Microsoft word - soma nz 2011 mavis crispin.doc

Report of the Revd Mavis Cripsin on her SOMA New Zealand Mission Trip - July 2011 Powhiri! The local Maori tribe welcomed us with traditional song and speeches to the Common Life Mission Conference at Waikanae , New Zealand. After Archbishop Ben Kwashi (Jos) the most senior church male guest picked up the leaf of peace he also responded with a speech on behalf of us international delegates. Only then could we walk in, singing our visitors song taught to us by the Archbishop ‘ We must keep with Jesus, however rough the road.’ We were later to learn how rough that road is for our fellow Christians in Northern Nigeria and others from all over the world, including many young people from the Pacific islands. 550 delegates in total. Our very full days included Bible exposition, keynote addresses and a range of really stimulating workshops. Added to this we all learned from each other and our New Zealand hosts, who so warmly welcomed us into their homes. Particularly important for us SOMA (Sharing of Ministry Abroad) UK delegates was an introduction to NZ culture and history which helped us prepare for our later work in small teams in different churches throughout New Zealand. I was moved to learn about the sacrifices made by mission partners and the Maori people to make the Christian gospel know in both North and South Islands. After the four day conference I travelled with the British team including the director of SOMA UK, the Revd Stephen Dinsmore to work in Holy Trinity in the Bay of Plenty. This was a large, recently built Anglican church, which replaced an older smaller building destroyed by an arsonist. Only the charred altar survived which now stands in the new 900 capacity church giving continuity and bearing witness to the faithfulness of God. Now this is used for worship by this growing church and all kinds of groups responding to the needs of the city. A true rebuilding of not so ancient ruins. It was a privilege to preach at the first service - an 8am Holy Communion averaging 80 people - and then again at a Maori daughter church, All Saints, a week later. There, I used the four mission statements of Air New Zealand to explore our approaches to mission in 2011: 1. Welcome as a friend. 2. Share your New Zealand. 3. Can do. 4. Be yourself. In between these two services I presented workshops at a variety of Lifegroups in different city venue, as did the other team members. Mine included such topics as – Ageing and Well-being, What can we learn from mission approaches in Peru to use in NZ? , and Where is God when it hurts? Apart from how to climb an extinct volcano in 3 mins when a tsunami is coming (!), I have learned a number of things which could be developed and transferred to other Christian contexts. For example, ways to pick up on cultural and historic contexts to deliver a universal message, the difference a faithful and enthusiastic group of baby boomers can make to a community, and how to develop a balance between telling ones ‘s own individual faith story and a more objective Christian meta-narrative to which my story relates. One abiding memory is of a window in St Faith’s Church by the lake a Rotorua. The figure of Christ dressed as a Maori is etched into plain glass and behind are the vibrant colours of hill, tree and lake. The moving water seems to touch his feet. He says to us all in these challenging times- ‘Take courage, It is I. Don’t be afraid’ (Matthew 14:27).

Source: http://www.stpaulsfinchley.org.uk/assets/files/SOMA%20NZ%202011%20Mavis%20Crispin.pdf

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