Church in Progress MCC – End of Year Review 2018
God of Connection,
Church in Progress gives You thanks for 2019. Thank You for providing us, once again, with the people, the spaces and the opportunities to be a positive presence.
2020 is still a mystery to us. Help us be prepared, open and willing to do whatever You require us as individuals to do and as a faith community. Forgive us when we forget to seek Your direction when we plan for the future. Help us to take risks, the wisdom to say no when required and to rejoice as we walk with You. Give us the confidence to be okay in the uncomfortable places.
Once again, we asked that we may work together as a team, to have fun together, able to cry together and support each other always. Make Church in Progress a welcoming space for new people to explore their faith and find love and community. We are YOURS. Amen.
So, what happened in 2019? As usual Church in Progress got involved with lots of positive stuff. Once again, we give thanks that we can have such a big impact with the team that we have. This past year has seen lots more of our membership getting involved. Jo, Justin and Adrienne all facilitated a monthly gathering and it been brilliant having more people turning up early to help set up and pack up at the monthly gatherings. Sophie and Huhana also lead a food court dinner gathering. There’s been a presence of Church in Progress peeps at Ihumaatao throughout the year too. Keep reading for other causes and events that we support.
Each year we ask if there is still a need for Church in Progress and so far, God keeps saying YES!
So, at our AGM we’ll be asking the following questions:
– Is there still a need/desire from the community for Church in Progress?
– Do we have enough committed people to sustain Church in Progress?
– What vision do we have for the next year?
As God continues to call us, and we try as best as we can to listen and respond. As you read through all that happened in 2019 (from October 2018 to November 2019), please pray a prayer of thanks for everyone who was involved and wisdom to guide us in the year ahead.
A prayer of thanks to Adrienne (secretary) and Angie (treasurer) with Emily, formed the Core Team this year. We had so much fun this year! Not only did we keep on track on the financial ‘stuff’ but we also dreamed together and put some of those dreams into action. A really lovely bi-product of our Core Team meetings has been the support we’ve given each other during our monthly meetings. In addition, Matheus, Reily, Daniel and Toby have had extra time together and build on their strong friendships. A big thank you to Sophie who was a signatory on the kiwibank account since it was opened. Sophie handed this responsibility over to Angie this year.
We’d like to acknowledge and give thanks for MCC Sydney who has been our partnership church for many years. 2019 is the last year that Church in Progress will be receiving financial support from MCC Sydney. The great news is Rev Emily and Rev Dale (from MCC Sydney) have a wonderful friendship – so the relationship between the two churches will continue. We thank MCC Sydney for supporting us all these years and we are excited that we are able to financially support ourselves.
Keep reading to find out more and right at the end is the financial statement.
Church in Progress focuses its energy into four main areas;
Community – Spiritual Formation – Activism – Celebrancy
Lots of what Church in Progress does overlaps into all four areas!
Church in Progress facilitates lots of events, physically and online, throughout the year. Everyone is invited and if you identify as part of the rainbow community you will be welcomed, accepted and affirmed just as you are.
It’s also important to keep connected with the wider MCC church. Where it is possible, Church in Progress attends national and international MCC gatherings online and in person.
Part of being in community is caring for one another. All our members strive to support one another and their wider community/whanau/networks as much as they are able. After all, we are trying to love others as God loves us!
Dinner, Conversation and Prayer – this event happens about once a month at the Mason Ave Food Court. Still our most well attended event as it has all four ingredients needed for a good time – Food, Community, Laughter and Prayer. Food court dinners are great as lots of people attend who don’t fancy coming to a church gathering and that’s all good!
Easter Egg Hunt – Easter Sunday Held on Easter Sunday, this annual event provides a safe, affirming and welcoming place for those in our community that don’t have a church service to attend. This event is always well attended and we had good weather again!
Karaoke Christmas was held 22nd December 2018. Rev Emily was over the moon as Adrienne lead a team (Angie, Nicola and Hei) who prepared the space, got the activities ready and organised the food. Rev Emily was recovering from an operation and all she had to do was turn up and enjoy it! Alan jumped on as MC and everyone had a great time! Thank you to all the Mangere East Community Peeps that turned up and rocked it!
Church in Progress supported the Prisoner Correspondence Network (PCN) again this year. During our December Monthly Gathering we got creative and made a whole heap of cards to send to those spending Christmas inside.
2018 ‘Xmas Brunch’ on Christmas day was well attending even though it was raining! We huddled under the awning, pulled crackers, ate lots of food, laughed and chatted a lot!
Once again, we were honoured to be invited to share a meal at the Masjid Baitul Muqeet Mosque in Manurewa. Always great hospitality and love learning more about their faith and commitment to peace. Naomi, also attended the Mosques Women’s event in 2019 in which women from different faiths were invited to speak and they all shared a lovely afternoon tea together.
Rev Emily is currently the Leader for the Australian/Aotearoa Network for the MCC churches. She is responsible for keeping people connected to one another. Part of her role is leading the team that is organising the Network Gathering in Melbourne. This will be held on the very first weekend of February 2020.
In March, Emily, Alan and Naomi attended a service at the MCC Oasis community in Christchurch.
In September, Church in Progress collaborated with Nicola (JFML) and Valerie (Papatūānuku Kōkiri Marae) to provide a vigil space for Demetrius Pairama’s family, friends and community. Demetrius was violently killed in Mangere and we wanted to show our support and also put out the message that violence in our hood is unacceptable.
MCC Auckland closed this year. Naomi and Emily attended one of there final services to show support. We are also very grateful that they gave Church in Progress a large donation when they closed up their accounts. Doug and Chris have been welcomed to attend any of our events and it’s good to see them when they attend.
Of course, there are a countless number of interactions that could be listed under ‘community’. I continue to be encouraged by the way the Church in Progress whānau provide one another with support and friendship.
Everyone is own their own spiritual journey but it’s helpful to have support and companionship along the way. Through discussion, study groups, prayer and worship, online and in person, we find that God reveals Godself little by little.
In 2018 Church in Progress continued to have Monthly Gatherings for worship. We are so grateful to The Good Seeds Trust for allowing us to use their building on Mervan Street in Mangere East. This new venue has really helped to build our community – it’s very child friendly as we have the whole place to ourselves. This year we purchased a wheelchair ramp to make it more accessible. Rev Emily was VERY excited that we also purchased a storage cupboard. This means that Emily and Alan do not have to carry everything from home and it also makes it easier for other people to lead a gathering.
We’ve explored lots of different text this past year. At each gathering we explore the text, discuss, pray and open ourselves up to finding practical ways to live out our faith in our daily lives. We strive to find inspiration in the way that Jesus responded to others. We always shared in the sacred meal which is ‘Holy Communion’. Rev Emily values the help that the kids offer in this part of the service!
Good Friday Meal and Reflection is a highlight. It was a bit different this year as it’s the first time it hasn’t been held and Emily and Alan’s place. We were worried that it wouldn’t have the same feel. We were right, it didn’t BUT it was lovely in a different way. We created a cross out of candles outside and we had room to move as there were lots of peeps..
Short and Simple Sunday Service – This is an online church service and it provide a safe and affirming space to reconnect with God and with one another. This is an inclusive space for those who are unable to attend a physical service due to commitments, disability or exclusion. We had eight of these services over this past year. Two of them were organised in response to the Christchurch terror attacks. There was a need for people to come together, to pray and to process.
Finally, Rev Emily continues to regularly go to supervision and makes time to be part of a clergy support group that meets monthly online. It’s important to Rev Em to engage in this type of support and we encourage everyone to look after themselves and reach out.
Learning to live like Jesus isn’t always easy. It soon becomes apparent that being a follower of Jesus requires us to be present in the margins of society. Church in Progress is committed to working towards positive change and supporting groups who fight for peace and justice.
ANZAC Day saw Church in Progress being the MC at a powerful event ‘Picnic for Peace’ organised by Auckland Peace Action (APA). This is the third year we have worked together to provide an alternative to the military led remembrance at the Auckland Domain. This was well attended by many seasoned peace activists and well supported by Church in Progress peeps who sang, spoke and helped out. This event is also well supported by Emily’s family and Grant Hewison which is super appreciated!
We continue to be educated about the injustices inside New Zealand’s prison system by the dedicated PAPA (People Against Prisons Aotearoa) crew. We provide ongoing support one of our Church in Progress peeps who has been Auckland Prison and is now released. We give thanks that so many people in our faith community are working towards better outcomes for those who find themselves within this system.
Church in Progress was proud to support “South Side Rise” again. This movement, in its third and final year. This year there were around 90 young people from nine South Auckland joining together to challenge negative perceptions about our area. This year Church in Progress helped with a donation towards feeding the crew, sourced funding from the Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board and Rev Emily and Adrienne worked with Dr Michelle Johansson to provide pastoral and mentoring support. They also organised the ‘hydration station’! Many of us enjoyed the INSPIRING performances in July.
Rev Emily was involved in Tauiwi Tautoko this year. Facilitated by ActionStation, Tauiwi Tautoko is a 10 week program that weaves together online training and in-person hui (gatherings) to provide participants with the tools, community and courage to participate in online conversations about race with evidence-based listening and messaging techniques. It involved weekly online conversations for support and continued learning and a commitment to engaging online in facebook comments for at least one hour per week.
Protect Ihumaatao. Most Sundays since July Rev Emily helps with Ra Tapu on the whenua by collecting prayers and giving a reflection in the afternoon. We also try to attend whakamoemiti at 7pm during the week. Lots of Church in Progress peeps have also been supporting by being there on the land, which is fantastic. We continue to be ready to support in ways that we can and talk about the struggle with those who don’t fully understand the issues.
Church in Progress donated 29 pairs of PJs to the Jammies in June appeal (Middlemore Hospital). Thank you to Sophie, Huhana and Naomi for making this happen.
Rev Emily and Alan one again were part of the team that took part in the direct action against the ‘War Expo’. This was held in Palmerston North. The great news is that this will not be held again in New Zealand in the same way! Victory! Click here to read about this amazing feat and check out all the fantastic community and activist groups that made this happen.
Twice this year our members have been present at ‘activations’ outside liquor shops in Mangere. We continue to support the work of Action Against Alcohol Community Harm (AAACH) which slowing down the proliferation of alcohol outlets in our hood. Emily also spoke on Radio 531pi about these issues.
Rev Emily is available to help you celebrant or commemorate. Finding joy, God and community in life’s significant moments.
Rev Emily was very pleased to facilitate the celebration and blessing for Jo and Justin’s 10 year anniversary.
There was a Vine Street Fun Day in April. Rev Emily was asked to open this celebration with a blessing.
There weren’t any weddings this year BUT Rev Emily is working with two couples in preparation for their weddings in the summer.
Wow … you read till the very end! As a little treat you get to read the expenses for the year!