larger map
Corner Nancy Ave & Knowles St
minister [at] stalbansuniting [dot] org [dot] nz (email minister) (03) 385 7545
Send us a message

22 to 28 November 2015

Letter from Hugh

This Sunday we welcome the Rev Nancy Jean Whitehead after the service to talk about my performance as a Presbyterian Minister and as well as those who she sent forms to, she is happy to talk to any members of the congregation.  As for last week it truly was ‘a week of it.’

First thing on Tuesday I was asked to conduct a funeral for someone who for a short time had been a member of the Crossway Congregation.  Joohong was at the Methodist Conference and naturally the family needed to plan the service which was on Thursday.  As usual I helped with Movement and Music and at mid-day I attended the launch of the combined Presbyterian Church/Presbyterian Support booklet on Justice and Action. We really must have a group look at it in the new year.  As part of the presentation a chime rang out every six minutes to remind us that the police receive a call every six minutes relating to family violence.  Vaughn Milner spoke of his career in social work, both for the government and for Presbyterian Support, and told us of a family he had contact with over three generations of poverty driven dysfunction.  We then had to talk in groups about the steps we might take in our churches to address issues of justice and action.  We then had to write a goal on a letter to ourselves that Support will post to us in six months.  As we left the room for lunch we were given a lunch ticket that designated us haves or have notes and given lunch accordingly.  An interesting aside was that the presenter used to work in Health Benefits with my daughter in law and asked to be remembered to her.  That once again demonstrated how we are all threads in a weaving of a common humanity. 

On Tuesday afternoon I met with a family member about the funeral and in the evening I attended our FPAC meeting, followed by a late night writing a funeral service. 

Wednesday was Bible Study, followed by a meeting and walk through the new complex, and the Cashmere Settlement Board meeting in the evening.  Thursday morning was the funeral followed by the Regional Forum meeting and a Men’s Shed meeting late afternoon.  At the time of writing it certainly looked like another late night preparing worship.

On Friday Liz and I have a planning meeting scheduled in the morning and we have the Movie and Pizza night in the evening. 

It has been a very busy week of meetings and people, in fact meeting include people and are often about people.  So as we celebrate the Realm of Christ it is worth remembering that the divine ream is brought into being by people meeting people.                                                                                                   Hugh Perry

Parish diary and news

Parish Council in November: Wednesday,25 at 7.30 pm is the next meeting date.  The agenda and reports are available now. A report of the meeting will be given in next week’s bulletin.

Parish Luncheon: Sunday, 29 November at noon. The place is Chateau-on-the-Park. Put your name on Jennifer’s list today if you want to be there!

Christmas Appeal Concert: Sunday 29 November, 7pm Knox Church, Bealey Avenue. Admission is by koha, which goes to the Christmas Appeal. This year is Christian World Service's 70th Christmas Appeal.        To mark the occasion and raise some extra funds at this critical time of need, a Christmas Appeal Concert will be held. The programme is provided by the Christchurch Concert Band with some great supporting items as well. Join us for a relaxed, informal and fun hour, featuring light classics, music from stage and film, jazz, Latin, and singalong carols. All welcome!

Support a Family: The Christchurch Methodist Mission (CMM) is again promoting Support a Family at Christmas Time and St Albans Uniting will again take part. Special envelopes are available at the back of Studio 131.

Christian World Service Christmas Appeal

The appeal period is from the beginning of Advent.

Advent commences next Sunday, 29 November. Once again special envelopes will be available for making donation and bulletins will feature the special features of the season. There are also leaflets featuring the Gifted range of gifts you may like to consider as part of your generosity at this time of the year. This is another service provided by C.W.S.

Minister’s Professional Review

Today! Rev Nancy Jean Whitehead, who is conducting the three year review of Hugh’s ministry, would like to meet with those who filled in forms, and anyone else who wishes to contribute, during the cup of tea time after church on Sunday, 22 November 2015.

Door Knocking Volunteers Still Needed

We are taking part in the post-earthquake door knocking campaign organised by St Christopher’s Anglican Church.  The campaign has moved all over the city and is now in our area and we are invited to assist. Each volunteer will partner a person from St Christopher’s who has done this before and will be the leader. The purpose of the campaign is just to check the ‘wellness’ of people following the earthquakes and to offer advice if needed.

The dates are 24 to 26 November and 1 to 3 December, from 9.15 am to 1 pm. Anyone who can help please contact the minister ASAP so he can pass your contact details to the Coordinator at St Christopher’s.

White Ribbon Day

Wednesday, 25 November is the international day when people wear a white ribbon to show that they do not condone violence towards women. This year the 2015 theme is respectful relationships between men and women. For more information go to :

Christchurch Methodist Mission

A letter of thanks from the CMM for our support of the mission’s work over the past year and the 2015 annual report, may be read at the back of Studio 131

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.

Rebuild report

We have a most of the roof, with only the ‘sky-light’ that runs the length of the building still to be installed. The inside maze of timber walls continues to expand and building paper along the eastern side makes spotting changes from the parish office not so easy now. Photographs may not simplify the extent of progress, either, but it is still a buzz of activity throughout the day. The next big visible stage will be the exterior walls. More news on that when it begins to happen.

Climate change conference—Paris. 30 November to 11 December 2015.

Recent events in Paris may have diverted attention from this important conference. We reported in the bulletin for 8 November that the Public Issues Network of the Methodist Church had called for solidarity on its submission to the conference through the W.C.C. Here follows that notice, with minor amendments.

The Methodist Public Issues Network has prepared a paper representing the New Zealand Methodist Church, to be sent to the World Council of Churches as part of a world wide support of churches on this topic and will be presented at the international conference on climate change at the end of this month until 11 December. Parishes were asked to give or withhold their support for the PIN paper. The Parish Council agreed with the PIN paper and we have given PIN our support. (Main source PIN)

From Church and Society: Join us on the road to Paris

From 30th November to 11th December Paris will host the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference. At the Paris summit 196 countries will meet to sign a new climate change agreement. But how likely is it that it will be meaningful and make a difference to climate action on the ground?

What does climate change mean to us as a people of faith? What do the Biblical texts say about us being caretakers and good stewards? What does it mean when people who worship Creator God then destroy, abuse and devalue the created itself?

The weekend before the Conference in Paris, (Sat 28th Nov) there is a Christchurch Climate March leaving from Victoria Square at 12:30pm.
What message would the Christian Church send if we were to be part of it? What message does it send if we are not?

Information on the outcome of the marches will be reported when it becomes known.

(From Alpine Presbytery Newsletter, 11 November 2015. Edited, B.B.)

Further information is at—

Bible study

Here are some notes, and questions you may try out for yourself, on the lessons from the lectionary for today. The Bible Study Group had a tussle with the questions on Wednesday last. What do you think about the readings?

2 Samuel 23: 1-7

This poem is labelled the last words of David and portrays David as the mediator of God. And the relationship between God and David's household is seen as a covenant which legitimises the Davidic dynasty.

What is important to note is that the poem is followed by a list of David's warriors which shows that David and his reign owes a lot to other people and not even confidence in God can allow David to forget the strength and loyalty of those who have supported him.1

Not only is divine providence most apparent in hindsight but it often is worked out through people we encounter and people we depend on. The challenge is to expect divine providence and to appreciate the contribution others make to our journey.

John 18: 33-37

Raymond Brown points out that John omits an account of the interrogation of Jesus before the Sanhedrin under Caiaphas and so the Roman judicial process becomes the trial of Jesus. Among Brown's suggested reasons for this Roman emphasis is that John wanted to portray Jesus in direct conflict with Rome with Rome being the secular power that rules by violence and Jesus as symbolic of the religious power of integrity. Another similar suggestion is that Pilate is the representative of the state being asked to decide between the world (the way humans organise themselves through market ideologies, retribution and domination) and the truth (the divine organisation of creation).2

If we accept that the community that produced this gospel also produced the three Johannine epistles and Revelation, with its conflict between the way of Christ and the way of Rome, then these suggestions are consistent with the community's point of view and make a lot of sense.

What also needs to be taken into account is the suggestion that because none of Jesus supporters were witnesses to the trial of Jesus, all the trial narratives have more to do with theology than history. Therefore, in spite of Brown wanting to see this episode as 'a delicate blending of history and theology'3 this episode has much more to do with how the Johannine Community in Ephesus understood the meaning of Jesus and is not a trial transcript from Roman records.

With such an understanding this passage contains a clear statement of Jesus `kingdom of God' project. The divine realm stands in opposition to the Jewish theocracy which handed him over to Rome. The divine realm also stands in opposition to the Roman power that rules by violence. Jesus realm is 'not of this world' the world of theocracy and peace through victory, because, as Jesus states, if my kingdom were from this would, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.'(18:36). Jews in that context mean Jewish authorities and is not a proof text for anti-Semitism, which is simply another expression of 'the kingdoms of the world'. Jesus came, he says,  'to testify to the truth' (18:37) which leaves us as Disciples of Christ, to wrestle with Pilate's question in verse 38 'what is truth'.


How much does leadership depend on the support of others and how often is that acknowledged?

What is the role of discipleship in Jesus' Kingdom of God' project and will truth prevail without our support?

What would you see as expressions of 'the kingdoms of this world' in our present day context?

If the divine realm is an expression of truth, what is truth for us, and what makes the divine realm a reality in our time and place?

References: Maurice Andrew The Old Testament in Aotearoa New Zealand (Wellington: DEFT 1999).

Raymond Brown The Gospel According to John xiii-xxi (London-Dublin : Geoffrey Chapman 1971)

The roster for the next four weeks and the lectionary for each Sunday.

22 November              Rev Hugh Perry

Minister's Steward       Lindsay Evans

Door  Steward             David Monson

Organist                      Dianne Comyns

Morning Tea               Eleanor Monson and Lindsay Evans

Reader                       Angela Hirst

1Samuel                    23: 1—12; Psalm 132: 1—12; Revelations 1: 4b –8; John 18: 33 –37.

29 November              Rev Hugh Perry

Minister's Steward        Bruce Baillie

Door Steward               Ernie French

Organist                      Dianne Comyns

Morning Tea               Averil Cullen and Myra Samuels

Reader                        Bill Pearcy

Jeremiah 33: 14—16; Psalm  25: 1—10; 1 Thessalonians 3: 9—13; Luke 21: 25—36.

6 December                    Rev Hugh Perry

Minister's Steward           Ernie French

Door Steward                   Bruce Baillie

Organist                           Anne Millar

Morning Tea                     Jennifer Delaney and Ellen Howard

Reader                               Ernie French

Malachi   3: 1—4; Luke 1: 68—79; Philippians 1: 3—11; Luke  3: 1—6.

13 December                     Rev Hugh Perry

Minister Steward                 Eleanor Monson

Door Steward                      Bill Delaney

Organist                              Dianne Comyns

Morning Tea                       Jennifer Delaney and  Margaret Angus

Reader                                Lindsay Evans

Zephaniah 3: 14—20 ; Isaiah 12: 2—6; Philippians  4: 4—7; 3: 7—18.



Log In