When I was about six (that would’ve been about 1955) something happened that had a profound effect on me. We were visiting for the summer with my grandparents. One evening at the dinner table, my grandfather (born in 1895) went into a tirade about anyone who was not a white straight person, using every reprehensible, but common smear to describe each. Since I had not learned what that hate language even meant yet, I was not shocked. What shocked me was the fury my mother (born in 1925) directed at her father. She made it perfectly clear he was never to use such language in front of her children again. I doubt if it changed his 19th century views, but it left an indelible mark on me.
On Friday, 29th March 2019, Gary and Brenda Bendall, Paul Henriques and Angela Wadham attended the Role Model Assembly at Glen Taylor School, Glendowie, on behalf of the church, and assisted in the Duffy presentation of books to pupils. It was a pleasure to be part of this school event, and our Church was thanked by students for our sponsorship.
I see Brian
Tamaki of Destiny Church is having a tantrum again about New Zealand
being a Christian nation. He objected to Jacinda’s call to Muslim
prayer before a two-minute silence to remember the victims of the
massacre of worshipping Muslims in Christchurch. He called it an
abuse of her Prime Ministerial powers.
Friday morning, I had today’s service and my talk all prepared. Friday evening, I had nothing to offer. The unthinkable, the unimaginable had happened. New Zealanders had been cast out of the Godzone with tears streaming down our face and our hearts broken. Our Muslim brothers and sisters lay dying and bloodied in a house of prayer. This couldn’t happen here, yet graphic news stories and social media told us otherwise. It has shaken us to our core even more than the earthquakes that had come from previously unknown fault lines in Christchurch. As traumatic as those were, they were natural acts. This act of hatred had not previously happened here. We didn’t think it could in spite of plenty of evidence that the deadly virus of white nationalism had become epidemic around the world. No house of prayer was safe if its worshippers were the marginalised or people of colour. Homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and racism has crawled out from the rocks they have been hiding under to be greeted as mainstream by right-wing political leaders and print and social media. But we thought we were better than that. We thought that was not who we are.