Update

Kia ora, e te whanau,

We are all aware of the pain, confusion and destabilization that Friday’s horrendous acts of violence have brought to our city and our country. Eight years ago, we were rocked by natural disaster, now calculated hatred and evil have brought new fears and losses. Including a loss of who we sense we are and what our country is about. Many of us have sat with our refugee friends and said “You are safe here” believing that New Zealand and especially Christchurch are different. Believing that we are not marked, like other parts of the world, with violence and terror. Today we know the pain of the world in a new way and in this we need to be reminded of who we are and how we can affirm the faith and values we believe in.

Last year we welcomed three families from war-torn countries to be part of our community. Today they are scared and grieving. Four have been shot and all know family and friends who were killed or injured. Their neighbourhood communities, our refugee team and pastoral team are with them offering support and care. Your prayers for the families directly and those close to them would be enormously appreciated.

Many people from international refugee programmes, Baptist churches and other church leaders are sending us their prayers and concern which reminds us we are not alone. As we care for our Middle Eastern friends and grieve as a city, unknown friends around the world hold us in their prayers.

Tomorrow at our 9.00am, 11.00am and 7.00pm services families can choose to stay together or children can join the children’s programme. We will have three spaces available. A combined children’s programme will run in the Auditorium. Our Living Room will be open throughout the service for people to sit, talk or pray. You are welcome to stay in the service or move in and out to the children’s activities or The Living Room as you wish. Our services will be spaces of tenderness, gentle compassion and powerful hope.

We want to stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters in their grief and tremendous pain. We are together the children of Abraham and Sarah and today is a day to share prayer and care as family. We also want to pray for our police, emergency workers and hospital teams and thank them for their bravery, commitment and expertise.

Tomorrow we will also have news of Baptist and city-wide church prayer times that you may be able to support.

At a time like this I am deeply aware of God’s presence and the goodness, compassion and courage of our church body. You are very much in our prayers today.


For those asking what practical support can be offered to our Middle Eastern friends, we will be collecting meals at all of our services tomorrow and distributing them out to the affected neighbourhood communities. These meals will need to be halal for the families, otherwise you will need to specify that they are for the wider community supporters. For ease of distribution, please ensure that these meals are able to be frozen. Thank you for your aroha and support.

Tragedy

Today’s tragedy in our city is appalling and deeply painful. We, as a church, have supported and become friends with families from the Middle East. Some of these friends were praying at the mosque this afternoon. Four of them were shot. Tonight, the communities that care for them are wrapping around the families, supporting them in hospital and their homes. Groups have gathered to pray in each of the communities sponsoring a family. We, with the churches of Canterbury, “are praying for our Muslim brothers and sisters, for those injured and those who have lost loved ones, for the police, ambulance and other emergency services, and for all in the city of Christchurch who are feeling distress and fear tonight” (taken from a combined churches of Christchurch statement from Te Raranga). As we approach Easter we are reminded that Jesus suffered, seeking peace and compassion for all – may we respond and pray in the same way.

Justice Issue

Over recent months our media has run several articles on Australia’s Department of Home Affairs policy of repatriating citizens of other countries at the end of prison sentences.  Those with New Zealand citizenship are sent here even though they have spent most, or in some cases all their lives in Australia.

Although some may have family and friends here in New Zealand, a media report from earlier this year focused on a 26 year old born in the Cook Islands.  As such, he is a New Zealand citizen.  He went to live with his family in Australia as a preschooler never living in New Zealand.  Some like this individual are deported to a place where they may have no connections at all.

Perhaps SWBC could be involved in offering help and support to those now numbering into the thousands who have failed Australia’s “character test”.  In the same way that we’ve responded to refugee issues, perhaps SWBC, other Baptist churches and those from other denominations can respond positively to this issue and allow Jesus to look good and God’s kingdom to increase as we assist these exiles one at time.

If you are interested in finding out more about this issue and ways that we can pray for and assist those affected, please contact Peter.

Keith Green – Calling Conviction and Commitment

Melody Green
(from message 30 Dec 2018)
In this mornings message I mentioned two clips:

An Interview with Melody about the death of Keith and her on going call (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2_1VrO-Ems )

And Keith singing ‘Oh Lord Your Beautiful’ the week he wrote the song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVgPQm06g2c).

Resettlement Programme Proposal

On November 12 we presented a Proposal to the Minister of Immigration. The Proposal is an invitation to the Government to work with us to design a permanent resettlement programme for former refugees. We presented it on behalf of a newly formed Core Community Partnership. This is the Anglican church of New Zealand, Baptist churches of New Zealand, and Caritas Aotearoa/New Zealand. Supporting that group is a list of forty-seven groups that represent one million everyday New Zealanders. This is gaining momentum!

To read the full proposal and find out more, check out our Resettlement Programme webpage.

Global Week

We’ve come to the end of Global Week, and what an amazing time it was. Night Market was a great success with many different sounds and smells filling the building. Tim Costello spoke on Jesus’ call to love our enemies, and what that means for the building of God’s community and the mission of the church. Then to have Ants and Dola share was a real privilege, to hear such a strong multi-generational story of hope. To have both Ants and Dola in the country was a miracle in itself, the result of much prayer and paperwork.

Twelve months ago the amount promised to Global was $504,000. The final donations came in at $580,000. This is a church that has been faithfully giving to our global work for 45 years, and exceeding the budget for every one of those years.  If you aren’t already, we’d love you to be a part of it. Chat with our Info Centre on Sundays about how you can support our global work, financially or through prayer.

Series on Romans

Last week we began our new preaching series on the book of Romans, which will run until October. N.T. Wright comments on Romans saying “It is about God’s revelation about himself and his purposes in Jesus the Messiah.” There is a lot packed into this book of the Bible – we’ll be working through a chapter each week (same chapter morning and night but with different speakers) with a wide selection of speakers. We’re excited to get to the heart of each passage and provide opportunities for response to this.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15 v13.

Supporting the purchase of a house for a refugee family

Our church community is actively engaged in building robust communities that have a place and space for everyone.  For communities to thrive, people need safe warm secure housing where they are not vulnerable to unaffordable rent increases.  Community Accommodation LTD (CAL) is a charitable company that is part of the church. It has owned a house for several years that is providing stable housing to someone at a social housing rate.

CAL believes that together we could buy a home in Somerfield for the refugee family to rent at an affordable rate for two years.   What is needed is one or more of the following options:

  • An interest-free loan of $150,000 for two years. At the end of the two years, the loan would be repaid.
  • A weekly payment to cover the cost of a mortgage of $150,000. At today’s interest rates that would be $144.00 a week or $15,000 over two years.
  • The promise of an interest-free loan of up to $25,000 if it was needed at any time over the two year period.  The money would be repaid at the end of the two year period.
  • CAL providing up to $250,000 with individuals contributing the balance to purchase a house.

 

At the end of two years the ownership would be restructured to allow for the repayment of those who needed the return of capital, and to allow others to invest.

If you would like to know more or have a conversation about potentially supporting the purchase of a house. Please contact Nick at nregnault@swbc.org.nz

 

Great Radio Interview with Duane

Here is an interesting recoding of a Radio Interview with Duane which covers his life and loves – buying a beach, building a pool, rugby, Jesus, being proactive and seeking positive community change, neighbourliness and; oh yes Rugby!

Enjoy

http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/real-life/2018-01-28-interview-duane-major/#ath

Update on refugee scheme

We were expecting to hear from Senior Management at Immigration New Zealand about whether we would be selected to support a refugee family in a new community based refugee programme.

On Friday we contacted our link person in the Ministry but there was no news. Hopefully this week.