St Matthews Digital
14 February 2021
City Missioner Chris Farrelly preaches his farewell sermon before his retirement. Chris reflects on the strong relationship between the City Mission and St Matthew's over the last 100 years and the future partnership we share.
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a Toyota, he It's Africa. Kia. How to Mateo tappu a 299 Queen.
To Adorn to Milwaukee or tonight, buddy, Helen Tina.
Fire y, ahora tiene quite Tena koe Mo told me. He Moto Auto ha.
What arena, Tina Turner.
Moto Athena Moto at Phi, K matter.
It defined a fan Rico time. I attend iata Tena koutou Tena character tena koutou katoa I stay in here this morning despite that little introduction.
With a still heart.
Had the distilled with with gratitude.
I come before you deeply grateful for the invitation.
For you as a community and for who you are.
As you may know, the Auckland City Mission last year, celebrated our Centennial 100 years.
A normally, a, an organization like else like yours who has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in the course of 100 years.
Who hits lid, which has led to life-changing and lives being changed.
Who has thousands and thousands of supporters donors.
Staff volunteers, you'd expect. We would have a big bash to celebrate 100 years. And in case you're thinking, gosh they had a big bash but we weren't invited. Well, we didn't The big bash will be in October or November this year when we open Home ground and believe you me, you will be invited.
In actual fact on our Centennial weekend, a 6th and 7th of June last year. There were two events, simple poignant, incredibly meaningful that spoke of the heart of the mission.
One was on Dawn and this was in the middle of winter in the dark on the 6th of June, our Annabelle, Centennial day.
In the presence. And with the blessing of two Bishops Quito and Bishop Jim White, a small group of us planted deep in the earth, under the building, the Modi Stone, the stone, that was gifted To Us by Naughty fatwa, which connects that building to the Earth.
which encompasses the essence of what we do and why we do it and what we Aspire towards So deep in the ground, we planted on the 6th of June 100 years after the mission was founded the Modi Stone. And then the very next day, we had a service of Thanksgiving in this church.
Unfortunately covid restrictions prevented many from attending however we did it and in that ceremony we connected with the wider Community through that service.
Today, I want to come back to this place and acknowledge this community, and this church for who you are to the Auckland City Mission.
You are not just our neighbor.
we are tied and United together both in term, well, not only both, but in many ways throughout history, Our shared values.
our relationships are working together and what we Aspire towards I was recently listening to an interview a few years ago between Jesse, Mulligan, and Helen your vika and Helen spoke of one of the values of this church and she's phrased it like this. We at st. Matthews. Speak out for those who have less.
We challenge those who have more, I thought that encompassed. So, well, one of those core values where we connect I stand here today, if I do nothing else, but to thank you as a community, I me to you in the best and the most deepest possible way.
I mean, he to all those who have passed on including our founder. Who was accurate here? Reverend Jesper, Calder.
Last year, we published a book, which really is speak. Strongly of the relationship we have, it's called agency of Hope.
And without kind of putting on my salesman hat. If you haven't got it, it's really worth getting and it can be got through the office. It's called agency of Hope. And on the front cover is a picture of our Old Mission building and Grays Avenue with the light shining at night through the windows with an open door and is a family coming through the open door.
We call the mission, a beacon, beacon of light, and a Beacon of Hope.
But any Beacon has to be lit. First of all, doesn't light itself and any Beacon has to be fueled.
It doesn't fuel itself.
The beacon of the mission was lit In This Very church and over the years, you've been part of the fueling and the refueling time and time again.
I want to me to you for your courage.
In this community and our city time and time again, you have shown courage to stand for justice and indeed against Injustice and to stand with those who experience Injustice in our community.
I meet you for that courage.
I acknowledge Your Leader here. Helen Jacoby, and her leadership of this community over the last six years.
and the way that Helen connects us to this community, Acknowledge Kate Thorn, Kate has sis title of priests for Community engagement.
When actual fact that just means connecting with, and in the old days, Kate would have been the chaplain. We would have called her the chaplain of the mission.
But Kate just connects with us.
It almost like that prayer. Keep walk slightly amongst us being a presence. A quiet humble presence within the mission.
And bringing that Spirit, I'm a he to the team here, the administrative team who quietly sit behind the scenes, Ian and Dimitri and pip. Amy he to the Beautiful music team that touch our souls deeply through what they gift us with.
And in a particular way today, I want to acknowledge to people who are part of your community.
One is will fold your Deacon, and willful captures in his very Spirit, what a deacon is. He's a servant, he is a servant. In fact, he was supposed to be here this morning and at the last minute isn't because he's up at the mission filling in for somebody who didn't turn up.
On Thursday. Last will showed the very Spirit of what a servant Deacon is.
In the early morning, two of our Outreach team came across one of our street, he's who we know, well, who had passed away in the night, and was lying alone on the street, on the footpath outside a shop up and down. Roscoe, They were the first to come upon him and we, and they knew him.
So what did they do? They called the mission and immediately wilf and one of our other workers are tokelau and none went out there and prayed over and with him and some more Mission staff, came and wilf, ensured, that that person had passed was handled and cared for with other dignity. As he was moved into a hearse and away.
To me that captured so much of what the Deacon is.
and the other person I want to acknowledge this morning, it's Linda Murphy who sits up there Linda is a priest here but as a social worker at the mission and sometimes it's said that a priest is most of all priests with their robes off working outside, the church.
that's when you see the real essence of a priest and Linda Works quietly as a social worker in the mission like, well, she's a bit of a kumara, she doesn't speak of her own sweetness, There's recently been a series, you can go get it on YouTube called K. Rogue Chronicles.
K Road Chronicles and there's one whole section devoted to Linda and who work with one of our street, he's who quite who says and looks in the camera. I would not be alive today. If it wasn't for Linda.
Acknowledge the other clergy who are part of this church and I look at see Suzanne there and others who have inspired and gift us the many. Many volunteers who work with us. I would have to named Judith today who now has become such a regular in our kitchen and serving the food at the mission.
Reaching out to those who do not have is in the DNA of this community.
It's part of who you are and have been In 1912, you established your own mission.
Called Dock Street Mission.
Modeled on the Wellington City Mission which had come out of Saint Peter's Church in Wellington, you established the mission to work among the very poor in Freeman, Spain.
In 1914, a wild irreverent.
Loudmouth curat came here by the name of Jessica called him.
And he took that spirit and expanded, it Jesper tried to get into the army in 1914 and working in a company troops in World War 1 but his health made that impossible. So he devoted himself in the next four years to work in this area. Particularly in the Freeman's Bay Area with those who are very poor.
In 1918, when the Spanish flu, hit Jesper volunteered and worked as a hearse driver. Now, a hearse driver in 1918, in the midst of the Spanish Flu, which killed 3,000 people in Auckland, in three months, 3,000. Now we know what this means now in the covid world, In three months died. So the hearse driver was essentially the person who had the cart and horse and who put the bodies on the back of the, of the cart and that's what Jasper did Little Wonder that he caught the Spanish flu and his whole family court to Spanish. Flu miraculously, they all survived in 1919 the vacay, he resigned and the church Community petitioned. The bishop that Jasper become the vicar Didn't have much chance because the bishop had been the prime target of Jasper's criticism of the church for not getting out among the people. So, no surprise that another person was appointed and the whole Community, he approaches to it so much, the so they did the most Unthinkable thing, a church Community could do at that time, the choir went on strike for two weeks.
It was so serious. It became the headline in the Oakland star st. Matthews church choir strikes So there's that was the era.
In 1919. However, the City Mission was conceived in this very building.
Just that, and a group of others knew, they had to go further and establish the Auckland City Mission.
Gesture was quickly, sent away to Holy Sepulchre, church and Khyber. Pass out of sight, out of mind.
Until the bishop went to the Lambeth conference in London. And at that point, the diocese has appointed Jasper as the first City, Commissioner with the task of establishing the mission which he did in 1920.
And the rest is history and its great history. Read about it in the book Legacy agency of Hope.
100 years later, another form accurate stood, in this very place at that Pulpit. Last year, my 100th anniversary, the 7th of June the ship Jim White, and he gave what turned out to be his final sermon before he passed away.
So poignant and then that sermon Bishop Jim pulled together all the threads of who we are into one, beautiful fairy key and presented it. And when history is written, it will be one of the most incredible sermons ever preached in this church. And it needs to be recorded.
In that. Sermon Jim said this.
Love makes possible the true gift.
I love with no return.
It is a love that reaches across and Beyond any reasonable limits. We might have I love that goes. Winner relationship exists.
No relationship. Except the most basic of compassion.
For another fellow human being.
These words are Bishop Jin, Echo the words of another man who spoke here 25 years, previously, a black man who had been imprisoned for 27 years in South Africa.
Nelson Mandela came to this church and to this very spot and spoke to this community and thanked us community.
And he said, you chose to speak out and act.
Put the well-being of others ahead of your own.
Mandela also said our human compassion is that word. Again, binds us to one another not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learned how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.
These two incredibly great men who have been in our midst and who spoke where I speak now, echoed the words of Jesus. The words you hear hear Sunday upon Sunday, which are absolutely, then unwrapped for you. So carefully and sensitively by those who preach here.
And the sermons go deeper and deeper and help us understand those words and relate them to our current context.
Today's Gospel once again, gives us some words and some actions of Jesus, which we no doubt reflect on. And when I read those words, there are, I don't wanna hear them, their forwards, it just hit me straight away.
One is leper.
The second is petty, the third is touch, and the fourth is healing.
You know that lip has at that time with the most excluded of people in the community.
They were Untouchables, they were treated as less than human.
They were excluded and not part of.
The question for us today is who are the lepers in our community today.
Who do we treat Lissa than myself?
Who do we? Exclude, who does the community exclude Who have less rights than you and me, and yet live amongst us as fellow human beings.
It's a question that must go deep within us and we all have to answer it. The second word Petty, it really troubles me and I think I was handed a curveball with this one because I looked at for other translations of this particular text and every single one of them has four different interpretations for that word. Jesus looked upon the leper with Petty.
Jesus looked upon the leper with sorrow. Jesus looked upon the leper filled with compassion, Jesus looked upon the Lipper and became angry.
these are tricky ones and I'm going to let some experts in the future, like, Ellen and Kate unravel them for us, Petty sorrow, compassion, anger, Which one do we choose? Well, perhaps a bit of them all really.
Pitties in English word really came into being in the 14th century. After a letter based on a Latin word, it doesn't sit well with us. There's the neverland Petit, kind pity. But there's also a kind of a contemptuous pity isn't there? That can oats feelings of being Superior? Condensation, Khan being condescending patronizing.
And even contemptuous.
The Hebrew word, he said props. Perhaps is more like it which talks of loving-kindness and compassion.
However Aristotle who used that Greek word that is was later translated. As Petit says this, Before a person can feel pity for another. The person must have first experienced suffering of a similar type.
and it is only from that experience of suffering Canyon one connect with the other So, it's probably more like our understanding of compassion, isn't it?
But let's not push away. Completely the anger translation.
For there is no doubt that Jesus time and time again. When he saw Injustice and wrong, he became angry.
There were feelings of anger welling up in him.
And this to becomes controversial in our context, is it right to be anger, angry? Well it depends what we do with our anger, isn't it? If we let it run wild and take over, it's wrong. If we channel that energy into making change and being part of the change, as Gandhi said, it's right.
Feelings of anger or outrage can lead to a compassion that forcefully changes and challenges and unjust system.
And can take on a confrontational form as a curd with game D. Martin Luther King the Dalai Lama and Jesus, Healing.
Healing, are we being called to heal? How do we heal?
Those who are lepers in our midst today.
The answer is very simple. We do what Jesus did. We touch them?
Either literally figuratively metaphorically, we touch them. We can eat with people who are treated as outcasts.
Who is separated from us.
And simply that means entering into a relationship with them.
It's not complex.
Rather than throw a coin and honestly in a box.
Smile and say hello, get on your knees and have a word or two.
Become to know the other.
And it is in that treating of the other with that dignity, that Healing Begins.
The prime and most important value of L Mission, the Auckland City Mission is Moonachie Tanner. And the way we translate that is not just about being generous and welcoming but it is acknowledging that the manor The Manor of the other.
Is equal to, or greater than my own.
Now, once you get that, and once you bring that into a relationship, Healing Begins, I spoke to you about.
The man who passed away on the street in our city, last Thursday and out connecting with him because wilf, and our team were there. They got to hear a wider story. The story that's not normally heard because nobody bothers to listen or to ask.
It man slept outside a shop that gave him some things from time to time. But the real magic is during that time he was on the street every day a little girl and her mother would come along and he would teach that little girl someone because he was someone and she was someone And every day last week on her way to school, she would give half of her school lunch to Anthony and then go to school.
In many ways, that was such a healing.
Touch. And it's right in our community.
People who stand here every week and speak to you often, leave you with an exhortation, go out and do this change. Repent, give follow being do something. I cannot and will not do that. Today for as I stand here and perhaps for the last time have this opportunity I simply want to acknowledge you and say thank you time and time. Again, I know you have reached out, you have touched you've struggled with you've cared for those who are marginalized and excluded in our community.
This is at the heart of st. Matthew's in the city.
This is what does Church stands for?
We are proud to be your neighbor and proud to be connected to you as you are proud to be connected to us. And we look forward to returning to the space in a few months time. And so I leave you with my prayer May the spirit that has led you to respond to to respect and to relate with those most excluded in our community.
Continue to lead you and may you continue to respond Norte. De ti na Koto shiranai Koto.
Nominate your Manito.