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20 to 26 December 2015

Letter from Hugh

Looking back at the previous week, I first attended the final Music and Movement for the year and the parents were most appreciative of the books we gave their children.  Jody continues to be a great asset to the parish.  I want to thank Jenifer for purchasing and wrapping the gifts for the children, along with all those who provided morning tea throughout the year and provided a link between Music and Movement and the parish.  I then had a final supervision session for the year which was followed by a meeting with Liz and Jody about Christmas in Pyjamas.  Liz and Jody had some wonderful suggestions, so it should be another great event that connects us with the wider community.  Bruce provided fruit mince pies for the last Bible study of the year.  On Wednesday afternoon we had the final building meeting for the year and were told the weather board was almost complete. The skylights will be fitted next week and the building will be locked up and watertight for the Christmas break.

This Sunday marks the beginning of the most intense weeks of worship for the whole year.  So amongst the other activities last week began an intense session of preparation.  I value the expectations of my tradition that I preach relevant sermons and write prayers based on my own theological understanding and the contemporary hopes dreams and concerns of the congregation.  However, when I have to produce four worship services in a week, I occasionally become a tiny bit envious of those traditions that proscribe a complete set of prayers for each day of the Christian year.  Regrettably my academic training confirmed my understanding that language, and indeed our world changes so quickly that prayer books become out of date almost before they are printed.  When I look back at prayers written three years ago it is gratifying to find that the way I express theological truths has certainly matured.  But what saddened me is that the intercessory prayers I prayed three years ago cover the same issues I would want to pray for today.  The climate is still changing, Pacific Island’s are still sinking, the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer and a large portion of the world’s people are at war with each other.  Even more depressing some of the wars we prayed for about three years ago are still raging on.  To make matters even more complicated, the season of Advent is about hope, peace, joy and love, which is often hard to find in our newspapers and broadcast media.  Nevertheless, hope, peace, joy and love are at the very centre of our faith and expressed in the birth of the child whose birth we celebrate at Christmas.

Christmas dinner

Averil Cullen again offers Christmas Day dinner to anyone wanting good company on the day. Come along to 90 Kellys Road, but please let Averil know in advance, for numbers.

Lunch on New Year’s Day

The tradition continues and on Friday, 1 January 2016 you are invited to the Delaney’s, 37 Erin Crescent for lunch at 12 noon. Meat will be provided; please bring a salad or desert. Join in the fellowship on the first day of the new year.

New photocopier

It is a Fuji Xerox— not quite new. It replaces our previous Fuji Xerox and looks new, anyway. And it has more ‘bells and whistles! Though it will cost about the same to run.

We now have a colour option. Most of our printing will be in black and white, but we have a good colour option when it is appropriate.

Don’t fret about the Christchurch City Council overspending on its photocopying budget by doing too much work in colour. You may be assured the Parish Treasurer and FPAC will keep a firm hand on all of our expenses, including colour printing!

International Human Solidarity Day

Sunday, 20 December 2015. This is a United Nations Organisation day of celebration.

Perhaps it is appropriate it falls within the season of Advent. Not that it was the intention of UNO to make that connection.

The General Assembly, on 22 December 2005, by resolution identified solidarity as one of the fundamental and universal values that should underlie relations between peoples in the Twenty-first century, and in that regard decided to proclaim 20 December of each year International Human Solidarity Day.

The spirit of Advent may certainly be seen in the UNO sentiment. It will not be possible to have peace o Earth and good will to all people without a sense of solidarity with one another.

The UN and the Concept of Solidarity

The concept of solidarity has defined the work of the United Nations since the birth of the Organization. The creation of the United Nations drew the peoples and nations of the world together to promote peace, human rights and social and economic development. The organization was founded on a basic premise of unity and harmony among its members expressed in the concept of collective security that relies on the solidarity of its members to unite “to maintain international peace and security”.

It is in the spirit of solidarity that the organization relies on “cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural or humanitarian character” as well.

[From the official website of the United Nations Organisation: 

www.un.org/en/events/humansolidarityday/background.shtml

Bah, humbug

Ebenezer Scrooge (A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens). He was at the beginning of the story a cold-hearted miser who despised Christmas.              "The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, made his eyes red, his thin lips blue, and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice...", is how Dickens describes him. His last name has come to be a byword for miserliness and misanthropy.

But he was redeemed, as you know. Three ghosts of Christmas: past, present and future was all that was needed. You know the rest of the story. It is usually told every Christmas in a radio play for children.

It can still be like that. The modern commercial world has seen to that. It has almost taken over Christmas and many justify it by pointing out that the Church took over the ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia and called it the celebration of the Nativity.

Well, maybe it did. But it did so for a non-commercial reason and if we, today, can mix commerce with a mildly religious flavour (‘carols’ like Snoopy’s Christmas), the true spirit of God’s gift to us usually escapes the airwaves. This service of worship is an antidote.

Overindulgence is not too extravagant a word to describe God’s gift of redemption, though, perhaps, extravagance conveys this gift in a less pejorative sense.

Bah, humbug indeed. Perhaps Scrooge was right in one sense!

Services of Worship

24 December    at 6.00 pm—Christmas in Pyjamas and at 7.30 pm aTraditional Service both with Rev Hugh Perry

25 December at 9.30 am—Christmas Day. Rev Hugh Perry. [Organist Patrick Sherwood]

27 December               Rev Hugh Perry

M Steward                        Lindsay Evans

D Steward                         Bill Delaney

Organist                            Patrick Sherwood

Morning Tea                   Jennifer Delaney

Readings:

Reader                            Bill Pearcy

1 Samuel                        2: 18-20 & 26.

Psalm                              148.

Colossians                     3: 12—17.

Luke                                2: 41—52.

3 January                     Rev Hugh Perry

M Steward                        Bruce Baillie

D Steward                         Bruce Baillie

Organist                            Ann Millar

Morning Tea                   Jennifer Delaney

Readings:

Reader                            Bill Delaney

Jeremiah                       3: 1—7.

Psalm                              147: 12—20.

Ephesians                     1: 3—14.

John                                1: 10—18.

 

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