He Oranga Mihinare
INVITING / FORMING / SENDING / SERVING
The New Christchurch City Mission Mentoring young People to Change the World Kaiapoi Aims for Future growth Top Tips for Relationship Building The hobbit Diocese of Christchurch ISSUE TWENTY THREE â€“ FEB/MAR 2013
ISSUE 23 February/March 2013
BISHOP’S ADDRESS: A Life of Worship
LIFESTYLE: Mentoring Young People to Change the World Baptisms in Rangiora
FEATURE: Kaiapoi Aims for Future Growth Top Tips for Relationship Building
EPICENTRE: A Triangle of Friendship and Love Two Years of Recovery St Margaret’s Vision Becomes Reality
12 13 14
PHOTO ESSAY: The New Christchurch City Mission Opens
CULTURE: The Hobbit Motive Games, Redeemed
WORKPLACE: The Path to Ministry
CLOSING ESSAY: Giving Things Up
AnglicanLife is published bi-monthly by the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch. ISSN 2253-1653 Editor – Philip Baldwin Contributing Writer – Megan Blakie Contributors +Victoria Matthews, Christine Allan-Johns, Kate Day, Ron Godkin, Kunitoshi Kikuda, Spanky Moore, Lynda Paterson, Rosie Staite, Fiona Summerfield, Dave Wethey, Greta Yeoman Advertising Enquiries Ivan Hatherley – firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial Enquiries Philip Baldwin – email@example.com Design – www.baylymoore.com Printed by – Toltech Print Sustainability – AnglicanLife is printed on recycled paper using vegetable-based inks.
Cover Photo – Christchurch City Mission food bank volunteer Micah Magallanes packs bags of rice. The mission gave out 300 more food parcels in December 2012 than in the previous year.
KI8EJ@K@FE8C:8K?<;I8C:FEJKIL:K@FELE;<IN8P Fhe]h[iiedj^[JhWdi_j_edWb9Wj^[ZhWb_iYb[Whbol_i_Xb[ edi_j[Wjj^[Yehd[he\CWZhWiWdZ>[h[\ehZIjh[[ji$ M[m_i^jej^WdaekhcWdoYedikbjWdji"ikffb_[hiWdZ ikffehj[hi\ehj^[^k][[\\ehjfkj_dj^ki\Wh$ 9ecfb[j_ed_ifbWdd[ZedehWhekdZ;Wij[h(&')$ <ebbemfhe]h[iil_Wekhm[XYWcWj0 nnn%ZXi[YfXi[ZXk_\[iXc%fi^%eq
AnglicanLife Issue 23
ChristChurch Cathedral Transitional
A Life of Worship
WORDS: Bishop Victoria Matthews Photo: Dave Wethey
These days it seems as the rebuild of the city of Christchurch is the most important thing in the public arena. Even as more buildings come down, there is an emphasis on what will come next and how quickly it all will happen. Along with many others I am concerned that the focus is so much on the central business district rebuild and not so much about the quality of human life in the eastern suburbs. We are fast approaching the second anniversary of the 22 February earthquake and exhaustion is a way of life for too many people. All this makes me ask again: “What is it that makes each of us ourself?” What makes me “tick”? What is the focus of your life? I have often been captivated by athletes and artists who live their lives so clearly focused on one goal. It requires a huge self-discipline and sacrifice. In addition to hours of committed practice and training, there is also the mind set or mental discipline such a life demands. As Lent approaches, it is common for us as Christians to take stock of our lives, and to re-commit to certain disciplines and activities. Sometimes this is described as giving up something and
“As Lent approaches it is common for us as Christians to take stock of our lives, and to re-commit to certain disciplines and activities.”
taking on something. But it is never quite that simple. Lent is an invitation to ask again who we are in Christ, and not to simply focus on what we do. For example, one of the three priorities of our Strategic Plan, Growing Forward, is Christ-centred Mission. It is wrong to think Christ-centred Mission is exclusively about activity, when it is really about worship. By this I mean worship that involves every minute of every day. Essential to being human is a life of worship. What we worship is a matter of choice, and as we look around us, we see those who worship power and money. Others worship the created world, and still others worship fame. The list goes on, and not all choices are bad or damaging. In each instance it is about the primary orientation of a person’s life. Christians are called to worship God in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. When we do, what follows, as day follows night, is Christ-centred mission. I pray for you a holy Lent.
Anglican Living’s aim in its retirement villages and care homes is to enhance your quality of life within a Christian family environment. That means you can enjoy a comfortable and safe place to live, no matter who you are or what you believe. You’ll be part of a warm and welcoming community where you can be as social or as private as you want to be. You’ll also have access to the care and support you need from qualiﬁed professionals, and a chaplain if you wish.
FITZGERALD 437 Armagh St, Christchurch Care to the level you require in our rest home, dementia care unit, or hospital, or independent living in an apartment, all in the midst of lovely gardens.
Anglican Living offers...
Independent Living: One and two bedroom cottages and apartments. BISHOPSPARK 24 Dorset St, Christchurch Gracious retirement village and rest home living adjacent to Hagley Park, with nursing support when you need it.
Semi-independent: Studio Units with meals and linen provided, while you still maintain your independence. 24-hour Care: Rest home, hospital and secure dementia care to meet your individual needs.
Call Bishopspark on (03) 977 2320 or Fitzgerald on (03) 982 2165, ext .1 www.anglicanliving.org.nz 2
AnglicanLife Issue 23
Lifestyle FAMILY / SOCIAL JUSTICE / ENVIRONMENT / SUSTAINABILITY / SPIRITUALITY
Mentoring Young People to Change the World Who offers the course on “changing the world”, taking on decision-makers or companies or government, and attracting the support you need? How do you know where to start? WORDS: Kate Day This year, Christchurch young people will be offered mentoring to develop just these skills. The Change-Makers Mentoring Scheme will partner high-school students who have ideas with seasoned change-makers. The Anglican Social Justice Unit will provide workshops on the ABCs of change-making. At the end of the year we hope to look back at the projects and marvel. The mentoring scheme is a new project to address what Jolyon White, Social Justice Enabler, sees as an education gap: “Change-making skills aren’t necessarily covered by the highschool curriculum. So when it comes to taking action, many of us don’t know what the next step is. The mentoring scheme will guide students through this process in their own project”. For the past year the Social Justice Unit has been working with a team from St Timothy’s youth group to encourage Westfield Mall to install recycling bins. The team met with national mall management, collected surveys and petitions, spoke to the City Council, and raised awareness. Tessa Laing, who worked with the students, notes that there are many skills this team has learned and practiced: “When is it best to collect a petition or write letters or talk to a government official? There are many tools available, and we need to learn when to use them”. The Social Justice Unit hopes high schoolers will sign up individually or as a group for mentoring in a project that matters to them. All they need is the passion to change something, and the commitment to see a project through.
There are many young people with enthusiasm for making a difference. In 2012, the Social Justice Unit ran a nationwide Cardboard House Building Competition for schools to raise awareness of cold, damp, rental housing in New Zealand. There were 41 entries, and as many as 500 students involved. Photos were sent to the Minister of Housing calling for attention to the issue. The Social Justice Unit is now looking for young people itching to learn skills through the mentoring scheme, which will kick off this year. For more information, contact the Anglican Social Justice Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring Kate on 027-635-7330.
The Cardboard House Competition entry from Ross Intermediate School, Palmerston North.
Baptisms in Rangiora It was Christ the King Sunday, and Bishop Victoria had come to Rangiora to baptise four young people, four children, and three babies. The sense of excitement rose as more than 250 people overflowed the church. WORDS & PhotoS: Christine Allan-Johns
Bishop Victoria, Henry O’Neill, Kate O’Neill, Rosie Anderson, Theo Kent, Phoebe and Blake Fisher, Connie Halstead, Millie Jopson, Lucee Holland, and the Rev’d Andrew Allan-Johns
AnglicanLife Issue 23
“One young person new to the parish wanted to be baptised. She brought a friend to youth group who also came to faith and was baptised.”
The youth band led the singing of “Come People of the Risen King” as the Bishop and Vicar processed in. Far more formal than the usual ten o’clock service, this special event occasioned the singing of two hymns with the pipe organ! The Word was proclaimed, the Bishop preached, and then candidates and sponsors crowded up the front, including two godmothers in wheelchairs. It was lovely to hear the confident response to the Bishop’s question: “Do you wish to be baptised?” “I do”, said each of the young people. One by one, the youth and the children knelt and bowls of warm water were poured over them “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit”. They were well and truly wet, and signed with the cross. Wrapped in towels, they went out to change into white baptismal robes, and were presented with candles from members of the congregation. The babies were baptised in a more traditional way. Receiving first communion was also very special. Many of them had waited all year to take part in the family meal. The Vicar, Andrew Allan-Johns, said: “The baptismal candidates were all from families new to our church in the last two years. Two grandmothers had come into a radical new faith and brought their wider whanau with them. One young person new to the parish wanted to be baptised. She brought a friend to youth group who also came to faith and was baptised. They are being discipled by the youth minister, and each of the young people has been given an adult mentor from the parish to meet with regularly.” Christ the King was indeed proclaimed! 5
Kaiapoi Aims for Future Growth The loss of a quarter of the homes in Kaiapoi is having a huge effect on the small Canterbury town, but the local parish is busy planning for the future. WORDS: Megan Blakie PHOTOS: Megan Blakie and Philip Baldwin
“We’re going to have to go out into the new housing areas…to get out there and get known.”
A team of six people from St Bartholomew’s and the wider community are looking at ways the parish might utilise its existing site, given that its buildings are damaged and neighbouring houses are due to be demolished. “We’re thinking about ‘OK, what do we need’, but also ‘What does the community need?’” says Vicar Geoff Haworth. The parish is gearing up for future development in the town despite 1025 homes having been classified by CERA as irreparable and a further 200 deemed too costly to repair. 6
AnglicanLife Issue 23
Located 17km north of Christchurch, Kaiapoi remains a popular place to live. The local council predicts continued growth in the district during the next 20 to 30 years. “There are three new housing areas and one of them [Silverstream Estates] has already produced its first houses”, says Geoff. “We’re going to have to go out into the new housing areas…to get out there and get known.” As part of gearing up for change, the parish held a drop-in day and invited people to share their ideas about future directions
These houses under construction in Silverstream Estates illustrate the residential growth coming to Kaiapoi.
for the parish. About 30 people turned up. Input from the day is helping to inform the planning team, as well as the vestry and staff. “Some of the things are already beginning to happen, such as the Alpha Course [an introduction to Christianity]. It had been in the back of my mind, but I thought…let’s do it now”, says Geoff. “If people’s faith has been knocked around by circumstance, then we
need to offer a faith-based course, so that’s what we’re doing.” Geoff says parishioners have also expressed a preference for utilising land that will become available when the damaged vicarage is demolished. (Geoff and his wife Jenny live in their own place). Parishioners favour providing some sort of retirement housing, and so this is being investigated by the planning team. “There’s a pressing need for retirement units in Kaiapoi”, 7
The Parish of Kaiapoi’s Vicar Geoff Haworth and Priest Assistant Ann Lloyd
Eight of the ten sections on this quiet Kaiapoi cul-de-sac are empty or abandoned as a result of earthquake damage to land and houses.
says Geoff. Fifty public housing units provided by the council and central government were red-zoned. While properties in the vicinity of the church have been sitting unoccupied for months and many have already been taken down by demolition teams, St Bartholomew’s church building—a delightful wooden construction that has the honour of being the oldest church in Canterbury—is still fit for regular use.
“With the amount of dislocation [in the community] the surprising thing is people are still able to get to church. They’re still living within reach of it; that hasn’t changed much”, say Geoff, even though some parishioners have moved to outlying areas and nearby towns. “In fact we’ve had a few new people who’ve moved in from Christchurch,” he says.
AnglicanLife Issue 23
Connecting with Your Community:
Top Tips for Relationship Building Talking face-to-face with people sounds like the self-evident way to connect with our local communities, but parishes could do more of it, says diocesan staff member Rosie Staite. WORDS: Megan Blakie PHOTOS: COURTESY OF WAIMATE PARISH
“One thing I’ve learned”, says Rosie, Ministry Developer for the Under 40-year-olds, “is that essentially what gets people along to events or worship is the relationship you have built with them. “Additional advertising material that is professional and done well helps, but people come where there are people they know and respect, and where they feel comfortable”, she explains. As a case in point, on Christmas Eve 90 people crammed into South Canterbury’s tiny Esk Valley church for a community worship event. “The little historic church is in the middle of nowhere”, says Rosie, “but local families who have been coming to All Age services there joined with farming families who have been there for generations and with newcomers to the district. It was a community event. It’s all about that relationship stuff.” Rosie, who is based in Timaru but works and travels throughout Mid and South Canterbury, can recall many such stories about people’s receptivity to church initiatives. She’s been encouraged, in particular, by the level of interactivity shown by students from some of the area’s local schools. “Near the end of last year we invited the Waimate Main School and local kindergarten to visit St Augustine’s church and make Christmas decorations for the tree there. I explained why we have Christmas trees, why we have Christmas presents, and about Jesus. The children asked some wonderful questions”, enthuses Rosie.
Rosie tells part of the Christmas story to kindergarten children in St Augustine’s Waimate. The children’s decorations adorn the tree behind.
“Most of the children had never been inside a church before. There were wide eyes and great questions, such as: ‘So how do you know all this God and Jesus stuff is true?’ I loved answering that one!”
At St Augustine’s Rosie Staite leads a discussion with Waimate Main School students about Christmas trees, presents, and Jesus.
AnglicanLife Issue 23
The event has evolved over the past two years. Two Christmases ago, an approach was made to the local kindergarten, and 30 or so pre-schoolers participated. When the kindergarten teacher asked if something similar was happening again this Christmas, the parish decided to extend their invitation to the main school as well. “Over 100 children came in class-lots to decorate the tree, talk about Christmas trees, presents, Santa, and Jesus—all on a Tuesday morning, not a Sunday!” chips in Rosie. “Most of the children had never been inside a church before. There were wide eyes and great questions, such as: ‘So how do you know all this God and Jesus stuff is true?’ I loved answering that one!” she laughs. Rosie believes there’s lots of scope for parishes to respond to opportunities creatively and well, despite the drop in number of schools offering religious education classes. The major celebrations of Easter and Christmas can be a great starting point for initiating church-led community events and inviting children and their parents to come along, she suggests. Events can be held on church turf or elsewhere. Rosie cautions that the spadework needs to be done first: parishes need to spend time building connections with schools, parents, and others in their community. “It’s about relationship-building. Then it’s about offering opportunities and giving them new ways of doing faith-related things”, she says.
Rosie’s Top Tips for Connecting with Your Community • Spend time talking with people, at community events or worship. That’s when God opens windows of opportunity. • Clergy and leaders who are part of non-church groups and projects widen the pool of contacts. • Schools are often near churches—link in with them. • Do what you offer really well. • Be flexible and adaptable. • Accept that many fine people will never come to church, but are nourished by songs, art, writings, internet articles, etc. that inspire amazing ministries called by other names. Often we can learn profound lessons by listening to their stories, and watching the way they live their lives. Learning can be two-way. • God is full of surprises. Be open to holy nudges!
Epicentre Stories of Hope from the Faultline
A Triangle of Friendship and Love Following the February 2011 earthquake Judith Coomer and her husband Graeme, long-time parishioners at St Christopher’s, joined the doorknocking campaign out of St Ambrose Aranui. WORDS: Philip Baldwin Photo: Kunitoshi Kikuda Judith remembered being part of that campaign for about seven months: “Every week we carpooled over to St Ambrose… and we went where Rev’d Bob [Henderson] told us to go”. One day in July 2011 while Judith and her friend Caroline were door knocking in Dallington, they met Jan and Ted, an emotionally fragile, elderly couple, “who absolutely touched us in a big way”. They had been regular homestay hosts for many foreign students over the years, and told the doorknockers that they had hosted a young Japanese ESOL student, Saori, for one night, 21 February, before she was killed in the CTV building. In addition to arranging for the repair of outside light fixtures and securing a few windows, Judith discovered that Jan wanted help with writing letters to the grieving family: “If only I could have help getting these letters written in Japanese, the family could read them immediately 12
AnglicanLife Issue 23
they received them [without waiting to have them translated first]”. Judith telephoned a Japanese friend in the Woolston Brass Band, Kaoru Hirasawa, and she promised to get in touch with the Dallington couple. A year later at a Woolston Band dinner Kaoru was able to tell Judith that she had become friends with Jan and Ted in Dallington while translating their letters into Japanese. Kaoru and the elderly couple actually met the grieving parents, Kunitoshi and Kuniko, who came to Christchurch for the first anniversary of the earthquake in February 2012. Kaoru also told Judith that she and her daughter visited family in Osaka, Japan during July 2012, and traveled to Saori’s hometown to meet her parents once again. Judith remembers this story more than all the others from her doorknocking experiences: “From that one door knock, we now have a triangle of friendship and
love between St Christopher’s Avonhead, the elderly couple in Dallington, and the hometown in Japan. Each day that we doorknocked, if we made people feel a little better…that was God’s work, that was what we were doing. Kaoru is an important link in this whole chain, and I am so grateful that I was able to hear what had happened with this relationship.”
Kaoru, Kuniko and Yukari (Saori’s mum and sister) and Jan in Feb. 2011.
Two Years of Recovery When the first earthquake hit on 22 February 2011, Ron Godkin was standing on the third floor of the CTV building where he worked for Kings Education, waiting for the lift. WORDS: Ron Godkin and Philip Baldwin Photo: COURTESY OF Fairfax Media/THE PRESS Buried in rubble up to his chest as the building collapsed, Ron later learned that his foot was broken in five places. He had fortnightly check-ups at the orthopedic ward and his foot was dressed every second day by a public health nurse, but the open wound still had not healed after three months. When the orthopedic surgeon finally gave him permission to drive again, Ron said: “I felt that I had been released on parole from prison”. One of his “rocks” on the road to recovery was an understanding family that drove him to appointments and “was there for me when I felt a little low”. The family needed to leave their home, and lived with friends for two weeks and then in rental accommodation for eight months, all the while visiting seventeen houses for sale— some multiple times—eventually finding a place that “ticked most of our boxes”. “When I was buried in the rubble a voice in my head said: ‘It is not your time’, then louder: ‘It is not your time’, then louder still: ‘Move!’”, Ron remembers. While some people would say that that was his subconscious urging him to get out, he believes God was speaking to him. With Kings Education out of business, Ron decided that his late 50s was too young to retire, and actively began to look for work—not an easy exercise. After many job applications and a very few interviews over more than a year, he landed a permanent part-time position in the winter of 2012. Ron puts his experience into this perspective: “In terms of your total life, three months is but five minutes (if you think of your total existence as a day), and you will soon get over this hiccup. God does have other things in mind for you, and if you can be patient enough and give him time, I firmly believe he will show you what this is.
“God does have other things in mind for you, and if you can be patient enough and give him time, I firmly believe he will show you what this is.”
Rescuers swarm the CTV building on 22 February 2011.
“Moving into a house that we both like, doing a lot of reading, associating with friends, getting two professional work registrations, and getting a job with a great bunch of supportive people: 2013 can only get better!” 13
St Margaret’s Vision Becomes Reality Although St Margaret’s College suffered damage to around 80% of its campus over the various earthquakes, Executive Principal Gillian Simpson comments: “Thankfully the loss of facilities was gradual and made it possible to stay open and be able to keep teaching and learning, and boarding, going”. WORDS & PHOTOS: Philip Baldwin One of the challenges over the past two years has been holding chapel and community gatherings in a large marquee, which even served as a venue for some of the 2010 centennial celebrations. A large stained glass window artwork of Saint Margaret, created by Art teacher, Janet Todd-Molineaux, for the centenary production of The Sound of Music was pressed into further service: “That special piece was only intended to be a prop in our production, but ended up helping to define the marquee into a chapel for us….”, recalls Jo Brady, the College’s Director of Community Relations. The make-shift chapel has been an example of St Margaret’s ongoing commitment to share their resources: “We had the induction of Brenda [Bonnett], the Vicar of St Marys Merivale, in our tent. We really want to share as much as we’ve got with the community going forward”, says Gillian. In anticipation of the chapel marquee coming down in November 2012, St Margaret’s held its 2012 Founder’s Day service in the Christ’s College Chapel. “Just that feeling of being back in a church again was indescribable. It’s really important to emphasise that brother/sister relationship between Christ’s College and St Margaret’s 14
AnglicanLife Issue 23
College. We felt that strongly when we were in their chapel”, Gillian commented. While the St Margaret’s College community developed a strong sentimental attachment to the chapel marquee, they are keen to see the completion of the new chapel/auditorium in April 2013. Motioning to a group of temporary buildings Gillian explains: “This is all going, and you’ll come in from Winchester St, and this will be a big grass quad—a bit like Christ’s College, and you’ll look straight at the front of the chapel”. She points to the college’s shield, which adorns the wall at the building’s entrance. One of the striking (but invisible) features of the new chapel/auditorium and gymnasium complex is that each of the 180 piles under the two buildings stretches down 23m. “We’re planning a big consecration of the space, a beautiful service, and an evening concert”,
Executive Principal Gillian Simpson is all smiles at the rebuilding of St Margaret’s College after the earthquakes.
The College shield already adorns the front face of St Margaret’s new chapel/auditorium slated for completion in April 2013.
says Gillian. “We talked [with the girls] about the phoenix rising from the ashes, and now they are saying that their theme [for 2013] is ‘Live the Dream’. The vision’s becoming a reality now.”
Jo Brady reiterates that vision by pointing to the school’s repaired hockey turf: “So many of these facilities have been lost in Christchurch, and we are fortunate to have them and delighted we can share them. We want the wider community to be able to come and use our new 25m pool and our special chapel and auditorium when completed.” St Margaret’s College counts itself blessed to have come through business interruption time, work with loss adjusters, the long process of coming to an insurance settlement, and new facilities ready so soon. Among these are the new gymnasium and The Jean Crosher Centre (containing the new library and e-learning centre and classrooms) which were recently finished and are ready for use from the start of this school year. The college community is also very proud of the civil award bestowed on St Margaret’s for the restoration of Kilburn House. Gillian explains: “That’s the heritage end of the site, which is why
we want to bring back a smaller chapel [facing Papanui Rd]…We’ve got people on the lookout right round the country to try and find us a church. That will keep a space that’s really important for us for small services”. Again, in conjunction with St Margaret’s community vision, they are talking with St Marys Merivale about how to share that worship space with the parish. With a revised Campus Directional Plan in place, Gillian says: “We’re blessed with what’s come out of [the earthquakes], because the community’s stronger: huge loyalty and faith in us from parents who’ve stayed with us right the way through— and an unbelievably good role for this year:150 of them boarders. Boarding is very important to us; it’s part of the special character of the school. “We’re now realising our vision of new world-class buildings and facilities that will enhance the unique St Margaret’s experience. It’s Christchurch’s best kept secret, I reckon.”
Photographic Contributions Welcome for a
TRIBUTE TO AVONSIDE
The Church of the Most Holy Trinity (168 Stanmore Road) 31 March 2013 Do you have recent or old photographs of family life in Avonside? Did you get married at The Church of the Most Holy Trinity? If you have photos that can be donated or copied, we will exhibit them as prints on corrugated iron, as an ongoing tribute to the area.
Bishop Victoria will lead a service of thanksgiving and blessing at 2.00pm. To loan or donate photos for the exhibition, please contact Rosalyn Deane email@example.com or the parish oﬃce: 03-389-6948 or oﬃce@holytrinityavonside.co.nz
The New Christchurch City Mission Opens With only a few weeks to settle in before Christmas, Christchurch City Mission staff were visibly excited about their new building. With all areas working at capacity, City Missioner Michael Gorman said the building was meeting all expectations: “It’s spacious and far more efficient”. Some staff commented that they felt really “uplifted”, and the feedback from clients was highly positive. Michael commented that with a better layout the mission is now less cramped, there is less stress, and team communications have improved. PhotoS: Dave Wethey
AnglicanLife Issue 23
The Governor General cuts the ribbon at the entrance to the new City Mission.
Invited guests in the marquee at the City Mission opening on 23 November 2012.
Lynda Cameron of the City Mission family gave a moving address during the opening celebrations.
City Missioner Michael Gorman greets guests. Christchurch Architect Sir Miles Warren with the Governor General and Michael Gorman
A coordinator on the men’s day programme, Maureen Van Venrooy, in the comfortable, new men’s night shelter.
Upoko Runaka ki Otautahi the Rev’d Maurice Manawaroa Gray welcomes the His Excellency, Lt Gen. The Rt Hon. Sir Jerry Mateparae.
Culture FILM / MUSIC / LITERATURE / WEB / FOOD / EVENTS
The Hobbit In recent times The Lord of the Rings has become New Zealand’s PR department. So when Peter Jackson releases another trilogy set in Middle Earth much more is at stake for Kiwis than box office sales. Our pride and insecurities start to quiver: what will the rest of the world think of us now? WORDS: Spanky Moore
“Tolkien’s Christian faith means the film has plenty of theological themes to be discovered for the keen-eyed Anglican…” The first installment of The Hobbit, titled “An Unexpected Journey”, spends an hour setting the scene of the dwarf/elf/goblin/dragon rivalries that set the story in motion. And compared to Tolkien’s eloquently simple and original opening—“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit”—by labouring the setup, some feel Jackson has destroyed the narrative from the get go. But as a non-Tolkien fanatic, I thought The Hobbit was, hmmm, pretty good. Tolkien’s Christian faith means the film has plenty of theological themes to be discovered for the keen-eyed Anglican: a dark evil begins to taint a beautiful land; an eclectic band of the willing sets out; a small, hairy-footed hobbit is convinced to come along for the ride because of his seeming weakness. Even as Gandalf attempts to coax an unwilling Bilbo to leave his Matamata hole in The Shire and risk life and limb—“The world is not in your books and maps. It’s out there!”—somehow I found the safety of my own Christian comfort zone challenged. Is “pretty good” the response Jackson was hoping for when people like me left the cinema? Probably not. But we still have two Hobbit films left. And one part of a Trinity is never the full picture. 18
AnglicanLife Issue 23
Motive Games WORDS: Greta Yeoman Set in the high-tech world of computer game programming, Motive Games is a suspenseful murder mystery. Winner of the 2011 “Faith-inspired Writing” CALEB Award for the Best Young Adult Manuscript, L.D. Taylor took out the prize for both Australia and New Zealand. The book follows Phil Roland, as he gathers
evidence that the death of his father, famous computer game designer Marc Roland, was no accident. The book explores themes of grief and hope, as well as raising questions about the pros and cons of violence in computer games. Having only occasionally played any type of computer games (mainly Zoo Tycoon), the story was easy to follow and kept me intrigued until the last page. For anyone still confused by any of the terminology mentioned in the book, there is a handy glossary in the back. A tale of faith and hope, Motive Games will appeal to both hard-core gamers and those who just love mystery novels. Although the genre is young adult, I believe it could also appeal to an older audience.
Stumbling toward God, Sanity, and the Peace That Passes All Understanding by Heather King If you have become cynical that anyone in the developed world cares to know about the gospel, other than those who are already Christian, this is a great read. WORDS: Fiona Summerfield Heather talks frankly about her background of alcoholism and working in the tough U.S. legal world. She does not mess about, getting to the essence of human fears and longings. One of my favourite quotes from the book was talking about working as a lawyer: “If the truth had stood up from the jury box and waved, we would have stared for a moment in shock, then made a motion in limine (at the outset of the trial) to rule it inadmissible”. She is well read, funny, and insightful on how God has helped her in her life and why she converted to Catholicism. As an Anglican it was also interesting reading her story of joining the Catholic Church and what that entailed.
The author doesn’t run from any of the issues the wider church is dealing with today, but deals with them matter of factly, and with the same candor she brings to all subjects in the book. Heather writes about a more human and personal view of Jesus from her understanding of the gospels, which is refreshing and enlightening. Redeemed does not have even a light dusting of icing sugar on reality, but the book has still been written with such openness that I found it lifted my spirits and rejuvenated my faith. Heather also maintains a blog: http://shirtofflame.blogspot. co.nz/ The book is available from Fishpond and Amazon. 19
Workplace FINANCE / CAREER / STEWARDSHIP / ETHICS
The Path to Ministry Megan Herles-Mooar, recently ordained priest and appointed as Assistant Curate in Avonhead parish, remembers getting off a bus near a mall in Christchurch. An elderly lady took her hand. Megan figured the woman needed help to cross the road to the mall. WORDS: Fiona Summerfield But once they were across, the woman didn’t let go. It turned out she had been inside the mall when the February earthquake struck and been hurt. This was her first trip back. Megan offered to walk around with her and make sure she felt safe: “Wearing the collar is really important to me, because it becomes a focus, it starts conversations. It was the collar that made her feel it was okay to ask me for help”. But shifting into ordained ministry from thirteen years working as a trainer in the social services was not something Megan had planned. At school her friends voted her as one of the least likely to become a Christian. God had other ideas, and she joined the church “somewhat hesitantly”, just because she felt it was something she “needed to check out”. Her path to ordination occurred because she was finding it more and more difficult to ignore it. Megan said she was very aware of being part of something bigger than herself. At her ordination she said she “just felt something shift”. Being in the midst of “all that laying on of hands by other clergy, and then passing on that blessing to others being ordained at the same time, was very powerful”. 20
AnglicanLife Issue 23
“Wearing the collar is really important to me, because it becomes a focus, it starts conversations.” On her parish placement at St Marks Remuera in Auckland whilst finishing her studies at St John’s College, Megan wondered at first how she could love so many people that she didn’t know. One day sitting in a church when someone she thought would be difficult to love walked in, she had a profound moment: “God provides”, she said. “For a finite time, for that place he provides the love to embrace people.” Being an Assistant Curate for two years is the practical learning of all the aspects to being a Vicar: “The good thing is the Vicar is always there beside you and that is just excellent”. Remembering that on her first Sunday at St Christopher’s Avonhead, she almost read the Lord’s Prayer twice, Megan smiled and said: “It’s a good prayer; no harm in doing it twice”.
Giving Things Up
When I was young, the signs of Lent were obvious. WORDS: Lynda Paterson
“We like to think of ourselves being fairly happy to give up anything for God just like that, with a snap of our fingers. But when it comes to the crunch, most of us find it just too hard even to give up something that doesn’t matter.” The chocolate supply largely dried up at home and in the playground; teachers who had given up caffeine would be operating on hair-trigger tempers; dinner with Catholic friends would inevitably involve some variation on the theme of crabsticks. Lent seemed to be the season which made people stroppy. So, for a long time I was hesitant to recommend that people should give up things for Lent. It seemed to shift the focus from journeying with Jesus in the wilderness onto feeling vaguely superior—or at least continually grumpy. Nowadays, I’m not so sure. We are people of overwhelming and indiscriminate desires. We want this and we want that, but most of all, we want. When you give things up, you find out how much of a hold the world really has on you. We like to think of ourselves being fairly happy to give up anything for God just like that, with a snap of our fingers. But when it comes to the crunch, most of us find it just too hard even to give up something that doesn’t matter. In my fantasies, I imagine myself like Martin Luther, saying: “Here I stand; I can do no other”, for Christ’s sake. But in reality I find myself cracking my knuckles impatiently because the person leading the prayers at church on Sunday is rambling on a bit. When I give things up, I often find that I slip up and don’t quite manage the discipline, but I’ve learned something about myself in the process. I often hoodwink myself. I’m able to satisfy my worldly cravings even when I didn’t realize I was doing it. And I’ve learned something about the things God has given me, which are huge pleasures—until I take them for granted. So, this Lent, just give up something. Almost anything will do, because once you give it up, you’ll want it. Start small, but start. 21
Back cover Full page ad
Published on Jan 25, 2013
This issue features a number of articles related to the recovery of Christchurch two years after the February 2011 earthquake.