Ka pu te ruha, ka hao te rangatahi
The old net is cast aside, the new net goes fishing
It would be so much easier and more to our inclination if in January Neil and I could just quietly head down the road. Who likes goodbyes, especially goodbyes with a lot of fuss. The little 2-year old whose picture I showed the Girls’ Brigade service in Kaeo recently (for your entertainment it is inserted here) really is the same shy little girl 63 years later. Do I have to do it?
And all that effort people are going to make. All that food and organisation, and cleaning up afterwards.
It would be simpler…
But it is not to be and, I think it probably is the last thing I need do as a positive act of ministry – for the sake of our purpose as a church. We exist to be community, Christ-shaped community. Therefore what happens in our lives we go through together. We share happy times and sad times. And we are community that continually opens up to others as a place they can feel at home and be part of this sharing – this whanaungatanga. Times of farewell – and welcome – are opportunities to be visible church community within our wider communities, for the good of all.
The events of mid-January will be something of an ordeal, but as with any ending it is important to gather to honour the time that has been and say our thank yous. I have much to be thankful for and very many people I’d like to say thank you to individually. What’s more, our gathering will be a time a re-affirm what is really important to us as church and as communities in Northland. That’s how it is with any ending, we grieve the parting but affirm the value of what has been and what will continue to be. We affirm our values as people of faith.
We are very fortunate that the Methodist Stationing process came up with a person about whom the people of our congregations could say, “yes, you’re the new minister for us”. I was delighted to meet Saikolone and his wife Fele’unga. As we talked on the day after the face-to-face meeting, I knew for sure that you had found someone who would be an agent for continuity in the mission that is distinctive of this parish and an agent for new ways of being church in this wider district. You are going to love Saikolone and his family very much.
The new net will definitely go fishing.
And the old net will rediscover activities I used to have time for and had almost forgotten about, as well as new activities I can’t even imagine yet.
Neil and I drive out of Kerikeri – and Northland – on Saturday 18 January and will arrive in Central Otago on 21 January, to unpack our furniture into storage and then settle into a wee crib in Frankton until our house is finished. I know I’ll be very sad as we leave – it’s tough having two places that you love that are at opposite ends of the country! But how fortunate we have been that is the case – home in Te Tai Tokerau and Te Tai Tonga.
Nō reira, e noho rā aku tini hoa. Goodbye my many friends.
Ka kite – ā te wā.
Rangimarie Peace Shalom
The measure of our compassion lies not in our service to those on the margins, but in our willingness to see ourselves in kinship with them.
Gregory Boyle S.J.
 known by you northerners as a bach