Sunday, April 23, 2006

March 2006

Dear friends


I write to you all as I recover from a recent (and unexpected) revolt by my gall bladder, which took a general surgeon and a hospital visit to put down. I am able to report that our campaign has been successful, and, apart from a few scars, I have survived! I am still recuperating, but should be back to full duty by next week. I had planned to do all sorts of reading and Lenten preparation during this period of recuperation, but have found myself foggy-minded and concentration difficult (… the revenge of a spurned gall bladder!). I have nonetheless managed to indulge my passion for fantasy reading - managing to get through another title in Terry Goodkind’s The Sword of Truth series - played around on the internet getting a personal blog (online diary) going, and have begun an invasion of Eugene H. Peterson’s book The Contemplative Pastor. I have much appreciated the visits, calls and emails – thank you!

Lent: a Journey of Prayer & Parable

In The Contemplative Pastor Eugene H Peterson reflects that most people want a kind of spiritual vendor in a pastor who is going to make them feel comfortable in the “kingdom of self”, and who is not going to disturb the status quo by making any gospel demands on them. In reflecting on the pastor’s response to this expectation, he says, “I am undermining the kingdom of self and establishing the kingdom of God. I am helping them to become what God wants them to be, using the methods of subversion.” (pg 28) As this approach may be seen by some to be dishonest, he goes on to say, “But isn’t this dishonest? Not exactly, as I am not misrepresenting myself. I’m simply taking my words and acts at a level of seriousness that would throw them into a state of catatonic disbelief if they ever knew.” (pg 29). He says that prayer and parable are important elements in subverting the kingdom of self, in building the kingdom of God, and were prime elements in the way Jesus lived out his mission.
I raise this as a challenge for our Lenten pilgrimage: as Christians, how seriously do we take our words and actions? Have we allowed the world to diminish us, have we allowed our cultures to dictate the manner in which we live out our commitments? What differentiates us from those who claim no faith-commitment, no relationship with the Creator God? How visible is our prayer in our attitude and action? What parable (story) do our words and actions speak? What difference does our commitment to the values of God’s kingdom make in the context of our lives, be it family, friends, or workplace?
Let us seek to find answers to these questions as we walk the Lenten journey of self-denial and sacrifice.


Lent offers us a number of opportunities in which to consider the healthiness of our God-relationship. I encourage you to make the most of the opportunities available through Corpus Christi between now and the Easter celebrations: Shrove Tuesday Pancake Party, Ash Wednesday Services (morning and evening), the Lent Course every Wednesday evening (starting 8 March), Stations of the Cross every Sunday evening, and our normal services of Worship. A reminder, too, that I and other members of the ministry team are available should you require spiritual direction, counselling, or just a chat. Please feel free to contact us directly, or via the parish office. There is always space in my diary … kept available for you!


I met with the Churchwardens yesterday, and it is so encouraging to see our new leadership structures begin to take shape. It is also heartening to see the finances begin the year in a healthy state. This is the year of “broad-based parishioner involvement”, so expect to get involved: please be proactive – don’t wait to be asked! Don’t hesitate to speak to myself, one of the churchwardens or councillors, if you have ideas or want to offer something. We are all important members of the kingdom of God, however insignificant we perceive ourselves to be, and have something – no matter the size, big or small – to contribute!

Youth Ministry and Support

There are changes on the youth scene this year:

Youth Fusion (13 to 18 year-olds): Hilary Davis, who has faithfully facilitated “Youth Fusion” over a number of years, has retired to focus on family priorities and her other areas of parish involvement. We owe her huge thanks for the loyal devotion she has shown this important ministry at Corpus Christi: thank you, Hilary! Shane and Liesel Smith have courageously stepped into the gap, and will facilitate this year’s programme. We are planning a regular monthly get-together, and have elected a youth council to work with Shane and Liesel in planning and executing events. Shane and Liesel are looking for parental support, and I ask for your cooperation, please.

Young Adults (18 to 25 year-olds): this group is the next priority, and I will be convening a get-together before Easter for this age-group, to discuss various possibilities and opportunities for regular interaction. I am aware that we have not offered much for this group in the past, so if you are aware of any young adults who may have wondered off, please let me have their names.

Young Married Couples (and 1st time parents!): we have a number of young couples (early 20’s to mid 30’s), either recently married – or about to be – in the parish. It is my hope that we can get a support group together, also hopefully before Easter. If you are interested, or know of anyone who may be, please also let me know.

Yours in Christ


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