He Oranga Mihinare
Ministry of Works Hope after Loss Fresh Talent Chaplaincy on the Mountain Blokes and Spirituality Diocese of Christchurch ISSUE FOURTEEN â€“ AUG/SEP 2011
INVITING / FORMING / SENDING / SERVING
ISSUE 14 August/September 2011 AnglicanLife is published bi-monthly by the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch.
EPICENTRE: Singing the Lord’s Song
FEATURE: Ministry of Works
WORKPLACE: A Holistic Package of Care
LIFESTYLE: Three Strikes and We’re Out?
DIALOGUE: Blokes and Spirituality
CULTURE: Fresh Talent
Printed by – Toltech Print
Sustainability – AnglicanLife is printed on recycled paper using vegetable-based inks.
CLOSING ESSAY: Thank You to the Door Knockers
Editor Philip Baldwin Contributing Writer Megan Blakie Contributors +Victoria Matthews, Brian Law, Craig Dixon, Dave Wethey, Greg Jackson, Gray Crawford, Philip Baldwin, Megan Blakie, Spanky Moore Advertising Enquiries Ivan Hatherley – email@example.com Editorial Enquiries Philip Baldwin – firstname.lastname@example.org
Practising the Presence of God WORDS: +VICTORIA MATTHEWS
“…a quiet space where people can retreat to light a candle and rest in the presence of the Lord is crucial to healing…”
Design – www.baylymoore.com
Regular Cathedral Worship at Christ’s College Chapel | Rolleston Avenue ‘Playing the Game’ A series of sermons happening alongside the Rugby World Cup
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My first few days in England at the General Synod of the Church of England were spent bracing for imaginary earthquakes that did not come. Houses and other buildings are old and creaky here, so there is lots of safe movement in the buildings. But in most instances I had gone into EQ response mode before I recognized what was really happening. Fortunately I had recovered fully by the time we worshipped in the magnificent Minster in York, as assessing that building for earthquake resilience would have been monumentally distracting from the beautiful worship. The weeks prior to my departure for England were spent visiting parishes. Just as each parish has a different personality, so each parish has responded in its own way in terms of earthquake response.
I give thanks for those parishes that have reached out into the community with door knocking programs, community meals, and barbeques in public spaces. This time of waiting and watching takes its toll on all of us, and the more we build community, the more we assist resilience. I am also aware that with the busy-ness and stresses of the present time comes an unprecedented opportunity to speak the Good News of the Gospel. Please make sure that this opportunity is not missed, and that volunteers and ministers alike are ready to pray with people and speak of the hope that is within them. I also believe that a quiet space where people can retreat to light a candle and rest in the presence of the Lord is crucial to healing, and ask that in your much reduced spaces that you find space for a prayer corner.
It may be helpful to allow a couple of minutes of intentional silence before opening meetings with prayer to encourage a deeper awareness of God’s presence with us in this extraordinary time of response and recovery. Thank you for all you are doing as the Body of Christ in responding to the wounds of humanity.
Current events LOCAL / NATIONAL / WORLD
Hope after Loss The Pike River Mine disaster continues to shape the lives of West Coast people. The Revd Tim Mora considers the work of the Royal Commission, the Disaster Relief Trust, and the Church in communities recovering from tragic loss. WORDS: PHILIP BALDWIN
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AnglicanLife Issue 14
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As Tim Mora reflects on the questions that West Coasters are asking now that the Royal Commission investigating the mine disaster has begun, he realises that there has been a shift: “At the time of the memorial we’d had the second explosion and there was pretty much no chance of anyone being alive. A whole lot of people were dealing with the immediacy of their grief, but now the questions are really around ‘Why did this happen?’ ‘How did this happen?’ and ‘What can we do to stop it happening in the future?’ “And so for the families and for the wider community there is a strong desire to see that the work of the Royal Commission is effective. And alongside that, the equally strong desire of the families to recover the bodies and have some closure.” In his work as part of the Pike River Disaster Relief Trust, Tim has been involved in distributing the money that had 3
“Because the whole community has shared this, it has, in one sense, defined us a little bit, ‘We’re the ones who went through Pike.’” been given through the generosity of New Zealanders and donors worldwide. The primary purpose of the trust was to care for those who had lost loved ones, and to make sure that their families had some financial security going forward. “We were hampered in this a bit by the [February] earthquake because the trust lawyers were based in Christchurch, in the CBD. We are right in the process now of distributing the money to the families. I think most of that work will be done in the next two or three months, although a small residual component of that may carry over into the new year.” Contributions to this trust were closed after the 22 February earthquake: “We had received very generous amounts of money, but after what had happened in Christchurch, we didn’t feel that it was right to keep on asking for, or receiving, money”. Now that the Royal Commission has begun, Tim expresses the hope that many people have for its work: “I think that’s really important for the families to feel that they’ve been given a fair explanation around why their loved ones died, but also for industry and the whole resource management process to understand ‘Why did this happen?’ I would hope at the end of the Royal Commission we have answers to all of those questions and a more robust system for mines starting up, how they’re managed in terms of safety, and also closure for the families”. The families have the services of a QC, as well as another local lawyer, to make sure their interests are looked after and heard in the Royal Commission. They also have concerns about the position of the receivers and the possible sale of the mine, and how that might affect the recovery of the bodies later. All of this has created a stronger sense of community identity. Tim says: “Because the whole community has shared this, it has, in one sense, defined us a little bit, ‘We’re the ones who went through Pike’. There is a closer sense of connectedness, a ‘We’re in this together’ kind of thing. “I honestly feel that we did handle the crisis really well as a 4
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community. The interesting thing was, there was a felt need to be able to gather as community, to express your grief and your pain. Very quickly when the ministers’ association got together, we said, ‘What is the first thing we should do? We should open the churches up, and make them a place where people can come’, and people did—in small numbers on some nights, but on the night of the second explosion in particular, huge numbers. People just wanted to be together that night. And that was the place that people could do it, because the churches made it available to them. We gave them the chance to do that, and on a bigger scale, of course, with the memorial service. “I think that the church, because of the way it handled itself and was there for the community, has garnered a lot more respect from the community. It was already pretty high, because we’ve had very good priests and pastors and clergy through the years here in Greymouth, but the respect has gone up for us because we have handled this pretty well.” For Tim, there is a connection here with the parable of the sower and the seed: “People will listen more and hear more when we do speak. It’s like we’ve sown the seed and laid the groundwork for it to grow in the future.”
What’s On Upcoming events, happenings and opportunities in the Diocese of Christchurch. ANGLICAN AGED CARE AGM Wednesday, 17 August, 2.00pm. St Silas’ Church, Cnr Main North Road and Tuckers Road, Redwood, Christchurch Guest Speaker: Dr Sally Keeling, Senior Lecturer, Department of Medicine Health Care of the Elderly, University of Otago, “Lessons Learnt from Students” Afternoon Tea will be served at the conclusion of the AGM RSVP by 12 August (preferred but not essential). Phone Jacqui 03-943-0892 or email email@example.com
FAMILY AND COMMUNITY DIVISION OF ANGLICAN CARE AGM Thursday, 18 August, 5.30pm. St Chad’s Parish Hall, 1 Carnarvon St, Linwood, Christchurch
ANGLICAN CARE SOUTH CANTERBURY AGM Wednesday, 24 August, 12.30pm. St John’s Anglican Church, 125 Wai-Iti Road, Timaru Guest Speaker: ‘Ofa Boyle - Manager, Fale Pasifika O Aoraki Drinks and nibbles will be served at 12 noon RSVP by 18 August to Gwenda Kendrew 03-668-9291 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
CITY MISSION AGM Thursday, 25 August, 4.30pm, St Marks Church Lounge, Opawa Road, Christchurch Guest Speaker: Roger Sutton, CEO, CERA RSVP by 19 August to 03-365-0635 or email email@example.com
SYNOD 2011 Registration from Friday, 2 September, 2.00pm, St Christopher’s Avonhead, Christchurch A very warm welcome is extended to all, whether Synod members or not, to attend the Synod Worship Service on Friday, 2 September, 3.00pm
Epicentre Stories of Hope from the Faultline
Singing the Lord’s Song WORDS: BRIAN LAW PHOTO: CRAIG DIXON
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There are long shadows but warm winter afternoon sun on the new City Mission building site as the City Missioner Michael Gorman, left, and C.Lund and Son site foreman John Taggart go over details.
WORDS & PHOTO: DAVE WETHEY
The Cathedral Choir’s role since 1881 has been to sing at the Cathedral’s Sunday services, weekday services of Choral Evensong, and at major events in the life of the city.
As a result of the earthquakes earlier this year, and our subsequent move to the Chapel of Christ’s College for our worship, the choir has had to adjust the traditional schedule that it has upheld for the past 130 years. Fitting the work of the cathedral choir around the ‘full-on’ life of a flourishing Christian boys’ college has required considerable modification to our routine. As well as Sunday services at 11.00am and 5.00pm, we now sing weekday Evensong at 5.30pm only on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This has freed up Wednesday evenings, enabling us to make ourselves available to sing across the city and diocese for parishes that have suffered damage during the recent earthquakes. The first of these was for St Mark’s Opawa, and similar events are planned for Ellesmere and Aranui in the coming weeks. At Pentecost we sang Evensong at St Barnabas Fendalton in their church hall, and have just made a trip to sing at St John’s Highfield in Timaru. We have also accepted invitations to Geraldine and Waipara for services later in the year. An extraordinarily generous, ecumenical invitation from the Presbyterian Church in New Plymouth will offer the choristers an all expenses paid, few days away from the city, and an opportunity to present a fundraising concert in Taranaki for the Bishop’s “Rebuilding the Faith of Canterbury” appeal. Until we can get back to the Choir’s core role of the regular round of opus dei, the daily worship that we offer in the Cathedral
New City Mission Building under Construction
proper, we feel this is a very appropriate way to use our talents. If your parish would like the Cathedral Choir to sing for you on a Wednesday evening in the latter part of the year, please contact Craig Dixon on 021 239 0555 or by email craig@ christchurchcathedral.co.nz
Work is well under way on the $7.2 million project after a three months delay following the earthquakes. While they have caused a change to building practices and construction sequences, the building is on track for a March/April completion date. The City Missioner said contributions to the completion of the three level building that combines the mission’s extensive work into one complex, would be highly valued. Just moments after this photo was taken, the city was shaken by a sharp, savage 3.7 magnitude quake. Buildings around the site shook but little was felt through the buildings concrete pad.
Ministry of Works “If it weren’t for your gumboots, where would you be?” Fred Dagg WORDS: PHILIP BALDWIN
“…we did the liquefaction thing like everyone else, with shovels and wheelbarrows. We drank tea with people, prayed with people, and spent time hearing what had happened.”
Even though the hill areas weren’t badly affected by the 4 September earthquake, the ‘All Blokes’ men’s ministry in the parish of Sumner-Redcliffs organised the Ministry of Works at first to involve volunteers from churches, the wider community, and even people from out of town, in a practical ministry to clean up liquefaction. Sam Knight recalls that the vision for this ministry came into clearer focus after the much more destructive 22 February quake: “It was quite a different story then, because we were already set up, and able to respond quite quickly”. The Ministry of Works was very busy helping displaced people get back into their homes. They aimed to express God’s love by cleaning up and making houses safe; making tea, offering support, and praying with people whose homes had been broken by the quakes and aftershocks. One of the scriptures that stuck in Sam’s mind as the teams began their clean-up work was from Isaiah 61: “The Spirit of the LORD is on me, because the Lord…has sent me to help the brokenhearted”. He says that it seemed appropriate, since “this is about the greatest concentration of broken-hearted people” he had ever seen. 8
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Teams of people went around the hill suburbs, getting people to feel like they had a real home again, not just a wrecked, broken building. “The worst thing after the February quake was that shelves, stereos, TVs—everything was smashed”, Sam remembers. “The pantry door was always open with stuff about that deep [he gestures about half a metre]. It was oil, sweet chilli sauce, broken glass—everyone’s got similar stuff.” The only way to clean up the broken, sticky, smelly mess was with a shovel. “We specialised in fridges, too, because they stank so much. People had just fled. After two or three weeks they came back, and the whole house would totally stink. So we picked the whole fridge up, and took it outside. If there was power, we would try and plug it in first and freeze everything down, but we didn’t always get the opportunity. We’d get the bin, empty everything into it, hose the fridge out, and spray it with bleach. It drew a lot of men out of the traditional church setting to actually do some practical work and help people get back in their homes.” The Ministry of Works also took their energy and their skills to other suburbs. “Brookhaven was badly affected, so we did the liquefaction thing like everyone else, with shovels and
Sam Knight, doing the liquefaction thing, with a wheel barrow from All Saints Church, Sumner.
wheelbarrows. We drank tea with people, prayed with people, and spent time hearing what had happened. There were jobs for men, women, young and old: people who liked to shovel or make tea or could deliver food and water. “We met the mayor one day when we were in Pacific Park in Bexley. We were all shovelling away, and the mayoral ute came by. Bob Parker jumped out, gave us a big encouragement, and dished out a whole pile of food and water to us, which was really quite exciting.” The men who make up the All Blokes will say the Ministry of Works isn’t about them, but about bringing God’s love to people,
which fits right in with the original intent of the group: encouraging men and young men of our churches and communities to focus on life purpose, destiny, issues of character, integrity, and manhood based on Christian values. Their earthquake response expresses the group’s desire to be men who are positive influences in the lives of people around them, acting responsibly, and being proactive, not passive. As part of their desire to grow spiritually mature and be effective disciples of Christ, they meet in smaller e-groups (encouragement groups) on a weekly or fortnightly basis. “It lines up a wee bit with organisations like Promise Keepers, but has a more Kiwi flavour”, Sam says. 9
A Ministry of Works team member clears masonry rubble froma severely damaged house in the hill suburbs.
The men’s ministry group in the parish of Sumner-Redcliffs chose the name ‘All Blokes’ about eight years ago. Because they chose the silver fern logo and the name All Blokes, they went through a process of seeking permission from the NZRFU, as well as undertaking not to use the name and logo commercially. Sam is part of the five-man ‘scrum’ which meets regularly for breakfast as a steering committee for the larger group. The Ministry of Works that has developed out of the All Blokes organisation is by no means unique. A team of men, women, and young people came down from Hope Community Church (south of Richmond) on the weekend of the memorial service in Hagley Park (March 18–20). “We were actually really tired by then, and we were trying to project manage for them”, Sam remembers. “They did two days by themselves while we all had a break, which was really quite good for us because we were feeling quite drained. Their team came largely out of a practical helps ministry, where men in the church are involved in practical stuff for people.” Other groups worked alongside the Ministry of Works teams: “We had half a dozen people from the city’s Elim College, just helping out in the area. Friends of people from church came to help out: youth group people, young adults, university students— not just middle-aged blokes”. The Ministry of Works is confident that they can get their teams up and underway quickly with the communication network that is 10
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set up now, as Sam puts it: “so when (or if) something like that happens again, we can get up and underway the next day, if not the same day, with a good initial response, helping people when they are confused and shocked”. As part of their proactive philosophy the All Blokes are also in the process of resourcing a post-quake relief centre at St Andrew’s Redcliffs, as All Saints Sumner—church, hall, lounge, offices, and vicarage—is red-stickered and behind double containers now. “We’ve been trying to get funding for disaster relief stuff for the future: water tanks, cooking facilities, generators, etc. We do have to be prepared. There wasn’t any water for a couple of days in Redcliffs after the February quake, and it can get quite isolated down at that end of town with the narrow entries to Sumner and Redcliffs.” The Ministry of Works and All Blokes exemplifies the pioneering spirit of New Zealanders. “We’re into getting out there and doing it. That’s quite good for healing”, Sam offers. “The people who actually get out and give help, putting things back on shelves and talking and having cups of tea, are able to work through the trauma more easily themselves. “Sometimes it’s hard to differentiate between doing good things and doing them as an expression of God’s love, so it’s actually good that we have opportunities to pray with people and discuss things, as well as shovelling and doing other practical stuff.” It’s a philosophy that embodies all that the Ministry of Works is.
Bob Parker encourages a Ministry of Works team in Pacific Park, Bexley with a welcome gift of food and water.
Workplace FINANCE / CAREER / STEWARDSHIP / ETHICS
A Holistic Package of Care Gwenda Kendrew thought she would seek out a low-key job when she moved to Timaru last year with her husband, but it seems God had other plans. WORDS & PHOTO: MEGAN BLAKIE “I sent in my CV for one job [with another organisation] and they sent back a letter containing the advertisement for this job”, laughs Gwenda, referring to her new role as divisional manager of Anglican Care South Canterbury. She’s been in the job now for 10 months. Gwenda is a trained social worker and likes to keep busy. She is completing her Bachelor of Social Work, something she started while working as manager of the Salvation Army’s social services in New Plymouth. “I very much love this kind of job and the fact that I’m working for another Christian agency is cool”, she says of Anglican Care. “The ethos behind all of that sits really well with me.” Anglican Care South Canterbury offers a range of services including family and individual counselling, a food bank, and programmes to help children and adults deal with grief, loss or divorce. Most of Gwenda’s team of 12 part-time staff are based in
central Timaru, but some of the counselling staff regularly travel out to the communities of Geraldine and Temuka. They also respond to counselling and family support needs in Fairlie and Waimate—about an hour’s drive away. An outreach worker also works with families in Twizel. The agency began broadening its services about five years ago, and Gwenda intends to continue developing what social service professionals refer to as ‘a holistic package of care’. “When people come in for counselling, we might be able to support them in other ways or if they come in for a food parcel, then we can do more than just give them food”, she explains. “It’s about someone coming to you with one need, finding out how come they’ve got that need, and working out what else can we do for them.” Also in the pipeline are new premises, as there is a need for more space, easier access (the current house is on a hill), and a more functional reception area that offers more client privacy. A recruitment drive for more volunteers has seen an increase in the number of helpers at the spruced-up op shop in Marchwiel, the Timaru suburb where Anglican Care South Canterbury also runs a community playgroup, budget cooking classes, and other outreach services. While Gwenda is self-effacing about her management experience and the skills she brings to her role with Anglican Care, she readily acknowledges the contribution of staff and volunteers and the support of surrounding parishes—a relationship she is keen to strengthen. “A number of parishioners and vicars support us—financially, and personally, as well. They pop in and say hello…and bring in the occasional morning tea! We have parishioners who feel like they are part of what we do.” 11
Chaplaincy on the Mountain Although the ski season started late this year, Dave Clancey found that his role as chaplain to the staff at Mt Hutt started early. Philip Baldwin joined him and David Wilson, Ski Area Manager, on the mountain to learn more. WORDS & PHOTO: PHILIP BALDWIN
“All of them had turned up and they were expecting to start on June 11, but without the snow, there wasn’t any skiing and there wasn’t any work”, explains Dave the chaplain. “The mountain was very, very good”, he remembers. “The company, NZ Ski, put on activities for everyone during those two weeks, including a meal every night, walks, sports, and movies.” As part of that they invited Dave in for an evening, to join in one of the meals, get re-acquainted with the returning staff, and be introduced to new staff. David Wilson, Ski Area Manager at Mt Hutt, commented on the situation: “There are plenty of times that it’s hard for a company this size to show its heart, and this was one of the ways that we can show we really do care about our staff.” He remembers Dave Clancey ringing him and asking, “Would you be willing to have a chaplain up here (at Mt Hutt)?” From a Christian point of view, David thought, “Right, it’s a good thing”, but he had to put it out to his sixteen-member leadership team for their input: “All of them were very keen and saw it as a benefit, so that was a very positive sign, that the guys who are 12
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“It’s like any ministry, it builds over time. You get to know people and they get to know you, and you develop some trust.”
Dave and Mark, a Mt Hutt employee, share a joke before heading off to the lift.
much more in touch with the wider crew than I am would see a chaplain as beneficial”. Dave, Priest Assistant at Methven’s All Saints Church, sees his role as chaplain on the mountain having three parts. Initially he goes up with his snowboard at least once a week, puts his badge on, and goes around to the staff, letting them know he is available: “There are a lot of returners. They remember you and you remember them and you chat about what the summer was like. It’s like any ministry, it builds over time. You get to know people and they get to know you, and you develop some trust”. The second part of his role flows out of that relationship building, being available to talk with people about specific issues or problems: “There tends to be a slump about mid-season when things are busy and people find it hard. Typically that’s when I’ve been busier”. “The season is definitely up and down”, remarks David the manager, “and one of the things that makes it up and down is relationships—not just couple relationships, but also family relationships, especially for those who are a long way away from home, when someone may have died, for example”. “It’s an odd industry in that it’s seasonal”, muses Dave the chaplain. “It’s quite intense at times, and people come from quite a wide area, not just Methven and Christchurch, and they’re thrown into a whole new world in many cases, and that brings its own great joys, but its difficulties as well.” The third part of the role comes out in the crisis events, such as the time that a bus driver had a heart attack just after he had fitted chains to his bus with a load of students on board. The gentleman passed away a short time later. Some of the kids were upset, even though they were never in any danger (the bus was stationary at the time). David contacted Dave and he was able to spend some time with the students at their hostel, listening and talking about what had happened. He also worked with staff in 2010 when there were some fatalities on the mountain, helping them to talk through some of the inevitable thoughts that run through your head after such serious incidents. Some of the support was directed by management, where they saw specific needs of people struggling. Both chaplain and Mt Hutt see the benefits of talking to someone who is independent of the company. Those conversations are confidential and don’t get reported to a supervisor.
There is yet another aspect to Dave’s chaplaincy at Mt Hutt. He counts five people who work on the mountain who regularly come to feed ‘church done differently’ (see Anglican Life, Aug/Sept 2010), at All Saints Church in Methven. “The lovely thing is that you get to see them at work, and they get to talk to their friends about feed and what’s happening. One of the advantages of this chaplaincy is being able to walk into the workplace where some of your congregation live.” The staff at Mt Hutt see that Dave’s work is beneficial to all staff as a service that’s available. “It’s spasmodic”, says David. “Sometimes there are people who want to talk, and sometimes there aren’t, but having someone who is just popping around, and also someone who enjoys the industry is just great. It would be hard to have an industrial chaplain here who didn’t ski or snowboard.” Mt Hutt does lot of things for its staff; having Dave around as their chaplain just adds something special to that.
Lifestyle FAMILY / SOCIAL JUSTICE / ENVIRONMENT / SUSTAINABILITY / SPIRITUALITY
Three Strikes and We’re Out? Christchurch’s run of major earthquakes is breaking the rules in many ways. The ‘triple whammy’ effect of three major seismic events stretches science and souls alike. WORDS & PHOTO: GREG JACKSON, MEDIA OFFICER, CHRISTIAN WORLD SERVICE The September/February/June earthquake sequence is setting new stress tests for human resilience. The known recovery patterns from disaster are in tatters, while the mental, emotional, and spiritual impacts are just starting to emerge. Is it a case for Christchurch of ‘three strikes and we’re out’? Or is it instead a case of willing ourselves to navigate uncharted waters taking what guidance we can on the way? I’ve concluded that it is a time for accepting that as our old certainties vanish, we may all need to be willing to dig deep inside and outside ourselves for solace and security. When Christian World service shipped me off to Haiti last year, six weeks after Haiti’s major 7.0 earthquake ripped them apart, it was harrowing but simple. Simple in that catastrophe had come, and destroyed, and now it was time for relief, recovery, and moving onward. They lost hundreds of thousands of lives, but at least it was over. The world abounds with benchmarks for what happens when disaster comes, destroys, and then departs. It is the disaster norm. Our so called ‘new normal’ is in fact an abnormal version of normal. It’s one of the reasons so many of us, even disaster experts, feel confused, torn, and adrift at times. Here we are, faced with a mystery that calls on all our collective wisdom and faith to begin to work our way through. I’ve known United States-based psychologist and trauma and 14
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addiction specialist, Jere Bunn, for over 25 years. He was a US Naval Commander in Vietnam while I was protesting against the same war in our streets. Despite this we get on fairly well. He helped set up treatment programmes in America for postVietnam post traumatic stress military staff, plus those with
addiction issues. Which led in turn to him serving as the last head of Hanmer Hospital here before it was closed down and he returned to America. Because he has lived here, he has been following our earthquakes with keen interest. Jere says that Canterbury faces an unprecedented natural disaster sequence in that three major earthqukes have happened in such a short time, in addition to the 7000 plus aftershocks. The first was a bolt from the blue, the second we had some idea was possible, while the June quakes shattered the normal expectations. “With this triple whammy you can expect that many more people feel powerless, that picking up the pieces is futile, and that leaving is the only option”, he says. It’s a recognised psychological state that calls for careful self-management. His advice? Keep safe physically and mentally, don’t retraumatise yourself with too many media revisits, and don’t make any big decisions for a few months. Along with the normal psychological impacts of multiple disaster, he also thinks that a healthy focus on spiritual practice and belief can be helpful. In Haiti where the Christian churches were hammered by the earthquake, the most beautiful sight of my whole trip was the lines of immaculately dressed families on Sundays. They would leave their hideous squatter camps to meet where the ruins of their churches stood, and gain visible strength from congregating together. Here too, where people, not buildings, are emerging as the reality of shared faith, some of the wider secular population is also more open than usual to spiritual ideas and leadership. My youngest sons go to the Rudolf Steiner School here in Christchurch. Rudolf Steiner was a mystic, but his schools are spiritually broad churches where believers and no-faith families rub shoulders. The mid-winter school newsletter provided evidence of how widespread the search is for solace and strength in Christchurch. Headmaster Thomas Proctor wrote movingly of how harrowing the year had been: of the “weariness of soul and spirit from the continuing shocks”; of how “the attitude of giving goodness and goodwill to others, especially in these hard times, brings a softness, a gentleness, and easier breath to one another”. “Good will, the will to create good, becomes a light for the soul of others”, he writes. He then goes on to note that “someone who has impressed me over these months of quake and loss is the Anglican Bishop, Victoria Matthews. She had spoken on Radio NZ the weekend before about thankfulness while the material world crumbles around us. “I found it to be true. When I looked for things of beauty and took the time to absorb them, I found myself feeling lighter in spirit. Search for beautiful things, pause to watch and admire them, create beauty around you—no matter how small, and see how you feel. “William Blake said: ‘(S)he who kisses joy as it flies, lives in eternities’ sunrise’, meaning as I understand it, take pleasure in the passing joys, delight in them as life moves, and you will live in the fresh beauty of the early morning.” He concludes by recommending readers check out http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/ programmes/sunday (search under 19 June) for Bishop Victoria’s remarks. It is a strong example of how virtue feeds on virtue to create something even stronger in troubled times, when the hunger for teachers and inspiration is at its strongest.
Dialogue MEGAN BLAKIE WITH ROB FERGUSON
Blokes and Spirituality Rob is a DIY bloke, model train enthusiast, and a Presbyterian minister who provides training to pastoral workers and clergy in our diocese. Megan Blakie caught up with him to talk tools, TV adverts, and why the way we do church is a turn-off for many men. You were recently invited to do a workshop at St Stephen’s [Anglican] in Ashburton about ‘blokes’ and the Church. What are the issues you like to highlight? That men have a growing sense of isolation. In today’s society, men are put down: it’s seen as OK to have ads on TV where men are made to look gormless. For me, the issues are how do we encourage men to be men within the Church and how do we present a gospel that doesn’t show a feminised Jesus or a ‘sexless Jesus’, if you like. It’s about presenting a gospel that rings true for ordinary blokes, who don’t deal with matters of emotion necessarily all that well—mostly because they don’t have a vocabulary for it. So what is different about men’s approach to church? Men can bring what I call a ‘hard edge’ that is often lacking. It’s around the fundamentals of practice rather than doctrinal niceties. A lot of guys I work with don’t ask the kind of church questions most of us are used to asking. They ask very practical questions like, “How do you do this?” When I worked in Vancouver, a man marched into my office and said, “Show me [in the Bible] where it says I have to give my heart to Jesus”. It doesn’t, of course: it says go and follow. That’s the kind of edge that I find men bring. Doctrines aren’t where it’s at. It’s really hard for the church to hear that, because we’re so bound up with our creeds and all that stuff, and we think you can’t have faith without those things. 16
AnglicanLife Issue 14
“Sometimes the most spiritual thing we can do for blokes is to take them for a walk in the bush. Having a place where men feel safe can be incredibly spiritually enriching for them…”
What tips can you give churches about ministering to men? At [my parish of] St Ninian’s we have discovered a few principles— they might not work everywhere, but they do work for us. Our men’s group doesn’t meet regularly every month; blokes tend not to want a monthly commitment and tend to come and go. I’ve also noticed that men often talk to a different person each time they come. We don’t run any programmes; all we do is meet after work, invite men to bring their own beer or wine…and we have a barbecue in the summer and pizzas in the winter. Blokes just sit round and talk to each other. So it’s pretty informal? We don’t bring in a speaker; that model has never worked with blokes too well. Discussion comes spontaneously. One night we had a guy say he wouldn’t be around for a while as he was off to hospital to have his prostate done. All of a sudden we got a great vernacular lesson where I learned more about prostate than I had from my doctor! So the get-togethers aren’t particularly spiritually focussed? It depends by what is meant by ‘spiritual’. Does ‘spiritual’ mean bums on pews on Sunday or talking about God just in traditional church terms? Sometimes the most spiritual thing we can do for blokes is to take them for a walk in the bush. Having a place where
men feel safe can be incredibly spiritually enriching for them: we don’t talk about God in those meetings unless somebody wants to talk about God. That’s what I mean about it being a ‘safe’ place. It’s not about presenting traditional ideas about God. Some church people find this approach incredibly challenging. One of our East Christchurch parishes hopes to establish a Men’s Shed. How does the Men’s Shed concept fit into all of this? It grew out of the [St Ninian’s men’s] group. One night one of the guys said he had a bit of a shed at home and suggested making some toys for young children. Six blokes made some blocks and distributed them. The joy of it is that the project came from them; the men do what they want to do out of their own energy, but they do it together. A sense of solidarity and companionship has built up. I would say those are incredibly spiritual values. Now another three or four Men’s Sheds are in various stages of gestation. Doesn’t it boil down to building relationships? Of course—but authentic relationships. Some church groups are unashamedly “if you come to this, then eventually you’ll come and sit in our pews and that will help pay our bills”. Chuck all that away and don’t worry about whether things are gonna happen. If you’ve got a strict programme, it’s harder for relationships to grow naturally.
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Fresh Talent The Kiln is the diocesan initiative whose mandate is identifying and forming creative young Anglican leaders through workshops, mentoring, and resourcing. Meet three Kilners who will be shaping the future of our church. WORDS: SPANKY MOORE
“I’m a youth worker for intermediate school kids: both those who are a part of the local church, and those who go to the local schools. It’s a fantastic ministry to be a part of, because over the years you can see the positive influence you can have on young peoples’ lives. It’s so rewarding to be able to get alongside these kids and support them as they grow up. “Having dedicated Christian role models in my life has been crucial in helping me work out my own beliefs, keeping me accountable to those beliefs, and then putting them into action in Christian leadership. I think that recent events have reminded us of the crucial social role churches must play in their local communities. We need to be actively seeking those who do not belong and addressing the variety of needs that face people living in our parishes. “Aside from the brilliant dinners and free dating service, The Kiln has been a great way to draw on the experience and energy of other young Anglicans who are passionate about seeing the church grow in our city.”
Jaz Crowther – Burnside
“I’m a youth leader/intern, and I love the relationships that, through Christ, I’m am able to build with my youth and church community, and being able to share the love of God through caring and spending time with them.
“Being a part of a teenager’s life during the most awkward years of high school is such an honour, to grow with them and learn together. I get to hang out with an awesome bunch of high schoolers, hear about their highs and lows, play awesome games with them, and encourage them to learn about Jesus. Coffee dates with the girls always make my week, and energise me too. Having that responsibility as a leader has changed so many aspects of my Christian journey. Sometimes it gets tough, but the most rewarding part is seeing the seeds that God plants really start to sprout.
“Understanding my strengths is one of the most helpful things I’ve become aware of as a leader. The Kiln has helped me identify them and think about how I use them. I feel so blessed to have something like The Kiln to help grow and feed us. I’ve got to meet people I otherwise may not have. “It’s an awesome privilege to be a disciple of Jesus, so we should treat it as a privilege everyday, no matter how hard it is.” AnglicanLife Issue 14
Alex Summerlee – Sumner-Redcliffs
Monique Stevenson – Hornby
“I have so many dreams and aspirations for the church. I hope one day it will be a place where my young people want to be, that the liturgy and traditions churches use would inspire them to go deeper in their relationships with God. I’d love to see thriving Anglican churches all around Christchurch, with space for youth to grow and be leaders.
“After the earthquake we all got a taste of a city united by disaster, and we now have a chance to be the church that carries on, united by love. I love seeing young people step up and be passionate about their place in the church. “The Kiln has helped me learn about my own faith, which feeds straight into how I relate to young people, and how to be a long-term influence in young peoples’ lives. I’m always challenged in new ways I would never have considered, which is awesome because it shakes up the way I both live and lead.” 19
Thank You to the Door Knockers
Canterbury men are being offered ways to keep healthy and—to use the recent vernacular—‘munt-free’. WORDS: MEGAN BLAKIE PHOTO: CANTERBURY MEN’S CENTRE
In Christchurch’s east suburbs, Peter Moore, a facilitator for Mensline and parishioner of St Luke’s South Brighton, along with Donald Pettitt of the Canterbury Men’s Centre, are holding a fortnightly group to help men (and women) deal with post-quake practical matters. Called ‘Munted Mates’, the gatherings are about making the most of things while waiting for repairs, rebuilding, or relocation. They meet on alternate Thursdays at St Faith’s, the twin parish of St Luke’s. “We came up with the name ‘Munted Mates’ to have a masculine feel to [the group] and to help men feel more encouraged to come along”, says Peter, who’s been involved with Mensline for 13 years and is a trained teacher and lawyer. Canterbury men can also pick up a free copy of The blokes’ Book, produced by the Canterbury Men’s Centre. The booklet lists agencies and services in the region that are relevant to men’s health and well being. The publication has been so popular, with the first 20,000 copies having already been distributed, that a second print run is under way. “It’s got rural men’s pages; north, mid, and south Canterbury pages; and it’s available online as well”, says centre manager Donald Pettitt. The book can be viewed or downloaded from the centre’s website www.canmen.org.nz Peter also has some advice for the significant women in men’s lives. “A lot of men put off about talking about personal things, as they see it as a sign of weakness or whimpiness or being effeminate or touch-feely. To help a man express himself more, it’s about listening and being there to have a conversation”, he says. “Rather than scare him off by asking him for his inner most thoughts, realise that even a small step could be a huge thing for him, and even sharing that much is a positive move.” 20
AnglicanLife Issue 14
WORDS: PHILIP BALDWIN
“A lot of men put off about talking about personal things…To help a man express himself more, it’s about listening and being there to have a conversation.”
Approximately 120 volunteers, including teams from at least fifteen Anglican parishes, responded to a call last month from Bishop Victoria and Michael Earle (Anglican Earthquake Liaison) to visit 5,100 households in the ‘residential red zone’—primarily the eastern suburbs of Avonside, Avondale, Bexley, Burwood, Dallington, Wainoni, as well as Kaiapoi/Karakei Beach.
At the outset, no one really expected that these volunteers from a variety of churches and community groups, supported by rapid response teams, would be able to visit so many homes so quickly. Braving cold, wind, and rain late in June, they accomplished in a mere 2½ days what was originally expected to take some 4-6 weeks, partly because of a 25% rate of unoccupancy. The Revd Craig Smith from Amuri Co-operating Parish was among the volunteers who joined in a Ministry of Social Development campaign to ensure each household was formally notified of the the government’s offer to buy land and homes at Government Valuation: “I was bowled over by the warmth of all those we spoke to. Every time I go to the toilet and have a bath, I actually say a prayer of thanks… with those able to have only intermittent showers and still using chemical toilets
(and having to empty them), we have little to complain about.” Another volunteer, Shirley McNabb, commented: “We found young families in the midst of the earthquakes’ devastation—holes, liquefaction, sunken or leaning power poles, uneven footpaths and streets—with nowhere for the children to play out of doors. Although communities had been broken and lives turned upside down, we couldn’t help but admire people’s courage and spirit”. Denise Kidd, Regional Manager of Family and Community Services, expressed “a very special word of thanks” to the teams at a review meeting of the door knocking campaign. Maria McEntyre, Family and Community Services, also wrote to team leaders and volunteers: “Thank you for your generosity contributing your time to the residential red zone door knocking
activity. A job more than well done!” Parishes are still invited to nominate teams of door knockers for the next phase in the orange and white zones. Send contact details for team leaders and teams to Maria McEntyre (MSD) on 027 200 6493 or email Maria.Mcentyre001@msd.govt. nz. MSD will also contact existing team leaders, to see if they are available for the next phase. Enquiries can also be made to Michael Earle on 027 5059 588, email firstname.lastname@example.org Much has been made of ‘the Cantabrian spirit’ in our response to the earthquakes, but this particular campaign—indeed much of this issue of Anglican Life— highlights an important aspect of that spirit: our willingness to ‘muck in’, to help with the work that needs to be done.
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