kia ora and welcome to st paul's, a vibrant community gathering in auckland's oldest city church. come along, get stuck in and help us in creating, relating, restoring and whole pile of other 'ing' words...

It’s good to know that St Paul’s used to make the front pages of the papers and hopefully that’s a tradition we’ll be reviving soon! This month 138 years ago the following appeared in the Auckland Star: "The St Paul's Parish Magazine for May is now ready for subscribers and others. Four pages are devoted as usual to coming events, services, and parish matters. Among these we notice that the new organ and choir seats will be completed towards the end of the month, in time for the grand organ recital on the 20th, of which due notice will be given in the STAR.” In 1906 a meeting of Parishioners authorised Vestry “to spend a sum not exceeding $400 on the purchase of a new organ for the church”. George Croft was renowned for the organs he built and the one installed in St Paul’s was considered to compare favourably with some of the world’s best. A well-verified story is told that the founder of the Royal School of Church Music and organist at Westminster Abbey, Sir Sidney Nicholson, wanted to purchase the Pedal Violone and Swell Horn stops in the St Paul’s organ for the Abbey.

The Queen’s real birthday may be in April, but as usual we’re celebrating it in June! We think holiday weekends should provide a bit of respite for everyone including our tireless team of volunteers and leaders. So, we’re excited to let you know that on 4 June we are introducing our new long weekend ‘tradition.' We will be having one morning service at 10am, while our 3:30 and 18:30 services will run as usual. Full children’s programs will be happening at the 10am service. If you’re in town over the long weekend come and join us to celebrate Pentecost Sunday!

Wed 24 May | 7.30-9.30pm | St Paul's Church
It's our final week of prayer ministry training! It's not too late to jump in and join us for the last night of this epic series. Our theme this week is the power of God. Join Sally Shanks and the River team as we learn to "invade the impossible" and release signs, wonders and miracles. No experience necessary! Come for a coffee from 7pm, kick-off at 7:30.

Tues 30 May | 7.30pm | St Paul’s Church | Free parking
At The River we will be releasing breakthrough for every situation in need of the miraculous power of God. Jesus calls us to set captives free, open blind eyes, and heal the broken! If you need prayer for anything then this is the place to come. Join us on the last Tuesday of every month.

We are delighted to let you know that last Sunday we raised the full amount needed to purchase a defibrillator for St Paul’s. The Curran family shared their amazing story and experience of Sudden Cardiac Arrest and the enormous difference in outcome that defibrillators make when easily accessible in public spaces. Special thanks to the Curran family and to our morning services for ensuring that St Paul’s is prepared should anyone need urgent assistance in the future.

Tax receipts have been generated for the 2016/17 tax year and should have arrived in your inbox. Please follow the instructions to download your tax receipt via the link within the email. Please note: SPAM filters are very effective so please check your “Junkbox” if it hasn’t made it through to your inbox. Email Jodelle if you have any queries.

We have a brilliant concept for this year’s overnight event for the kids and youth of St Paul’s. For the sleepover to have the greatest impact however we need your help! If you would be able to help out in any capacity, have resources, time or ideas please contact Donald, or Cara. Thanks for making a difference!

Did you know that Hanna Cope has joined the Pastoral Care team as our counselling intern?  Hanna has a background in PR and marketing, is mother to two children, and is completing her Auckland University counselling post-graduate programme. She is available for counselling on Wednesdays and Thursdays.To make an appointment email Hanna. Suggested koha of $10 to $50 depending on your personal circumstances.

Thanks to everyone who made it to our AGM on Monday. We had a great turnout, a fun night focusing on the future of the church, and we voted three new members onto our Vestry. So a special welcome to Scott Parekowhai, Christopher Hill and Craig Peirce who join our governing body, as well as Louise Bridges and David Eaton who remain our People’s warden and Vicar’s warden.

This week we completed the first phase of the major work to the crypt drainage. There will be a pause before Phase 2 commences and so the space is back in use thanks to a temporary floor. The next phase requires a significant number of official permissions which are in process. Watch this space for updates!

Stories have so much power because they resonate on a human frequency. They are the landing place where truth becomes real — where it takes on flesh and blood. Our lives are unfolding stories, and so it’s no surprise that for the Creator to pursue intimacy with His creation, the Word would need to become flesh. The genius of the Gospels is that they land the unimaginable truths of God’s plan for creation in the messy details of real people’s lives. Instead of scientific formulas or pristine theology, God’s Kingdom takes shape in and through imperfect people.
A few years ago Benedict Cumberbatch starred in the film “The Imitation Game.” It told the story of the introverted mathematician Alan Turing who broke the Nazi Enigma Code in WWII and became the “father of computing.” Turing’s early life reveals an awkward kid growing up, bullied and isolated by his boarding-school peers. He seems destined for a lonely and non-descript life. Yet his one friend at school says something that takes root and becomes Turing’s guiding principle. He says: “Sometimes it’s the people who no one imagines anything of, who do the things that no one can imagine.” And so it was. Through his improbable work, Turing swung the destiny of nations and birthed a new field of technology.
This is also the guiding theme of the Gospels — that through God’s empowering presence, He engages normal people to do remarkable things for the glory of His kingdom. As Luke says in the Book of Acts, He does this “To witness to the mighty works of God.” The first leader of the early church, Simon Peter, is a clarion example of this and a model for us. An average person from a backwater province, Peter became one of the most prominent people in history. But what happened to this raw and impulsive fisherman that made the difference?
On Easter Sunday the risen Jesus ushers in a New Age. As this new reality dawns, it’s like a crisp, clear May morning, when white light throws everything into sharp focus. And although Peter isn’t physically resurrected like Jesus, in a sense he is birthed into a whole new existence and way of being. What’s most challenging and inspiring about Peter’s story is that it reveals God’s great compassion for us. Although Alan Turing was an unlikely hero, he still possessed a uniquely powerful intellect, well beyond most of our reach. But, in choosing Peter as the leader of his fledgling church, Jesus chose someone like us, someone who reflects our own struggles and frailties. You could say that in choosing Peter, Jesus has chosen us. He’s spoken over us (like Peter): “Sometimes it’s the people who no one imagines anything of, who (through God’s empowering presence) do the things that no one can imagine.”
Through Peter’s story Jesus cuts a path on which we can all travel. The question is do we have the courage like Peter to go where the journey leads us?

We find ourselves involved in so many different things these days that it’s hard to keep track of it all. A large part of our brains are taken up just juggling the dozens of passwords we need for various online subscriptions, which seem to be constantly changing. It raises the question: given that we’re connected to so many things, what does it mean to really belong to something?
It’s in this context that Anzac weekend reminds us how precious our communities are and the enormous sacrifices that have gone into protecting them. Today we remember those people across the generations who gave up their own future so that we might have one.
Along similar lines, the Book of Nehemiah provides a beautiful picture of what it means to belong to and fight for a community of people gathered by God. At the start of the story Nehemiah is working for the Babylonian ruler King Ataxerxes when he receives God’s clarion call to rebuild the broken down walls of Jerusalem. Incredibly his foreign boss blesses this mission and sends Nehemiah to restore the ruined city. This begins a rollicking adventure, which sees the dispirited squatters in Jerusalem rebuild their city walls in 52 days, despite constant threats from their neighbors. As Nehemiah says to the Israelites at one point: “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your people, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”
This improbable project was made possible because each family and group worked side-by-side along the unbroken length of the wall, united and unflinching in their common purpose. They literally formed a human wall as they rebuilt the stone one. Anzac weekend, like the Nehemiah story, reminds us of those who were united in a common purpose and protected our community with great courage and at huge personal cost.
It also reminds us of the church, and what it means to belong to this community of faith. An important part of the Nehemiah story is the recording of all the exiled families that returned to the city, 42,360 in all. Recently, our church community showed great solidarity and common purpose by giving generously to the ministry of St Paul’s at a time when we needed to repair the walls of our finances which had been recently damaged. It was such a strong response that we even exceeded the ambitious target we set ourselves! Another way we belong to this community is by keeping records of who we are as a collective group. So, just like those ancient Israelites, we’re taking a St Paul’s Census, which allows us to keep reliable records so that we can communicate more effectively with the church. But more than just record keeping, it gives us a clear picture of the human wall of protection that surrounds this church—in New Testament language, the living stones of this temple of the Holy Spirit.
As we remember the brave people who made our larger community possible, it’s a perfect opportunity to recommit ourselves to this church by signing on as part of our upcoming Census later this week.
Rev Jonny Grant

The pilgrims waving Jesus into Jerusalem on the eve of their biggest party were full of expectation for the future drawn from the past. Passover was the Big One, the time when Jews remembered God rescuing their ancestors out of Egyptian slavery, drowning its Superpower army, and setting God’s people on the path to the Promised Land. And God was about to do it again.

Fast-forward a few days to a darker scene beneath the Cross, on the first Good Friday. The soldiers threw dice for Jesus’s tunic because it was a valuable garment, made from one seamless piece of fabric (John 19:23-24). Their wager is a powerful image for what Easter represents for all of us, ushered in by the high expectations of Palm Sunday. As Jesus enters the Holy City of David, there’s an outburst of praise that reflects the huge anticipation of what he will become — the true king who will “make Israel great again” (heard that recently?). The last person who rode into Jerusalem to an adoring crowd waving palm branches was the revolutionary hero Judas Maccabeus, who threw the Syrian King out of the sacred Temple two centuries before Jesus.

On that humble donkey Jesus carried centuries of prophetic and nationalistic expectation. The pilgrims cheering him on that day wanted political independence — the freedom to rule themselves. But by reaching so low they missed the greater prize that the true king had his eye on — nothing short of emancipating humanity from the ravages of sin and death. Just like that festive crowd a few days earlier, the Roman soldiers squabbling over Jesus’s tunic at the foot of the Cross are a bit like the children in that famous wardrobe arguing over which coat to wear, when the greater adventure of Narnia lies a few feet away — the invitation to rule with the Lion himself.

The Cross and the Christian life could be described as the glorious frustration of human expectations. Richard Bauckham puts it like this: “There is no smooth path to God which we can ascend with all our expectations of life confirmed and fulfilled. There is only the way of the cross, where the condemned and crucified Jesus contradicts our expectations, forces us to see ourselves as we really are, not as we would like to be seen, and reveals the world as a strange new landscape we had not seen before, a paradoxical game in which only losers can succeed.”

The mystery at the heart of Easter is that the Lion of Judah must die before he can breathe life into death. The same can be said of our lives. We, too, must go on the journey of Easter — to have our low expectations gloriously frustrated, so that we might find our way through the back of the wardrobe into the vast expanse of God’s reality beyond; a world that our weak imaginations need the jolt of Easter to enter into.

As the bright sun of Palm Sunday gives way to the darkness of Good Friday, what expectations or fantasies might need to follow the Lion into the tomb? May this mystery gloriously frustrate and fulfill you this Easter.

See you on Friday!
Rev Jonny Grant

When I was at high school I used to run middle distance — mainly 800m and 1500m. I had a “love-hate” relationship with the sport; racing was an adrenalin-fueled buzz, but the training was hard and pushing your body to its limits was painful. But there’s a sound from those days that I’ll never forget, which was the bell for the final lap. At that moment, you were always faced with a big decision, either to give it away and ease the burning in your lungs and legs, or to lean in and leave everything on the track. I’m happy to say I never chose the first option, but it was always hugely tempting at the time!

Last Sunday in our morning services I spoke about the many ministry and missional opportunities we have as a church, particularly new plans to equip and empower our people for life and ministry. I also described a very specific challenge that we face right now. Over the last six months a group of former leaders and congregants at St Paul’s have formed a new worship gathering nearby. When a number of people leave the church all at the same time like this, it has some knock-on effects for our congregation. One obvious result is that this group has taken their financial contribution with them, which has left a gap in our finances of around $125,000 over the course of the year. As I described last Sunday, we have met this challenge by cutting our costs and running on a tight shift as a staff team.

Recently Esther spoke about God calling and leading the Joshua generation of God’s people into the land He had promised them under Moses. What we find throughout Scripture, and in our own experience, is that God’s opportunities often come with a challenge. For the Israelites, the land was already inhabited and most of their scouts were tempted to exaggerate this challenge into an insurmountable wall. But faith requires strength and courage.

Last week I invited us as a community of faith to see our current financial challenge as an opportunity for God to move us into the things He’s prepared for us. I set the target of raising $150,000 of new giving over these two Sundays. I felt that it was important to articulate that specific figure and to reach it together. Although it’s an ambitious goal, like a giant tug-of-war if we all grasp the rope and lean into it, it becomes easily achievable.

I want to thank all of you who responded to this bold call to bless, protect and grow our church. We had an incredible response last Sunday morning with over 70 people raising around $100,000 from just two services. That’s a huge level of participation and was a big encouragement to us. Thank you!

Returning to my teenage track experience, we’ve reached the exhilarating challenge of the “bell lap.” We’ve done most of the hard work, but the finish line remains ahead. The one event I always looked forward to in the track season was the relay meet. There was something inspiring and emboldening about sharing the challenge and spreading the weight within a team who were giving everything they had for each other. Church is more like a team relay than an individual race. So I want to invite those of you who have not yet taken up the baton, to bring us home in style this week as we seek to raise our target of $150,000 and take the church forward into its future.

Rev Jonny Grant

In the 1970’s a “Biblical Garden” was planted on St Paul’s northern side, which was filled with palms, figs, olives, and even a cedar of Lebanon! It expresses the vision of St Paul’s as a garden planted by God in the heart of our city, and it’s an idea that finds its origins in the story of Scripture.

In the Book of Genesis two rival images of human life emerge. First, we see God’s vision of life established within the fruitful productivity of Eden—the original garden. A little later, a very different form of human existence takes shape in Pharaoh’s Egypt. Whereas Eden was animated by God’s abundance, Egypt was dominated by Pharaoh’s nightmare of famine-induced scarcity. Under Joseph’s guidance, Egypt’s people are progressively enslaved, trading food in stages for their livestock, their land, and ultimately their own freedom.

In many ways the ancient imagery of Genesis accurately reflects our own life in a bustling modern city like Auckland. The theologian J. I. Packer describes the Christian life as a journey through contested territory, in the space between the Creator and the Corrupter. Put another way, we live in the tension between Eden and Egypt—God’s provision versus self-reliance and the fear of scarcity. We’re privileged to live in a beautiful vibrant city like Auckland, but it also poses challenges to our journey of faith. We can become caught up in the creeping anxiety of how to sustain life and keep progressing in a competitive city that is among the world’s most expensive.

It’s within this challenging context that Jesus’s call to worship God with everything we have blows like a fresh breeze from Eden. And it's here where we need to acknowledge that our finances are heavily contested territory. But they also provide us with a powerful opportunity to express our faith in God’s provision, while blessing others. Scot McKnight calls this the “reciprocity of grace … God gives to us so that we can become grace to others.” Tom Wright puts it this way:

“Don’t let the parodies put you off. The habit of giving, of giving generously, is not an extra option for keen Christians … because our whole calling is to reflect God the creator, and the main thing we know about this true God is that his very nature is self-giving, generous love. The reason why “God loves a cheerful giver” is that that’s what God himself is like. Someone like that is a person after God’s own heart. Making a regular, formal and public practice of giving money is designed to generate the habit of heart which forms a key part of what is meant by agape love.”

So, today I want to thank you for what you give to this community of faith and the Kingdom of God through St Paul’s, and also to welcome you into that adventure if you are not currently giving. What this church does is only possible because of your generosity. So why not grab a giving card today and get involved?

Our ultimate future lies in the “Garden City”—the New Jerusalem. This will be a place where God’s presence and provision permeates all of human life. Just as rivers flowed out from Eden giving life to everything beyond its boundaries, St Paul’s is built atop one of the natural springs that used to flow down what is now Queen Street. Our vision for St Paul’s is that it would be a spiritual Garden offering hospitality, hope and restoration, and that its rivers of life would flow out into and bless our City as a taste of the New Jerusalem in the bustling heart of Auckland.

Rev Jonny Grant

The journey of faith is full of mystery and paradox. One of my favourite scenes from Scripture is in 1 Samuel when an exhausted David, on the run from the murderous King Saul, finds himself holed up in a dark cave at Adullam. It’s here that David composes Psalm 142, which ends with these desperate but hopeful words: “Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.”

God always hears and answers our prayers, but not always in the way we expect Him to. David receives one of these unexpected answers to his prayer. We’re told in 1 Samuel 22:2 that: “All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him.” David inherits a rag-tag bunch, which Eugene Peterson describes as those “who were down on their luck—losers and vagrants and misfits of all sorts.” I doubt this is what David meant when he prayed that the “righteous” would join him. But this rabble became David’s Mighty Men, a group that became famous throughout Israel for their courage. What a beautiful scene and how typical of God!

Last Sunday I spoke about the frustration we often feel when God colours outside the lines we draw for him, working outside of our plans and timeframes. But the reality is that we follow the One who created the cosmos and everything in it—the One who sees the bigger picture and knows what lies ahead. Like David’s prayer in the Cave of Adullam, God often brings answers out of unexpected places so that we might know that He is God and find new reasons to believe. And like those ‘down-and-out’ guys who were transformed into an invincible fighting unit, we often find our purpose and answer “on the way.” Not stuck in a world of sustained introspection, but as we courageously step out into serving God and others.

One of the mysteries and paradoxes of our faith is that God often meets our needs out of our own generosity. But that inevitably takes courage! When Jesus first announced his ministry, he held up an obscure widow from the Old Testament as an example of faith. She and her son were on the brink of starvation when the prophet Elijah asked for her last ounce of oil and flour. Imagine how hard it must’ve been to give that last meal to a stranger instead of her own son! Yet out of her courageous generosity, God miraculously fed her family during three years of drought.

As a pastor, I’m most inspired by the stories of people at St Paul’s who respond creatively, courageously and generously out of their own needs. You never know, just like David in that dark cave, your needs may end up being a blessing to countless others. So where is God inviting you to see your places of lack as an opportunity to be “strong and very courageous” today?

Rev Jonny Grant

When we lived in the UK, I entered the world of football hooliganism with a group of friends in southwest London. Over 10 wintry seasons we saw some amazing players, witnessed some historic games, and enjoyed some fine pork belly and ale during our customary pre-match ritual. For a few years our team was coached by an imperious Italian called Claudio Ranieri, who became known as “the Tinkerman” for his quirky (and unpopular) team selections. Two years ago he took over an unfancied team called Leicester City, who were odds-on favorites to be relegated at the end of the season. Instead, without any big-name players, Leicester romped to victory in the English Premiership in what’s been described as the greatest ever sporting achievement. At the start of the season they were literally 5,000-1 outsiders to win the title.      

These “rise of the underdog” stories resonate deep within us and the Bible is packed full of them too. From beginning to end Scripture is the story of God bringing about His improbable kingdom through an unlikely people. Even Israel’s most famous King—David—wasn’t even included in the initial interviews by his Father Jesse … thanks Dad! And there’s a point to it all. When we become bearers of God’s unmistakable presence, we bring glory to Him. We bear witness to divine power rather than human prowess.

People often ask me what our vision is for St Paul’s. So here it is. When Jesus announces the beginning of his own ministry in Luke 4, he borrows and adapts a famous passage from Isaiah 61. In this vision the prophet paints a picture of God releasing and restoring his people—the oppressed, mourners, prisoners, captives and the broken-hearted. Jesus adds a few of his own to intensify the vision—good news for the poor and sight for the blind.

It’s a stunning picture of new creation, but the radical key to Isaiah’s vision is one that we can easily miss. It’s not the trained priests who carry out the restoration work while the people watch on, it’s the people themselves who express these ministries of restoration and rebuilding. It’s a two-part movement: God renews His people so that they can carry his kingdom forward. The apostle Peter describes how Jesus disperses God’s kingdom, flattening its power structures, by establishing a “royal priesthood” which is made up of everyone in the church, young and old, beginner and ‘expert’.

Our vision for St Paul’s is that this church will be a place where each of us discovers and explores the work that God has called us to and anointed us for; that each of us will find our distinctive role within the intricate body of Christ here at St Paul’s. That will be a messy journey at times, for sure, but if the body never tried to move then where would be the sense of adventure. There are things to do and places to see!


Rev Jonny Grant      

One of the downsides of tv box-sets is that they draw you into their orbit, immersing you in a world of characters that become like family, and then one day they drop you off in a post-finale wilderness, leaving you bereft and listless! Excuse the melodrama but we’ve just finished “Friday Night Lights,” which follows the lives of a Texas high school football coach and his family. Although the premise sounds unpromising, it’s been magnetic for us because it’s such an insightful take on life, people and the complexity of human communities. I’m sure it was written by a church pastor!

That’s also why the gospels have stayed so fresh down through the ages. The central character is pretty magnetic, but it’s also about the razor sharp observations the gospel writers make about how people respond to Jesus. These stories have the fragrance of authenticity about them—this is the way people are—and they teach us about our own journey of faith. One of the most dramatic examples of this is the resurrection of Lazarus in John 11. 

This story shows the constant wrestle between Jesus’ way of working and people’s expectations of him. It’s almost farcical. It begins with Lazarus’ sisters Martha and Mary sending Jesus urgent news of his serious illness, but Jesus decides to wait. Then, 2 days later, he gets ready to go to Lazarus, but his disciples challenge him because the Jews in that area have just tried to stone him. Next, Jesus returns to the sisters during their brother’s “wake” and they rebuke him with the words: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died”! Then, when Jesus tells them to roll away the stone, Martha tries to talk him out of it because of the smell after 4 days. Even when Lazarus walks out of the tomb, there’s a mixed reaction! Although many believe in Jesus after this sign, there’s another crowd that tell the religious leaders who immediately (and ironically) start planning his death. 

We can fall for the temptation of thinking that everything would be simple if Jesus was with us in the flesh. But even his closest followers in the gospels cover him in a dense forest of projected expectations and disappointments. These sisters who know that Jesus could have prevented Lazarus’ death, don’t seem to believe that Jesus could revive him. We are complex creatures! Doesn’t this all sound a bit too familiar though? Jesus has called us into his resurrection life and yet we often find ourselves resisting his ways of working, his timing, and bending his power into our limited range of expectations.   

The essence of the Christian life is that Jesus has called us into the “first-fruits” of the new creation. And yet we still find parts of our lives, our ministries, and our relationships that are lifeless and starting to smell like those old grave-clothes. We can find ourselves saying, like those sisters, “Jesus if only you had been here earlier, I wouldn’t be in this state.” But we forget that Jesus is not just a physician, he is resurrection! So what does he need to bring back to life for you today?


Rev Jonny Grant

n the Old Testament there are two archetypical, and quite different contexts, that Israel came to associate with God’s presence – the Tabernacle and the Temple. During their wilderness wanderings, God gives Israel instructions for a holy tent in which God would travel with His people, moving from one place to the next. Wherever they went, God went with them. Later, once Israel was settled in the land, Solomon famously built the Temple in the holy city, which became the ‘permanent’ dwelling place of God.  

Borrowing these two images, by analogy, brings into focus what Andy has been to St Paul’s. Within an established context like St Paul’s, familiar patterns, rhythms, traditions and ministries tend to become like the solid walls of the temple – permanent, immovable and irreplaceable. They are the life-giving places where we have experienced God with us and so they become precious. But they can also eventually become places of stasis, where we get bogged down or miss the new direction that God is taking us. When I think about Andy, I am reminded most of the Tabernacle – the meeting place between God and his people, which remained dynamic and responsive to new places and new directions.

Andy has been a creative leader in the best sense of the word – full of vision and ideas, but combining that with openness to God’s leading. He has been at the heart of so many of the ministries and initiatives at St Paul’s over the last 8 years, including Worship Central, GLOW and the worship albums God with Us and Creation’s King, to name just a few. But, even more importantly, he has been sensitive to the wind-shifts at various points and so able to set his sails in a new direction. A great example of that has been the development of Alt Carols as a fresh way of re-telling the Christmas story. Like his own hairstyles over the years, Andy has been able to move with the times and live well within them. 

But here’s the twist. There’s also a way that Andy has been more like the Temple than the Tabernacle. We often judge a leader by how we experience them when they’re with us. But, actually, the true test of leadership is what leaders leave once they’ve gone. Andy has been a great leader among us over these last 8 years. But the enduring testimony to his leadership is what he leaves behind – more like those solid Temple walls than tent canvas. Andy leaves behind a mature and thriving worship team and in Chris a leader who can lead them and us into the next adventure. So, we want to thank Andy for his incredible season at St Paul’s. Just like Israel’s ancient worship spaces, Andy has helped to shape a context in which we have experienced God with us. Thanks Andy – we will miss you!


Rev Jonny Grant 

This week we made an historic discovery. The original hand drawn plans for the third St Paul’s building – dating from 1893 by architect William Henry Skinner – have been lost for as long as anyone can remember. The Diocesan Archive had concluded that they had likely gone back to the UK with the Welsh architect, hence their disappearance from the records.

Before Christmas I mentioned the missing plans to historian Earle Howe, who’d come across them years ago in an antiquarian bookshop on High Street. It was our only lead and two weeks ago Simeon (who shares a love of history) and I resolved to track them down. My email enquiry to the bookshop went unanswered but soon after Jonny attended an evening at the Venn Foundation and sat next to a man who had spent some time studying in Oxford. Over dinner he mentioned that he and his wife had attended St Paul’s a long time ago and that Jonny might be interested to know that a friend who had also spent time in the UK had some architectural drawings of St Paul’s on his study wall.

There have been lots of plans drawn over the years for not only the three St Paul’s buildings (Emily Place, the temporary church at Eden Terrace and the final St Paul’s on Symonds Street), but also for various changes to the building. There were no guarantees that these plans would be for the current building.

This week I met the couple, who have since moved back to New Zealand. To my joy I discovered that the stunning plans they fell in love with 25 years ago in that antiquarian bookshop on High Street are indeed the full and original plans for our beautiful church! There are four large pages dated ‘1893’, each backed with linen, which have hand drawn elevations and details for the North, South, East and West. 

The discovery of the plans is invaluable to the future restoration work, as there are several parts of the building that have been significantly altered over the past 122 years and many more that were never completed. The current owners were delighted to know what a treasure these are for our church and have given them to us on loan so that we can have them professionally scanned and replicated for our use.
Framed copies will be gracing our church walls soon!

Esther Grant


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Available 22/04/2017

We are currently a flat of three girls. Our landlord has recently built a stylie 4 bedroom house in our backyard, and has asked us to move in. So we are now in need of a 4th flatmate. We are a friendly group of girls - we all have full and rich lives - we enjoy being home together, but also have a range of commitments which mean we are often here, there and everywhere. Our new house is currently in the finishing stages of being built. We are due to shift in on the 13th of April. The house is pretty great - 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, large lounge and large entertaining space. The house backs onto Mangere Mountain, and has multiple decks and views. Rent: $185 + expenses | Rooms available: 1 | 3 current residents | Parking: OSP - Garage Feel free to contact us for more info. Rebecca Email: Phone: 021 084 24681

Our daughter is 5 years old who has developmental delay. She starts school Tuesday after Queens birthday weekend in June. We will need someone to collect her from Point Chevalier Primary and bring home, get afternoon tea for her, help with homework (if any), help her in bath/shower. The days we require are a Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Hours would be 3pm - 6pm (at the minimum). You could do till 7:30 on a Monday if wanted. There is also the ability for more hours to help on my days at home. Ideally if someone is able to do all 3 days that would be good but if can only do 2 days then you can still get in touch. Please email time and Kirstin or 021 1122 635

Have you or someone you know planned a sojourn away for a month or longer? Need someone to care for your home/pets whilst you're away?? Well I'm your lady! :) Let's chat! Ask for Chelsea Bartlett 0210789820. 

We're a family of four from central Auckland who is looking for a special person to help out with our eight year old son, who has special needs (similar to Down Syndrome). Hours and days are negotiable, but likely to involve around 8 hrs per week. It's likely that we'll be present much of the time, but you might also be asked to nanny in our absence at times. Hourly rate to be negotiated. The role is likely to include supporting us on Sunday mornings so we can get to St P's as a family. Also after school support on 1-2 days per week, with the possibility of more work during the school holidays.  We're looking for someone who is energetic and enthusiastic. Willing to have long conversations with our beautiful boy about Donald Duck, not afraid to jump on the trampoline, or help with toileting or feeding. Likely to suit a high school student or Uni student.  Please call or text 021 136 0329 for more information.


I'm Christina and I live in Germany.  I am coming to New Zealand in September to get to know the country, the culture and especially the language.

I'm looking for a host family to live with during my stay. To finance my stay I am happy to babysit.  I will be attending a language course during my visit.

Please email me

Room (with queen bed) for rent in cute 2 storey 3 bedroom/2 bathroom modern home in Ponsonby.

Available from 3rd July 2017 to share with mature female owner.

Room has ensuite and walk-in wardrobe. 
One off-street car park available. 2 minute walk to Ponsonby Central, buses, cafes etc.

Please email 
with any enquiries.

Rent $300 pw plus expenses.

To all those interested in social justice, ethical trade, consuming with integrity, restoring right relationships and making a difference... The Fairfield Trust warmly invites you to the inaugural Fairfield Conference, 10-11 February at AUT.

Empowering producers, traders, retailers and consumers to make ethical choices which bring freedom, integrity and allow all people to enjoy the work of their hands.

Through speakers, seminars and participatory workshops, a marketplace and documentaries, we will explore different approaches, models, issues and strategies.

Everyone is welcome! Attendance and food is free.

See the amazing speakers at  and to register.

We're a pretty social lot at St P's. So if you have great shots of our community, please share them on our photo social channels. 
You can get to them by clicking the icons at the top of our website, or here for Flickr, or here for Instagram
On Flickr, add your album or shots to our photostream. On Instagram, tag your shots #stpaulsauckland
Or if you have shots of anything and anyone in our community that you think might look ace on Happening or our Welcome sheet or as a website header or in a film, send em to me at
We're a pretty diverse lot, so the more contributors and the more creative the better. Shots of 'official' events are great. But so are pics of you and your church mates just doing your thing.

Want to know more about our story as Auckland's oldest church? The "Mother Church" of Auckland in fact? I've been beavering away at our formerly sparse Wikipedia article over the last few months, incorporating Kate Hannah's wonderful brief history, the Parish Profile we all helped create, various written and pictorial historic sources and some contemporary stuff including Tom Roberton photos. Hit the W icon at the top of this page or click here.