First, a bit of news... We have updated our web site! Although for some of our readers,
web sites are not the most central part of your lives (!), they serve an increasingly
important way in which we can contact people and they can contact us!
The new web address is ... www.ccorpington.org
This is the same as before, but with '.org', rather than '.info' at the end. On
the web site, we can carry calendars of church and church centre activities, an
on-going dialogue on church and Christian matters through a 'blog' (short for web
log) People will be able to get to know us as a church and tour the facilities (virtually!)
This all helps people to feel that Christ Church is a place where they will find
a welcome. Any of your friends and families should be able to search for us on the
web and find us much easier too. Do let other neighbours and friends have this address
if they use the internet regularly.
Last edition of New Winepress, I read that I was away visiting my family! Thanks
to Freda for stepping in to the 'jottings' seat. Our family had a wonderful and
memorable time. We saw so many wonderful sites as we travelled to China, Australia,
North and South Islands- New Zealand, back to Australia and then on to Hong Kong!
Each Sunday we managed to visit a church and although we were not always in time
to join a congregation in worship, it was lovely to receive their hospitality and
pray for friends at home. One particularly wonderful church was in the town of Rotarua
in North Island New Zealand. Rotarua is the place where there are all the hot springs
and bubbling mud pools. (It is an amazing site to see steam coming up from all sorts
of places- even gutters and soak-aways!) Although much of our stay in Rotarua was
affected by rain (it's their winter of course!) we had a dry morning to wander around.
My sister-in-law took us to the church in Rotarua which had Maori ministers from
its earliest beginnings. It was designed in the style of a Maori meeting house and
had amazing carvings throughout. The graves of the past ministers were in tombs
above ground rather than below ground because of the seismic activity and the hot
water. One of the most amazing things about the church was its location. It was
built right upon the edge of the lake.
Within the church were many things that drew you to pray and thank God. But, for
me the most amazing was this window. I'm sorry that you won't be able to see it
in all its glory.
When you sat upon the pews in
the side chapel, you looked out upon the lake and through a clear glass window.
Etched upon it was Jesus (dressed and portrayed with Maori features) As you look
at him from your seated position, it is as if he is walking across Lake Rotarua
towards you! As Christians and tourists looked at this window that Sunday, I knew
that they couldn't help be moved by the image. For me, it encapsulated great church
design. It included the beauty of the creation and surroundings; it portrayed Jesus
in a way that people (Maori people) could understand. It pointed to Christ's power
and authority over all things. It invited us 'get out of our boat and meet him on
the water' (See Matthew 14. 22- 36 for the meaning behind the window.)
This Maori church was a powerful witness in many ways. The work of conversion to
Christianity was fraught with challenges. How do you honour what is good and strong
in Maori culture and reject that which is evil. (After battle, Maori's would eat
their victims in order to take on their power- or 'manna'. These were not a gentle
warrior race!) This is where the church building in Rotarua was so impressive! It
did honour that which was good and strong in Maori culture, yet it pointed the way
to Jesus and honoured Him above all things! How can we as a church community get
the balance right in our day? How can we honour and value the things of our society
that are to be valued, and yet stand against cultural norms that are not from God?
One thing that I am certain of, it is a stand that people must take in community
rather than in isolation! People of all ethnicity and background are invited to
join with Jesus. There is no sin (not even cannibalism) that cannot be forgiven
(if repented of) and clensed. That must have been an amazing message to hear when
Christians first brought a message of transforming love to New Zealand. It is still
an amazing message to hear today.
One simple bit of church design is nearly completed in the entrance to the church
centre. When I looked around other churches and halls prior to our development project,
I noticed that 'founding' stone plagues with Bible verses didn't often get read
after a while. So, I determined that the entrance hall would have a message of hope
for our community that would have life and movement built into it. On a large piece
of frosted glass are the words of Jesus "The water I give will become a spring welling
up to eternal life" (John 4. 14) Behind it is lighting and a simple water feature
to convey the truth of that message. Jesus is saying: all who are thirsty are invited
to come. You are welcome too.
Yours, in his service