At the moment, I am finding two things hard to believe.
1. Laying near the footpath on Vale Road with my foot at right angles to my leg.
2. Obtaining the Resource Consent for our Redevelopment Project.
I have a sense of unreality about both events. “Did these things really happen?” Try as I can I am unable to wake up from the bad dream about my foot, and with respect to the Resource Consent, after holding my breath for so long I have to deal with the fact that the new reality of challenge and opportunity has arrived.
What to do? Copious thanks are in order.
My leg and the rest of me have been surrounded by love, kindness and good things. Note, cards, phone calls, emails, food, visits have been showered on me and our household. Believe me, every expression of care has been appreciated. My deepest thanks go to my wife Pauline who has tirelessly assisted me.
Obtaining the Resource Consent was an endurance race. Many times it seemed to me and to Pauline that it would never end. It has now been achieved because of the skilled and determined work of many people. Here I will mention only one person, Don Bain. His wise and careful guidance has shepherded us along and responded to the demands required of us at every stage of the process. Thank you Don and our great Redevelopment team.
Ten years at St Heliers has gone like a flash. To me it has been a bright and beautiful flash. I am so happy that by the grace of God, this Parish called Pauline to be your Minister. What I value most here is the people; their warmth, openness, thoughtfulness and acceptance, and in recent years the welcoming of people from all over the world and from many different backgrounds. I am excited to be part of this community.
We have had wonderful people on the staff and the current team are a pleasure to work with. ‘Reaching out and Welcoming In’ does not always go smoothly but we are all committed, so the hiccups don’t last.
The Redevelopment is not about status or one-upmanship. Every aspect of the project is to enable the Church to better serve our community. At a time when the world and the church are changing so fast, we will seek to understand how we can best be a vehicle through which the love of God can have a positive impact. There will probably be a few false starts, but if we keep remembering, ‘Love is the key to everything we do – Jesus is the source of it all; ’ then I am sure we will make contributions of lasting value.
27th July 2014, 10.30am – A BIG Gathering to say Thankyou for and Farewell to Johnston Hall.
(It will be demolished very soon after).
This was the first church on this site. From 1939 to 1956 it was the St Heliers Presbyterian Church. It became Johnston Hall when the church in which we are now worshiping was completed.
it has served many aspects of the community so very well for over 75 years. What we build to replace Johnston Hall will continue the commitment to serve the community. Details for this BIG day will be out very soon. www.sthelierscentre.org.nz
Rev Pauline Stewart
First – let’s share Easter Camp
There were two Easter Camps that the Presbyterian Church organised and hosted for the Auckland area.
Svet took a group to the one on Motatapu Island for college age and older young people.
Chris Eady took a younger group of intermediate age to Hunua camp. Both are Presbyterian owned camp sites.
I am so pleased we had some of our people go.
See below their reports.
From Svet: Motatapu Easter Camp
It was such a good camp. From my point of view - 98 percent successful!!
...a few figures:
6 meals per day / with fresh salad and different choices
212 young people
20 team leaders
5 in the kitchen
1 charter ferry -just for the Camp
1 level of ferry - the bottom one was full of food for the camp! eg 1000 apples!
A few features:
· Wonderful worship team - both musicians and leaders-2 guitars /bass/keyboard/3 singers/live drums
· Influential speaker - just in the morning worship- more than enough for thoughts during the busy, happy day.
· Real and practical Youth Christian questions and answers from current NZ life
· Amazing intellectual games and very energising sport activities and competitions
P.T. Physical Training - quick morning exercises and a short run…to get the blood pumping
Meals: served in the dining room with the whole camp. Mealtimes were great to sit with and get to know your co-campers and catch up with friends. Also time for announcements and notices.
Duties: each day every group had one duty to do- the idea is that everyone participates (not just leaders)
Electives - this was opportunity for everyone to choose an indoor or outdoor activity. Every leader had been asked to lead or run an elective activity such as volleyball, art, touch, music ,dance, sign language etc. for at least one of the three elective sessions. It was great to have so many young people- involved and determined to know and to win competitions.
Praise, worship and speaker – this was a formal meeting every morning like a small church service/ lasting about one hour
Group time - campers and their leaders meet to discuss and pray about what has been discussed in the morning worship session.
Seminars- it was an opportunity to choose a topic (one of three) of interest and attend a short interactive talk and discussions. I took part in “Science & Religion "
Catacombs- Holy Communion for everyone from the camp on the top of one big hill with 360 degree view around the island…amazing impact!
Evening Praise and Worship / ~1hour/ with testimonies and common prayers. Great effect!..especially the testimonies from some of the campers shared in front of all of us.
Our St Heliers youth group was good and important part of all of this!!!
This camp has had a totally epic impact on me!
I have met young people from absolutely different backgrounds with patience, and understanding attitudes and good solutions for current problems in the world, particularly in NZ. Really good common prayers and short question/answer sessions!
It was wonderful, full with Christian Love, from Holy Thursday to Easter Monday!
I’m 2 kilos heavier…despite so many sporting activities and amazing interactive worship time!!
Svet Lozar Kralev
PS From Svet: We are looking forward to 14/06 for Easter Camp Reunion at Clevedon (Mark Chapman’s Church)
PS From Rev Pauline: Thank you to this church for part sponsoring our young people as the cost can be quite prohibitive.
Chris Eady’s summary of the Hunua Falls Easter Camp ( organised by the Presbyterian Church) for 8 to 12 year olds.
Chris Eady went with 5 of our young people
Hi everyone, A few notes while it’s fresh in my mind about The Easter Camp The venue at Hunua Falls is A grade with good natural resources with nice cabins, hall and a modern chapel . About 60 kids were there plus 12 leaders of Year 12 age. The associate minister Matthew Chapman from St Columba had brilliant music skills . The music was important and youth music (full energy ) is very important in this kind of ministry. They made us feel welcome and the kids blended well. I felt personally they were a bit unsure of me and in worship I had a senior member near me at all times .
The three full days were relaxed. The kids had ample time to play. We had chapel from 10 to 11.30 and then small group discussion with prescribed asking and commitment questions.
There were many hours of games such as catch the flag and duck and goose.
We had chapel in the evening for 1 to 3 hours. The worship was pure Christian and carefully adapted for kids .
The churches that combine their resources for this camp have been doing this for a long time. There is a long history. The kids that feed into these groups are from strong Christian schools.
Our kids had a very positive Christian experience.
Regards from Chris Eady
1) The overall impact is one of the commitment of our people to enter into the events and meaning of the central story of our Christian Faith. Many gave generously of their time, energy and money to organise and lead events for others to enjoy and participate. Stan and I were away for a period leading up to Palm Sunday. We have been very moved by the work and leadership in our absence by the Faith and Worship team with Barbara Spiers’ leadership.
Ian Kilgour’s material invited us to study, share and reflect on Solitude, Stillness, Silence, and Simplicity in home groups and bible study; through email letters and through the preaching and music when we gathered for worship on Sundays. This has been important in spiritual growth for all who participated.
2) The Easter Display in the church. Scenes of the Last Supper, information on Easter in other countries, Symbols of the Holy Week events, the Empty Tomb, At the Foot of the Cross - it was set up in one afternoon and evening yet it was surprisingly powerful and over the week, between 500-600 people, mostly children and their parents, heard the stories, watched the mimes, and sat quietly to take in the power of Jesus days leading to his crucifixion.
3) Easter for Kids - (Tuesday) this colourful and carnival like evening led by Joshua Yang and his team was perhaps our most effective “reaching out and welcoming in” activity. 100 children, some as young as three and others 11 years enjoyed a Craft and connected Treasure Hunt activity (putting together the Easter story in symbols - each child taking home their egg box), Puppets, the mime, At The Cross, a picnic meal on the floor for all, (Thank you to Sue Thomas and her team, Kaye Dunn and Erin Jamieson), singing, and an egg for all. Many parents of the children came and stayed. Helpers ranged from 10 years of age to 70 years. Some have been here for 5 years and one or two came to New Zealand last week. This was a great night of which we should be feel proud that it came to pass.
4) Palm Sunday - it was a genuine celebration. Morning Worship - we had one service that day because of the congregational meeting to follow. Our adult choir, Bay Singers, youth choir and children’s choir all led us. Andrew Lienert preached an inspiring message. Ben Melese led the liturgy sharing his own faith. It was a great morning and our church was so full. Joshua and Joanna Yang and Catherine Roxburgh led the children during the meeting. Yvonne Cossar and her team prepared a “ lunch as you go" for everyone. Seeing a unanimous vote on the finances for the redevelopment project at the congregational meeting was a rewarding conclusion.
Palm Sunday evening was a simple lamb meal for a slightly smaller crowd who later shared in the time of dramatic readings, Last Supper documentary and communion in the darkened church. Our thanks to Isabella Tedcastle, Mary Nissen, Margaret Hayes and Janet brown for this night to commence Holy Week.
The Worship of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Day. (not to forget the combined services at St Andrews Village and Grace Joel (led by St Philips and St Heliers) ) This photo taken by Bill Duncan really sums it all up. Beauty, power and eternity from a fragile everyday creation. We worship and follow a risen Jesus who gave his life for all. Jesus’ beautiful but fragile human life exemplified forgiveness, love in the face of hate, light over darkness. He won this for all time and demonstrated in technicolour, the heart of God for each and every human being on Good Friday and again three days later. It is available for all of us in Jesus’ power, not in our own.
Music has been the language that has spoken very powerfully this Easter. It has excited and inspired us but we have also wept with emotion because of it as well.
Thank you to Denis Lozica our Music Director, for the leadership and vision for music. Thank you to Stuart Weightman, Bill Duncan and the Bay Singers, the adult choir members; Raewyn Dakers, Kathy Louis and Yeojin Kim with children’s choir, Amy Gulvin, Alistair Louis and Musos, Frann Sawtell, Flavio and our guest musicians for the enabling of music. This Community of people that make up the St Heliers Church and Community Centre from children to the frail, has enabled extraordinary things to happen and will continue to do so.
Anzac Day is tomorrow. The Parade is down at St Heliers Bay commencing at 9.30am some of our community go into the dawn service at the Museum. There is also a service led by Patsy Cochrane at 10.am at St Andrews Village. The wider community is welcome.
The meaning: Many migrants have asked me to explain Anzac Day. Some come from countries where they have had so much war and strife on their doorstep for hundreds of years, it is difficult to isolate one battle more terrible than another. I try to explain the history of that one battle that is commemorated with a public holiday and so many solemn ceremonies in Australia as well as New Zealand. I try to explain that we, as a small country, need to honour the courage and bravery of our own. We cannot afford to forget the huge loss of life and that Australia shared this with us. We were two young colonial countries, in terms of white settlement, who fought unquestioningly for their mother country. We fought against impossible odds and lost that battle but in the end shared in winning the great and terrible World War One. Winning seemed hollow with the loss of millions of young lives but the drive for dominance of many countries by the aggressor countries was for a while was halted. That is a victory whatever the cost. Tomorrow we remember; the Australian & New Zealand soldiers who fought and died at Gallipoli. By remembering them, we have also stopped to remember those who gave their lives in all wars.
I trust that somehow each country works out a way to honour the brave; thank God for those who work for peace and pass on the torch of hope to the children. That one battle on the shores of Gallipoli in Turkey almost a hundred years ago continues to inspire generations of young people to “remember” - those who fought, those who died; their courage, their youthfulness, the grief of their families, that we must be peacemakers, that we must stand against the evil of greed and lust for power.
In my own family, brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces have gone to Gallipoli for Anzac Day remembrance. They make the journey at their own cost and they are with thousands of others. This is a legacy that no one could have predicted but it is surely a good and noble pursuit. I thank Jesus for this.
• Oscar after school care moves to Glendowie for the second term - maybe longer – both the younger and older children
• The Holiday Programmes have begun this week at Glendowie Centre and going well. Gill Blower and Joshua are managing these.
• Next week is Trip the Light – a musical drama programme for children at St Heliers church, not at Glendowie
• Amnesty International are running a quiz night at our Centre. It is their Fund Raiser and they invite us to put together some table teams. Call the office and book. Saturday 3rd May is the date.
• I look forward to seeing you at church this Sunday if you are in town. Two services 9.00am and 10.30am
• We soon hear about the Resource Consent - a few days away now.
Our love to all of you.
I seek your prayers on the future of our Centre. The heart of what we do is the living Jesus Christ. Worshiping together in some form is the nourishment and sustenance for our life. May we always include the sick, the frail, the isolated, those who cannot be a physical part of community. Let your visits, your contact include them.
Rev Pauline and Rev Stan Stewart