COVID-19 · From The Rector's Desk

It is now in your hands. A response to level 3

“It is now in your hands”

Tonight, the President announced the moving to Level 3 of the Lockdown. In essence this means opening up the economy and facing the Risks associated with our interaction with others and the increased potential for person to person infections.  

While we know that there will be an increase in infections, these must be dealt with in a Risk averse manner.

The over 60’s and people with co-morbidities (other health issues) are at the highest risk and need to self-manage to prevent harm coming to themselves.

This announcement means that many of our parishioners will be returning to work, and will be required to take a lead role in assisting society to readjust to interaction and activity. I ask you to prayerfully engage with the task ahead.

Jesus said –(John 17:15-18) [Father} “I am not asking that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I have also sent them into the world.”

We have a lot of work to do as we go as, missionaries into the world, we are the bringers of light into darkness, hope where there is despair and healing where there is brokenness.

We cannot do this work alone; we need each other, and we need to be united in prayer.  I remind you to send me prayer requests and information on what you are involved with, this can be of great value to addressing the way forward as a community and providing you with the ministry that you require.

Again I say, you are the church, the body of Christ and it is the body of Christ, the community in the church and the church in the community that knows Jesus and makes him known, the ministry of all believers; that we are working together to hold together as a functioning community.

This is an essential function in the world that needs the love and peace and joy of the faithful to draw them to God and heal our world.  

May our God in his infinite wisdom lead you as you prepare for next week and the task ahead of you.

But, I repeat, live for today, do all you can today to build your piece of the world, in the Kingdom. Build on the rock that is Christ and not on the shifting sands of circumstance.

Choose faith not fear, choose life!

and may Christ sustain you with his love.

Be assured of my prayers.

Fr Andrew

COVID-19 · From The Rector's Desk

From the Rector’s Desk – 15 May 2020

Grace and Peace to you, from God our Father and His Son Jesus Christ.

  • What God requires of us is this “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 8:6)
  • And Jesus said that the greatest commandment was to love God and love our neighbour.
  • Our Diocese has called on us to be “loving communities.”

We therefore know what to do and why to do it, but we have to be intentional in deciding how to do it. I address here some of our fears and how we as a community can support each other, encourage each other, and draw on each other’s experiences to navigate through the COVID-19 mitigation measures.

As a community we need to proactively manage ourselves during the level 3 to 1 phases of the lock-down. This does not only refer to the opening of the church but how we live our lives and reintegrate into a new economic and social world. Our conduct and our actions need to be exemplary. We do not have all the answers, but what we have is an ability to take the journey. The ability to go into the world in love, and forgive, and seek forgiveness. To think about others but ensure that we are not tossed about and flailing ourselves. We have a lot to wrestle with in terms of the socialization during the different phases. 

Having had to work away from home this week I have experienced some of what we are going to be going through.
In no particular order I raise the following that will need to be carefully dealt with by each one of us.

  • Fear of contravention of the lock-down regulations. Ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law, but for most of us its confusing! How do we keep up and not live in fear of being arrested?
  • Meeting people who have processed the last 6 weeks differently. You have been out of physical contact with others and been able to ignore posts and conversations that were not congruent with your journey. Back at work you are going to have to face different opinions, different coping mechanisms and different personalities. Unlike on Facebook where you can hit “like” and scroll on, now you will have to face those people.
  • Awkwardness! Wearing a mask is one thing, interacting with others without facial expression and with muffled voices is a whole new communication challenge.
  • A sense of not wanting to interact. All our social awkwardness will be exacerbated. The introvert just wants to stay home, the extrovert will have to overcome the inability to hug everyone, and we all need to find new ways of interacting. Everything will be an effort.
  • It is all new, things we took for granted will be points of contention as we try to deal with a new socialization environment. Some of the changes we will assimilate and take them in our stride, but many will require some accommodation, compromise, adjustment, and self-sacrifice.

But we are not to be given to fear, not of the virus nor of the new world nor of the effort that we will need to make to develop a new lifestyle. Here are some steps we can take:

  • Plan your actions. Be proactive in how you will reintegrate. Don’t just jump in and try and pick up where you left off. Everyone is going to be rebuilding and the more forthright you are the easier you are going to be to work with.
  • Keep the good of the lock-down:  priorities, routines, practices that were good for you should be continued. You have had “forty days’ to develop a new worldview, priorities, lifestyle, don’t loose it all on the first day out there. Decide what you want to keep in your life and don’t give it up.
  • Focus on things above. This is a spiritual battle not just a physical one. Keep the faith, mature in faith continue to strengthen and live out of your spiritual self.

Know that you are in our prayers, trust God and trust Jesus and trust your faith in Him.

Choose Faith not fear


COVID-19 · From The Rector's Desk

At the end of the Day -(Elizabeth Paul) Wed 13 May 2020

Our president addressed us tonight and you could see the strain that he is under. This is a difficult phase of the management of the mitigation of the Pandemic, as it appears like not much is happening, but actually a great deal is happening. I feel it here in the Parish too. The contingency plans that we have put in place need to settle into a new normal, but changes need to be made. The novelty of things is wearing off, but the acceptance of the changes is not yet achieved. The masks are uncomfortable, the people are irritable, the anticipation of change is there, but the change is not yet taking shape. And still no end is in sight. I want to encourage you tonight to take authority over your life and have a personal plan for the rest of May and for the prospect of Level 3. What are you going to do to manage the impact of COVID 19 on your life? What changes are you going to make, how are you going to be part of the solution? We are going to have to make some big decisions as a community. We are going to have to work together, pick our battles together, walk in tune with God’s Spirit together.

I am appealing to you to look carefully at the mitigation plans that we as a Parish are putting in place to assist our community and to participate. Do not sit on the side-lines and watch this happen. Engage, challenge, discuss and be part of building a new way of life for us all. The Church is the community of believers, we have a responsibility to God and to the Nation to be at work and make a positive, Holy Spirit led and empowered path in the wilderness. We need to look at creating opportunities, developing new ways of caring for each other, managing ourselves better.

Again, I say we are building a community of Kingdom people, a holy nation of godly people who will do his work in this place.  We are building a ministry team, not a congregation. Everything you do is holy. Be Holy, says the Lord for I the Lord your God am Holy.  

Be assured of my prayers for you all.

Choose Faith, not fear.


COVID-19 · From The Rector's Desk

From the Rector’s Desk – Friday in Easter Week – 17 April 2020

Christ is Risen. Alleluia!

It’s Friday in Easter week and we have made it through another week of Lockdown and the uncertainty of the future is growing daily. This morning when I awoke I read the Archbishop’s Blog  and it was speaking about all the things that I had on my mind, even down to referring to the Benedictine Rule of work, prayer and play; which was on my mind and was the subject of our Lenten Retreat this year. You can read the full article on our website.

But he and I wish to speak today about your Mental health. When I phoned one of the parishioners this week he said” spiritually I am fine, but emotionally I’m struggling.”

It is easy for us to get into this space when we know that God is in control and that all will work out in the end, but we are not sure how we are going to endure what lies between the problem and the solution.

I return, often to the scene in the book of Daniel, where Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego are thrown into the fiery furnace and Nebuchadnezzar sees the Angel in with them. We often jump straight to the part where they are drawn out and do not stop to think about the time that they were in the flames. The resurrection appearances that we read of in this season are      reminders of dealing with our emotional state of mind, and not just saying “ah” Jesus is arisen all will be well. In the Resurrection appearances, we find apostles “locked up in fear” (John 20:19), we find doubt expressed by Thomas (John 20:25) (listen or read Rev Peta May’s great Sunday Sermon on this (get it online We find men out fishing and catching nothing (John 21:3) just three examples of people dealing with life. Experiencing emotions and though they believed, they struggled. And in each scene Jesus comes and comforts and uplifts them.

Do not run from how you feel today, allow God to bring you peace right there, in this time when we lack diversions, we cannot overlook how we feel, we cannot run from it, we have to face it. Emotions are God given “prods” to get us to turn to Him and to receive healing and peace.

St Paul tells St Timothy “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Tim 4: 8)

Godliness involves being honest with yourself and with God, it involves seeking to understand God and yourself better. Allow yourself to engage with your fear, anger, resentment, lost dreams and disappointments by acknowledging them in prayer. Suppressed feelings are what lead to depression. “Do not be anxious about anything” said St Paul (Phil 4:6a) and by this he didn’t mean don’t get anxious, don’t feel emotions: he meant don’t stay anxious, he meant that when you do get anxious, acknowledge it and pray about it – “ but in everything by prayer and supplication, let your requests be known to God.’(Phil 4 6b).

This Sunday we will have a Eucharist Service on ZOOM, for those who can attend, and we will post Sunday Sermons as widely as possible. I encourage you to spend time in worship and seeking God this Sunday, in whatever way your context allows. But know this – you are being upheld in prayer and “with the Angles and the saints (that’s you) we say “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord! God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your Glory, hosanna in the highest!

Be assured of my prayers!


COVID-19 · Sermon

Resurrection Sermon – 12 April 2020

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! 

The Lord be with you!

Every year on this morning the Church joyfully resounds with these words: Alleluia Christ is Risen!

These words are said as if they are being said for the first time. To be honest each year they are being said, for the first time because they are said with a renewed understanding of God and His Son Jesus Christ and the Cross and Resurrection and a new understanding of ourselves. 

All this comes from our journey through Lent and Holy Week and as we have prepared our hearts for today.  The Day of Resurrection! 

I wonder what expectations you have of this Resurrected Life. Is it an expectation of a return to normality, I love our Anglican Traditions but something that has always worried me is that in so many ways, we come to today and in a way breathe a sign of relief and say – its done for another year – LENT Holy Week – wow intense, now its back to normal. Ordinary time is the expression that we use.  My friends the Resurrection life is anything but ordinary! Jesus raised from the dead is anything but ordinary! The empty Tomb is anything but ordinary!  This year we approach today from a very different context and perhaps that newness that uncertainty that  unusualness is a wake-up call for us all. For many, as we prepared for Easter  we looked to today and said, “ its OK, we will be in lockdown nobody will be at church but  we will be saying those words like a welcome back see you soon! The extended lockdown robbed us of that delusion….  – now it’s like saying “Yes, Christ has risen and the Church is alive but you’re still stuck at home –  the impact of the resurrection is on hold, watch this space for further developments. But my dear friends this is the resurrected life. What you are experiencing today is the gift of God. Not the challenges but the ability to overcome them  -the gift of resurrected life, forgiveness of sins and new life in Jesus Christ.  You don’t need anything to be different, you don’t need the lockdown to be over, you don’t need your job back you don’t need a cure and a vaccine for Covid -19 – why –  because your salvation, your resurrected life is not dependant on any of those things.  Believe it or not you don’t even need a normal church service on Resurrection Sunday to receive the Resurrected life that Jesus offers. It is Mark who records the women’s  conversation as they were going to the tomb Mark 16: 3 and they were saying to one another “Who will roll away the stone for us…” 

My friends there will be thousands of sermons preached today on all sorts of aspects of the resurrection, but I want to share this one thing with you. We are all asking this question!

Who will ,how will the stone be rolled away?

How will I overcome the impact of COVID 19? How will I deal with the financial implications? How will we integrate back into society? How will we deal with the change? How will we deal with two more weeks of Lockdown? How will we deal with the school work that we have lost out on? How will we make up for the contracts that we have lost, the work that we have lost, and the stock market value that we have lost and the psychological impact of this Pandemic and the lockdown?

Who will roll the stone away?

Meditating on the story of the women in the passion Narrative has been a very meaningful journey for me this Easter. What struck me is how they stuck around. How they saw it through – women have an amazing ability to face life.  Men are to busy trying to fix it, trying to influence the story and roll the stone away themselves. But Mary and Mary and the other women never try to dictate what should happen, they don’t seek power for themselves they don’t seek to change the story, they just watch and listen and learn and weep and hold on and let go and come back dutifully and ask who will roll the stone away?

We live in a world were getting results is seen as our priority. Doing it for ourselves is seen as our priority. This pandemic has taught us a life lesson – if you want to fix the world… get out of God’s way,  you can’t heal it,  you can’t fix it, you can weep for it, pray for it, lament for it and trust God to heal it, trust God to roll the stone away! 

Too often we place ourselves at the centre of the story.  How does this impact on me, how will I deal with it, what should I do! This year again, I learned in the Easter story to wait on God. To sit at his feet and not have the right answers, the cleverly worked out path the tradition, the rehearsed, the normal.  I learned a whole lot of new things this Easter: I can’t say I mastered a whole lot of new things I still have to learn how to use all these platforms properly, but I learned that God opens doors where we can’t even see them. Not just this Easter but all my life….I’ve experienced the women’s experience as I walked along and realised that in my effort to do what was my duty to do, I didn’t know how I was going to overcome the obstacles… Everyday I’ve been asking “Who will roll the stone away?”  every day, I see the empty tomb,  every day I see that God is not where I thought I’d find him and he’s not doing what I expected.  The Resurrected life is a life of opportunity a life where God has rolled the stone away. And we don’t yet know what the future holds! We look at the tomb of the resurrection and it is empty, we look at what lies ahead and we cannot imagine what it will be like, we know that Jesus is alive but where is he, in this reality that we find ourselves. Scripture guides us into the next step. 

Matthew 28: 7 Go quickly tell his disciples that he is risen ;

Mark 16: 7 Go and tell his disciples;

Luke 24: 9 Returning they told all these things to the eleven;

John 20 :17 go to my brothers and say to them. 

And they did –The women told them and they, having heard, went and sought out Jesus and these same people who had abandoned Jesus, who had denied Jesus, who had doubted Jesus, became a formidable force for the Kingdom. One thing I am sure of is that God is at work in our lives and that he has one desire and that is the salvation of your soul. One thing I am sure of is that Jesus leads us through death to life, through struggle to victory. Today is the beginning of a new season and as we journey though the resurrection appearances of Jesus, we will see that the Scriptures reveal a pattern of God’s work in us.  Easter is the beginning of a chapter for us.  Today we stand at the empty tomb. We go inside and we see and are convinced that Christ is risen we have the linen cloth, we have Mary’s testimony of seeing the risen Lord! Therefore, let us not slip back into complacency or doubt. Christ is Risen the grave is empty he is not there. He is in you! And Through our relationship with Him and with our relationship in Him. We have this life to live!  A resurrected LIFE TO LIVE! The angel said to Mary Mark 16: 7 –  But go and tell his disciples and Peter that he s going ahead of you to Galilee, there you will see him just as he told you! I believe this with all my heart that Jesus is ahead of us and he will lead us and guide us and empower us and sustain us in whatever lies ahead. Choose faith not fear and live the resurrected life that God has given you! Amen.

Fr. Andrew

Listen to “Resurrection, Service 2020” on Spreaker.