By: Rev Jennie Sim
Recently members of the Diocesan Council and the regional Archdeacons gathered with our bishops at Ngatiawa River Monastery for our annual retreat. As noted in the report to Synod, these retreats are a core part of our ‘business’, as we draw aside to spend time with God and with one another, allowing relationships to deepen and the Spirit to guide us in our work. At this retreat, we spent some time in quiet listening, asking questions that Bishop Ellie put to us to pray:
- Holy Spirit, what are you doing?
- How can we join in what you’re doing?
- Are there any inheritance scriptures that you want us to own in this season?
We also had a time of teaching and input from Rev Nigel Dixon, around the story of Jonah, posing us further provocative questions such as “how am I proclaiming in an anxious world?”
Our attempts to grapple with these heavy questions were amply fuelled by chocolate and cheese and rich conversations together, and the generous hospitality of the whānau of Ngatiawa, for which we are very grateful. We came away with a sense that God’s Spirit is continuing Jesus’ work of renovation, resolution and resurrection in us and through us as we serve together. While it’s often a challenge to get away from the busyness of our various mission units and family life, drawing aside to be in God’s presence for longer is always so worthwhile, even if only for 24 hours. It’s amazing how much God can speak, when we stop long enough to listen!