they could search for where the liberating power of the gospel will transform their systems, structures or cultural lives. Wesley posed three questions that must precede any missionary endeavour: “What is mission? How should we go about it? and what do we hope to achieve through it?” Each part of that triad has proven hard to pin down, he said, and Christians have failed to forge real agreement on the answers, certainly for the Asian context. As Ma-ori listening to Wesley, we recognised familiar marks of colonisation in his critique. Wesley says colonising attitudes are a problem and challenged us to 'decolonise' our missionary theology and then to indigenise our mission. In Asia, where experience has caused many to be suspicious of Christian proselytisation, Dr Ariajah proposed that Christian might stop targeting others’ religious traditions as the objects of our mission.

• Instead of giving workplace gifts, take an office collection for a reputable aid agency: then someone in need can get farm animals, plant trees, get health care, set up a water purification system, or receive a microloan to kickstart a business

The problem is, people receiving the gospel might not want to be fixed.

Instead, he suggested that witness to Christ might call on believers to transform injustice, uplift the poor, and lead others to live as salt and light in their context. Our little roopu from Aotearoa heard a challenge in Dr Wesley's words: to keep these mission questions alive back home, especially now as Te Pouhere — our threetikanga constitution— reaches 25. We need to keep asking: Who does mission? With whom and for whom? *

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One memorable speaker embodied mission as this kind of Christ-driven compassion for the 'least of these.' She was Sister Sudha Varghese, an Indian Roman Catholic religious who spoke on her work with Nari Gunjan (Women’s Voice). Sister Sudha works with women and girls from impoverished, sub-caste (Dalit) communities of Musahar, in India's Bihar and Uttar Pradesh states. Their whole community is treated as outcast and subhuman, and their lack of 'person' status leaves girls and women under threat of sexual exploitation and child marriage. For years, Sister Sudha has travelled many miles by bicycle to reach these communities and bring healing and life to them. This has gained her the nickname of ‘Cycle Didi' a title of respect for her and the care she has given.

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• Use e-cards, buy cards from a charity, or make cards from recycled paper and materials as a fun Advent activity with your kids. • Decorate an outdoor tree or indoor houseplant, or buy a live tree from a local nursery and plant it once Christmas is over.

Going light on Creation for Christmas If we want to get back to the heart of Christmas, there’s nothing like keeping it simple.

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t is strange perhaps, that the longer I walk with Jesus, the less complicated my celebration of his birth becomes. I love holidays and festivities, but the rampant consumerism associated with Christmas is bad for the environment, quite apart from the stress it causes. Perhaps you suspect as I do that a calmer, divine-centred, debt-free Christmas would do us more good than another buying spree? The first step towards celebrating

Advent in a gentler way for ourselves and for Creation, is to honour the Creator with a shift to away from our gift-buying mindset. If we want to get back to the heart of Christmas, there’s nothing like keeping it simple. So why not sit down with your family before the craziness begins, and decide what kind of celebration captures the true meaning and spirit of Christ’s birth for you? One goal might be to spend Christmas deepening relationships: Who helps you to give and receive Christ's

• Instead of adding new ornaments this year, opt for edible or compostable items for garlands, such as coloured stringed popcorn or cranberries. Making Christmas decorations (e.g. from old magazines) is another a fun family activity. • Use LED lights, and never have a problem identifying a faulty bulb. • Spend less. It takes an average of six months for credit card users to pay off holiday debt.

Hope: Through Lent

with Romans

• Shop online or close to home to save fuel and time. • Use reusable shopping bags and wrap presents in reusable material, such as cloth bags or reusable gift bags. • Stuff a card with cash (the kids can contribute from their piggy banks!) and send it anonymously to a needy family. • Exchange gifts with just one family member, picking names out of a hat a few weeks in advance, or give gifts to the children only. • Rather than buying elaborate presents: make gift certificates for breakfast in bed, a back rub, a parents' night out, or make homemade personalised gifts like a photo collage.

No more mad dash of gifts, glitter and gluttony.

• Give each person only three gifts to symbolise the gold, frankincense and myrrh the wise men gave Jesus - one thing they need, one thing they want and one small surprise. • Give the gift of yourself through an act of service: offer to babysit, mow a lawn, prepare and deliver a meal or loaf of fresh bread.

A satisfying life is not about having more. It's about appreciating what we have and sharing our abundance. A simple attitude adjustment may lead your family to a more relaxed, economical, eco-friendly and Christ-focused Christmas. So this year give ‘less is more’ a try, you might find it's well worth the effort.

• Consumable gifts are a great option, such as organic teas, fair-trade coffee or home baking. • Forgo the party on Christmas Eve and go to church instead. • Invite a needy family to share Christmas with you. The spirit of giving that Jesus exemplifies is about meeting the spiritual and material needs of others. Most of us can do without another tie, pair of socks or scarf, especially when we put that cost alongside a child in Syria, Bangladesh or one just round the corner that needs a pair of shoes.

Phillip Donnell works with several environmental organisations to foster interest and participation in Creation care. phillipjohndonnell@gmail.com Note: Some of the eco-Christmas ideas come from http://www.blessedearth.org, particularly from Matthew and Nancy Sleeth.

HOPE:

2018 THROUGH LENT WITH ROMANS NEW FOR LENT

By Kelvin Wright and Peter Carrell Order this Lenten Group Study Book for 2018 now! $7.50 per copy ($6 if ordered by 1 January 2018). Plus P&P. Kelvin Wright

and Peter Carrell

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Order online at: www.theologyhouse.ac.nz or phone 03 341 3399

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38 Film: John Bluck is struck by the depth and power of Waru 39 The Far Side: Imogen de la Bere finds solace in the fiery brilliance of autumn Anglican Taonga is published by the Commission on Communications and distributed to all ministry units and agencies of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia – Te Haahi Mihinare ki Aotearoa ki Niu Tireni ki nga Moutere o Te Moana Nui a Kiwa. Editor Julanne Clarke-Morris 786 Cumberland Street Otepoti – Dunedin 9016 Ph 03 477-1556 julanneclarkemorris@gmail.com Design Marcus Thomas Design info@marcusthomas.co.nz Distribution and subscriptions Aleshia Lawson Taonga Distribution Manager PO Box 6431, Dunedin 9059 taongadistribution@gmail.com Advertising Brian Watkins Ph 06 875-8488 021 072-9892 brian@grow.co.nz Media Officer Lloyd Ashton Ph 09 521-4439 021 348-470 mediaofficer@anglicanchurch.org.nz. Cover: Rt Rev Dr ‘Afa Vaka processes out of St Paul’s Nuku’alofa on September 17 following his ordination as Bishop of Tonga. Inset: Bishop of Dunedin, Rt Rev Dr Steven Benford looks out from the steps of St Paul‘s Cathedral, Dunedin.

Features

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Bishop 'Afa takes the lead for Tonga's Anglicans

Bob Mitchell challenges the role of religion in development

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20

Jo Baxter Fielding reports from the Anglican Women's Studies Hui

Meet Palestinian Christian peacemaker, Sami Awad

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Our turn at last

On solidarity, silence & song

Called to serve the south Bishop Steven Benford reconnects in Otago-Southland

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Come to our Aid, o Lord!

Cradling peace in Bethlehem

Myanmar, mission and me Jacynthia Murphy looks into the heart of mission in Asia

Places that point to God Patricia Allan digs deep into what makes sacred space

For the latest on the Anglican world, check out our website:

http://anglicantaonga.org.nz Page 3


ANGLICAN TAONGA

ADVENT 2017

PEOPLE

‘Finally. Finally…

This is what we wanted!’ Tongan Anglicans turned out in force in Nuku’alofa in September to support the ordination of the kingdom’s first as-of-right bishop. Lloyd Ashton had the privilege of being on hand to watch history being made.

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n overflow crowd of about 300 people squeezed in and around St Paul’s Nuku’alofa on September 17 to witness the ordination of the Rev Dr ‘Afa Vaka, who has become the first bishop of the new episcopal unit of Tonga. It was a festive occasion, with waves of choral music stirred along by the outstanding St Andrew’s High School brass band. There was pageantry – witness Sr Fehoko and the warriors from St Andrew’s School escorting the ‘gospel vaka’ into the church – punctuated by moments of quiet dignity, as when the bishops invoked the Holy Spirit to empower ‘Afa “for the office and work of a bishop in the Church.”

Tongan Anglicans are clearly delighted to have Rev Dr ‘Afa as their first bishop. But there was also a strong sense, too, that this was about more than the man. An almost tangible feeling that they are deeply satisfied that they now have – thanks to a decision taken at the Diocese of Polynesia synod in May – one of their own, living among them, as their leader – and that they are seeing, in their own day, the fulfilment of yearnings that go back more than 100 years. Actually, Tonga has had bishops before. But none as of right. As Archbishop Winston Halapua explains, Tonga was an unusual Anglican mission field – in that the first missionary to the Kingdom was an English bishop.


ANGLICAN TAONGA

ADVENT 2017

September 17, 2017: with Archbishops Philip and Winston on either side, the newly-ordained Bishop 'Afa Vaka is presented to his people.

Alfred Willis arrived in Tonga in 1902 – he’d served as Bishop of Honolulu since 1872, but quit Hawaii after its American annexation – and he remained in Tonga till 1920. Then, in 1967, Archbishop Winston’s father, the Rt Rev Fine Halapua – who was the first Tongan priest – was ordained a bishop, to serve as a suffragan under the Bishop of Polynesia, Bishop John Vockler. But Bishop Vockler resigned in 1968, and his successor1 didn’t want a back-up. So, when Bishop Fine retired in the early 1970s, that was it. He wasn’t replaced. For the last 50 years, then, Tonga – this distinct entity in the Pacific, with its own language, its own culture, traditions, and monarchy – has been without an Anglican bishop. Meanwhile, all Tonga’s other major denominations are now led by Tongans – the Catholics even have a Tongan cardinal – and all the constitutions and canons of these churches are written in the Tongan language. “The significance of Bishop ‘Afa’s ordination,” said Archbishop Winston, “is that the mission of God, for the people of Tonga… the leadership of that work is now being taken up by a Tongan, living in Tonga. “The mission here was started by a bishop. In the middle was another bishop… then there was a 50-year gap. “Now there is this bishop. “And there won’t be any more gaps.” *

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So that’s the potted history. The received Anglican version, you might say. But to get a fresh angle on how Tongans see themselves, and on what Bishop ‘Afa’s ordination might mean for Tongan Anglicans, we turned to leaders of other Christian denominations in the Kingdom. And to Hon Frederica Fatafehi Lapaha Tuita2, who represented the Tongan monarchy at Bishop ‘Afa’s ordination. “If there are two things Tongans are proud of,” says Hon Frederica, “they're that Tonga has the last remaining monarch in the South Pacific – and that we are a Christian nation.” Those two things are connected, she explains – because King Tupou I, Tonga’s first undisputed leader, and the first of this present line of monarchs, “gave Tonga to

Hon Frederica Fatafehi Lapaha Tuita, who represented the Tongan monarchy at the ordination, flanked by the bishops after the service.

God” in 18393 – at a time when most Pacific Islands “were seeking protection from powerful nations such as America, England and Germany.” “By doing this,” says Hon Frederica, “Tongans believe we avoided being colonized and instead became a British Protectorate4. “So our culture and history are incredibly intertwined with our Christian faith,” she says. And Tongans believe this intertwining “sets us apart from our Pacific Island neighbours”, she says. Hon Frederica, who is an Anglican herself – she worships at Kau Sangato, or All Saints Fasi – acknowledges that Tongan Anglicans aren’t thick on the ground. There are just four parishes in Nuku’alofa, and one each in Ha’apai and Vava’u. But she thinks that “having a Tongan bishop serves as an empowerment for all of us,” she says. “It has taken many years to reach this point,” she says, and to witness Bishop ‘Afa’s ordination “is a privilege we do not take lightly.” *

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Tonga’s Catholic Cardinal, Soane Patita Paini Mafi, agrees that Tongan confidence comes from being “monarchical on one hand, and independent on the other.” “We have a certain pride, therefore… which is engrained in our make-up. I hope that’s not a bad pride, but it’s there. We have that.” Cardinal Mafi was consecrated a bishop

“Now there is this bishop. And there won’t be any more gaps.”

in 20075, so he’s had 10 years to reflect on what that means for Tonga’s Catholics. There’s no doubt, says Cardinal Mafi, that having a bishop strengthens the local church – but it also “widens the sense of the universality of the church. “It’s the links to other brother bishops, to the wider church, the wider world… that’s very important, especially on issues that perhaps may sound local, but have wider implications.” “It gives us the platform to grow our relationships… and a sense of being recognised. Such a small country like Tonga – and now we are being counted among the stars, if you like!” Cardinal Mafi says that when he thinks of Bishop ‘Afa’s election, he thinks of the shepherd who knows his sheep6. “Having a local person who knows his flock, who shares the same culture, knows the hearts and minds of his own people, and is able to call them by name – I think that is very important. And ‘Afa has that pastoral heart.” Cardinal Mafi has known the Vaka family since his boyhood – and he’s come to know Bishop ‘Afa personally, because he’s a longserving member of an ecumenical team

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ADVENT 2017

PEOPLE

stepped down as principal in 2002 – values church schools “as the means of developing and growing young people. “Those who have that background,” he says, “have that fundamental feeling inside of them. They will become strong, core members of the church.” *

Tonga’s Catholic Cardinal, Soane Patita Paini Mafi.

Archbishop Winston with his brother, Dr Sitiveni Halapua, at the opening of the refurbished St Paul's, Nuku'alofa, in 2014.

producing a new Tongan translation of the Bible. “I’m not surprised that they chose ‘Afa. “He’s a very pleasant, people-oriented man and he's approachable – but he’s also a straight talker, and he has that dedication to his doctrinal duties, if you like. “There is a deep spirituality in him. He listens – and I think listening and discerning the Holy Spirit is at the very core of our pastoral role. “You know, you can read what's in his heart, and this is what we need these days – because it is the heart which is the dwelling place of the Spirit. “And it is the heart that touches other hearts. “So, it’s very, very encouraging to hear this has happened – and our hope and our prayers are all for him. This is a milestone for Tonga.” *

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The Rev Semisi Fonua is the President of the Free Church of Tonga – and he and ‘Afa go way back.

“The community is small. Yet it has significant influence.”

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They’re cousins, in fact, and he’s got no doubt that ‘Afa’s election is a morale booster. “When I walked out after the service,” he says, “people had tears in their eyes. They were clearly so happy to have their own bishop. “They were saying: ‘Finally. Finally… This is what we wanted!’ While the Anglican Church is a small player, numerically speaking, in Tonga, there are 54 Free Church of Tonga congregations on Tongatapu alone – as well as more in Tonga’s other island groups, in New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii and in mainland USA. Rev Semisi is responsible for them all. And he evokes the memory of another cousin of his – the late, much-loved Archdeacon Joe Le’ota – to illustrate what he thinks is the Anglican Church’s most potent evangelistic tool. Joe came from a Free Church of Tonga family – but he went to St Andrew’s High School and, in 1983, Joe was ordained an Anglican priest. Rev Semisi reflects too, on the journey of Tevita Talanoa, whose father was a Free Church of Tonga minister. Tevita also went to St Andrew’s – and he ended up as the Bishop of Dogura, in the Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea. The point being that the child is father to the man, Tonga depends on church secondary schools7, and if you train up a child in the way he should go ... when he is old, he will not depart from it. 8 “Lots of our church members are becoming Church of England9,” says Rev Semisi, “because they went to St Andrew’s School.” Rev Fonua is confident that Bishop ‘Afa – who taught at St Andrew’s for 32 years, and

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Another who believes in St Andrew’s is the chair of its Board of Trustees, Dr Sitiveni Halapua who, like his brother, is a St Andrew’s old boy. He went on from St Andrew’s to become Director of the Pacific Islands Development Programme at the East-West Centre in Hawaii, where he was in regular contact with Pacific nation governments. He's well placed, therefore, to observe the standing of the Anglican Church in Tonga. “The community is small,” he says. “Yet it has a significant influence on what is happening. “It’s highly respected by the Government, and by the hierarchical, traditional society, with the King at the top.” Dr Halapua sees the setting up of the new Tongan episcopal unit as the resolution – the partial resolution, anyway – of “a kind of contradiction”. “On the one hand”, he says, “Tonga was never colonised. On the other, the Anglican Church was always run from the Diocese of Polynesia. Which is headquartered in Fiji... “We’re still learning what being an episcopal unit is about. “But I think there’s a new kind of autonomy which the Anglican community in Tonga will enjoy.” 1 Bishop John Holland. 2 Hon Frederica is the daughter of Pilolevu, the Princess Royal of Tonga. She is a niece of Tupou V1, the reigning King of Tonga. 3 Taufa’ahau 1 was born in 1797, at a time when Tonga was divided between rival overlords. He was baptized by Methodist missionaries in 1831, and in 1834, he was swept up in a revival known as the Tongan Pentecost. He gave Tonga to God In 1839 – and in 1845 he united Tonga. He took the name George Tupou I, in honour of England’s King George III. 4 Tonga became a British Protectorate in 1900 – and held on to its internal independence. 5 In February 2015, Pope Francis appointed him Cardinal Mafi. He was 53, and he is the youngest member of the Consistory of Cardinals. 6 John 10:14: I am the good shepherd: I know my own sheep, and they know me. 7 The Free Church of Tonga, for example, runs three high schools itself. 8 Proverbs 22:6 9 That’s how the Anglican Church is known in Tonga.


ANGLICAN TAONGA

ADVENT 2017

CHRISTMAS

In April this year Jonathan Hartfield lost his beloved wife of 59 years, Meg Hartfield, who died after a swiftly moving illness. On this first Christmas without her, he asks us to remember the second name of Jesus.

That may well be their deepest need – as well as our own.

This Noël don't forget Emmanuel

Gino Santa Maria's / Shutterstock.com

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hen a shocked and shattered Joseph was making arrangements to divorce Mary, he had a dream. The angel in Joseph's dream explained the baby’s origin and gave Mary's unborn child two names. His first name was to be Jesus, which means 'the one who will save his people', a title which for most Jews meant this child was destined to rid them of the Romans. His other name, however, was simpler, although more profound: Emmanuel, meaning 'God with us'. No one seems likely to have called Jesus 'Emmanuel' as far as we can tell, and at his naming ceremony only Jesus is said. It is his second name, however, that opens up a unique and unexpected quality in God’s gift to us at Christmas. When Jesus was born, the world's people certainly needed to be saved from their folly. One tainted, but not uncommon, way to do that was by control. Caesar Augustus for example, considered himself a saviour of mankind because of the benefits his

unified empire and its 'Pax Romana' brought to his bickering subjects – so long as they complied with Rome. Perhaps that's why Luke brought Caesar Augustus into his account of Jesus' birth, to imply the subversive power of God's new way of salvation. But this Christmas I want to celebrate the miracle of Jesus' other name. When Almighty God contracted to become one of us, it was not only as a human, but as a baby, totally dependent on his parents for all his needs. A baby is not yet equipped to save others, but is certainly ‘with us,’ and what an amazing difference that can make to our lives. God with us might sometimes be the deeper and more certain sign for us, than the glorious saviour who puts the world to rights. Although God placed a star in the heavens for the Magi, Herod’s cruel paranoia remained uncurbed. Independently of the circumstance, God is with us. We are never alone. The reality of Emmanuel, ‘God with us’ could only be for us all if God had

experienced human life at its most vulnerable, so that none of us need feel left out. So this baby was born after a highrisk pregnancy amongst the rural poor, with parents outside the definition of respectability, and all too soon became a refugee. Christmas is a busy time with all its activities: the presents, the meals, and the events. As we attend to all that must be done, it is so easy to hurry past other people, even when doing good things for them. In the rush, let us not forget that other name, Emmanuel, and find the time to 'be with' people. That ‘with’ may well be their deepest need, as well as our own. In Matthew 28.20, Jesus' last words to those who loved him were: 'I am with you, every single day, to the very end of the age.’ The Rev Dr Jonathan Hartfield is a retired medical doctor who has also been a self-supporting priest in the parish of Whanganui for 31 years. He is the chairman of the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship. ilesha@xtra.co.nz

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ANGLICAN TAONGA

ADVENT 2017

MINISTRY

Sharing solidarity After signing on for the Anglican Women's Studies Centre hui this October, Jo Baxter Fielding wondered how she would survive it, but to her surprise, the timetable hardly touched the surface of what it was all about.

All there was for it was to show up and listen.

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In the waka together: women line up across tikanga in Auckland this October.

and silence

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s I looked at the schedule for the Anglican Women's Studies Centre Hui I had signed onto this October, I was taken aback. For three days around fifty of us lay and ordained women in ministry would focus on 'Seeking Gentleness – Finding a Wholeness' at Auckland's Te Karaiti Te Pou Herenga Waka Marae in Mangere. I had no problem with that, but how would I survive three days of conference with only four speakers on the timetable? That would mean hours and hours leftover – what was going on? I admit I don't always manage silence easily, and allied with that I distrust schedule gaps. Time is so limited, it feels that I should always be doing something useful. Back when I first led worship, I had to take care to build in sufficient silence for prayer. So I learnt to count the time in my head – a practice I still resort to at times. For some of us, silence presents a threat, or a challenge – a glaring space that cries out to be filled. It was that way for the Psalmist, who

beseeched God to end the silence, begging: '..not to hold your peace or be still!' (Psalm 63). Back in Psalm 32, the Psalmist equates silence imposed by force with a sickness: "While I kept silence, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long." Over and over, the Psalms beg God to speak in answer to prayer, to break the silence and end the believer's despair. I was doubtful I could manage so much of that. But then I paused. The last women's hui I went to in 2014 had been inspirational: great speakers, chances to get to know awesome women across the three tikanga and great conversations to take part in. I decided to wait and see. The day of the conference arrived and to my utter frustration, I woke up that morning struck dumb by a virus. There would be no spoken interactions, no questions, and I could say nothing at all, but “Hello I'm Jo and I've lost my voice.” All there was for it was to show up and listen, hoping that my sisters would find ways to reach through my forced isolation.


ANGLICAN TAONGA

ADVENT 2017

Prof Khylee Quince shares a light moment with her audience.

Then into our first expectant, gathered silence on the marae, Professor Khylee Quince – a criminal lawyer and legal academic – asked us, “What does silence mean for you?” Trapped behind my voice-robbing virus, I reflected on the wrenching story of Tamar in 2 Samuel 13, and the multiple ways she was silenced: first by her family, then by the royal court after her stepbrother Amnon had raped her, next by the narrator of her story — who fails to record any detail of her subsequent life – and finally over centuries by the church, which continues to systematically exclude Tamar's story from the lectionary. Silence can damage when it is built on ignorance, or refusal to let a voice be heard. Khylee offered us a Ma-ori perspective on interacting with the law in Aotearoa New Zealand. She told us how people often seek help from the law – or come to its attention as law-breakers —because they have been silenced. This occurs for victims, or those who have lost their identity. Many seek the chance to tell their story, but find that our legal system denies them a voice — and so perpetuates the silence. In New Zealand contract law, a client's silence signals consent to the agreement. Khylee pointed out that for many indigenous peoples, this is not the case. At times, silence might signal dissent or incomprehension, say when singers omit the expected waiata after a speech. Our speaker cautioned of the dangers

Hui attendees line up after worship at Te Karaiti te Pou Herenga Waka. Christine Smith picks out a tune.

in perpetuating a system that denies a voice to the voiceless, or misinterprets reluctance to speak. As the days went by, the lengthy hui sessions — that had looked sparse and empty — were neither awkward nor oppressive. Into that space created and held by the hui organisers, there flowed a neverending stream of music and laughter, interspersed beautifully with comfortable and comforting silence. Over those three days we were refreshed by ko-rero and waiata that thrived in the welcome gaps between the truthtelling. Some stories were painful to tell and hard to hear. The hui took place as the news broke on a powerful Hollywood figure's years of abuse and assault of many women. My phone displayed the #metoo stories spreading across the world. Simultaneously, some women at our hui described the challenge of bringing up mokopuna in place of parents who are too unwell, trapped in addictions, or in prison. Others talked of the pain of having to wait“ until the discipline is ended, before I can offer awhi to the kids.” We sat together, with the shared knowledge of painful stories. Some were from the past like Tamar's assault, and others came from our present time – but there were also strong yet gentle words of hope. Over the three days, both spoken and unspoken prayers joined with songs of

Kōrero and waiata thrived in the welcome gaps between truth-telling.

encouragement and praise that bubbled up from the depths and sustained all who were there.

What is Silence for you? A nothingness that needs to be filled? An enforced muting when a voice struggles to be heard? A necessary quiet that enables painful stories to be safely told and received? Or the loving quiet between friends, when we no longer need words to understand each other? The Rev Jo Baxter Fielding is priest in charge of Otago Peninsula parish. joanna.fielding@hotmail.com

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ANGLICAN TAONGA

ADVENT 2017

PEOPLE

Bishop Steven Benford has returned from England to lead New Zealand's southernmost diocese. His new see is a place alive with memories and connections, challenges and signs of hope. Dunedin's newly ordained bishop talked with Taonga Editor Julanne Clarke-Morris.

Called to serve

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n the space of ten minutes Steve Benford greeted a dozen visitors in three languages and made a personal connection with each one. “In this role my vocation calls me to

We Weare arecalled calledto torepresent represent Christ Christ––wherever whereverwe weare. are.

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Bishop Steven Benford processes through St Paul's Cathedral Dunedin.

in the South represent this Church to the world, but at the same time, all of us, as baptised Christians, are called to represent Christ wherever we are, and to whoever we meet,” he says. Bishop Steven was standing atop the stairs of his cathedral for Taonga in November. Dunedin’s new bishop has wasted no time modelling the way he hopes to relate with his clergy. His inclusive style was evident even before he arrived – a month before he landed, every licensed clergyperson in the diocese received a hand-written letter from their bishop-elect. “I wanted to start out with a direct relationship, not by them knowing me from what others might say,” said Bishop Steven. The Rt Rev Dr Steven Benford was ordained and installed as the tenth Bishop of Dunedin in September.

The city’s St Paul’s Cathedral was packed on the evening of September 22 with 500 worshippers who welcomed the English priest and medical doctor as their new bishop. Bishop Steven (56) has quickly rekindled his strong connections in Otago and Southland, formed during the years he and wife Lorraine lived in the diocese with their young family. Lorraine is delighted to be back in the south, having grown up in Gore it is good to be nearer her seven sisters including her twin Heather and many more friends and rellies that have embraced the couple's return. One unexpected Dunedin link surfaced in a conversation at St Martin's North East Valley this November, when Steve and Lorraine met Dunedin North parishioner


ANGLICAN TAONGA

ADVENT 2017

Bishops pray with Steven as they gather for the laying on of hands.

Wayne Bridgman. Wayne, who is a twin himself, bowled up to Lorraine and said, “Years ago I met some twins from Gore: the Wintrup girls.” “Actually that was me.” said Lorraine. As Wayne and Lorraine put the pieces back together, it turned out the new bishop had plenty to thank Wayne for. In a conversation with Lorraine in 1978, Wayne had enthused about the UK Christian camps his friend had raved about. That led eventually to Lorraine's trip to England, where she met the young Steve Benford. “I never knew I was an international matchmaker!” says Wayne. “I know this kind of thing happens all the time in New Zealand,” said Bishop Steve, “but how many coincidences does it take to make a story like that? “Neither of them were even Anglican at that time. And now I'm here.” Steve and Lorraine are back in Aotearoa without their four children who were a big part of their life here in the early 90s. In those days, the family were part of St Luke's Church in Oamaru, the older children were starting school, and their youngest child was born. Now the Benford's children, Ashley, Jessica, Dominic and Justin are in their 20s – 30s, and are planning to stay on in the UK, but visits south are already on the cards. *

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Since his ordination Bishop Steven has been encouraged by flashes of hope and energy in the diocese as he has visited Oamaru, Riversdale, Lumsden, Gore, Alexandra, Cromwell, Queenstown, Clyde, and around Invercargill and Dunedin cities. He has been inspired to see ministries where Anglicans are reaching out beyond their church walls.

Bishop Steven stands on Highway 1 looking south.

“I am a real believer in the grassroots approach, where Christians are putting ourselves where we can meet others’ needs,” he said. Prior to his return to Aotearoa, Bishop Steven served as vicar of the multicultural parish of St Joseph the Worker in Northholt, in the Diocese of London. In Northholt, he valued the cultural riches his many African and Asian colleagues and parishioners brought to church life, particularly through languages used in liturgy and cultural practices enhancing community life. “So coming here, I like that the Pa-keha churches include Ma-ori language. I was delighted to find that to chant, say or sing the Lord’s Prayer in Ma-ori is almost a given in Pa-keha- parishes.” Bishop Steven is keen to get his head around Te Reo Ma-ori and has a local Anglican tutor, Rauhina Scott-Fyfe. Rauhina works as Kotahi Mano Ka-ika language strategy advisor for Te Ru-nanga o Nga-i Tahu, which she took up this year, coming home from a stint at the Waitangi Tribunal. Even before Steven Benford let his name go forward last year, he knew his new diocese would come with clear and urgent challenges. For one, the latest census puts Anglican adherents in the region at the lowest level of anywhere in Aotearoa New Zealand. In fact, it was exactly when his old friend and former vicar, the Ven Bernard Wilkinson poured out the diocese’s situation last year in Oamaru, that Steve felt the unexpected call. “I was very happy in Northholt and not

How many coincidences does it take to make a story like that?

looking to move,” he said, “...but when Bernard asked: would you consider going forward? there was a powerful nudge.” When Steven felt that nudge he took his old friend and together they went to the garden to pray. That’s the way Bishop Steven Benford does things: always with prayer first. And he’s looking forward to leading a diocese that's energised by clergy and people who are empowered by scripture and walking in prayer. “Too many Anglican clergy find it hard to regularly read the Bible and to pray and that includes me,” he said. “But if we are going to flourish, and to bring the love of Christ into all we do, we have to be grounded in those two things first.” For five years in the early 1990s Bishop Steven worked as a GP in Oamaru and an anaesthetist at Dunedin hospital, a role he later continued for many years at a Yorkshire hospital while serving in part-time rural ministry and then with an inner-city church. Archbishop Philip Richardson – who presided at Steven's ordination with Archbishop Winston Halapua – sensed

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ANGLICAN TAONGA

ADVENT 2017

PEOPLE

An embroidered kingfisher wings its way across the new bishop's stole.

Fishing for the King

A

t Bishop Steven's ordination in Dunedin he was vested with a new stole. Embroidered on the front is a bishop's crook, which rises above a doctor's stethoscope, symbolising his past as a physician and vocation as a bishop. Alighting to the right, is a little blue and orange bird that has its own story to tell. Some years back Father Steve Benford was walking the banks of Yorkshire's River Ouse, sunk deep in heavy thoughts. There were pastoral concerns in his flock that desperately needed spiritual light. Welcoming the new bishop into St Paul's are Archdeacons Robert Kereopa, Hannah Pomare and Stu Crossan.

energy and hope for the future amongst those filling St. Paul's Cathedral on September 22. “It felt like here was a strong sense of commitment going forward,” he said. “Part of that may be the quality of relationship that Steven brings: of partnership, of collaboration, and an ability to balance two sides. “That ability to hold two things together is in his DNA. “If he reflects that in the way he works in this diocese, that will be good not only

That ability to hold two things together is in his DNA.

Page 12

for Dunedin, but also for the whole Church,” said Archbishop Philip. As a priest, Steven is equally at home with contemporary rock music and charismatic worship, Solemn Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament or a family-friendly folk service. His ordination reflected his breadth of tastes: with sacred music from the St Paul’s Cathedral and St Hilda’s Collegiate choirs, the Selwyn College choral scholars, and at Bishop Steven’s request, a worship band led by Rev Malcolm Falloon that played many of the new bishop’s favourite choruses in country folk-rock style. Bishop Steven longs for all our faith communities to thrive, in whatever style or tradition they can harness to lift up the broken hearted and lead them toward fullness of life in Christ. “I want to see the Kingdom of God flourishing, with everyone showing generosity and a willingness to make things work,” he said. “Unity is most likely to come from the grassroots up, when people are sharing Bible study together, sharing communion together and genuinely sharing their lives.”

The weather that day was washed out and dingy, not unlike Steven's mood: “It was a case of grey day and grey mind,” he recalls. As Steven trudged on, buried in his thoughts, he caught a flash of brilliant blue dart past the corner of his eye. “It was a Kingfisher, the first I had ever knowingly seen...” “It struck me as a sign of God's colour and life... of how God can appear in the ordinary and everyday, and perhaps even the drab.” Later Steve's St Luke’s Church community returned to the River Ouse. This time to baptise a young man who had arrived at church like a bolt out of the blue. “It was an ordinary day, but filled with a sense of encounter with God,” said Bishop Steven. Of course the kingfisher appeared again, but this time only to one person: a parishioner whose wheelchair had forced her to stay at a distance from the river. No kingfisher appeared last year in Oamaru, as Steven prayed about his call to serve in Southland and Otago. Still, he firmly placed both the diocese and his future in God’s hands, as he and Lorraine continued north on holiday as planned. A few days later, at a stop not far from Napier, he spotted a kingfisher.


Editorial credit: Travellight / Shutterstock.com

Unlocking a keyhole

ANGLICAN TAONGA

ADVENT 2017

ANGLICAN TAONGA

ADVENT 2017

Christchurch Cathedral not so long ago – a sign of faith at the heart of city and province.

into heaven

Rev Dr Patricia Allan has spent years studying the way human societies respond to the holy through sacred space. For her doctoral research in anthropology at the University of Canterbury, she asked Christchurch people how they felt about their broken cathedral, what it meant to them, and why.

B

efore the 2017 Christchurch Synod chose to restore the Cathedral in the Square, its members listened to diverse viewpoints and theological arguments as to what kind of cathedral would best serve the church and the world in our city. One of the most crucial questions people raised was “Who owns this sacred space?” and, “Who has the power to decide its fate?”

Many argued that as the building’s legal owner, only the Anglican Church could decide. Others disagreed, stoking the social drama that arose from the Church’s first choice to pull it down and make way for a beautiful and inspiring new cathedral. To grapple with why the people of Canterbury felt they ‘owned’ the broken building that was left, we need to explore how certain spaces are named as sacred places. All the major religions consider particular cities sacred: Jerusalem for Jews, Christians and Muslims; Mecca for Muslims, Benares for Hindus; Amritsar for Sikhs and the four holy sites for Buddhists. These places are powerfully linked with the religions’ founders and are held sacred by their followers over time. The sanctity of these sites is constantly endorsed through pilgrimages, sacrifices, rituals and worship. Aside from the major religions, most cultures set apart places or objects as sacred and separate from normal

usage: be it a tree or copse, stone, river or mountain. Places or objects that are thus made special serve to remind humans of the ‘beyond’, and of the One worthy of worship. In these places, or in contact with these objects, people can experience a sense of awe, of the numinous or ‘otherness.’ Sacred spaces become a conduit to the divine.

Why did Canterbury people feel they 'owned' the Cathedral in the Square?

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ADVENT 2017 Editorial credit: Tupungato / Shutterstock.com

ANGLICAN TAONGA

This one we will restore, stone by stone..

In Christchurch, even the city’s choice of name evoked the name and worship of God. The Cathedral was established as a Christian sacred space, a symbol of the presence of the triune God. That was the landmark that formed the heart of both city and province. It was the city’s icon: its ‘keyhole to heaven. ’ The cathedral was an enduring symbol of Pakeha culture and history too, which over the years had embraced signs of Ma-ori culture and begun to reflect some Ma-ori Anglican roles in the story of our shared faith. For many Christchurch people, the Cathedral was an identifier, named as ‘our place’, at the heart and soul of the city. For Anglicans, it was where the rituals occurred that shaped our Christian identity – where we heard the sacred scriptures read, where in the materiality of bread and wine we knew the presence of Jesus, where we proclaimed ‘we are the body of Christ’. It was where we admitted new members to our fellowship and bid farewell to our loved ones. For many of us, it also contained objects that brought to mind loved ones who had died, which made the absent present to us. My doctoral research into the cathedral controversy meant I interviewed many nonAnglicans. Many recalled encounters with the sacred or holy in the building. One expressed joy in the rose window’s kaleidoscopic light, another found an abiding peace in the chapel, others who were not regular churchgoers, had felt God’s presence in the mystery and beauty of events like Christmas Midnight Mass. For others Christchurch Cathedral contained memories of annual pilgrimages to place gifts for less fortunate children under the Christmas tree; of singing in choirs amidst its great stone pillars, or of proudly sharing its architectural treasures with overseas guests. Many knew it as a place of stillness, a place where they found solace in times of stress or distress. One person received a daily blessing as he walked in the Cathedral’s shadow, others Page 14

ChristChurch Cathedral as it was. Many non-churchgoers reported sensing God's presence in the mystery and beauty they found there.

were uplifted by the solemn toll of its bells. For many it had simply been a constant: a touchstone, and with its spire pointing to 'the beyond', they knew it was a place of prayer for all people – as the Cathedral’s banners themselves declared. Many held firm that people of all religions, or none, would be welcome there. The earthquakes severely disrupted all of that, and that sudden loss profoundly disturbed Christchurch people’s sense of security: of what was known, taken for granted, of what was right and predictable in the world. Immediately after the February 2011 earthquakes, when the city lay devastated and the Cathedral’s tower and west end were in ruins, Mayor Parker announced, “… we have lost so much. This (the Cathedral) is one we will restore stone by stone.” The former mayor’s gut reaction proved astute as he recognized how important this sacred space would be to the grieving city. As my research went deeper I questioned people on their connections with the building and what objects were important to them. They named more than 120 artefacts, each held dear for a myriad of reasons. The most noteworthy features were often mentioned: the rose window, the pulpit, the baptismal font. But also the smaller and less spectacular memorial plaques – where hundreds of Canterbury descendants could find their forbears’ names engraved. More surprising were the many humbler objects that held a place in people’s hearts. One elderly woman told of the thread she had brought from Japan, which had

become part of an embroidered dossal. ‘I feel as if a part of me is still inside there,’ she said. Others though not necessarily Christian, still held onto a taste of God they had been given there — through the music, the beauty, a welcome they had received or a message they had heard. Perhaps what they can remind us after this six-year long controversy, is that we cannot fully ‘own’ the space that others consider sacred, any more than we can own how God is known by them. Perhaps a better way to approach sacred space is to see ourselves as its guardians, not as owners but as custodians, the kaitiaki of what the community experiences as a symbol of God’s presence, its window into heaven, its taonga. Synod debated all these things, but still a decision was required. In the pre-vote worship, there was a powerful sung invocation to God’s Holy Spirit, and a deep sense that we were on holy ground. In spite of what we may have wished for in a new, more functional, less expensive cathedral, a deciding factor was taking account of the Church’s relationship with the people of Christchurch, with our national and local governments and beyond. I dare to believe that now as we work to restore that space held sacred by so many, we will use every opportunity it gives us to witness to the One who alone is holy. Rev Dr Patricia Allan holds a PhD in anthropology from the University of Canterbury for her thesis on The once and future cathedral. pallan@cyberxpress.co.nz


ANGLICAN TAONGA

ADVENT 2017

MISSION

Putting our faith in

development

It's an ill wind that blows nobody any good: and in the wake of Cyclone Winston, our Anglican Missions Board launched an emergency appeal for Maniava, in Fiji, that has ushered in a new level of Trans-Tasman Anglican cooperation in relief and development work in the Pacific.

when the AOA chief, Rev Dr Bob Mitchell, took part in the AMB's November board meeting in Palmerston North.

Because Anglican Overseas Aid – which is the Diocese of Melbourne's aid and development agency – pitched in on that Maniava appeal, and that's led to a formal three-way partnership between the AMB, AOA and the Diocese of Polynesia.

That's a subject dear to Bob's heart - and the subject of his PhD thesis - which he then developed into a new book called: "Faith-based development – how Christian organisations can make a difference."

Those Trans-Tasman ties were further strengthened in November,

Lloyd Ashton caught up with him in Auckland.

The Rev Dr Bob Mitchell, CEO of Anglican Overseas Aid. AOA, which is based in Melbourne, is now working with our own Anglican Missions Board.

While he was here, Bob was also invited to speak to the AMB and to meetings of faith-based aid agencies in Wellington and Auckland on the place of faith in development work.

The President's promise: the world is going to be a better place…

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MISSION

Bob at the opening of an AOA-funded community water catchment project in Naibor, Kenya, in April 2013.

D

evelopment, it seems – the theory and practice thereof – has a birthday. It came into being, says Bob Mitchell, on January 20,

1949. That was the day when US President Harry S Truman delivered his second term inauguration speech, and waxed eloquent about the responsibility of the USA to help "developing" countries out of poverty. Development, therefore, says Bob, is a child of modernity, and it has thoroughly secular parents: "Solving poverty," he says, "has been about finding the right scientific or technical interventions, the right economic model, or the right empowerment model." Religion, on the other hand, didn't get a look in. "From the point of view of modernity," says Bob, "religion is a private choice. It sits to one side. It shouldn't be informing public discourse or public policy – and therefore development has almost exclusively been taught at the universities from a secular perspective." In the last 10 years or so, says Bob, there's been some softening of that view. That's come partly from the recognition

Solving poverty has been about finding the right scientific interventions…

Bob learns how to frame up a roof for a rondaval in Mucaria, Mozambique, in October 2016.

that after 60-odd years of development work, there's a vast amount left undone. Partly, too, because of World Bank research which suggests religious belief simply can't be left out of the development equation. Because while the tide of faith is roaring out in the West, it's never been higher in the developing world. "So much of development work has been about changing behaviour", says Bob, "and to attempt to do that without engaging with the one thing that matters more to people than anything else... that's a terrible conceit." *

*

*

*

*

Ok. So faith-based development agencies don't make the same mistakes, surely? Well, apparently, they do. Some of the biggest players in the aid and development scene today – names like World Vision, Caritas, Tear Fund and Lutheran World Service – are faith-based, and the annual budgets of some of these agencies, says Bob, "are in the billions." Yet these same outfits have made precious little effort, says Bob, "to answer the question as to what the faith –which called the organisation into being – contributes to the work that people were involved in now." "Beyond just being a high-level motivation for doing it in the first place. "How does it actually inform the work they do? "How does it shape the work organisationally, and programmatically?" *

*

*

*

*

The more Bob looked, the more he became puzzled by this lack of reflection. So as Chief of Mission at World Vision, he took it upon himself to do something about it. Bob began some serious academic Page 16

research, seeking to identify what difference, if any, faith makes in development work. Eventually, he identified seven key faith drivers for development. In a nutshell, they are:

Bringing the future forward There's a widely held conviction, says Bob, that doing development work is about seeking to bring the future forward. Doing the spadework which anticipates the coming Kingdom of God. Allied to that, says Bob, is a "big pictureview of salvation. Yes, God is interested in people's personal relationship with him – but God is also interested in the renewal of communities, nations, the world, and the whole cosmos."

Not just a job People working in faith-based development organisations often see themselves in ministry, Bob found, rather than just doing a job. "And there are many implications that flow from that, in terms of commitment, of sacrifice, and people's willingness to live incarnationally in difficult settings..."

Hope in times of trouble In times of crisis, faith-based organisations can also bring hope to communities in a way that secular organisations can't.

Inner transformation Then there's the role that "inner transformation" plays in development work – and by that, Bob isn't necessarily talking


ANGLICAN TAONGA

about conversion. He recalls, for example, being driven past a new European Union-funded school in Rwanda. Bob was admiring what he'd just seen, told his driver so – but his driver wasn't so sure. "I'm telling you," he said, "education is not the greatest development need in Rwanda. That school could be burned down tomorrow. The greatest challenge is getting people to live with one another." And that's a subject, says Bob, where the Christian faith has plenty to offer. Then, there's the way Christian aid workers relate to one another: "Seeing how they think about and treat one another," says Bob, "can be every bit as important as physical development work."

Standing against evil Then, just as Christian aid and development workers try to live out the values of the Kingdom of God, "they also stand against evil, and against practises they see as dehumanising or enslaving of people. I think that development organisations have a prophetic role in responding to that. He cites, for example, parts of Tanzania where animists won't live in a house with an iron roof – because in their minds, the noise of rain on that roof indicates demon possession. "We've got to stop pretending that religious beliefs don't matter in doing development work," says Bob. "They do."

Devotional life Then, there's the proven value, as Bob sees it, of having a devotional life. "I think there are important spiritual dimensions to doing development work, and that prayer, especially, is very important. "Prayers of intercession. Prayers invoking God's spirit in the work you're doing, prayers of lament when things go wrong, contemplative prayers, that help you to reflect, prayers of thanksgiving – and prayers that help the organisation and the community come together and discern development priorities within that community."

Working with churches Finally, says Bob, there's the value of working with churches in doing development work. Church leaders are often powerful figures in their communities. They are gatekeepers, they can be "translators" of development, and they can mobilise their communities for change. On the downside, working with churches can be tricky. "And more often than not," says Bob, "churches are really good at charity – but not much good at all in responding to underlying systemic causes. "The justice space is a uncomfortable space for many – and sometimes, that's precisely where development work takes you."

ADVENT 2017

PEOPLE

His new centre of gravity

N

ot too long ago, Bob Mitchell was advising high-flying corporations on their tax affairs.

Bob's a lawyer, and he was going places fast as a partner in PricewaterhouseCoopers. He's still going places fast, too – but in an entirely different direction. Places like the back end of Fiji, in the wake of Cyclone Winston. Gaza, in the Middle East. And the poorest parts of Mozambique and India. Because these days, Bob Mitchell, LLB, MPhil, GradDip Tax, has become the Rev Dr Bob Mitchell, Anglican priest – and CEO of Anglican Overseas Aid, which is the aid and development arm of the Diocese of Melbourne. If there was any one experience that ripped Bob out of the corporate world and thrust him into the developing world, it was East Timor, 2002. Back then, East Timor had just emerged from 25 years of brutal Indonesian subjugation – and a church friend of Bob's had been called in to help get the country back on its feet. That mate had urged Bob to tag along with him. For Bob, the fortnight he spent in East Timor was life-changing. So much so, that he took himself back there ten times over the next few years, travelling on his own coin, to learn more, and to help out with various development projects. "That first visit did impact me quite profoundly," he says. "I was exposed to great hardship. People had been persecuted, and there were many development needs." That experience also happened at a time when Bob was questioning his purpose. Three years into his partnership at PWC, he'd begun to study theology part-time. He kept at that for 10 years. In the light of what he was seeing in East Timor, and his studies in Christian ethics and God's kingdom – he began asking himself: 'What is my responsibility?'

Bob Mitchell speaking to a gathering of faith-based agency representatives in Nelligan House in November.

Long story short, after 15 years as a partner at PWC, he led his family from Brisbane to Melbourne in 2008, where he took up a post as World Vision Australia's General Counsel. Over the next four years, his legal responsibilities grew, and changed – and then changed altogether, so he became World Vision’s 'Chief of Mission' responsible, among other things, for theological reflection around the agencies' work, and the pastoral care of the WV staff. Then, in 2012, Bob left World Vision and took on the leadership of Anglican Overseas Aid. Along the way, he was ordained – a deacon in 2012, and a priest the following year. Archbishop Philip Freier has licensed Bob to run AOA as his ministry. "I do feel my primary gifts are diaconal," he says, "so this is an opportunity to exercise that calling on behalf of the church." He's also taken on the chairmanship of a consortium of 11 Australian churchbased aid agencies called the Church Agencies Network. The CAN members operate independently. But there are also times when they work together in emergency response and disaster mitigation work – and Bob reckons CAN is "one of the most significant ecumenical happenings in Australia for decades." Bob still keeps his lawyer's ticket up to date. "But I don't love that world," he says. "My centre of gravity now is theology, ministry – and development."

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ANGLICAN TAONGA

ADVENT 2017

SPIRITUALITY

Searching seasons

for the Spirit

Adrienne Thompson opens the eyes of another's heart to look for God's presence in the humblest details of the season.

'It's an absence!' she exclaims. 'I'm actually missing God.'

Page 18

S

pring in my suburb makes itself noticed with the first brave daffodils. The wild cherry trees — growing like weeds though the gorse, broom and regenerating bush — turn white with blossom, like a sifting of icing-sugar over the hills. Our lawn, ignored over the winter, starts to need mowing. The onion weed, so pretty with its white bell-like flowers, takes revenge for its execution with its powerful odour. I’m not naturally very observant, but I try to attend to the changes of the seasons. I notice the difference of light from spring to summer to autumn, and the subtle skyscapes framed by branches, bare, blossoming or leafy. Noticing is my craft. Noticing, and helping other people to notice the

landscapes and skyscapes of the spirit. Someone arrives at my home for spiritual direction. We settle down together in my little study. ‘Everything’s going really well,’ she says. ‘I don’t feel I’ve really got much to talk about this month.’ ‘Tell me about what you’re enjoying,’ I invite her. And she does, describing the busyness and zest of her full life. ‘I don’t feel distant from God,’ she says, ‘but I don’t feel involved either. Just sort of neutral.’ Behind her shoulder I can see: houses, hills, moving branches, a patch of grey sky. A bird zips across the space, its white cravat marking it as a tui. ‘What does that neutrality feel like?’ I wonder. She ponders for a while. She notices the shape of the neutrality,


the flavour of it. Gradually something becomes clear to her. ‘It’s an absence!’ she exclaims. ‘I’m actually missing God.’ Either of us could have short-circuited this observation. We might have made a swift diagnosis: life too busy, no time for prayer. We might have produced a prescription: ten minutes of prayer before breakfast, or a prayer-walk on the way to work. The air might have been thick with ‘shoulds’, with the pungent odour of failure or the nagging whine of guilt. Instead, this woman noticed what was actually there: a hunger, a longing, an emptiness that God was waiting to satisfy. I see my directee off, then remain standing on our deck. It’s drizzling, but not cold. I look at my garden. The thyme is thriving, perhaps it likes neglect? The parsley and chives seem healthy too, but it was clearly a mistake to put tomatoes in; most of them have died. Lots of little coriander seedlings are hard to distinguish from the blades of grass growing among them. I tweak out a weed and up comes a seedling with it. Jesus talked about leaving weeds to grow among the crops until the time of harvest, I remember. When my directee paused to notice what was happening in her spirit she found a sensation she named ‘neutrality’. When I practice this kind of reflection I may discover a sensation, or something else, an image perhaps. ‘Trapped in the shallows,’ was the image of my inner landscape recently. I was paddling in little pools, it was pleasant and safe, but I had missed the tide. I realised I wanted to be out of my depth, lifted and carried by the great waves. When I pause to look carefully at something as close to me as my own front garden I notice what I’ve never observed before. That tree is ‘evergreen’

ADVENT 2017

Daniel Magda / Shutterstock.com

ANGLICAN TAONGA

Watching for the soul's weather as clouds fly over Wellington.

like nearly all the natives of Aotearoa. But now, in spring, the tips of every branch are bursting out into lighter, brighter greenness. It’s not the same all year round. When I walk in Zealandia, Wellington’s wonderful bird sanctuary, I go softly, slowly, ears and eyes both to attention. Something very small – a rustle of movement, a warble of song or a flash of colour – will stop me in my tracks. I stand still, looking and listening, waiting for a bird to reveal itself. Reflecting on my own journey, or walking with another person, is a similar process. We are at attention, noticing a passing shadow of unease, or a flicker of joy. We pause, look and listen. What’s going on here? What invitation to love or lament, joy or forgiveness, courage or relinquishment? How is God stirring in this interior forest of the soul? Jesus himself drew the comparison between watching the weather and spiritual interpretation. “When you see

Noticing is my craft. Noticing and helping other people to notice...

clouds coming in from the west, you say, ‘Storm’s coming’—and you’re right. And when the wind comes out of the south, you say, ‘This’ll be a hot one’—and you’re right. Frauds! You know how to tell a change in the weather, so don’t tell me you can’t tell a change in the season, the God-season we’re in right now.’ (Luke 12:54-56). Outside my window, rain patters, sparrows chirp, pale gold plumes of rangiora flowers bounce in a Wellington wind. Inside my heart, what is the Godseason I’m in right now? Adrienne Thompson is a spiritual director and professional supervisor in Wellington. She is involved in the Stillwaters Community and Wellington Central Baptist Church. lekhika@paradise.net.nz

Deepen your faith Pursue your calling

Bible | Theology | Ministry | Counselling | Teaching | Leadership www.laidlaw.ac.nz

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ANGLICAN TAONGA

ADVENT 2017

I S R A E L & PA L E S T I N E

Walking the path of peace

M

Peace campaigner any people think nonDr Sami Awad violence is just sitting acknowledges some say round a table, eating peace is an impossible hummus and having a dream for the Holy Land – but he tells dialogue," says Sami stories of a time when Arabs and Jews Awad. "But it is so much more than that. enjoyed a beautiful connection there. While in Aotearoa in October he talked to Taonga editor Julanne Clarke-Morris about his strategies and quest for peace and why nonviolence is a powerful tool.

These were no bunch of trendy, lefty, not very religious people.

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"It is resisting, and ending, structures of power and oppression — to counter anything that marginalises, limits, or violates people's human rights." Sami Awad is a Bethlehem-based Palestinian Christian campaigner for peace. His leadership in non-violence brought him to Otago in October, to share his story at the Dunedin Abrahamic Interfaith Group's annual peace lecture at Otago University. He has been a trainer for peace in the Holy Land since 1998, when he founded the Holy Land Trust (HLT), a Palestinian Non-Government Organisation (NGO) that uses principles of non-violence, "as the catalyst to end all forms of conflict, and establish an enduring and comprehensive peace in the Holy Land". The Holy Land Trust stands out, because it not only supports and empowers Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank, but also works with

Israeli citizens, local and overseas Jewish supporters and many other faith groups. Some commentators claim that conflict in the Holy Land is too complex to ever resolve, but the Holy Land Trust disputes that, and exists to prove it wrong —by teaching peace-making practices and leading by example. One of the most powerful ways to build peace, says Sami, is to tell the stories people need to hear to believe in peace. He begins with his own story. Sami Awad was born in the United States in 1971, to Palestinian Christian parents, Bishara and Salwa Awad. When Sami was a child the family moved to Beit Jala in Palestine, for his father to teach at Hope School, where he would later found Bethlehem's first Bible College. Sami returned to the United States in the late 1980s to study non-violence, gaining a degree in Political Science from the University of Kansas, and a Masters in International Relations from the American University in Washington D.C. Later he was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Divinity by Chicago


ANGLICAN TAONGA

Theological Seminary. For years, however, Sami would tell his life story not from 1971, but from 23 years before. "I say sometimes jokingly say, if there's anything Palestinians and Israelis have in common, it's the opening line of their story," he says: "In 1948..." In 1948, Israel declared itself a state and as the Jewish people realised their long hoped-for independence as a nation, their achievement was celebrated round the globe. The state of Israel would be a place of safety and peace for the Jewish people, only three short years after their people had suffered the horror of the Holocaust. The day after Israel declared its state, the Arab-Israeli war broke out, which led to what Palestinians call the Nakba: the catastrophe. Thousands of Palestinians in the areas declared Israel lost their homes and land, some lost their lives, and all lost hope for independence as a nation, which they too had been promised during the British mandate of Palestine (1920-1948). The resulting loss of Palestinian property or access to property, livelihoods, identity, and political power after the Nakba, (which intensified following 1967's six-day war) remains a source of deep resentment, and even hatred for many Palestinians. The effects go right through Palestinian society, from water that costs five times more for them than their Jewish neighbours, to Palestinian school children being harassed by armed soldiers on the way to school. "Every aspect of our life - since 1967 has been monitored and controlled and determined by the Israeli military," says Sami. "Even if you wanted to open a shop, anything you wanted to do was controlled by the army." Many Palestinian youth respond with resigned defeat, or rage that sits just beneath the surface, which often manifests as disaffected apathy, or for a few individuals, hitting out with violence. For Sami Awad's family, the Nakba catastrophe was very close at hand. In 1948, Sami Awad's grandparents, Elias and Huda Awad were living on their 'quarter-acre' section in Musrara, a suburb of Jerusalem, just outside the city wall. Then war broke out, and immediately tragedy struck. Sami's grandfather, who was a non-combatant civilian, was shot

ADVENT 2017

Young Palestinian women learn together across class and religious divides.

dead by a sniper— in the street outside the family's home. Sami's grandmother stayed in Jerusalem to bury her husband (and father of her seven children) in the courtyard of their home. She then fled with the children to Bethlehem, where her brother lived. Sami's father Bishara was nine years old. Sami's grandmother, who had shifted to Bethlehem expecting to be home soon, has still not returned 69 years later. She has played a crucial part in where Sami is today. "She insisted that as a family, we would never seek revenge and retaliation for what happened to us. "And we would never remain silent in the face of violence and injustice." Instead, Huda preached the gospel to her children and grandchildren. "She told us to seek peace and reconciliation with those who do injustice to us." Sami was not the only family member to heed her words. In 1983, when Sami was 11, his uncle Mubarak Awad returned from years studying social work and sociology at a US Mennonite University. He set up the Palestinian Centre for Non-Violence in Jerusalem, where he taught non-violent resistance, inspired by Jesus’ way of peace and the writings of two men whose words he translated into Arabic - Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King. But when Palestinians started planting olive trees on illegal Israeli settlements, tearing fences down, or refusing to obey the army's curfews, the Israeli Government caught wind of Mubarak's influence, and in 1988 he was deported

back to the USA. That changed the deal for Sami. "I realised then that non-violence was a dangerous and powerful tool." Clearly that was the opinion of those in charge of the status quo. In 1996 when the Oslo Peace Process failed to carve out a political solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, Sami was not surprised. For starters they had taken religion out of the picture, as though religious needs did not have to be considered in the solution. Also, it never addressed the foundations of peace: factors like equality, respect, compassion, justice and mutual thriving. For deep peace, for hearts and minds to change, the story needs to change too, he says. "I realised that when I began my story with 'In 1948' it fed into the narrative that this is a land that has been in conflict, not for hundreds, but even thousands of years." says Sami. But he knows that is far from the truth. Not so long ago, everyday peace between Jews and Arabs, whether Christian or Muslim was the norm.

Reviving the recent peace "Now I begin my story with: before 1948." Before 1948 in Jerusalem's Musrara suburb, Sami's Christian grandparents lived alongside Jews and Muslims as good neighbours. But these were no bunch of "trendy, lefty, not very religious people," he says. "They were deeply faithful,

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Editorial credit: Ryan Rodrick Beiler / Shutterstock.com

I S R A E L & PA L E S T I N E

The Holy Land Trust brings international volunteers to help Palestinian families harvest their olive crops.

conservative religious people, and they still got along well." Sami's father remembers that between Friday sunset and nightfall on Saturdays, the Orthodox Jewish family next door would stop to observe the Sabbath. That meant no tasks considered work: no cooking, cleaning, or even switching on a light. The Awads were exempt from those laws, so each Saturday Bishara would pop next door, to turn on the neighbour's stove for dinner, and switch on and off their lights. In Dunedin another Palestinian, this time a Muslim Otago graduate, Dr Mai Tamimi told her grandmother's story. In the 1940s, she and her Jewish neighbour were close friends. Each trusted the other to care for her children, and if either were sick they would go to each other first for help. "So now we are asking: What happened to destroy this beautiful connection that people had back then?" "It was not all perfect, we know that, but people were a long, long way from the levels of hatred and resentment that have grown."

This is a struggle against institutions of injustice, not the people in them.

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Meeting at Otago University before the 2017 peace lecture. L-R: Dr Mai Tamimi, Otago University chaplain Rev Greg Hughson, Dr Sami Awad and Rev Mike Tonks.

"In some ways, the Holy Land Trust is trying to go back to that time, to that way of being." says Sami. That is why he believes there cannot be peace in the Holy Land without Israel and the Jewish people on board — or the Palestinian Muslims or Christians. "Yes, we can resist, we can end oppression, we can end occupation, we can end injustice. " "But we can do it without physically, emotionally or spiritually harming those who are creating this oppression." "This is a struggle against institutions of injustice. Not about the people that are in them." To this end, the Trust brings together Jewish, Muslim and Christian young people to build bonds of friendship and work together to overcome barriers to peace. In 2017 HLT brought young people to accompany Palestinian farmers at the olive harvest: to work, learn harvest traditions and help safeguard against attacks on workers or crops. At other times HLT brings overseas friends, like the UK-based Amos Trust, to rebuild Palestinian homes after house demolitions by the Israeli army. The Holy Land Trust also runs Iktashef summer programs: month-long live-in programmes where youth from different faiths and nationalities learn and practise non-violent forms of resistance together. They are also partners in a coalition of Israeli, Palestinian and international

nonviolent organisations called Sumud (steadfastness),which promotes nonviolent joint action towards ending occupation. These spaces aim to build 'the sacred community' of justice, cooperation and respect between each identity group. "Jesus said 'Blessed are those who believe without seeing'," says Sami. "But for most of us, we need to see to believe." That is why these camps are so powerful, instead of seeing each other as "that fearful group over there" the sides work together and become friends.

Empowering young women A highlight of the Trust's work is training in life skills and peace-making for Palestinian girls. While women make up 51% of the Palestinian population, they hold only 3% of decision-making power. HLT is setting out to fix that, and for Sami Awad that has a personal dimension, because he and his wife Rana want the best future for their three daughters Layaar, Larina and Lorian. The HLT Young Girls Empowerment (YGE) programme brings young Palestinian teens together weekly over six months to train in organisational skills and decision-making, as well as cultural studies and reproductive health education. That last part is important, because sex education is next to zero in Palestinian


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society. It most likely entails one half-hour science class which names body parts on a chart — then end of lesson. "The women trainers help the girls understand the physical and cultural changes that are happening when they reach puberty. Up till puberty there is equality between girls and boys, then suddenly things change." For example, adults tell girls to stay inside, or to not sit alone with their male cousins anymore. "These things happen due to parents' fear for their daughters," says Sami. "These sessions reassure girls these changes are happening to all girls their age, there is nothing weird or wrong about them all of a sudden. "Once they know what's going on, they can have more control over their choices, and negotiate their own needs in light of where the culture is coming from." As well as counteracting gender bias and empowering female decision-makers in Palestinian society, the YGE programme builds bridges between girls that span class and social divides. "Rural Muslim girls, and girls from refugee camps meet Christian girls, or girls who live in the big cities. They become real friends across their different worlds: rural and urban, rich and poor." In one case YGE girls put their training straight into practice, setting up a hotline where anyone could call to notify family violence emergencies. They called their campaign “Until when?” to ask: how long do we have to wait for safe homes? The message was clear: family violence is not acceptable— and not everything can be blamed on the occupation.

Indigenous inspiration Recently, Sami says the Holy Land Trust has begun to identify with indigenous peoples' struggles. "We are beginning to see this as an indigenous situation, rather than what we had seen as a political conflict between nations." Sami's family goes back 800 years in the land, and as a Christian, back more than 2000 years. "The question here is what is the indigenous way of life for both Jew and Muslim in the land, and also for Christians? We are all indigenous somehow." Sami never used to wear the black and white Palestinian scarf, because for him it had become a symbol of violence, of armed resistance.

ADVENT 2017

Girls at the YGE programme practise telling their stories and listening to one another with compassion.

Now he wears it again, reclaiming its indigenous meaning of fishing net and olive leaf patterns to symbolise traditional livelihoods. Sami has watched Ma-ori justice movements for some time, and admired them alongside other indigenous peacemakers. Now he sees indigenous movements are taking their own land activism to a new level. "They are leading the way as protectors of life for all of humanity, protectors of water as in Standing Rock, and of the earth in places like Chile, Argentina and Mexico." Mike Tonks, a Baptist pastor and Director of Catholic Social Services in Dunedin, is a graduate of the Sumud freedom camp, and connected Sami to Aotearoa. "When we look at the Holy Land, we cannot say the things that face us in New Zealand are too complex: as either new communities, or as indigenous people." he says.

There is nothing weird or wrong about me all of a sudden.

"We can do better at loving our neighbours, at living justly with one another." "Peace-making is not just for them over there, it is for us too."

HEREWORTH DESIGNED FOR BOYS

Hereworth is delighted to welcome Reverend Alan Burnett as our new Chaplain. Recognised as one of New Zealand’s top primary and intermediate schools for boys, Hereworth provides boys in Years 0 - 8 the very best educational foundation they need to help them fully realise their potential. Visit our website to learn more.

INDEPENDENT DAY & BOARDING SCHOOL FOR BOYS YEARS 0 - 8 Hereworth School, Havelock North, Hawke’s Bay www.hereworth.school.nz Tel 06 877 8138

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FA M I L I E S & C H I L D R E N

Romrodphoto / Shutterstock.com

Strandz Enabler Diana Langdon appeals to children's senses to help them share the joy of Christmas through sight, touch, sound , taste and smell.

Bringing kids to their senses

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f I asked you what Christmas tastes like, I wonder what you would say? Strawberries and pavlova, or lamb and mince pies? And what does Christmas smell like? Is it pine trees, lilies or cloves? Or Christmas lunch cooking on the barbeque with a backdrop of freshly cut grass? Advent is a time of hope, expectancy and waiting as we prepare for the birth of Christ.

What does Christmas smell like? Pine trees, lilies or cloves?

at Christmas

For many families, it can be a wonderful time of forming traditions, creating milestones, and finding creative ways to tell the story of Jesus’ birth to a younger generation. Children’s ministry author Ivy Beckwith says that when families create rituals around faith, they are creating rituals that bind them to God and God’s story. "Family celebrations of the church year, like Advent, teach children God’s story in active and effective ways, and show the child that the family values what God values.” she says. Our five senses can evoke and prompt memories of celebrations and milestones throughout our lives. So have we thought about what Advent and Christmas smell, taste, touch, sound and look like for the children and young people in our church community? Here are some of our favourite Advent and Christmas ideas this year.

See If you didn't get it last year, the UK Bible Society's 2016 Christmas storybook The Page 24

Well Good News of Christmas, offers fresh images and a lively child-friendly format for the nativity story. Along with their 2017 story, The Greatest Journey (similar to We’re going on a bear hunt) it is free to download on their website, along with a ‘pop-up nativity’, and images to use in a PowerPoint. www.biblesociety.org.uk/get-involved/ christmas A visual feast for young eyes comes from Illustrated Children’s Ministry, who design intricate images and typographic designs for all ages to colour in. Purchase the digital file and print them off A0 at your local printers as large posters for the whole community to colour in over Advent. illustratedchildrensministry.com

Touch Based on the Mexican tradition of the travelling nativity, Las Posadas, Christmas on the Move is a naïve, simple nativity scene for children and families to move around their house each day, as Mary and Joseph travel towards Bethlehem. Last year, churches printed out the characters for families, stuck them on


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colourful blocks for little hands to play with, or printed them out life size to move around the community. This is a free resource from Strandz, available on our website: strandz.org.nz/christmas-on-the-move This year, the Strandz Christmas project is about generous hospitality – manaakitanga. We want to make sure that every child, whether in church or in our communities, gets the warmest of welcomes this Christmas – a personal gift to hold in their hands and keep. Joy to the World includes a vibrant, colourful multifold activity sheet telling the nativity story, and some beautiful stickers. The Christmas packs ($2 each) include an activity sheet, four stickers, game counters, and a wooden nativity decoration for families to hang on their tree year after year. strandz.org.nz/store Baptist Children's ministry has made an Advent tree, now sold out but back again next Christmas. It has a Holy Land map and figures to hang on the tree as your family follows the holy family on their way to Bethlehem.

http://www.baptistcfm.org.nz/advent

Hear The humble ukulele is an accessible instrument for all ages and stages, and more school children in New Zealand learn the ukulele than the recorder. So, how about finding someone to help you hold a ukulele carol service? Last year St George’s Seatoun handed out ukulele carol chords at the door as families with young players came in, and anyone could join in with the songs.

Taste A very Chocolate Christmas, or the Sweet Nativity, is a creative retelling of the Christmas story that uses 35 chocolates or lollies commonly found in New Zealand. Leaders read out the story and pause for the congregation to shout out the answer, then reward the first correct answer with the chocolate bar. “Mary and Joseph had to travel along a Rocky Road to Bethlehem to where Joseph’s family lived. It was a Curly Wurly journey, so they would often stop to have a Picnic to keep up their Energy.” You can see how it goes!

ADVENT 2017

The Baptist Children and Families team have also produced an Advent Tree, a pop and slot activity for families to enjoy creativity and laughter and some valuable discussions over dinnertime, as the tree grows fuller during December. http://www.baptistcfm.org.nz/advent

Smell Think about how you could incorporate an aroma or scent in your activities. Perhaps it’s an Advent candle you light every day as a family during dinnertime, or your own foliage wreath with candles to light on each four Sundays of Advent. Frankincense and Myrrh have the most wonderful fragrances, and you can buy little jars of their oil. Even the smell of hay, sheep poo and hessian used in a live nativity scene evoke the senses! As we prepare ourselves afresh for the miracle of the Incarnation let's help children to see, touch, hear, smell and taste the anticipation and joy of Christ's birth this Advent. Diana Langdon is Enabler for Strandz, the Tikanga Pa-keha- children's ministry network. diana@strandz.org.nz

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WORLDWIDE MISSION

After Jacynthia Murphy returned from the CCA Asia Mission Conference in Myanmar this year, the way she looked at Christian mission would never be the same.

Journeying in mission:

to Myanmar and back

Jacynthia grabs a selfie with some of the 600-strong Asia Mission Conference in Yangon.

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Jacynthia worships at a Mara Evangelical Church in Yangon. The guy on her right was the day's preacher, Rev Lal Zar Laum Bawn from NCC Bangladesh.

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n Aotearoa, we take inspiration from stories in our Bibles and history books where Christians risk everything for their faith. But for many Christians in Asia, stories like those could easily be part of their daily lives in 21st-century mission. This October, I travelled to Myanmar (Burma) with three other Anglicans from Aotearoa, to attend the Christian Conference of Asia's Asia Mission Conference in Yangon city. The kaupapa was revisiting contextual theology in Asia – taking a critical lens to Christian witness in this huge and diverse region where almost everyone is a believer, but only the minority are Christian. Our team was made up of Robert Kereopa from the Anglican Missions Board, Bardia Matiu from Te Ru-nanga Whakawhanaunga i Nga- Haahi, plus Neill Ballantyne and myself for the Council for Ecumenism. The opening speaker was Sri Lankan Methodist and Emeritus Professor of Drew University, USA, the Rev Dr Wesley Ariarajah. He wasted no time in boldly laying out the mistaken assumptions that had often plagued evangelism efforts in Asia. For starters, western Christians have tended to assume that western culture was a necessary blessing, an improving gift to others that came along with the gospel, he said. "Westerners need to stop acting as the culture that saves," he told us. His challenge was for western Christians to take a step back and listen, rather than

Jacynthia visits the main stupa at Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar's most revered Buddhist site.

to arrive with a stock standard suitcase of answers for each new culture they met. According to Dr Wesley, the 'saving culture' attitude leads to an approach to mission that aims to 'fix-up' the other, instead of searching for what will bring Christ's fullness of life to each people in their own time and place. "The problem is, people receiving the gospel might not want to be fixed." Wesley said. As he sees it, missionaries would be better off to wait till they understand others' points of view, then together they could search for where the liberating power of the gospel will transform their systems, structures or cultural lives. Wesley posed three questions that must precede any missionary endeavour: “What is mission? How should we go about it? and what do we hope to achieve through it?” Each part of that triad has proven hard to pin down, he said, and Christians have failed to forge real agreement on the answers, certainly for the Asian context. As Ma-ori listening to Wesley, we recognised familiar marks of colonisation in his critique. Wesley says colonising attitudes are a problem and challenged us to 'decolonise' our missionary theology and then to indigenise our mission. In Asia, where experience has caused many to be suspicious of Christian proselytisation, Dr Ariajah proposed that Christians might stop targeting others’ religious traditions as the objects of our mission.

ADVENT 2017

The problem is, people receiving the gospel might not want to be fixed.

Instead, he suggested that witness to Christ might call on believers to transform injustice, uplift the poor, and lead others to live as salt and light in their context. Our little roopu from Aotearoa heard a challenge in Dr Wesley's words: to keep these mission questions alive back home, especially now as Te Pouhere — our three tikanga constitution— reaches 25. We need to keep asking: Who does mission? With whom and for whom? *

*

*

*

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One memorable speaker embodied mission as this kind of Christ-driven compassion for the 'least of these.' She was Sister Sudha Varghese, an Indian Roman Catholic religious who spoke on her work with Nari Gunjan (Women’s Voice). Sister Sudha works with women and girls from impoverished, sub-caste (Dalit) communities of Musahar, in India's Bihar and Uttar Pradesh states. Their whole community is treated as outcast and subhuman, and their lack of 'person' status leaves girls and women under threat of sexual exploitation and child marriage. For years, Sister Sudha travelled many miles by bicycle to reach these communities, bringing them schooling and legal aid. This has gained her the nickname of ‘Cycle Didi' a title of respect for her and the care she has given. Page 27


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RURAL RESILIENCE

Sister Sudha Varghese shares the story of people living in poverty in the Indian state of Bihar.

• It is not true that each human is responsible for his or her own life; • It is not true that men, in one way or another, are superior to women;

Rev Dr Wesley Ariarajah. Rev Robert Kereopa stands before a mural of the Burmese royal barge.

But she has also faced heavy opposition for interfering with the social norms. In Bihar society, to go close to the people commonly known as "rat-eaters," is to be made unclean by them. Even social service agencies assigned to support the poor seldom reach these people. But undeterred, Sister Sudha stepped into that reviled space to advocate for the people's human rights and relieve their lives of grinding poverty, illness and invisibility. To offer loving service she crossed boundaries impassable to others. But they could not understand why anyone would do this, and accused her of proselytism. “I have lived a thousand lives and died a thousand deaths,” Sr Sudha said to the CCA forum, referring to the many death threats she has received.

If you kill me, there will be hundreds to take my place.

But Sister refused to be stopped: “If you kill me, there will be hundreds to take my place,” she says. *

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As we sat in our conference centre, it was extremely difficult to accept that atrocities were taking place just out of sight in western Myanmar, where over half a million Rohingya people had already fled to Bangladesh, escaping massacres in their home villages. Refugees were arriving in Bangladesh traumatised, exhausted and hungry. Most had walked for days through jungles, over mountains and across rivers to reach safety. Knowing what the Rohingya were experiencing was incomprehensible, yet the effects of this humanitarian disaster were playing out on the doorstep of our gathering. As a people, Rohingya have been denied their basic human rights for years, making it increasingly difficult for them to live in their home country of Myanmar, and harder still to find refuge anywhere else. As we watched this travesty unfold, we wrestled with how to bear witness to the truth in the face of their plight. Into this, Wesley Ariarajah offered this poignant statement composed by Allan Boesak: • It is not true that God favours or saves one group of people over all others;

• It is not true that wealth, power, and success are true signs of God’s blessings; Page 28

• It is not true that social and economic inequalities, war, and violence are part of our human existence and predicament, and we need to learn to live with them; • It is not true that the earth and its resources are made by God for human enjoyment and exploitation Coming back home I see our own Church in a different light. As Neill Ballantyne said after Myanmar, "We are so resource rich in comparison to so many Asian churches. Yet they still do great things." Now, when our numerous boards gather to consider the challenges we face in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, I will remember the kind of life-threatening decisions many Asian Christians have to face in order to minister in Christ's name. When we beat ourselves up at how we have failed to honour a 25-year-old Pouhere, or wonder why we are not competent to deliver a bi-lingual service, I will remember the inhuman treatment of peoples that plague other Christian communities and their countries. And when we do not act and speak with one voice on matters that govern us in our province, then I will reflect on the religious intolerance, or political upheaval, or disparity between rich and poor that many of our sister and brother provinces live with in Asia and beyond. We still have work to do in this Church, but our blessings are many. Myanmar is not just a place I have visited, it is a place that has visited me. The Rev Jacynthia Murphy is Operations Support Manager at the General Synod Office. operationsmanager@anglicanchurch.org.nz


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ADVENT 2017

FICTION

Searching for Heaven's Kingdom Imogen de la Bere takes us on a journey to meet the monks of Lundy – based on a true story.

Shzphoto / Shutterstock.com

A stone path winds its way on Lundy Island.

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t’s 1916. A middle-aged man in a Norfolk jacket and raincoat is struggling up the steep track from the primitive landing stage of an island, washed by the wild waters of the Bristol Channel. His name is Walter Heaven and he’s newly arrived from Australia to claim his inheritance: Lundy Island. Imagine his excitement! Lundy Island, the haunt of pirates, smugglers and outlaws. As he toils up the rough path almost vertical against the cliff, he rehearses the amazing circumstances

that have brought him here. His grandfather William Hudson Heaven had spent a fortune, all from Jamaican sugar, to buy this place as a glorified shooting estate. Then he’d set about to beautify it: a grand house, walled garden, cottages, and a school. When Grandfather declared the island free of English rule, people began to call it ‘the kingdom of Heaven.’ Then Walter’s uncle, the Reverend Mr Hudson inherited the island. He felt such a kingdom could not be called the kingdom of Heaven without an

He puts his head down and plods into the wind.

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FICTION

Storm clouds gather behind the island's lighthouse.

appropriate sanctuary. So he set about to build one. But with the abolition of the slave trade ruining the sugar business, the money was running out, so he had to choose between a proper road up from the landing stage or a church. He chose a church. Walter has reason to regret this as he slogs his way up the cliff. He’d thought the servants, happy members of the kingdom of Heaven, would see his ship as she hove to and come down to help him with his bag. But undeterred and full of happiness, he toils on, ignoring the rain. He emerges on top of the island where the wind hits him and almost knocks him over. On the top, there’s hardly a tree to be seen, just an expanse of bare island. A lighthouse and the shell of a castle. No lights and it’s getting dark. But he can see the church – what a statement! It’s a lovely, expensive edifice, which would look at home in a leafy suburb, but on a windswept plain it does seem a bit misplaced. But how wonderful of Uncle Hudson to insist on such a statement to the glory of the kingdom.

Saint Helen's Anglican Church, Lundy Island.

Walter’s worn out by the crossing and the climb and he’s starting to feel the cold. He thinks he’ll stop by the church and maybe the verger will make him a cup of tea or find him a dram. In the porch, he’s grateful for shelter from the elements. He opens the big church door. What a grand interior! No expense spared! It’s darkening but he can see the fine tiles and the gilded arches. But there are no flowers or hymnbooks or kneelers. Everything he touches is dusty. He feels his way round the marble walls and into the unlocked vestry with its door left ajar. No verger. Heaven lights a match from his cigarette case. Some vessels for communion. A few pieces of dried bread on a paten. Next to them, a note written in pencil in capital letters. FR BART. NO CANDLES LEFT & NO WINE FOR COMMUNN AS NO MONEY LEFT.

No money for communion wine? What sort of poverty is this?

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No money for communion wine? Walter is devastated. What sort of poverty is this? His dream of a nice fire, a bath, a whiskey and a warm stew is receding. But he knows where the big house is. There’ll be servants there. So he hoists his bag and struggles out into the cold again. He puts his head down and plods into the wind, reminding himself of our boys in Gallipoli and the miseries of the trenches. This is nothing by comparison, he tells himself, but it doesn’t stop him being miserable. He had thought his island kingdom would be a place apart, a

place to forget the horrors of the war. But as he trudges up to the big house, he sees that every window is dark. Some are cracked, and one is broken. The paint on the windowsills is peeling. He crashes the knocker and hears it echo through the hall. He waits. Knocks again, waits. Then turns back, thinking to doss down in the church. He contemplates the rain and the wind out there. Pushes the door and goes into the marbled hall. His footsteps echo. When he stands still, water drips from his coat onto the tiles. He can just make out the fine proportions of the entrance hall and the staircase. The fine Persian carpet on the floor is threadbare, and through the threads he can make out words picked out in black mosaic. ‘Welcome to the Kingdom of Heaven.’ Shivering he goes on into the house, looking for any kind of comfort. He finds a parlour at the back with a cold fire. He manages to light a candle, and pokes around for fuel to light a fire, but can’t find anything. In misery he curls up in a chair, pulls a rag rug off the floor and puts it over him. He whimpers, hoping to sleep until light, then perhaps he can find some way to get off this wretched island. He must have fallen asleep, because suddenly he’s aware of someone moving. He’s aware that there’s a light, more than a candle, a fire. There’s someone moving around, lighting lamps, making clattering


ANGLICAN TAONGA ADVENT 2017

Above & top left: inside St Helen's Church. The long climb to Lundy Island's summit. Photos: Dave Bennett/ benvendetta54@gmail.com. Thanks to: www.sthelenslundy.co.uk

noises. ‘Oh, I’m sorry to wake you,’ says a kind voice. ‘But you were shivering, you seem to need sustenance.’ Walter sees by candlelight that there is a man, a man in a robe. Perhaps a nightgown. He has lit a fire in the grate, and is setting a kettle to boil. He rears over Walter with a glass in his hand. ‘A dram, perhaps?’ Walter takes the drink, crouches near the fire. ‘I’m Heaven,’ he says, ‘Walter Heaven, heir of the kingdom of Heaven.’ ‘I thought as much,’ says the kind man, tinkering with the kettle. ‘Here’s some tea.’ Walter drinks from the glass and tea cup by turn. Both beverages are divine. The fire grows and the light of it licks around the room. The man in the gown gently removes the rug and the raincoat and Walter’s damp jacket, and puts on him a woolly sweater. He kneels to remove Walter’s sodden boots and socks, dries his feet with a towel and puts woolly slippers on his feet. ‘Who are you?’ asks Walter. ‘What are you doing in my grandfather’s house?’ ‘Ah,’ says the man. ‘I am the first of the monks of Lundy. Your aunt endowed us.

After the money ran out and everybody had to leave. I’m the outrider. Father Bartholomew. ‘ ‘Monks,’ says Walter. ‘Someone should have warned me. I’m Australian.’ ‘Yes, indeed,’ says Father Bartholomew. ‘Someone should have warned you. The kingdom is heaven isn’t quite what you expected.’ ‘No, it’s bleak and cold and the church is far too big and expensive and our boys are dying in the trenches and here I am at the end of the world, with someone else’s fantasy, and the whole thing would be a farce if it weren’t so miserable. So where is the kingdom of heaven?’ Father Bartholomew has a toasting fork in the fire. He pulls off it a piece of toast, puts it on a plate, spreads it with butter,

Who are you? What are you doing in my grandfather's house?

then marmalade. He hands the plate to Walter. ‘Here,’ he says. ‘Here is the kingdom of heaven.’ Imogen de la Bere is a writer and director living in England. delaberi@googlemail.com

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TA O N G A

Source of unspeakable gifts We revisit St John's College chapel, long since a powerhouse of Anglican daily prayer.

The Chapel of St John the Evangelist.

It connected us with our forbears, who had prayed in the way we were for more than 100 years.

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t John’s College chapel is as iconic as it ever was for Anglicans, reproduced in countless books and cards. But for generations of students at St John’s College who prayed there every day, it has been a spiritual schoolroom that shaped their lives. Theologian Colin Brown was there from 1951- 53 and remembers the semi-monastic routine vividly: “The day began with matins, meditation and Eucharist – just over an hour before breakfast. We were back in chapel briefly before the midday meal, again for evensong at the end of the afternoon and compline in the mid evening.” Sixty years on, Colin finds the collects

still stick in his mind – especially Cranmer’s. He believes the discipline of Bible reading and prayer at the heart of our Anglican tradition has long-lasting power. “Living liturgically within the framework of the Church’s year, and hearing the Scriptures read in systematic fashion, not just in snippets, helped shape and sustain a Christian faith apprehended and refreshed year by year.” Frank Wright entered St John’s in 1958 as a young man for whom study was difficult. He valued the friendships he made and loved the meals. “But it was the strict regime of chapel worship that gave me the basis for concentrated study. I knew so little and learnt so much. In three years, I grew from


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ADVENT 2017

The Chapel of St John the Evangelist, built from 1847.

Students at St John's College line up outside their chapel on "cassock day" in 2016. Mele Prescott is first left in the back row, and Cruz Karauti-Fox third left in the front row. Photo: Anjali Kemp

a child to someone who could at least be useful in ministry in some way.” The chapel life worked with equal power for Bruce Gilberd, retired Bishop of Auckland, in the early 1960’s. “The daily pattern began as an exterior discipline, but over time became a deeply appreciated inner discipline and source of spiritual growth. This is still so, 57 years later.” Fast forward to the 2010s and chapel life is still a thrice-daily regime, though somewhat changed from earlier times. Student worship groups that span the three tikanga now plan and lead services, calling on their different cultural traditions. Mele Prescott was resident at St John's from 2013-2016, for the final year as an

ordinand. Chapel worship was a highlight of her time. "Night prayer in the chapel was huge. It was such a release of the whole day and a favourite of all the young people in the cloister." Mele was impressed by the diverse worship styles she met at St John's, from High Anglican liturgy – like Ben Randall's Holy Week candle-lit evening prayer – through to Evangelical charismatic worship and Fresh Expressions. Mele vividly remembers the day Cruz Karauti-Fox and fellow students removed the 19th century pews and "matted the chapel," transforming its interior to a Samoan fale or wharenui-like space, where worship could take place Polynesian-style on the floor.

For Cruz, the repetitive pattern of daily worship was not always welcome, but being in the historic building added depth, "From a Ma- ori perspective we look to the past and to our ancestors, so it was touching to pray in the chapel each day. It connected us with our forbears who had prayed in the way we were for more than 100 years." Back in 1956 Denis Mellsop came to St Johns and began a life-long love affair with this chapel Bishop Selwyn had built in 1847. Denis later wrote a Dip. Ed. thesis on the life of Selwyn as bishop and teacher. In 1958 he wrote a poem about the chapel, attempting to capture the growing spiritual awareness of students who shared the daily pattern of worship: He prays in the chapel early, In a halting cold chilled way. Caught in a web thought darkly, Chapel dim on a dawning day. A sound breaks the frosted stillness Bringing light to a seeking mind; The image of dry leaves falling, Blown free by an unrhymed wind “Ruach” the Jews had called it, a fierce and fiery breathing, the very image of Pentecost bringing strength to all believing. He walks from the chapel slowly With breath warmly visible, his spirit lifts As he offers thanks For unspeakable gifts. Page 33


ANGLICAN TAONGA

ADVENT 2017

ENVIRONMENT

Phillip Donnell longs for a holy Advent unsullied by stress, waste and pressure to spend. Not only that, he reckons a kinder, less harried Christmas will bring joy to our planet too.

Going light on Creation for Christmas If we want to get back to the heart of Christmas, there’s nothing like keeping it simple.

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I

t is strange perhaps, that the longer I walk with Jesus, the less complicated my celebration of his birth becomes. I love holidays and festivities, but the rampant consumerism associated with Christmas is bad for the environment, quite apart from the stress it causes. Perhaps you suspect as I do that a calmer, divine-centred, debt-free Christmas would do us more good than another buying spree? The first step towards celebrating

Advent in a gentler way for ourselves and for Creation, is to honour the Creator with a shift away from our gift-buying mindset. If we want to get back to the heart of Christmas, there’s nothing like keeping it simple. So why not sit down with your family before the craziness begins, and decide what kind of celebration captures the true meaning and spirit of Christ’s birth for you? One goal might be to spend Christmas deepening relationships: Who helps you to give and receive Christ's


ANGLICAN TAONGA

• Spend less. It takes an average of six months for credit card users to pay off holiday debt.

Sustenance or Secret Santa? Tomatoes grow in the West Bank, thanks to an Action of Churches Together development project.

love around Christmas time? Which activities have been most meaningful and memorable in years’ past? How can you reach out to others? Perhaps another aim might be to spend less money and create less waste, and instead to create more stories and treasures to share in the future. We don't have to drop every festive tradition; instead try to scale back, prioritising the best and eliminating the excess. Here are some ideas to help slow down Advent and stop it becoming a mad dash of gifts, glitter and gluttony: • Instead of giving workplace gifts, take an office collection for a reputable aid agency: then someone in need can get farm animals, plant trees, get health care, set up a water purification system, or receive a microloan to kickstart a business • Use e-cards, buy cards from a charity, or make cards from recycled paper and materials as a fun Advent activity with your kids. • Decorate an outdoor tree or indoor houseplant, or buy a live tree from a local nursery and plant it once Christmas is over. • Instead of adding new ornaments this year, opt for edible or compostable items for garlands, such as coloured stringed popcorn or cranberries. Making Christmas decorations (e.g. from old magazines) is another a fun family activity. • Use LED lights, and never have a problem identifying a faulty bulb.

Hope:

s with Roman Through Lent

ADVENT 2017

• Shop online or close to home to save fuel and time. • Use reusable shopping bags and wrap presents in reusable material, such as cloth bags or reusable gift bags. • Stuff a card with cash (the kids can contribute from their piggy banks!) and send it anonymously to a needy family. • Exchange gifts with just one family member, picking names out of a hat a few weeks in advance, or give gifts to the children only.

No more mad dash of gifts, glitter and gluttony.

• Rather than buying elaborate presents: make gift certificates for breakfast in bed, a back rub, a parents' night out, or make homemade personalised gifts like a photo collage. • Give each person only three gifts to symbolise the gold, frankincense and myrrh the wise men gave Jesus - one thing they need, one thing they want and one small surprise. • Give the gift of yourself through an act of service: offer to babysit, mow a lawn, prepare and deliver a meal or loaf of fresh bread. • Consumable gifts are a great option, such as organic teas, fair-trade coffee or home baking. • Forgo the party on Christmas Eve and go to church instead. • Invite a needy family to share Christmas with you. The spirit of giving that Jesus exemplifies is about meeting the spiritual and material needs of others. Most of us can do without another tie, pair of socks or scarf, especially when we put that cost

alongside a child in Syria, Bangladesh or one just round the corner that needs a pair of shoes. A satisfying life is not about having more. It's about appreciating what we have and sharing our abundance. A simple attitude adjustment may lead your family to a more relaxed, economical, eco-friendly and Christ-focused Christmas. So this year give ‘less is more’ a try, you might find it's well worth the effort. Phillip Donnell works with several environmental organisations to foster interest and participation in Creation care. phillipjohndonnell@gmail.com Note: Some of the eco-Christmas ideas come from http://www.blessedearth.org, particularly from Matthew and Nancy Sleeth.

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ANGLICAN TAONGA

ADVENT 2017

OVERSEAS AID

Gillian Southey from Christian World Service wants Kiwis to step up and back our Pacific churches’ global work for climate justice.

Making hope our story

A

t Christian World Service we turn to two stories close to home this Christmas, to share where our Pacific partners are working for a better future. Tonga’s Ama Takiloa and the Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC) are CWS partners that work closely with people threatened by extreme weather events and rising oceans. Milika Tovi (pictured above) lost her home in Cyclone Ian’s battering winds and heavy rains that hit Tonga’s Ha’apai islands in 2014. After the storm, with help from CWS, she replanted Ama Takiloa’s community gardens.

More intense disasters are an indicator of climate change, an issue the PCC has taken seriously for many years, both by educating Pacific churches and taking action on the global stage. Groups like Ama Takiloa help people living in the low-lying Pacific Islands and coasts to do all they can: plant sea resistant crops, prepare evacuation and disaster responses and protect their homes. But PCC has another critical role – to take our Pacific stories into the right global forums where sound decisions could slow temperatures rising, or release funds to ensure climate change

survival for our Pacific peoples. This Christmas, please support CWS and our Pacific partners through our 2017 Christmas Appeal. Gillian Southey is Communications Coordinator for Christian World Service. gillian.southey@cws.org.nz You can find 2017 Christmas Appeal resources or make a donation at: http://christmasappeal.org.nz. To donate by cheque or money order send to: CWS Christmas Appeal, PO Box 22652, Christchurch 8140.

MAKE HOPE MY STORY DONATE TODAY christmasappeal.org.nz

Christian World Service works with people so they have food, water and justice.

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ANGLICAN TAONGA

ADVENT 2017

BOOKS

Unpacking the church’s role in Kiwi culture SUNDAY BEST: HOW THE CHURCH SHAPED NEW ZEALAND AND NEW ZEALAND SHAPED THE CHURCH BY PETER LINEHAM MASSEY UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2017. $55.00 TIM COOPER

T

he author of this book, Peter Lineham, stands at the forefront of Aotearoa New Zealand’s many fine church historians. Few know more about the history of Christianity in this country than he does. This book brings together all Peter’s years of collecting, observing and publishing, into this account of what it has meant to be Christian, to be the church. The subtitle spells out the author’s premise that the church shaped New Zealand and New Zealand shaped the church, a claim he stakes again on page 22: The argument of this book is that understanding religious culture is highly desirable for understanding of New Zealand society and culture as a whole. Religion may have been privatised in Aotearoa, he writes, but it was far from irrelevant. The book is beautifully presented, richly illustrated, accessible and packed full of lively anecdote and detail. It surveys eleven aspects of church culture: Sundays; buildings and

architecture; church services; music; the clergy; the laity; finance; sociability and community; gender; children; and status (or class). Lineham does justice to all the main Protestant denominations and the Roman Catholic Church with characteristic even-handedness. To illustrate his broader themes he includes an array of stories, often at the level of the parish. They are by turns fascinating, amusing, surprising and illuminating and present to us ‘the world that was lost’ 1. This volume shows us how much things have changed. At the local level, for example, I was surprised that the ministry of welcome, now held as a high value in many churches, was largely unknown until the 1950s: one did not go to church to have morning tea. At the national level, the centrality of the church in society that Lineham so deftly describes has passed. After the 1960s those structures that facilitated this public Christianity rapidly became anachronistic. Sunday Best is more descriptive than interpretive. I would have liked to hear more about what all of this detail means. What sense does Lineham make of this story? Even so, it is a deeply interesting book for anyone who has a stake in that story, and certainly of interest to anyone

who might have lived through the decades and experienced the changes for themselves. If you need an ideal Christmas gift for such a person, this is it. Dr Tim Cooper is Associate Professor of Church History in the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Otago and a member of Dunedin City Baptist Church. tim.cooper@otago.ac.nz Note 1. Page 22.

Children – the heart of all we do. ATWC’s integrated Family, Early Education and Social Work services and programmes help to protect, nurture and provide opportunities for up to 3000 children, young people and their families across Auckland. We aim to reconnect families and empower them to take control of their decision making so they can face the future with hope! Each year we need $1million in donations to maintain our services and meet growing demand.

www.atwc.org.nz

For further information please contact: ATWC, 10 Beatty Street, PO Box 22-363 Otahuhu 1062 Phone: 09 276 3729 Email: info@atwc.org.nz Page 37


ANGLICAN TAONGA

ADVENT 2017

FILM

Seeing through a dead child’s eyes John Bluck is struck by the raw emotions portrayed in new local film Waru. As he reels at the eight stories’ escalating power, he longs for a way to change the background scenes.

F

resh from a critically acclaimed launch at this year’s NZ Film Festival, an ambitious film by nine Ma- ori women directors opened in cinemas around the country in October. Shot beautifully as eight separate ten minute stories, they weave into one accumulating lament of almost unbearable intensity, around the tangi of a small boy killed in the hands of his caregivers. No one else but Ma- ori could have made this film, and found the courage to address its subject so passionately and directly. In RNZ’s Mihirangi Forbes’ words, “ When a child is killed every five weeks there is no other way to tackle abuse than confronting it head on.” And that’s what Waru does. In a final speech of Shakespearean intensity but equally powerfully through images of desperate mothers at a loss to cope, smug men sure of their right to violence, young women wondering if they have a future, and older women resigned to not having one. The faces of the actors, some of them first time performers, haunt you long after the film has finished. Laced through all this brooding despair there is humour and kitchen banter and the endless optimism of children who still find reason to laugh and play. Best of all the memorable words already written about this film, on its way to becoming a NZ classic, is the variation on the old saying; it takes a village to raise a child. And a village to kill one. Waru is about complicity; the subtle, secret ways in which forces of neglect, abuse, poverty, addiction, shame and pride Page 38

conspire to hide the lives being destroyed. Cones of silence cover the wrongs, protected by whanau, community and cultural loyalties, until they are smashed open by the women and children who refuse to be victims any longer. This dysfunctionality is revealed in the film as not simply involving Ma- ori, but infecting every level of life in Aotearoa. The state welfare institutions that respond with robot answers to telephoned cries for help, chanting “Your call is important to us”. The Pa- keha- neighbours who look on disapprovingly, the school policies that take the kids on trips but only if their parents can pay, and most powerfully the mainstream media and talk show hosts who rant on about the “Ma- ori problem” and “warrior genes”. The disturbing thing about Waru for Pa- keha- viewers is the racial chasm it portrays between us. The confident Pa- keha- girlfriend bewildered by her first marae visit; the well meaning Pa- kehawoman baffled by her Ma- ori solo mum neighbour, the Pakeha journalists peddling racist stereotypes; all this after nearly 200 years of learning to live together and alongside each other. In the week this film began in our cinemas, a conference was underway at St John’s College to review the progress Anglicans have made with their three tikanga church, now 25 years old. A common

theme in almost all the presentations was that the gap in understanding between Ma- ori and Pa- keha- is wider than ever. There are programmes in both Tikanga Ma- ori and Tikanga Pa- keha- doing good work on issues of child abuse and family violence, but so long as there is so little conversation and common ground between the tikanga, Sunday by Sunday, Anglicans remain part of the problem that Waru so courageously seeks to address. Bishop John Bluck is a writer living in Northland. blucksbooks@gmail.com


ANGLICAN TAONGA

ADVENT 2017

F R O M T H E FA R S I D E

Imogen de la Bere finds solace in the fiery brilliance of autumn, despite the season’s deepening shadows.

Segawa7 / Shutterstock.com

Piercing the darkness with joy

I

confess I have been melancholy lately, and not without cause, but you don’t want to hear about that. There’s enough gloom in the world without dwelling on my quotidian helping. I found my personal cloud lifting as I stoked a bonfire in my autumn garden. Autumn in England is always pure aesthetic pleasure, and this year has been unrivalled in glory: the sharpest vermilions, the sultriest golds, the subtlest oranges. An autumn bonfire combines pleasures – the sumptuous tapestry of trees and the masterful drama of flame. I watched with delight as the flames leapt up untrammelled, devouring detritus and leftover cuttings, the alchemy of rubbish to ecstasy. Oh, the pure pleasure of fire. And all my youthful joy in bonfire leapt up with the flames. This I enjoy! I remember now, this is something I enjoy! But as I enjoyed it – and remembered at last what pure joy felt like – I was equally aware of the downside of bonfires. The smoke that blinds and chokes and makes your eyes water; the ire of neighbours; the damage to low-hanging shrubbery; the mess; the fact that you realise you can’t keep it burning forever – at some point you

will run out of fuel or pleasure or someone else’s patience. Far from adding to my melancholy this led me to a profound thought: there is no pleasure without downside. There is no joy without a touch of pain. There is no love without grief. Think about it. You love to fish: you’ve still got to buy a license and bait and look after your kit and go out in inclement weather. You love to sail: you’ve still got to trim the boat and deal with the salt water and battle the winds. You love to garden: you’ve got to dig and bend your back and deal with pestilence and drought. You love to read: you’ve got to seek out new books, stay alert, think. You love to sing in a choir: you’ve got to turn up on time, stay in tune, learn your music. I could go on and on. Nothing worthwhile comes without effort and at least a little pain. It seems that the Creator ordained it so. But caught up in the intense beauty of Creation – can we believe in a God who ordains a downside to everything? Perhaps we need to rethink the nature of the downside. Milton said God was “dark with excess of light”. We think of dark as

the negative of light, but as Barbara Brown Taylor has shown in her wonderful book Learning to Walk in the Dark, dark is a different sort of good. The trouble and pain inherent in our pleasures are not a downside at all, but part of the activity itself. We enjoy sailing more because of the wind and the cold; tackling them and overcoming vicissitudes is all part of the pleasure of sailing. I enjoy a bonfire precisely because it is transitory and untamed – as with so much that brings us joy. The mind of the Creator is beyond our comprehension – by definition, some would say. Yet when we sense how joy and sorrow, grief and love, pain and beauty intermingle throughout Creation, we are awestruck by its complexity. That creative tension between death and resurrection is the beating heart of our faith, and to that we owe our very life. Imogen de la Bere is a writer and director living in England. delaberi@googlemail.com

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Anglican Taonga Advent 2017  

ANGLICAN TAONGA is published by the Anglican Commission on Communications and distributed to all parishes and agencies of the Anglican Churc...

Anglican Taonga Advent 2017  

ANGLICAN TAONGA is published by the Anglican Commission on Communications and distributed to all parishes and agencies of the Anglican Churc...

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