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Hi ,
we continue to pause our in-person worship until hospital numbers start to decline.

We are excited to continue our Lent journey with you. Our theme this week is Full to the Brim - You Are Worthy. We explore the story of the Fig Tree who didn't produce but was valued enough by the gardener and continued to be nourished and cared for. We also have a passage of Isaiah that invites us in, invites us to have a drink, to have something to eat, it is an invitation to rest.

Journeying with you, Dion

    Online Worship - Sunday 10am

    Online worship goes live on Sunday at 10am with a YouTube Premiere here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrVV6T5Q8KpEhj3IUQIT0gQ or click the button below
    Please join us for morning tea on Zoom afterwards here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/919265616

    Calling judgement down

    There are a range of responses online to Russia invading Ukraine. And there are a range of Christian responses too. We all view horrific situations like this differently, especially when it comes to what should, or should not be done. Here is another response for you to consider.

    Sometimes the world goes horrifically wrong and for a moment, for a snapshot in time, evil seems to prevail. That is the real world story of humanity, and it is fictional story told in countless books. It is also the story of the Gospel and the faith of the followers of Jesus. As followers of Jesus, and as fiction like Harry Potter or the Narnia series show, hope and self sacrificial love always wins in the end. Or as the Apostle Paul puts it: "For now there are faith, hope, and love. But of these three, the greatest is love." (1 Cor 13:13) And the faith of Jesus was:

    "You have heard people say, 'Love your neighbours and hate your enemies.' But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you. Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong. If you love only those people who love you, will God reward you for that? Even tax collectors love their friends. If you greet only your friends, what’s so great about that? Don’t even unbelievers do that? But you must always act like your Father in heaven." - Mt 5:43-48

    It is tempting at times like the moment to stray from the teachings of Jesus, to try and call down God's judgement, and to slip back into the Psalms (which were people's words/songs to God, rather than God's words to us), and to side with the likes of Psalm 7 that call for God to visit evil on evil doers.

    "Get angry, Lord God! Do something! Attack my furious enemies. See that justice is done. Whenever your enemies refuse to change their ways, you sharpen your sword and string your bow. Your deadly arrows are ready with flaming tips."
    - Ps 7:6,12-13


    These words to God were angry words. The words of hurting people. And they are genuine. They speak to pain, heartache, agony and terror. What do you do? There seem to be two ways. There is the way of more violence and there is the way of peace.

    It seems that people's prayers and songs to God, asking for God to met out violence to their adversaries wasn't working. And Jesus answers for the people why their prayers and their Psalms had seemed not to be answered. He says:

    "I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you. Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven."

    The Gospel shows that calling down judgement from God, is not God's response as we see in Jesus. As Jesus agonised over his own life decisions, he knew what was coming, he knew that his way of peace would be met with violence, yet he says:

    “You know that two days from now will be Passover. That is when the Son of Man will be handed over to his enemies and nailed to a cross.” - Mt 26:2

    And two days later Jesus is about to be betrayed and killed, so he prays:

    "Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane. When they got there, he told them, 'Sit here while I go over there and pray.' ... He was very sad and troubled, and he said to them, 'I am so sad that I feel as if I am dying. Stay here and keep awake with me.' ... he knelt with his face to the ground and prayed, 'My Father, if it is possible, don’t make me suffer by having me drink from this cup. But do what you want, and not what I want.' ... his disciples sleeping. So he said to Peter, 'Can’t any of you stay awake with me for just one hour? Stay awake and pray that you won’t be tested. You want to do what is right, but you are weak.” Again Jesus went to pray and said, 'My Father, if there is no other way, and I must suffer, I will still do what you want.' Jesus came back and found them sleeping again. They simply could not keep their eyes open. He left them and prayed the same prayer once more. ... 'Are you still sleeping and resting? The time has come for the Son of Man to be handed over to sinners.' ”
    - Mt 25:36-64 (abbreviated)


    Jesus did not give in to evil, he continued to pray for those who mistreated him. Jesus was consistent in his teaching and his living. He said:

    "Love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you. Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven."

    And he lived this. Hope for Jesus and his followers is self-sacrafical love.

    Dion.

    In person worship paused

    On-site worship continues to be paused. The wardens and clergy reviewed the situation and have decided to pause on-site worship for Sunday 20th March. Vestry will next review this at their regular meeting on Wednesday 23rd March.

    Emergency Medicine and Community Care numbers across the Auckland region continue to experience a surge in Covid cases. Hospital cases have yet to peak. There is a serious shortage of staff due to the outbreak. The number of Covid patients continues to increase in Hospital and HDU/ICU.

    Given that any risk of spreading Covid at worship can only be mitigated by not having worship on Sunday this week in person, we believe that the safer option is to opt for an online service.

    Dion

    Lent Resources

    We have a range of resources below, these can be emailed to you, dropped off or posted. Be in touch if you would like some of them. - Dion

    Devotional Books

    suitable for teens and adults.
    lent-book

    Devotional Cards

    suitable for all ages as a conversational prompt or personal reflection.
    devo-cards

    Wellness Wheel

    This is a spiritual practice to help us head through Lent with intent.
    wellness-wheel

    Gratitude Vessel

    We a practicing Gratitude over Lent, through daily filling in a Gratitude Vessel, download it here.
    Gratitude Vessel

    Lent-in-a-bag

    A resource for household bubbles - it contains a weekly reflective activity based around the Sunday scripture and is suitable for all ages. You'll get all the special objects you will need plus all of the above.
    household-bag

    Social Media

    Watch our social media accounts for a daily prompt for reflection and prayer.
    Facebook facebook.com/stmarybytheseanz
    Instagram instagram.com/stmarybythesea/
    Twitter twitter.com/StMaryByTheSea

    Wednesday 16th March

    10am Communion @ St Mary by the Sea is paused.
    12 noon bible study, on Zoom here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/919265616

    Buddy Families

    SMbtS Buddy Family
    Can we at St Mary by the Sea be a buddy family to you?
    Do you need someone to:
    1. Call and check on you
    2. Pick up your prescription
    3. Pick up your click & collect grocery shopping from Countdown Browns Bay
    Please be in contact with Debbie at the office, office@stmary.co.nz or 09-473-8180 so we can arrange support for you

    Stay in the loop

    Scripture

    20th March 2022

    Isaiah 55:1-9 - Luke 13:1-9

    Collect

    Holy God, merciful and patient over all creation, who confronts our casual and fruitless ways, fire our hearts with compassion, quicken our minds against deceit and shallowness, and strengthen our wills to resist evil and follow Christ. Through Jesus Christ our Liberator, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

    Word for Today and Our Daily Bread

    Word for Today
    https://www.rhema.co.nz/the-word-for-today
    https://www.lifefm.co.nz/wordforyoutoday
    Our Daily Bread
    https://odb.org/subscription/nz/#

    Community Shop

    Now open Tuesday - Saturday inclusive 10am to 4pm.

    Thank you to everyone who shops at the Community store, without you all this hard work would be to no avail. Your purchases not only help support St Marys Church but also go to providing financial support via food vouchers to local schools and to those in need in the local community. In February we took just over $8,700. Expenses have to be taken from this.

    Community Garden

    Are you interested in being part of the St Mary by the Sea community garden? For more information, see the information on the Welcome Desk, or talk to Dianne Denman, or Nannette Randall at the 10am service. There is an expression of interest form here, and a brochure here. and on our website here: www.stmary.co.nz/garden
    7e2dc56b-1a5c-45ce-9ad2-a3a3321accee
    March/April 2022 Magazine and Prayer Diary
    Free bi-monthly magazine Barnabas Aid includes news and features on the persecuted Church, along with updates on projects that we are supporting. It also contains a daily Prayer Diary that you can use to guide you in your prayers for our suffering brothers and sisters.
    Please contact your national Barnabas Fund office if you would like to receive Barnabas Aid magazine with Prayer Diary by post.

    Celebrations

    Happy birthday to Jean Coomer for the 26th, and to Peter Hoffman for the 29th. Happy Wedding Anniversary to Trevor & Audrey Stafford for the 26th. Many happy returns to you all.

    Regular Information

    Worship for March 2022

    Sunday - 8am - worship from NZ Prayer Book (paused)
    Sunday - 10am - Intergenerational worship (paused)
    Sunday - 10am - Online YouTube worship
    Wednesday - 10am - Communion @ St Mary by the Sea (paused)

    Praying for Others

    Please send names for the Sunday Prayer-List by Sunday evening to Tony Nettleton, 027 278 1450 or prayer@stmary.co.nz Names can be sent at other times as required.

    Donations

    Online

    Vestry would like to encourage you to give to support our ministry. Giving and donations can be made to:
    St Mary by the Sea
    BNZ Browns Bay 02-0120-0047903-003
    Please reference your donation with your surname or giving number.

    EFTPOS

    The EFTPOS machine prints 2 receipts, the first is your copy, the second is printed by selecting MERCHANTS COPY on the screen. This second copy should always be left on the appropriate clip on the notice board. With out the second receipt it is not possible to know what the money was intended for. For Church Giving, you can either keep the first receipt or place it in the DONATION BASKET to go up to the altar for the blessing. Please write your giving number or full name on the second receipt if you want the donation added to your tax receipt. If you do not require your donation added to your tax receipt please write "NO TAX" on the receipt.

    Feedback

    Have some feedback? Feel free to email dion@stmary.co.nz

    Subscribing

    Want to subscribe or unsubscribe to this newsletter? To subscribe go here or email newsletter@stmary.co.nz with. You have an unsubscribe link at the very bottom of this email.

    Contacts

    Office

    Debbie Rhodes, 09 4738180 office@stmary.co.nz
    Office hours, Mon to Thr 10am-2pm. Working from home whilst at Level Red.

    Vicar

    Rev’d Dion Blundell, Office:09 4738183 Mb:021 1378624 Hm:09 4732270
    dion@stmary.co.nz

    Priest Assistant

    Rev’d Jay Smith, 021 1045914 jay@stmary.co.nz

    Wardens

    Jean Coomer, 09 4780080 vicarswarden@stmary.co.nz
    Mark Van der ham, 021 2711207 peopleswarden@stmary.co.nz

    Synod Representatives

    Auriel Andrews auriel@kinect.co.nz
    Connie Strong, connie1057@gmail.com

    Vestry Secretary

    Susan Haslam, 09 4150073 vestrysecretary@stmary.co.nz

    Vestry Members

    Bruce Rogers, bj_rogers@xtra.co.nz
    Chris Waddingham, waddinghamchris@gmail.com
    Jenny Cheer, jmcheer@xtra.co.nz
    Robert Stewart, Robby.stewart01@gmail.com
    Susan Haslam ejhaslam@xtra.co.nz

    St Mary by the Sea

    PO Box 89-082, Torbay, Auckland, 0742
    168 Deep Creek Rd, Torbay, Auckland, 0630
    www.stmary.co.nz
    office@stmary.co.nz
    Thanks for reading. See you soon!

    The St Mary by the Sea Team
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