Jan 11 (St Stephen’s) and Jan18 (Scots)
I focussed on the Baptism of Jesus, drawing from a wonderful commentary by Ian Cairns “Mark of a Non-Realist: A Contemporary Reading of the Second Gospel.” I then invited the congregation to re-appropriate their own baptism. I had tried using the Methodist Covenant Service a few years back but the ethos and words didn’t fit easily with our style in either congregation, so I dug around and adapted from liturgies I found online from a United Methodist congregation in the States, the Church of Scotland, and the PCUSA. I had viewed a clip of an Orthodox priest showering the worshippers using a large sheaf of flowers and enjoyed the humour of the situation, but realised that we don’t offer the opportunity to make our own response and reaffirmation very often, so kept it simple with people coming forward and using the water in the font in their own way. A previous time doing it I had stood by the font and when a couple of people had wanted me to do the “sprinkling” the rest followed suit. This time I sat down and everyone did what they needed to do.
Here are my Advent to Christmas Offerings over the month. Our two congregations are long time supporters of the Christian World Service Christmas Appeal and I make reference to it in some of these offerings.
CWS has a long standing reputation as an effective aid and development agency on behalf of the traditional churches that made up the old National Council of Churches which became the Conference of Churches in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Here is the Christmas Appeal link:– http://christmasappeal.org.nz
St Stephen’s 21 Dec.pdf
Xmas Day 2014 sermon.pdf
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“I never give ’em hell – I just preach long sermons and they think it’s hell!”
January 6 – The feast of the Epiphany
I’ve had a little preoccupation in my life of late. I attended the General Assembly in early October and then got married to Alison Tarr at Labour Weekend and have been trying to catch up with lots of things ever since.
I was inspired by the keynote speaker at Assembly, the Rev Steve Taylor and borrowed his themes for a series of three sermons which I prached at both Scots and St Stephen’s over the rest of October and November. What is God inviting us to? Both the congregations are wrestling with these issues, and so am I, as my life takes on a new phase full of joy and grace and new things. Here the three are preached on 12 & 19 October, 2 & 9 November, 16 & 23 November The December ones will come shortly.