News items – 20 November 2010

On The Move, Friday, 17 December
There will be a meeting for inspiration and training on Tuesday evening, 7 pm, November 30. See Steve for more information.

Angel Tree Appeal
Prison Fellowship NZ is co-ordinating the giving of presents to children (under the age of 16) of prisoners. If you would like to help with a $20.00 donation please give it to Patti.  More information about the Angel Tree appeal here.

Board Required
First Year Rathkeale College student requires board five nights a week. See Vicar for more information.

Movie Night
Would you like to view a movie in an old time country cinema? Comedy/Drama – “Did you hear about the Morgans?”  Fundraiser for overseas missions. Saturday, 27 November, 4 pm and 7 pm, maximum of 12 people per session. Names to Christine Ellis 377 5089 or Patti 370 8589 by Friday 26th November.

Parish Children/Youth /Family Ministry 2011

  • Continue to pray for a way forward to develop these ministries.
  • It is important that we grow the Parish with young families.
  • It would be good  to employ a young family minister part/fulltime to complement this.


Vestry News

Highlights from the September Vestry Meeting:

  • St Andrew’s Building Committee has been given the green light to put the Catechesis Classroom plans to tender and to connect the St Andrew’s Church and proposed new building to the town water supply.
  • The Memorial Book located in St Matthew’s Church Chapel is to be updated in due course.
  • We still don’t have a Classical Concert Music Coordinator – any volunteer(s)?
  • Vestry will use a planning day to discuss responses to a questionnaire/survey of their management and visioning of the Parish.
  • Vestry is setting up a Charitable Incorporated Society for future funding of Community Pastoral Developments and will employ part-time up to six months, a professional person to set this up and begin raising funds to support the position.
  • All Parish buildings (excluding Vicarage) have been inspected for earthquake risk and a report is being compiled.
  • A grant has been received from the Venimore Trust for Children’s Ministry within the Parish; this has been shared out between the Catechesis (St Andrew’s) and Kidz Works (St Matthew’s) programme.

Minutes of any meeting of the Parish Vestry are available for viewing in the Parish Office.

Parish Three-day Prayer and Fast

Jabez cried out to the God of Israel:

“Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!
Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.”   And God granted his request (1 Chron. 4:10).

Jesus taught us to pray, among other things, ‘Give us today our daily bread’ (Matthew 6:11).

Our first concern should be for God’s glory, His kingdom and His will.

But it is not wrong to ask for God’s blessing, presence, protection and healing as well. A theme for the Prayer and Fast that I believe may help stimulate our minds into hearing God’s current/future call on us as individuals and as a Parish is; What is my neighbour’s name?

This is a parish-wide call, but individuals may respond as you feel led.

St Matthew’s Church will be opened each morning (the first of four “daily offices” of prayer) at 6.00am, the  second “daily Office” is at noon, the third at 5.00pm and the fourth Daily office begins at 8pm.

On Thursday evening the fourth “Daily Office“ will be at 7pm and will begin with communion and conclude with worship.

I encourage groups to form/meet during this time, and the place/time for prayer can suit the individual.

During the course of the three days the God Box will be available on the main altar in St Matthew’s Church Chancel for any written words individuals may hear God calling the Parish to.

Let us prepare and come together from 6am, September 20th to 8pm, September 22nd, and seek the future ministry needs for Parish and the means to make it happen.

Types of prayer/ meditations and fasting will be outlined in further notices.

Bishop Tom to retire

Bishop with Dan Rodda, Liz Greville and the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd

Bishop Tom with Dan Rodda and Liz Greville before the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Service at St Andrew’s in March 2011

The Bishop of Wellington, Dr Tom Brown, has today announced his intention to retire in March next year.

“With the diocese in good heart,” he says, “and after serving as long as I have done, now seems to be a good time to lay down my staff and let the diocese move ahead with a new bishop.”

Bishop Tom, who is 68, will have completed 14 years as Diocesan Bishop of Wellington when he steps down – and 21 years as an ordained bishop.

He was ordained a bishop in 1990, and served seven years as assistant to the then Bishop of Wellington, Archbishop Brian Davis.

Bishop Tom was then elected to succeed Archbishop Davis, and he was installed as the 10th Bishop of Wellington in February 1998.

He hit the ground running. In his charge to his first diocesan synod Bishop Tom declared that change was on its way – and he’d start that by disbanding the diocesan standing committee. When he outlined that move, he says, applause broke out in the cathedral – led by the clergy.

“The standing committee had swollen to 27 members,” Bishop Tom recalls, “and it acted like parliament. There was a left wing, a right wing, liberals, conservatives – catholics, evangelicals and charismatics, all fighting for their own patch.” “I had no doubt that it was holding us back from doing the mission of the church,” he says.

He persuaded the synod to replace that standing committee with smaller, more focused mission, ministry and management groups – whose members are appointed (rather than elected) by an appointments panel.

“I call these the ‘3M’s’– and they are the rollers on which the diocese has moved forward. And the important thing about those groups is this – they have worked.”

Bishop Tom continued to question the relevance of the structures he’d inherited, and to drive further significant structural reforms, all aimed at delivering maximum ministry. When that restructuring phase was complete, Bishop Tom then set about shaping his diocese into being what he calls a “permission-giving church, rather than a controlling church”. The emphasis there, he says, has been on “encouragement, rather than coercion – on encouraging people to take a few risks, to get on and do what we have been called to do – to nurture, serve and care.”

All sorts of deeds have blossomed in that culture. For example, the Diocese of Wellington has been the pivotal force for the development of a Good Shepherd Secondary School in its companion Diocese of Kagera, in Tanzania. That high school, which is now equipped with science labs and a library, was the only one within a 500km radius, and is now providing secondary education for 300 plus students. And the development of that school continues, with Wellington’s support.

When the disastrous Queensland floods struck at the end of last year, the Diocese of Wellington sent priests to lend a hand to its companion Diocese of Brisbane – and the Diocese of Wellington took the lead on Anglican fundraising for Christchurch.

Two new Anglican church related schools have been established in the diocese during Bishop Tom’s watch, and he’s overseen the rebirth of the Order of St Stephen – an order of mission for young people in the church.

On behalf of the Diocese Bishop Tom has also signed a formal covenant with Urban Vision – whose members live with some of Wellington’s most marginalised people, in homes in some of its toughest suburbs, and which has also established the Ngati Awa retreat centre near Waikanae.

“Urban Vision approached us,” says Bishop Tom. “They wanted to be accountable to a bigger church. We talked for two years, after which we made promises to each other, and they brought themselves formally under the protection of the Diocese of Wellington.

“So we suddenly gained a modern monastic community of 80 men, women and children who are doing extraordinarily good things – and are so good for the diocese.”

And when Mark Brown, the former head of the New Zealand Bible Society, approached him about getting his covering for Epiphany Island, the cyberspace cathedral he pioneered, Bishop Tom took the risk of backing that venture, too. The connection with Mark didn’t stop there, either – because in 2007 Bishop Tom ordained him to the Anglican diaconate, and then 2008 to the priesthood.

Bishop Tom’s contributions to the Diocese of Wellington – and to the province at large – have been acknowledged by Archbishop David Moxon, who says Bishop Tom has offered an episcopal ministry of “great professionalism and progressive vision.”

“When he began as Bishop of Wellington, Tom Brown already knew his own diocese and the wider church here very well.

“This equipped him with confidence, I think, and from that base he was able to demonstrate real care for others, and model innovation and clarity for us all.

“Bishop Tom leaves a fine legacy of confidence, sustainability and joy to his diocese, and to the province as a whole. We wish him and Dwyllis many blessings in retirement. ”

Bishop Tom will continue to live in Wellington after he retires. But he says he’ll be staying well under the radar. With his wife Dwyllis he’ll be focusing on family, friends, their own faith community – and he’ll be pursuing his hobbies of golf and fly fishing.

Faith based unit: negotiations continuing

Thank God for His Angels!

Prison Fellowship New Zealand would like to thanks the many people who have prayed, written letters and lobbied for the continuance of the faith based unit at Rimutaka Prison.

At present PFNZ believes that the following represents the position we are in:

“PFNZ and the Department of Corrections are continuing towards the mutual development of a comprehensive rehabilitation programme within the faith based throughcare scheme at Rimutaka Prison, subject to normal contractual negotiations, that will meet both organisations’ goals of reducing reoffending and helping people live offence free lives”.

There is still a lot of water to go under the bridge and many months of hard work to come that will be taxing for the staff as they also go about the business of maintaining the work of the unit, before final negotaitions come about.

A lot more prayer and gifts to support this development are needed to meet this aspirational goal. You can read more about the unit in the Winter Newsletter of PFNZ.