Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Another Tragedy for Christchurch

Hard as it is to believe, another earthquake has hit Christchurch.  It is clear from news reports that the damage is worse than the September 4th earthquake, and because it occurred in the middle of the day when many people were in the CBD, casualties are high.

What can we do as a church from Otago?
First we can pray!  I know people are praying individually, and in groups.  In particular, those people trapped in collapsed buildings need our prayers.
We are opening East Taieri Church for an extra time of prayer at
Wednesday 23rd February.

Second, people with specialist skills may be needed to assist emergency services in Christchurch.  I know that medical folks from ET Church have already been contacted about relieving staff in Christchurch.

Third, we need to check in with friends and family here in case they have loved ones badly affected by the earthquake and so need our pastoral support.  Talking and praying together can be a great comfort.

Fourth, we need to be sensible and safe ourselves in our desire to help.  We will not help the people of Christchurch by clogging phone lines and roads by rushing up there in an uncoordinated way.  In due course we will be talking with contacts in Christchurch such as through Horby Presbyterian Community Church to offer assistance as we did after the September 4th earthquake.  At the appropriate time there may be need for teams to assist with the clean up, or people willing to host Christchurch people for a break away from the city.

Finally we need to place our trust in God who can see us through all things.  God's love and mercy comes to us even in the difficult times (like the valley of the shadow of death in Psalm 23).  As I wrote on my blog after the first earthquake, it is not helpful to suggest that this represents God's judgement on Christchurch.  Jesus didn't equate people dying in a disaster with their sin (Luke 13:1-5).  In Dunedin, we are as much sinners as people in Christchurch.  Rather than making simplistic judgements, let's offer our compassion and our prayers.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

ET Leadership Summit - Lead Where You Are

I'm looking forward to our first East Taieri Leadership Summit on Saturday 5th March. This is an opportunity for everyone who gives leadership to sharpen their skills! Whether it is parents leading in the home, students setting the tone at school or with their mates, people giving leadership in the workplace or business, or an obvious church ministry.

Our speakers are:

Bill Hybels who will speak on “From Here to There” - leadership lessons from over 30 years of leading a growing church. Bill is the founding and senior pastor of the Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington Illinois and the bestselling author of more than twenty books. He helps inspire church leaders around the world.

Jim Collins’ topic is “Never, Ever, Give up”. Jim is a world class business thinker and bestselling author of “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t” and “Built to Last: successful habits of visionary companies.

Christine Caine will speak about “Leading on the Edge of Hope.” A passionate, out of the
box, and empowering speaker, Christine has been part of Hillsong Church’s key leadership team for over 20 years and is Director of Equip & Empower Ministries and founder of The A21 Campaign, an organization dedicated to the care and healing of victims of human trafficking.

You have probably guessed, that we won't have these speakers in person, but are using the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit DVD. These are world class speakers however who will inspire and equip us in leading where we are. After each session there will be opportunity for us to discuss the material and identify the principles which will transfer to our own situations.

Saturday 5th March 2011, In Oak Lounge
9am - 3pm,
Morning Tea and Lunch provided.
To register the Office 489 6308
Email: office@etchurch.co.nz
Registrations close 1st March
No Cost
Register & come along if you possibly can!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Copland Shelter

During the holidays my 17 year old son Sam and I climbed to Copland Shelter in Mt Cook National Park, along with a good friend and experienced mountaineer, Andrew.  The plan was for us all to climb up from the Hooker Glacier to the Shelter (1,960m  or 6,430.4 ft), and then the next day we would climb the remaining 190m to the Copland Pass.  Sam and I would walk out the Copland valley to the West Coast and Andrew would return down the Copland Ridge to Mt Cook Village.

The day up to the Shelter was beautiful - almost too hot - but sadly a westerly front came in sooner than we hoped and the winds coming over the main divide were too strong to allow us to go over the pass safely.  That second day we all returned to Mt Cook Village, tired, a little frustrated that we only did half the trip, but delighted to have had time in such fantastic alpine country.

My reflections?
I value that kind of time with my son Sam, and our friend Andrew.  Great talks, testing ourselves against the mountains, trusting each other...

It taught us more about peseverance.  I was fairly fit, and Sam was even fitter, but our legs felt the test of the 7 and a half hours walking and climbing.  We were very glad to see the Shelter at the end of the day.  We got there because we kept on going, even when it was hard, even when I got cramp, even when it was a bit airy scary.  Yes, we stopped to rest.  Yes, we refueled with meusli bars, chocolate, nuts and water.  But we kept on going.  It was a lesson in pressing on no matter what.  It's amazing how far our legs can take us if we keep on going.

But it was also a reminder of our limitations.  The shelter is a 4 bunk, round drum. Without it we would have spent a cold, uncomfortable, even dangerous night in the wind.  And it was that wind that convinced us to return to the valley below and wait for another time when the weather would be better.  Against the splendour and power of God's creation, we are quite small and weak.

It also taught us about the importance of disciplines and procedures.  We filled out our intentions with the DOC staff.  One of those staff checked in at the scheduled radio call.  We carried our share of emergency gear, GPS, Satellite phone, first aid kit...

And yet there was also risk.  We managed the risk with safety gear like ropes and helmets.  We avoided unnecessary risk by chosing our route carefully.  We treated the weather with respect.  And yet there were risks involved in our climb.  There are always risks in life.  Not always obvious risks, but risks are present if you look hard enough.  The obvious danger we faced reminded us that as long as we are alive we face threats of some kind.  The Macaulay Clan motto is dulce periculum, "danger is sweet."  It reminds us we are alive!