Encouragement, ideas, scriptures and news for Anglicans—25 March 2020
Sunday 22 March—Enjoying one of the last Diocesan 'IRL' events, Bishop Peter attended the Lenten Series conclusion "Life in the Garden" Open Day at Tom and Dorothy Innes' place in Springfield. +P is talking to Florence Roy with Tom Innes (obscured) in the background. We look forward to being able to meet again in person soon.
Message from the Bishop
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
It is difficult to find the words which express the mood of the extraordinary situation in which we find ourselves as we head at 11.59 pm tonight into a national Level 4 “lockdown”, doing so with many other nations, including 1.3 billion Indians. We all hope we save ourselves from the virus but we might find ourselves reckoning that if we change our way of life we will save the planet too.
As we commit ourselves to strict isolation in the absence of inoculation, there are a number of statements and directions to share with you: (clergy, please note that there are some updates below from a memo I sent you on Monday):
Our overriding concern as we fight the transmission of the virus is that we think of our church and our mission as part of the solution rather than part of the problem.
Please pray: if you do not have a regular time for prayer, how about praying each morning at 9 am for the virus to be overcome, for your neighbours and for your local ministry unit? See 15 below for the link page to various places live-streaming services—daily and weekly—which offer opportunity to join with others in worshipping God.
A tentative notice: this Sunday evening at 7 pm, Anglicans are asked to join with Anglicans around the world in prayer against the virus and for those suffering from it and those caring for the sick and dying.
We must stay at home according to the government’s mandate unless we have exemption because our work is an “essential service.”
To date, no diocesan or parish clergy are counted as providing “essential services.”
All church buildings are to be locked. Nice though it might be when we take our exercise to slip into an open church to pray, our commitment to the requirements of Level 4 means that our buildings are to be locked.
All “parish visiting” will be conducted by telephone or other means which does not involve physically visiting a home or hospital.
All weddings, baptisms and confirmations need to be postponed until such a time that it is safe for people to gather again.
There will be no funerals or tangihanga. We have learned of this directive from the Ministry of Health today.
Should your family experience a bereavement, your funeral director will know exactly what protocols are to be followed in respect of the immediate family.
Live-streaming services: these will need to take place with leadership only from those already living in the home of the minister arranging the service.
In respect of several parish vacancies I am calling a halt to the normal processes towards appointments being made. It is not appropriate at this time to be offering permanent, stipendiary positions. As appropriate to each situation we will continue with, or where required we will make, interim appointments drawing on clergy from within the existing college of clergy in this Diocese.
Edwin Boyce, our Diocesan Manager, is working with churchwardens and treasurers, as well as with Diocesan staff, on assisting parishes through present day challenges, including accessing government financial support where that is applicable to a parish situation.
General Synod will be postponed (as a physical meeting) but within the currently diaried days in May there will almost certainly be a brief session by Zoom. The Lambeth Conference will be postponed until 2021.
Today we provide links to two new Dio webpages:
an 'FAQs' page relating to the situation we are in;
a 'Doing Church Differently' page with creative ideas ministry units are having re connecting with and caring for people (including livestream links, etc). (If you have ideas/links to share, please email Jo Bean with them, email@example.com).
An important message from Anglican Care:
Tēnā koutou, New Zealand's response to the COVID-19 pandemic is escalating. Understandably, so are anxiety levels and concern. Not just because of the illness itself; but because of the impact on people's ability to work, move around freely, and visit loved ones and those depending on them. When people who were previously doing OK are pushed into isolation and to the edge of coping it is easy to lose sight of those who were already socially isolated and struggling prior to the pandemic. Many of us have people who check up on us or who could drop food to our doorstep if necessary. Many others do not. And so, motivated by the love of Christ and love of their neighbours, worshipping communities are wondering how they might help. But how do you provide support to people who are vulnerable, lonely, or isolated when face to face visiting is no longer possible? Anglican Care and the CDHB are asking this very question. Where we know of neighbours in isolation, dropping off a care package or food parcel on the property and leaving again many be possible. Making good use of phone trees and calling lists is another great way to offer some support. But our thoughts and concern go out to those people who are not already on a list. If your Parish or community group has thought of a way to support your wider community while following CDHB and Government guidelines we would love to hear from you. Please drop me a line to firstname.lastname@example.org We are also developing our volunteer database and offering support to the CDHB and the City Mission (who are doing great work responding in new ways). If you would like to be involved and have resources and time to offer please let us know. As the landscape and response needs change we will continue to think of ways to act in the love of Christ. Noho ora mai Acting Anglican Missioner Jolyon White
Recently we noted that Easter Camp has been cancelled due to the virus. Canterbury Youth Services have been blessing local churches for 25 odd years by running Easter Camp, Extend Leadership Camp and training and equipping youth workers. Due to the recent cancellation of Easter Camp because of COVID19 they are in severe financial hardship. Although they have not put out any requests for help we would like to boost their morale by getting some donations sent there way. Maybe your Parish already fund-raised to send young people to EC and could send this in as a donation, maybe you or a young person you know has benefited from EC or CYS and can show them some aroha in this hard time.
Donations can be made to A/C Name: Canterbury Youth Services. Account: 03 1704 0044858 000. Reference: donation & name.
Finally for today: it was lovely last weekend to be part of Ben Randall’s induction service on Friday evening in St Mary’s Timaru, to catch up with many from throughout the Diocese at the open day organised by Theology House at Tom and Dorothy Innes’ fabulous garden in Springfield on Saturday and to share in the final 10 am service at the Transitional Cathedral for the next month or so.
Be kind to yourselves. Love your neighbours from 2m or more away. Pray for our Prime Minister, her government and their advisors.
Title: Life In The Garden – A Social Distancing Masterclass
Image: Ven. Susan Baldwin
From the Word
John 11:24 Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day."
Photo: Worship—lets find new ways to worship—alone in nature can be inspiring Image: Getty Images
Stories, ideas and encouragement
Where is God in Hard Times?
a reflection by Shane Hollis
There is no doubt that what we face right now is one of the more difficult times in living memory. The entire world is in turmoil, people are scared, people are dying and the future remains uncertain. Our entire civilisation is having to change and learn how to live differently.
So where is God in all this? We are told to pray—but often praying for something this big feels about as effective as throwing rain drops at an elephant. God’s not going to stop the virus in an instant: so what should we pray for? God’s mercy certainly—because prayer does change things—but very rarely does it remove us from our problems.
I would suggest we should pray like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who when faced with absolute disaster said that God would rescue them, and then in faith declared, “… and even if He doesn’t we are not going to bow down and abandon our God.” For them there was a miracle but if there hadn’t been they knew they were safe in Gods will.
God doesn’t remove Christians from the furnace—He stands in there with them. We are not immune to the same troubles and sorrows that affects everyone else. Instead we should pray, “If I am not infected—I give thanks, and if I do get infected—I give thanks anyway because my God is with me.” Philippians 4:11-13
God turns every situation for our good. When we struggle like others, but don’t lose our faith then others see and the kingdom advances. When we look to the needs of others when we too are hurting, then the kingdom advances. When we share the difficulties of our neighbours and reach out to care for them—then the kingdom advances. 2 Cor 1:3-7
God calls us to be mature and complete. Like the Israelites taking the Promised Land He leaves difficulties in our way so we learn to fight, to struggle, to strengthen and to grow. He calls that growth the riches of the kingdom—silver and gold and precious gems. Treasures we carry into eternity. 1 Peter 1:6-7
God is looking for people who will stand up and say, “I don’t care—I am not afraid—If God is for me then what can stand against me?” If I get sick, God is with me, I’m closer to going home. If I am well God is with me, I can care for others.
When we recognise the hand of God in everything, in good times and bad, then we find joy. In my struggles my faith tells me God is cheering me on—watching me grow muscles, learning to overcome, growing into a complete maturity. And when the struggle is done—I’m either home or have a new grace from God I can love others with. I win either way.
So what should I pray?
Lord—let thy kingdom come—on this earth, through both your divine intervention and through the works of your body.
Let your kingdom come on me, this earth, this Adam, this person made of dust that is me. Grow me, strengthen me, give me a passion for growing spiritual muscles.
Remind me oh God that in life and in death, in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad—you are not only with me but you are growing me.
Give me a delight for the battle. Help me to kick out darkness by shining your light, the joy of being your child.
Help me to love you ahead of everything else—and because I love you, to practically love others.
Lord—let your kingdom come—on this earth, even as it is in heaven.
Kids you can colour this in!
It's the story of The Burning Fiery Furnace—when God saved his people from the fire.
Thanks to the 41 Parishes who have furnished their Parish Statistics for the Year End 2019. We realise that it may be difficult at the moment to meet the deadline to submit parish statistics for 2019, but if you can complete them on time it would be greatly appreciated. If it looks like you will not be able to submit them on time, please let us know and we will look forward to receiving them as soon as you can submit them. Contact Edwin Boyce, Diocesan Manager on 03 3445257 or 027 292 7042 email Edwin on email@example.com
The Art of Staying Close—even when you can't
By Ruth Swale and Alexia Bensemann
from The Advocacy Group, Anglican Care South Canterbury
The way we communicate and maintain relationships with one another is really critical in these uncertain times. Research has found that perceived proximity (a feeling of being close to someone) can be even more important than physical proximity.
There are two key aspects of communication that hep to develop these "closeness" feelings: the more often we communicate and the more we communicate about what we have in common. So jump on Facebook and Messenger, send those funny cartoons, Zoom and Skype your colleagues—because the more often you connect and the more often you share about what you have in common (eg: working from home with a toddler? what is that like?)—the better it will be for all of us.
We are able to push back against loneliness, and a sense of isolation, even when we can't pop to a cafe, visit a friend, or see your work colleagues face to physical face. Don't leave anyone feeling isolated right now. Ask others if they ok. call them. email them. Check your friends and family are ok. And keep thinking of ways to reach out to other people in our communities, especially the vulnerable and over 70s neighbours, the young mums, the nurses and medical staff. Offer to buy their groceries, fill their prescriptions, or assist with other tasks that they can’t do for themselves—as long as you stay 2m away.
Be Creative—make some simple cards or a bit of baking, and on a solitary walk, deliver them to all the neighbours in your local streets. It might just make all the difference to them to know someone is thinking of them. And by doing that, you're creating a sense of community for yourself as well—a double bonus.
Movies Change People
& People Change the World
Hope at Home—An "at Home" Film Festival
So we're all stuck at home, and some of us are feeling a bit scared.
But the truth is, THERE IS HOPE.
And what better way to remember that than to get an injection of HOPE in the form of great movies and content, every week for 10 weeks?
Click here to learn more and to sign up for the Festival. It costs a small amount but you get 10 amazing films: 1 per week over 10 weeks starting at Easter.
HERITAGE FILMS is an Australian distribution company with a vision to produce and distribute films that move people & inspire life.
Are you at risk / over 70 / sick? We want to help!
During the COVID-19 outbreak, The All Souls Parish wants to help those of you who are over 70, have compromised immune systems or are in isolation for any reason.
We can get groceries and pick up prescriptions for you and leave them on your doorstep. No contact needed! Visit the All Soul website for more information. Or contact Bridie Boyd on 03 355 3287 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Children and Youth Worker Support
We want to help!
Being at home with kids in lock-down will not be easy for many families. Working out how to help our families, children and teens while in lock-down will be important.
Emma, our Children's Ministry Developer, and Sammy our Youth Ministry Developer, are available to help. They have resources and great ideas and more are being added all the time. Or just chat to them for support.
As human beings we like structure and routine and COVID-19 is causing us disruption and uncertainty. There are a lot of us who are genuinely feeling anxious and worried and our mental health can be impacted.
Our brains are hardwired to gravitate to threatening information, it’s what keeps us safe. Words like “global pandemic”, “unprecedented”, “physical distancing”, “self-isolation” and “death” are therefore going to stick in our mind and activate our brain’s biological stress response.
Right now, our brain isn’t sending us a false alarm by itself – how alarmed we are might be heightened by what we do. For example, as we think about and focus more on COVID-19, our perception of threat increases (not the actual risk but our perception of it). What matters is how we respond to our stress response.
To continue to read this article click here and learn about 9 steps to keeping your mental health buoyant.