ONE YEAR LATER – REMEMBERING MARCH 15th

A prayer for worship March 15th 2020

Praying with and for each other.
From "Earthly Mission" website


Like the assassination of President Kennedy,
the first landing on the Moon,
9-11,
or the death of Princess Diana
we will always remember where we were when we heard
those first reports a gunman,
a mosque,
two mosques,
we will always remember that dark afternoon,
that fearful evening
as the death toll mounted.
How often had we heard of such events
in other places and felt just a little smug?
It could never happen here,
but it did, and there is no shred of comfort
that the gunman was a foreigner,
he could not have done this
without a network, support,
one year ago today 51 people died, 49 were injured
and almost 5 million people lost the illusion of our innocence.

Let us sit with our thoughts, feelings and memories

(Two minutes silence is observed)

To those who mourn, grant consolation,
to those who are fearful, bring peace,
to those who challenge hatred and intolerance grant courage and resilience,
may their cause be ours
Amen

Rev. David Poultney
Used with permission

Some Resources for 2020

I would like to suggest that Calendars (well, the right calendars) are a valuable but often overlooked resource

As we draw towards the end of another year, those of us that like to plan ahead start thinking about what resources we might need to support our calling as preachers in the coming year.  Of course, the problem is not that there is a paucity of choices – quite the opposite, in fact, ranging from comprehensive resource manuals such as the Abingdon Manuals through to simple Lectionary listings.

I would like to suggest that Calendars (well, the right calendars) are a valuable but often overlooked resource.  Think about it – calendars are positioned in conspicuous places, are constantly glanced at and can take advantage of that fact to gently encourage one to think about the themes and messages that the calendar promotes.  Here are a couple of options that lay preachers may like to consider.

The Climate Justice CalendarPRL191028 CJWG 2020 Calendar FrntCover

The Methodist Church of NZ last year created a Climate Justice Working Group to work nationally to support parishes and other church bodies to respond to the current Climate Emergency.  There are a number of elements to the group’s mandate, one of which is providing education and awareness resources.  They have published a 2020 Calendar as the first step to this end.PRL191028 CJWG 2020 Calendar BackCover

The end result is an A3 portrait calendar, produced on Forestry

Council Certified matt satin light card and (where available) printed with entirely vegetable-based dyes.  The calendar features stunning images and graphics contributed by members from throughout the Methodist Church community.

Each month of the calendar focuses on one aspect of climate change and climate justice.  It provides theological perspectives and practical actions on 12 climate issues facing Aotearoa NZ today.  The themes are based on reflections written for the calendar by Dr George Zachariah, lecturer in Biblical Studies at Trinity Methodist Theological College.  These reflections are combined with Practical Actions to address the issues relating to the months’ theme, for individuals, families and congregations to consider and adopt during the year.

Of specific relevance to lay-preachers, the calendar provides the Lectionary Reference & Liturgical Colour for each Sunday and special days from the 1992 Common Lectionary Revised as published by the MCNZ and the PCANZ.  Also, a Collect or Prayer has been written for each month and the Climate Justice Working Group encourages all congregations to consider using these regularly in their worship throughout the year.

The Religious Diversity CalendarRDC FrntCover

A second calendar that lay preachers may find helpful is the Religious Diversity Centre’s 2020 Calendar.

The goal of the Religious Diversity Centre is to foster appreciation, understanding and deeper relationships among the religious, spiritual and secular communities in Aotearoa New Zealand.  This will ensure that New Zealand is an inclusive and safe society, where understanding and respect can lead us to a productive future in diversity

The calendar promotes that appreciation RDC BackCoverand understanding by including dates for Bahá’í, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Māori, Muslim, Sikh, and Zoroastrian celebrations and commemorations. They have also added New Zealand holidays and commemorations, moon phases, solstice and equinox dates, and astrological dates.  The 2020 calendar includes photos depicting the wide variety of faith and belief groups in Aotearoa New Zealand, all taken by local photographers.

How to get a copy.

The Climate Justice Calendar

The Climate Justice Calendar should be available from any Methodist congregation, or you can email either peter.lane@sdcs.co.nz or marion.hines@xtra.co.nz to order a copy.

Calendars are available in English, Samoan, Tongan and Fijian.  Please specify what languages are required when ordering, together with a postal address for delivery.

Calendars may be purchased at $20 each including P&P.  Bulk orders for 10 or more delivered to one NZ address will attract a discount.  Payment can be made by cheque or internet banking – details will be provided at the time of ordering.

A donation will be made from the proceeds of sales will be made for solar panels in a Methodist Solomon Islands project, through MCNZ’s Mission and Ecumenical division.

The Religious Diversity Calendar

The Religious Diversity Calendar can be ordered by emailing the centre administrator, bex@rdc.org.nz.

The cost is $15 each, plus $5 P&P for up to five copies, or plus $10 P&P for up to ten copies.  Payment can be made by cheque or by internet banking – details will be provided at the time of ordering.

(PS: in the interests of full disclosure, I am a member of the Climate Justice Working Group and was part of the group that put it together.)

Prayers from the New Zealand Hymnwriters

John Thornley, Palmerston North, led the second Advent service at Wesley Broadway on 10 December 2018. Theme focus: Peace.

Each of the four Advent services focused on one country as a recipient of CWS aid, and John’s country was Palestine. John’s chosen theme: ‘No peace without justice/No justice without peace’. Three of the carols chosen were texts by Shirley Erena Murray – Peace Child, Dream a Dream, and All Over Creation.

In the whole service there was a continual linking of the Christmas story 2000 years ago, and the realities of peace/justice issues in 2018. A fourth hymn text – ‘God Weeps’ – was adapted as a response prayer, described not as ‘Confession and Assurance’ but ‘Confession and Commitment’:

Leader: God weeps
at love withheld,
at strength misused,
at children’s innocence abused
All: and till we change the way we love
God weeps.

Leader: God bleeds
at anger’s fist,
at trust betrayed,
at women battered and afraid,
All: and till we change the way we win,
God bleed.

Leader: God cries
at hungry mouths,
at running sores,
at creatures dying without cause,
All: and till we change the way we care
God cries.

Leader: God waits
for stones to melt,
for peace to seed,
for hearts to hold each other’s need,
All: and till we understand the Christ.
God waits.

[Used by permission]

John says, ‘There are many hymn texts in the four NZ hymnbooktrustlogocollections  published by the New Zealand Hymnbook Trust that find a place in worship as prayers/ reflections.’

To order the books: Website: www.hymns.org.nz
Or email Philip Garside Publishing Limited, Christian mail order specialists.

Wesley Broadway Methodist Church – podcasts on Access Internet Radio

Recent Access Radio programmes, available via the On Demand Service

Length of each show: approx  30 minutes

To access:  Go to Access Internet Radio, type ‘Wesley Methodist’ in the Programme Box at left top,  and then click on ‘Wesley Methodist Host John Thornley’

12 September: Humour in the hymns of Colin Gibson

29 August: Ariana Tikao, Maori woman musicican

15 August: Bek Coogan, Wellington International Ukelele Orchestra

1 August: No Peace without Justice, No Justice without Peace.

20 June: Natalie Yeoman Yule, Presbyterian singer/songwriter

5 June: Hymns for Pentecost

23 May: Dave Dobbyn

4 April: Hymns for Easter

All enquiries to:  John Thornley 
Or:  62A Albert St, Palmerston North 4414