Bishop's Page

2 July 2015

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

PLEASE PRAY FOR THE PASTORS OF THE CHURCH – GENERAL PASTORS CONFERENCE

Next week, around 300 Pastors from throughout the LCA in Australia and New Zealand will gather in the historic Adelaide Hills town of Hahndorf for General Pastors' Conference.

Chief amongst the conference considerations will be the matter of Women and the Office of the Public Ministry (the Ordination of Women). It may interest you to know that the General Pastors' Conference has some very important responsibilities with regard to the care of the Church, especially through its General Synod.

From the LCA By-laws we know that General Pastors' Conference must serve as a theological adviser to the General Synod and in fulfilment of such function:

Shall consider those questions, issues and statements of a theological and confessional nature which appear on the agenda of the Convention of the General Synod and are referred to it by the General Church Council;  May voice its opinion with regard to the advisability or non-advisability of dealing with any such question or issue or of adopting a particular statement; and  May recommend amendments, corrections, additions or explanations concerning proposed statements.

The responsibilities are significant, and especially as we work through a matter that has challenged the Church over the last 30 or so years; viz. Women and the Office of the Public Ministry, the prayers of the Church are needed more than ever.

Please pray for us as meet next week and as we seek to love and care for the Church in this matter. Please pray for the Lord's protection and guidance. Please pray that we will know God's will with regard to this matter and that we will be led to give God-pleasing guidance to the Church in its General Synod later this year.

I invite you to pray for me tomorrow as I set aside the day to read again some of material that has been prepared over many years, and as I also seek the Lord's guidance in this matter. Please pray for the other Pastors who are representing the LCNZ: Jim Pietsch (Wellington / Wairarapa), John Davison (Hamilton), and Chris Janetzki (Upper Moutere / Hope), as they also prepare to participate in this important conference.

We pray (using prayers from the Ordination; We're Listening website) –

Lord, Holy Spirit, you have guided and protected the church in every age. As the Pastors of your Church gather now in Conference to further study the question of the ordination of women, direct their discussions and show them God's will. Help everyone to be courteous and kind to one another, even if there is disagreement. Give the Pastors of your Church the strength to resist all temptations to dominate or desert, to control or coerce, but rather guide them and the whole church into the truth in a spirit of love.

Almighty and everlasting God, you want all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the Truth. Grant us your Holy Spirit, so that as we consider and debate various aspects of the Office of the holy Ministry, we may not be a cause of offence to the unbelieving world by our disagreement with each other. Give us love for you and your word which shows itself in love for one another, so that the world may believe in your Son. We pray through Him whom you sent to the world, full of grace and truth, Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

I leave early Monday morning and only return to New Zealand late on the evening of Sunday 12th as the Bishops will be meeting for two days after General Pastors Conference.

PASTOR PHIL SHARES SOME 'STREET NEWS'

FROM HARRISON STREET COMMUNITY CHURCH / ST JOHNS LUTHERAN WHANGANUI

To our Brothers and Sisters who went on the Hikoi (Prayer Walk) at Synod … just a bit of an update on events since the prayer walk.

We had our first community meal for the people of "Our Street" in April and we had about 20 people turn up to the meal. We have a worship service before the meal and I don't expect any of our visitors to come to this Worship Service as it is unfamiliar to many of our community. (So I thought)

We didn't have a meal in May because we were too busy with Synod but you my friends went on a prayer walk and prayed for our community.

Last night we had the second of our community meals and as usual we have a worship service before the meal. We were blessed by 8 people from the community coming to our worship and joining in and singing heartily to the hymns Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer and Blessed Assurance.

I took the time to explain to the church the stages of worship that we go through, e.g. the time of praise, the confession and why we do it … to which the comment was made by one of our guests "it will have to be a f….ing good one if I am to be saved!"

We started to pray and that same person put their head in their hands and began to cry through the whole prayer and the absolution. "I guess it was a good one" thought the pastor and the congregational members who heard him.

We went into the hall to prepare for the 20 that we thought were coming to the meal and in they came. Quick count at 5.30pm put the number at 40 adults and 10 children.

We feed them all by the grace of God and, as you know I like my crumble and the Lord saw fit to allow me one teaspoon of this Lutheran staple. We gathered up the left overs at the end of the night and we had three slices of bread left.

We have 3 families that are making enquiries about our church and we are off to visit them this week. Please keep on praying.

To those that went to the school to pray we begin our breakfast club in the church hall on the 29th July and we have help coming from Christ Church Anglican and Whanganui East Baptist Church. The food will be prepared free of charge by a local café, Mint Café. The children will receive a cooked breakfast and fruit smoothie. Parents get coffee and toast and left overs if there are any.

I thought I would send this via Bishop Mark's update as I do not have your email addresses and I wanted you all to know that your prayers have been and are being answered and we join with you in praising God for you all and the mission of our church.

Greetings and blessings to you all from the people of Harrison Street Community Church –

Pastor Phil Husband

IN THE HEARTLAND – HAWKES BAY

Some wanted me to take things a little easier in the week after Convention and Mum's funeral, but I had a visit planned to the heartland, and I wanted to carry through with it.

It was the right decision!

Indeed, after the busyness and formalities of Convention, it was almost pure bliss to set the cruise control to 100 km/h and to drive the 300+ kilometres to the Hawkes Bay (Napier, Hastings, Clive, Havelock North) on the East Coast of the North Island.

During my time travelling to and from the Hawkes Bay and while I was there over the weekend, I did pastoral visitation … and I loved it … sitting with folks, listening to them, praying with them, sharing the sacrament with them, blessing them in the name of Jesus. Boy, I miss this simple stuff of just being a Pastor with his people.

I met with two key servant-leaders in our congregation there – Bill Groves and Erwin Sonnendecker – and we discussed ways in which we might support and encourage ministry in the Hawkes Bay. That conversation has led to an invitation being extended to Dean Eaton (Mission Facilitator and Church Planting Mentor for the LCA-NZ) to come and visit and work with the saints in the Hawkes Bay later in the year.

God bless you Redeemer Lutheran and St Francis Cooperating Parish. As you seek the will of the Lord, may you hear his voice and by the Spirit's enabling, follow where he leads.

Only two more days to go, I told my wife, Leanne this morning as she left for the old school yard. She's hanging out for the school holidays. I reckon all teachers and students are.

What a wonderful blessing school holidays are; a gift along the lines of God's sabbatical rest … a time for relaxation and refreshment. God bless you teachers and students alike during the next two weeks, and if you're travelling, then travel safe … and don't forget to find a place to gather with others for worship along the way as well.

O God of all beginnings and endings thanks for the gift of this past school term. It has been a time filled with grace and blessing; challenges and opportunities, joys and sorrows. Please give us the rest and refreshment we need during these holidays, and help us return to school with a new spirit and a new energy. Amen.

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.

+ MARK

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