Sunday, November 04, 2012

indigenous story for a commissioning in mission

This was the symbol presented to Rosemary Dewerse, who was commissioned as the Director of Missiology and Postgraduate Coordinator for Uniting College on Friday night at Presbytery Synod.

The book, by Patricia Grace a fine New Zealand’s Maori writer, is an illustrated picture book, which tells the story of Maraea, an elderly Maori woman living in a coastal community. Sadly, people are drifting to the cities, and the community is falling apart, leaving an aging Maraea on the clifftop, looking out to sea to welcome the birds …

Why such a gift for a commissioning in mission?

Albatross is a bird of ocean flight and acknowledges the pilgrim journey made by the Dewerse family to be among us. It also acknowledges the journeys that have shaped them to this point.

The author, Patricia Grace, is an indigenous Maori and thus has links with what has shaped, and continues to shape Rosemary.

The albatross feather, for the Maori community of Parihaka, was a sign of peace, harmony and reconciliation. Which has obvious echoes the gospel of Christ found in the mission of God’s people.

And the elderly women, in a community falling apart in the face of social change, well that surely is metaphor for the mainline church in the West, including the Uniting Church in which Rosemary is called for this season.

The inside cover was signed by staff and some students.

And for those interested, this is how I introduced Rosemary and the position. (more…)

Posted by steve at 08:38 PM

Friday, November 02, 2012

throwing things at Jesus: Messy church worship at Adelaide Mission shaped ministry course

Messy church worship at Adelaide Mission shaped ministry course. Each week at the 2012 Adelaide Mission shaped ministry course, a different form of worship is introduced. As much as possible the team has been inviting local fresh expressions to share with us something of their worshipping life.

A few weeks ago, a local messy church group presented. They finished by inviting us to “throw” stuff at Jesus! On each table had been placed some wrapped up objects, newspaper held by tape. People were invited to take a ball and to imagine all their “stuff” – all their burdens and fears – were being placed in that ball. When they were ready, all the balls were placed in a central cloth. On the count of 1-2-3, these were thrown at the cross, with the shout “Thankyou Jesus.”

In some ways it was quite childish.

Yet I found it quite personally moving.

I realised I did have some stuff I was carrying. So to channel that into the paper, to have it move from internalised to externalised, and then have it released, thrown, at the cross of Jesus, was quite releasing.

And it is a way of understanding the atonement, the cross of Christ. As the One who catches all our stuff, takes all our sh*t, releases us, to be thankfully grateful.

Posted by steve at 09:55 PM

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Air NZ’s in-flight safety goes Hobbit style

Classic. The latest Air NZ inflight safety briefing includes hobbits, elves, wizards and other characters from the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. A partnership with Weta studios, it even includes a guest appearance by Peter Jackson.

Which becomes my prayer for Presbytery Synod meeting here in South Australia happening today, tomorrow, Saturday – for safety, for creativity, for humour, for mission – “Fly you fools.” (For the easily offended, “fools” is a reference to 1 Corinthians 4:10 – Because of Christ we are thought of as fools)

Posted by steve at 09:37 AM