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Alt Carols Website

ALT CAROLS CD sales went large this week! CDs are available for sale at all services in the lead up to the big event. This Christmas, why not give a unique gift that will spark conversation? This is the perfect gift for just about anyone you know - candles for teachers is so last year, corporate clients will drive home happy to ALT CAROLS beats and even your holiday cat sitter will love you for it. Get yours this Sunday!We are excited to announce that the much anticipated ALT Carols CD is now available for sale at St Paul’s. This stunningly packaged album is the perfect Christmas gift for pretty much anyone you know. You can get your hands on one for just $20, or even better, buy three for $50. Boom! The album will also be available on iTunes or the ALT Carols website for download from Sunday 12 November.

Alt Carols Website

sun 10 dec | 6.30 pm & 9 pm | 7.30pm food collective
We are pumped to announce ALT CAROLS 2017! Get set for another epic St Paul's alternative Christmas experience, combining all the creative elements of music, art and design, bringing a fresh taste to Christmas. ALT CAROLS is a line up of carols remixed by local artists. This is a free gift to our city and we’d love you to join us. Stay on (or come early) for food collective eats in the crypt. Who are you going to invite?

The path from banking and law to being a vicar is a well-worn path at St Paul’s! In 1908 the Rev Cecil Watson took over the helm, having worked for the BNZ before training at St John’s College. He was also a photographer and artist who used a primitive printing press to produce “The St Paul’s Press” each month. Watson worked tirelessly towards the beautification of the church, commissioning much of the stained glass.

sun 19 nov
The response to our Feed My lambs shoe box appeal was phenomenal last Sunday. All 102 gift tags were snapped up by the end of the 11am service - truly awesome! Thank you for blessing St Saviours, Kaitaia with your generous act of love. Please be sure to get your shoe boxes back to us this Sunday. If you missed out on a tag but are keen to be a part of this project, please consider donating a Pak'n'Save voucher or cash - email Doreen for more info.

jan 26 - 29 2018 | mystery creek
Planning your 2018 summer and thinking about Festival One? Don't hesitate - join the throngs of St Paulsers already booked and grab your weekend pass now! This is a great opportunity to hang out, worship, build community and share good times together. Remember to enter the #STPAULS code to be able to camp with our group - and to get that 10% discount. Sweet!

Michael Templeton is a long-standing and highly valued member of our community, and we are are thrilled to give notice of the following: "The parish of St Paul’s Symonds Street would like to announce the forthcoming Ordination to the Diaconate of Michael Templeton on the 2nd of December 2017."

Dinner at Hogwarts Registration

10 november | 7-9.15pm | st paul’s | $20
Whether jumping through a brick wall, dodging a speeding train in a flying car, or catching a super-speed invisible bus, Harry had a tough time getting to Hogwarts. By comparison, all you have to do to enjoy a magical night beyond all other, is register for a ticket. Dinner at Hogwarts is the event of the year, so let’s get inviting and clicking.

Thanks to all those who responded to our Angelfood appeal on Sunday. We look forward to receiving your meals over the coming weeks so that they can be distributed to those in need both within and outside our St Paul’s community. Please hand your meal to a member of the Welcome Team at your next Sunday service. In the meantime if you have any questions please contact Tracy.

every tue starting 7 nov | 7.15pm - 9pm
Do you love to sing and have fun? Would you and your friends & family like to join the St Paul’s Christmas Choir? Rehearsals will start Tuesday 7 November from 7.15 – 9pm leading up to our Carol Services on Sunday 17 December. Email Gabrielle to register and let her know if you are a soprano, alto, tenor or bass. If you don't know, no worries – we'll find out on the night.

sun 29 oct | 18:30 | st paul's church
It’s our great privilege to have internationally-acclaimed band Sons of Korah lead us in a night of worship and reflection on a Psalm-shaped spirituality. Sons of Korah are playing concerts throughout the country, but have found time to do church with us at St Paul's. Invite your friends, it’s going to be a great night!

I hope you’ve been enjoying the Alt Carols album this week. Aside from the diverse musical genres and creative artistry, for me the power of it has been lighting up age-old lyrics in a way that has landed for me in a new way. It has brought our essential story—the Christmas story—to life.

A few centuries ago, during the Enlightenment, it was decided that this story would have to justify itself according to the scientific principle, meaning that the Christian faith had to be proved through reason and evidence. Instead, the true curve of the universe is not revealed through scientific discoveries, but through the daily realities of our lives. We find there that we are not masters of our universe, but worshippers within it. It’s the heart as much as the head, which steers our daily lives and our future destiny. As Augustine says of our Creator, “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.” We are restless creatures, drawn to God as the Source of our yearnings, and yet also bent towards other loves.

The late novelist, James Foster Wallace, describes this struggle in his famous commencement lecture at Kenyon College in 2005. He says: “In the day-to day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship … is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It's the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It's been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness. Worship power and you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart and you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. And so on. Look, the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they're evil or sinful; it is that they are unconscious. They are default-settings. They're the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that's what you're doing.”

Wallace brilliantly names the human struggle to live an authentic life. It’s a big project and one that took nothing less than God himself taking on the human condition and breathing heaven’s new life into a weary world. As Advent approaches, we’re seeking to let this story fill our imaginations afresh and to invite others into this wild adventure.

Rev Jonny Grant

Every Sunday we gather together and do a strange and counter-cultural thing—we sing songs of praise and worship. We do this, in part, because God’s people always have. No less than 41 psalms tell us to “sing unto the Lord.” Carrying on this tradition, Gordon Fee says the early church was characterised by its singing; wherever the Spirit was, there was singing! And whenever there’s been spiritual renewal in the church’s history, there has been an accompanying explosion of Spirit-inspired songs. So, it’s timely that our stunning new Alt Carols Album lands today. It’s putting a fresh spin on those timeless, Spirit-breathed songs of worship. We’re chuffed with how stunning this album is, so be sure to grab a handful and pass them onto others!

So, why do we worship? What’s the point? Christian philosopher James K. A. Smith calls worship “the heart of discipleship” because it’s in worship that we regularly train our hearts to trust God, to aim our desires, longings and aspirations towards Him, and to turn away from other sources of our identity. Smith puts it like this: “To be human is to love, and it is what we love that defines who we are. Our (ultimate) love is constitutive of our identity. So we’re not talking about trivial loves, like when we say “I love pizza”; we’re not even quite talking about significant loves, like when we say we “love” our parents or we “love” a spouse. Rather, we are talking about ultimate loves—that to which we are fundamentally oriented, what ultimately governs our vision of the good life¬—in other words, what we desire above all else, the ultimate desire that shapes and positions and makes sense of all our other desires and actions.” (Desiring the Kingdom)

To be human is to love, and that means living our day-to-day lives in a dense forest of competing sirens that draw us towards different sources of light. But we soon find out that not all that glitters and shines leads to life. As we gather on Sunday to worship, we re-tune our hearts to the melody of heaven. In Revelation 4, John describes a scene of unceasing praise as God sits on His heavenly throne. Probably echoing one of the early church’s songs, the elders in John’s picture sing: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” In worship we join the praise of heaven and remind ourselves that our Creator is the source of life, the only One who we can trust with all of our longings and desires and fears.

St Augustine knew firsthand what it was like to be pulled in all the wrong directions by his cravings. He once famously prayed, “Lord, give me chastity and self-control, but not just yet!” Describing worship, he said, “You never go away from us, yet we have difficulty in returning to You. Come, Lord, stir us up and call us back. Kindle and seize us. Be our fire and our sweetness. Let us love. Let us run.”

Rev Jonny Grant

As the world eagerly embraces the release of Taika Waititi’s “Thor: Ragnarok”, it’s a powerful reminder that kiwis can compete with the best. But, more than that, the film shows our enduring appetite to create imaginative worlds beyond our own, which shine a light back on our reality. As we’ve journeyed through the Apostle Paul’s letter of encouragement to the young church in Colossae, I’ve been impressed more than ever just how important it is for us to exercise our spiritual imaginations at full stretch, that we might come to understand the unimaginable riches we have in Jesus.
It may seem far-fetched watching Thor battle a green rage-monster in a far off galaxy, but Paul presses our imaginations even harder with his description of the Gospel in this letter. Paul says we live under a Big Sky, a sacred canopy which reshapes our perspective on every aspect of our lives and relationships, as well as our ultimate future. At the start of the letter, he reminds the Colossians that, in Jesus, we see the God who spoke creation into being, who brought order out of chaos, who spread out the heavens like a tablecloth, and who set the stars in their allotted places. For Paul, putting Jesus in proper perspective is fundamental for understanding our own lives, because it is this Jesus who has bound himself to us, who calls us his friends, and who invites us to share in his resurrection life now. Once we are established on this foundation, Paul says, why fool around with the frail and powerless things that we used to trust in?
This week we continue our journey under the Big Sky Paul paints for us in Colossians. It shows us that the key to the Christian life is engaging our spiritual imaginations about who Jesus is and what he’s done. Once we really grasp that, we can put our full trust in him, leaning the whole weight of our identity and aspirations on him, and the rest is detail.
At the beginning of chapter 3, Paul encourages us to get up high and see life from God’s perspective. Not to let our ambitions be earthbound, but to see everything from where Jesus sits. We’re called to judge everything from the standpoint of the new creation to which we now belong, not by the standards of the old world order that we buried at our baptism. So today, I invite you to let your imagination expand to fit the world Jesus has called us into, a new creation that has dawned with his resurrection, and will one day be revealed in its fullness when he returns. As G. K. Chesterton put it: “The trumpet of the imagination, like the trumpet of the Resurrection, calls the dead out of their graves.”

Rev Jonny Grant

Over the last couple of Sundays we’ve been speaking about the ways we’re called as a church to be a living expression of the “new humanity” founded in Jesus right here in Auckland. Unlike many political slogans, this audacious vision is not just wishful thinking. It’s based on the hope of the resurrected Jesus, the author and king of all things, who brings the new creation.

So, it’s fitting that we spend the next month or so in Paul’s letter to the fledgling church in Colossae. Paul writes under pressure (he’s in prison for preaching the Gospel) to a group who are under pressure (they’re finding it hard to live out their new faith in a world that’s wired in a completely different way). What Paul delivers is nuclear. Whereas the Colossians are trying to add Jesus to their existing lives, like a new patch on an old pair of jeans, Paul says Jesus is a whole new wardrobe for a brand new body.

In this short but amazing letter, Paul describes this radical new way of being. In the Colossian church watertight social boundaries were beginning to break down, which was causing stress among them. For instance, Paul refers to a slave (Onesimus) who’d run away from his owner (Philemon). Although it was Philemon’s right to demand the slave’s death, Paul asks him and the community to welcome Onesimus back into the church as an equal brother. Paul’s point is that the new creation which arrived in Jesus is a shockwave that has changed everything, and the church is the place where these new sorts of relationships take shape.

Over these next few weeks I encourage you to make this letter your daily meditation, to read it slowly and repeatedly, to connect it up with the challenges and opportunities of your own life and relationships. To get us started, Paul prays the “messiah poem” in Col. 1:15-20, which is the lens through which every part of our lives makes sense.

“We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organises and holds it together, like a head does a body. He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.” (The Message)

Rev Jonny Grant

This weekend we were reminded of two things that define our present existence. Daylight savings reminds us that we are bound by the limitations of time, while national politics reminds us that we are bound by the imperfect rhythms of human ideals and schemes. Whatever the result overnight, we are truly blessed to live in a country with relatively free and clean institutions, which allows us to make choices about what sort of community we want to be part of. Our privilege of voting in each election cycle reminds us of the lack of freedom experienced by so many around the world, whose communities are shaped by corruption and coercion, rather than freedom and choice.

The bold promises of present-day politicians brings into focus the political manifesto that stands above all others, unrestricted by both the limitations of time or human frailty. In Luke 4 Jesus picks up the baton passed down by the prophets of the Old Testament – the good news of God’s rescue and restoration of all people. This mission took on new life in the ministry of Jesus, as he healed, freed, affirmed and restored outsiders back into communities, before passing this same manifesto onto his followers, to proclaim God’s salvation through words and actions. This was a charge taken up by the early church under the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit. As a result, many of the institutions of care that our elected governments now steward, had their origins in the bold and sacrificial care of the church.

That’s a legacy we’re seeking to pursue with the same vigor here at St Paul’s. So, today, we’re celebrating some of the ways that people within our community are stepping into that mission to make God’s grace known to those most in need, the very people Jesus spoke about in his Luke 4 Manifesto—the poor, prisoners, the blind, the burdened and battered. As we do this, we’re also considering how each of us can support these ministries of compassion and all that we do as a church. I want to thank all of you who support St Paul’s financially and making what we do possible. And if you consider St Paul’s to be your church, I want to invite you into this adventure of giving to what God is doing through our community of faith.

Scot McKnight sums up this privilege: “The Apostle Paul thinks everything we have is the result of God’s grace, that the material and the spiritual are tied together, and that our responsibility is to see that God’s grace is such that our duty is to pass the grace — we get in order to give. God rescues us and we respond materially, and others provide materially and we respond spiritually. It’s tied together. The fundamental principle of Paul’s theology of money is reciprocity. God gives to us so we can become grace to others. Paul doesn’t teach the tithe or charity. He teaches grace and grace is more radical and more revolutionary than the tithe and charity.”

So, as our politicians promise the earth, let the Kingdom come in Jesus’ visible and active body, the church. As Bill Hybels audaciously put it: “The local church is the hope of the world”!

Rev Jonny Grant

So goes the story of a tourist visiting the Emerald Isle who asks a local from Cork how to get to the big city of Dublin. “Argh,” says the local man with a look of disgust, “I wouldn’t be starting from here”! Today we are speaking about who we are as a church, and our sense of vision for the future. As we do this, it’s also important to discern where we are now and how we move ahead towards what God is calling us into.
Like the early stages of a new relationship, we are often most attuned to what God is saying when he first calls us into a new context or project. I vividly remember when Esther and I first arrived at St Paul’s during Easter 2014. We had a strong impression of the things God had for St Paul’s—to be a place of spiritual renewal for the wider church, and a source of mission to those around us, including the 60,000 students that migrate through our parish.
That and much more lies ahead of us, and St Paul’s is already a garden bursting with so much life that I’m constantly surprised throughout my week by ministries that I’m still discovering in our remarkable church. And yet, at the same time as our garden blooms, we are in a year of significant rebuilding that will eventually enable us to fulfil our visions for the future.
The image God has set before me for this year has been that of Nehemiah’s calling to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. The essence of the story is that the walls had to be restored before the city could thrive, and this project involved everyone in the city, with each family and group working side-by-side. This restoration project was led by both Ezra and Nehemiah. Ezra was a priest who worked with worship and words, while Nehemiah was a builder who worked with stones and mortar. Both were sacred tasks that were equally important in restoring God’s people.
This year we, too, have been steadily rebuilding our own ‘walls’ across a whole range areas—across our leadership and staff, across our ministry and volunteer teams, and across our congregation and our finances. Like Nehemiah we are also rebuilding our physical walls, although we stand on the shoulders of previous generations who have set aside capital in trust to help restore our buildings. It’s been hard work but—like ancient Israel—this call to restore and protect our church deepens our resolve, commitment and unity as a community of faith.
Earlier this year, as a church, we filled a significant hole in our finances. Despite that, we still face a challenge. So, today, I want to thank those of you who financially support St Paul’s. And I also want to invite those of you who call this church “home”, to stand alongside us in the joyous project of restoring the walls of our church so that it may thrive in the work God has set for us.
Blessings, Rev Jonny Grant

There’s nothing like the first few days of Spring to remind you of life on the other side of Winter. It takes me back to the final days of University exams, when all of the intense study and stress gave way to the smell of freshly cut grass, the warmth of the sun, and the possibilities of the Summer ahead.

God has set us within his creation, which includes the seasons of the year. And some of the most powerful imagery we have in Scripture of God’s renewal is rooted in seasonal change. In Isaiah 35, for instance, God likens his saving presence to the glory of Spring in the desert: “Wilderness and desert will sing joyously, the badlands will celebrate and flower—Like the crocus in spring, bursting into blossom, a symphony of song and color.” The streets of Vancouver are planted in cherry blossom trees, and this Scripture reminds me of one week every year in Spring when the whole city would burst into silent song, a riot of white and pink. It was a moment of sudden awakening and it had a dramatic impact on us all. So, it’s fitting that our church is in full bloom this weekend. All of this Spring life is cause for celebration, and it’s also a call to prayer for God’s renewing life to flood the dry and waterless places—in our lives, in our church, and in our wider networks. At Deeper on Tuesday night we all got a taste of what that might look like!

So, what new life is springing up this weekend? One of the highlights is the Life Course Weekend in beautiful Flaxmill Bay in the Coromandel. Over the years this weekend has been a watershed moment for people as they tangibly experience the undeniable presence and power of God. We’re looking forward to the stories of encounter with God that come back!

Also, over the last three days, several of us have been taking part in our Diocesan Synod at Holy Trinity Cathedral for its annual parliamentary session. It brings together over 300 clergy and other representatives of the Anglican Church in Auckland to discuss and vote on key issues within our church. It’s a good opportunity for us to mingle with others within our network, but also to have a voice into the many strategic issues and opportunities that face our church. Our People’s Warden Louise Bridges boldly led the prayers and intercessions that happened alongside Synod for the whole three days. For me, Synod is an expression of the significant role St Paul’s has to play in the future as we pursue the church’s renewal in our city. That’s a vision that fills me with excitement and anticipation for what lies ahead.

And, as if all of that wasn’t enough, tonight back at the Cathedral, Chris and the St Paul’s Youth Band will be leading over 1,000 young people for a combined youth worship event, for the second year in a row. The event is focusing on the theme of faith in Jesus – both the challenge of sharing our faith with others and also growing in our own faith in Jesus. And so, as we contemplate and celebrate all of this Spring life, let’s be open to how God is breathing his renewing Spirit into each of us, especially in those parts of our lives where we need it most.

Rev Jonny Grant

Today we celebrate two types of dads — our human fathers in all of their imperfection, and our heavenly father whose guidance and love is perfect. Between these two poles lie the journey of life, and the goal of being fathers of faith ourselves.

In the first sense, research confirms what our intuitions already tell us, that actively engaged fathers are essential to the development of healthy personal foundations.
Even from birth, children with involved dads tend to be emotionally secure, gain confidence to explore their surroundings, and develop healthy social connections as they grow up. Sigmund Freud said, “I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.” This is all good, except that even the very best fathers fall well short of these ideals. This is where our heavenly father comes in. As we come to know God’s love, you could say it redeems and completes the foundations of our lives built by our parents. This is a bold vision of life because it doesn’t leave us in a fatalistic dead-end as unfinished products of human labor. It takes the pressure off our own dads and, through understanding and forgiveness, gives us a clear path ahead.

Our heavenly father also provides a goal for us as fathers ourselves. As we see and taste God’s love and forgiveness, we experience what we seek to pass onto our own kids — love, acceptance, protection, friendship, empathy, joy, adventure and challenge. This is the strong hope of the Christian vision. That as we journey deeper into God’s presence, we get to pick up what our fathers have handed to us, and pass onto our children something better. That’s the generational blessing of being part of God’s family and learning the rhythms of forgiveness that he offers us. In short, knowing our heavenly father puts our earthly fathers, as well as our own gift of fatherhood, into clearer perspective.

The late, great Jonny Cash sums up this bigger perspective in “A Boy Named Sue”:
I got all choked up and I threw down my gun, Called him my Pa, and he called me his son
And I come away with a different point of view,
And I think about him, now and then, Every time I try and every time I win
And if I ever have a son, I think I'm gonna name him Bill or George; anything but Sue. I still hate that name!

Mark Twain puts this journey into understanding like this: “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to 21, I was astonished at how much he had learned in 7 years”! So, today, we raise a toast to our dads — for all the sacrifices, for all the dangerous adventures and fun, and for all the love and protection they’ve given us. And we thank our heavenly father for his perfect love, and the vision and power he gives us to be better men and better dads.

Rev Jonny Grant

My earliest memory as far as I can tell was when I was 4 years old. We lived in Wellington, but my Dad built a classic A-frame bach on Mahia Peninsula where we took family holidays. I clearly remember climbing the tall ladder inside that bach to a small nook in the very peak of the A-frame. There must have been something about the sense of achievement of scaling that height without anyone’s help that locked in my young memory. Our first recollections are often foundational ones for our sense of who we are and what’s important to us. Certainly that memory speaks to the dynamics that shaped my life.

This is no more apparent than in the life of Moses. When we see the span of his story from beginning to end, we can see so clearly how God shaped and led Moses in the purposes God had set aside for him from before his birth. It’s unlikely Moses was aware of floating down the Nile as a newborn under the dark shadow of Pharaoh’s murderous decree. But these early experiences were like divine seeds planted right at the genesis of Moses’ life. It’s interesting that, 80 years later, the final plague that broke Pharaoh’s resolve took the lives of Egypt’s newborns and that Moses led Israel into freedom through another body of water—the Red Sea. You could say he was born into this calling!

These recurring symbols and patterns in Moses’ life show us that the Lord is God, that he is in charge of our destiny, and that we can trust him to weave a coherent story out of our past, present and future. As the author of Hebrews says, Moses’ story is first and foremost a story of faith. But what is faith? Faith is knowing who God is: that he is above all things; that his ways are higher than our ways; that his word is like rain on the land which always achieves its goal and never returns to him void. And faith is trusting our lives to this God and stepping into his calling over us. As we see his divine fingerprints in our lives—the patterns of his guiding and provision—it gives us confidence to keep moving and to become bolder.

Hebrews 11 puts it like this: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. … By faith Moses was hidden by his parents for three months after his birth, because they saw that the child was beautiful; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called a son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to share ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered abuse suffered for the Christ to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, unafraid of the king’s anger; for he persevered as though he saw him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.”

As we continue our journey through the Exodus Story, what step of faith is God inviting you to take today?

Rev Jonny Grant

Personal freedom is the cornerstone of western society. In the modern era, whole countries have been founded on this principle alone. So it raises the question: what is freedom and what is it for? As our culture has got less and less tethered to a coherent vision of reality, freedom has come to mean essentially autonomy or independence: license to do whatever we want or, within postmodern culture, whatever comes to hand.

But the Exodus Story leads us back to a bigger vision of reality that gives our lives purpose. And true to the Biblical script, God does this via the counter-intuitive route of the desert. This iconic story confronts us with the question: “what good can come in these barren places and why would God allow us to go through them, or even more troubling, lead us there intentionally?

The answer goes to the very heart of what freedom is and it concentrates our attention on what lies at our core — our deepest desires, motivations and sense of identity. The Exodus story, which Jesus walked himself generations later, weans us off a vision of freedom as autonomy (essentially to be free from other people and things), and it forms us in the rhythms of trust that lead to the freedom of following the loving Creator who sees our lives from a bigger perspective.

Last Sunday I spoke about my own wilderness wandering in the “beautiful desert” of Vancouver before we came home to St Paul’s. In that time, as many of the old certainties melted away, two questions rose to the forefront of my mind. The first was why God had seemingly called me down a series of paths that now felt like loose and disconnected threads, and also how he could make life add up after what seemed like a significant slipping back down the sand dune of progress. As I look back over that time and the years since, I marvel at the way God miraculously wove all of those threads together in a way that I could never have mapped out for myself, and also the way that he, not only filled in the years, but added in more still.

The Exodus Story is a story of salvation, which means both rescue and restoration. Through it God rescues us from the narrow confines of our own independence, and shows us how to enter into the expansive life that he is calling us into. Most dramatically, the Exodus story is about God setting captives free. So today, we’re looking at two equally dramatic ways that God is doing the same thing in our times through people who have been shaped by the Exodus Story. What would setting captives free in its most essential form look like today? Well, freedom from prison and prostitution seems like a pretty good place to start.

Rev Jonny Grant


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  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





I'm looking for a 3+ bedroom flat to rent from February 2018 on (have the flatmates sorted, just need a place to stay!) We're looking for a house a short way out of the city centre (e.g. Mt Eden), rent preferably under $200.  We are a very tidy, organised and respectful group :)  If anyone has a rental or knows someone moving out of a flat, I'd love to hear from you!  Please contact me on 021 030 6163 or   Thanks,  Johanna 

We are a friendly & fun Christian flat in Freemans Bay. Flatmates consist of 1 guy & 3 girls 25-32 y.o. We work in tech, fashion & retail.

The room is super sunny, street facing, easily fits a double bed & more. You'll be close to CBD, Ponsonby, Vic Part, New World. The house is character & petit. 

We cook once a week each for the flat, enjoy a wine together & general good times. 

Ideal flatmate is Christian, church-going, easy going, social, 25-35yo. . 

You rent will be $190 + $65 expenses which include dinners, snacks, power, everything. 

Sounds good? Lets catch up!

Email to org flat viewing

 Looking for a sweet as flat to live in? Then come and look at ours in Epsom. This modern house is located in a great and safe area. Looking for a professional male / female aged 30s-early 40s to join 3 other girls. 1 of us is a shift worker and the others work Mon-Fri. Ideal flatmate, clean and considerate. There are three rooms upstairs and the double room available is downstairs. Shared bathroom downstairs (most of the time you will get it to yourself) Spacious living area too! We are a Christian flat, so would love for another Christian to join us.  Please text Rene on 0274206495 to make a time to come and meet us and see the flat. No smokers please. Move in Costs: Rent $216 (plus $25 expenses) 3 weeks bond 2 weeks in advance Available 30/09/2017

Hi. I'm looking for a family (or a few families) that need some help with school/kindy pick ups, after school activity drop offs, homework support (I'm an experienced Primary school teacher), dinner preparation and overall care with some fun thrown in too. With over 20 years + experience with Nannying, mother's help, sole charge, teaching and babysitting and a passion for children and a willingness to help , I'm just what you need. Available after 1pm from the beginning of the school holidays through to the end of the year (possibly beyond as I'm going to Bible college next year). Please contact me Char Letcher on 0223437390. 😊

I'm 19, fun, responsible and looking for a place that is no more than a 15 minute drive to Newmarket. I'm employed full time as an apprentice hairdresser at M11.

I would love to be in a flat with other Christians although it's not imperative. I can pay up to $220 per week including expenses.

I have great references and am leaving my current place as it was only available short term. I need a place by 31 March or before.

If you could text me on 0278470008 I can call you back when I get a chance between clients.

Thanks, Sharni.

I have a home for orphan girls in Uganda and am going in early May. Would anyone have an IPad they would like to gift? I will load educational games to help with the girls learning. Please contact me on 021740943 or Thank you! Jayne

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.