3 Tikanga Parishes Together in Mission
Cleve Pointon, a typical Kiwi bloke, is not your traditional missionary. But Cleve was a key member of the Missions team who went to Samoa recently, among other things to help renovate the old vicarage at All Saints, Apia, Samoa. You see, Cleve is a builder by trade, exactly the skills needed to replace rotting timber more than a century old, and build 2 new rooms which will house guests and Mission teams who visit Samoa. Cleve went with his wife Michelle and their 3 young children, members of St Andrews, Taupo, mixing Mission with a little bit of tourism.
Clinton Bramley, another typical Kiwi bloke, an architect from Taupo, planned the “Building Project”, and worked as a labourer on the build. He’s also a non-stipendary priest from St James Nukuhau, a small Tikanga Maori parish in North West Taupo. A team of 16 from these two Taupo parishes united together to go on a 2-week Mission to Samoa, at the invitation of Father Richard Schwalger, vicar of All Saints. The 3 Tikanga growing in Mission and partnership together – at a parish level!
Building up the Church, Building Relationships
Working on the old vicarage building was not the primary goal of the Mission – although it was a worthwhile outcome.
The primary goals as stated in the Mission journal each of the Mission team used during the Mission stated:
• Building Christlike Community, physically and spiritually – The 3 Tikanga working together in Mission.
• Building our relationship with God, individually and collectively.
• Building our relationship with each other as a Fellowship in Christ.
• Building our relationships as a 2- or 3-Tikanga fellowship.
• Building our relationship with God’s creation, especially the Land and the Sea.
When the team came together again for a debrief meeting after the Mission, the feedback certainly seemed to confirm these goals were achieved for everyone on the Mission. Their comments were filled with grace and gratitude, particularly towards their Samoan hosts. Perhaps the greatest confirmation is the decision by the 3 parishes to continue their unique parish to parish to parish 3-Tikanga partnership. The Taupo parishes are planning to host Fr Ricky and his wife Naumati in March next year, and All Saints Samoa are planning to host another Mission team from Taupo next spring to continue with stage 2 of the building project – installing a new kitchen and ablution block.
The name Fr Ricky gave the Mission before they arrived – “Home away from Home” – is well on the way to becoming a reality.
A Youth Team goes to Samoa
The catalyst for a joint Mission was the joint Youth group started by the 2 Taupo parishes about 12 months ago. Their Co-Leader, Rachel Kereopa, is no stranger to Mission teams, having already been involved with Mission teams to Fiji and Tanzania.
After 8 months of fundraising and preparation, 5 youth aged 15 to 17 embarked on the Mission adventure of a lifetime. And what an adventure it was: helping the building team by demonstrating their painting skills; working on the Parish peace garden; sharing with the children at All Saints kindergarten; playing touch rugby and other activities with the Samoan Youth, singing songs at the Church services; leading daily devotions; while taking in the culture, the sights and a splattering of tourist activities including swimming with turtles! “Mission and Faith go hand in hand”, says Rachel. “It is a tremendous privilege to be with our young as they learn more about themselves, their relationships with others and their own Faith.”
Extracts from Mission Action Vol. 10 No. 3 Dec 08