NURTURING YOUNG PEOPLE
DIOCESE OF CHRISTCHURCH
ISSUE FORTY NINE
HELPING YOUNG PEOPLE KNOW THAT GOD IS NOT A THING RESPONSIBILITY OR RESENTMENT?
AUG / SEPT 2017
IN DEFENSE OF SNOWFLAKES
YOUTH WITH A MISSION
A LIFE-LONG FRIENDSHIP
HELPING YOUNG PEOPLE KNOW THAT GOD IS NOT A THING
IN DEFENSE OF SNOWFLAKES
RESPONSIBILITY OR RESENTMENT?
WHAT THEY’RE CATCHING OFF YOU
01. 02. 09: 16:
FROM THE BISHOP: Transitions THE BRIEF ARTICLE: A life-long friendship ARTICLE: More than I bargained for
18. CAPTURED: Easter camp is worship and friends… 20. GLOBAL DISPATCH: Youth with a mission 22. CULTURE
AnglicanLife is published bi-monthly by the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch. Guest Editor / Philip Baldwin / email@example.com, Contributing Writers / Sara Cornish, Jo Taylor-de Vocht, Contributors / +Victoria Matthews, Cathy Maslin, the Rev’d Spanky Moore, Ian Paul, the Rev’d Bosco Peters, Ross Seagar, the Rev’d Josh Taylor, Emma Williams, 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. ISSN 2253-1653 (print), ISSN 2537-849X (online)
Cover image / Warren Wong / The young people who are becoming adults in the 2010s, the so-called Snowflake Generation, certainly are unique and special, not because of the spurious myths and exaggerations in the media that supposedly identify them, but, as various contributors point out in this issue, because of the practice of faith that they can embody for all of us.
The Transitional Cathedral, Latimer Square
Further details at www.christchurchcathedral.co.nz | email@example.com | (03) 3660046 THEOLOGIANS IN THE CATHEDRAL - A SERIES OF 5PM SUNDAY EVENSONG SERMONS AND DISCUSSIONS: SUNDAY 13 AUGUST - THE VERY REV’D PROF MARTYN PERCY, DEAN OF CHRIST CHURCH OXFORD CATHEDRAL ADVERT SUNDAY 24 SEPTEMBER - NICOLA HOGGARD, RESEARCH SCHOLAR, ST JOHN’S COLLEGE, AUCKLAND RELIGIOUS VOCATIONS SUNDAY: SUNDAY 20 AUGUST AT 10.00AM PREACHER: BR DONALD SSF “ASTRONOMY” ORGAN RECITAL: THURSDAY 14 SEPTEMBER 7.00PM ORGANIST: MICHAEL WHITEHOUSE ELECTION PRAYER VIGIL: FRIDAY 22 - SATURDAY 23 SEPTEMBER, FROM 9AM FRIDAY BLESSING OF THE ANIMALS SERVICE: SUNDAY 1 OCTOBER AT 2PM CLIMATE CHANGE LECTURE: WEDNESDAY 4 OCTOBER AT 6PM JULIANNE HICKEY, CARITAS NEW ZEALAND & KOFE HAVEA, CLIMATE CHANGE WITNESS
FROM THE BISHOP
TRANSITIONS Words: Bishop Victoria Matthews “Moving into adulthood: how to keep your integrity” was the topic I was given when invited to address the Year 13 girls at Craighead Diocesan School. We talked about the meaning of integrity: that they were true to their centre and not trying to follow or serve a variety of masters. We also talked about getting in touch with their own interests and talents. The students were absolutely delightful as they addressed their various interests and hopes for the next chapter of their lives. What I particularly admired was their maturity in recognising that some of the things they were most excited about were identical to what they were fearful of in their future. What excites you about next year? “Meeting new people.” What causes you concern? “Meeting new people.” As I drove back to Christchurch, I reflected that, as this Diocese looks to a new future after Synod 2017, whatever the decision about the Cathedral in the Square, many of us could say the same thing. The possibilities for the future excite me, but also cause me to be apprehensive. So the title “Transitions” seemed appropriate for this Anglican Life editorial. There is, however, one more example I need to share. A few days ago I attended a lovely dinner hosted by,
and for, CCR: Christchurch Community Response. CCR has stopped its charitable operation after doorknocking over 80,000 homes. That is an incredible amount of mission and ministry. There were about one hundred people at the dinner and acknowledgements were offered for the outstanding work of Janette Sprott and her team. But mention also needs to be made of those with the initial vision: the Rev’d Bob Henderson, the Rev’d Katrina Hill, Pip Mabin, and Jill Short, as well as the generous trades people who flew down from The Church of the Saviour, Blockhouse Bay, for the initial visits. Whereas our Synod and the graduates of Craighead Diocesan School are looking forward, the CCR dinner attendees at St Christopher’s, Avonhead, reflected with thanksgiving on Christian discipleship and God’s blessings for over six years of focused ministry. Are you at, or approaching, a point of transition in your life? Is God calling you to a new expression of discipleship? I invite you to join our Synod members meeting in September 2017 and the graduating class of Craighead School to ask God’s guidance and direction for your future in Christ. +Victoria
ANGLICAN CHURCH PENSION BOARD INVESTS IN NEW ETHICAL FUND
WELCOME, BISHOP ELEANOR! Photo: Anglican Taonga/Julanne Clarke-Morris It was fitting that the ordination of Bishop Eleanor Sanderson, and her installation as Assistant Bishop of Wellington, were celebrated during “Come Holy Spirit Week of Prayer” in Wellington’s Cathedral. Approximately 900 worshippers came from all parts of the Diocese and the Province, from the various seasons of Bishop Eleanor’s ministry, from around the world, and from every generation to fill the Cathedral on Friday, 2 June. Our own Bishop Victoria was present at the service, alongside Bishop Helen-Ann Hartley of Waikato, and a number of other bishops from across the three tikanga of the church, as well as ecumenical guests. For those who couldn’t fit into the cathedral, or were unable to attend, a live stream was made available on the Anglican Diocese of Wellington’s Movement Facebook page. Over 1,700 views were recorded during the service, while the post on Facebook was seen by over 10,000 people. Those in attendance used the hashtag #bishopellie to share moments from the after party, which was described by the Diocesan website as “a happening hive of celebration— the music could be heard booming down the street!”
Words: Mark Wilcox The Anglican Church Pension Board has invested US$10m in a new socially responsible global bond fund. PIMCO, a highly regarded large global investment firm, has recently launched a dedicated environmental, social, and governance (ESG) product for the growing number of investors seeking attractive returns, as well as positive social and environmental change. Simon Brodie, the Board’s Chief Investment Officer explained: “What PIMCO offers aligns closely with our investment strategy and the principles of our ethical investment philosophy. This fund will exclude issuers that are involved in the production of controversial weapons, the manufacture of tobacco products, the production and trade of pornographic materials, and the production or distribution of coal. It will also apply judgement around business practices that it perceives negatively impact animal welfare, the environment, corporate governance, corruption, human rights, or labour rights.” Adrian Stewart, Head of PIMCO Australia and New Zealand said: “For many investors, screening out undesirable investment categories isn’t enough anymore; they want to use their investments to promote change in the world. Our ESG Fund provides the tools to do that without compromising on returns…we’re delighted that we could do it thanks to seed funding from the Pension Board—a long-time client and investor.” “The whole subject of ethical investment is fascinating, as it’s constantly evolving” said the Board’s General Manager, Mark Wilcox. “More and more Christians are now choosing to transfer their KiwiSaver over to the Pension Board’s scheme, Koinonia, given the ethical values that underpin it. These days we manage the retirement money for over 3,000 individuals, including our core constituents, clergy of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia.”
The Pension Board’s Investment management team (L to R) Manher Sukha, Simon Brodie, and Garry Gould
ST BARNABAS — FENDALTON Words: Ross Seagar Photo: Graham Stewart Earlier this year, the Parish of Fendalton and the Church Property Trustees Recovery Team celebrated the reopening of St Barnabas Church on Fendalton Road, Christchurch. Following the Great War many churches throughout New Zealand installed memorials to those who gave their lives in that war. St Barnabas is one of the very few churches that was built as a World War I memorial. Conceived in 1919 and opened in 1926, it was a replacement for the original wooden church on the site built in 1876 and dedicated to the honour all who fought in World War I. Recently the final part of the restoration project was completed: the re-installation, following its refurbishment by Stewart Stained Glass, of the large Western window. The inscription on the window reads “To the Glory of God, and in memory of the Fendalton men who served in the Great War, 1914-18, this window was humbly offered by Kate Gerard, 1926.” Miss Gerard, an interesting maiden lady from a wealthy farming family, had a very close association with St Barnabas and the Anglican Church. She lived with another maiden sister at “Willowbrook” (the present-day site of Fendalton Park) and close to another sister, Mary, who built “Avonhoe” on Medbury Terrace in
the late 1890s, when she separated from her husband, George Rutherford Jr of Leslie Hills. Those of you who read the small print of the papers presented to Synod each year will recognize the name Kate Gerard from the Diocese annual accounts Schedule of Special Purpose Funds. In a fine display of what not to do when leaving a bequest to the church,
Reinstated West Window donated by Miss Kate Gerard, 1926
Miss Gerard, who died in 1934, made a bequest with instructions that include: …my Special Trustee shall pay the net income derived from the Trust in equal shares to the Bishops of the Diocese of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin for the purposes in each case of defraying the cost of printing books of poetry which I have in my lifetime written for the spiritual advancement of boys and girls… Whilst the use of language in the will is superb, the instructions to Church Property Trustees (as Trustee) are not easily followed some 83 years later. Each Bishop receives a distribution from the estate of around $43 per annum. The Diocesan Office will shortly be distributing updated information to parishes regarding the making of bequests. Please consider this as part of your giving back to the Church. If you would like to speak to someone about making a bequest, please contact the Diocesan Manager, Edwin Boyce, on 03 348 6960 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For service times at St Barnabas, please go to www.stbarnabas.org.nz . Special thanks, for financial assistance with the repair and refurbishment of St Barnabas, go to the Lotteries Environment & Heritage Committee, and Christchurch Earthquake Heritage Buildings Fund.
HELPING YOUNG PEOPLE KNOW THAT GOD IS NOT A THING Words: The Rev’d Bosco Peters Photos: Ms Melissa Hogan
If you cannot scientifically verify it, then it isn’t true. That is often the assumption that young people inherit from our surrounding culture when it comes to belief in God. In his much-read book, The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins popularised an idea of Bertrand Russell. In 1958, Bertrand Russell famously contended: “Nobody can prove that there is not between the Earth and Mars a china teapot revolving in an elliptical orbit, but nobody thinks this sufficiently likely to be taken into account in practice. I think the Christian God just as unlikely.” God, in the mind of popular culture and that of many young people, is a thing, a supernatural, spiritual (whatever these words might mean) thing—but essentially a thing, nonetheless. In this view, we can add God to this magazine, just as we can add, say, a pen to this magazine—and in doing so we end up with two things. Alongside the assumption that God is an object is the popular contention that only science can lead to truth. This approach, which can be called scientism, is akin to logical positivism: the conviction that only statements verifiable through empirical observation are meaningful. People of mature faith need to regularly challenge such assumptions in our culture. What is right, what is beautiful, what is good—none of these things can be ascertained in a
laboratory. Science has immense value, but its limits need to be clear. In other areas of a young person’s life, growth is expected and youth are helped to mature. Children love stories, for example, but there comes a day when they move to another stage, where they realise that stories and metaphors are not literal, yet they remain of value. Unfortunately, faith and religion are often circumvented in such growth. People often are not assisted to see that faith stories and metaphors are also not all literal. No young person takes “He is feeling low” or “She broke his heart” literally. But a sentence like “Jesus ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father” is taken literally—and then the belief that it expresses is discarded as plainly silly. Church schools, youth groups, sermons, bishops’ statements, and articles (in print and online) need to challenge prejudices about the nature of truth and the assumptions that there is some sort of clash between science and faith, or between history and religion. There is another aspect of spirituality and theology that I think we need to renew and press to this task with young people. To introduce my point, I remind you that our western church emphasises what is called the cataphatic tradition: “God,” we say, “is like this,” only bigger, better, brighter.
Photo left: In the Christ’s College Chapel, the famous window of the Tree of Life and the River of Life (by John Piper, 1968) encourages deeper, more abstract engagement with Christian metaphors. 5
A theological discussion in the classroom.
“God is loving,” like we are, but “all loving.” God is powerful, like we are, but God is all powerful—omnipotent. God is omniscient—all knowing. And so on. There is another side of the coin, more prevalent in the East, including in Eastern Christianity. This is called the apophatic tradition. It says, “God is not like this,” or “God is not like that.” This is the aspect that I think we need to put more energy into. Now and then, we are reminded of the apophatic. The well-known nineteenth-century hymn by Walter Smith begins: Immortal, invisible, God only wise, In light inaccessible hid from our eyes, Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light, Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might. In the West, this apophatic approach can be traced through Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Meister Eckhart, the Cloud of Unknowing, Denis the Carthusian, and John of the Cross. The apophatic was most startlingly affirmed by the Western Church in the teachings of the Fourth Council of the Lateran (in 1215). This, one of the greatest western ecclesiastical gatherings in the Middle Ages, agreed God is “eternal and 6
immeasurable, almighty, unchangeable, incomprehensible, and ineffable.” Canon Two of that same council includes the startling assertion that “between Creator and creature no similitude can be expressed without implying a greater dissimilitude.” Whatever image, metaphor, or adjective we apply to God—this council is teaching—however appropriate we might deem the concept to be, it is more false than true. There is a level of awe and mystery in apophatic understanding that young people can see themselves growing into rather than simply out of. We are acknowledging the inadequacy of language when we speak of the mystery we call God. All language about God is inadequate. The language that we do use, we hope, is the least inadequate. In this approach, signs and symbols (and sacraments) come into their own, as does the realisation that we are not simply believing six impossible things in our heads before breakfast. We are committing our lives, entrusting ourselves to the great Mystery at the heart of Reality. Young people need to see this lived out in the lives of those who have been on the spiritual journey much, much longer. This is not significantly different to the growth that they go through in other areas of human development. We
The Rev’d Bosco Peters discusses The Ascension window (and the Archangel Michael) with students in the Christ’s College Chapel.
grow from our childish viewpoint that the Moon follows me, through the realisation that the Moon is a satellite around the planet, to the more complex (and possibly more beautiful representations) which have the Sun racing around the Galaxy with the planets and their satellites dragged in its train. Each perspective has its own merit. Relativity allows us, in fact, to express everything from the perspective of the Moon, making the Moon the point of view. As another example, when we are little, we assume that solids are, well, solid. It is only as we mature that we discover that solids, in fact, are mostly empty space. Within this mostly-empty-space are protons, electrons, and neutrons. And we might visualise those as if they are tiny, tiny marbles. But, as we mature further, we discover that assuming an electron is like a particle is false: an electron acts just as often as if it were a wave. We learn about Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle: no matter how accurate our instruments, we will never be able to measure both the velocity and the position of a particle. We meet up with Schrödinger’s cat: confronting the concept that a reality, as it were, comes into existence only when it is observed. The recovery and renewal of the apophatic, which I am
calling for, can dovetail into the popularity of Mindfulness, an increasingly prominent practice amongst young people. Mindfulness tends to look to eastern religions such as Buddhism. This searching elsewhere often happens because we have neglected our own tradition. We have a rich Christian prayer tradition which does not assign images to God. The Christian purpose, in fact, goes deeper. It isn’t measured or described by improved results, resilience, or even being peaceful. Christian prayer and meditation, and with it, belief and life, have the goal of growing in union with God. Finally, the digital world and ever-present cell phones immerse young people in a culture of overstimulation. The danger for many young people is that we can perennially distract ourselves from the deep question that lies in our heart. Our schools, our youth groups, our parishes, and our media presence need to challenge this, but also engage young people in a way that provides contemporary responses for the new context in which younger generations find themselves. Rev. Bosco Peters is Chaplain at Christ’s College and blogs at one of New Zealand’s most-visited websites, www.liturgy.co.nz.
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Aged Care | Among friends
A LIFE-LONG FRIENDSHIP Words: Jo Taylor-de Vocht THE JANSEN FAMILY DECIDED TO PUT TOGETHER A SPECIAL FUND FOR MAIJER THAT WOULD ENSURE SHE COULD PAY FOR HER OWN AND HER BROTHERâ€™S LIVING EXPENSES IF SHE HAD TO GO AND LIVE WITH EXTENDED FAMILY.
Coby, Maijer, and Briarley during their first meeting in 2013. 9
Coby and Briarley are not your average tween-agers (do people still say tween-agers?). Although they are aged only 12 and 10 they have already been on an extraordinary journey. Together with their parents, they have managed to completely change a young girl’s future through dogged fundraising efforts and faithful communication. It all began just before Coby was born. The Jansen family started sponsoring Maijer, a baby girl in Northern Thailand, through the TearFund child sponsorship programme. Maijer is a year ahead of Coby in school and lives in a village of refugees with her extended family. Ever since Coby and Briarley could write, they have been corresponding with Maijer, and over time they have formed a close bond. In 2013 the family decided to take a trip to Asia, and stop in and meet Maijer on the way. “It was so cool to meet,” says Coby, “we got to make a proper connection. When we arrived she was waiting at the fence waving. She showed us her family’s house which was all bamboo and flax and really small with a dirt floor. She showed us the folder where she had kept all of our letters over the years. That was so nice that she had kept them.” Briarley remembers the impact this had on her: “It just made me realise the difference between us living in a really good house and them in a hot house. Afterwards we went to her school and they sang us a song and we sang them a song.” “They served Mum chicken feet,” says Coby. “It was pretty funny because she had to eat them to be polite.” It was the trip of a lifetime for the girls, but soon after they got home, they found out that disaster had struck Maijer’s family. “They were kicked off their land,” says Coby. 10
Briarley, Coby (left) and their parents (right), with Maijer (blue t-shirt) and family during their 2016 visit.
Some of the infinity scarves that Coby and Briarley continue to make and sell to support Maijer’s schooling.
“Maijer’s parents had to go and work in Bangkok and she had to go and live with her grandma who was sick with cancer.” The Jansen family was very worried: many girls Maijer’s age and ethnicity were being trafficked in that area of the country, and they knew without her parents she was at major risk. To help protect her, the Jansen family decided to put together a special fund for Maijer that would ensure she could pay for her own and her brother’s living expenses if she had to go and live with extended family. They organised an account through TearFund, and Briarley and Coby started fundraising in earnest. Over six months they ran six “Maijer nights” where the girls cooked Thai meals for friends and family. “I’ll show you the book,” Coby says with a wry smile, handing me over a Cooking with Poo Thai cookbook (Poo is the name of the Thai author). The family managed to raise $800 to cover Maijer’s expenses, which successfully kept her safe until she left primary school in 2016. Leaving primary school was the next hurdle for Maijer. For girls in her area this usually presented the dire options of starting a low paying job, going to an orphanage school, or even child marriage. The Jansen family did not want any of these outcomes for Maijer. The girls got fundraising again, this time making tiedyed shoes and wrist-knitted infinity wool scarves. Between this and other ventures, they were able to raise enough to pay for Maijer to go to a good high school nearby. However, things hit another snare when Maijer’s parents weren’t sure about sending her to secondary school. The Jansens decided to go back and reconnect with Maijer and her family to see how they could help. “The second time we went they had a proper house with proper shelter. It had a gas cooker and a concrete floor,” says Coby. “That was so cool. We didn’t need to worry about her parents agreeing for her to go to high school, as she was already enrolled by the time the plane landed!” The girls had a fun time together catching up through playing tag and eating ice cream. Talking to the girls it’s obvious that the trip has made a lasting impact on who they are and how they think about the world. “It made me think about other people and not just myself,” says Coby. “It made me more interested in other countries and what is going on in them. I find myself complaining when I don’t get something I want, but they don’t get what they need.” Briarley says: “If you go to the shops and you start thinking ‘can I have this, can I have that,’ then you think about the people who don’t get anything and don’t have a choice. There are people who only eat rice and we have a big cupboard of chocolate. We have all the health things. It’s pretty sad. It would be perfect if everyone had a house and food. Not everyone has as much as you have.” Coby and Briarley continue to make and sell infinity scarves, and a percentage of the proceeds goes to Maijer’s schooling. You can make enquiries to buy a scarf by e-mailing Coby and Briarley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IN DEFENSE OF SNOWFLAKES Words: Emma Williams WHY IS IT SO EASY FOR PREVIOUS GENERATIONS TO BELIEVE THE WORST ABOUT MILLENNIALSâ€”THE SNOWFLAKE GENERATION?
The term “snowflake” has become so widely used that it is one of Collins Dictionary’s 2016 words of the year. An insult to teenagers and young adults, it emerged recently to criticise the younger generation for their hypersensitivity. It references a much-memed line from the 1996 film Fight Club: “You are not special. You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are the same organic and decaying matter as everyone else.” The term has become more broadly used to express general disdain for young people who behave differently from people older than themselves. Compared to the Greatest Generation, Baby Boomers, and Generation Xers, the Snowflake Generation is seen as narcissistic, lacking in resilience, fearful of reality and opinions different from theirs. This is my generation. Are we all truly less resilient, more prone to taking offence, entitled, and over-politically correct? The prejudices held about so-called Snowflakes, I believe, are often taken out of context, exaggerated, and unfair. The negative stereotyping is persistent and tenacious, but how much of what is written about the Snowflake Generation is accurate, and how much is hype, driven by the need for good headlines? After Donald Trump’s US electoral victory, it was widely reported that the fragile students of Yale University, traumatised by the news, had their exams cancelled by overprotective lecturers. “How sad for our nation’s campus snowflakes,” gloated Fox News. It didn’t matter that the story was completely untrue, it fitted the stereotype. Why is it so easy for previous generations to believe the worst about Millennials? Inter-generational bickering is normal, but the criticism of Snowflakes seems to be unrelenting. There are, however, some notable advocates for Millennials amongst those who understand young people. According to Dr Benjamin Jones, historian and social commentator at the Australian National University: “The snowflake pejorative is coded language for young people who care about equality and want to live in an inclusive society…the culture on university campuses is as academically robust as ever.”
As always, we can look to the Bible for encouragement and good advice that shows the world does not change that much. In 1 Timothy 4:12 we read: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” In 2017 it can be tough being a young person and a Christian. A Christian blog recently listed ten challenges we face, among them: living in an anti-Christian culture, living out your faith, sexual pressures, identity and self-image, negative media influences, materialism, and busyness. In my view, young people are responsible for some very positive change, just like generations before us. Racist, sexist, and homophobic language is gradually disappearing. That is because young people genuinely reject discrimination, not because they are too sensitive to face up to opposing views. It is a feature of my generation that we access, rather than own, for example: music (Spotify, Apple Music); film and TV (Netflix and Lightbox); transport (carpooling, Uber); and homes (renting, sharing, parents). This could be seen as a positive and necessary response to the challenges we face, including global warming, scarce resources, and an unstable economy created by previous generations. At the risk of sounding like a whinging snowflake, my generation does not have an easy time. We must adapt to rapid changes in technology, a volatile job market, climate change, widespread terrorism, working to pay for our education, and having to work twice as hard to buy a home. According to Dr Jones, we take on these challenges “with grit and heart, whilst also showing concern for minorities and the disadvantaged.” He believes the world should be proud of its young people and how they press on to succeed, ignoring the sneers and ridicule. Emma Williams is a Year 13 student and Sacristan at Craighead Diocesan School and a member of the Parish of St John’s Highfield in Timaru.
RESPONSIBILITY OR RESENTMENT? Words: The Revâ€™d Josh Taylor SADLY, AT TIMES OUR CHURCHES REINFORCE THE GENERATIONAL CRITICISMS, RATHER THAN REALIZE THAT GOD HAS CALLED US AS A FAMILY TO SHARE THE GOSPEL.
I don’t feel particularly obliged to articulate why we should value young people. To me that feels self-evident—after all our species depends on nurturing our young. That’s just a biological reality. When it comes to theological reflection, however, I think we would do well to look at the issue behind the intergenerational blame game. There is a fair amount of criticism in current media about the Snowflake Generation. This term refers to young people who supposedly lack resilience and are prone to taking offence at the slightest trigger. Is there truth to this sweeping generalisation? Perhaps this is the wrong question. There seems to be a perception out there that young people lack resilience, so let’s deal with that. The antagonism between the generations is an ancient issue, and one ancient story raises the key question for us when it comes to this angst. In Genesis 4, not long after we hear of the fall of humanity, we find the story of Cain and Abel. The animosity, jealousy, and competition between Cain and Abel highlight the devastating impact sin has had on interpersonal relationships. Cain strikes his brother and his blood cries out from the ground to the Lord. God confronts Cain, saying: “Where is your brother Abel?” Cain then retorts with a revealing question: “I don’t know, am I my brother’s keeper?” This is a question humanity has been asking ever since. Am I responsible for others? Why should they be my concern? Sin has infected our ability to take responsibility for each other, and it breaks down our common humanity. To me it is a very strange phenomenon for one generation to turn around and look at those who come after them and say: “I can’t believe how lazy and entitled you all are.” We might wonder who created the society these young people are growing up in. The criticisms of the younger generation feel like a collective “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Rather than the older and younger generations tearing each other down, a better Christian theological position would be to take responsibility for each other. In Paul’s letter to Timothy he writes: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity” (1 Timothy 4.12). Countless times well-meaning folk much older than I have quoted this to me with a condescending smile. This encouragement by Paul has been touted by young people, too: trying to get people older than they are to take their leadership seriously. But when we quote anything out of context, we miss the real gems. The context behind this quote is the mentoring relationship between Paul and Timothy. Paul had taken the time to take Timothy under his wing, to encourage leadership in him and help him spread the good news of Jesus. Jesus did the same with the disciples, and in the Old Testament we see leaders passing the baton: Moses to Joshua, and Elijah to Elisha. The model we see in each of these relationships is a mutual trust, an investing of time and energy by an experienced leader in the life of a younger leader, and most importantly, the shared task of partnering in God’s mission in the world. Sadly, at times our churches reinforce the generational criticisms, rather than realise that God has called us as a family to share the Gospel. Many congregations lament that “there aren’t any young people in our church.” Worse still, some think that if they cobble together a youth group, the masses will magically come. We reap what we sow, and if each of us were willing to invest our lives in just one young person, imagine the difference that would make. So, next time you are tempted to slag off the Snowflake Generation, pause and think about how you might take responsibility by investing in someone younger, just like Paul did with Timothy.
MORE THAN I BARGAINED FOR Words: Cathy Maslin with Fiona Frew, youth leader at St Peter’s Temuka Fiona grew up going to an Anglican Church in South Auckland, but after being confirmed, “that was it” for her. Now she is a youth leader in South Canterbury. So…, what happened? There came a point for Fiona, in the midst of working and being a mother, where life was incredibly hectic, yet seemingly pointless. “I got to a point where I thought there has to be something more—this can’t be it. I thought: ‘There are things within us no one can fix.’ I had worked over the road from a church for some time and admired the building, so I decided I would go to the Christmas Eve services there. I did this for
two years running, yet I was still searching for something to grab hold of, something that didn’t bring you down. I began to go more often.” Mildly content she was doing the right thing in attending church, Fiona was roped into being a parent leader at Easter Camp. It was obvious the children would not be able to go if a helper was not found. Easter Camp is for the kids, though, right? Well, that was Fiona’s assumption. During one session, however, she found herself deeply touched by the Holy Spirit and filled with uncontained joy: “It was firmly in my mind I was only going
Riley Hunter (L) and Kayla Kruishoop (R), two South Canterbury young people that Fiona Frew helped lead at Easter Camp 2017
“I WAS COMPLETELY HUMBLED HAVING SUCH AN EXPERIENCE SURROUNDED BY YOUNG PEOPLE.” there to be a helper, the adult one who had it altogether. So, I was completely humbled having such an experience surrounded by young people. The Bible says for youth not to let anyone look down on them because they are young, and now I see God’s wisdom. Too often we see human barriers like age, when God’s focus is placed elsewhere: on a person’s heart and spiritual character. “After this my reason for going to church changed. Going had real meaning. I went because I really believed. I believed there was hope. God was there to hang onto, to help make you whole, and help you find a path through life.” Fast forward to Easter Camp 2017 and Fiona’s third time as a leader. At 3.00am on the Saturday morning Fiona found herself coming awake suddenly with tears streaming down her face. She had a graphic vision “of a young man nailed to a cross with blood streaming down. His mother and a crowd of people stood below. They were crying. I had an almost maternal feeling, a sense of heavy sadness coming from the people because of his suffering and their own loss,” Fiona explains. What to do with the vision? After the first camp session for the day Fiona, Ollie, and Jessie sat their small group
down. Fiona shared, and they chatted about her vision, and what made them feel sad in their lives. As they sat together, everyone was encouraged to picture the vision and to give to Jesus what they wanted him to take away from them. “Later on that evening in the big top the speakers ran a whole session for everyone at camp about nailing what it is that breaks your heart to the cross, what makes you sad, sorry, or causes you to feel bad. It blew my mind away. I had no idea this was planned, but obviously God did,” says Fiona. “The most amazing thing about Easter Camp for me is the sense of belonging, of being family. It doesn’t matter if your tents are in a state, or the weather is not on your side, or that you are surrounded by people. For four or five days it is like a home where everyone cares about you without judging. This is what motivates me now in leading a parish youth group. I want to re-create that same culture within our group: we all have the innate desire to feel like we belong and that we aren’t going through life alone. “Despite my original intention for attending Easter Camp I received way more than I bargained for. At a time when I was searching for God, he was there waiting for me.”
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EASTER CAMP IS WORSHIP AND FRIENDS… A CONTINGENT OF ANGLICANS AND YOUNG PEOPLE FROM A VARIETY OF DENOMINATIONS WORSHIPED AND HUNG OUT TOGETHER AT EASTER CAMP THIS YEAR.
Photo left: Josh Monson. Reprinted with kind permission of Canterbury Youth Services Above: Samantha Mould
YOUTH WITH A MISSION Words: Sara Cornish Photos: Anne McCormick ANNE MCCORMICK IS A CMS MISSION PARTNER IN CAMBODIA, WHERE SHE RUNS AN ACTIVITIES PROGRAMME FOR PATIENTS AT THE WORLD MATE EMERGENCY HOSPITAL IN BATTAMBANG. THE PROGRAMME NOW INCLUDES ONE FULL-TIME STAFF MEMBER, SUPPORTED BY OVERSEAS VOLUNTEERS AND YOUNG PEOPLE FROM MISSION FAMILIES SERVING IN BATTAMBANG. SARA CORNISH CAUGHT UP WITH ANNE DURING HER RECENT VISIT TO NEW ZEALAND TO DISCUSS OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE IN OVERSEAS MISSION.
A group of young volunteers from YWAM singing to hospital outpatients.
What involvement has there been from young people in your activities programme? I have a lot of young volunteers to the hospital, most of them through Youth with a Mission (YWAM). I also have young volunteers who live in Battambang, who come regularly. They generally spend several hours with us, 3â€“5 days a week, playing games, singing, card-making, and running activities for the patients. I find them such a breath of fresh air; they come in with fresh eyes and see what an opportunity it is to work with these people. What do you see young people as having to offer in mission? The enthusiasm and energy young people bring is wonderful. Compared to when I was growing up, young people today are better educated, more globally aware, and have a more highly developed social conscience. They are passionate about the injustices they see in the world, and they are prepared to do something about it. Perhaps one of the greatest things they can offer is a sense of hope. There is rising discontent and despair amongst young people in Cambodia, particularly due to unemployment. Most young people in New Zealand are more positive. I think their vitality and sense of hope will go a long way with Khmer young people.
How would you advise a young person who is interested in mission, but is unsure of their calling or how to get involved? Haerenga Mai is a mission internship for young people interested in pursuing the possibility of longer-term mission involvement. It is a training scheme which links them up with CMS staff here for a few months preparation. Then they are placed with an overseas CMS mission partner who is involved in on-the-scene mission work. I am advertised in Haerenga Mai. I can always find helpful activities for people who are genuinely eager to be involved. If they are concerned about justice issues and the plight of the poor in New Zealand, they are likely to fit in easily with what we are doing. There are other missions that do similar things as well. Read mission newsletters and blogs, look for youth contacts at mission agencies, and mission booths at youth conferences. Get connected with a group that has a good understanding of cross-cultural mission. For more information about Haerenga Mai, visit missioninternship.co.nz, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rose, a â€œGo Globalâ€? intern from Curtin University in Perth, playing Jenga with patients. 21
WONDER WOMAN AND THE STATE OF MAN(KIND) Words: Philip Baldwin Photo: www.cinematerial.com One of the enduring themes of literature and cinema is “man’s inhumanity to man,” but my limited experience of moviegoing left me struggling to remember many films beyond the superhero genre that deal with the theme so overtly as does this latest action flick based on the DC Comics superhero canon. Wonder Woman’s World War One setting gives plenty of scope for the visual illustration of human brutality, but the clash of beliefs between Diana, daughter of the Queen of the Amazons, and Ares, the God of War, over Man’s propensity for violence and conflict is perhaps not the central theme we might expect of a superhero origin movie. Diana insists with all the idealistic confidence of the young and inexperienced that the goodness of Man could shine through and peace come to Earth if only humans had no evil influence to turn them in the wrong direction. On the other hand Ares, the god of war, counters that Man is a flawed and evil creation, needing only the slightest guidance or re-direction to further the god’s dream of complete human destruction. Though plenty of on-screen evidence supports Ares’ charge, we are drawn to identify with the naïve outrage of Diana, an outsider in our world, as she continually challenges a status quo that we all too often accept without thinking. The final irony of Wonder Woman, however, lies in Diana’s belief that “only love will truly save the world.” Sadly her only tools to accomplish that salvation are weapons: a shield and a magic rope that compels truth-telling. Hardly the stuff to re-make a broken humanity. 22
SYLVESTER THE CAT Photo: Alison Jephson Alison Jephson, director of Anglican Living, regularly receives nominations for Employee of the Month at Bishopspark and Fitzgerald, but this one was a bit out of the ordinary. A village resident from Harper Gardens at Fitzgerald wanted to nominate one of the resident cats, Sylvester, who is known as a cat with lots of personality. This resident had been across to the rest home for her dinner, and upon her return to her apartment found Sylvester waiting for her. The resident says Sylvester then “more or less guided me to my cat who was injured after a cat fight.” Well done, Sylvester! We think he is well rewarded for his work with lots of food and TLC from all the animal lovers at Fitzgerald.
BEING MESSY, BEING CHURCH: EXPLORING THE DIRECTION OF TRAVEL FOR TODAY’S CHURCH Words: Ian Paul Being Messy, Being Church includes a wide range of reflections from some fascinating contributors (including three bishops, and contributions from Switzerland, South Africa and Australia) and tackles key practical, pastoral, and theological questions around Messy Church (MC). How does MC sit with Sunday church, and how does it relate to the sacraments? What impact does MC have on the faith of team members? What are the practical dangers and pitfalls, and how does MC offer opportunities for pastoral care? How does MC engage with postmodern culture, and can it play a part in evangelism? What missional structures does MC need as part of the wider church? and many others. I came across a word…in the context of reading about the wisdom of God in Ephesians 3. The word is phronesis, a fine and noble-sounding word that one can pronounce with a slight elevation of the chin, as it feels so lofty and impressive. “Today I shall set out to be phronetic,” we may chant as we get up each morning. It’s the word Paul uses for insights that help us live out the wisdom of God in a practical way. I would offer the concept of phronesis to Messy Church team members as a happy attitude to have in mind as we read the collected wisdom and experience in these chapters. In other words, there’s a lot of theory in these pages, and it’s our job as Messy Church practitioners to let that exciting theory sift through our grounded, hands-on experience and, with the cooperation of the Holy Spirit, transform us and our actions. The huge themes and questions dealt with in the chapters of this book will challenge our attitudes and ideas and encourage us to do what we do even better in our Messy Churches—to get on with the phronesis with renewed vision. Read the complete review at www.psephizo.com/lifeministry/what-do-we-think-about-messy-church. Being Messy, Being Church is available from www.brfonline. org.uk.
WHAT THEY’RE CATCHING OFF YOU Words: The Rev’d Spanky Moore THE CHURCH JESUS COMMISSIONED IS DESIGNED FOR EVERYONE TO GET INVOLVED IN DISCIPLESHIP, NOT JUST THE USUAL SUSPECTS AND THE PAID STAFF.
The funny thing about getting older is, no matter how hard we try to be our own person, we often end up becoming our parents in some way. I mean, who hasn’t caught themselves sounding like their folks—even when you’ve vowed not to? Last week, as I left my daughter’s room, my mouth said of its own accord, as if I was channeling my mother: “…and no more monkey business!” I think good parenting is a lot like good discipleship. It takes effort, time, and energy. Sometimes it’s rewarding. Sometimes it’s frustrating. And, most of the stuff that sticks with kids isn’t what they’re taught, it’s what they’ve caught. Ask any parent and they’ll tell you that kids seem to be finely tuned imitation machines—and, to a parent’s horror, most kids end up doing what we do, rather than what we say they should do. Case in point: Edith is my three-year-old daughter, a curiously furious, fire-haired ball of extraversion. Just the other day she burst into the room and declared to me: “Dad, you’re a beautiful child of God!” “Wow, what a great parent I am,” I gloated to myself. Edith paused for a moment, then declared: “Holy moly...I’m off to the loo!” Of course, I have no idea where she could possibly have gotten that from. We all need to be taught stuff. But ask any educationalist and they’ll tell you even more formative than information is imitation. St Paul reiterates this over and over again in his epistles: “Therefore I urge you to imitate me” (1 Corinthians 11.1). But Kiwis tend to shy away from this idea of imitation. Perhaps it doesn’t seem like a humble thing to invite someone to do? Perhaps we’re worried our lives aren’t worthy of imitation? But whether we like it or not, people who look up to us will imitate us. And what we really care about will be contagious to our young people. So, the question is: are we happy with what they’re catching off us? For young people to learn how to follow Jesus faithfully,
they need someone to imitate. Not a perfect example, just a living example. Less mature Christians need to see how more mature Christians do faith in the flesh. Paul apprenticed Timothy. Jesus apprenticed the Twelve. And we need to do the same in our own lives. Because that’s exactly how this incredible story of Christianity flourishing for 2,000 years has come about: by mature followers of Jesus apprenticing younger followers—and them doing the same. Most people I meet with a vibrant faith can point to at least one person who offered them a living example of faith to imitate. And for this next generation there has been an exponential increase in the desire for personal, authentic, and deep relationships with fellow followers of Jesus. We’re talking about a Millennial generation that is relationally ravenous! Whereas, for Anglicans of the past, a homily from the Vicar once a week, plus an annual home visit, may have passed as discipleship. Not so any more. What does all this mean? My hunch is that in most parishes a handful of people are doing the majority of the work when it comes to intentionally discipling those less mature in the faith. But the church Jesus commissioned is designed for everyone to get involved in discipleship, not just the usual suspects and the paid staff. Put bluntly, if we want our parishes to still be in the discipleship business in ten years’ time, every one of us—lay and ordained, young and old—will need to get serious about being intentional as living examples of Jesus’ good news, and inviting people to get close enough to catch that off us. Whenever we get grumpy at a young person over small irritations, that’s contagious. Whenever we become more concerned with how our servers prostrate themselves rather than pray, that’s contagious. Whenever we say, “See you next Sunday,” but never offer to mentor a young person during the week, that’s contagious. So, who specifically in your life is imitating the way you follow Jesus? Are you being intentional about that relationship? And are you happy with what they’re catching off you?
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17/11/2014 7:18:47 p.m.
Anglican Life Ad - December 2014.indd 1
17/11/2014 7:18:47 p.m.