Tag Archives: small group resources

Wear your ethics

Awhi Mai Awhi Atu – Action Point 78

Stop supporting the ‘fast fashion’ industry, with its massive pollution, waste and unethical employment practices.

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From the chapter In God’s Will by Skye Finlay
in Awhi Mai Awhi Atu, edited by Silvia Purdie. 

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Do a community garden

Awhi Mai Awhi Atu – Action Point 33

Be part of a community garden to grow skills in growing food, build relationships, and help connect people with the land.

Many communities already have community gardens that your church could assist with. If your church has land, or if there is some unused land nearby, explore developing this as a community garden.

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From the chapter See Where God Takes Us by Honey Thrupp
in Awhi Mai Awhi Atu, edited by Silvia Purdie. 

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Workshops on sustainability

Awhi Mai Awhi Atu – Action Point 14

Host and promote practical workshops. Find people who can pass on practical skills to equip people for living sustainably. Connect with people in the community and build friendships as you learn new skills together.

  • Tap into the skills of church members, especially retired folks
  • Training and resources at Future Living Skills: www.sustainableliving.org.nz
  • Host a Repair Café or Repair Fair, to help people mend clothes and toys, fix computers, small appliances, furniture etc. Find Repair Café Aotearoa NZ on Facebook, or folks like Repair Riverlution in Christchurch
  • Bike repairs; find folks in your community keen to help people fix their bikes
  • Make reusable menstrual pads; find Divine River on Facebook
  • Clothing repairs and upcycling fabric; connect with community initiatives such as Stitch Kitchen in Otago: www.stitchkitchen.nz
  • Talk to your local Men’s Shed, e.g. making ‘DIY’ bird feeders or possum traps: www.menzshed.org.nz

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From the chapter To Come Home by Anna Baird
in Awhi Mai Awhi Atu, edited by Silvia Purdie. 

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Support a school’s Enviro programme

Awhi Mai Awhi Atu – Action Point 15

Growing partnerships between churches and schools nurturing environmental projects and relationships and empowering children to be fabulous enviro problem solvers!

  • Support your local school with gardening, planting and other projects
  • Find an Enviroschool or kindergarten and explore ways to encourage them: www.enviroschools.org.nz

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From the chapter Problem Solvers by
Ava Carter, with Liz Horn and Mandy Cleave – Rolleston Christian School
in Awhi Mai Awhi Atu, edited by Silvia Purdie. 

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Form a Creation Care Team

Awhi Mai Awhi Atu – Action Point 26

Wouldn’t it be great to have a an active group of eco champions in every church?

Start an enviro team in your church by forming relationships, inviting people to talk, and giving things a try. This is important to sustain momentum and lead the church in practical action.

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From the chapter Connected to the Earth – Diana Johnston
in Awhi Mai Awhi Atu, edited by Silvia Purdie. 

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Kindle a Flame

A Thought for Today

Kindle a flame

Kindle a flame within our hearts
let your light shine through
let your light shine through.

Kindle a flame within our hearts
let your justice shine through
let your justice shine through.

Kindle a flame within our hearts
let your hope shine through
let your hope shine through.

Kindle a flame within our hearts
let your love shine through
let your love shine through.

Kindle a flame within our hearts
let your peace shine through
let your peace shine through.

About this Song

Kindle a Flame was written as a reflective song for worship and I have used it many times when leading services.

It also works well as part of the devotions for a small group, and as an individual, private meditation (change “our hearts” to “my heart”).

The words are simple and repetitive.

There is a melody line setting and several suggestions for how to use this liturgy/song in our PDF eBook Kindle a Flame.

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Celebration – Struggle – Transformation

A Thought for Today

“Somewhere in this week Jesus went through a process from celebration to struggle to transformation, from prophet and social revolutionary to victim, then to victor. From a human plane to a divine plane. From giving his supporters hope, to despair, to hope again.

I hope that you didn’t find the exercise of making flax crosses too difficult.

I’m sure you can guess why I worked through this with you. We have gone from waving flax leaves to celebrate, to struggling with crafting them, to transformation of the flax into our most important symbol as Christians.

I enjoyed practising making the crosses at home. They are a real kiwi icon. I like the way the flax comes from the land, the whenua that we sang about in our Māori introit. A flax plant is grounded in the way that our faith can be grounded. Change takes effort. We sometimes need the help of our friends to move forward to get the job done, just like we need friends on our journey of faith. And while the completed flax crosses might seem like an end point, the cross as a symbol has no end, just as God’s love for us has no end.

And just as the flax is strong, so God’s love for us, symbolised by the life, death and rising of Jesus is strong. I can’t break this flax leaf [demonstrate]. Nothing you or I can do, can defeat God’s love.”

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From the sermon – Celebration – Struggle – Transformation – 24 March 2013
in Let Your Light Shine Through by Philip C. Garside.

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PowerPoint images from Breath of the Spirit

PowerPoint images from Breath of the Spirit

Breath of the Spirit is not just a print book and eBook.

We have used the images in the book to create a collection of 57 PowerPoint slides to display in your worship services.

The images are royalty free so long as you display the credit at the foot of the slides.

You can download the set immediately after making payment.

Click here to Order your set of 57 PowerPoint images


Redemption Songs — Reviewed in Touchstone April 2017


Redemption Songs: Prayers for People Like Us
by Mark Laurent

Reviewed by John Thornley in Touchstone April 2017

 “This book contains 71 prayers as poems by Auckland-based singer/songwriter Mark Laurent.

Mark is a Christian musician, poet, writer and communicator, and over more than 30 years, he has recorded many albums and published three poetry books and a children’s storybook. With his wife, Brenda Liddiard, he has done many tours of house- and church-based music concerts, in New Zealand and overseas.

Mark and Brenda live in a high-rise apartment in central Auckland, close enough for Mark to do busking on Queen Street. As he writes: “It’s good to keep in touch with life where it happens – with people where they are.”

This collection contains seventy-one poems inspired by the Hebrew Psalms, which provide ‘good jump-off points’ for the poems that express Mark’s ‘love, hopes and fears to God’.

As the poet writes in his introduction, “The songs are numbered instead of having titles, in the hope that this leaves a degree of open-endedness, so that God can say to you what you need to hear. Dip into them at random. May there be a few holy surprises here for you.”

The language is everyday and unpolished, with imagery drawn from the poet’s life experiences:

God holds us, just as I hold this stone
sees our hardness and our beauty
feels our weight and rough edges
knows our history and potential
we’re all miracles, waiting to happen
we should feel loved.

There is a strong confessional and salvation note in the poems, reflecting similar emphases found in the Psalms and the parables of Jesus:

I’m like a child coming home from school
tasting my mum’s home made baking
life seems a bit like Heaven –
now and then.

As reflecting the lows and highs on life’s journey, the feelings embrace both anger and frustration, compassion and hope:

When I look around me
it’s dog eat dog out there
and if you’re vulnerable or broken
they stare like you’re some kind of freak.
There will never be too many God songs
let’s keep on singing about the good stuff
get out the guitar – warm up your voices
it’s time to compose another one
the best and loudest anthem yet!

There are prayers for the individual and prayers for community, and we need both. Redemption Songs complements well Mark Gibson’s The In-Between Land: Psalms Poems and Haiku (2015). While Gibson’s prayers/reflections find a place for collective worship in civic and church venues, Laurent’s poems offer resources for those working in pastoral and counselling roles with individuals and small groups in such places as hospitals and rest homes, prisons and shelter homes. They are also good for personal devotions.

These two collections of poetry are published by Philip Garside Publishing, which is to be commended for making it possible for Christian poets in Aotearoa to be widely read.

Those wanting more information, including how to arrange a local concert from Mark and Brenda, can email him at mark@marklaurent.co.nz

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Free Study Guide to Green, Ho! & Greens and Greys

A Free Study Guide by Rosalie Sugrue is now available for her books Green, Ho! & Greens and Greys.

The 9 page PDF guide is titled: A Novel approach to Bible Study: Personal Issues for Christians for Lent/Easter or whatever the Season.

Each of the 6 sessions looks at an important concept:
1. Values learnt in childhood
2. Faith in Youth
3. Sexual orientation
4. Suicide
5. Situation ethics and social justice
6. Mature faith

You will explore each issue by asking:
• Why did Molly do what she did?
• What would I have done in that situation?

Click this link to: Download your free PDF Study Guide