By: Duncan Brown, Diocesan Communications Advisor
Saturday afternoon at Synod saw members split up for three optional activities. One group explored how parish land and assets can be used for missional-focused activity such as social housing, another explored the topic of seismic strengthening, and yet another offered members the opportunity to form small groups and venture out across the Hutt Valley to pray in the streets, either for specific parts of the community, institutions, or people they encountered as led by the Holy Spirit.
I went out on the streets with Alexander Reid from the Parish of Taihape, and Rev Emile Pacifique, from the Rwandan Fellowship and the Parish of Silverstream. We were directed to pray at Naenae Police Station.
The police station is on a residential street near the town centre, with very little traffic. Our feelings were mixed as we began – emboldened to follow the Spirit’s leading, and to step out in faith as we prayed, but also somewhat timid as we waited to see what might eventuate. We prayed for the Police, and for the community they served – that Jesus might lovingly intercede where there is great need, and great brokenness.
With the town centre only a stone’s throw away, we decided to walk around the shops, passing establishments with security grills in the window, empty shops for lease, discount stores and gaming establishments, and of course, the new Trade School Kitchen social enterprise, for which Synod raised thousands of dollars. The physical barriers designed to protect against fear and violence, the lack of opportunity, and the sense of emptiness in the shopping centre reminded us of the barriers we put up in our relationships and toward God, and the barriers that our society puts in people’s way preventing them from living full lives. We prayed that these walls would be melted with Christ’s love. We also prayed that there would be Holy Spirit-led inspiration to create new economic and social opportunities in the community that would enable families to flourish.
In another part of town, a group of diocesan leaders stood on empty social housing land and sensed another type of wall – the wall of bureaucracy. After years of land with no homes on it, the group sensed that delays in our government institutions amounted to a wall that needed to come down, like the walls of Jericho. So it seemed natural that the group would march around the property seven times, and then shout the walls down!
It might have been near impossible to know the impact we had in our prayer adventures, but we all could know through faith that our solidarity in prayer would lead to God’s Kingdom coming, and His will being done, in the Hutt Valley – and throughout this diocese – as it is in Heaven.