January:I served as sage at Festival One, a Christian music festival. I was a chaplain of sorts tending to the spiritual needs of those God brought my way; wandering, praying, seeing God at work.
February: During Massey University's weeklong Orientation, I introduced new students to Chaplaincy with funny definitions and challenges to be more than thinking drinking machines. I attended Waitangi Day, NZ’s National day though not always a celebration, up at Waitangi in Northland. It was a deeply moving and informative experience of Māori historically and present day, a displaced people trying to regain identity and place. Summer ended and the pace picked up.
Festival One night crowd.
Influential community members working together for
a peaceful and healthy Auckland.
March: Visitors from Indiana helped prep for projects I’m still running. New church plant, Church NW, held its info nite and prepared for launch in April! The mosque shootings of March 15th changed and increased my interactions in the community and on campus. I helped organize the site for the vigil on campus, using the five Peace Poles we set up a few years ago during Peace Week. It was a perfect venue for a gathering of 300+ people the Friday after the massacre. People in the crowd were invited to tie green & black ribbons on the poles. We had large NZ fern fronds and bundles of flowers. I then was warmly received outside the Muslim students’ prayer room and thanked for being so supportive.
Oh, and we got a new puppy in March! His name is Lui and he’s a student magnet. You might know of (my old dog) Richie’s role as Associate Chaplain on campus. We hope Lui will earn the same status in time. He was on campus during Spirituality Week and has been invited back in early June, but I’m away on vacation then, and he doesn’t drive, so he declined.
Students from four continents and a chaplaincy dog in training.
April: I hosted an Enneagram workshop facilitated by a friend from Australia. It was a valuable weekend and created good relationships that will continue.
Vigils and memorials after the mosque massacres continued, as did many conversations with religious and nonreligious people.
May: Spirituality Week on campus was exhausting and beneficial in the conversations it started. Then I was asked to speak the intro to a sermon at Shore Community Church by way of stories of missional people who had raised the stakes in obedience, in following Jesus even in discomfort. It was great to reach into my African memory and tie it in with NZ historically and presently. A couple I worked with at Mashoko in 1985 were Kiwis, and instrumental in the faith of one of Shore’s founding elders. His son was preaching at Shore that Sunday AND is the lead pastor planting the new church in NW Auckland. God is good. It's His nature.
I’ll be on vacation the first two weeks in June. Ahhhhhhh! Beyond Internet much of the time.
There you have it, an informal but varied narrative of what ministry looks like around me.
As always, feel free to ask questions. It all makes perfect sense as I type it out.
A waka canoe at Waitangi. Māori society is organized by the waka their ancestors originally arrived on. I arrived on Air NZ.
Prayer after worship at Shore, in the midst of turning the space back into a gym.
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