Message from Peter Beck


Friday 27 November 2020


Dear Parish family

Kia Ora e te whanau!


This Sunday is Advent Sunday, the beginning of the new Church year. Our
Parish Eucharist is at 9.30am at the Retreat House of the Community of the
Sacred Name. The preacher is Gareth Bezett.


There's a wonderful Victorian [that's to say 19th century] evangelical hymn which begins -'Tell me the old, old story, Tell me the old, old story of Jesus and his love'. Do you know it? We should sing it sometime! I had it when I celebrated the Eucharist for the first time as a priest in September 1973.


Well, once again a new Christian year begins on Advent Sunday. Once again we Christians begin our annual pilgrimage, the journey of recalling, repeating and rehearsing the 'old, old story'. We do this to retell the story of our faith, to remind us what we believe in and for. Yet our annual remembrance is much more than simply retelling the 'old old story'. Each year if we will let it be, we can be hearing and learning about our salvation in Jesus Christ as if it were for the first time. 


Greek has a word for it- 'anamnesis'. This means both recollecting the past and making it present, re-membering and actualising it in the here and now. When we come week by week to the Eucharist we hear the words of Jesus to 'do this to remember me'. Yes we remember what Jesus has done for us. and yes, we make it present for us now. Re-member because, you see I keep forgetting that all that Jesus did for me all those years ago he is doing for me now. Our journey with him is an on-going dynamic relationship drawing us into fullness of life: challenging, daunting, inspiring, teaching and enabling us to grow, to become the person God has created us to be. It is a life time [and beyond] journey of discovery in discipleship. God is calling and drawing us into his eternal life and love. The choice is ours to respond, to choose to make the old old story new every day, new insights, new challenges, new life. 


There is no way to recall and remember that is not also a reshaping and revising of what is received, in the light of our contemporary needs, experiences and perceptions.  Nicola Sleek put it in her book 'The power to Re-member' like this - 'this has been from the beginning the way in which the Jesus-story was both transmitted and renewed  by Christians who perceived in its narrative possibilities and endless applications to their own situations and lives'.


So this Advent and Christmas and for the rest of our Christian year I invite you to journey again as if it were for the first time and to be amazed, enthralled and delighted at the new discoveries you will make and the power of God's love acting in your life just as God has done from the very beginning.

There will be the usual celebration of the Eucharist on  Wednesday at 10am and Thursday at 9.30am. 


We are all warmly invited to share in Advent carols this Advent Sunday at 7pm at St Michael's. Or if you prefer, the Cathedral choir will be in top form for the annual service of readings and carols at the Transitional Cathedral at the same time. Either will be a lovely way to begin our journey through Advent.

One of my delights is to go to St Alban's Rest Home and VIctoriacare each month to meet usually around 40 people and to share holy communion. On Wednesday 9 December we are arranging an afternoon tea gathering for many of these folk and others who can't make it to church services these days. It will be at the Mary Potter Centre at 2pm 

Mark your diaries for December 13th from 4pm!  This is your invitation to a parish Christmas Barbecue in the Garden of CSN  - meat bread and beer provided and you are invited to bring a salad or dessert and a bottle if you'd like to. Vegetarian alternatives also available. Family friends and waifs and strays all invited. Please can you let Pamela Hindin-Whitewood know that you are able to come with numbers by emailing her on

One of the annual treats I give myself is to listen to the Christchurch City Choir with Christchurch Symphony Orchestra perform  Handel's  'Messiah'. This year it is on 12 December in the Town Hall at 7.30pm.

16 Days of Activism (25 Nov to 10 Dec) is for Anglicans responding to the increase in domestic and gender-based violence. I invite you to read their newsletter called " A Shadow Pandemic"

On Thursday this week I will be having some further minor surgery on my shoulder and will be off work for a few days. I'm delighted that Steph Robson, our Diocesan Ministry Educator will be the preacher and celebrant at our Parish Eucharist on 6 December.



A HANDFUL OF CHANGE is a series of writings for an often neglected Season. Advent has far fewer spiritual resources on offer to compete with all the other things we are doing to prepare for Christmas.
This book by Craufurd Murray enables the reader to take a day-by-day journey through Advent, with a brief ‘bite’ for each day’s sustenance and consideration.  It begins a week before Advent Sunday, giving a run-up to the Season, and also includes some post-Christmas reflections.
Craufurd is very aware that, ‘All do not travel by one road’ (Teresa of Avila), and is concerned only to stir our hearts rather than direct our beliefs. Ten years ago, with Lynda Patterson, he compiled a collection for Advent, Christmas and New Year (A Handful of Light), and since that time he has had some unfinished business with Advent! This book is the result.
If you wish to purchase this resource, the price is $10 per copy, plus p&p. Any orders of twelve or more copies will be discounted to $8 per copy. Copies can be purchased from: Ecclesia Books ( or

Studying Theology is a great way to explore and deepen your faith


Gareth is a member of our vestry as well as the Director of Theology House . Here’s some  more information about Theology House for us all to consider:

Whether you are considering starting study or continuing with an existing programme, there are some great options.

Regardless of what programme you are considering or whether you are a new or an experienced student, Theology House is here to advise and help you on the journey.  Our theological library and other resources are available whether you’re in formal study or following your own journey of discovery.

Further information can be found on the Theology House website.