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Faith,  hope,  love


The Song of the Bird
Colin Gibson draws on two very evocative images from non Christian traditions  -  an old Chinese saying  The bird does not sing because it knows an answer.  It sings   because it has a song.    And the second,  an amusing but profound Muslim Sufi story featuring a Gnat and an Elephant.  And not surprisingly,  there's a lesson for us all.

Honest to God
We continue to benefit from the fortnightly column of Ian Harris in the Otago Daily Times. We reprint with Ian's permission this remarkably perceptive piece that appeared so helpfully early in Advent.   "So just who was this Jesus?"    Ian Harris draws a distinction between the Jesus of history, of Nazareth, son of Mary and Joseph  -  and the Jesus of faith,  known as the Christ  who emerged from the early Christian community  These are not in conflict,  but at Christmas they are wonderfully drawn together.

A Defining Issue
Ken Russell originally wrote this article for the Liberal Society email blog,  but has revised it to take account of a ferment stirring in the Mt Albert Parish,  Auckland,  following another failure in the appointment process when the Presbyter concerned was a highly accomplished woman.  a lesbian living in a stable civil union.

Robyn's Words
The Testimony of Robyn Freeth,  last in a memorable series in which members of Mornington Church shared their faith journey in their own way.  Robyn is seldom heard as a speaker in the Church  but her testimony made a deep impression.

Yes We Can!
By his own admission Ken Russell waxes lyrical about the election of Barack Obama as the first black American President.   It is not to endorse every plank of Obama's policies,  but to simply share the overwhelming joy of so manyAmericans,  and people of goodwill around the world,  who have dared to dream this man will turn the tide of polarisation pessimism and mistrust that has tsunamied over international relations in the Bush years.

The Ending of the Book of Acts and Writing Volume 3
Guest preacher Prof Paul Trebilco,  head of the Dept of Theology at Otago University,  gave this very scholarly interpretation of what was in Luke's mind in writing the "Acts of the Apostles."   If Luke's Gospel is Vol 1,   and the Acts is Vol 2,  who is left to write Vol 3?  Read the sermon to find out.

Unlearning and New Learning
With an eye on the Nov 4 American election,  and the New Zealand Methodist Conference on Nov 8,  and enlisting the help of foremost biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann,  Stuart Grant delivers a very perceptive sermon on Peter's dream in Acts 11.

My Faith
In recent weeks Mornington worship has been greatly enhanced as members of the Church family have shared their faith stories.   Here Rachel Hanna simply tells her story so far,  from childhood and adolescence in two churches,  to life in the police in a big city,  to maturing faith as a mother and teacher back in the Church in which she was nurtured.

No Ordinary Sun
This recent sermon by Colin Gibson at Mornington Church is a splendid example of how Christian faith has borrowed ideas and images from many traditions and sources.   It is a sermon that ideally should be read in the context of three readings,  mentioned at the end of the text.  But it also has contemporary relevance for those concerned about global warming,  and leaves us with the question  -  whether the human race is to continue "to enjoy the sun's benefits,  or perversely imitate its death-dealing potential."  A must-read.

Prayer and Phophesy Well Covered
Elizabeth Brooke-Carr takes a whimsical look at today's hat-couture,  or lack of it,  and St Paul's admonition to women of faith   -  to cover their heads in Church.  She salutes brave and enterprising women who have defied centuries of tradition, culture and prejudice to pray and prophesy in the contemporary world

Connections August 17, 2008
In last month's penetrating Connections article Donald Phillipps sees "doing good" as being at the heart of the Gospel,  and warns against the legalism of the pharisees - and politicians

The Importance of Time
In this August sermon at Mornington Donald Phillipps begins with the sophistication of time at the Beijing Olmpics,  and goes on to reflect on the importance of "time" in Christian theology

Connections July 20, 2008 - Pumpkin Patch
In a July 20 Connections column David Kitchingman shares a not altogether facetious reflection on a religious experience at Dunedin's Carisbrook rugby ground

Abraham and Isaac
 In this sermon preached at Mornington Church,  Stuart Grant explores the contemporary meaning of the disturbing Genesis story of Abraham & Isaac.

Water, Sustainability and the 23rd Psalm Revisited
 Elizabeth Brooke-Carr  has graced our site before,  and here she shares her memories,  and learnings,    from  being asked to repent her sins  . . .  surprise, surprise  . . .  for the use or misuse of water.  If you missed this delightful piece in the Bulletin,  read it now.

A Church Bell Vision
 We reprint a stimulating paper presented recently by David Kitchingman  to the Explorers Group at Mornington. It's a demanding read,   as it  draws out some lessons from the traditional bell curve.   To continue the analogy  -   this paper is a "ringing" endorsement of the inclusive calling of the Church.   David calls for the Church to ring its bells again,  and proclaim  the diversity which is the gift of God.  

The Importance of Connections
 In this "Connections" article from our Parish Bulletin Colin Gibson makes some interesting connections of his own.  He begins with Greta Garbo  . .   but where to from there?   Read it and find out  . . .

Your Will Be Done
 In this sermon preached on Trinity Sunday Rev Donald Phillipps examines a traditional understanding of the "Will of God" in the context of contemporary drama and tragedy.    It's a warning against glib answers!

A Contemporary Liberal Theology
 This statement from Methodist Minister,  Rev Dr Jim Stuart of Christchurch,  has attracted a great deal of appreciation and support on the Methodist Liberal Society network.     We commend it to all who struggle with us to express a liberal appr5oach to theology in these challenging times.     We reprint it here with Jim's permission.

The Power of Words
 George Davis,  historian and Anzac researcher,  reflects on the contemporary significance of the Gallipoli battles of 1915.

Three Lost Poems
 These following poems were written by members of the Y@M group (Youth At Mornington) after reading the three “Lost” parables: The Lost Sheep (Luke 15:4-7), The Lost Coin (Luke 15:8-9), The Lost Son (Luke 15:11-32).

Who wants to be 100?
 Colin Gibson reflects on the Roger Hall Play 

Does God Have Pets?
 A sermon by Colin Gibson from Mornington Church  on an occasion when children brought their pets to Church

Connections - March 23, 2008
 Ken Russell's Easter Article looks critically at two traditional Easter assumptions

Good Friday and the Wahine Disaster
 The usual ecumenical Good Friday services were held in the Mornington area this year,  with a cross-bearing procession linking the four churches.  At the Methodist service David Kitchingman drew attention to the proximity of the 40th anniversary of the sinking of the passenger ferry Wahine Iin Wellington Harbour,  and drew this interesting analogy with the events Christian remember on Good Fiday.

The Desert or the Garden
 As a contribuition to Lent 08 Donald Phillipps wrote this thoughtful reflection  THE DESERT OR THE GARDEN on the place of the desert in the Biblical story,   and the recurring hope that the desert will in God's time become a garden.

Adam and Eve and the Snake
 Stuart Grant's sermon from Feb 10 is a more than useful introduction to Lent,  and explodes a few myths and howlers that have long prejudiced the popular view of the Church,  and its attitude to all the things negatively associated with Lent  -  sin,   the fall,  temptation,  the role of Eve,  etc etc.

Two Funerals and a Legacy
 The funeral of Sir Edmund Hillary,  Conqueror of Everest,  on Feb 22,  2008,  drew worldwide attention.  Pictures were re-broadcast around the world of a memorable state funeral accorded by the New Zealand Government.   The day was also significant within New Zealand for the funeral of poet Hone Tuwhare,  who many rate as one of our greatest ever  literary figures.  His death was particularly significant for us here in Dunedin as he died here,  having lived for many years at Kaka Point,  and having earned the love and respect of many in this city,  and well beyond.   We reprint Ken Russell's "Connections" article from our Parish Bulletin of Feb 3.

Following the Loving Example
 We are printing a sermon entitled “Following the Loving Example” by a former member of our Parish, ROSALIE SUGRUE, preached at the Raumati Church in the Kapiti Uniting Parish in June 2007.   Rosalie has been a member of that Parish for almost nine years, and as  a lay preacher has led over 80 services  in 8 years.

Words and Music: Imagining God
 A sermon by Rev Dr John Salmon,  President of the Methodist Church of New Zealand at Mornington Church,  Sept 2,  2007, guest preacher at celebrations marking 50 years of service by Colin Gibson as organist.

Colin Gibson - 50 Years
 A tribute written by Ken Russell and published in the Parish Bulletin Sept 2,  2007.     The contribution of Colin as organist and chairmaster at Mornington Church,  and his growing influence as a hymnwriter within and beyond New Zealand,  was marked by a well attended dinner,   musical items,  and special service over the weekend of Sept 1 & 2.

The Satellite and the Stable
 An article for Advent 2007, by Elizabeth Brooke-Carr.   This beautifully written piece examines a fascinating bi-story to modern space travel alongside the traditional Christmas story of Wise Men from the East.

A Tribute to Evan Lewis
  EVAN LEWIS is the founder, designer and visionary of this website, the PRACTICAL DREAMERS DROP-IN CENTRE. Until about a year ago he was the Webmaster, pouring a great deal of dedication and energy into establishiong one of the best sites of its kind as a parish-based enterprise. But Rev Evan Lewis has been so much more than website architect, as explained by Ken Russell on a day, Nov 25, when the Mornington Church honoured him with a surprise service of appreciation for a unique ministry, rich with honest inquiry and theological integrity.

Not a Race Issue
  An article written by Dr Rawiri Taonui, Head of the School of Maori and Indigenous Studies at Canterbury University. At a time when many commentators and talk-back hosts are laying all the blame on Maori for New Zealand's terrible record of child abuse, Rawiri Taonui offered a more objective and much less emotional assessment in the Sunday Star Times of August 5. We felt his contribution was a necessary correction to the populist view, and reprint it with the author's permission.

Christ as Myth
  The writings of Ian Harris in his "Honest to God" series are read avidly by Christians from the liberal tradition. With Ian's permission we reprint an article from the Otago Daily Times which explores the Myth of Christ, and very usefully suggests that it is more liberating and enlightening for the modern Christian to hold to the mythology of the risen Christ, as distinct from the more traditional teaching that Christ is the model for Christian behaviour.

Answering the Call
  In this Connections article for our Parish Bulletin, Elizabeth Brooke-Carr again demonstrates what a gifted writer she is. It is not only Church people who speak in mystical tones about THE CALL OF GOD - to Ministry, to Missionary Service, or whatever. Here Elizabeth describes the Call of the Bonspiel - a magical appointment at the Idaburn Dam in Central Otago that draws devotees of the special sport of curling, but only when conditions are just right - which they were here in the deep south in this Winter of 07.

David Kitchingman on "New Paradigms"
  You'll need all your mental faculties in gear to keep up with this article from our Parish Bulletin "Connections" series. As an exercise in flying off on tangents. this one beats them all. You'll smile lot too. Very clever writing, with a host of astute observations about contemporary issues.

Daring Compassion
  A sermon by Rev Stuart Grant. In this well researched sermon Stuart examines the biblical dimensions of compassion in the context of Easter. His illustration from the striking film "The Lives of Others", and his personal reminiscences of the German Democratic Republic, are very poignant.

A Hymn for Anzac Day
  We at Mornington were among the first to sing the new hymn,  words by Shirley Murray and music by Colin Gibson.    We are convinced it is a hymn with potential for wider acceptance,  hopefully as a national hymn for remembrance occasions like Anzac Day.     As a means of commending the hymn,  and promoting some of its special features,  we are reprinting Ken Russell's CONNECTIONS  article of April 29,  and which includes the full script of the hymn.

Rod Mitchell's Ministry
 Rod Mitchell's Ministry at Mornington/Glenaven has been much appreciated,  and with his permission we are printing two scripts of his preaching, a summary from  the first Sunday,  April 1,   and an edited script of last Sunday's sermon  ( May 6)   entitled   “Love is that skill which creates the appropriate space in which others may grow.”

Bible or Cellphone?
Elizabeth Brooke-Carr asks some timely generational questions in a beautifuuly crafted article in the Bulletin March 18

Creation - Masters or Servants?
Here is a challenging sermon preached by Donald Phillipps on March 11, raising huge current issues in a sound biblical context.

Three Incredible Readings
We reprint Colin Gibson's Sermon of Feb 25 THREE INCREDIBLE READINGS and his striking "Banana Skin" prayer, which challenged us to a different approach to Lent

Are You a Mouse or Methodist?
Colin Gibson's sermon of Jan 21 began with his beloved but sadly dilapidated slippers, and went rapidly to the brief life span of your average mouse. He then examines the life span of various other life forms, from cicadas to yew trees, and asks which one these best models the impact of time on the life of the Church? These marvellous analogies lead us to Colin's invitation to send down new shoots into the rich beginnings of Methodist faith.

The Birth of Jesus
A sermon by Stuart Grant, helping us understand the importance of Advent.

Troubled Times
A sermon by Stuart Grant, putting some of the more difficult New Testament passaages in context.

Broadcaster Terry Lane on God
As written by Ian Harris, ODT 28 November (used with permission)

A Normal Sunday at Mornington
Joan Robertson reflects.

Developing Worship - Explorers
EXPLORERS is a Parish group, meeting monthly, that continues to struggle with the challenging issues that relate to the relevance of Christian worship, and indeed of Christian faith itself. This report on year's work raises many issues that will strike a chord with people in other churches engaged in the same struggle. We are keen to enter dialogue on any or all of these issues, and a response to the editor/pagekeeper, Ken Russell, will see your response referred to the appropriate person in our group. Hopefully dialogue will ensue.

This is Jesus - Listen to Him
A recent decision of the Presbyterian Assembly to exclude from leadership all those in relationships other than man/woman marriage has created interest and concern well beyond the membership of that particular Church. In this sermon at our Mornington Church, Rev Ken Russell examines two passages from Mark's gospel to ask what seems to be the attitude of Jesus, as far we can determine it. to the issues that have led our sister Church to embark on so severe a course?

Valuing the Listener
Rev Paul Tregurtha is Ecumenical Chaplain at Dunedin Hospital, and is a member at our Mornington Church where he sings in the Choir. This fine address was given recently on the occasion of the commissioning of Hospital Chaplaincy Assistants. Thankyou Paul.

An Understanding of Chaplaincy
Rev Paul Tregurtha is one of a team of ecumenical hospital chaplains at Dunedin Hospital. This paper was presented recently in the course of his successful accreditation as a Hospital Chaplain. It is a worthy addition to our website.

Where Faith Meets Work
Trish Patrick is a member of our Mornington Church. She is also a Workplace Chaplain, engaging with worker on a number of sites in and around Dunedin. She recently spoke to an Open Education programme at Mornington, and here are her thoughts about her work in chaplaincy, and its value. Thanks Trish

We Wanted to Know
At our Mornington Church we have a small but quite active youth group which has been named Y@M (Youth at Mornington). Under the leadership of Ginny Kitchingman they recently ran a questionnaire among the congregation asking a range of questions about Faith, Bible, Church-going etc etc. A few Sundays ago they presented a summary of the results in the course of a service.
Many of these answers are significant, and it seems worthwhile for us to post the full summary of results on the website under the headingt "We wanted to Know." Thanks to Ginny and the Y@M group.

Promised Land and Homeland: History and Myth
This sermon was preached at Mornington Church on Aug 6, 2006, and attracted much interest. It is a valuable contribution to the current debate on the rights and wrongs of the Middle East conflict.

The Mary-Martha Complex
Colin Gibson's sermon, given at our Mornington Church on July 19, raises interesting questions about
traditional perceptions of Mary & Martha. It also contains an illuminating quote from U.A.Fanthorpe's poem, "Unauthorised Version."

Who Would God Finger For the Twins?
Chris Trotter is a political commentator and editor of The New Zealand Political Review. What follows is one of his recent articles published in several New Zealand newspapers. It is rare indeed that the so-called secular world speaks with such passion, insight and conviction about social justice issues; in fact, Christian preachers would do well to study this provocative and prophetic piece as a hard-hitting model for a sermon.

A Hymn For Anzac Day
               Mornington and Glenaven Churches were among a few churches in New Zealand that had the opportunity on April 23 of singing a new hymn by Shirley Murray exhibiting a refreshing contemporary approach to our solemn remembrance day. The music for the hymn was written by Dr Colin Gibson of this parish. Permission has been given for us to publish this hymn, together with the illuminating commentary from Shirley Murray of what led her to write the hymn. It will be a project of ours to encourage the use of this hymn on Anzac Day 2007 in Dunedin City and in official Anzac Day services around New Zealand.

The Tale of Joseph's Coat
               This innovative tale was told by Colin Gibson in his sermon on Apr 22, 2006, and cleverly used to illustrate the good news of transformation inherent in the Easter gospel.

The Presidential Address - Dr John Salmon
               John was a Minister in this Parish in the seventies. Since then he has been largely in the teaching ministry and has been Principal of Trinity Theological College where Methodist minister in NZ are trained. . His address to the 2005 Methodist Conference has now become the focus of study by our own Explorer's Group. Here it is.

In Every Generation - Pharoah
               Stuart Grant gives a contemporary focus to an iconic Exodus event in this 2006 lenten sermon in the Parish.

2006 New Year Sermon
               Ken Russell

Who is Jesus?
      Elizabeth Brooke-Carr gives her answer

Creating Space for Grace & Peace in Hiroshima, New York and Dunedin
               Greg Hughson's 2005 Peace Lecture

Faithful and Free


Honest to God - where to now?
               Ian Harris's October 2005 Dunedin 'Sea of Faith' address

Three little boys who grew up
               Colin Gibson

The past is a foreign country
               Donald Phillipps

Planting in the sea?
               Peter Grundy asks what Jesus meant.

Is love enough?
               Colin Gibson asks for something more loving than most Christian groups offer.

Old faiths, new world
 David Lange addressed the state of the world,  and religious implications,
               at Otago University in August 2004.

Love or terror?
               Colin Gibson challenges us:  stand against religious terrorism!

Count down to Easter
               Colin Gibson thinks about those last days.

Tracing the family tree
               Colin Gibson imagines a conversation during a sermon.

Noah's address to the human race
               Colin Gibson passes it on to us.

Black Hawk Down
               Colin Gibson responds to the WCC  Decade to Overcome Violence

The fooling of King Alexander.
Colin Gibson reflects on an old story.
Talking about atonement.
Colin Gibson.
Faith in bigger boobs and smaller noses.
Elspeth McLean.
Setting prisoners free.
Colin Gibson.
Hallowe'en,  sex,  and the value of pledges.
Elspeth McLean reflects.
Fundamentalism  --  is it Good News?
Colin Brown asks the question,  and gives a good answer.
Made in the image of God?
Colin Gibson asks what we properly mean by this assertion.
Margaret Parkinson asks:  'How important is diversity anyway?'
Pentecost  -  and after
Joan Robertson reflects.
The harmony of religions
Illustrative quotations,  culled from the World Scripture web site.
Parents and families
A reflection by Norman West
The stork among the poultry
Foreigners not welcome
Take a really deep breath   . . .
Song for the Church Hesitant
Colin Gibson's address to the  'Reluctant Bride of Christ'
The princess and the pea
A Hans Andersen story opens up a question about  'sensitivity'.
Meeting Jesus again for the first time
A book review by Norman West.
Meet the Man:  Jesus of Nazareth who became the Christ
Selwyn Dawson's book is reviewed by Revd Lynne Wall
Walking on water
Hearing the unspoken message.
Is God a man?
Personal pain made this a critical question for one member of our community.
The justice of God
Colin Gibson gives it some thought.
Declaration of a Global Ethic
by the Parliament of the World's Religions.


The symbol

symbol The fork:   This ancient sign can mean the expectant human being gazing aloft with outstretched arms.   The same sign,  inverted,  expresses salvation descending from above and spreading over the world below.   When the two signs approach one another they form a new figure.   As they come into contact they enclose a space between them.   They proceed to intersect,  the prongs of the forks appearing once more in the figure.   When the intersection is complete there results a six-pointed star.   The two original figures,  which were so definite in their impulse towards union,  are completely absorbed by the new figure,  which radiates strength on all sides from a central point,  and which,  though itself motionless,  generates motion all around it.   (from  The Book of Signs  by Rudolf Koch,  Dover)



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