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
HAPPY NEW YEAR
I’m not sure what you’ve been up to since I last wrote just before Christmas. Whatever you’ve been doing, wherever you’ve been, I trust that you had time to soak up the glorious gospel of God’s incarnation at special Christmas worship services and with family and friends. Maybe you’ve also had time to relax and be refreshed a little during the New Year period … at a bach on the coast, on holiday in a place you’ve never been before, sometime in the garden or with that new book you got from Christmas, in front of the TV for the Boxing Day Test, lazy evening BBQ dinners with friends on the back deck … or maybe you worked right through, but at a more leisurely pace.
Whatever you’ve been doing and wherever you’re being, may the Spirit of Jesus stir in you excitement and energy as you contemplate the way God plans to use you for his wonderful purposes in this New Year.
PLANNING FOR THE YEAR IS UNDERWAY
I’ve already spoken with most of our pastors and some of the lay-leaders throughout the LCNZ since the new year has begun, and I also get a sense from these conversations that local congregations are gearing up for the year ahead … AGMs, planning days, visioning days etc. My own congregation (St Pauls Wellington) is having its Planning Day tomorrow after worship. So, if that’s what’s happening for you then I pray blessings as you seek God’s will with regard to participating in His wonderful mission of love to the world.
The Council of Synod (COS) Exec has already met via teleconference this year and other District committees and teams are preparing for their first meetings, all with a view to supporting the Church in the mission it has been called to. These are the meetings coming up that I invite you to pray for: Lutheran Support Ministry LSM (31.01), COS (13-14.02), College of Bishops (16-18.02), LLL (07.03). There has even been one meeting to start planning for events in 2017 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Stay tuned; it’s exciting!!
A BIG YEAR AHEAD
It’s a big year ahead too. Will this be the year of the Hurricanes? Surely, my team will move from being the best team on paper to being the best team on the paddock!
Quite apart from the Hurricanes (and the Cricket and Netball and Rugby World Cups), our Church – the Lutheran Church of Australia and New Zealand – will meet in General Synod in Brisbane in September / October, and amongst the many matters to be discussed will be the matter of Women in the Public Ministry (Ordination of Women). There is a separate General Pastors’ Conference in Hahndorf (South Australia) in July. And of course, we have our own District Convention of Synod at Harrison Street Community Church (St John’s Lutheran) in Whanganui towards the end of May.
Can I please remind you that registration of delegates for both General Synod and District Convention are due by the end of this month? (Please refer to my letter to all congregations dated 21st November 2014) for more details).
Six years ago, Ensemble Nobiles visited New Zealand and performed a concert at St Pauls Wellington and sang for morning worship there as well. They’re coming back again in March to perform a concert with the Anglican Cathedral Choir and to sing for worship at St Pauls, and then to perform in other places in New Zealand. The five young men who make up Ensemble Nobiles met each other during their nine-year education in fine arts as members of the St. Thomas Boys Choir Leipzig (this is Johann Sebastian Bach’s choir and church). Their repertoire ranges from late medieval mass songs to modern age works.
- Saturday 21st March at 7.00pm – Concert with the Choir of Wellington Cathedral of St Paul
- Sunday 22nd March at 10.00am – Singing for Morning Worship at St Pauls Lutheran Church, Wellington
- Sunday 22nd March at 8.00pm – Concert at St Andrews in the City, Palmerston North
- Tuesday 24th March at 7.00pm – Concert at St Lukes Presbyterian Church, Remuera, Auckland
IN OUR PRAYERS
- That as the New Year begins we would open ourselves to be led in life and ministry where the Spirit of God wants to lead us
- And for a willingness to be led in those Godly directions
- For our committees and teams as they plan ways to support God’s mission through His Church
- For drought relief throughout New Zealand – especially for farmers
- For those dealing with tragedy and difficult situations – especially for the family of the young child who died in the grounds at Whanganui Hospital
- For the planning of the big events during the year – General Pastors’ Conference, General Synod and District Convention
Almighty and eternal God, we thank you for all the good things you have given us in the past year. Let the New Year also be filled with your blessings. We ask this through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 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.
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 / Pīhopa o te Hāhi Rūtana o Aotearoa