Bishop's Page

22nd August 2014

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

HOW WONDERFUL; HOW BEAUTIFUL ... UNITY

Transient

One of the psalms set down for last Sunday was Psalm 133 with these beautiful words of unity and harmony and love –

How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along! It’s like costly anointing oil flowing down head and beard, flowing down Aaron’s beard, flowing down the collar of his priestly robes. It’s like the dew on Mount Hermon flowing down the slopes of Zion. Yes, that’s where God commands the blessing, ordains eternal life. (Psalm 133 The Message)

I had these words ringing in my ears and heart as I travelled to the Bay of Plenty to visit the brothers and sisters there last weekend. I had these words of unity ringing in my heart as I met with representatives of the Whakatane Māori Pastorate (Presbyterian Church) and with some members from the Lutheran church in Whakatane on Saturday morning, as we introduced ourselves to each other and started a gentle conversation of how we might share life, worship and ministry together.

On Sunday morning, the opening words of this psalm once again came into their own, as Lutherans from Whakatane and Lutherans (and Methodists too) from Kawerau filled most of the 30+ seats at the Whakatane Church for worship. Instead of worshipping as two small groups – six in one place and half a dozen in another – we came together. It was wonderful; it was beautiful. There was a real buzz to worship and we had fun being together; not to mention how pleasant it must have been to God.

Lord God of unity and harmony and love, thank you that the brothers and sisters of Kawerau and Whakatane can get along … Lutherans and Methodists together, and Lord, we pray for your blessing as we explore getting along with our Presbyterian brothers and sisters, all for the sake of the gospel. Amen.

CLOSE OF TAURANGA LUTHERAN FELLOWSHIP

I’m no good with big crowds, but I reckon between 15 and 20 people gathered at the home of Carol and Leon Jurgens in Tauranga last Sunday (17th August) to formally close Tauranga Lutheran Fellowship. Despite a tinge of sadness surrounding the occasion (I found it just as hard to utter the closing words for this young Fellowship as I did for 138-year old Halcombe just over a year ago), we celebrated with the words of Psalm 8:4-5 that our God is mindful of us and that he will care for us into the future. We sang ‘How Great Thou Art’, prayed together, reminisced together, gathered at the Lord’s Table together, and then enjoyed the fellowship of brothers and sisters together united in Christ.

Lord God, thank you for your ministry to your saints at Tauranga Lutheran Fellowship over the last few years. Be mindful of and care for these people as they find new church homes where they can be nurtured in their faith and encouraged in lives of love and service to you and to others. Amen.

PERSONAL PEACE-MAKING AND CONFLICT COACHING – A LIFE-CHANGING EVENT – BOTANY (2-4 October)

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This 2+ day training event builds on the introductory peace-making seminars conducted by Rev Bruce Zagel. This training takes the basic steps of personal peace-making and applies them to daily life situations. You’ll learn and practise ways to apply your Christian faith in family, business, church, and legal conflicts. You’ll learn how to coach others into peace-making approaches.

Since all children of God are called to be peacemakers, this training is appropriate for every Christian. Church leaders who have responsibilities for teaching and assisting others in their conflicts will find this training especially helpful for assisting others to respond to conflict in a biblically faithful manner.

  • Where: Botany Lutheran Church 150C Harris Road, East Tamaki
  • When: 2 October 2014 7:00 pm to 9.00 pm 3 October 2014 8:30 am to 5.30 pm 4 October 2014 8:30 am to 5.30 pm
  • Cost: Training $175.00 plus meals ($15 / day) = $205.00
  • Some LLL assistance may be available for participants

For more information or to receive a registration form, contact:

NEW PRESIDENT FOR LCNZ LLL

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At its recent meeting, the LLL Board elected Marg Gust from Marton as its President. Please pray for God’s blessing on this Board and as Marg leads.


KAWERAU 50th ANNIVERSARY OF THE CHURCH BUILDING

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The 50th Anniversary of the church building at Kawerau Lutheran Church will be celebrated on Sunday 19th October with a Service with Holy Communion at 10.30am. Guest preacher will be Assistant Bishop John Davison. A light catered lunch will follow.

Past and present members and friends of the congregation are warmly invited. 

Please RSVP by Monday 6th October to Erik Rohde, 07 3228365, or rohde@clear.net.nz.

The church is on the corner of River Road and Ward Street, Kawerau.

COLLEGE OF BISHOPS / GENERAL CHURCH COUNCIL (GCC)

Last week I attended a face-to-face College of Bishops’ meeting in Adelaide. I simply report here what LCA-NZ Bishop, John Henderson wrote in his latest Heartland eNews (I’m sure he won’t mind) –

Between 11th and 15th August the College of Bishops were involved in:

  • Interviewing final year pastoral theology students.
  • Debriefing with second year out pastors as part of the Graduate Pastor Program.
  • A full day’s discussion preparing for the 2015 General Pastors Conference and General Convention of Synod.
  • A solid day’s meeting on the oversight of the pastoral ministry and other affairs of the church, with visitors from the School of Pastoral Theology, LCA Communications, Reconciliation Ministry, and the Board for Local Mission.

From GCC:

  • The College of Bishops has expressed the preference that the ‘ordination’ matter which has been under discussion in the LCA for some time, and which is a major matter for the next Convention, be officially termed, “Women and the Call to the Office of the Public Ministry”. While this is a bit of a mouthful, it is an accurate representation of the wording used by the LCA at its formation, as in the Theses of Agreement VI.11.
  • District Bishops will be motivating and equipping dialogues in local places and zones on “Women and the Call to the Office of the Public Ministry.”
  • The General Church Council decided to reinstate the Secretary of the Church as a full time position, reverting to the arrangement envisaged in the LCA Constitution. Secretary of the Church is a pastoral role which supports my office and the College of Bishops. Effectively this change means de-linking the position from that of Mission Director from the beginning of 2015. Official notice will be given of this, and the LCA call process adopted for both positions.

SPICE RETREAT

Transient

Thee wives of LCNZ pastors are meeting for their annual Spice Retreat in Wellington this weekend.

Spice = plural of Spouse

Unfortunately this year there will only be a small group of Spice meeting with retreat facilitator, Pauline Simonsen at the Home of Compassion in Island Bay.  

Can I ask you to thank God for the wives of the pastors of the LCNZ -

  • Julie (wife of Pastor Joe, Mountainside, Auckland)
  • Diane (wife of Pastor John, Hamilton)
  • Lynda (wife of Pastor Phil, Whanganui)
  • Leanne (wife of Bishop Mark, Wellington)
  • Haidee (wife of Pastor Chris, Upper Moutere/Hope)
  • Meg (wife of Specific Ministry Pastor Ahi, Christchurch)

The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’ (Genesis 2:18)

Thank you Lord God for your gift to us of pastor's wives.  Thank you for the partnership in your ministry that you enable them to share with us.  Watch over them and keep them safe, and give them joy in the calling you have placed on their lives.  Amen.

THANKS!

Transient

There’s a reason why you haven’t had an update from me for a while. Since I last wrote, I’ve spent a night in hospital (unexpectedly), and I’ve been on two week’s Medical Leave. I’ve had extremely high blood pressure through most of this year, but I’m glad to say that with medication it seems to be under control. Thank you to everyone who expressed their love for me and our family during this time, through cards, emails, texts, Facebook messages, flowers, phone calls etc.

Sadly, due to Medical Leave, I missed two important events in Brisbane – the Chinese Ministry Conference and a meeting of the Mission Directors, but I got plenty of emails to make sure that I’d missed nothing too much.

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

May 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.


+MARK

Pastor Mark Whitfield BTh MSM Bishop of the Lutheran Church of New Zealand / Pihopa o te Hāhi Rūtana o Aotearoa

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