CURIOUS ABOUT CAROLS
DIOCESE OF CHRISTCHURCH
THE BIRTH OF JESUS
A NEW BEGINNING
DEEPER CAMP: 6-8 OCTOBER 2017
ISSUE FIFTY ONE
DEC / JAN 2017-18
WHAT SHOULD WE WANT FOR CHRISTMAS?
PLAYING THE LONG GAME
06. CURIOUS ABOUT CAROLS
01. 02. 10. 14.
12. A NEW BEGINNING
18. HOPE, RAYMOND, AND YOU
FROM THE BISHOP: The Birth of Jesus THE BRIEF ARTICLE: Guys Group THEOLOGICAL THOUGHTS: What should we want for Christmas?
16. 20. 22. 24.
25. CELESTIAL MUSINGS
CAPTURED: Deeper Camp: 6-8 October 2017 DIALOGUE: Playing the long game CULTURE WORKPLACE: Christmas Cheer
AnglicanLife is published bi-monthly by the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch. Interim Editor / Cathy Maslin / firstname.lastname@example.org, Assistant Editor / Sara Cornish Contributing Writers / The Rev’d Indrea Alexander, Jo Taylor-de Vocht, Contributors / + Victoria Matthews, Rev’d Les and Margi Memory, Regan Walton, Samantha Mould, Jess Robinson, Emma Tovey, Milton Hayward, Rev’d Alan Cummins, Tessa Laing, Gillian Southey, Rev’d Peter Carrell, Rev’d Spanky Moore, Editorial and Advertising Enquiries / Cathy Maslin / email@example.com, Design / www.baylymoore.com, Printed by / Toltech Print, Sustainability / AnglicanLife is printed on recycled paper using vegetable-based inks. ISSN 2253-1653 (print), ISSN 2537-849X (online) Cover image / © Julie Maslin-Caradus
Advent & Christmas at The Transitional Cathedral, Latimer Square
Further details at www.christchurchcathedral.co.nz | firstname.lastname@example.org | (03) 3660046 ADVENT CAROL SERVICE:
ADVENT SUNDAY 3 DECEMBER 7.30PM
CATHEDRAL SINGERS’ CHRISTMAS CONCERT:
FRIDAY 8 DECEMBER 6.30PM
CATHEDRAL CHORISTERS CAROL RECITALS:
TUES 19 DECEMBER AT 12; THU 21 DEC AT ‘THE PIANO’
SERVICE OF NINE LESSONS & CAROLS:
SUNDAY 17 DECEMBER AT 7.30PM.
CHILDREN’S CHRISTMAS SERVICE WITH ANIMALS: THURSDAY 21 DECEMBER AT 3.00PM CHRISTMAS EVE: CHORAL EUCHARIST AT 10AM; CATHEDRAL CHOIR CAROL RECITAL AT 6.00PM; CAROL SINGING AT 11.15PM; THE MIDNIGHT EUCHARIST AT 11.45PM CHRISTMAS DAY: HOLY COMMUNION AT 8.00AM; FESTIVAL EUCHARIST AT 10.00AM; CHORAL EVENSONG AT 5.00PM
FROM THE BISHOP
THE BIRTH OF JESUS Words: Bishop Victoria Matthews Christmas is approaching and many will celebrate with joy and thanksgiving the birth of Jesus. Carol services and festive Eucharists will attract many who do not normally frequent our worship of God in Christ. Others, however, will observe this Christmas while also experiencing a deep sadness because this Christmas carries the awareness of one who is no longer present at the family table. A bereavement or another disappointment casts a shadow over the Christmas festivities; with this even the most faithful Christians struggle to know how to cope. Growing up, my family did not focus on the Gospel story so the 25 December was mostly about gifts given and received. When my mother died, the festivities seemed a bit empty. I wonder how you teach your children and grandchildren, as well as those new to the faith, what the best way to observe the birth of the only begotten Son of God is. In recent years more and more people of faith are asking deep and important questions about alternate ways of celebrating the holy day. Many people sign up to help with the Christchurch City Mission Christmas dinner or another outreach event. Thousands of children will carry a gift to place under the Christmas tree in the Transitional Cathedral.
I do wonder if there could not be a family or youth group tradition that says that during Advent we think and talk about developing a new and different way of helping others for the year to come. What thrills me is that it is often the younger age group that engage in the most creative thinking about how we consume and how we might better share what we have. It is as if they have said, “Enough is enough. Let’s get serious about what it means to follow Jesus.” An older teenager might contemplate and then decide to start mentoring a young teen. There are skill sets such as cooking, carpentry or music that a person of almost any age could decide to offer a local church or community centre. I write this reflection just as we have discovered the new Prime Minister of our country will be Jacinda Ardern, a young, fresh face and voice for our country. God bless her as she leads us. The Christmas story is found in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew. I also recommend to you a prayerful reading of the prophecies about the coming Messiah in Isaiah and the extraordinary ‘Prologue of John’ in the Gospel of John, chapter one, verses 1-14. +Victoria
CONSECRATION OF AUCKLAND CATHEDRAL Words & Photo: courtesy of Lloyd Ashton, Anglican Taonga
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is looking to partner with 1,000 New Zealand churches for their “My Hope Easter 2018” campaign. My Hope is based around a 30-minute video The Cross. It is offered free of charge to be shown by churches and Christian organisations at outreach events. The video is most suited to an older youth and adult audience. The significance of the crucifixion is narrated in a clear and relevant way by Billy Graham, now 98. It is interspersed by well-known contemporary music artists Lacey Sturm and Le Crae sharing their powerful life stories. Lacey singing “Mercy Tree” is the vocal backing used in the video. Partnering churches are offered free promotional and training resources at no cost. More information about this outreach is available at Billygraham.org.nz/my-hope
Some 1400 people celebrated the consecration of Auckland’s Holy Trinity Cathedral on the 27th of October, 174 years after Bishop Selwyn had bought the site on which it stands. Jo Kelly Moore who served as Dean of Holy Trinity from 2010 to 2016 and was instrumental in seeing Selwyn’s vision of the Cathedral completed flew back from England for the occasion. “What an extraordinary day this has been,” she said. “I wouldn’t have been anywhere else in the world today.” Preaching at the service Archbishop Philip Richardson said of the cathedral, “… this wonderful place …[reminds us] of this simple, inescapable truth, with all its beautiful, yet disturbing consequences… that we are created in love, we are redeemed by love and we are called to love.” Perhaps no-one was more stirred by what he witnessed than Archbishop David Moxon, who has recently returned from five years in Rome. “To see the three tikanga woven together, liturgically, choreographically, musically…the colour and uniqueness and diversity of this place made a profound effect on me, and I have a very strong sense of God here in these islands, and in these people, in this place.” Having celebrated, Bishop of Auckland Ross Bay said, “..the challenge for us now as a cathedral community is to shift our thinking, and to ask ourselves: what does it mean to be a people who serve?”
Three-part harmony — the Tongan choir at left, the Cathedral choir in white robes — and the Auckland Anglican Maori Choir at right.
PAPER-WORK During the October school holidays the Canterbury Diocese Children’s team organised a paper-making workshop for children and families attending St Barnabas (Woodend) and Amberley Anglican. The workshop was undertaken with the help of Mark Lander a local artist who works primarily with paper and print making. He also designs and builds paper-making machines called Hollander Beaters (http://marklander.org/hollanderbeaters/). As the machines are portable and compact they can be sent at a reasonable price to developing countries. They mulch a variety of locally sourced materials, such as waste fibre from used sugar cane, providing a financially viable and efficient way for communities to set up cottage industries. The first paper-work the children took on was to sieve the fibrous mulch through meshed frames followed by stacking the newly formed paper (separated by felt sheets). The stacks were then pressed using a special turn-handle machine before the children removed the paper from the felt and laid it out to
dry. There was also the opportunity to help make A2 sheets of paper, and flowers using a flower shaped mesh. On the second day, the children were able to create flower leis using the dried paper flowers and to make their own prints using pressure onto soft plastic. The workshops were a huge success. It was wonderful to see how quickly the kids learned these skills, and supported each other. A local Christian artist was supported and families were able to connect and enjoy each other’s company. The paper will be used by the Diocesan Children’s Team to make faith resources for children. The Diocesan Children’s Team are available to provide training for people in the area of children’s ministry, run creative days for children, or simply to come and visit your Parish. And if paper-work has sparked your imagination, two paper-making workshops will be running in January with a maximum of 15 children per workshop. Please contact Emma Tovey for more information, email@example.com.
MAKE HOPE MY STORY Words: Gillian Southey Photo: Â© Act Alliance/Paul Jeffrey
In a classroom of students eager to make up for lost time, a young Syrian refugee puts her hand up to answer a maths problem. She is the face of the Christian World Service 2017 Christmas Appeal and our prayer for a world where hope and peace prevail. In Lebanon, young Syrian students are finding the support to face trauma. Stronger because of the encouragement and training from CWS partner the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees (DSPR), they are turning the harshness of everyday existence into the energy they need to create a new future. Lebanon is straining to host the more than 1.5 million refugees who arrived before the country closed its borders last year. The economy has collapsed and the government is struggling to cope. Tensions between the new arrivals, existing Palestinian refugees and 1.5 million Lebanese living in poverty put pressure on the country’s limited resources. None of this can be seen in the education programmes run by DSPR Lebanon. Everyday students of all ages pour through the doors of the Sabra Centre. Children attend the nursery school and women take literacy classes. Young people enrolled in the vocational training programmes study for qualifications in computing and electronic repairs, hairdressing and beauty,
MAKE HOPE MY STORY
while others attend specialist programmes for dropouts. More programmes offer extra tuition, homework support, english and maths, and psychosocial support for refugee students in other centres. Passing on cultural traditions also keeps alive their identity as Palestinians and Syrians. Four years ago at the request of refugee parents, DSPR began to negotiate for year 9 and year 12 students to return to Syria to sit their Brevet and Baccalaureate exams in Damascus. Every year students accompanied by staff head home to sit these exams with the assurance of safe passage back to Lebanon — something denied all other Syrian refugees. The classroom is the entry point to a better future. After nearly 70 years of work with refugees, DSPR education offers a ticket of hope and dignity. By drawing out the skills of the refugees themselves, they support a network of volunteer teachers and tutors to run the educational programmes. CWS’s 25 partners use their considerable local knowledge and networks to transform the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable people with your support. Working together we can make hope their story! You can find resources for the 2017 Christmas Appeal or make a donation at: http://christmasappeal.org.nz
DONATE TODAY christmasappeal.org.nz Christian World Service works with people so they have food, water and justice.
CURIOUS ABOUT CAROLS Words: Cathy Maslin It’s a curious thing to take a closer look at something you have sung at Christmas every year for most of your life and find, well, so much more than expected. Carols it appears were originally sung to celebrate many occasions around the year, and the word carol means dance or song of praise and joy. It just so happens carols sung at Christmas are the only ones to have survived down the centuries. The longest surviving copy of one sung at Christmas time is dated 129 AD. That is approximately 1,888 years ago. So who do we have to thank that Christmas Carols are still around today? Most probably St Francis of Assisi who in 1223 AD introduced the practice of telling the Nativity story, the story of Jesus’ birth, through a play interspersed with songs. The songs in effect told the story as it was acted out. The plays were a big hit and spread to France, Spain, Germany and throughout Europe. A few years down the track and a little closer to home, Amberley Anglican Parish will be putting on a Nativity play and carols for children at 5pm this Christmas Eve. Curiously Christmas Carols were not originally a church (as in the building) centred activity. They were sung mostly 6
in homes and on the streets. In the 1600’s they were actually deemed a bit unseemly in comparison to more official hymns and so, believe it or not, they were banned and people sung them in secret. This was until one enthusiast went around the English villages and gathered together a collection of carols. As their popularity rose again they were sung around the streets of a town on Christmas Eve by official singers. In those days it was called watch-might or watch-night as this was the night when shepherds who were watching their sheep were the first to witness the birth of Jesus. Today Christmas carol singing exists in a variety of forms, similar to what has existed since the 1800’s when orchestras, choirs and churches started adopting the singing of Christmas Carols. One of the most well-known celebrations of the Nativity is the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, created by Edward Benson in 1880. It was first performed at 10pm on Christmas Eve in a temporary wooden shed Cathedral while the main one was being re-built. Curiously, this service will be performed this year on the 17th of December in the temporary cardboard Transitional Cathedral while the main
“CAROLS IT APPEARS WERE ORIGINALLY SUNG TO CELEBRATE MANY OCCASIONS AROUND THE YEAR, AND THE WORD CAROL MEANS DANCE OR SONG OF PRAISE AND JOY.”
Christchurch Cathedral is in the process of being re-built. The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols service was made popular in 1918 when the Dean of King’s College, Cambridge had it performed by their choir. His experience during WWI as an army chaplain led him to believe in order to reach out to the wounded, bereaved and those for whom Christmas held little in the way of joy, a new type of service was needed. The service at King’s College has been broadcast by the BBC at Christmas ever since (except in 1930). On Christmas Eve during the Battle of Britain in WWII it was performed and broadcast with the stained glass removed, no heat or light, and warplanes overhead. The third lesson taken from Isaiah 9:2 seems most pertinent given the overarching history of the service: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined.”
Are you curious yet about the authors of, and the inspiration for, Christmas Carols? Did you know the writer of “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem” came from the USA? One might think this makes the carol a cultural enigma but not so. Episcopalian preacher Phillip Brooks, during a visit to the Holy Land, rode on horseback from Jerusalem to Bethlehem and attended a five hour long celebration on Christmas Eve 1865 in the Church of the Nativity. This experience affected him so profoundly he wrote of the experience in a poem which in time became a carol— thanks to his organist Lewis Redner. He asked Lewis to put the poem to music for a children’s Christmas service. With a week to complete the task and little inspiration Redner recounted, “I was roused from sleep late in the night hearing an angel-strain whispering in my ear, and seizing a piece of music paper I jotted down the treble of the tune as we now have it, and on Sunday morning 7
before going to church I filled in the harmony. Neither Mr. Brooks nor I ever thought the carol or the music to it would live beyond that Christmas of 1868.” (Louis F. Benson, “O Little Town of Bethlehem”. Studies of Familiar Hymns, First Series (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press. 1924), pp.11) Many Carols have originated from poems and it is why the music to some carols comes from other songs or even on the odd occasion music composed some 300 years beforehand! “Silent Night” comes from a poem written and later sung by a young Austrian priest. When he first introduced it as a carol in his small village in 1818 it was accompanied by guitar — even organs break down occasionally. UNESCO has since declared the carol an intangible cultural heritage of Austria. “Oh Holy Night” another well-loved carol also began as a poem. French in origin it was written by Placide Cappeau, a parish priest, as he pondered what it would have been like to be present on the night Jesus was born. Years later it was broadcast on the 24th of December 1906, the day the world was first introduced to radio. In more recent times, singer and comedian Mark Alan
Photos: © 123RF.com / Yakovleva / Atletic / Rumasph / Titmuss 8
“AMONGST ALL THE MATERIAL SURROUNDING CHRISTMAS CAROLS EMERGES A CENTRAL THREAD THAT HAS CARRIED CAROLS THROUGH MILLENNIA, THE BIRTH OF JESUS ON CHRISTMAS EVE.” Lowry, who had been given the task of writing a script for a church Nativity play, interspersed the scenes with questions he thought Mary the mother of Jesus might have asked. Questions such as, “Did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?” And, “Did you know that your baby is Lord of all creation?” As a result in 1984 the carol “Mary, did you know?” was written. In a very short space of time (for a carol) it has been included alongside the classics. New Zealand also has its own Christmas Carols, one of
the most often sung being “Te Harinui” (Great Joy), written by Willow (Katherine Faith) Macky. Macky was one of our most prolific song composers and poets, as well as being a folk singer. Curiously, it is the only carol I have come across written and composed by a woman. The carol relates the story the first church service held in New Zealand by Samuel Marsden on Christmas Day 1814 as he read from Luke 2:10, “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” There is a joyous and celebratory quality surrounding Christmas Carol singing that fits alongside the nature of the praise and joy meaning of the word carol. Carefully created lyrics put to music have given rise to carols which encompass the joy that enables people to sustain hope in hard times as well as to experience the light-heartedness that comes in humorous moments. In the latter genre we have the likes of “Good King Wenceslas - Kiwi Style” by Fred Dagg. The joy is also in the community spirit they encourage; the way they uplift and move people. This is evident in the number of community carol events around New Zealand. Many are styled in the tradition of Carols by Candlelight. Check out your local event or if not you are welcome to come to the one being held by the combined churches of Temuka. Amongst all the material surrounding Christmas Carols emerges a central thread that has carried carols through millennia, the birth of Jesus on Christmas Eve. Of all things this is the most curious as many children no longer know this
story and carols are now one of the few ways left where they will learn about it. In the space of a few generations much has been disregarded when it comes to our festive season -— perhaps too easily, without enough thought, with a lack of curiousity to look a bit further and dig a bit deeper-—and the loss is ours. Like Dr Suess’s Grinch did, let us not settle for only what we know on the surface of things and take what we think without questioning it. Instead let us resolve to be curious; as for the Grinch well he thought “something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!” (How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Random House, 1957)
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GUYS GROUP Words and Photos: Regan Walton REGAN AT 24 YEARS WORKS AND LIVES IN TIMARU AND IS A GIFTED ENCOURAGER. ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN THE LOCAL CHRISTIAN SCENE HE JOINS IN WORSHIPPING AND SERVING AT ST MARY’S, ST JOHN’S AND THE CONNECT CHURCH. HERE REGAN DESCRIBES HIS EXPERIENCE OF SHARING LIFE WITH GUYS HIS OWN AGE.
“They say that boys don’t cry but your Dad has shed a lot of tears”. This quote was sung by the artists Macklemore in a song written by Ed Sheeran titled Growing Up. To me this is a strong quote. It points out a stereotype that men have to be seen as tough. Something I have learnt in life is that we don’t have to be just another stereotype, we are all made to fit different molds. One of the best ways that I have learnt this is by joining a church’s young adults Guys Group. This group is a part of home group that meets every Tuesday and the format is split into two parts. Firstly when we join together we enjoy games, talk, and take part in activities to help break the ice. In the process we get to know each other for who we are. During the second part we split up into guys and girls; this gives us a safe space to grow our faith by talking about how God has helped us with our week, we also 10
study the bible and enjoy the banter that comes with most young adult groups. Group member Lewis Osborne says, “Guys Group builds great fellowship, by being together in a community.” Lewis also notes that it’s important that we have guys and girls together as well so we can walk life holding each other up; this doesn’t have to be our weekly group, however, this group gives us a time and place in a comfortable home to help each other out. An extra group that has sprung from Guys Group is S.O.A.P. (Scripture; Observation; Application; Pray). This group meets most Thursdays at 6 am at the local McDonald’s. Here we are given an extra moment to spend time with God and to study the Bible with friends in a self-taught way. Each session starts with McCafé style coffee and a prayer, then we read a passage from the Bible and find a verse that sticks out or speaks to us.
Once we have found one we then think about observation. What have we observed about this piece of scripture? Next comes application where we consider how it applies to our life at the moment. We use pen and paper or cellphone to record the S.O.A.P. to use as a reminder in case we end up teaching that passage in the future. To finish off we record a small prayer that we can repeat to help pass on what we have learnt to others or use for ourselves to keep growing in the way of Jesus. Both groups are a great way to catch up with spiritual and kingdom minded friends. Group member Andrew Chapman (Andy) says, “Guys Group is a great way to encourage each other and help each other with the struggles of being a young adult.” Last year Guys group studied the book of Romans. Like all books in the bible this one has its challenging scriptures that lead to interesting conversations. One topic that we talked about was the old laws and Jewish customs and how or if they apply today. This then led to talking about Romans 4:9-12; about whether believing God comes before following rules. This led to many questions that challenged us all, but as a group of young adult guys we could be comfortable enough to be honest about our thoughts and able to discuss, learn and grow our faith to a new level. This group has helped me learn that we can all have a place in God’s Kingdom; we just have to accept God and be ourselves and use our spiritual gifts to best help each other. We don’t have to hide because guys can cry too. This group has been meeting for only two years and already we have seen lives change as we grow together in a life with Christ. Together with our wonderful leaders I can see this group guiding the next generation of young adults into a powerful God filled future.
A NEW BEGINNING THE HORNBY PARISH COMPRISING OF ST PAUL’S WEST MELTON, ST SAVIOUR’S TEMPLETON AND ST COLUMBA’S HORNBY ARE EMBARKING ON A JOURNEY.
Words: Les and Margi Memory Recently as Priest-in-Charge I was led by the Holy Spirit to hold a pilgrimage across our parish. It was based on Genesis 12:1-9 where Abram in following the God’s leading entered the Promised Land and claimed it for the Lord. Abram built an altar in the very centre of the land at Shechem and he placed markers on the boundaries. Abram was in uncharted territory and in a similar way so are we in not knowing where God will lead us. We too are expectant that we will be transformed and our communities will be changed through God’s leading. The day of the pilgrimage dawned overcast and cool but not for long. At St Paul’s West Melton the only bell in our parish was rung disturbing the resident pigeons and calling us to gather at the church steps. Scriptures were read, C.S. Lewis was quoted, mallet and auger were readied and we began. Scripture gave the context and the C.S.Lewis quote, “Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither,” helped to remind us that to focus on aspects of spiritual significance as we set our course is paramount. Simple wooden crosses were driven into the ground at the four corners of each church’s land. Prayers were then offered at each cross giving thanks for what had been, what currently is, and what might be. Prayers were also spoken asking for the land to be cleansed by the blood of Christ. Our pilgrimage then took us to St Saviour’s Templeton and on to St Columba’s Hornby where crosses were placed and different people prayed. We have been asked, “Where do I find St Columba’s?” It’s a good question because it is a church hidden behind trees and it doesn’t even look like a church. Note the recent appearance of our new signage. The first of our new signs to be put up across the parish is hard to miss. It is an outward sign of things happening in the Hornby Parish. For the past 12 months, transformation has been on the lips of people across the parish, “Three churches, one parish: 12
West Melton. As your servants, we look to the future. Lead us heavenly Father, show us the direction our parish should go. Direct our thoughts and our decisions. May the people in our various communities hear your name spoken and come in obedience to the cross. Yours Lord is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth are yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We love you, we praise you, we adore you, we worship you. Amen.”
together we can.” Our Christmas poster asks, “Where will your journey lead you?” Abram had no idea where he was going, this Gentile just put his trust in the God he had not yet seen. As a parish we are putting our trust in that same God and prayerfully and expectantly seeking to hear from him. Amongst prayers offered at the crosses were these words: “Heavenly Father, you have led by fire and by cloud. Your voice has been heard in thunder and still whisper. We stand before you as parishioners of this parish of Hornby, Templeton, and
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WHAT SHOULD WE WANT FOR CHRISTMAS?
Photo: Â© 123RF Stock Photo/Jozef Polc
Words: Peter Carrell One of the harder questions in life to answer is, “What do you want for Christmas?” When what we really want is an expensive present that can be parked in our driveway, the normal and polite thing to do is not to say that. Something modest by way of an answer is more likely to receive a matching outcome — say, some new polish for one’s present vehicle, or a small furry thing which dangles from the driver’s mirror. To request the above sounds fairly lame; so the more likely answer, on the lips of a million Kiwi men is, “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe something for the car.” But what should a Christian want for Christmas? When we dig into the Christmas stories in Matthew and Luke we are challenged to be more ambitious with our Christmas wishes. To think big. What is going on when Matthew tells us that Herod is massively threatened by a baby born in Bethlehem, and Luke reports the lyrics of Mary’s song about the world being turned on its head? The birth of Jesus means God was changing the world. What we should want for Christmas is more of that change!
s with Roman Through Lent
While there is plenty of good stuff going on in our world, there are also some nasty Herods around — and I don’t just mean the usual suspects among leaders of rogue nations. As I write, a Hollywood leader has been exposed as a sexual predator. There are stories of bosses abusing employees by overworking them for illegally low pay. Teens are being bullied through social media. This world hasn’t yet seen enough of the powerful being brought down from their thrones, nor of the lowly being lifted up. What should a Christian want for Christmas? The Christmas story, as told in the gospels, proposes that we have a bigger vision for what God might give us. Could we ask for the story to be completed? For the world to be so changed that justice prevails, poverty disappears and tears are wiped away? That is a huge prayer, though it is not a long prayer. Just three words, as Jesus taught us, “Your kingdom come!” There is a catch with thinking in this way about Christmas and what we might ask to be given. God might offer us some uncomfortable answers. We might find if we pray “Your kingdom come” this Christmas that God responds with a few instructions for changing the world in the New Year. Are we up for that?
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DEEPER CAMP: 6-8 OCTOBER 2017 Photos: © Jess Robinson Organised by Samantha Mould and Anglican Youth ChCh “Deeper Camp” was a weekend of fun, food, friends and seeing how Jesus transforms lives for years 9-12. The camp was located at Waipara Riverside Park and the key speakers were Monique Cadigan, Cam Haylock and Carolyn Robertson.
HOPE, RAYMOND, AND YOU Words: Tessa Laing, CMS Partner in Uganda
LIVING CROSS-CULTURALLY CAN FEEL LIKE WEARING A NEW PAIR OF GLASSES.… YOU START TO SEE YOUR OWN HOME CULTURE LIKE AN OUTSIDER.”
Hope and Tessa
“I’VE SEEN YOUTH AT OUR CHURCH TRANSFORMED, BEING MADE NEW. THEY STAND OUT FROM THEIR OWN CULTURE AROUND THEM.”
Before diving into today’s Bible passage with our Bible study group we considered a fun opening question, “What is the longest period of time you have ever gone without washing?” “12 hours,” Hope promptly replied. “Yes, about 12 hours,” echoed another girl in a neat student-nursing uniform. “Mmm 24 hours?” said Raymond, somewhat sheepishly. It appears everyone here washes at least once a day. This is no Easter-camp-seasoned, smelly Kiwi youth-group. Nick and I were embarrassed to admit how long we’d gone back home without washing. We neared the end of the circle. The next answer took me completely by surprise: “Three months. But that was when I was moving in the bush, abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army.” Everyone nodded understandingly. Definitely not a New Zealand youth group. Living cross-culturally can feel like wearing a new pair of glasses. You start to understand a new culture from the inside out. You start to see your own home culture like an outsider. The familiar becomes strange, and the strange becomes familiar. It has never failed to stun me, living in Uganda, how the Bible stands completely apart, shining a piercing light into both Kiwi and Acholi cultures. This year we’ve been moving through Matthew’s Gospel. Week after week, Jesus’ words shake our group up. Group members start to challenge what is considered normal around them. One week someone exclaimed, “Jesus wouldn’t invite the big politicians to eat first at a wedding, piling their plates high leaving little for poorer guests!” Another week someone shared, “I need to learn to speak up, like Jesus. We just like keeping things calm. Jesus didn’t worry about making a scene to stick up for what is right.” It’s not just talk. I’ve seen youth at our church transformed,
being made new. They stand out from their own culture around them. Here are two examples from our Bible study: Hope: Hope is a nursing student at the Catholic mission hospital beside our church. In the past year, the Matron in Charge has been demanding students attend Mass and blocking them from attending any other non-Catholic prayer groups or Bible studies. Hope — determined to keep connecting with like-minded believers — regularly sneaks out to attend groups, paving the way for others to do the same. She organizes secret prayer meetings within the hospital walls. Culturally, the ideal Ugandan woman is not supposed to be a troublemaker, but obedient and rather compliant. For Hope, growing her faith is more important. Raymond: Raymond lives with his alcoholic father, and makes a small amount of money when he can at a cotton processing plant. The norm every Sunday at our church is for the preacher to listen to the lectionary readings along with everyone else, perhaps scrawl some notes in the margins, then to make up the sermon as they go along. Twenty-two-year-old Raymond is one of the only people I have heard preach here who has reflected deeply and studied the passage. Where does that come from? He has realized he is dealing with a doubleedged sword; it has changed him and he wants others to get it too. He is being transformed. Hope and Raymond are counter-cultural Christ-followers in Northern Uganda, taking on new lives, becoming the new selves God made them to be. What does a counter-cultural Christian look like in New Zealand? I can think of some. How about a young musician who spends time running singalongs in psychiatric wards? Or a qualified lawyer who decides he can change more lives by being a humble youth worker? Or a bare-footed Bishop? 19
Liz, Elliot and Sam Broughton at the Hororata Parish Fair. Credit Godfrey Judd.
PLAYING THE LONG GAME AN INTERVIEW WITH MAYOR OF THE SELWYN DISTRICT SAM BROUGHTON, ABOUT WHAT HELPS TRANSFORM A COMMUNITY AND BEING MAYOR, BY JO TAYLOR-DE VOCHT.
It’s labour weekend and my little family of three is embarking on a road trip from Christchurch to Auckland in a pint-sized campervan. In the middle of the day we pull over so I can have a yarn with my old soccer coach Sam Broughton, now Mayor of the Selwyn District. Although I haven’t spoken to him properly in years, I can still picture him clearly in his old fluro trackies, yelling from the sidelines of the soccer field. It’s difficult to muster the appropriate formality usually afforded to a Mayor. “So what’s it like being Mayor then?” I start. “Well, pretty cool,” he says. “It’s really nice to have the responsibility to help lead our community. I’m not doing it alone, I have the Council around me and a great staff too. I’m just one piece in 20
the puzzle. It’s a real privilege.” He definitely talks like a politician! I wonder what that’s like as a Christian. After a pause he tells me: “I believe we are called to treat others as we would like to be treated, and use our talents to serve others. That’s what I’m asked to do. My role (as Mayor) is me working that out. This is what it looks like now but it wasn’t five years ago and in 20 years it won’t look like this either — I’ll do it in different ways throughout my life. I’m also a dad and a husband.” I ask him if he sees his job as a Christian calling. “I’ve always felt there were themes for my life, verses that I’ve found have a hum in my life,” he says. “One is; ‘to whom much has been given much is required.’ I was born in the best country
“… WE ARE CALLED TO TREAT OTHERS AS WE WOULD LIKE TO BE TREATED, AND USE OUR TALENTS TO SERVE OTHERS. THAT’S WHAT I’M ASKED TO DO. MY ROLE (AS MAYOR) IS ME WORKING THAT OUT.” in the world with an amazing start in life, and a brain and body that works well. Using those for His purposes is what I want to do. “The other is ‘blessed is the peacemaker,’ I can’t solve every problem or every situation, but I try to bring harmony and listen well when I can, and I hope to walk away knowing that I haven’t caused more conflict than when it began. We go on to talk about the characteristics of a strong community. “Every community has got strengths, and communities aren’t built in a single generation,” he tells me. “The things that make it strong are things that have made it strong throughout its history, people’s connections to each other and the things that drive them to be concerned about each other. The ability to adapt to change is also important. “I also think places need people who remain and contribute over long periods of time. Some people are able to bring high energy and challenge the status quo for a time, but we also need stability and grounding and things that last beyond a couple of years. Things that last even beyond a couple of generations.” I’m not surprised at this perspective from Sam, he was raised in Darfield and has always been involved in the community as a youth-worker, youth pastor, councillor, and now as Mayor. It’s a counter-cultural way of life for a (somewhat) young adult, and perhaps, a balm for the itchy-feet of a younger generation accustomed to a more nomadic lifestyle. Speaking of young adults, there is a real buzz around intentional communities at present so I ask him his thoughts on this. “It’s important to do it alongside an institution to support you and good friends that will last longer than the buzz of doing it and can last through things being up and down. You need to think out how it is going to look when you are 31 and 41, and have a model that is sustainable and drives community change. That’s been a strength of churches, they do remain, and churches are around for a long time. While sometimes we can be frustrated by control or things being
orthodox and traditional, those things are real strengths when balanced with people who have energy, drive and passion. I think we need to try to hold in harmony those sort of tensions rather than break away and do our own thing.” I’m also interested in his thoughts from his vantage point as Mayor about the challenge of inequality within New Zealand communities. “It’s the biggest single challenge facing New Zealand,” he says. “Dealing with it a community level is easiest, person to person, but that can be matched by Government support. The way our leaders talk about these things matters. For me, the people of Selwyn are the people of Selwyn. As a council it’s not just what we do for a particular people group, but how is the whole of Selwyn lifted when gains are made? Also, how do we understand the pain of other people rather than just being isolated in our own family group?” I ask him what he sees as the biggest challenges for his community right now. “Selwyn has a strong history of performing well, producing lots of things and being a productive area. But it’s been quite competitive town to town — and I don’t think that is the way of the future. If something is achieved somewhere it needs to be celebrated across the whole of Selwyn.” Lastly, he shares with me a couple of final thoughts about Christians and community. “Alongside what we are doing for other people being healthy people ourselves is also important. We are all called to our own work — being a pastor, missionary, or evangelist, is no more important than any other job. We should value what we do, and how we look after ourselves is important.” I hang up feeling that Sam is a brave young leader. It’s not easy or safe to stand up and take on a position of leadership that invites the scrutiny of your community. This can be magnified when one is publicly known to be a Christian. Good luck Mayor Sam Broughton, wherever you go, you’ll always be that exuberant and kind soccer coach in outrageous trackies to me. 21
PROPAGANDA, HUMBLE BEAST RECORDS (2012)
Words: Rev’d Spanky Moore
Words: Sara Cornish
After coming to faith in the middle-class northern suburbs of Wellington, New Zealand, a chance meeting found Scottie Reeve exposed to another side of living in the city he had known his whole life. Immersed in stories of addiction, violence and pain, Scottie found that his faith wasn’t big enough for the questions before him. Questions like: What if Jesus didn’t call us to just a more comfortable, popular and successful life? What if the promises of upward mobility and accumulation actually stand at odds with the way he invited us to? What if we’ve just used Christ to just get what we wanted all along anyway? Twenty-One Elephants is about what we all know to be true, but are too scared to admit. It’s about a whole-of-life spirituality that messes with our relationships, reputation, families, money and living situations. It’s about the darkness of our world and the darkness within. It’s about the joy and the grief of embracing the reckless way of Jesus. And if you don’t want your comfort zone to be seriously challenged, perhaps you should avoid this mammoth of a book.
I may not be much of a hip hop fan, but I was moved by the message of this album. The album has its misses, but its high points more than compensate for these. Propaganda’s unique style of word art combines the worshipful with the prophetic, bringing together the gospel and social critique. Propaganda seems to be a rare breed in Christian creative culture. I wish I had come across this album in my teens; most of the Christian music and books I grew up with had a lot to say about love and sin, but seemed oblivious of social issues like inequality, justice, or race. Propaganda calls the church out for these omissions, and reminds us that our offerings of personal morality are meaningless to God without justice and mercy (Micah 6:7-8). The poetic “Lofty” is my personal highlight of the album. It is both a song of praise to God for creation, and an expression of awe at the lengths God took to redeem us: But worth, value, and beauty is not determined by some innate quality But by the length for which the owner would go to possess them And broken and ugly things just like us are stamped ‘Excellent’ With ink tapped in wells of divine veins.
A CHRISTMAS SONNET Written by Milton Hayward, Shirley
With joy this season we embrace again, That time when ancient prophets once foretold, And angel’s herald voice would cry, “behold,” From Judah’s line a child of wondrous name, To virgin maid did they His birth proclaim, A Son, He heaven’s treasure manifold, Immanuel, who fears and darkness cold,
Dispelled; and breached our fettered hopes cruel chain. To every longing heart on eagles wing, Loves greatest gift appeared a sure reply, His gracious face to shine forever near, Your sweetest psalms before His manger bring Eternal light beams bright to beautify Our weary paths with peace and vision clear.
CHRISTMAS CHEER REV’D INDREA ALEXANDER TALKS TO HOSPITAL AND REST HOME CHAPLAIN REV’D ALAN CUMMINS ABOUT HOW SPREADING THE GOOD NEWS AT CHRISTMAS AND WITNESSING LIVES BEING TRANSFORMED IS ALL PART OF THE JOB.
Words: Rev’d Indrea Alexander The sound of singers echoes in the stairwells and through the wards at Timaru hospital’s annual Christmas carolling evening. Ecumenical chaplain Rev’d Alan Cummins says the number of singers has climbed to over 100 during his five years there, with members of the church and community taking part along with staff. People young and old wear Christmas costumes, from angel wings to Rev’d Alan Cummins antlers, and carry lit candles. “It’s a wonderful night,” says the Rev’d. There is no pretence of a choral performance as the singers wend their way up and down the stairs. It’s a carolling crocodile in which, despite everyone’s best efforts, the front carollers finish a verse when the tail is only half-way through. Hospitals try to have patients home for Christmas, but this is not always possible. Rev’d Cummins says patients welcome the carolling and the spirit in which it is offered, and comment warmly that it takes them back to their early days of Sunday School or church. It’s not just the songs that take them back either; there are a lot of reunions as “people in the beds recognise some of the singers.” Rev’d Cummins is also half-time ecumenical chaplain at Presbyterian Support South Canterbury’s Margaret Wilson Home and The Croft Complex in Timaru, and Wallingford Home in Temuka. The homes — and the hospital — are 24
beautifully decorated for the Christmas season, and on Christmas Day traditional Christmas dinner and desserts with all the trimmings are served. Carolling is also a feature in the homes, involving not just singers but a variety of instrumentalists as well. As well as music, residents have the opportunity to enjoy Christmas crafts and activities during December. It is good when they relate to the Christian Christmas story, says Cummings. “They need to be reminded of the good news of Christmas, the hope in Jesus — that Jesus is the reason for the season.” Another wonderful aspect of Christmas in rest homes is the reunions as family return home from far and wide. “People in rest homes always need friends and loved ones, children and grandchildren, coming to visit.” During the summer regular visitors may be away “lying on the beach at Kaiteriteri,” so it is good when other family members or friends make a point of popping into the rest homes. Rev’d Cummins, who was formerly a school teacher, served in parish ministry in Reefton and the Grey Valley, CobdenRunanga, Spring Creek, and Marlborough before taking up chaplaincy. In his current roles he has seen God bring transformation in the lives of rest home residents and hospital patients and their families. “Black sheep and prodigal sons” may be among those who gather around a hospital bed, and the moment can bring unexpected reconciliation, forgiveness and healing. “It’s a privilege to be able to visit and pray for people, and see physical improvements and spiritual healing as well.” Most people welcome the offer of prayer, “and people are given a great sense of peace and calm.”
CELESTIAL MUSINGS Words: Sara Cornish Photo: 123RF Stock Photo/Denis Belitsky Our last date night involved my husband and I sitting down with a plate of nachos to watch Wonder Woman. As promised in Philip Baldwin’s recent review, the movie explores some surprisingly profound ideas. The portrayal of a cosmic dimension to our human condition resonates strongly with biblical themes. Most thought provoking for me was the way the story imputes to love (not strength) the power to defeat evil and rescue humanity from self-destruction. The idea that love possesses a supernatural power is a curiously enduring Western literary theme. This is a cultural obsession that shows no sign of abating, despite the postmodern rejection of categories of truth and meaning for the human experience. Western philosophy has swept away our certainties in truth and knowledge but offered nothing in return. Dawkins and company champion the idea of a universe lacking design, purpose, or justice, arguing that individuals must forge their own meaning in life. But most of us are unconvinced; we do not need empirical data to know that life has purpose. To matter, to be loved, to have meaning for our existence — these are our deepest human needs, spanning all times and cultures. As many intellectuals relegate meaning to the dustbin of history, popular culture clings to the hope that love, somehow,
offers us the meaning we lack. We tell stories of a love that defeats all odds, mythologizing the hope we long for in superhuman heroes with the strength to defeat evil. “Only love can save this world,” the final scene of Wonder Woman concludes; but it is a poor and disillusioned hope, resting on the potential for human self-improvement. If this is the hope we are left with, it offers little comfort in light of our bloodied recent history. Is this stubborn hope simply a story told to soften the pain of a meaningless existence? Or is it more — an echo of the Truth society has discarded? We have always an awareness of something beyond ourselves to reach for, regardless of what we cling to in its place. Ultimately none of the reasons (or relationships) in which we invest our meaning satisfy, or explain who we are and why we are here. Only a person can do that. The Person who began it all: the Intellect and Image we reflect, the Reason we pursue, the Justice we crave and the Lover we seek. Here is an opportunity for the gospel to engage our culture. Too often our attempts to communicate Jesus fall on deaf hears, with many dismissing Christianity as outmoded cultural superstition. Yet society’s questions haven’t really changed. The answers are found only in Christ, God with us; the Hero and Lover we seek has already come. 25
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www.blt.co.nz Suzanne, Andrew and Ian Bell