Sunday, November 8, 2020

Ecumenical Prayer Cycle - New Zealand (8-14th November 2020)

The Ecumenical Prayer Cycle for this week has a focus on New Zealand and Australia. This post will focus on New Zealand, and our member association Diakonia Aotearoa New Zealand Association (DANZA), which includes those serving as Deacons in the Anglican and Methodist churches. Their website is here

Rev Anne Russell-Brighty is a member of the DIAKONIA Asia Pacific (DAP) Executive Committee, and also DIAKONIA World Executive Committee. 

Anne (on left) and other DANZA members

You will probably know about the horrifying mass shootings that occurred at mosques in a terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, during Friday Prayer on 15 March 2019. The Prime Minister, Jacinda Adern, held the country together with the idea of 'they are us' (speaking about the Muslim victims) and 'let us be the nation we believe ourselves to be'. Her speech unified the nation together.  In May 2019, PM Adern unveiled the well-being budget, where she gave priority to societal well-being, not just the economic well-being of the nation. She said, “We're embedding that notion of making decisions that aren't just about growth for growth's sake, but how are our people faring? How is their overall well-being and their mental health? How is our environment doing? These are the measures that will give us a true measure of our success.” There set five priorities for 2019: aiding the transition to a sustainable and low-emissions economy, supporting a thriving nation in the digital age, lifting Māori and Pacific incomes, skills and opportunities, reducing child poverty, and supporting mental health for all New Zealanders. Adern's government created a NZ$50bn Covid response and recovery fund to address both the immediate response to the pandemic and the longer term economic damage left in its wake. New Zealand is free from COVID-19 cases. Her newly formed cabinet represents the diversity in New Zealand - of the 20-strong cabinet, 8 are women, 5 are Māori, 3 are Pasifika and 3 are LGBT.

The Deacons in the New Zealand Anglican and Methodist Church continue to offer important ministry in a nation that aspires to live with diversity, to honour cultural difference, and to focus on building community well-being as well as sustainable growth. 


We are thankful for:

* the beauty of the land and waters of Aotearoa New Zealand and the special relationship that people enjoy with the natural environment

* the identities and cultural practices that indigenous peoples long have maintained, and for their increasing political voice

* how the people have welcomed new immigrants

* how churches have witnessed and worked together ecumenically, especially amid challenges of apathy in highly secularized societies.

We pray for:

* churches to have the imagination, skills and energy to build bridges of understanding in increasingly multireligious and multicultural contexts

* those who work tirelessly on issues of justice for the poor, the marginalized and the dispossessed, especially indigenous peoples

* those seeking refuge and a new life in these countries, and those supporting and providing for them

careful preservation of the fragile land, sea, and resources.


Prayer for the Side-lined, Lost and Over-looked People.

Holy One, may your Realm of Love come for

the insignificant, unremarkable, over-looked people of the world;

for the un-noticed and simply ordinary people;

back-water sort of people who will never make much impact.

For them: May your kingdom come. 

Holy One, may your Realm of Love come for

those who are lost; who have disappeared or are missing;

for the up-rooted, exiled and enslaved ;

lost-rights sort of people who will seldom be seen or heard.

For them: May your kingdom come. 

Holy One, may your Realm of Love come for

the fearful, the terrorised and the abused people of the world;

those who are unjustly imprisoned or entrapped;

voiceless people who will hardly dare to seek help.

For them: May your kingdom come. 

Holy One, may your Realm of Love come for 

the subjugated, silenced and subdued people of the world;

for the lonely, the lacking, the faded, the frightened;

shadowy people unable to bring attention to their suffering.

For them: May your kingdom come

Holy One, may Your Realm of Love come for

all persons with disabilities;

for the redundant and poorly educated; the timid and un-appreciated;

struggling people who have to strive for support and respect.

For them: May your kingdom come. 

In the dynamic of your Love, may your Realm become a reality for them all. Amen.

(© 2011 Glenn Jetta Barclay, Aotearoa/New Zealand)


Dear God, there are times

when I hear your voice most clearly

in greenness: in the singing of sap,

the conversation of the leaves, the whisperings

of shoot and stem, root, sap and cell,

calling me back to creation

to feel again the freshness of you

running through everything

like a bright emerald current.

God of greenness, you know well my tendency

to fill my life with my own methods of communication.

Thank you for constantly returning me to the simplicity of yours.

Again I experience you in the rejoicing

of bare feet on a damp forest path,

in the wonder of light thrown against

a kaleidoscope of tree ferns,

in the myriad textures of moss-clad trees,

in the shining of you beneath every surface.

Beloved Creator, coming to our greenness

is always a coming home,

a time of peace and grace

as the unimportant in me falls away

and I know again that bright green shoot

of my own beginning

which comes from you

and is one with you,

bright and beautiful God.

(By Joy Cowley, Aotearoa/New Zealand. Published in Aotearoa Psalms: Prayers of a New People by Joy Cowley, Pleroma Christian Books, Otane, H.B. New Zealand.)

Prayer of praise

Blessed are you, God of the Universe.

you have created us and given us life.

Blessed are you, God of the planet earth.

You have set our world like a radiant jewel in the heavens,

and filled it with action, beauty, suffering, struggle and hope.

Blessed are you, God of Aotearoa/New Zealand,

in all the peoples who live there,

in all the lessons they have learned,

in all that remains for them to do.

Blessed are you because you need us;

because you make us worthwhile,

because you give us people to love

and work to do

for your universe, for your world and for ourselves.

(Copyright material taken and adapted from A New Zealand Prayer Book: He Karakia Miihinare o Aotearoa is used with permission. © General secretary of the Anglican church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, New Zealand, pp.619,641, 142)

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