Kia ora, welcome to St Paul’s in the Park Anglican Church.
We have two Sunday morning services, at 9.00 am and 10.15 am. Find out more about these services here.
Living in a world overshadowed by COVID-19 means we need to be flexible, so every week we also upload our services to Youtube. Click below to view our Youtube channel.
Our present day church, although placed on the edge of Barry Curtis Park, is surrounded by a mushrooming community. This growing community is a melting pot of culture, ethnicity and faith.
A few years ago it was decided that a new building was needed to meet the demands of this growing community. A design is now completed and our initial estimates indicate that we are challenged with raising 6.1 million dollars to build our new church.
Selwyn Seniors is a group for over 65’s. A morning of gentle exercise, fun and friendship with a varied programme.
SPACE for you and your baby is a parenting programme aimed at mainly first-time parents of newborn babies. Sessions are held over 3 terms in a relaxed, baby-friendly atmosphere.
Our vision for SPACE is “empowering and encouraging parents to support the development of the whole child in their first year of life”.
During our 10.15 am service, our Sunday School runs during the school term. Children can share special items of news they may have, and say a prayer/sing a song together. Bible lessons are presented through varied activities such as stories, video clips, pictures, crafts or a game.
A woman was invited to a Zulu church. She went, and was conspicuous as the only white person there. They welcomed her, translated for her and made her feel thoroughly at home. They had a collection to build a new Zulu church down the road. Later in the service, they had another collection for Zulu Christian brethren who had no shoes. By this time, she had put all her money she had with her into the collections. Imagine how staggered she was when they had a third collection. She had nothing left. But the collection was announced ‘for petrol for our white sister.’ That woman came out with an entirely new perspective on Christian giving.
So often in life we find that those who have the least are the most generous with what they give.
‘For God loves the person who gives cheerfully. And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.’
As a member of the Vanderbilt railroad dynasty, Alfred Vanderbilt was a very wealthy man who enjoyed a life of luxury. In 1915 he was travelling on the RMS Lusitania, the passenger ship that was infamously torpedoed by a German U-boat. Vanderbilt sprang into action as soon as the torpedo hit, handing out lifebelts to passengers and guiding them to nearby lifeboats. He gave his own lifebelt to a mother carrying a baby despite not knowing how to swim, so he went down with the ship.
What’s even stranger, is that he was supposed to have been on the Titanic when it sank some three years earlier, only for him to cancel at the last minute.
Sacrifice lies at the heart of any giving, and never more so than in a Christian context. This can range from small gestures to those that entail life itself.
‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambitions, shoulder your cross and follow me.’ Matthew 16:24
Access to God
During the American Civil War, as a result of a family tragedy, a soldier had been granted permission to seek a hearing from the President. He wanted to request exemption from military service. However, when he arrived at the White House, he was refused entry and sent away. He went and sat in a nearby park.
A young boy came across him and remarked how unhappy he looked. The soldier found himself telling the boy everything. The boy said, “Come with me.’ He led the dejected soldier back to the White House. They went around to the back, none of the guards stopping them. The soldier was amazed.
Finally, they came to the presidential office. Without knocking, the young boy opened the door and walked straight in. Abraham Lincoln, standing there, turned from his conversation with the Secretary of State and said, ‘What can I do for you, Todd?’
Todd said, ‘Dad, this soldier needs to speak with you.’
A very simple story but with a very important message. God is always available to you and you are very important to him. He cares as much about you as anyone and his time is your time. We need to make sure we make use of that time by spending it with him.
‘So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy.’ Hebrews 4:16
‘What a friend we have in Jesus.’
Two adventurous boys who were good friends were exploring caves when they found what appeared to be huge bear tracks deep inside a long tunnel. They bravely decided to keep going, keeping their eyes and ears open in case they actually encountered a bear.
Suddenly, from behind a rock jumped the meanest-looking grizzly bear. Scared to death, the boys decided that had better run for their lives. Just then, one of the boys dropped to the floor and started untying his boots. He whipped his boots off, jammed on his running shoes and began tying his laces. His exasperated friend yelled at him, ‘Come on, man! Let’s get out of here. Why in the world are you changing shoes? We don’t have much chance of outrunning the bear anyway.’
Lunging to his feet and starting to run, his friend replied, ‘I don’t have to outrun the bear. All I have to do is outrun you.’
One of the great things about having Christ as a friend is knowing that he will never leave nor forsake us. Right now, that can be a very comforting thought.
‘I will never fail you. I will never forsake you.’ Hebrews 13:5
Be happy with what you have
A Quaker had this sign put up on a vacant piece of land next to his home. THIS LAND WILL BE GIVEN TO ANYONE WHO IS TRULY SATISFIED.
A wealthy farmer who was riding by stopped to read the sign and said to himself, ‘Since our friend the Quaker is so ready to part with this plot, I might as well claim it before someone else does. I am a rich man and have all I need, so I certainly qualify.
With that he went up to the door and explained what he was there for. ‘And is thee truly satisfied?’ asked the Quaker. ‘I am indeed, for I have everything I need,’ replied the farmer. ‘Friend,’ said the Quaker, ‘if thee is satisfied, what does thee want the land for?’
While others strive for wealth, the enlightened, being content with what they have, possess it without striving. I believe there are two secrets to a contented life – be happy with who you are and be happy with what you have.
‘So do not start worrying: “Where will my food come from? Or my drink? Or my clothes?” Your Father in heaven knows that you need all these things. Instead, be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what he requires of you, and he will provide you with all these other things.’ Matthew 6:31-31
‘It’s good to have money and the things money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy.
When John Wesley was sailing to America, he witnessed the keel-hauling of a member of the crew for an offence on board ship. This was a particularly cruel form of punishment as it meant being tied to a rope, thrown overboard, drawn under the vessel and out the other side. There was always the chance you would drown or perish in some other way.
The captain said to John Wesley, ‘You see, Mr Wesley, I never forgive.’ It was not for John Wesley to question the captain’s power of command but he could and did question that statement. He replied, ‘Then, sir, I hope you never sin.’
Before we pass judgment or condemn anyone, which we are all prone to do, we need to stop and consider our own fallibilities and erroneous ways.
‘Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times seven?’ ‘No,’ replied Jesus, ‘seventy times seven!’
A definition of a kiss – The anatomical juxtaposition of two orbicular muscles in a state of contraction. Fair enough, but that hardly helps you to understand the full meaning of a kiss! Only when the theoretical becomes practical do we have a full appreciation of its meaning. We can talk about love and analyse love, but only when we actually love someone does it become real; that’s when it really becomes kindness and compassion.
‘Dear friends, let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by our actions.’ 1 John 3:18
An eight-year-old’s perspective – ‘Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together. My mommy and daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss.
A priest saw a group of boys sitting in a circle with a dog in the middle. He asked them what they were doing. One boy said, ‘We’re just telling lies, and the one who tells the biggest lie keeps the dog.’ The priest said, ‘Why, I am shocked. When I was a boy, I never even thought of telling a lie.’ The boy said, ‘Give him the dog, fellas. He’s the winner.’
Some time ago, the question was posed to me, ‘Does the truth count for anything today?’ It is a fair enough question. Whether it is media (social or otherwise) or politics, both of which we depend upon for the dissemination of information, it is often difficult to separate fact from fiction, to separate real truth from falsehoods that are paraded as truth.
The sad part about it is that it works! The misinformation about the efficacy of the COVID vaccine is one example we are confronted with at present. Unfortunately, this trend is a reflection of today’s values. So who is to blame? Is it those who promote these falsehoods, or is it us, the people because we buy into it. It is what we have come to expect; we have almost become immune to it. In the end, it is about integrity and character.
‘Truth stands the test of time, lies are soon exposed.’ Proverbs 12:19
‘Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.’ Albert Einstein.
Security in God
Mother eagles are caring and loving creatures. Somewhere down the line, the mother eagle decides her little eagle needs to learn to fly. So she takes that little eagle out of the nest and flies as high as she can go. At this point, she drops the fledgling and he falls fast. The fledgling has never flown in his life. The ground is coming up, his little heart is ready to burst, and he fears the worst.
But the mother eagle is watching and at the last moment she swoops down and catches him. Relieved, the baby eagle thinks, ‘I’m saved, I’m fine, I’m going to survive.’ The mother eagle then flies up as high as she can go again and she drops him. She continues until he learns to fly.
In a similar way, as we encounter the challenges and hardships of life, we must have faith that God is always there. We need these challenges in order to grow and develop, but we also need to know that God has us covered.
God speaking to Moses: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians. You know how I brought you to myself and carried you on eagle’s wings.’ Exodus 19:4.
Coming home from work a woman stopped at the corner deli to buy a chicken for dinner. The butcher reached into a barrel, grabbed the last chicken he had, flung it on the scales behind the counter and told the woman its weight. She thought for a moment and then said, ‘I really need a bit more chicken than that. Do you have a larger one?’
Without a word, the butcher put the chicken back into the barrel, groped around as though he was looking for another, pulled the same chicken out and placed it on the scales. ‘This chicken weighs one pound more,’ he announced. The woman pondered her options and then said, ‘Okay. I will take them both.’
The prophet Micah lamented 2,700 years ago, ‘The faithful have vanished from the land; not one honest person is to be found.’ Micah 7:2. It’s perhaps not as bleak as that today, but it’s still not good. We have world leaders being elected despite their blatant dishonesty. What does that say about our moral compass?
However, I do believe that in the end we respect honesty, we look up to honesty. We can trust honesty, and so we feel secure in a relationship based on honesty, whatever that relationship might be.
‘All that is true, all that is noble, all that is just and pure, fill your thoughts with these things.’ Philippians 4:8
‘Honesty is the first chapter in the book of Wisdom.’ Thomas Jefferson.
God will provide
A young woman brings home her husband-to-be to meet her parents. After dinner, the father invites the young man into his study. ‘So what are your plans?’ the father asks him. ‘I am a Bible scholar,’ the young man replies. ‘That is admirable,’ the father replies, ‘but what will you do to provide a nice house for my daughter to live in as she is accustomed to?’ He replies, ‘I will study and God will provide.’
‘And how will you buy her a beautiful engagement ring such as she deserves?’ ‘I will concentrate on my studies and God will provide,’ he answers. ‘And children?’ asks the father. ‘How will you support children?’ ‘Don’t worry, sir, God will provide.’
The conversation proceeds like this, and each time the young man insists that God will provide. Later, the mother asks, ‘How did it go, honey?’ The father answers, ‘He has no job and no plans, but the good news is that he thinks I am God!’
A humorous story by way of introducing this point: When we are in need it is good to pray about it and seek God’s help, but it is important to remember this, ‘God helps those who help themselves.’ If we sit back and expect everything to fall in our lap just because we have asked God, it probably won’t happen. Miracles do happen but invariably we achieve something through hard work, albeit with God’s strength and help. And that should be the focus of our prayer.
‘A person will reap exactly what he sows.’ Galatians 6:7
‘Don’t ask God to guide your footsteps if you are not prepared to move your feet.’ Anon.
In 1908, Irish explorer, Ernest Shackleton, headed an Antarctic expedition attempting to reach the South Pole. They came closer than any before but, 97 miles short of the pole, had to turn back.
In his diary Shackleton told of the time when their food supplies were exhausted save for one last ration of hardtack, a dried sort of biscuit, that was distributed to each man. Some of the men took snow, melted it and made tea while consuming their biscuit. Others, however, stowed the hardtack in their food sacks, saving it for a last moment of hungry desperation.
That night Shackleton said that he was almost asleep when out of the corner of his eye he noticed one of his most trusted men sitting up in his sleeping bag and looking about to see if anyone was watching.
Shackleton’s heart sank as this man began to reach toward the food sack of the man next to him. Shackleton watched as the man opened the food sack, took his own hardtack and put it in the other man’s sack.
‘Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have with those in need, for such sacrifices are very pleasing to God.’ Hebrews 13:16
I am sure that most of us are only too well aware how important it is to read our Bible on a regular basis, but I am also sure that many of us, due to the demands and distractions of our busy lives, don’t read it as much as we really should.
The Bible should be our handbook for life. God speaks to us through the Bible and it contains everything we need to know if we are to live our lives in tune with God. There will be discordant notes along the way and there will be times when we struggle with particular stories or passages. But not only has it stood the test of time, it has stood the test of centuries of close examination and scrutiny. Perhaps we could reflect on this little story.
A man once walked through a great art gallery, looking scornfully at the paintings on the wall. ‘Are these the masterpieces?’ he asked. ‘I am afraid they don’t do much for me.’ The attendant standing nearby responded, ‘These pictures are not on trial. Their worth has been proved long ago. It is you who are on trial.’
If it helps, try and get into a routine of reading a short passage at a certain time each day, and most importantly, ask God to speak to you as you read.
‘All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realise what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right.’
2 Timothy 3:16
Life after Death
One day a court jester said something so foolish that the king, handing him a staff, said to him, ‘Take this and keep it until you find a bigger fool than yourself.’
Some years later the king was very ill and lay on his deathbed. The king addressed those gathered around his bed, ‘I am about to leave you. I am going on a long journey, and I shall not return, so I have called you to say goodbye.’
The jester stepped forward and said, ‘Your majesty, may I ask you a question? When you journeyed abroad visiting your people, your heralds and servants always went ahead of you making preparations for you. May I ask what preparations your majesty has made for this journey you are about to take?’
‘Alas’, the king replied, ‘I have made no preparations.’
‘Then’, said the jester, ‘take this staff with you, for now I have found a bigger fool than myself.’
We are very likely to be judged when the moment of truth arrives (see below). I believe that how we conduct ourselves in this life will have some bearing on the quality of our next life. Bearing in mind the significance of this next life – it is, after all, eternal! – that surely must give us a real sense of purpose for this life. Let’s make sure we make preparation for this journey that every single one of us will take.
‘For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in our bodies.’ 2 Corinthians 5:10
‘Heaven must be in me before I can be in heaven.’ Charles Stanford
Use the Power of Speech Sparingly
A pastor tells the story of how one evening he was minding his two children while his wife was out pursuing her hobby of making porcelain dolls at a doll-making class. The phone rang and one of his children rushed to answer. The pastor felt a surge of pride as his young son spoke politely and correctly to the caller, but his pride soon vanished as his son, in response to the caller’s request to speak to his mother, answered, ‘I am sorry but my mum is not here. She’s out making babies but my father is here if you want to speak to him.’ To compound matters, the caller happened to be one of the elders of their church!
Not sure what the message is here but the story was too good not to tell. However, we do need to make sure we are not too hasty in opening our mouths. As James points out, the tongue can be a lethal weapon. ‘The tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do.’ James 3:5.
To put it more bluntly, ‘If you keep your mouth shut, you will stay out of trouble.’ Proverbs 21:23
Margaret Court, Australia, had an incredible tennis career in which she won a staggering 66 grand slam titles. When she started having heart palpitations, she went to her doctor. She discovered she had a torn heart valve. She was told she would be on tablets for the rest of her life. At the age of 38 she faced a life sentence of medication.
Margaret met God when she was staying with a family in the United States. She thought the wife was a religious nut. She kept giving Margaret Christian books to read. But, through her illness and this woman, Margaret met God. Her personal life was transformed. Interestingly, her heart got strangely better so that she no longer needs her tablets.
When we journey with God, all sorts of possibilities can happen.
‘It was by faith that Sarah together with Abraham was able to have a child, even though they were too old and Sarah was barren.’ Hebrews 11:11
Sign of the Christian
Dennis needed some same-day dry cleaning before he left on a trip. He remembered one store with a huge sign, ‘One-Hour Dry Cleaners’ on the other side of town, so he drove out of his way to drop off a suit. After filling out the tag, he told the shop clerk, I need this in an hour.’ She said, ‘I can’t get this back to you until Tuesday.’ ‘I thought you did dry cleaning in an hour.’ ‘No,’ she replied, ‘that’s just the name of the store.’
All too often Christianity is let down because those that like to carry the label ‘Christian’ exhibit behaviour that belies that label. We are all human but it is important that the way we treat one another reflects the Christian commandment to ‘love our neighbour.’
‘By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’ John 13:35
The owner of a drive-through coffee business in Portland, USA, was surprised one morning to have one of her customers not only pay for her own coffee but also for the coffee of the person in the car behind her. It put a smile on the owner’s face to tell the next customer her drink had already been paid for. The second customer was so pleased that someone else had purchased her coffee that she bought coffee for the next customer. Believe it or not, this string of kindness – one stranger paying for the coffee of the next customer – continued for two hours and 27 customers.
Never underestimate the power of a simple gesture of kindness. Every one of those 27 customers, not to mention the owner, would have felt so much better for the experience, and as a result that feeling of bonhomie is translated into gestures of kindness towards those with whom they come into contact throughout the day. When you are kind to someone, invariably it is not just you and the recipient of your kindness who benefit.
‘If we love each other, God lives in us, and his love has been brought to full expression through us.’ 1 John 4:12.
When Elmer Booze walks on stage for a virtuoso piano performance, nobody applauds. That’s because he’s not a concert pianist, he’s a professional page turner. Although he has music degrees from two universities, Elmer has been content for many years to sit in the shadows. He has turned pages at the White House and at concerts in New York and London.
Many great pianists depend on people like Elmer. And while the virtuosos take their bows to the applause of thousands, the Elmers of the world are content with the part they played in the performance.
In the same way, any organisation, and especially churches, depend on those people who are willing to work behind the scenes, doing their little bit to ensure the smooth running of their organisation. It is called humble service and a church just cannot function without it.
‘And since I, the Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.’ John 13:14-15.