Kia tau ki a koutou te atawhai me te rangimarie o te Atua
願 父 神 所 賜 的 恩 惠 和 平 安 與 你 們 同 在
Grace and peace to you from God
One of my scripture readings in my devotion yesterday was Revelation 21:1-8. Here are some words I’ve picked out from this reading which, in my opinion, resonate beautifully with the waiting motif of the Advent season we’re about to enter –
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Rev.21:1-5)
Don’t you just love the promise of something better … no more crying or tears, no sadness, no pain … don’t you just love the promise of something new?
We’re about to embark on the short Advent season; a time to look forward to something incredibly wonderful … God coming to be with us (Immanuel) so that we can he his people and so that he can be our God. It’s the time to eagerly await the birth of the One who makes all those promises listed above possible and real for us … Jesus (the one who saves) from sin, death, sadness, pain … Jesus, the One, who by his birth, his death and resurrection makes all things new again … for you, for me … for everyone … forever!
O come, O come, Immanuel …
LCA GENERAL CONVENTION OF SYNOD / LCNZ DISTRICT CONVENTION
In the last week I have sent notice of two important events in the life of the Church for 2015 to all Pastors and congregational leaders (where there is no Pastor); the General Convention of Synod of the LCA, and our own LCNZ District Convention.
Please read this letter carefully and take note of the information contained in it, and make plans to prepare appropriately for these events. Here is the check-list I included in this letter –
⎕ Elect and register delegates for General Convention of Synod in Brisbane (29th Sept – 4th Oct 2015)
⎕ Ensure that delegates can attend the Delegate Training days
⎕ Invite your congregation to prayer in 2015 and especially in the lead-up to General Synod
⎕ Make yourself and your congregation aware of the resources available on the Ordination website
⎕ Ensure that the members of your congregation are given an opportunity to study the ordination issues (again)
⎕ Elect and register delegates for the LCNZ District Convention in Whanganui (23rd – 24th May 2015)
⎕ Send remits, reports and financial statements to the District Administrator by 27th March 2015
MARJON CONCLUDES MINISTRY AT MOUNTAINSIDE
Last Friday, Marjon Gerson completed 3½ years of ministry as a Family, Youth and Community Worker at Mountainside Lutheran Church in Auckland. Marjon wrote in her resignation letter –
I have enjoyed my journey for over 3.5 years at Mountainside and I’m grateful for all the wonderful people I met and opportunities I had to serve the church. I wish you all God’s blessings with the work you do!
Marjon will now work in a Retirement Home close to where she lives with her family.
Thank you, Marjon for your loving service in and amongst the congregation and community at Mt Wellington, as well as your valuable contributions as one of the Church Worker team in the LCNZ. I have certainly appreciated your input and participation at CWC level over the years.
We thank God for your servant heart and for 3½ years of ministry at Mountainside, and we thank God also that he has led you to find new employment and direction for serving. Every blessing as you transition from one vocation to another.
VICAR / PASTOR JASWANTH
This coming Sunday, Vicar Jaswanth Kukatlapalli will conclude the vicarage component of his preparation for the ordained ministry. On the following Sunday (7th December) at the Chapel of Concordia College in Adelaide (and probably in 35deg+ heat!!), Jaswanth will be ordained, along with five other graduates, as a Pastor of the Lutheran Church of Australia and New Zealand.
I have had the privilege of knowing Jaswanth and sharing part of his ministry journey since the time that he, together with his family – Johnson (father), Anuja (mother) and Jabin (brother) became members of St Pauls in Wellington. It was a real joy to see Jaswanth respond to the Lord’s call on his life to go to Australian Lutheran College to continue theological studies (he had already completed studies in Auckland) in order to be formed as a Lutheran Pastor.
I have also had the joy of meeting up with Jaswanth on many occasions during my regular visits to Adelaide, where we’ve shared a cider and meal of Lemon Pepper Squid at the Welly, and when we’ve talked together about the wonderful thing that God has been doing in Jaswanth’s life.
The next few days, weeks and months are going to be exciting ones for Jaswanth, so I invite you all to keep him in your prayers … as he completes vicarage, goes to Adelaide next week to graduate and then to be ordained, and then prepares to take up his first call – to the Wodonga Parish in northern Victoria early next year.
LCANZ CHURCH PLANTING MENTOR VISITS LCNZ
Two weeks ago, Dean Eaton, the LCANZ’s Church Planting Mentor and I visited various locations in the LCNZ so that we could check out the potential for future church planting here. We visited Christchurch, Palmerston North, Whanganui and Auckland.
The LCNZ, as part of the LCANZ has been invited to become part of the Board for Local Mission’s (BLMiss) vision to plant 30 new churches throughout the LCANZ over the next 10 years.
Dean met with the Council of Synod and has prepared a report along with some proposals for how we might explore these exciting possibilities in the future. COS received Dean’s presentation with enthusiasm … and so now … where to from here? Let’s do something … O come, O come, Immanuel!
BISHOP JOHN VISITS
LCANZ Bishop, John Henderson also visited the LCNZ briefly a couple of weeks ago. John shared an evening meal with members of COS and then spent some time in our meeting on the Saturday morning. It was great to welcome our Bishop to NZ, and we look forward to many more visits over the coming years.
Check out the story on Kawerau’s 50th – www.lca.org.au/kawerau-precious-every-one-of-you.html
MĀNAWATANGA / BLESSING
Kia tau ki a tātou katoa Te atawhai o tō tātou Ariki, a Ihu Karaiti Me te aroha o te Atua Me te whiwhingatahitanga Ki te wairua tapu Ake, ake, ake Amine
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all Forever and ever Amen
Kia noho a Ihowa ki a koutou; the Lord be with you.
Pastor Mark Whitfield BTh MSM
Bishop of the Lutheran Church of New Zealand / Pihopa o te Hāhi Rūtana o Aotearoa