A QUESTION OF LIFE OR DEATH
DIOCESE OF CHRISTCHURCH
KO WAI AU? [WHO AM I?]
ISSUE FORTY EIGHT
SEEKING JUSTICE, LOVING MERCY
UPHOLDING THE LAW WITH INTEGRITY
A LAYMANâ€™S THOUGHTS
JUNE / JULY 2017
STILL LEARNING RAW MERCY
04. A QUESTION OF LIFE OR DEATH
01. 02. 09. 10: 14:
12. KO WAI AU? [WHO AM I?]
FROM THE BISHOP: Loved by the God of Mercy THE BRIEF DIALOGUE: Still Learning ARTICLE: Standing Alongside ARTICLE: Seeking Justice, Loving Mercy
16. REPENTANCE AND MERCY
20. 22. 24. 25.
18. RAW MERCY
WORKPLACE: Upholding the Law with Integrity CULTURE THEOLOGICAL THOUGHTS: So much More than Nice PERSPECTIVE: A Layman’s Thoughts
AnglicanLife is published bi-monthly by the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch. Interim Editor / Cathy Maslin /email@example.com, Contributing Writers / The Rev’d Indrea Alexander, Sara Cornish, Contributors / + Victoria Matthews, Jo Taylor-de Vocht, the Rev’d Jan Brodie, Ain Vares, the Rev’d Jill Maslin, Dennis Veal, the Ven. Mere Wallace, the Rev’d Peter Carrell, Tessa Laing, Ross Seagar, Editorial and Advertising Enquiries / Cathy Maslin / firstname.lastname@example.org, Design / www.baylymoore.com, Printed by / Toltech Print, Sustainability / AnglicanLife is printed on recycled paper using vegetable-based inks.
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FROM THE BISHOP
LOVED BY THE GOD OF MERCY Words: Bishop Victoria Matthews I was recently back from Easter Camp at Spencer Park, graced with the presence of 4,000 teenagers and a whole lot of rain on Thursday and Friday, when in the early evening I heard about the untimely death of the Rev’d Andrew Starky. I took off to see the good people of St Michael and All Angels and tried to see Kathryn Starky. Later, I returned to the Camp and I celebrated what they call Midnight Mass on the Saturday (Easter Eve) at 10.30 pm. Throughout all of this time I was, rather surprisingly, conscious of the mercy and presence of God in Christ. How can this be that I was aware of God’s mercy at such a difficult time? I did wonder at and ponder that question. On my initial visit to Easter Camp I was struck by the sheer happiness of the young folk. Pouring rain and deep mud just added to their sense of joy and the anticipation that good things were happening. The very fact they were all together, albeit wet, was cause to appreciate the youthful sense of God being with us at all times and in all places. Scripture tells us Jesus taught, “For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.” (Matthew 18.20) Many, about a third of the total number, were
attending Easter Camp for the first time and you could see them both embracing and being embraced by the culture of the camp. The youth were conscious that they were there not to be judged but to be loved by the God of mercy. In the words of 1 Peter 1.3, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Then came the news of the sudden death of one of our finest priests and pastors. Again I was struck this time by the way the parish was able to make difficult yet wise decisions on how to proceed. It may not have felt like mercy to many, however I was grateful that if this was to happen, Kathryn and Andrew had the opportunity to have study leave together not long before. Synonyms for mercy include compassion, grace and clemency. As we suffered together in the rain of Easter Camp and in our shared grief there was indeed a sense of the mercy of God. We cannot change many things but we can choose how we respond to what befalls us. In all these instances I was aware of the power of the resurrection of Christ: Alleluia Christ is risen. He is risen indeed, Alleluia. +Victoria
GO WELL Fr Andrew Starky, known by many in the Christchurch Diocese, passed away on Easter Saturday. He held the position of Vicar at St Michael and All Angel’s in Christchurch City, a church he felt honoured to have the privilege to shepherd. Prior to taking up this position Fr Andrew was Vicar of Temuka and Te Ngawai and earlier an Enabler in South Canterbury and South Westland. His calling was shared with his wife Kathryn and son Daniel who both supported and ministered alongside him. Fr Andrew undertook many responsibilities as an Archdeacon, a participant in General Synod, a Church Property Trustee and a member of Standing Committee and the Cathedral Chapter. He also had ongoing engagement with the Maori Diocese of Te Waiponamu. Yet we will mostly remember his wisdom, pastoral care, hospitality and devotion to his family.
STARVING FOR COMPASSION Ollie Alexander made national headlines recently when he camped out on the lawn of St Mary’s Church, Timaru. Going on his own 140 hour famine he was determined to draw people’s attention the 20 million people on the brink of starvation in South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen.
21 April 2017, where the Rev’d Bosco Peters
with the “Give-a-little” page he set up raising $4,318.30. Ollie’s actions also got people talking about the humanitarian crisis caused by a
from one person to another — the Andrew you know and love is the Andrew I know. He was a man of total integrity. And when he spent any time with you, even if it was just the moment of greeting you at the church door — he was fully there with you, personally, individually.” Gone to be with the God he loves.
and drought. “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” (Luke 3:11)
EASTER CAMP A contingent of youth from Anglican Churches and other denominations attended Easter Camp again this year. +Victoria was present and held a poignant Midnight Mass on Saturday evening. Everyone got incredibly wet, 4000 teenagers over 15 hectares in the mud and rain. 4000 kids inside one massive tent, worshipping and praising his Holy name. the youth to connect with God and they did. On Saturday evening the technology kept absolutely no reason. Everyone had to be evacuated. Not an easy feat. Yet there was no giving up, what followed was three hours not the scheduled one hour of worshipping God in the Big Top. During the camp one of the speakers bought our attention to Luke 24:5, “Why do you look for the living among the dead.” The kids relate to this in the context of bad relationships, addictions, self-harm and drug taking. I wonder if this was what God intended our churches, our communities, and our country lies within their hands; we need to mentor them and nurture them with God’s guidance.
ST CUTHBERT’S — GOVERNORS BAY Between them the parishes of Mt Herbert & Akaroa-Banks Peninsula have 12 Anglican churches and the use of two Presbyterian churches. These were established around Banks Peninsula when travel was difficult and church was a focal point of the community. Several of these churches were damaged during the Canterbury earthquakes and are a part of the Church Property Trustees (CPT) Earthquake Recovery Programme. The repairs and strengthening to St Cuthbert’s in Governors Bay (Mt Herbert Parish) have recently been completed. The CPT Recovery team are very pleased with the project and especially the assistance of Sir Miles Warren as architect to the project, the construction team from C. Lund & Son Limited, and the other consultants involved. The foundation stone for St Cuthbert was laid on 30th January 1860. Designed by architect George Mallinson it was built over a period of two years. Some of the stone came from Garlick’s quarry and some was carted up from the beach by parishioners. The church became debtfree and was consecrated on Sunday 22nd June 1875 by Archbishop Henry Harper — under Canon Law a church cannot be consecrated if money is owing on it. As with most of our heritage buildings, what you see now
is not necessarily what the original structure looked like. A stone chancel was added in 1864. In the early 1900’s a wooden belfry was erected at the north side of the church (later replaced) and the shingle roof was replaced with corrugated iron. A small vestry was added to the south side of the church in 1980. St Cuthbert’s was severely damaged by earthquakes on 4th September, 2010. All four walls were cracked and the masonry from around the east window crashed onto the altar. The project involved removing the roof and carefully deconstructing the church, building reinforced concrete block walls, and then attaching the original stone back in place. In addition to insurance proceeds, the project was made possible through local fundraising and generous grants from the Christchurch Earthquake Heritage Buildings Trust [Heritage New Zealand] and the Lotteries Environment and Heritage Committee. On reopening there will be a service every Sunday at St Cuthbert’s at 9am except the fifth Sunday of the month when the whole parish gathers together at St Peter’s, Teddington. The first Sunday of the month is always taken by a Presbyterian or Methodist minister. There is communion on the second and fourth Sundays.
A QUESTION OF LIFE OR DEATH Words: Cathy Maslin
Â© fotoknips/123RF Stock Photo 4
On the 1 April, 2017 Theology House in association with the Transitional Cathedral organised a seminar on euthanasia called “A Duty to Die?” It came about because legalising euthanasia is again being raised as an issue in New Zealand. A private members bill titled the End of Life Options Bill has the possibility of being drawn at any time for consideration by parliament. Christians have diverse viewpoints about euthanasia and its potential application for good and for harm. It is a topic worthy of consideration through the lens of faith before rather than after finding oneself in a decision making position. The 32 000 submissions by New Zealanders to the select committee on euthanasia illustrates the importance the public places on this matter. The summing up to follow is based on the presentations and resulting discussion emerging from the seminar. It is representative of the points raised. Only the information pertaining to euthanasia, expediting a person’s death through medical involvement is mentioned. In agreement All those involved in this seminar agreed on three factors. The first is palliative care and the alleviation of suffering is a crucial component in caring for people with terminal or degenerative illnesses. The second is more resources are needed to help family members or friends who provide healthcare for the seriously ill at home. And thirdly, respect for the dignity of every person is paramount. Potential for good? People who face impending death or have a terminal illness are the only ones who know the degree of their suffering or the fear of what they will face as their condition deteriorates. For this reason offering a voluntary choice for them to have their life ended is an act of compassion. From a Christian standpoint it can be done with the view that a better life awaits. If a person is incapacitated advanced directives can allow family or friends to honour their request. The grief of loved ones can also be lessened as they will be less likely to witness unnecessary suffering, as well as having the opportunity to do say their farewells in a fitting manner. Often when people are approaching death there comes a
point where there seems little benefit in extending a persons life. Isn’t it reasonable to have the option of euthanasia in such situations? Potential for harm? The practice of euthanasia can be abused. In countries or states where it is legal there are cases where unrequested euthanasia is undertaken. The boundaries on who is eligible to request euthanasia also continue to be extended, and there is the possibility of people being coerced into the decision for financial or personal reasons. A longer-term risk is that the way society as a whole views and values life may change over time. Life as an optional choice. Some evidence of this can be seen already. For example a comment made to a person with a life threatening illness “not to complain” as it is their choice to live (Mark van Loenen, G. (2014). Do You Call this a Life? Canada: Ross Luttner), or healthcare insurance companies who will subsidise euthanasia drugs but will not fund palliative care. The potential for such attitudes to extend to other people groups, such as the differently-abled, is foreseeable. Currently the role doctors undertake is one of preserving life not taking it. If this cultural more is changed to include the preserving and taking of life, a question needs to be raised regarding whether people will be able to trust their doctors’ intentions and advice. It will also place doctors in a difficult position. Doctors do not make laws but they are required to follow them. Although, under the private members bill, doctors will be allowed to conscientiously object to taking part in euthanasia, they will be required to refer anyone who requests it. One speaker asked, “Is it not best to live until we die?” We can’t predict the future. What will people miss out on, the family, the individual and society, if euthanasia is an option? People who are given only months to live may live a lot longer and a small number of those people go on to completely recover. Lastly, there is an underlying assumption that people will make or can make rational decisions when it comes to euthanasia. Anyone can be vulnerable, and a number of influences come into play when people make decisions while in that position. 5
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Dissenting voices Firstly, I have purposefully avoided mentioning any statistics so far as those quoted by the seminar presenters contradicted each other. There were two lots of figures that were uncontested. One was the number of countries or states where euthanasia is legal (12–15) and the number of countries or states where legalisation has been raised and rejected (140). The second was that in countries where euthanasia is practiced the number of people taking this option is increasing. It was contested that this could be either evidence of an exploitation of the procedure once it becomes legal or a naturally occurring phenomenon as people become more comfortable with its existence. Although both sides took an attitude desiring the reduction of suffering in cases of unbearable suffering they came at it from different approaches. Those pro-euthanasia saw euthanasia as a viable option in avoiding what was seen unnecessary end of life suffering, even in some cases where it has not been requested. The other side favoured continued palliative treatment and ongoing research and application of the advances made in pain management. This leads naturally to another question. Is the withholding of medical support the same as euthanasia? For example the withdrawal of life support. Those for euthanasia argued it is, as it requires action by a doctor resulting in the death of an individual. Those against countered it is different, as without life support the individual would be left to die naturally (or not die as the case may be); and therefore removing life support does not hasten the natural end of life. 6
There were also a couple of opposing statements made. One was the majority of doctors support euthanasia, the other the majority of doctors do not support it. The second was that euthanasia aids the grieving process for family and friends disputed by another remark that there is no evidence grief is felt to a lesser degree in this situation. Here is an opportunity to do some investigating of your own! A most important consideration, however, with any law involving matters of life and death is whether or not the safeguards put in place will provide adequate protection from misapplication. You will not be surprised that there were differing opinions regarding this. Examples of situations in other countries where euthanasia was undertaken without consent of an individual, or undertaken without an individual’s consent or undertaken without following due process such as getting a second opinion, were supplied at the seminar. These were taken as proof requirements stipulated by a law often fall short and are open to misuse. Both speakers in favour of the limited legal application of euthanasia in New Zealand believed adequate safeguards would be put into place to prevent any misuse. One cited strict protocols such as requiring a set amount of days between a request for euthanasia and the consent of a doctor, as well as the agreement of a second independent medical professional being required. It was also noted the cases which reached court in other countries relating to the mishandling of euthanasia were negligible. Thanks goes to the speakers; Bishop Jim White, Dr Jack Havill (Past-president Voluntary Euthanasia Society), Renée Joubert (Executive Officer Euthanasia Free NZ), and Rev’d Dr Graham O’Brian (Co-chair Inter-church Bioethics Council) for their willingness to participate in the seminar. And also to Bishop Victoria Matthews as Chair. The plumb-line There is the temptation for us all to use our own internal compass when dealing with emotive issues. It was obvious from the comments made during the seminar that many viewpoints had personal experience as the starting point. It is to Christians’ advantage that there is also an external reference, the Word of God, to inform and guide our reasoning beyond our own. Nearly all applications of theology around the issue of
euthanasia could make an essay in themselves; hence my aim in adding this additional piece is to prompt your own thinking. Free will: Human beings were given free-will by God so aren’t people free to choose when to die or when to participate in the taking of a life? Wars as described in the Bible and throughout history, have formed Christian thought on this matter whereby some consider the taking of life in certain circumstances to be morally acceptable. There are plenty of examples of conflicts in the Bible where life is taken without individual repercussions. Could euthanasia also be interpreted in a similar way theologically? As a morally acceptable circumstance for the taking of a life? Yet one restriction on behaviour presented to people by God in the Bible as a guideline for right-living, is the prohibition of the taking of a life (Exodus 20:13; Matthew 5:21-26). The term used in the text is translated as to murder or kill. Does euthanasia constitute murdering or killing someone? Free will is given to us; yet how we use it has consequences for ourselves and others. In the image of God: The worth of every person is determined by who they are as God’s child and therefore of infinite value. It was this viewpoint held by early Christians that influenced and eventually altered Roman practices of infanticide and suicide (then viewed as an honourable choice in some circumstances). Would we be placing our own judgement on the value of life by practising euthanasia? Or can at least some situations where euthanasia is used be interpreted as justified because the person in question does not really have a life? And if so, who decides? Mercy: Most would agree it is merciful to alleviate suffering. It would be fair to say Jesus in his earthly ministry alleviated suffering by healing and there are no accounts of his involvement in hastening death. Still, how would situations of hastening death where people are in extreme pain and death is inevitable, be viewed in light of God’s mercy? Can hastening death in such cases be
held on a par with the indiscriminate taking of a life? Suffering: While scripture contains many references to the inevitability of suffering when, like Jesus, we are called to walk the way of the Cross, surely there are other forms of suffering that could be considered futile? There are books in the Bible whereby suffering seems futile, such as Job. Yet there was a reason —only Job did not know it. Is there a risk if we act on our own understanding when questioning suffering? On the other hand our cultural context and level of technology has changed a lot since Biblical times. Many medical interventions are used to extend life. Is the emergence of euthanasia an inevitable result of this drawing out of life; a contemporary response to such a situation? Justice: The God we worship is a God of justice. The voice of the prophets culminates in the actions of Jesus as he advocates for fair and impartial treatment of all people regardless of their place in society. If euthanasia is made legal can we ensure its practice will be just? The tree of life: Going right back now to the beginning. In the Garden of Eden man was warned to eat of the tree of life and not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Eating from the second tree offered the temptation to be like God, with the serpents assurance God was withholding something from Adam and Eve. The consequences of this eventuated in death being a feature of our earthly existence. Living in a post-Eden world where death exists, is euthanasia then simply a way of softening its impact on God’s people? Or is it another form of that age-old temptation to be like God, taking over decisions God desires to keep from us for our own good? In respect to euthanasia becoming legally acceptable in New Zealand, what do you think? Is it an option which would be compatible with Christianity or not?
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STILL LEARNING REV’D JAN BRODIE WITH BISHOPSPARK COMPLEX BIBLE STUDY GROUP MEMBERS
Is having spiritual support where you live important to you? “A part of being here at this Anglican Living residential complex is an expectation there will be spiritual support. This can be influential in our choice to come here. One benefit we see is as people deteriorate in health, they are still able to attend church and services just like they did at their own churches, and have individual time with the chaplain as wanted.” What is the story behind your Bible study group? “This Bible study group started with the first Diocesan Lenten study and then we asked for it to continue on throughout the year. This study group has been running every week for the last four years. Some people join in every year with the Lenten study. At times we also have visitors from the more transient residents. “The value of this group is that we have a variety of theological viewpoints. This offers a challenging and enjoyable environment as we participate in discussions. It encourages us to respect each other’s differences, as we are a diverse and ecumenical group. Our core is our faith which both holds us together and invites us to demonstrate Christian faith by our action of respect and openness. We are a ‘poly-lot’ which helps us grow in our minds and ideas. We love the group as it gives us the opportunity to ‘come apart for a little while.’”
How does mercy feature in your lives? “We receive and give mercy often around here. It takes risk to offer mercy rather than judgement. We value the willingness amongst staff to be merciful rather than following rigidity, something we all experience at times. There is a sense that there has been a change since the earthquakes. There is a sense of greater mercy to others, both from residents and staff.” As a culture, do you think Kiwis’ approach to justice has changed over the years? “We are aware that justice versus vengeance can be misconstrued nowadays. There is a sense of personal vengeance rising, and more flexibility of justice. There is more concern for people and their futures. The media has a huge influence nowadays. We are aware that there are many different opinions even within our group.” In respect to your walk with God do you have any particular lessons learnt or pearls of wisdom you are prepared to share? “There are only learners at different stages of development — we are all still learning.” “There is no resignation from the Christian life — we live it to the day we die.” “We prefer to treat others and see others treated with mercy.” 9
STANDING ALONGSIDE Words: Rev’d Indrea Alexander with Ruth Swale, Anglican Care South Canterbury
“IT’S NOT ABOUT STANDING BACK AND CRITICISING, BUT HAVING DIALOGUE ABOUT HOW THINGS CAN BE PUT RIGHT.”
A diverse team of volunteers have trained as advocates to stand alongside South Canterbury people struggling to access essential services. Members of The Advocacy Group help people engage with government departments such as Work and Income and Housing New Zealand and with private providers of legal, financial, medical, dental and family services. Anglican Care South Canterbury’s social justice advocate Ruth Swale, established The Advocacy Group two years ago with trained counsellor Bettina Mielenz, after undertaking research in 2014 about issues facing people in South Canterbury communities. “This insistent little theme kept emerging, that there were barriers facing people who were trying to access services they needed. The barriers are diverse but the cumulative effect is client frustration and agencies’ failure to meet genuine needs.” Nine people with a range of skills and life experience from Timaru, Waimate and Temuka have now been accepted and trained to work as advocates. Essential qualities include being non-judgemental, unflappable and encouraging. The key role
of the advocates is to equip and enable people in their pursuit of the services they require. To achieve this, the advocates engage in a three step process. The first step is to meet with the person in a neutral space such as a café or library to identify what they are seeking, clarify their bottom line, share any relevant background, discuss what sort of questions they are likely to be asked and agree what role the advocate will have in this particular instance. “Our aim is to be a support person not a spokesperson, but everything can be flexible. We’re here to empower people.” They then attend the appointment together. The advocate will speak up (if previously agreed) if the person is being talked down to, a question is being ignored, or the person is too upset to continue. After the appointment, the advocate offers an opportunity to debrief with a question such as, “How do you think that went?” If it went well they can celebrate and move on, or, if the outcome wasn’t what was wanted, “What would you like to do next?” Advocates find it rewarding and a privilege to provide support. “This person is letting us into this part of their life.”
Counsellor Alexia Bensemann as she faciliatates an Advocacy workshop
Ruth Swale and Bettina Mielenz co-founders of The Advocacy Group
Ruth said a couple who had been good Housing NZ tenants for 16 years faced a sudden change of circumstances when the man could no longer manage the stairs in their house. The woman sought support as she made an approach for single-storey housing. An advocate provided assistance to deal with 0800 numbers which gave multi-choice options and involved long waits. “Ultimately they got a much better hearing.” Requests for advocacy usually come from individuals or community groups on an individual’s behalf. Quite unexpectedly, a government department recently asked The Advocacy Group to help a client prepare for and attend an appointment. Afterward a staff member told Ruth the volunteer’s involvement was “wonderful”. On the strength of this, Ruth arranged to meet two senior staff members and talk about what The Advocacy Group was doing. “This is the way forward. It’s not about standing back and criticising, but having dialogue about how things can be put right. It’s a winwin opportunity.” Ruth said blanket policies and online application
systems can seem to ignore individuals’ needs, but staff can use discretion in dealing with individual situations. “Get in behind closed doors and ask the question, `Is there some way?’ Acknowledge their processes and appeal to their humanity. You’ve got to believe there is humanity there.” In addition to providing advocates, The Advocacy Group also runs public workshops in South Canterbury communities which are designed to benefit all people in the areas of selfesteem, communication and problem-solving skills. “The objective of our work is to place people in a disempowered situation on an equal footing, to implement change together and, at a personal level, to help defuse their stress and help them find a new sense of hope.” There is no charge for advocacy services, with people simply encouraged to pay-it-forward by using their new skills to help others, or referring other people for advocacy. Ruth Swale can be contacted on email@example.com or 021 134 0307.
KO WAI AU? [WHO AM I?] Words: Venerable Mere Wallace
“KNOWING WHO ONE IS AND WHERE ONE FITS IS A KEY.” In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…. (Genesis 1:1) E te whānau o te karaiti nau mai haere mai, ko tātou nei tōna tinana e mahi nei I te Ao [Welcome family of Christ, come and we will work for His body in the world]. How beautiful is God’s creation, the place where I have lived for the past 42 years. My beginnings are: Ko Tokotoko te maunga, ko Rangiriri te ngaru, ko Rahiri te Marae, ko te Roroa te hapū,
Lake Matheson. © R & P Cations
ko mahuhu O Te Rangi te Waka, ko Ngāti Whātua te iwi, ko nga Nehu Mere Pāniora taku ingoa. I come from a strong Haahi Mihinare [Anglican] backdrop with many of my whakapapa whānau being in the ordained ministry. Those reading this will know many of my whānau starting with Bishop Wiremu Pānapa (my great Grand-uncle), Rev Māori Marsden, Rev Kiro Pou, and Rev Wiki Nathan. Rev Pura Pānapa, Rev Jim and John Pāniora, and Rev Pare Nathan to name a few. There are many more. Our Mārae in Ahikiwi north of Dargaville, Te Aranga Mai o Te Whakapono
[The Return to the Gospel], has had over 32 priests come from it. I am the 31st priest. Knowing who one is and where one fits is a key. It is a foundation for how to live our lives. “Love the lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, love your neighbour as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39) It is with the theme of Ko Wai Au? And that theme love the Lord that I grew up. He was always present in our home and we used to read the placard inside our front door, God is the head of this house, the unseen guest at every meal and a silent listener to every conversation. The Church has been my life. God gave me skills to be a nurse, to join the Airforce and be a medic, to work for Department of Corrections, to project co-ordinate the building of a Mārae at Bruce Bay, South Westland, and he gave me good health to continue to work as a Social Worker in a health setting. The Church has given me some of the greatest opportunities and I’m thankful I belong to a faith based organisation. I was priested in 1997 at Whakatū Mārae in Nelson. Currently I serve as an Archdeacon for Te Tai O Poutini and Priest-inCharge of a parish. The harvest is huge but the labourers are few. With gratitude we are thankful for those who continue to work for the Lord. My husband Richard is the Pīhopa of Te Waipounamu, and like at the beginning of this story, I need to know where I fit in the picture. As an ordained priest, who is now married to a Bishop, I am given the opportunity to further the influence I can have in enabling the spread of the Gospel in our land. God continues to bless us on a daily basis; he enriches our lives and new tasks he has given us. Last year I represented the Anglican Church of New Zealand at the United Nations where inequality was one of the topics. There were 17 sustainable goals. We learnt that entrenched cultures of silence and collusion enabled violence and exploitation to continue. We wrestled with the need to examine our own lives, churches and workplaces in the context of family violence and gender inequality. These are issues of justice we encounter as the Church in Aotearoa. Richard and I have discussed what a shared ministry looks like and the opportunity to re-direct a team of people within the Māori Diocese of Te Waipounamu. This re-direction we hope for is a move away from the reliance on specific individuals to carry out worship and evangelism, and a move towards a shared ministry approach. It is about empowering people to be a team, all working as one part in the body of Christ, to tackle decisions around servant-ship and stewardship. As I mentioned earlier the harvest is huge. The need to live out our faith, to not just speak of it or study it but for each of us to live out what Jesus teaches about forgiveness, mercy and love, is great in our land. It is our desire to do this as one together with Tikanga Pākehā and Tikanga Pasifika. The mission which unites us to make Christ known is urgent; there are many who do not know to whom they belong, who they are. In God all is possible.
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SEEKING JUSTICE, LOVING MERCY Words: Jo Taylor-de Vocht from Pathway Trust
“I RECALL ONE CASE WHERE WE HELPED ORGANISE AND FACILITATE A RESTORATIVE JUSTICE CONFERENCE INVOLVING MURDER.” Being a victim of crime is devastating. Whether it’s a violation of our home, property or person it leaves us feeling angry, hurt and invaded. We all want to see justice done, especially when the offence has lasting consequences. But what does justice look like? 14
This is a hard question. Interpretations of justice look different to each individual, often alter over time, and are greatly influenced by the social and cultural context of those involved. When a crime is committed in New Zealand the court
is our primary means of seeking justice. What is perhaps lesser known, is that we also have the option of undertaking a restorative justice process. This is a voluntary process whereby once a person has either pleaded or been found guilty of a crime, they and the person(s) they hurt, can agree to take part in a restorative justice conference. Conferences are run by trained facilitators who help keep discussions safe and constructive. Pathway Trust, alongside Victim Support and the Edmund Rice Foundation, frequently supports its clients to undertake the restorative process during or after they have been released. “It gives both parties the opportunity for healing or reconciliation. It should raise up the person who was hurt, give them a voice, and restore their mana or sense of value” says Carey Ewing, Re-integration Manager at Pathway Trust. The facts support this. A 2011 Ministry of Justice survey found that 82% of victims were satisfied with the restorative justice conference they attended and 74% said that they felt better afterwards. Carey remarks, “Offending is basically when we enforce our right to something irrespective of others rights — be that about personal satisfaction, property, or doing what we want to do. For the person who offends the restorative process is an opportunity to acknowledge the hurt they have caused to the victim but also to their own family and community. The hope is that afterwards the person may go on to be fully restored within society.” There is reason for hope, the restorative justice process has a proven negative relationship with re-offending rates. According to the New Zealand law society, Ministry of Justice data from 2008-2013 shows the re-offending rate is reduced by 15% for offenders who participated in a restorative justice process within 12 months. It also suggests that it is especially effective for young offenders. “For the process to work it must involve honesty and confession, acknowledgement, ownership, and then a chance for those hurt to respond,” says Carey. “It’s a brave choice for both the victim and perpetrator of crime to take part in a restorative justice process and in some cases it won’t be appropriate. When it is undertaken however, Pathway have seen some fantastic results. “I recall one case where we helped organise and facilitate
a restorative justice conference involving murder,” says Carey. “The client had served 14 years of his sentence when the sister of the victim requested an opportunity to meet. It was a very intense four hour conference. It started with her asking him to hold a picture of her sister and then asking him what he needed to say to her. They talked a lot. During the conversation he took responsibility, took ownership and answered all of the sister’s questions about what happened, questions she had been carrying with her for all of those years. He was very remorseful. “In the end they found a degree of comfort with what each other had to offer, and it met the needs of both parties. The sister announced she was there to forgive him for her own sake. They reached across the table and linked pinky fingers, they made a pinky promise that from this day forth they would seek to live the very best lives they both could do. She (the sister) was committed to moving on, not forgetting her sister in anyway, but being positive with her own life. Later when we followed up with her she expressed that having met with him, having put a face to the person who did this and seeing that he had made changes, it had made her feel that the death of her sister had some value now. She said that her stress and anxiety had dissipated and her physical health had improved through the process. “For him, I walked with him back to his unit afterwards and he was shaking. He was a big man and had been in gangs for years. He said ‘I didn’t expect that Carey, I have been in some f***ing scary situations with some f***ing scary guys but I’m telling you now that’s the most f***ing scary thing I’ve ever done. Facing the sister of the woman I hurt so badly and took away.’ “There is nothing soft about a restorative process. It is facing all of your fears and demons and horrors of your past and being reminded of them in a manner you cannot avoid. There is nothing more soul searching than that,” concludes Carey. When we reflect on God’s charge for our lives in Micah 6:8 “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God,” well, it doesn’t get much more gnarly than this. If you would like to support the work of Pathway Trust and the many ways they seek to help their clients and their families find restoration visit pathway.org.nz. 15
REPENTANCE AND MERCY ©Ain Vares; www.ainvaresart.com; Painted Word of God
“JUST AS I AM – THY LOVE UNKNOWN HAS BROKEN EVERY BARRIER DOWN – NOW TO BE THINE, YEA THINE ALONE, O LAMB OF GOD, I COME.” - Just as I Am, Charlotte Elliott
Rose (in the background) at a meeting of Wakonye Kenwa with her sister Eunice.
RAW MERCY Words and Photo: Tessa Laing, CMS Partner in Uganda To reach our small church you walk through a narrow path, ironically squeezed between a butchery and the hospitalâ€™s mortuary. Torso sized bloody carcasses hang from hooks, the sellers lazily batting away flies. At the door of the mortuary, you often 18
pass quiet families, waiting with a coffin to collect their loved oneâ€™s body. There are no morgue fridges, so it smells. Here in Uganda, life and death confronts you, in your face, not as plastic wrapped sausages and professional funeral home services.
The other day, I was in a frustrated huff. I’d waited at church for over an hour for my community group to show up for a meeting. Four people never showed at all. Then two things happened that threw everything into perspective. Two things that reminded me of the everyday, raw mercy required in my neighbours lives. Rose’s sister the everyday saint My friend Rose is in hospital. The kilos are falling off her every day, and she is in a lot of pain. We have just leant she has leukemia. I dropped in on her, and there as always, was her faithful sister. In hospital in Uganda, nurses monitor vital signs, put in IV drips, administer drugs and much much more, but they do not wash patients, feed them, change their sheets or help them go to the toilet. Every patient needs an attendant to do all that, a friend or family member. Rose has been in hospital for weeks, and her sister has been by her side every minute, wiping her bottom, cooking her food, and holding her hand with so much love and warmth. Like Rose, her sister is uneducated and poor. To be there she has given up important farming time at the beginning of the season, risking planting too late. This is not unusual: this hospital is full of Roses’ and their sisters’. Could you give away half your salary? The other day Nick was chatting to Felix, a nurse employed in one of his rural health centers. They were discussing Felix’s personal budgeting. Felix receives the standard Ugandan
Nurse’s monthly salary of 400,000 Ugandan shillings — about 180 NZ dollars. Every month, Felix immediately sends exactly half of this salary back to his village to help pay for his brother and sister’s school fees. In Uganda, despite the official Universal Primary Education Policy, education is not free, and it is every family’s greatest struggle. Felix is not considered extraordinarily generous and self-sacrificing. His behavior is completely normal, even expected in Uganda. In Uganda, the public services that deal with the necessities of life are absent, dysfunctional or over-stretched. So families and friends rely upon each other’s mercy. People here seem somehow humbly prepared for the total disruption of their time, plans and finances that is required when catastrophe frequently strikes. When justice systems don’t work, you suddenly become your brother’s full time advocate. When prisons don’t feed their inmates properly, you visit weekly not monthly. Don’t get me wrong, I am 110% for western-standard hospital care, un-corrupt justice systems and free education. But the raw mercy my neighbours display everyday in response to a communal life unmediated by functional institutions is incredible, and inspiring. When I have to wait hours for meetings to start, at least in part, it’s because people are so often responding with mercy to the constant crises around them. My neighbours have shown me what it looks like to act justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God. Like Rose’s sister, like Felix.
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UPHOLDING THE LAW WITH INTEGRITY SARA CORNISH INTERVIEWS LAWYER VIRGINIA NICHOLS
Virginia Nichols currently worships at St Barnabas, Fendalton and entered the legal profession from a science background. She practices patent law, specialising in intellectual property and civil litigation. I was keen to hear her views on justice within the practice of law.
How do you ensure justice is upheld while carrying out your work? “In both the dispute resolution and intellectual property areas of my practice, I try to ensure clients are not unduly taken advantage of, that their rights are respected, and that they avoid infringing anyone else’s rights.”
The legal system can appear from the outside as quite rigid; is there still room for mercy? “As soon as you have parties in a dispute there is potential for people to be adversely affected. A lot of these disputes can be resolved by negotiation between the parties involved. Reaching a resolution by negotiation often requires mercy, the forgiving of the other side’s behaviour, so that everyone can move on.” How does your faith intersect with your working life? “As a Christian, one of the most important things I need to bring to my professional life is to treat others with respect and compassion (even if I completely disagree with their point of view). You can stand firm in protecting your client’s rights but still be courteous to those you interact with.” How can principles of justice and mercy be applied in areas of socio-economic wellbeing, such as healthcare and access to medicines, a controversial topic in the area of intellectual property rights? “I am often asked about the justice of monopoly rights over medicines, and I think a balance is necessary. Companies that develop new therapies expend a huge amount on research and development, and only a small percentage of products make it to market. The profits from these need to fund research and development on the next product, and all the failures that will be developed along the way. “The patent system provides a time limited monopoly that was intended to promote the spread of technology — when patent rights expire, everyone has access to the knowledge of how to make that product. “I’m not sure corporates always find the right pricing level for the medicines to fund their research and development
appropriately — sometimes if the price is too high they may generate an unjustified profit (this was a particular issue with AIDS medications in the 1980’s). “The way the system is set up at the moment, research and development is effectively publically funded in reverse — the public pays for a product only after a company has paid for all the research and development for that product. New Zealander’s are fortunate in this respect as most medicines are funded through Pharmac, so that the whole tax-paying public pays the cost, not just the sick and vulnerable. “One alternative system would be more publically funded research and development into medical research, so the public pays in advance, then gets the results for a lower cost. However, I am unsure that many governments would be willing to pay in advance for the same level of research and development commitment as the big pharmaceutical companies when the results may not be seen for 15 years. “I personally have been unable to come up with a better system of funding medical research than allowing private corporations to profit from the results of their research.” Access to medicines is a particular issue for developing countries. What possibilities do you see for addressing this? “There is a global move towards such policies as easier access to medicines in developing countries, immediate emergency production in case of epidemics, and further humanitarian developments in the law to recognise that not everyone who needs medical treatment can afford to pay for it. Change is happening slowly, and we need to remind politicians, officials and trade negotiators that this is important to us as Christians, as voters, as New Zealanders, and as human beings.”
END OF THE SPEAR
I, DANIEL BLAKE
BY STEVE SAINT, SALTRIVER/TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS, INC. USA, 2005.
Words: Rev’d Jill Maslin
Words: Cathy Maslin Some may be familiar with the famous words penned by Jim Elliot, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot lose”. Not long after they were written Steve Saint’s father, Nate Saint, was among the missionaries who lost their lives alongside Jim Elliot. They did so as they sought to bring the news of Jesus to the Waodani tribe in Ecuador. If you are like me then books ending halfway through a story are frustrating. On the same note I often have discussions with God about the why of things I cannot see a reason for. For years the telling of the lives of these five missionaries had provoked a similar reaction in me. Okay, I understood their quest, but what about the pointlessness of their deaths? What about their families? It was with joy I discovered, in Steve’s autobiography, an answer to my misgivings or if you like the next chapter in the story. In this book you will find a challenge to doubts surrounding the bible verse “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him…” (Rom 8:28), in situations that appear anything but good. It is also bears witness to what forgiveness has wrought from a situation of extreme violence. Steve’s writing is full of humour, descriptions of lifethreatening risks, cultural misunderstandings, struggles for survival and life-long friendships. All I can say is if you haven’t read this book yet put it on your to do list. 22
Have you ever run the gauntlet of bureaucracy to receive what you need? Have you watched hours tick by to the accompaniment of phone-line schmusick as you wait, and wait, and wait; only to be transferred from one government department to another? If so, then the experiences of Daniel (Dave Johns) and Katie (Hayley Squires) in this movie will resound with you. If not, “I, Daniel Blake” will give you a realistic insight into how the other half live. Written by Paul Laverty and directed by Ken Loach, a 50’s something man battles the system for an employment and support allowance, and a much younger single mother is forced to move from her support network so that she can occupy a state-funded home elsewhere. The themes of loneliness and social and economic isolation are recurring ones. The relationship between the main characters, Daniel and Katie grows. It is born out of solidarity rather than romance, and their lives offer a confronting social commentary on our contemporary world. We discover, through moments of humour and frustration, that the digital-divide is far greater than any age barrier. We find encouragement in the triumph of human compassion, shown in sharp contrast to a souldestroying state welfare system. Does it have a happy ending? Well, it does have an ending that succeeds in making a point. It is an intelligent, award-winning movie that makes very good watching.
A POOR EXCUSE Words and Photo: Sara Cornish I still remember the smell of Jasmine our first evening in Kathmandu. At night, when the fragrance is strongest, the scent of the flowers pervaded the streets and gardens surrounding our accommodation. Years later, the smell of Jasmine evokes intense memories for me, bringing to mind not only a country but an experience that challenged the core of my beliefs about the world I live in. I named my daughter after the flower, and for the special place it represents to me. Because of the Edmund Hillary connection, Nepal is a special place for a number of kiwis. For many visitors, it is a country of soaring mountain ranges, prayer flags, Buddhist monks, tuk tuks, dal bhat (lentils and rice), and rogue cows. It is also one of the poorest countries in the world. While it is true that Nepal needs the economic input of the country’s tourist sector, I couldn’t help but feel appalled by the tremendous disparities brought into relief by the tourist industry. The tourist district of Thamel is a world apart from the reality for most Nepalis. On one occasion, out with a friend in a different part of the city, we stopped at a roadside stall to purchase some hand-knitted woolen hats. I recall fending off the vendor’s marketing assaults with the thoughtless protest: “I can’t buy another one, I’m a poor student! ” I don’t
remember if he succeeded in selling me another hat that day, but I will never forget my sense of shame when he calmly pointed out that I was not, in fact, poor. In our society, it is easy to measure ourselves against everincreasing expectations of material comfort and success, without pausing to consider the reality. Spending a short while in a very different cultural context gave me a window to reflect on my own way of life, forcing me to ask some uncomfortable questions. How can I go home and ignore the contrasts between my lifestyle and the very different set of realities experienced by most of the world? Can I continue to justify the wastefulness and rampant consumerism that my own society presents as normal? How are we as Christians in the West to live in light of the biblical imperatives of justice and mercy? Jesus preached regarding money and possessions. The gospels and the practices of the early church demonstrate a radical generosity. Every time I take my eyes off Christ and buy into my cultures currency of happiness or security, I find my ability to love and follow God obstructed. Part of the churches counter-cultural witness must be to demonstrate something of the shocking and self-giving love we experience in Christ. What life-defining moments are in your suitcase?
© Fabio Berti/123RF Stock Photo
SO MUCH MORE THAN NICE Words: Rev’d Peter Carrell, Director of Theology House What difference does Christ make in our lives? That is a very important question for Christ-centred missioners to ask themselves because if Christ makes no difference then we have very little to offer our world. But if Christ makes a difference to our lives, what is that difference and can we explain it in ways which excite people? Even better would be the difference people see in our lives as we make a difference in the world. But let’s face it, the difference Christ is perceived to make is often about Christians having less fun, more meetings to go to, strange things to believe and weird obligations to fulfil. Hopefully the difference Christ makes is contrary to such perceptions. What is that difference? Your answer and my answer might differ in various ways but if Christ is making a difference in line with what he taught and promised then we could expect our accounts to agree on the following differences. A new start in life: through Christ we are forgiven for our wrongdoing and put right with God. Then, a new way of living: with Christ’s help we forgive those who wrong us, love our enemies and do good to those who hate us. In other words the difference Christ makes in welcoming us into God’s family makes a difference to how we 24
relate to others. Understanding we are loved by God, we love others. Receiving mercy from God, we show mercy to others. This is more than being a nice person. We can be nice but keep to ourselves. A Christ-changed, loved up, shown-mercy Christian reaches out to share the love. Showing mercy is an action not a state of niceness. But there should be another couple of differences Christ is making as this dynamic unfolds in our lives. One is that we increasingly want our lives to mimic Christ’s example: we repent of what falls short of that example and we ask Christ to drive out what is not worthy of him. The other is that we seek justice. Christ came to change the world, to bring God’s power (the kingdom) to overrule corrupt authorities and powers, to drive out evil and to establish justice. Real justice, actual fairness. And what God has done for us — putting us into a just relationship through forgiving our wrongdoing – boosts our confidence that, in the end, justice will come. So, what difference is Christ making in your life and in mine? Are people seeing that difference? Would they say we are Christcentred missioners because they not only see that difference but see us making a difference in terms of justice, mercy and love?
A LAYMAN’S THOUGHTS Words: Dennis Veal In the city in which I grew up there is an old prison built on the Pentonville system. This system worked on the principle of isolating inmates from evil influences and exposing them to good. Food was good, books provided, and every day a sermon was heard in the chapel…but there was no communication permitted with other prisoners. The system failed as most prisoners went mad. Clearly justice is not that simple. We read in the Old Testament that after the injustice of slavery in Egypt the Law is given to the Jews, but they fail to keep it and the prophet’s rail against them. Yet justice is at the heart of the gospel - Jesus is God’s justice, and it is restorative justice. We have just celebrated Easter when seemingly everyone failed, but God through his Son achieved our salvation. In our day it seems justice may be rehabilitation or retribution. Retribution can be punishment or payback. Many criminals cannot pay back so we are left with punishment — prison. This tends to have negative consequences as shown by internal problems such as fight club in Mount Eden gaol, and recidivism (a majority of prisoners are repeat offenders). However Philip Yancey, the American Christian writer, comments that chaplains in US prisons are funded because prisoners who come to faith are unlikely to reoffend. If we return to the Bible we find rehabilitation, not lock ‘em up and throw away the key, which I hear frequently. In the Old Testament slaves are eventually to be set free, crippling interest is forbidden, and there is the jubilee year — doesn’t sound like our century. Jesus clearly says the Law is the starting point, and Paul urges us to “work out our salvation.” (Philippians 2:12-14) So we come to forgiveness; it is neither weakness nor excusing nor denial nor forgetfulness. It is quite simply the only way to repair the damage and move on.
Restorative justice then clearly involves one taking responsibility for what has been done. In modern times one of the best global examples of restorative justice is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in South Africa after apartheid was abolished. I found this incident profoundly moving, a policeman confessed to abducting an African man, burning his body and also killing his son. The African’s wife asked that she might be shown where her husband’s remains were to give him decent burial; then she would like the policeman to visit her each week as she now had no family. Finally she wished to put her arms around him and show that he was forgiven (slight delay — the policeman had fainted). Last word to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Chairman of the TRC: “I have come to believe fervently, forgiveness is not just a spiritual and ethereal thing unrelated to the real world, the harsh world out there. I have come to believe fervently that without forgiveness there is no future.”
© Allan Swart/123RF Stock Photo
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