Mind the Gap

Adrienne Bruce reports on the recent Diocesan Mission Festival (Waiapu)

26 August 2013

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Waiapu Missions Festival attendees in Taupo (2013).

A stimulating day with several guest speakers was interspersed with rousing worship led by Peter Minson, the vicar of Taupo and Mike Hawke, in his role as church supporter on behalf of the Missions Board.

Also present as part of the day were several from Waiapu who had previously served overseas as mission partners including Lynette Morgans and Gerald and Noeline Clark (who have served in Tanzania) and Dorothy Brooker (Vanuatu).

The Reverend Canon Robert Kereopa gave an update on the work of the Missions Board reminding those gathered of the words of Hudson Taylor (missionary in China in the 19th Century), ‘God's work done in God's way will never lack God's supplies’. Waiapu continues to demonstrate this and was thanked for supporting missions! ‘Waiapu is consistent in its giving to the Missions Board’, Robert reported.

The Anglican Missions Board is the gateway to global mission keen to support short term missions e.g. in 2014 Waiapu will have a team going to Papua New Guinea.

Mike Hawke spoke enthusiastically to the mission co-ordinators of the three P’s. The first, passion: ‘tell the stories, be passionate. We can afford to be excited about what Jesus is doing overseas’, he said.

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Rev Mike (Church Support Officer) with Zac the Cat!

Secondly persevere: Mike proceeded to describe the vicarage cat, Zac who was persistent – all night – determined to snuggle in with Mike. ‘Be as persistent as Zac the cat’ is Mike’s advice! ‘We can be inspired by the people who have been in the field for so many years. How can we give up when Audrey Neureuter has been in Pakistan for 40 years, Joanna Frampton in PNG for the last 30 years translating the Bible into local languages?’ Mike has been inspired too by people in parishes doing extraordinary things to raise the profile of Missions. Such as the person who gives every parishioner a copy of the AMB magazine each time it is published, with their name personally written on it. No copies are left to gather dust in the church foyer in that parish. Or the man who propagates and sells plants every Sunday raising funds for missions.

And the third ‘P’ – pray, using the excellent resource booklet available to assist daily personal prayer.  ‘Using this booklet educates us so we can pray with intelligence’. Booklets are available from Emma at Anglican Missions or for download here.

The Christian World Service fieldworker Michael Earle was also present and thanked the people of Waiapu for the $22,000 donated in last year's Christmas Appeal – out of the $50,000 donated by Anglicans in total. The ABM and CWS work together in partnership and the parish co-ordinators were encouraged to also become the CWS advocates for their parishes. CWS reports to the General Synod, as it does to the other denominations, as it is endorsed by and accountable to all its partner churches.

The afternoon session saw Dorothy Brooker talking about the recent visit to Vanuatu by a small group from Hawkes Bay. This was a moving presentation as Dorothy spoke of the trip back to the area where she had served 40 years ago.  Dorothy and her late husband Arthur were missionaries in Ambae in the late 1960s. He tragically died there in September 1970 and is buried there. The group was able to visit Arthur’s grave along with other significant graves. Bishop James Ligo, his sister Sarah and brother Godden are all ex-Vureas pupils and it was a very moving moment for Dorothy when the bishop thanked Dorothy and Arthur on behalf of his family for the foundations of faith they had received from them.

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Canon Robert (Executive Officer, Anglican Missions) speaks at the Festival.

Perhaps Dorothy’s words sum up what this day was about when she concluded her presentation with: ‘I spent nearly seven years serving in this church (in Vanuatu) but I am also conscious of those others, some from this Diocese who have served in this Province. Charles Fox - 70 plus years, who walked from Hawkes Bay to Wellington to prove he was fit enough to work in these islands when he was initially turned down as unfit. Betty Pyatt - 27 years, now living in Selwyn Village, a sister of Bishop Alan Pyatt.

Bishop Peter Atkins and Bishop George Connor well known to us here in Waiapu.

Bruce and Catherine Mackereth (also part of the trip) who served for ten years and Father Jim Hunt who served both in PNG and Melanesia and still works to helps people even now in  his eighties with Habitat for Humanity in Auckland. It is where most of us grew in our faith and where we learnt so much about who we are called to be.’

Bishop David Rice also shared with the group some of the reasons why Waiapu is involved in overseas mission. In a nutshell this is an integral part of who we are as a missional diocese – part of our DNA. ‘Mission is about building relationships in our neighbourhoods - it is local and it is global and those things work together’.

After a panel answering participants’ questions Bishop David commissioned the parish mission co-ordinators.