We’ve been thoroughly enjoying working our way through the second half of the Samuel series for the past five weeks, with just a couple of Sundays to go. We’ve been continually amazed at the God who makes his own way in these stories, humbling the proud and exalting the humble. The same God is making his way in our neighbourhood! We’ve also been noticing the postures of the key characters and how they either participate in God’s action, or fall over from imbalance Saul was flat footed, David was light on his toes, then David and Amnon were lying in their beds… How’s your posture?
On Sunday 25th September we looked at the tragedy of Tamar’s rape in 2 Samuel 13, and the poor response of her family to the abuse—a solemn passage that relates (sadly) to the reality of New Zealand society today. 1 out of 3 girls may be sexually abused before she turns 16 years old, most of this done by someone she knows… For boys it’s 1 in 7… At the end of the service God moved a number of people to share personal stories of sexual abuse, lighting candles as a symbolic act of prayer. Thank you for your courageous vulnerability and strength. If you’re needing to process anything that came up, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of the pastoral staff, the elders, or a trusted friend. Or if you need, here’s a link for local Christchurch counsellors. Jesus is the light that shines in the darkness, and the darkness couldn’t overcome him (John 1:4-5).
Also on that Sunday we were sad to say farewell to Elyssa White who has now finished her role as our Children’s Pastor. She’s served us in that capacity for the best part of three years, after a couple of years of voluntary service during Donna’s lead. Thanks Elyssa for your hard work, and for caring for our young people – we appreciate you! We’re glad that she, Pete, Grace, and Aria will continue worshiping with us at Papanui – they’re looking forward to being together on Sunday mornings for a change.
Thinking of kids, thanks to those of you who joined in our prayer week for children and families from September 19th-24th. We particularly enjoyed the engagement on the Saturday day of prayer. Please continue to keep this important group of people in your prayers over the coming weeks as we think about what our children and families’ ministry might look like going forward, and who we might employ for that ministry. We’d also love for you to consider volunteering to help out in our kids’ church and creche team – we’re currently in need of helpers for both areas.
Coming up, we have our AGM on November 20th after the Sunday service, please mark that in your calendars.
Ngā mihi nui,
Elliot and Sarah Rice