It’s been quite a month. We’ve had some very significant events happen recently; particularly with regard to worship services. On our quarterly communion service, which also fell on Children’s Day, it was fantastic having our children help to lead it and serve the communion elements. The theme of celebrating with our young people continued outside where the sausage sizzle, face painting, outdoor games and bouncy castle all made for a fun-filled experience for everyone. The good weather contributed to the attendance from curious and wonderfully-surprised families who came to check us out. The Hon. David Clark brought his children along and commented to me how pleased he was that something like this was happening in the middle of the city. Thank you to everyone who made it a very successful event.
Our services on Presbyterian Support Sunday led by CEO Gillian Bremner were also great opportunities for strengthening our connections. At our 10am service, many visitors from overseas made very affirming comments about the social services of PSO and how closely we worked with them. Although a long day for Gillian speaking at all three services, our community was deeply appreciative of her effort and relevant message.
Last week, we also celebrated our 166th Otago Anniversary. The focus of the service was celebrating 150 years since the arrival of the early Chinese people to the gold fields of Otago/Southland and the mission and ministry of the church to Asian peoples. We were very blessed to have had esteemed guests attend and participate. In particular, we were greatly honoured by the well-researched and aptly presented address by Dr James Ng about the life and development of the early Chinese and their connections with the Presbyterian Church. The highlight for me was our singing an English-translated hymn “Faith, Hope, and Love” to a traditional Chinese tune. The small group who helped lead the hymn deserves special mention.
Lastly, on Tuesday 8th April at 6pm, we will be hosting a special service for the Ministry of Education to acknowledge and celebrate the high achievements of some of our Pacific High School students in Dunedin. The Ministry has done this very successfully in Christchurch and want to initiate something similar here in Dunedin. Credit must go to the respect and good standing of Mrs. Aliitasi Lemalu for encouraging the Ministry of Education to have its opening service with us at First Church of Otago. – Well done to everyone for all your tremendous work.