Bishop's Page

1 September 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

HEARERS OF THE WORD ... via MEDIA

One of the verses in the second reading for worship yesterday has something to say to us about hearing and doing the word (James 1:22). The main message here is that it really doesn’t do anyone much good – ourselves, others – if we spend lots of time listening, reading and hearing the word of God, which is a word of God’s incredible love for all people, but never put it into deeds of actually loving others. We’ve got to walk the talk in other words; lift the love out of the page and allow our lives to become that in which God’s love comes to life.

Last Friday afternoon, I went to what I expected to be a 20-30 minute meeting at Newstalk ZB in Auckland with Pastor Richard Fox, Director of Lutheran Media for the LCA. We met with the Account Manager of NZ.ME to continue discussions that are leading to the likelihood of the gospel being shared with thousands on two of NZ.ME’s prime-time radio stations, Newstalk ZB and The Hits.

Since February this year, thanks to the Holy Spirit and some fantastic work by Pastor Richard, we’ve had an amazing response from NZ.ME to our approach to share the good news of Jesus Christ and his message of hope through radio and internet media with the people of New Zealand. They want the Lutheran Church and our message of God’s love on their network.

The plan is to use the resources of the media ministry conducted in Australia called Face to Face, and to modify it for Kiwi hearers (of the Word), and to develop a support / reference network here in New Zealand, most likely in Auckland, to work with any responses, contacts and opportunities that might come as a result of this ministry.

We know that there are many in this world (in our nation) who need to hear the message of hope that Jesus brings. We know that it is God’s heart that many would be hearers of his Word of love and come to fullness of life in him.

Hearers? Doers? Pray that many would hear Jesus speak God’s love into their lives, and pray that we would be practitioners (doers) of God’s love as we respond to and welcome any who might come as a result of this ministry to our places of faith and worship, to find out more.

ATTEMPTING TO IMPROVE COMMUNICATION IN THE LCNZ

This edition of my Bishop’s Page is made up in some part from the contributions from you people out in Church / congregational land. In an attempt to share more of what God is doing throughout the LCNZ, each month as I prepare to write this update I will write to all congregations and committees and invite them to send me news to be shared. There’s no guarantee that I will be able to fit everything in that I receive, so don’t be disappointed if your news doesn’t make it one month; I’ll try and make sure something is regularly shared from each part of the church.

I have also asked all congregations and pastors to send me your email addresses (with your permission of course) so that we can add you to this mailing list. Welcome to those of you who are receiving this update for the first time.

We don’t want you to miss out on the good things God is doing throughout the LCNZ; we want you to be hearers of the active and doing word too!

GROW MINISTRIES

In November this year a team from GROW ministries (Child, Youth, Family ministries of LCA) will be visiting NZ as part of their ministry of resourcing the congregations of the LCA.

They are offering a weekend seminar on 20-22 November, and St Paul’s Wellington has offered to host.

Pastor Jim from Wellington is asking two things:

  1. Can you please ensure that all in your congregation who are involved in children’s ministry know about this event including the date, and are encouraged to make plans to attend?
  2. Could you also provide some information back to Pastor Jim (pastorjim@clear.net.nz or at 04 3857087) within the next 2 weeks, about children’s ministry in your congregation so that he can pass it on to GROW to help them in their planning (see below)?

Some of the things you might want to consider:

  1. What form of children’s ministry do you offer e.g. Sunday School, Kid’s Club?
  2. What numbers of children receive your ministry, from the congregation, and from the wider community?
  3. What are the numbers and roles of people involved in children’s ministry?
  4. What are the specific areas or concerns that you would like addressed in a seminar?

To help in planning the seminar could you provide at least an indication for the following:

  1. Who from your congregation would / may attend this seminar in Wellington?
  2. What time frame would suit you best? Friday evening & Saturday & Sunday; Saturday & Sunday, Saturday only; Sunday only?
  3. Would attendees be looking for accommodation in Wellington for one or two nights?
  4. Would attendees prefer: billeting in homes / motel accommodation (own expense) / own arrangements?
  5. And for pastors, would you like a session e.g. on the Friday, especially on pastors in children’s ministry?

We realise that the event is still some time away, but any information you can give will help us plan to meet your needs. We will discuss our plans further at Church Workers’ Conference, but any preliminary thinking and discussing in your congregations will be helpful.

LLL BOARD THANKS A FAITHFUL SERVANT

Clive.221357[1].jpg

LLL Board chair, Marg Gust writes:

Clive Kingsley-Smith was fare-welled, with grateful thanks, from the Lutheran Laymen’s League Board having spent 8 years as a Director, at a special lunch at St Matthew Hamilton on 1st August 2015. Buster Kells, having brought Clive onto the Board, thanked him for his faithful service on our behalf and made a presentation. His wife Olaug was given a floral tribute. We wish him well in his retirement.

Buster Kells speaking to Clive and Olaug during the farewell / thank you lunch at St Matthew Lutheran Church, Hamilton

FROM THE GENERAL CHURCH COUNCIL (GCC)

The LCNZ’s GCC rep, Jill Hobden reports as follows:

  • The General Church Council (GCC) is the top governing body of the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA). GCC meets monthly (except January) with a mix of face-to-face meetings in Adelaide and teleconferences. While much of the business conducted through these meetings has little direct impact here in New Zealand we need to maintain a voice and presence at the board table.
  • The bulk of our recent GCC meetings have been concerned with aspects of the General Synod in Brisbane later this month. There will be a number of new features this year including a whole day set aside to dialogue on ‘Women and the Call to Public Ministry’. The various resolutions will be presented on the second day of Synod but all voting on these resolutions will take place on the last day. Delegates will be seated at round tables to facilitate discussion and dialogue. Synods-people will be split into three groups to hear the various Board reports on the first day of Synod.
  • One major decision recently has been to replace LAMP with a human resources system which is to be implemented in New Zealand by 2017 on a cost recovery basis for every congregation. The fees charged will vary depending on the number of people being paid (pastors, youth workers, etc.).
  • GCC has begun work to implement many of the recommendations of the Governance and Administration Review conducted throughout the LCA/NZ last year. The report contained 28 recommendations and there will be several proposals put to this coming Synod in Brisbane including a move to competency-based boards and committees across the LCA.
  • The 2018 LCA General Synod will be hosted by the NSW District.

A LITTLE BACH OR NOT - ORGAN RECITAL

After I have completed my pastoral visit to the saints at St Matthew in Hamilton towards the end of this month, I have been asked to perform an organ recital at St Matthew’s Anglican Church in Morrinsville. I have called the program A Little Bach or Not and I will perform, amongst other things, the delightful Eight Short Preludes and Fugues ascribed to Johann Sebastian Bach, but most likely written by one of Bach's pupils, possibly Johann Tobias Krebs or his son Johann Ludwig Krebs.

  • St Matthew Anglican Church, Thames Street, Morrinsville
  • Sunday September 20th at 2.00pm
  • $10 per person; under 14 free
  • Afternoon tea served after concert

SINCE WE LAST SPOKE ... WHERE I'VE BEEN AND WHAT I'VE BEEN UP TO ...

I’ve done a few kilometres in the air and on the road since we last spoke, sat at a few meetings, worshipped in a number of different places, and met and spoken with lots of people.

1st August   I attended the LLL Board meeting and the farewell luncheon for Clive Kingsley-Smith at St Matthew Hamilton.

7th and 8th August   We held a Council of Synod (COS) meeting in Auckland where we welcomed our two new councillors – Paul Argyle (Manawatu) and Pastor Jim Pietsch (Wellington).

11th August   I flew to Adelaide to attend the farewell dinner for Bishop Noel Noack (Queensland District of the LCA).

12th and 13th August   The Bishops met with the graduating class from Australian Lutheran College (the seminary), and held a regular face-to-face meeting.

14th August   I met with former LCNZ Presidents, Lance Steicke and Steen Olsen for conversation and prayer.

18th and 19th August   I attended the Board for Local Mission meeting in Adelaide, and during that time had other meetings with Pastor Richard Fox, Dean Eaton, and Pastor Brian Shek (coordinator of Asian ministry in the LCA/NZ).

21st August   Back in my office in Wellington to prepare for my visit to Christchurch.

22nd and 23rd August   I visited and had meetings with the members of St Pauls Christchurch to continue discerning, together with them, what God’s plan for future ministry might be in and through this congregation. I also did some visitation of members while there, and worshipped with the members of St Pauls at All Saints Anglican Church (the Anglicans are hosting the Lutherans while our church building is repaired).  I was able to thank the clergy and members of All Saints on behalf of the LCNZ for their hospitality and care for the members of St Pauls.

28th - 30th August   I visited Mountainside Lutheran Church in Auckland. As well as meeting with Newstalk ZB during this weekend, I also met with members of Mountainside interested in supporting the media ministry, and with the Parish leadership. I fitted in a visit and conversation with the pastoral leader at Botany Lutheran (Chinese) Church as well. Yesterday morning I had the joy of assisting with some music in worship and presiding at the Table of the Lord.

NEWS BRIEFS

Pastor Chris Janetzki from Upper Moutere has declined the two calls he had (Lavington in NSW and Maitland in South Australia).

Seven men gathered at St Matthew Hamiltonon the morning of Saturday 22nd August for a heart-warming breakfast of bacon, eggs and fellowship. 

St Martin Marton has a new chairperson.

The Manawatu Lutheran Parish are preparing for the Parish Nursing Tour in late September (this tour is coming to some other places in the LCNZ as well). They are also preparing for a visit from Dean Eaton, the LCA/NZ’s Church Planting mentor, who will be working with them in October.

The Working Group for the 500th commemoration of the Reformation in 2017 will begin work this coming weekend.

IN OUR PRAYERS

Our District Administrator / my Personal Assistant, Robert Hagen and his wife, Jill. As you know, Robert and Jill returned to the UK to visit Robert’s dying cousin. I heard that Robert’s cousin died last week. Please pray for Robert and Jill as they return to New Zealand this week and resume their ministry of support in the LCNZ.

For the Media Ministry as we continue to work with NZ.ME. Thank God for the exciting opportunities to proclaim the gospel via radio that are opening up. Pray blessing on the ministry of Pastor Richard Fox as he leads this ministry in Australia, and soon in New Zealand as well.

The Reformation 2017 Working Group as they begin their work this coming weekend.

For the Pastors and Church Workers of the LCNZ as they prepare for the second and final Church Workers’ Conference for the year, to be held in Wellington from the 13th to the 16th September. Also for our retreat facilitator at this conference, Dr Stephen Pietsch (formerly Vicar Pietsch in the Manawatu Parish, 1987). Stephen is a member of the faculty at Australian Lutheran College.

For the whole Church as it prepares to gather in General Synod towards the end of this month in Brisbane.

MĀNAWATANGA / BLESSING

Takahia te ara, i roto i te whakapono o te Karaiti i rīpekatia nei, i ara ake i te mate.  Tīaho i roto i te māramatanga o te Karaiti.

Walk in the faith of Christ Crucified and risen.  Shine with the light of Christ.  

+ MARK

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

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