Greetings in Christ's name. It has now been about 4 1/2 years since the February 2011 earthquake shattered our city and the lives of so many Christchurch people. Many St Barnabas parishioners continue to work through home repairs and rebuilds and have endured considerable personal stress and disruption. Our prayers and support are with all those who are going through these tough times.
Looking back over this period our parish has continued to flourish in spite of our own frustrations about how slow the repair and strengthening process has been with the church. A number of new ministries have begun, new staff members are contributing significantly to parish life and there has been growth in our congregations. Our vision to follow Jesus and extend God's love has taken root and is bearing fruit.
A wonderful encouragement came recently when we were asked by the Church Property Trustees to identify the number of voluntary hours contributed by our parishioners to the community. When we completed this exercise we discovered that parishioners were contributing over 30,000 hours - 12,000 directed mainly toward the parish family and 18,000 to outward facing ministries that are accessible to anyone in the community. I was most heartened to realise how much of a difference faith makes in our lives – faith in God makes us more compassionate and stirs within us a desire to help others.
As we did two years ago, I want to give everyone who is interested and committed to the work of St Barnabas the opportunity to prayerfully review your level of financial support, or begin giving regularly to the mission of the parish if you don't already do so. Giving financially is a way of identifying what you really believe in and what you truly value. It is a tangible expression of faith and discipleship and of course it is a way of partnering in an exciting, life changing vision.
We all find meaning by being involved in community life and contributing in some way to the common good. The local church is ideally suited to enable people to make a significant contribution. It is well connected to people, has good facilities, dedicated and well trained staff and is highly motivated. St Barnabas continues to be a welcoming place for all people, a place where children and young people are nurtured and taught and a place where spiritual, social and educational values are affirmed and celebrated. As you give financially to our parish you will have the satisfaction of participating in a tremendous force for good in our community with God firmly at the centre.
What we do with our money reveals our true values and commitments. I know that many of you give to a range of good causes but I ask you to prayerfully consider giving generously to the ongoing work of St Barnabas.
Yours in Christ
Rev Mark Chamberlain
Last year we ran a very successful Stewardship Programme and our increase in income enabled us to continue serving the community in many different ways and also allowed us to develop some new areas. These exciting developments took place because ordinary people caught a vision of what God is doing through our church and wanted to participate in it financially. Below are just some of the ways the people of St Barnabas are serving God by serving the community.
Worship Services: The weekly worship services held at St Barnabas are the most public expression of parish life and there are six distinct opportunities to join with others to worship God and receive communion and Christian teaching. These services are on Sundays at 8am, 9am (Festive Eucharist), 10.30am (Lifestreams - contemporary with children's and young people's programmes), 5pm (with choir), 7pm Antioch (contemporary with band) and Thursdays at 10am. Clergy also take services at Medbury 3 or 4 times each term.
Fridayzone: Angela Brown and her helpers offer an inspiring after-school programme for children and their families on Friday afternoons. It is based on craft, activities and Christian teaching with a meal together as well! A great expression of Christian care and fellowship.
Mainly Music: This is a very successful ministry to parents and their pre-school children. The programme is professionally run with very engaging music and movement - it's a hit with both mums and children. Around 50 children and their parents participate in this programme with lots of time for free play and socializing.
St Barnabas Play Group: This takes place in the hall with over twenty family groups present. The programme consists of Bible stories, craft, singing and free play in a warm and welcoming atmosphere with trained leaders and volunteer helpers.
Youth Group: Each Friday night large numbers of young people gather in the hall for fun, games and Christian teaching. Both church based and community young people form this dynamic St Barnabas Youth Community.
Association of Anglican Women: The AAW is a large and lively women's organisation at St Barnabas and provides many opportunities for fellowship and service both within the parish and beyond. About 200 women are involved in two main groups.
St Barnabas Men: The men of the parish get together each month at Robbie's, Riccarton for informal fellowship - all are most welcome. We also organise a Men's Breakfast twice a year as well as a more formal Dinner - with a guest speaker each time.
Community Outreach: Practical help and support to the community is expressed through Bible in Schools, Freezer meals to those in need, Hospital Visiting, Pastoral Visits, Rest Home Services and Home Communions.
Ongoing Ministry Developments
Because of the generosity of parishioners through financial giving, we have been able to extend God's love in a number of new ways involving volunteers and paid staff.
24-7 Youth Work: The parish has two youth workers who offer pastoral care and leadership development to the students at Boy's High. This ministry is into its second year and this partnership with Boy's High has been very positive indeed. Two youth workers spend 10 hours a week each in the school and they have become well known and accepted by both boys and staff.
Selwyn Centre: This ministry is offered to seniors in the community who are seeking to meet others and be part of a stimulating friendship group. Each week there is a different theme but there is always an emphasis on friendship, mental stimulation, pastoral care and wellbeing.
Young Adults and Antioch: Most of the young adults in the parish get together at Antioch each week at 7pm on Sunday nights as well as meeting during the week in small groups. Currently they are looking at the theme of Restoration - personal, social and environmental and asking how they can contribute to Christ's programme of restoration. Recently Antioch has seen some growth in numbers and there is vision and energy to reach out to new people and the wider community.
Fresh Perspective: Earlier this year ten parishioners were trained as mentors to support parents under stress - this could be because of challenging teens, budgeting issues, relationships etc. This is an exciting ministry because it's about walking alongside people who are struggling and giving them the encouragement to persevere and it helps them to recover rather than crumple under the difficulties of life.
The pie chart below shows the approximate 2015 cost of the various ministries of our parish and how this expenditure aligns with our mission.
Please find below a list of alternative ways you can participate in the mission of St Barnabas through financial giving.
Whatever your method, please know that all financial gifts, whether large or small, are much appreciated. Giving is a way of expressing out commitment and love for God and it is something done in a spirit of prayer and generosity.
‘For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.’ 2 Corinthians 8:9