Who is my neighbour?

Sermon Luke 10:25-37

Who is my neighbour?

The story of the good Samaritan is really well known. It’s probably one of the Bible stories that people who know nothing else about Jesus have heard the gist of. We have a help-line called the Samaritans, where you can ring if you’re really at the end of your tether, and know that there will be someone kind and helpful on the other end of the phone. The phrase ‘a Good Samaritan’ crops up in the local paper regularly – it usually refers to someone who anonymously acted kindly, and often people are trying to find out who they are so they can thank them in person. Continue reading

Sermon: What is Anglicanism?


What is Anglicanism?

Felicity O’Brien  2013

Thank you for asking me to come and talk to the U3A group today. My name is Felicity O’Brien, and I am a deacon in the Tawa Anglican Parish. Today’s talk is on the topic “What is Anglicanism?” We will start by looking briefly at the history of the Anglican Church, both in the UK and here in NZ, then we will look at the doctrines and liturgy that underpin it, noting the way doctrine is treated. We will look at what holds it all together, and then consider the way Anglicanism accords authority to Scripture, tradition and reason, the three ‘pillars’ of Anglicanism. Finally we’ll have a brief look at some of the new ways Anglicanism is responding to our times.

What is Anglicanism?  To put it in context, we will have a quick lesson in English history -‘Anglican’ comes from the Latin word for English.[1] There had been Christians in Great Britain since Roman times[2] but after 1066 England was more integrated with Europe[3] and the church was ubiquitous[4] and powerful.[5] In the fourteenth century John Wyclif[6] started to distribute an English-language version of the Bible to his followers.[7] Many people had little respect for the church,[8] which required heavy taxes, and rulers throughout Europe resented the money going to Rome. King Henry VIII, a very devout man,[9] had a problem. His wife was not able to give him a son, and he wanted the Pope to allow a divorce so he could marry again.[10] He had an Act of Parliament[11] written severing all ties with Rome, setting up what was in effect a new church, with himself as head.[12] [13] Continue reading

Odd Socks

Odd socks

You might wonder why there’s a picture of my son’s feet with odd socks on.

Whenever I buy socks for the kids, I tend to get those packs with three pairs in, hoping that they will at least last for a few months. It would be more sensible to get three identical pairs, because several inevitably get spirited away by the sock monster, but this set of three similar, toning, pairs looked so smart that I bought them.

When my boy put them on, I said, “hey, that’s not a pair!”

“It doesn’t matter what they look like Mum, they feel right”, he said.

I started thinking about this. Maybe what things look like is not as important as how they feel.

This is a good description for my journey this year into the Diaconate. This diocese has  had very little awareness of what the Diaconate is, and the usual journey towards ordination has taken people into the priesthood. That’s what has been expected, that’s what ‘looks right’. That’s what people in the congregation expected.

But my journey has taken a  different path, one that takes a bit of explaining to people. it doesn’t look the same as that of other clergy. It seems an odd match to what I originally saw as God’s calling for me.

But the Diaconate feels right! I am doing things that I love, I have a wider area of work and influence than if I were a priest, and fewer responsibilities, which fits with my family.

Next time I find myself or the boys wearing odd socks, I will smile, and say, “but it feels right!”