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      • Weekly Bulletin: Staying connected as Church 4th October 2020
        • 2 Oct 2020
        • St John's in the City
        • Kia Ora St John’s whanauWe are halfway through the School Holidays, and perhaps disappointed at some politicians, for the bad example they are giving our children about bickering! This Sunday we remember that Christ is our Cornerstone and firm foundation.
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      • Fundraising Dinner - Sat 25 July
        • 4 Jul 2020
        • St John's in the City
        • To help rebuild our community and celebrate being able to meet together, as well as raising funds for our strengthening project, we’re organising a sumptuous post-lockdown ten-course Chinese banquet at Home Taste Restaurant (just down Willis St from St John’s).
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      • A response to the Destiny Church: applying Christian ethics in a time of pandemic - Rev Allister Lane
        • 17 May 2020
        • St John's in the City
        • <figure class=" sqs-block-image-figure intrinsic " > Last week Brian Tamaki vowed to hold a Destiny service this Sunday in defiance of the decision by the Government to continue the ban on large gatherings under Alert Level 2. Tamaki urged other churches to join him (see Stuff Article). Many of us will have our own instincts in responding to the pandemic, with varying appetites for social controls and government guidelines. So, as well as assessing the risks of the virus, how do we assess how we do ‘the right thing’? What should guide us in whether we side with the opinion of Destiny Church, or not? Christian ethics offer resources for us at this time, to know how best to respond as individuals, as churches, as communities, being attentive to what really matters. Here are five points of Christian ethics for us to consider in how we respond to the pandemic. The sanctity of human life Truth telling Social justice Church Witness in the world Government. Each of these is consider in more detail below as an offering toward a moral framework to help respond well in a time of pandemic. 1. The sanctity of human life. God has shown through scripture and the incarnation of Jesus that human beings have sacred worth. Given this understanding of the inviolable sacredness of human life, there is an imperative for us to protect human life. This value of human life is linked to love of neighbour. In Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan, we are invited to consider what this means with regard to responding to the physical health, safety and well-being of the stranger (Luke 10:25-37). In his book Kingdom Ethics, David Gushee states “Love sees with compassion and enters into the situation of persons in bondage.” (David P. Gushee, Kingdom Ethics (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2016), 204. ) The life and teaching of Jesus has shaped our understanding of prioritizing human health, and influenced the medicine and nursing vocations in caring for the sick, disabled and dying. Because Christians value the sanctity of human life, we strive to minimize any threat that destroys human life. We have all been presented with the evidence of the risks of large gatherings and how they unduly danger the lives and health of our neighbours. 2. Truth telling. A commitment to truthfulness is recognised as a hallmark of humility and forgiveness exercised in Christian discipleship. An openness to recognising the evidence and facing reality, in a way that allows our perceptions to be changed, is necessary in the pursuit of truth and the sharing of truth. We can therefore support the provision of clear and transparent information that offers guidance for making informed decisions. Insofar as the New Zealand Government and Health officials have offered clear and direct guidelines for mitigating the risks of the pandemic by limiting large gatherings, Christians should take this into account. 3. Social justice Scripture shows that human freedom is important to maintain. But human freedom is not ‘individualistic moral authority’ ( Gushee, Kingdom Ethics, 209) , rather it thrives when we live with love toward others by fostering compassionate justice. We must always recognise and advance the freedom of the other. In scripture justice is always ‘from below’, showing consideration and caring for the most vulnerable among us. Justice is only full when it includes justice for those who are the least in society. A pandemic affects everybody, but does not affect everybody equally. Our response must pay special attention therefore to those who are most vulnerable. Covid-19 is particularly dangerous and deadly to those among us who are elderly and have underlying health issues. Christians must therefore have particular regard for these vulnerable people among us. 4. Church Witness in the world Jesus says to his followers “…you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) The witness of the Church is to point to the person of Jesus as God’s revelation of truth, justice and compassion. What does the Church look and sound like when getting all grouchy and demanding our rights? Civil disobedience can be noble, and has been part of campaigns by Christians for standing up for what is right, but whose interests are we protecting? If we are witnesses to Christ, our actions will align with the interests of the least powerful and influential; we will demonstrate Christ’s love for those who may be otherwise overlooked by society. The Church exists for the sake of the world, and therefore its primary concern is not the preservation of its own internal activity. 5. Government. As part of Christian ethics, the Church must consider what is the ‘right’ relationship to hold with the Government. This needs to be assessed according to the system of government and the particular governing authorities of the time. In scripture we hear the deliberately subversive teaching of Jesus, who stated “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:13-17; Matthew 22:15-22; Luke 20:20-26). Jesus distanced himself from the Roman power structure and tax system that oppressed the poor, and cultivated idolatry. Christians live in a tension that recognises the appropriate role of the governing authorities, while giving ultimate loyalty to God as citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20). Importantly, the prohibition on large gatherings is not a prohibition of worship. Indeed, most churches are creatively using multiple forms of technology to continue worshipping. Therefore the ban on large gatherings for the sake of the common good is part of the appropriate role of the governing authorities – it is part of ‘the things that are Caesar’s’! Conclusion These five points of Christian ethics are offered to assist us in adequately considering how we best respond to the pandemic. They are guidance for us, as we try to do the right thing. These points are offered as a contribution toward a robust moral framework that helps us assess particular actions, decisions, proposals and priorities. But, we also need to maintain a gracious disposition toward others – especially those immediately around us. Let us not be too quick to condemn. With grace as our guide, we can assume the best in others, discover the way forward together and default to human solidarity – just as Jesus shows us. With thanks for the input of Dr Derek Woodard-Lehman and the group members of the St John’s Daily Devotion Together.
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      • Aitken Memorial Window - St John’s in the City Earthquake Strengthening Fund
        • 15 Apr 2020
        • St John's in the City
        • <figure class=" sqs-block-image-figure intrinsic " > As of 26 June 2020 Do you want to sponsor a panel of the Aitken Memorial Window as a donation towards the Earthquake Strengthening Fund? Sponsorship can be $250, $500, or $1,000 amounts. For a contribution please follow the instructions below:Bank Account Number:  02 0500 0021908 01Reference: WindowAmount of sponsorship: $________________ and email the church office at enquiries@stjohnsinthecity.org.nz with your details so a receipt can be issued or if you want your name to appear on the panel that you have sponsored.
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