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...

Youth Camp 2018 - Unshakeable

fri 5 - tue 9 oct | kauaeranga christian camp, thames

It's registration time for Youth Camp 2018, and we're super excited!

Get in quick - register by 12 September to get the $50 *earlybird discount.*

More details about camp to follow in an email today.

Follow the link here to register.

In 1989 vicar Bill Heald invited David and Mary Pytches to St Paul’s to speak about the power of the Holy Spirit. The three-day seminar attracted over 600 people and as the Rev. Heald said “It signalled the public re-engagement of St Paul’s with the maturing Renewal/Revival movement in NZ and around the world, and there has been revived interest and power in prayer healing ministry” – something that continues to this day.

sun 19 aug | 9, 11 and 18:30 services
On Sunday 19, after the 9, 11 and 18:30 services the youth will be fundraising for their camp in the October holidays. One way in which you can help is by 'buying' a bus seat. Each seat costs $50 but you can contribute as much or as little as you want. You can also buy more than one seat if you want, or even buy the whole bus! If you can't stay after the service but you would like to contribute, you can do that online.

Do you have a heart and passion for working with children? We have a vacancy in our pre-school team at both the 9am and 11am services on Sundays. You should have great communication skills, energy, creativity, a character suited to nurturing our 0-4 year olds, and a heart for facilitating the beginning of their journey with God. This is a paid nine-hour position. To express your interest please send your CV and contact details to Cara.

sun 26 aug | after the 18:30 service | st paul's crypt
We hope it's already in your diaries by now but in case you have forgotten, After Hours is next Sunday! So, make sure to venture down to the Crypt after the evening service for cheap eats and drinks. Delicious food, live music, good vibes and great people – what more could you want? Invite your friends and meet some new ones. We'll see you there!

mon 3 sep | st paul’s church | 7pm – 9pm
The impact of man-made emissions on climate change invites considered responses from us both as humans and as Christians. Come and be part of this important conversation with eminent physicist Dr Godart van Gendt. Godart will talk about the science of climate change and the “carbon budget”, Christian responses to this challenge, and some exciting advances in science.

If you love to pray, come join the Synod Intercessors group at the Cathedral. The dates are Thursday (evening) 6th September to Saturday 8th September. On Thursday night there is a stunning service at St Mary’s chapel to kick off Synod. The intercession days are Friday and Saturday 9-4pm. We will be meeting downstairs in the Oak Room. If you’d like to know more info please email Lou Grant.

tue 14 aug | 7.30pm | st paul's church
We are so looking forward to coming together to pray for all that God is doing at St Paul’s. Earlier this year Greta Peters encouraged us with these words: “Release the Roar of the Lion of the tribe of Judah, which is the ‘roar‘ of intercession and carries great power.” Join us as we pray into this new and exciting season. All welcome - see you there!

sun 19 aug | after the 11am service
Next Sunday, Jennifer and her superstar team of volunteers will be back serving up another delicious church lunch. Jen's famous pulled pork is on the menu so this is one not to be missed. It's free so this is a perfect time to invite all your friends and family along. If you would like to get in on the volunteer action let Jennifer know.

fortnightly monday mornings
9.30am term time | st paul's church
You're invited to join this wonderful community of women finding space to connect and share their Christian journeys. The heart of the group is to be real with each other to provide prayerful and practical support. Our next date is Monday 19 August. To get in contact go to the Facebook page or email Becs Jamieson.

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.

Blessings,
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.
Blessings,
Rev Jonny Grant

With the World Cup kicking off this weekend in Russia, it brings back memories of NZ’s Spanish odyssey in the 1982 competition. I remember as a 10-year-old getting up with friends in the middle of the night to watch the grainy footage from a far-off place, followed by the goodnight kiwi video on tvnz. Despite losing to Brazil, the Soviet Union and Scotland, this adventure captured our collective imaginations, with our tiny rugby-playing country competing with the global giants. Even Zico’s legendary scissor-kick became part of our folklore.

Today, Lex is leading us deeper into the mystery of Jesus’ lesser-known collection of seed parables in Mark’s Gospel. They’re set within the context of Jesus’ strange story about a reckless sower, who spreads seed indiscriminately across paths, fields, rocks and thorns. Although it’s become clichéd imagery to many of us, this story is actually scandalous on so many different levels. Why would the sower — Jesus — extend the good news of the kingdom to the wrong sort of people? Why wouldn’t he take more care with who he invites? And, given Jesus’ conflict with the entitled, “religious” people, who is he calling good or rocky soil? There’s enough controversy in this harmless-sounding farming story to get Jesus killed, so it warrants our closer attention.

I think the most challenging part of the story is also what makes it most relevant to us. It relates to the final type of soil, the good soil that yields up to a hundredfold return. The point of Jesus’ imagery is that this return is unattainable, even with modern GM crops! Unattainable, but not impossible! It represents a miraculous crop that can only be produced by God’s empowering presence. This is where Jesus’ parable differs from the World Cup. The truth is that, although 32 teams are competing over the next month, only a handful of giants can win it, such is the weight of talent, wealth, and power that will determine the outcome. By contrast, in Jesus’ kingdom, it’s not the soil that produces the super-abundant crop, but the soil’s receptivity to the seed of God’s Spirit. This is how a working class fisherman could become the head of the early church, and how the chief persecutor of that same church could become its champion. But all of this is massively counter-intuitive to us as modern people – raised from birth as “self-shapers” (and self-limiters) of our own destiny.

Last week Ian Grant spoke about stories of people who trusted God with projects and plans that were far beyond their own reach; people who stepped out with courage and saw God produce a super-abundant crop through their lives. Recently Chris Gore from Bethel Church spoke at St Paul’s about his experience of praying for physical healing. He described praying for 10 years without seeing a single miracle. It was only when he realised that it was through God’s power, not his own efforts, that the crop grew. And so we reach the heart of the life of faith, as well as its essential difference from the world we live in. Maybe the most surprising thing about this story is that we are not just called to be soil, but also to be sowers of the kingdom, just like Jesus. So, where is God calling you to step out in faith today?

Blessings, Rev Jonny Grant

After many years in youth ministry, my parents became parenting and relationship experts, sharing their insights across the globe through books and seminars. You can find some of those books in our “Requiem Library” in the corner of church. This inevitably meant that their material was full of embarrassing and apocryphal stories from my childhood, the truth of which I completely deny in all respects! Having said that, it’s hard to completely blame our own kids’ errant behavior on the other side of the family, and so perhaps the divine sense of humour echoes down through our genes, as a constant and humbling reminder! The point is this. All of my parent’s parenting advice was designed, not to teach people how to do life well, but how to be in relationships well. Indeed, all of life flows out of the quality of those foundational relationships.

The same is true in our lives of faith. Last week I spoke about the day of Jesus’ Resurrection, when the empty tomb challenged his followers to see life in a new light, and from a radically different perspective. The reality of our lives is that we live in a secular age, where seeing is believing, but we’re called — as people from another age — to see everything from a divine perspective, through the eyes of the Spirit who reveals the truth to us.

But, again, this is not primarily a matter of seeing the divine plan so that we can get on with it like good Christian soldiers. The Spirit has been sent to us, so that we might be drawn into relationship with God — that we would find ourselves “in Christ,” held by the Father, and sustained by the Spirit. What an amazing image of intimacy with our loving Creator Scripture invites us into. From beginning to end, from our genesis in the Garden (Eden) to our destiny in the Garden City (New Jerusalem), we are made for shalom — to be in perfect relationship with God and each other, and all of creation. That is what Jesus calls us into through his resurrection and the sending of the Spirit; that we would begin the journey towards our future destiny through intimacy with Him now.

On Wednesday, the funeral of the Reverend Bill Heald celebrated the life of a man who boldly pursued relationship with God, both personally and for the church. Bill was Vicar of St Paul’s for 9 years between 1984-93, and was a passionate sponsor of prayer and worship in the church. His legacy is a vivid reminder that God has been pursuing intimacy with his people since he first breathed life into Adam and Eve in the Garden. In those days, our forbears walked with God in the cool of the evening, and Jesus invites us to walk with him too.

One of the songs during Bill’s funeral was the great hymn “Abide with Me.” As we continue to explore what it means to live in light of Jesus’ Resurrection, we remember that this is, first and foremost, a call to “be in Christ”; to abide with him; to live out of the bold assurance of our Creator’s affirmation that we are His chosen children. Today, we may only see in part as Paul says, but resurrection life is a call to explore more of that part, and to walk further into the relational destiny that is set before us.

Blessings,
Rev Jonny Grant

My first memory of Paul was at St Mary’s Church in London. He had just joined our staff team after a spell serving in the world’s biggest Sunday School ministry in New York. On his first Sunday with us, we showed a film of his experience in America, which included watching the Twin Towers fall from the rooftop of his building across town. The events of 9/11 would come back to haunt us a little later when Paul and I went on our first overseas ministry trip together. We were crossing the Atlantic to visit a group in Charlotte, North Carolina, who were planning to plant a church with us because of their vivid experiences of the Holy Spirit in London.

Paul and I barely knew each other, but we bonded quickly during the unnerving experience of US border security almost refusing us entry on the suspicion that we were religious extremists! Possibly realising that the US already had nearly 400,000 churches and that we posed a minimal threat, they eventually let us through, and we led a surreal weekend of worship services in various people’s giant lounge rooms. What I remember from those early memories of Paul was that he carried a bold testimony and presence that people were drawn to, especially these American Episcopalians (Anglicans) who were thirsty for God’s presence — they accurately described him at the time as a “real live wire.”

So, we were excited a few years ago when Paul and Katy made contact about possibly joining us here at St Paul’s. We were even more surprised when they made the bold decision to bring their family to the other side of the world and become part of the team a little over 2 years ago. We’re so thankful for the contribution Paul has made to St Paul’s since then. He’s been a vibrant member of our leadership team, and has brought increased passion and clarity to how we do mission and evangelism as a church, including spearheading a hugely successful Life Course last year. Just like during that first ministry trip to Charlotte, he remains a spiritual live wire and has brought freshness, creativity and inspiration to our Sunday services and other ministry contexts in all their different forms.

We will miss Paul, Katy and their family as they move to Edinburgh, and Paul joins the clergy at St Paul’s & St George’s Church (known as “P’s & G’s”). It’s a rare privilege to do ministry with friends, and Paul & Katy have been a great source of support for us over these last few years. They have played an important part in making the church’s transition to a new season possible. We also understand firsthand the challenges of raising a young family so far from home, and so we wish them well as they move closer to their own sources of family support.

Blessings,
Rev Jonny Grant

Resurrection Sunday is good news. In fact, it’s the best news we could ever conceive of. In fact, it’s news that only God himself could conceive of — a divine masterplan to reshape human destiny towards the total shalom of God’s goodness throughout all of creation. So, what better excuse for a party in church today? But the first Easter Sunday caused mayhem as it unfolded among Jesus’ closest followers. It caught fire quickly with those first on the scene at the empty tomb, but it took a while to spread among the others. This resistance is most clearly personified in Thomas, who tells the others that he will only believe it if he can put his fingers in Jesus’ wounds. Those words will come back to haunt him, of course, as Jesus’ affords him that opportunity a week later.

Despite Thomas’ bad rep as a “doubter,” he’s an important figure in the story because he most clearly represents our own experience of faith. A few days earlier, Thomas has seen his dreams and expectations go up in smoke, as his friend and leader breathes his last words on a Roman Cross, rejected by the very people he’d come to emancipate. This was the same Jesus who had taught with unique authority, healed diseases and afflictions of every kind, and had even called a dead man out of a tomb. But all of that went up on the bonfire of Good Friday. Now, just a few days later, Thomas is being told that all of those hopes and expectations were just pale shadows of what has now happened — Jesus is alive!

When you think about the mind-bending nature of that first Easter, can you blame Thomas for struggling to catch up? Well, in the end he does catch up. In fact, when he touches Jesus wounds, he goes beyond the other disciples and speaks the words of worship that no-one else had uttered until then: “My Lord and my God.” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Jesus is speaking about us, those who have responded to his call to follow him even though we haven’t touched his wounds or seen him in the flesh. And that’s the challenge of the Christian life, isn’t it? That we place our trust in the unseen reality of the crucified and risen Jesus, who frustrates our fantasies and blows our minds.

Theologian 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. We, too, must go on the recurring 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. The dazzling hope of Easter Sunday is all the brighter because of the darkness of Good Friday. The Cross of Horror has become the Empty Tomb. The reality that Jesus has faced the worst and overcome it, is both our heritage and our destiny! Let’s seize upon that hope today.

Blessings,
Rev Jonny Grant

During our six years in Vancouver, we lived in the area surrounding the city’s massive university, UBC, with its 60,000+ students. It was a stunning context, set within a rainforest on an elevated peninsula, with incredible views across the water to snowcapped mountain ranges on all sides. The student population existed as a city within (or underneath) a city, with every basement inhabited by student hordes. But it was in the cafés near UBC that the awkward relationship between the city and its students was apparent. It was impossible to find a plug in most cafes, because proprietors didn’t want students and their laptops taking up space from their wealthy clientele.

This vivid memory of Vancouver stands for me as the challenge we face as People of the Spirit in the present age. In John 16, Jesus makes a remarkable statement to his disciples. He says, “very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. … I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

It’s difficult to exaggerate what Jesus is saying here. He’s reassuring his disciples that his leaving and the coming of the Spirit will give them more, not less, than they already have. It’s not, Jesus says, that the Spirit knows more than Jesus knows, but that he will offer us greater intimacy with God, because he will always be with us, constantly revealing the truth to us. This is an astounding reality for us to grasp just as it was for Jesus’ first disciples. Along these lines, the apostle Paul encourages the young church in Corinth to interact with the Spirit during their gathered worship: “For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.” (1 Cor. 14:31)

Yet, all too often we can feel like a student at UBC, holding a cord but with nowhere to plug it in to receive the power we need. The Spirit can feel too abstract, uncertain or distant to experience or listen to. So, how do we live into Jesus’ promise that the Spirit will guide us into all truth and tell us what’s yet to come? This is a bold challenge for us individually and as a community of faith. Today, we’re exploring this journey into greater intimacy with God through the Holy Spirit, our Advocate and Helper (παράκλητος: paracletos). And we’re privileged to have two trusted travelling companions in David and Greta Peters.

Blessings,
Rev Jonny Grant

These days we are spoiled for choice when it comes to incredible entertainment — mini-series full of tales of corporate and political corruption on a grand scale. And yet these dramatisations struggle to compete with the reality of our world. Just this week, news headlines trumpeted a $700 million fraud in Silicon Valley, and allegations of a Cold War-style assassination with a weapons-grade nerve agent. All of this makes you wonder whether truth really is stranger than fiction.

Along these lines, our faith could be described as the ultimate Conspiracy Theory! In an amazing passage in his letter to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul confirms that we don’t live in a spiritually neutral — or “secular” — world, but in one loaded with the spiritual dynamics of a cosmic struggle between God and his opponents. As Paul says, “For our struggle is not against enemies of flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Eph 6:12)

This is strong stuff for us to grapple with as Christians, and it would be easy to disappear into a paranoid, sci-fi version of our faith. But Paul’s warning is an encouragement to be alert and aware of our calling to be Christ’s people in the present age, and to see the invisible realities that shape our mission. That mission is to bring the “good news” into the world through the new community of the church. It includes re-aligning every aspect of the world, which has come under the influence of these fallen spiritual powers, with God’s rule through Christ. As Paul says, this is now our prerogative through Jesus’ victory over these spiritual powers, for: “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.” (Col 2:15)

So how do we go about this? In Scripture there is no dualism between the spiritual and the material dimensions of reality; they are two sides of the same coin. And the same is true of the church — both the spiritual and material play equal and active roles in God’s kingdom.

Last Sunday I spoke about the finances of the church, which provides one of the clearest examples of this principle. Jesus describes money as a god, Mammon, and he warns that we cannot serve two masters at the same time. The key, of course, is not money itself, but who is really in charge of it — the fallen spiritual powers Paul describes or God. When properly focused, money plays a positive and essential role in the furtherance of God’s kingdom. Indeed, everything we do at St Paul’s is made possible by the generous giving of our congregation; it’s as simple as that. And so what we give into the church plays a vital role in our mission to re-align the world with God’s rule; both within our own hearts and within the structures and institutions of the world.

So, I want to thank those of you who financially support St Paul’s, including those who responded last Sunday. Thank you for your vision and generosity in giving to realities that can’t always be seen. And I also want to invite those of you who call this church “home,” to stand alongside us in the joyous project of nourishing our church so that she may thrive in the work God has set for us.

Blessings,
Rev Jonny Grant

Prison Chaplaincy Service of Aotearoa New Zealand -  Bringing the Hope that transforms lives


Are you ready for a new challenge helping us to manage our volunteer network?
We have an interesting Volunteer Administrator position covering the prisons in the Auckland Region. The position involves working with our chaplains to update and maintain our volunteer database, as well as coordinating the recruitment, training, recognition and exiting of faith-based volunteers at the prisons in the Auckland region. The position is a paid part-time role involving between 15-20 hours per week. You will be required to work at the Mt Eden Corrections Facility, as well as occasional work from home.

To be successful in this position, you must:
• be competent working with databases, the internet and the Microsoft Office suite
• be experienced using printers, photocopiers and scanners
• have excellent written and verbal communication skills
• respect strict confidentially, the privacy of individuals and the maintenance of PCSANZ’s and the prison’s systems and information
• be dependable and punctual
• be self-directed, willing to take initiative, and detail-oriented
• be comfortable working in a prison and faith-based environment.
If you feel you have these skills and attributes, we would love to hear from you!

To request a copy of the full Job Description, or to submit your application (CV and covering letter), please email richard.ward@corrections.govt.nz

Applications close on Monday 3rd September 2018

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 mmmmmasha@gmail.com

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.

Thanks!

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

 

We are an older reliable Kiwi couple who have been engaged in mission work in Thailand for 10 years.  We are coming back to NZ for a couple of months and are looking for a house-sit in the Auckland area for the two of us for the period of 2 December - 8 January.  It doesnt have to be for the whole time.  If you can help can you please drop us an email at djkk.dean@gmail.com.  Keith & Joy

Im looking for a place to live till christmas,

27 Years old, Christian, does not smoke, apprentice builder Keeps Tidy and clean, & cooks

021 023 00987 Mobile number

 

Thanks

Luke

 

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.



Aims

• 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.

Target

• 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.

Proposition

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’

erinomalleyart.co.nz

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:
stpauls.churchcenter.com/registrations/events/132284

Merchandise

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.

Exhibition

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.

spam@stpauls.org.nz
facebook.com/spamnz

 

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.