We gathered around the banqueting table to meet as the family of God, to listen to our keynote speakers Dr Justine Cornwall (Deputy Children’s Commissioner) share our stark statistics surrounding child poverty – for many it was the first time they had heard the reality of what many of our children face in our communities.
Bishop Justin gathered us around the banqueting table and reminded us of our ability to invite people to share at the table. That as people of God we offer all people the story of Jesus as a life transforming and each Sunday we invite all especially the last, the lost and the least to the banqueting table at our Eucharist.
Every available space from the crypt to the Loaves and Fishes held workshops surrounding our key themes. People loved the casual approach to attend the workshops or wander through the market space as we shared information, caught up with old friends and encouraged each other on the journey.
Around 500 people gathered in spite of the wind and rain to meet, and many people had journeyed from as far away as Raetihi, Whanganui, Ashhurst and Pahiatua to be a part of this key event. The feedback was extremely positive, with words such as ‘vibrancy’ and ‘so encouraging’.
Of particular note was the number of people who said they did not realise the plight of our children, and the value they found by being a part of the hui event to be informed and then resourced to take that information back to their parishes. People loved seeing the cathedral space being used in such a way, and the freedom of the space to wander, to picnic and to worship together in such numbers was a real treat.
The stalls were varied and interesting from St Matthew’s, Palmerston North parish who brought their stories around making slippers for the children at the local school who arrived with wet and cold feet, to the container that has been refurbished at St Peter’s on Willis, Wellington where volunteers share surplus food from local cafés with travellers and people who live around the streets of inner city Wellington. Our thanks go to the team from All Saints’, Palmerston North who replicated their free sausages to Friday/Saturday night revellers to the people who visited for the hui.
It was great to see our social services there representing the work they do on behalf of the wider Anglican church – the Family Centre from Lower Hutt, the City Mission and ACROSS Social Services in Palmerston North.
A big thank you goes out to the teams of people who helped set up the cathedral, who worked in the market place and who ran workshops, and all those others who gave of their time and energy to make the day such a success. Many people came not sure of what to expect but all went away feeling the richer for the experience of having been a part of this family day.
The best and easiest feedback we can act upon came from one of our youngest supporters Elliot McKenzie who has asked for cars and petrol stations for the kids to play with. So Elliot we are seeking to improve every opportunity we can and we take on board all your feedback.
Tinopai to koutou atawhai me to koutou hoatanga
Blessings and Arohanui
Archdeacon Wendy Scott