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...

The Identity Course

five wednesdays starting 13 mar | 7.30pm
This course looks at how our identity is formed and shaped. Join us on a 5 week journey to explore: seeing ourselves as God sees us, discovering our purpose, forming healthy connections, getting unstuck and moving forward. Come and discover the self you were made for. Register now.

wed 27 feb | 7.30pm | st pauWe are excited to kick the year off with our first Deeper. It’s an opportunity to go deeper in our relationship with God in an extended time of worship led by Chris Cope and the worship team. David and Greta Peters will be ministering to us so, if you are hungry to experience more of God, this is a night not to be missed. It’s going to be an epic night. Everyone is welcome, grab your friends and come join us.

1:1 Camp 2019

2-3 March | salt & light
It's back! That's right 1:1 Camp is back again. This camp gives one parent and one child some one-on-one time to bond and turn shared experiences into significant memories! We are going back to basics - camping in small tents, cooking over a fire, having fun together. Open to any Salt and Light child, accompanied by a parent or significant adult. For more information contact Donald or you can register here.

Fri 15 Feb | 7pm | $5 | St Paul's Church
Sons of God is not just a film. It's a unique insight into a world where faith and love are no longer unattainable concepts - but actualised reality. Inexplicable miracles. Lives radically transformed. Sons and daughters living lives abandoned to their God. Dutch filmmaker Immanuel Hazeleger traveled the world to capture a story that inspires, brings hope and reveals a God who is accessible to all. This film will equip and inspire you - register now and bring your family and friends!

Incredibly, in the 177 years of St Paul's history we have only had 12 vicars. For over a hundred years portraits were added to the Vestry as successive vicars moved on from their post. After repainting the walls many years ago the portraits weren't rehung, but they are being returned to their rightful place along with some beautiful paintings of the original St Paul's. Watch this space!

sat 8 dec - 9pm | sun 9 dec - 6.30pm & 9pm
tickets $15 | group discount available

Our favourite show of the year is nearly here! Come and enjoy a bunch of carols remixed by local artists with a short Christmas message thrown in for good measure. Eats and drinks after the Saturday show and between the two Sunday shows. Start inviting your friends, family, work colleagues and pets! Check out the Alt Carols website for more info. Get your tickets now!

Alt Carols Website

Is all this talk of Alt Carols making you want to relive the music from our past Alt Carols? You're in luck! The Alt Carols Vol. 1 CD's are on sale from the store at the back of the church. For $20 each or $50 for three, why not tick some names off your Christmas shopping list and buy a whole bunch.

18 nov | morning services
If you ever needed an excuse to buy a new pair of shoes, this is it! We're delighted to be once again partnering with St Saviour's church in Kaitaia for our annual shoebox appeal. All you need to participate is a bit of imagination and a desire to bring a smile to the face of a child or mum this Christmas. Pick up your gift tag and instructions on Sunday 18 November, spend the week filling it with Christmas gifts, and bring it back on the 25th. For more info, email Doreen.

25 nov | 9am, 11am and 18:30 services
Every year over 200 of us descend on Mystery Creek for Festival One for Auckland Anniversary weekend. This is a great opportunity to hang out, worship, build community and share good times together. The Festival One team will be at St Paul's on the 25th of November, offering us a one day only special discount. Be sure to put it in your diary and bring your wallet.

Would you like to join our awesome prayer team and receive our weekly prayer requests email? We have seen so many wonderful answers to prayer this year. Email Sally if you are interested in joining the team. If you have a prayer request, please email, we would love to pray for you. Please make sure you have their permission if you are asking for prayer for another person.

In his letter to the Colossians, Paul describes the mind-blowing reality that we now see the unseen God in Jesus; the invisible has been made visible. This is good news! But it’s also the challenge of our faith. We’re called to progressively re-align our whole lives towards realities that remain invisible and somewhat intangible. The biblical claim is that Jesus has been enthroned as King over all things, including our world, and that everything in heaven and earth is coming under his peaceable rule, and one day will be fully in tune with it. And yet Jesus’ return will be like a thief in the night, so we shouldn’t be surprised when it comes as a surprise!

So how does the Kingdom Come? How does this invisible reality become visible? Jesus and all the biblical writers witness to the fact that the Kingdom will eventually find full expression in the structures and institutions of our world, but this Kingdom begins in us; in the battlefield of our hearts with all of their conflicting cravings and allegiances. The life of genuine faith is an invitation to attune our hearts and then our actions to Jesus, so that his Kingdom might take root in us.

One of the key places this happens is in our finances. Today we’re talking about money and, particularly, how we can participate in the church. I’m describing my own journey in this area, which has included a growing conviction that the church is Christ’s bride; his visible presence in the world and the place where the Kingdom begins to take on tangible form, both for our sake and for the city we’ve been planted within.

So, I want to thank those of you who already give generously to St Paul’s; her ministry is only possible because of what you give. And, if you're not yet involved in this way, I want to invite you to think, pray and act on how you can participate financially in St Paul’s. Getting involved in this way is an active and important symbol of your belonging to this community of faith. Theologian Tom Wright sums it up nicely: “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” (2 Cor. 9:7) 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.”

Blessings, Rev Jonny Grant

The Old Testament describes two very different places of worship for God’s people. The first was the tabernacle in Exodus, which was a mobile temple that moved around with the people, and the second was the temple in Jerusalem, which was an immovable colossus made of stone. Both of these images are helpful for us as the New Testament church. The tabernacle reminds us that we are a people on the move; that we haven’t yet arrived home; and that God is leading us, and is present with us, on this journey. And the temple reminds us that, although we journey towards our ultimate home, this is not a far-off place. The temple reminds us that the New Jerusalem will be here on earth, as heaven comes down and joins a renewed creation once and for all. (Revelation 21)

Although we are a people ‘on the move’ like the tabernacle, we are also blessed at St Paul’s to have a ‘permanent’ place of worship, which resonates with the temple imagery. This weekend, we’re celebrating our stained glass, seeking to care for it, and using it as our inspiration for the future. The power of this glass, is that it connects us to God’s faithfulness in the past, which gives us hope for the future. These beautiful windows, along with the other carvings, tell the story of the gospel, as well as its unfolding in our own local context over the last 177 years, since the founding of St Paul’s and the city itself in 1841.

Above all else, our church is consecrated ground, meaning that it has been dedicated to the worship of God, as a connecting point between heaven and earth. It’s that legacy that we’re called to take forward in our own times today. As we do that, we carry a mixture of both ambition (this is nothing less than serving the one living God), and humble awe (this is God’s project that we have been invited to participate in). King Solomon takes this dual posture in his prayer of dedication of the ancient temple. He prays: “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day. May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive.” (1 Kings 8:27-30)

Incredibly, the apostle Paul says that, now, we the church are the temple of the Holy Spirit. We, together, are consecrated as the place where God dwells. And so, it’s with that stunning revelation in our minds, that we celebrate God’s faithfulness to his people at St Paul’s through the generations, as well as our great hope for the future. We are on the move, but we shall not be moved!

Blessings, Rev Jonny Grant

One of the highlights of our time living in the UK was becoming a (relatively well-behaved) football hooligan for 10 years. Although you could watch the games at a local pub or at home, nothing came close to the deafening noise and electric atmosphere during the big games. Something unique would happen when a stadium full of fans sung their cherished songs of shared identity and support as one voice, some of them adapted from old hymns – at times, it raised the hairs on the back of your neck.
Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been exploring what the church is for, and especially, why we gather together on a Sunday. Scripture gives us bold imagery to enliven our imaginations for this task, and we’ve already looked at the church as a family and a garden. But one of the more radical biblical images is resonant with that stadium full of impassioned fans. Paul describes the church as the temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor. 3:16) In this instance, he doesn’t mean each of us individually, but together, each one of us a living stone building the walls of God’s house. We, as a community, are a place where God’s presence is powerfully among us, within us, surrounding us, pouring himself into the places we gather.
This is a dramatic image for a Jew like Paul to use, and it has far-reaching implications for us as a church. Most importantly, it shapes our expectations of what actually happens during our gathered worship. The temple was the central place of Jewish religion — only one priest, once a year could enter the Holy of Holies, which was set aside for God. But, now, the dividing curtain in the temple has been torn apart and Jesus’ own body has become the temple, the living presence of God on earth. Even more than that, God’s own Spirit has been poured out on his people forever so that we are now his temple. It’s hard to grasp the full magnitude of what this means for us. Certainly, Paul’s letters express the clear expectation that his churches should experience this radical new reality through the tangible presence of God in their midst — in their teaching, prayer, worship, the gifts of the Spirit, friendship, mission — and so should we.
Being the temple of the Holy Spirit also has implications for how we move forward as a church and steward what God has put in our hands. The Jewish temple was meant to be the glory of God on display, so that the whole world could draw near to his presence. Now, incredibly, we have been given that mantle as the new temple — “the light on the hill” as St Paul’s has always been known. In Jesus’ famous prayer in John 17, he makes it clear that this glory is best expressed to those around us through the relational architecture of this living temple — namely, through the unity and intimacy among its people. In the words of Jesus: “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:22-23)
Blessings, Rev Jonny Gran

What sets us apart from the rest of God’s creatures is that we have vision. We have the ability to think of alternative worlds and ways of life, whether utopian or dystopian. Rather than simply reacting to what’s in front of us, we have the capacity to think beyond it. The ever-expanding universe of sci-fi literature and films proves the point. In the ancient Near East, different creation stories were told to make sense of life as it was. They mainly described a world that was made through conflict between gods, what we see around us being collateral damage from this divine carnage (e.g. the oceans being the watery carcass of a dead god). Within this negative vision, humans were cast as slaves to the gods, toiling under their fickle gaze. Within this marketplace of creation stories, the Book of Genesis envisioned a radically different reality. In this Hebrew vision there is only one God, who creates the world, not through battle, but through his gracious word — all of creation is pronounced good. And, within this garden state, God makes humans in his own image, and calls them friends and stewards. This startling story of the world’s origins is given an even more incredible climax in the Book of Revelation, when God comes to live among his people in the eternal garden city — the New Jerusalem.

So, we arrive back at our question: what is the church for? What is its purpose and why do we need it? The vision of life described in Genesis and Revelation are both so radical because they were written at times when God’s people lived at the mercy of brutal empires. In each case, the biblical vision called them to live another way from the dominant culture around them — to foster a community of difference. We, too, live in a world animated by goals and rhythms that can feel more like the dystopian creation stories of old, than the divine vision in Genesis. We live frenetic lives, often reacting to obligations, expectations and schedules that seem beyond our control. “Life is busy” has become our worshipful refrain. Working and worshipping halfway down Symonds Street vividly expresses this intense reality.

Within this context, we’re called as a church to cultivate a garden in the heart of our city, that embodies and witnesses to a different vision of life. What could this look like? Well, throughout July we looked at what it means to be Sabbath-Carriers in every part of our lives. Just like in Genesis, this begins in the garden state of the church; the place where God meets with his people and breathes life into us through his presence and friendship. This spiritual garden is a place where everyone gets to participate, everyone expressing their gifts and God-callings. It’s a place where we honestly describe the world as it is, and as it should be. It’s a place where we seek to take this vision out into the world beyond; from the big picture of caring for God’s creation to bringing care and dignity to the homeless concentrated in the Queen Street valley on our doorstep. Becoming a garden state in the heart of our city will take courage, conviction and action. It will take a community of people who are convinced by and committed to that vision of the world expressed in Genesis and Revelation. How is God calling you into cultivating that eternal garden today?

Blessings, Rev Jonny Grant

A question I’ve heard a lot over the years, usually from people who are a bit over church, is: “what is church actually for?” This question has become even more relevant in an age when we can digitally access the best speakers and music in the world, whenever we want. So, why do we need the gathered social bit, which takes up a chunk of our precious Sunday? Well, the response to that question takes some answering. But, an important part of that answer comes from the first “sign” that Jesus does at a wedding in Galilee, which just so happens to coincide with Father’s Day.

For John, Jesus’ signs reveal the mystery of who God is and who we are as His image-bearers. Throughout the Old Testament, God speaks about Himself in the imagery of a passionate and faithful groom who is constantly pursuing his beloved bride, Israel, even when they turn their back on Him. It’s amazingly intimate imagery, which the New Testament writers then connect to the church. Now Jesus is the ultimate bridegroom, and the church is his bride for whom he has given his life. This imagery is mind-blowing when we allow it to permeate our imagination. So, it’s somewhat relevant that Jesus’ first sign is at a wedding party that is losing its way.

Weddings in those days were full-scale social affairs, as much for the benefit of the whole community as they were for the married couple. The ensuing wedding feast often lasted for a whole week, which involved the village not just celebrating the wedding, but also their common life together. And this is where we get back to the reason for the church, or at least one of them. The Apostle Paul describes the churches he pastored as spiritual “families”. They were groups that were called together, through their common faith in Jesus, from every walk of life and social standing. And Paul’s description of the church as a new family is meant to go beyond just imagery. The early church was a radical new society, who were called to be brothers and sisters to each other. This involved becoming a community of mutual encouragement, where the mature in their faith would pass on wisdom and support to those who were younger or greener, where those of economic means would support the needs of the less equipped, where masters and slaves stood shoulder to shoulder as brothers of equal standing. This was nothing short of a miraculous community, only made possible by the life of the Spirit.

So, the question for us is not so much what is church for, but are our ambitions for church high enough? This is not about increasing what we expect from other people (as comes so naturally to us), but raising our expectations of what we have to offer to this spiritual family. What G K Chesterton famously said about the Gospel is also true of the church: it has not been tried and found wanting, but found challenging and left untried. My experience of fatherhood is that it tests me to my limits at times, but nothing could be more worth the challenge. As the Bride of Christ, perhaps the spiritual family of the church also meets that threshold.

Blessings, Rev Jonny Grant

Occasionally, a story punctures the constant hum of the global news cycle and captures the world’s imagination.
In June, as the world’s most illustrious soccer teams competed for glory in Russia, an unknown group in Northern Thailand quickly became the world’s most famous soccer team. A young team called the “Wild Boars” got trapped by rising floodwaters at the end of a complex network of underwater caves. Over 9 long days, the world held its breath as experienced cave divers scrambled to find the boys, with both water and anxiety levels rising fast. Incredibly, they were finally located nearly 4km inside the labyrinth. And that’s when the challenges really began. How do you get 12 cold and terrified boys and their coach through a network of underwater caves in a dive lasting 5-6 hours, at freezing temperatures, with 1 foot of visibility, and tight twists that required the regular removal and maneuvering of oxygen tanks?

Thus began one of the greatest rescues in history. After the death of a diver, a former navy seal, and with floodwaters rising, the decision was made to go for it. Over 3 long days, an operation involving 16 divers and a support crew of 10,000 rescued all 12 boys and their coach. The world let out its collective breath and a week later Les Bleus lifted the World Cup in Russia. What captivated people’s imaginations, as much as the plight of the Wild Boars, was the heroism and humility of the rescuers; a group of people who had dedicated their lives to cave-diving, and risked their lives for these young strangers.

As well as the obvious drama and tension of this ordeal, the question remains: why do we find stories like this one so compelling? One answer is that this is the basic form of every great story, including the greatest story ever told, which is the story John is recounting in the Fourth Gospel. Through our own misadventure, humanity found itself trapped
in a dead-end cave, with no hope of escape. Every rescue plan seemed doomed to failure. Such was the shape of the challenge that only a human could fashion a way out. And this is John’s revelation. The Light, Jesus, has entered into the darkness for our sake. He has masterminded and mapped the way out, personally guiding us through the dark watery twists of human existence, and even death itself. The one who knows every contour of the cave has come for us. He has come to give us life, true life.

Jesus’ invitation to us is like the one the cave boys faced when the 3-day rescue began. Days of careful planning and preparation came down to the poignant moment when each boy had to put their trust in this masked stranger; to commit their destiny into his hands and follow him through the cold dark twists of the labyrinth. In a similar way, Jesus’ invitation to us is to follow Him, but as we’re going to find out through John’s Gospel, faith takes the courage of the Wild Boars. Is God calling you to trust Him with something today?

>Blessings, Rev Jonny Grant

Last week we started our journey into the Fourth Gospel. John starts with a stunning poem that explains the enormity and significance of what has happened in the arrival of Jesus. This is no less than a new creation story. The light of the world has come into the world; the one who made all things has entered His creation. Even more incredibly, John says, through believing in this Jesus, we can have life in his name. And yet, we often experience or sense the lack of God’s presence, rather than its fullness. To this, John says, we need to sharpen our senses and change our perspective. Even when Jesus came to his own people, they still missed him; still failed to see him for who he was.
So, what does a full-bodied Christian perspective on God’s presence look like? The Christian philosopher, Jamie Smith, says it has a lot to do with how we fundamentally see the world and God’s relationship to it. We know this because the reason the religious authorities couldn’t accept Jesus, was that he made outrageous claims about being “I AM,” the God who could not be contained by human categories or media (John 8:58). To them, the idea that God could be so intimately joined with his creation was blasphemy. In fact, humans have always sought to keep a comfortable separation between heaven and earth, a notion that is blown wide open by John’s opening poem.
In his brilliant book, “Thinking in Tongues”, Jamie Smith points out that modern society has conceived of a world which is a closed system of natural “cause & effect.” There is no place for God in this sort of world. In John’s terms, the Creator has been shut out of his creation. This has obviously shaped how we think about our world. And, it’s also had a profound impact on the Christian imagination too. Within this worldview, we easily fall into the trap of thinking about God as a stranger, who must occasionally “break into” his creation through miracles.
But, God’s Incarnation in the human person of Jesus and the sending of the Spirit calls us to a radically different vision of reality. Smith describes this as an “ontology of intimacy or care.” This simply means that God is not a distant stranger to his creation, but is intimately present within it, his presence holding it all together and sustaining its life. Along these lines, both St Augustine and CS Lewis describe miracles, not as unusual events, but as moments of increased intensity in what God is doing all the time — always creating and restoring. This truth has radical implications for how we see the world and how we experience God’s presence within it. In this view, God is everywhere and always at work in every detail of our lives, in every conversation, and in the beauty of His creation. As John says, the light and life of humanity has come to the world he created; not as a visitor but as the intimate and ever-present creator. May this truth shape the rhythms of your life this week.
Blessings, Rev Jonny Grant

“Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:30-31
In my final year of high school, our senior sports teams went on a playing tour of South America. For a group of kiwi guys who had barely left God’s Own country before then, this was an odyssey of epic proportions, taking in new places and people. I remember one night, in particular, in the hills behind Chile’s capital city, Santiago. A few of us were invited for dinner at our host’s house. Unknown to us, his father was a high-ranking government diplomat, a job that had fed his lifelong hobby as an explorer and collector of exotic artifacts. Walking through their front door was like entering a scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark. It took our breath away and the rest of the night was spent exploring this house full of mysteries, an experience that left an indelible mark in our memories.
The Fourth Gospel is described by observers in a similar light. It is one of the earliest accounts of Jesus’ life, written by the disciple Jesus loved. It may be the intimacy of this perspective which gives it both profound simplicity, as well as unique depth and mystery. It’s been famously described as safe enough for a child to bathe in, and deep enough for an elephant to swim in! Although we will take breaks along the way, today we’re embarking on a journey into John’s Gospel, this house full of mysteries. So, I encourage you to make this wonderful book your travelling companion over the coming months. To put it at the center of your times with God, your prayers, and your small group discussions.
John’s Gospel has a number of characteristics that are distinctive from the other three Gospels, both in its approach and ideas. For instance, Matthew, Mark and Luke (the Synoptic Gospels) develop the story of Jesus through “suspense storytelling”. The full revelation of who Jesus is slowly emerges as his disciples grapple with their mysterious and unpredictable leader. Who is this man who even the waves obey and who can raise a dead and decaying Lazarus? In contrast, John starts his Gospel with the knockout punch. In his opening poem, which we’re exploring today, John says the Creator, the Word who hovered over the deep in the beginning, has come to his creation in the person of Jesus. The rest of the Gospel leads us further into this unimaginable reality.
One author describes this opening poem as being like a long and elaborate driveway that prepares us for our arrival at a grand estate — a house that is both of epic proportions and full of mysteries. So, join us over the coming months as we enter into the Fourth Gospel according to John.

Rev Jonny Grant

Growing up in Wellington, we were keenly aware that the very ground beneath us was not entirely secure; that the Big One could hit at anytime, and that terra firma was not quite as firma as it felt. We experienced this on a personal scale this week. We have a small plot of land on a ridge north of Auckland. The ridge gives way to a series of steep gullies covered with dense native bush. As we visited the land on Monday, I glanced to my left to take in the vast expanses of mature native bush. To my shock, what used to be lush green had been replaced by a sheer face of clay and rock, with dozens of trees having been flushed down the gully in recent flooding. This tract of bush that had stood strong for decades had vanished in an instant.
For me, it sums up the instability and uncertainty that we experience in life. Whether it’s in our health, our families and relationships, our careers, or other circumstances, we never quite know what’s around the next corner. It raises the question of how we travel as followers of Christ in an uncertain world—a world that still groans for the return of its king. Over the last month, we’ve been exploring what it means to live out of the Sabbath, not just as a day off, but as a vision of life. And for that vision to be based on something beyond just positive thinking, we need to know and stand upon the terra firma of what God has done in Jesus—no less than the taming of the cosmos towards the rhythms of his peaceable kingdom. And so, to live in perpetual Sabbath, is to live out of the rhythms of this new kingdom. Today, Aaron Roberts is speaking about the moment of Jesus’ death, which shook the status quo and removed the terra firma of the old certainties. Matthew’s Gospel even tells us that it sparked a literal earthquake! So, what’s going on here?
Tom Wright describes it like this: “The power of God is therefore revealed in human weakness, supremely in the weakness of Jesus. At the heart of the Christian gospel stands the ridiculous paradox that true power is found in the apparent failure, and the shameful death, of a young Jew at the hands of a ruthless empire. Why? Because there are more dimensions to reality than just the ones we see and know in our own space and time. Heaven, God’s space, is the present but unseen reality. And, in that all-important dimension, the crucifixion was not a defeat but a victory; in the death of Jesus, the powers of evil were themselves being judged, were being put to shame, were being decisively rebuked for their arrogance. Instead, the generous self-giving love of Jesus, giving himself for the sins of the world, has been vindicated and exalted as the supreme principle of the universe. More: Jesus himself, no abstract principle but a human person, is now exalted as the still loving, still giving, still generous Lord, to whom one day every knee shall bow, and whom we are today summoned to follow. The victory of Jesus over the evil in the world is not something which could be disproved by the continuance of evil to this day. It is a victory waiting to be implemented through his followers. Over the coming months, we are going to journey through John’s Gospel, to explore who Jesus is and what it looks like to walk in the way of Jesus.
Blessings, Rev Jonny Grant

At the beginning of this World Cup, I remember looking at the draw and thinking there were no interesting games in the initial rounds. But, since then, there’s been a flood of upsets and close calls, which have made the competition dramatic, exciting and unpredictable. The magic of big tournaments is that they test the mettle and substance of those involved. With the world watching on, who can seize the opportunity and make their mark? And this isn’t about random chance. For the most part, those who rise to the occasion are the ones who have been refined and honed beyond the glare of the spotlight.
In the opening pages of Luke’s Gospel, an ageing Simeon epitomizes this theme. We’re told that he’s a good and faithful person, who lived in prayerful expectancy that God would restore His people. And Luke also tells us that the Holy Spirit has assured Simeon that he will see God’s savior before he dies. Simeon has been preparing for this big event, but will he recognize and seize the moment when it comes? Luke recalls the moment of joy when Simeon is prompted to go to the Temple where he holds Jesus in his arms and foretells his future ministry. Simeon’s calling is fulfilled and he feels released to move on. He became known by the later church as the “God-receiver.”
Today, we’re saying farewell to another, younger Simeon, who shares some of the characteristics of his biblical counterpart. Simeon has been a key part of our ministry team for over 6 years. He first joined us to cover maternity leave in our children’s ministry. But it quickly became clear that he had bountiful skills and passion for St Paul’s then fledgling youth ministry. Since then, Sim has brought an amazing array of gifts and talents to bear on this area, leading our young people through the formative stages of their pre-teen and teenage years, along with Holly for most of that time. He’s been a teacher, games-master, social organizer, and mentor. And, as his passion for the heritage of St Paul’s has grown, he’s also become our chief historian and researcher. This culminated in Sim delivering our Stained Historical Lectures over the last 3 weeks, which has attracted interest from far and wide.
But, more than any of this, just like Simeon the “God-receiver,” Sim has been a good and faithful minister, earnestly seeking God’s truth and guidance in each situation. He has journeyed with our young people through their formative years, and has been a valued family member of our staff team. So, it’s with a mixture of sadness and excitement that we say goodbye to Sim and Holly today, and pray God’s blessing on them for the next leg of their adventure on the Hibiscus Coast.
Rev Jonny Grant

My name is Star. I am 16 years old and looking for accommodation while I study full time. I am looking for board with a Christian family or board mates in the north shore area or in the city. I’m an independent young person who loves kids, animals and cooking. My mum trained me well to help around the house. My interests are outdoor activities, music and creative arts. I need good access to public transport as I do not drive. I do have specific dietary requirements so I will supply most of my own food. I have a maximum price of up-to $190 a week. I can move in anytime and out anytime, whatever suits you. Please call Star on 02040581275.
References can be provided.

Suit mature working female 30+. Furnished single room & small conservatory with desk in sunny North Shore home. Own entrance, own bathroom, own laundry. Off street parking. Close to shops, bus & AUT. One nice lady flatmate & cat. Unlimited broadband & lawns included in rent. $260 pw plus expenses. Available 26 Jan. Contact Helen 027 2094057.

Receptionist required for Mt Eden Doctor's Practice.
3 days per week, preferably Wed - Fri.
Duties include answering phone, booking appointments, greeting patients and processing payments.
We're a very friendly team, and full training will be given.
Please contact Margaret on 027 480 778 or Nicola on 021 130 5789.

A compact Newmarket studio apartment is now available for rent. Ideally would suit a professional couple. Great views, close to public transport. Contact Peter on 021 472 936 for more info.

We are looking for a House/Dog sitter for a small labradoodle. You must love dogs!

Dates: 6-17 July
Location: Mt Albert

If interested, please contact Alexandra on 021460680.

Ponsonby/Freemans Bay - Ireland Street, Auckland City (2 rooms for grabs)  We are a friendly & fun Christian flat in Freemans Bay. Flatmates consist of 2 guys & 2 girls 20-32 y.o. We work in tech & retail. One of us is studying to be a Doctor.  We have two rooms up for grabs - a sunny large street facing room (about 12 sq m, $190) & a little cute middle room (about 8 sq m, $160)  Large room is one of the best in the house. Easily fits a king size bed & more.  Little room looks sits between the 2 larger rooms.  You'll be close to CBD, Ponsonby, Vic Park, New World.  The house is character & the flatmates are great.  We cook once a week each for the flat & enjoy catching up together.  Ideal flatmate is Christian, easy going, social, 25-35yo. .  You rent will be $190 or $160 + $65 expenses which include dinners, snacks, power, everything.  Small room avaliable 4th June &  Large room from 1st of July Sounds good? Lets catch up! Please email

Hi all,

My husband and I have recently moved back to NZ from the UK and are looking for a place to house-sit for a few months from June onwards while we look to buy a house.

I am a pediatric doctor at Middlemore and my husband is an architect, working in the city. We are very responsible young professionals in our early thirties that have a heart for God.

Please contact my husband Mark on 0211966104.


Hi, we are looking for a female in her 20's to share our cosy house in New Lynn.  Professional Mum, student daughter, and Holly the Jack Russell. 
$200 per week for fully furnished room, utilities, and 5 dinners.
We share jobs and cooking. 
No off-street parking sorry, but we are on a quiet cul-de-sac.
Give me a call if you are keen.  The room will be available from 23 April.
021 060 3480

Here’s the full rundown of our multi-faceted community arts event that runs from June to September. Everyone is very welcome to attend, create and give as much or as little to STAINED as they like.


• To inspire and inform our community about the significant heritage reflected in the 31 stained glass windows at St Paul’s, Symonds St – a Category 1 Historic Place – which were installed from 1895 to 1973, and refer to our foundations as Auckland’s first church.

• To invite people into expressions of joy at the beautiful space we have been gifted by previous generations to worship in by creating, exhibiting, viewing and buying art inspired by St Paul’s stained glass.

• To extend our community’s worship to God in paint, with the stained glass as a starting point but not necessarily our landing place. A place for people who would like to learn to paint and meet other people in the church.

• To raise awareness of the three windows that need urgent repair work and to raise $6,490 for their restoration.

• To introduce our hopes of continuing our legacy of celebration, unity and diversity by staining the remaining windows in the St Paul’s tower and clerestory, starting with windows commemorating tangata whenua, through collaborations, competitions and giving.


• Members of St Paul’s and the wider Anglican community with interests in history, architecture, story, art and media.

• Current followers and past members of SPAM (St Paul’s Arts & Media) and the wider Christian arts community: Salt and The Bonfire for example.

• Local arts, design and architecture students from Auckland Uni & AUT.


STAINED is a multi-faceted community arts event that will draw from our historic stained glass, create for our present and give to our future.

Historical Stories

Three weekly talks by Simeon Hawkins on the St Paul’s stained glass, including Q&As and printed notes. Over wine and nibbles, Simeon will tell the stories behind our windows, explain their relation to our historic heritage as Auckland’s first church, and shed some light on their Biblical significance. Plus, he’ll reveal a few hidden gems that you never knew were there. It’ll be a fascinating three weeks of talks as we launch into STAINED.

Simeon Hawkins was a history teacher in the UK and holds a Graduate Diploma in Theology, specialising in Biblical and Church history. He is currently studying a history Masters through Auckland University on the first100 years of St Paul’s Church and is familiar with every stone, plank and pane of this historic building which has been his home since 2011. As a veteran youth leader and teacher, Simeon brings history alive in fun and accessible ways through his incredible passion to re-tell the stories that have shaped our beloved church for the past 176 years.

Upstairs in the main St Paul’s building.
7pm Mondays 11, 18 & 25 June, 2018
No charge (but a koha for stained glass restoration is welcomed).

Art Course

Eight weekly workshops lead by Erin O’Malley, drawing inspiration from our stained glass and reinterpreting as painting or multimedia artworks, culminating in our exhibition.

This art course is about creatively celebrating the beauty and heritage of our building. We will explore these ideas using fun mixed media techniques designed to lead us towards a finished painting. Your own personal song celebrating an aspect of your faith. If you have never painted before this is a lovely introduction to mark making and the joy of the process.

Erin O’Malley has a BA (grad dip tchg) from Auckland University. After teaching English literature for a number of years in Auckland, she moved to Sydney Australia and pursued her love of painting. She finished her training with a diploma in Design majoring in painting. She has exhibited in both New Zealand and Australia.

For Erin the joy of painting is in the method. The action, the journey and direction of mark making. She is often surprised with the outcome. Colour is an integral part of her composition, using colour to capture an idea, to embrace a feeling.

So come and join her in the stained art classes for the simple ‘joy of it’

Downstairs in the St Paul’s crypt.
7pm Mondays 2 July to 20 August, 2018
$80 course cost includes in class materials and pro panel board.
20 spaces only (for people aged 12 years and over) so be quick to register and pay here:


Merchandise based around our windows will be created for sales at our exhibition and proceeds will go towards restoring our stained glass. Merch may include T-shirts, canvases, shopping bags, greeting cards and bookmarks.


A three day exhibition including STAINED course art, wider community art, merch and exhibits of PAST and FUTURE Facets.

All artists, including painters, photographers, sculptors, poets, musicians, film makers etc are invited to submit pieces inspired by, or connected to St Paul’s stained glass. Artists may sell their work at the exhibition if they choose, with 50–100% of the money will go towards restoring St Paul’s stained glass. Esther will also ask for donations at the opening.

We’ll have a Fri evening opening event and open the exhibition over the weekend.

On Sat kids will create art to add to the exhibition for viewing on Sun.

Artwork is to be delivered to St Paul’s on Sunday 16 Sept before or after services, with pricing and catalogue & signage wording, including media info and the artist’s name (plus contact deets).

Upstairs in the main St Paul’s building.
7pm Friday 21, 2-5pm Saturday 22 and during services Sunday 23 Sept, 2018
No charge (but a koha for stained glass restoration is welcomed).

Commemorative Windows

James Bowman and Esther Grant will seek to korero with tangata whenua about designing and staining four new windows on either side of our large west-side rose window.

The potential scope of these will be determined by the St Paul’s restoration structural design work that should be completed by July.

Progress on continuing our legacy of celebration, unity and diversity in this way will be presented at the STAINED Exhibition.

Design Competition

Once our Commemorative Windows are designed, we hope to organise a competition to design new windows for our tower and clerestory windows, based on the historical themes envisioned for these, taking into consideration our historic & contemporary culture, and practical aspects like light and the mezzanine floor build.

Rules of Engagement

The six SPAM Rules of Engagement outline the expectations of SPAM and St Paul’s for anyone involved in our projects.

1. The individual creator(s) retain copyright to their work.

2. SPAM and St P’s expect full publishing rights to the work (preferably exclusively for a year).

3. The creator should obtain permission to use any material (images, music etc) not created by them (there may be funds available from St P’s for this).

4. The creator is encouraged to donate 50–100% of the sale of any project material to St P’s.
5. If agreed project criteria (such as deadlines or objectives) aren’t met, the project or work may be pulled.

6. All work should be consistent with the Christian values of SPAM & St P’s.


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.