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
This time next week many members of the church will be packing their bags, catching planes, thumbing a ride, heading up or down State Highway 3 … on their way to the River City, Whanganui for the District Convention of the Lutheran Church of New Zealand.
Unfortunately, His Royal Highness Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales (Prince Harry) got the dates a wee bit wrong and turned up in Whanganui this last week, so the ‘royalty’ at our Convention will actually be you … and there’s nothing at all wrong with that … for you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood (there you go – royalty!), a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9).
We are gathering under an invitational theme – Holy Spirit, you are welcome here; fill us with God’s love, and our theme song goes like this –
Wairua Tapu, Kuhu Mai Holy Spirit, welcome
Nau mai ki konei You are welcome here
Wairua Tapu Arahia Guide us, Holy Spirit
Korero mai ano Speak to us again
Why would we invite the Holy Spirit to be present at our Convention? Why would we invite the Holy Spirit to make itself welcome in our Church … in our gatherings, our worship, our ministry, our service? Why would we ask the Spirit to fill us with God’s love and to speak to us again?
Here are some pretty good answers to those questions -
- Because the Holy Spirit will lead us into the truth about God’s love for us in Jesus Christ. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth (John 16:13).
- Because the Holy Spirit will bring life to the Church and its people. I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live (Ezekiel 37:14).
- Because the Holy Spirit will make all things new. When you send forth your spirit, you renew the face of the earth (Psalm 104:30).
- Because the Holy Spirit calls me to Jesus (Explanation to the Third Article of the Apostles’ Creed).
- Because the Holy Spirit enlightens me with his gifts, makes me holy and keeps me in the faith (Explanation to the Third Article of the Apostles’ Creed).
- Because the Holy Spirit calls, gathers, enlightens, makes the whole Church holy and keeps it safe with Jesus Christ (Explanation to the Third Article of the Apostles’ Creed).
My prayer is that as we gather as Church in Convention, that the Spirit of God will stir in us a deep passion and desire to be more and more like Jesus; people of love and grace, people of mercy and justice and hope, people with a heart to share God’s love with anyone and everyone.
GUESTS AT CONVENTION
Included in the guest list at our Convention (minus Prince Harry) are the following people –
- LCA Bishop, Rev John Henderson
- Secretary of the Church, Rev Neville Otto LCA
- Executive Officer, Peter Schirmer
- LCA Professional Standards Unit Director, Liz Crawford
- LCA Business Manager, Debbie Venz
- LCA Board for Mission Director, Glenice Hartwich
- LCA Communications Coordinator, Linda McQueen
We also hope to welcome a number of representatives from other churches in Whanganui, and maybe even the Mayor and the MP for Whanganui.
ONE CONVENTION; TWO VENUES
Our hosts for the weekend are the saints of Harrison Street Community Church (St Johns Lutheran). We will hold our Opening Worship Service at the church on the corner of Harrison and Liverpool Street at 9.30am on Saturday morning. Our Convention Worship with Holy Communion at 9.30am on Sunday morning will also take place at the church. All other sessions, devotions and the Convention Dinner will be held at the Kingsgate Hotel in Victoria Avenue.
After the Opening Service, we will participate in a short Hikoi (March) of Prayer from the church to the Kingsgate in order to pray for the ministry location and opportunity that our sisters and brothers at HSCC serve.
CONVENTION OFFERING - NEPAL
Please come prepared to make an offering to assist Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS) in their ministry of love to those affected by the earthquakes that have struck Nepal. The ALWS team are already working in some of the hardest hit areas. ALWS has staff and infrastructure ready to give immediate help. Through this offering we will also support an Emergency Response Hub in Kathmandu operated by ALWS.
WAIRUA TAPU - SING THE SONG
I have invited all LCNZ congregations to sing the waiata, Wairua Tapu kuhu mai(Holy Spirit, welcome) in their worship next weekend. I invite you to do this with a real sense that you are praying alongside those of us who gather in Whanganui for an outpouring of the Spirit in every part of the Church and in every heart of those who belong to the Lord.
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
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.
Pastor Mark Whitfield BTh MSM
Bishop of the Lutheran Church of New Zealand / Pīhopa o te Hāhi Rūtana o Aotearoa