My brothers and sisters in Christ,
It is wonderful to be back from the Philippines, and the weather in Dunedin has not been much colder since we got here.
Two things struck me strongly in the Philippines. The first was that I was in a very overtly Christian country. On every Jeepney, and every house’s front gate, was a prayer, a bible passage, or a picture of the Virgin Mary or a saint. People would openly talk about their faith, and praise and thank God in all circumstances… even when the Church was well out of sight!
This overtness challenged me to think about how we can make God’s reality more visible in our lives, and in our community.
The other thing that struck me was the much larger poverty gap. For a good proportion of the population work was unstable, and if there was no work then there was not food, and the family would go without.
Seeing crowds gathered in squares and market places to check if there was any work reminded me of the parable of the workers in the vineyard. I found myself wondering how much more accessible this parable would be to poor rural communities in the Philippines than it us to us today. How much have we domesticated these very powerful parables?
So the challenge for me, and perhaps for you, is: how do we become the light on the hill that shines forth God’s light, and how do we read the Gospels again with fresh eyes and see how they challenge us, and bring life in to our lives?
The next couple of weeks will be busy ones in our parish, and it is almost time to start looking forward to Christmas.
On the next two Sundays the parish of Dunedin North will be having celebrations in two of our churches. The Sunday (5th November), we will all gather at All Saints' church (on Cumberland street) to celebrate All Saints' day. Then on the 12th, Bishop Steven will lead us in worship at Saint Martin's (on North road). These are opportunities to celebrate the work God is doing in our lives, and our communities. Both weeks we will have potluck lunches, and continue with fellowship after the service. Come and join in this wonderful community, as we seek to live together as members of the Kingdom of God.
5th November All Saints’ @ All Saints’
This Sunday there will be no service at Saint Martin’s and instead we will join All Saint’s parish as we celebrate All Saints’ day.
12th November Saint Martin’s @ Saint Martin’s
All Saints', and Saint Martin’s (Duntroon) join us at Saint Martin's, when we will be blessed by the leadership and teaching of Bishop Steven. The service will be followed by a Potluck, so if you are able to please bring a plate to share.
24th December Christmas Eve
This year falls on a Sunday. We will have a very simple Eucharist in the morning, and then a carol service followed by midnight mass in the evening. If you are in Dunedin over the Christmas period, please come along to sing in the evening, and bring along the family and friends.
25th December Christmas Day
The Christmas day service will be at the usual time of 10:45am.