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Cate Thorn

31 December 2023    

Christmas 1

Galatians 4:4-7

Luke 2:22-40

Late afternoon during the last week, while taking a cooling off dip in the ocean at my local beach, we noticed a kayak being paddled across the bay in a most comedic fashion. I think it was one of those partially inflatable kayaks. It appeared to have three people in it. One sitting at the rear with a short single bladed paddle, one sitting at the front of the kayak with a similar single bladed paddle. Our guess was, in the interests of sharing, a double paddle that would normally be pushed together had been left as two. The person in the middle was standing, this one was wielding a double ended paddle.


Diana Rattray

25 December 2023    

Christmas Day
Isaiah 52:7-10
John 1:1-14

This Christmas morning, as the sun rises in the sky, we are remembering and giving thanks for the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. Much of the imagery of Jesus birth and traditional celebrations of it, does not fit with our kiwi Christmas. The cold snowy stable, the long dark nights, the carol singing and then a warm mulled wine around the fire place. No we in Aotearoa New Zealand are waking around about the longest day. We have come to the end of another work, school and academic year. Many of us are preparing to go camping or away on holiday or at least get a few days off our usual routines.


Cate Thorn

24 December 2023    

Christmas Eve
Isaiah 9:2-7

Luke 2:1-20


The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Those who lived in a land of deep darkness on them light has shined. Upon shepherds in dark night fields luminous light from angelic host appears. This night we’re in darkness, anticipating, hoping in this darkness for the in breaking glimmer of God presence with us. This is a time we might let that be true, let that in, open ourselves to receive. We’re in this Christian place and its Christmas Eve. As we hear the readings we’re primed to listen for the story about the soon to be family of Mary, Joseph and Jesus.


Diana Rattray

24 December 2023    

Advent 4
Romans 16:25-27
Luke 1:26-38


There has been a lot of frenzied activity, shopping and decorating and baking done by many – all to make sure that tomorrow, Christmas Day, will be a perfect day. Yet we know that for many it will not be perfect. There may be family conflict, overexcited children, spoilt food, too much alcohol consumed and for some domestic violence. Why do we strive to make Christmas a perfect day, when the first Christmas was far from perfect?


Wilf Holt

17 December 2023    

Advent 3


Cate Thorn

10 December 2023    

Advent 2
Isaiah 40:1-8

Mark 1:1-8

We hear from the gospel of Mark today, which is interesting in the context of Advent because the gospel of Mark, like that of John, is one without a nativity story. The good news of Jesus the Christ begins, for Mark, with John the Baptiser pointing to the one who is to come, to Jesus, the Son of God, who John will baptise with water. In Mark we hear Isaiah’s prophetic words echo. John the baptiser’s the messenger, the one who cries out in the wilderness, to prepare the way for the One who is to come.


Amanda Mark

3 December 2023    

Advent 1


Diana Rattray

26 November 2023    

Ordinary 34

Matthew 35:31-45

Today is one of the days in our Lectionary which is potentially a mash up day. We can observe the Reign of Christ - formally Christ the King, in New Zealand we are asked to observe Aotearoa Sunday where we give thanks and pray for the work of the Māori church and Bishops; and church and it is also the last Sunday of the Church year - where we are “stirred up” before we head into Advent and prepare for the coming of Christ among us. Perhaps the mash up day is representative of the complexity of our country and our world at the moment. New government here which may or may not align with what we see as priorities of the day.


Linda Murphy

19 November 2023    

Ordinary 33

Matthew 25:14-30

This parable makes me uncomfortable. Making 100% profit usually means someone has gone without or been disadvantaged for that profit to be achieved. This parable is a descriptive one of how the system works when an absentee landlord “gives” money to servants, only to demand a healthy return. It is a descriptive parable of someone who refused to participate in that process, in a situation where the absentee landowners and their servants were the primary interface between Jewish peasantry and the Roman Empire. That servant deemed “lazy” and unfaithful by the Empire pays an awful price for refusing to play along.


Cate Thorn

12 November 2023    

Ordinary 32

Amos 5:18-24

Matthew 25:1-13

I received a salient reminder this week to be mindful and careful of the Old Testament texts we read on Sunday given they’re located in the very territory being torn apart in Israel, Gaza, Palestine and Lebanon. This is not the week to read from the book of Joshua.

We need to be careful and mindful of what we say outwardly for every word has repercussions. To not speak, though, is to say quite a lot. To speak is fraught.


Diana Rattray

5 November 2023    

All Saints' Day

1 John 3:1-3

Matthew 5:1-12

Many of you will know that I was previously the Vicar of All Saints, Ponsonby. So that meant that All Saints’ Day was also our Patronal Festival. All Saints Church is currently closed for earthquake strengthening - so we remember them as they celebrate their Patronal Festival in the hall rather than the church. One of the joys of the church in Ponsonby was sitting and praying in the chapel. The chapel was divided from the sanctuary by a wrought iron screen with 108 hand painted mahogany tiles, 54 on each side. The tiles depicted icons and symbols of saints. Some are really familiar and some obscure.


Diane Neilsen

29 October 2023    

Ordinary 30

Psalm 1
Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18

Matthew 22:34-46

In the name of God, Creator, Redeemer and giver of life. Last Sunday morning at the Climate Justice meeting, I shared how I had spent time during the week thinking seriously about 'Education, responsivity, advocacy and activism'. I accept that all four of these are necessary but my thinking got stuck on education. Have I ever received education to enable me to live out my faith in my community? Not that I can remember!


Diana Rattray

22 October 2023    

Ordinary 29

Psalm 96:1-9

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

Matthew 22:15-22

We know that many in Aotearoa New Zealand and other rugby obsessed countries treat top sports as quasi-religion. We know that in Aotearoa New Zealand Rugby players are treated as gods by some - they are feted when they win, and cut down when they lose. We know that reported domestic violence increases when the All Blacks lose, especially a big game such as the semi finals or finals of the Rugby World Cup. This week there was an opinion piece on the Radio New Zealand website.


Diana Rattray

15 October 2023    

Ordinary 28
Psalm 23

Philippians 4:1-9

Matthew 22:1-14


What a week for the world. The erupting conflict in the Middle East, images of brutality and destruction. The huge cost of human life and destroyed buildings. Then another terrible earthquake in Afghanistan. People with very little - left with even less. Many lives were lost and we barely hear about it with high priority news stories.


Linda Murphy

8 October 2023    

Ordinary 27
Matthew 21:33-46

I have never been interested in being a landlord and after reading today’s Gospel I most certainly won’t be a landlord it seems far too dangerous. This is another parable that Jesus gives as his ministry is coming to an end, he is angry as he is having to repeat his message and the chief priests and Pharisees now realise, he is talking about them.


Diana Rattray

17 September 2023    

Creation 3

Romans 14:1-12
Matthew 18:21-35

Recently I heard a panel conversation on Radio New Zealand. There was a representative of the Restore Passenger Rail climate activist group who had once again stopped the early morning commuter traffic in Wellington to highlight the need for reinstatement of local and regional train passenger services. The debate was about whether the action was justified as it endangered the lives of commuters, the protestors and law enforcers sent to try and remove them from a great height.


Susan Adams

10 September 2023    

Creation 2

Deuteronomy 8
"The Grandeur of God" Gerald Manley Hopkins
Matthew 6:25-34

We are now celebrating the "season of creation". And therein lies our problem! How we think about God, planet earth, and being human, can be for us a potent mix of problems and possibilities as we face the issues Cate raised last week, in relation to ourselves and the climate crisis. Our liturgical calendar sets these Sundays as the Season of Creation and so focuses our thoughts. It's good to turn our focus to the earth and all the flora and fauna that inhabit it, to give due consideration to the oceans and air, the mountains and the climate. Its especially good for us urban dwellers to remind ourselves of the fragility of what supports our life.


Cate Thorn

3 September 2023    

Creation 1

Matthew 16:21-28

Today we’re seated in the round, it’s not the usual way we structure our worship space. For those of you on Livestream it may mean things are less immediately visible to you. It may be a little irritating, feel a bit uncomfortable, disorienting or unsettling. If so, let’s be aware of that. On this first Sunday in the Season of Creation such awareness of discomfort might be important to pay attention to, a means to dislodge us from our complacency.


Wilf Holt

27 August 2023    

Ordinary 21


Cate Thorn

20 August 2023    

Ordinary 20

Isaiah 56:1, 6-8

Matthew 15:21-28

Today’s readings resonate and ring with the challenge of inclusion. The challenge of the boundaries we create to define who we are and confirm our identity as community which require there to be outsiders. The first reading from Isaiah comes from what’s known as third Isaiah, the account of the Israelites return from exile. God’s holy people are returning to what was their homeland. After generations of exile how are they to integrate, where do they position themselves religiously? Isaiah’s words are simple and ring clear, “Do what is right! Work for justice! Liberation is about to come and my justice is about to be revealed.” Align your actions with the faith you proclaim.


Diana Rattray

13 August 2023    

Ordinary 19

1 Kings 19:9-19
Matthew 14:22-33

This week St Matthews hosted a political debate with four of the candidates standing for the Auckland Central Electorate. One of the topics that was raised, both by some of the candidates in their opening statements and by the moderator, Simon Wilson, in the questions he put to the candidates, was Safety in the City. It is understandable that some people are feeling uneasy and threatened following the recent shootings, homicides and other violent incidents. These are on top of vehicle and property thefts.


Cate Thorn

6 August 2023    

Transfiguration / Ordinary 18

Exodus 34:29-35

Luke 9:28-36

The transfiguration’s a liturgical opportunity not often taken up. I’m not quite sure why, other than that it seems so ethereal. It’s not a parable or story with concrete imagery that is familiar and touchable by us. It is as if it is a fantasy, something that happened but to what end. In today’s gospel Jesus and three of his disciples go to a mountain top, ascend to the vast silence that inhabits such remoteness. Upon the mountaintop, we hear, Jesus is transfigured and time transformed, the figure of Jesus in this scene provides continuity with the past and hope for the future.


Diana Rattray

30 July 2023    

Ordinary 17

Romans 8:26-39

Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

On Thursday morning I went to the dawn blessing of Te Komititanga and 1 Queens Street. Following the tragic shootings a week earlier, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei led all present through a three part ceremony, te whakawātea - to clear, te whakatea - to mourn and te whakaora, to heal,  It was attended by family and friends of those who died, many of the workers on the building site, and their bosses, as well as some civic and national leaders.


Inspector David Christoffersen, Acting Area Commander, Auckland City District

23 July 2023    

Social Services Sunday


Susan Adams

16 July 2023    

Matariki Sunday / Ordinary 15

Isaiah 55:6-11
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

An important question for me, in relation to the church and theology, has always been “what difference will it make?” It is still a guiding question for me when I’m thinking about theology and the role of the church today: “what difference will it make?”

So when I came to consider the reading set for today I asked the same question “what difference will it make” to hear this familiar parable once again? I started my pondering by recalling the context for Matthew’s gospel, and wondering what was going on at the time, and what difference the writer we call Matthew might have hoped his writings would have made for his audience in those last decades of the first century.


Wilf Holt

25 June 2023    

Ordinary 12

Matthew 10:24-39

Some years ago when, as a student at St Johns Theological college I enrolled in a CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) course. This consisted of 12 weeks where theological students in the role of chaplains based themselves in an institutional setting (such as) prisons, hospitals or social services. I was allocated a hospital – probably on account of me not liking them much. On my first day I was allocated a general and a geriatric ward up on the 10th floor. I wasn’t overly chuffed with the geriatric ward thing – but now given my age I view things a little differently.


Linda Murphy

18 June 2023    

Disability Awareness Sunday

Matthew 9:35-10:8

Today is Disability Awareness Sunday which is booked into our lectionary every year on the third Sunday of June. If you have a disability, I don’t need to explain to you the obstacles you face, but how do we engage on a practical level with those who are disabled? At St Matthews we have a hearing loop and move pews to accommodate those who use wheelchairs, but I wonder if really we are aware what a disability is, and that we are surrounded by whanau who obvious disabilities and others with less obvious disabilities. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)  defines a disability as any long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment which, in interaction with various barriers, may hinder the full and effective participation of disabled people in society on an equal basis with others.


Cate Thorn

11 June 2023    

Te Pouhere Sunday

Isaiah 42:10-12, 16

John 17:6-8, 17-26

Today is Te Pouhere Sunday, designated by General Synod as the day on which we celebrate our life as a Three-Tikanga church.
‘Pouhere’, it is a composite word made up of the Maori words, ‘pou’ and ‘here’. The word ‘pou’ can mean a post, a pillar, an upright or column. It is always a positive image. It implies firmness and authority and has connotations of uprightness, strength and safety. The word ‘here’ can mean to tie, bind, unite, secure or knot. It is a more ambivalent image than ‘pou’ for although it is used to describe the bindings of a canoe, or the binding between ancestors, people and land, it is also used to describe imprisonment. ‘Here’ brings with it a sense of obligation or accountability.


Amanda Mark

4 June 2023    

Trinity Sunday

Matthew 28:16-20

Who knows the Cuba Street fountain, the wonky, colourful water feature in central Wellington? Preparing this sermon and reflecting on the Trinity, I thought of the fountain - the water from the red bucket tipping into the yellow bucket and then into another red bucket and so on it. The same water going from bucket to bucket, the fountain dumping an erratic stream of water through its buckets, slopping a large portion over the surrounding pavement as it descends.


Cate Thorn

28 May 2023    

The Day of Pentecost

Acts 2:1-21

John 7:37-39

I fear this week I am to preach a most unlikely and unrealistic sermon. Although I may be in good company with the dancing flame, violent wind story of Pentecost, in fact with quite a few of the biblical stories. Pentecost we celebrate in red, yellow and orange swirling colour, with song and candle, rushing wind, tongues of fire, many and varied languages spoken and heard. Spirit outpouring upon the community gathered together in one place.


Diana Rattray

21 May 2023    

Easter 7

Acts 1: 6-14
John 17:1-11

From last Thursday, Ascension Day, until next Sunday, Pentecost we in this part of the Anglican communion are invited to pray for Christian unity. It always seems a tall order when we have not got unity within the Anglican church let alone other Christian churches. Why unity – well I quote for the material provided for the Week Of Prayer for Christian Unity.


Helen Jacobi

7 May 2023    

Easter 5

1 Peter 2:2-10

John 14:1-14

“There are many rooms in my Father’s house” – this passage is one you might be familiar with from hearing it read at funerals. It is often chosen to reassure the mourners that Jesus has prepared a place for us in heaven. Well today is not my funeral, just my farewell, and it is the reading for the day. I did however choose not to have the reading from the book of Acts today which includes an account of the stoning of Stephen. Many rooms - Jesus paints a picture of life in God (not necessarily life after death) as an expansive place, with room for all.


Bishop Ross Bay

30 April 2023    

Easter 4

Acts 2:42-47
John 10:1-10

A visit long planned for these confirmations has ended up falling providentially just before Helen concludes her ministry as your Vicar. So I wish to take this opportunity to extend my personal thanks to you, Helen, for your work these past nine years. I’m not too sure where that time has run away to as it seems like no time since we were welcoming you. I am very grateful for all you have done during this time, and I wish you and Stephen God’s blessing as you prepare for new adventures, some of which are very joyous and exciting for you as a family.


Helen Jacobi

23 April 2023    

Easter 3

Acts 2:14a, 36-41    

Luke 24:13-35

The story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus is, I think, my favourite Bible passage. I love to wonder about Cleopas and his unnamed companion – women tend not to be named in the Bible so maybe she is Cleopas’ wife or daughter. I love to imagine their conversation, a mixture of grief and also hope as they talk about the strange tale of the women and angels and Jesus being alive. I love the mystery of the stranger who appears and walks with them, listening, and then explaining the scriptures to them.


Amanda Mark

16 April 2023    

Easter 2

John 20:19-31

The Easter story lays out for us the foundations of our Christian faith but it also contrasts doubt and disbelief, the difficulty of believing with the deep peace of true belief. In today’s Gospel we encounter the disciples in a bit of a tizz, struggling with doubt and disbelief, struggling to believe. Confused, afraid, they’ve locked themselves in a room. They’ve had a rough time – a strange dinner where Jesus washes their feet, predicts his betrayal and declares himself – in Luke and John he describes himself as the Son of Man in whom God has been glorified, in Matthew and Mark says he will not drink the fruit of the vine with the disciples again until he drinks it new with them in his Father’s kingdom.


Cate Thorn

9 April 2023    

Easter Day

Acts 10:34-43

John 20:1-18

Here we are, Easter day has dawned, new light of a new day, new light of Christ life with us. With great joy and much acclamation we greet this day. Yet I find I want to be quiet, still. Have you not had enough of that in Lent, you might enquire? Reflecting on this event of Easter, the enacted rituals, the traditions we follow to remind us and return us to this foundational event, greatest festival in our faith calendar, it occurred to me that they are in large part rituals of grieving and letting go. Today, you say, today is different.


Helen Jacobi

26 March 2023    

Lent 5

Ezekiel 37:1-14    

John 11:1-45

Spirit, water, living water, sight/insight, death and life. A few of the multiple themes we have found in our Lenten readings from John’s gospel. Bishop Michael Curry, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the USA said in a sermon recently “John is a crafty writer and wily with words; he lays down clues like breadcrumbs in the Hansel and Gretel story, helping us find our way home.” We get to follow the trail, and every time we come back to these passages we find something new or different.


Diana Rattray

19 March 2023    

Lent 4

1 Samuel 16:1-13
John 9:1-41

Two weeks ago we heard of the death of Georgina Beyer after a period of illness. Georgina was the first elected transgender mayor in New Zealand and the first openly transgender Member of Parliament in the world. She had previously been an entertainer and sex worker in Wellington, before moving to the Wairarapa and the town of Carterton.


Cate Thorn

12 March 2023    

Lent 3

Exodus 17:1-7    

John 4:5-42

We continue our journey with the gospel of John through Lent. He’s leading us on a merry dance, providing us with gospel accounts populated by characters that, each week, stand in stark contrast to the other. Last week we met Nicodemus. Nicodemus came to speak to Jesus at night; a man with power, educated, a Pharisee, a religious leader and teacher, an insider in the Jewish world. He doesn’t understand what Jesus is saying, trying to teach him.


Cate Thorn

5 March 2023    

Lent 2

Genesis 12:1-4a    

John 3:1-17

Here we are the second Sunday in our Lenten traverse to Easter, journeying in the company of one another, attentive to those among us preparing for confirmation and/or baptism. Lent’s season has its own culture and intention, as Diana said last week Lent’s three actions include Whakawhirinaki, drawing closer to God in prayer, Whakamārie drawing closer to our neighbour through almsgiving and Whakapūmau drawing closer to ourselves in fasting. All three deeply rooted in the idea of love.


Diana Rattray

26 February 2023    

Lent 1

Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7    

Matthew 4:1-11

We continue to live with the impact of the extreme weather events, the terrible impact of floods and cyclones, and I acknowledge those here today and watching on line whose lives have changed forever. The impact is huge - and what we can do to support people now - and how we can avoid it happening again is so complex.


Helen Jacobi

19 February 2023   

Ordinary 7

Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18    

Matthew 5:38-48


“God makes the sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Mt 5:45) Too much rain, way too much rain. I think we are all still in a state of shock after the floods at the end of January, and now the devastation of cyclone Gabrielle. The photos coming out of the Hawke’s Bay and Tairawhiti and areas of Auckland and north defy belief.


Cate Thorn

12 February 2023   

Ordinary 6

Deuteronomy 30:15-20    

Matthew 5:21-37


Today I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving, obeying, holding fast to God. Choices and laws and how to live echo through today’s readings. Choices have repercussions that are expressed in us and in our world.


Wilf Holt

29 January 2023   

Epiphany 4


Diana Rattray

15 January 2023   

Epiphany 2

Isaiah 49:1-7    

John 1:29-42


When the disciples of John the Baptist, seek Jesus out, he does not give them a sermon or even a proclamation. He asks a question. What are you looking for? If we go back to the original Greek it could just as easily be translated as What are you seeking? What are you hoping to find? As we return to work and routine at the beginning of a new year it is a good time to take stock and to think about those questions and invitation and our response to them.

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