Sunday, March 20, 2011

So Proud of St John's Roslyn

I am thrilled to be able to balance my last post with this one about a suburban church in the Diocese of Dunedin.

I have just learnt that the parish is to give 2 half stipends (wages) for the next year to the bishop of Christchurch and to the Maori bishop of the South Island. That amounts to $50,000 and means we can only do the minimum needed to repair the parish hall (the support piles are rotting).

Bishop Kelvin of Dunedin has written that both bishops were initially stunned that any single parish could be so generous. (In NZ the Anglican church is divided into the 3 Tikangas or cultures - Maori, Pacific Islander and Pakeha (White). This is not apartheid, just makes running the church much easier, all are welcome at any church but, just a small example,  today our church had harvest festival with fruit and vegetables in the sanctuary a very European tradition. The Maoris believe this is a sacrilege.)

Bishop Victoria of the Diocese of Christchurch has been struggling to keep her head above water.  In the centre of town the only Anglican church left standing has been the ancient wooden church of St Michael's and All Angels, and the school attached to the church has been badly damaged.  The churches in the Western suburbs, traditionally the powerhouses of the diocese are all struggling to meet the needs of their communities and in the Eastern suburbs, the smaller more impoverished churches are trying to deal with the huge social and physical upheaval caused by the liquefaction and destruction of houses.  On hearing of St John's offer, Bishop Victoria was able to move immediately to establish a one year position of a pastoral coordinator in the East of the city. 

Bishop John of the Maori South Island Pihopatanga O te Wai Pounamu reacted at first with utter silence then tears. This was the first bit of good news he had had in two weeks. The Maori diocese has, over the past years,  put all of its efforts and resources into building a new marae, church and educational centre and the costs had stressed the diocese to its limits. The building would have served as a training centre for Maori leaders, and as a worship, resource, meeting and social services base. it was almost complete when the quake struck and utterly destroyed it. The budget had been so tight that it was grossly underinsured and years of work disappeared in a couple of minutes. The bishopric has been ministering, physically, emotionally and spiritually to a wide clientele who live in the East and are under resourced in every sense of the word.

Bishop Kelvin has further written "Believe me the maximum value will be wrung out of every cent. But believe me also, that the sign of solidarity that the money represents has meant more to the Pihopatanga than the actual dollars and cents.  For myself,  I cannot tell you how proud I am of you all in making this act of generosity.  In doing the work of the Kingdom of God, this is absolutely huge and will have repercussions far beyond anything you can imagine. Thank you for doing what is right."


Fran said...

So beautiful, so good to read and consider. Thank you!

Calamity Jane said...

So nice to see such an act of unselfishness. Pretty rare these days in certain quarters.

motheramelia said...

I was nearly moved to tears. The people of St. John's are truly living out their commitment as Christ's people. The Kingdom has come a bit closer to fulfillment.