We are shocked at the pictures we see of the flooding in the North Island. While scenes of flooding from around the world and New Zealand seem to have flashed across our screen more often in recent years, this is still of a magnitude that we haven’t seen often in New Zealand. The utter helplessness in the face of these forces becomes just so obvious. Structures built by humans are so flimsy in comparison to landslides, flood waters and high seas. Still, many also point to the very human failures that result in heavy losses at such times: buildings in vulnerable places, forestry slash, stormwater systems that do not cope. Clearly some practices have to change; we have to see our activities and infrastructure in a more holistic way. Stormwater management, for example, needs to be part of wider land management. Forestry needs to be part of a wise use of the land. There are many things we can learn from such disasters. That will probably mean that houses and infrastructure will be more expensive in future. Our children and grandchildren will live in quite a different world as society tries to cope with more extreme weather.
The Bishop has advised us that a response by the Church to Cyclone Gabrielle is still being developed to help with recovery in the affected areas. At this time we are encouraged to pray for the people there, particularly those affected by a sense of hopelessness.
Vestry land vision meeting
Vestry met in late January to pray about and articulate a vision for the tennis court land. We came together with a few parishioners in the beautiful garden setting provided by Patricia Leadbeater. We discussed both an overall vision and more detailed proposals. One Bible verse which might guide our vision was the scene of peace in Zechariah 8:4–5: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Once again men and women of ripe old age will sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each of them with cane in hand because of their age. The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there.’
We discussed what a total loss of the land might mean and possibilities for both generating income and keeping some connection with the land.
We were guided by the requirement of Church Property Trustees (CPT) to provide a suitable vicarage and ensure a passive income while also taking into account social and missional objectives. We decided on three options that we would present to CPT for their feedback. Some of these options had been investigated for some time. We received more detailed information on the options at the February vestry meeting and should be able to submit them to CPT before April.