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Sacred Differences blog: Uncomfortable Community


By Laura Taylor

Over Queens Birthday, I held an ‘orphans’ dinner for anyone stranded here for the long weekend. When putting the word out I completely relinquished control of the guest list, and we ended up with 30 people crammed into my flat. It got meeeessy - cousins, flatmates and neighbours all bumping knees and glasses - but something magic happened. I watched as people arrived and did a double take as it dawned on them this was a mostly unfamiliar room of...others.

Imagine if church became a place where everyone is safe, but nobody is comfortable” - Rachel Held Evans

The concept of being uncomfortable is something I have been becoming familiar with, at least over the past five years. I started my first job as the only pākehā in my team at an indigenous broadcaster. I then walked in as an ill-informed and equally sheltered church girl to manage the marketing for arguably the world's most liberal media company. I grappled with the immense imbalance between the able-bodied and disabled societal experience when my boyfriend at the time became a wheelchair user. I kept getting uprooted and then placed into communities and scenarios that in all honesty I wouldn’t necessarily have chosen for myself. And while they sure as hell didn’t keep me comfortable, each time I found myself leaving with a new layer of empathy and understanding.

It is often in places of discomfort when, as C.S. Lewis superbly describes “our little happinesses start to resemble broken toys” that the veil is lifted. On his years spent at a disabled facility, Daybreak, Henri Nouwen wrote “when I think of my own pain, inner unrest and turmoil, I think not of how God brought me to sheltered place isolated from pain. On the contrary, nowhere can I better see hardship than among people who have suffered. I have been surrounded by people in great and inevitable need. And still, nowhere have I celebrated so much or so richly. When we celebrate together, we do not marshal degrees, prizes or promotions but rather that the gift of life has revealed itself in the midst of all the losses”.

Divinity meets humanity

I grew up with a pretty warped idea of love, it was always just quite out of my grasp (anxious/avoidant attachers you feel me). I longed to fall in love and finally ‘feel home’, but when the opportunity presented itself, it felt like a show-home; one I couldn’t quite believe I deserved. So I would hold it lightly, scared that if I clung to it, if I wanted it too much, it would shatter, all broken glass and splintered door frames. And when ultimately the walls that had housed me and the warmth that had healed me splattered and burst before my eyes, combusting quickly in the flash-fire of two people clumsily trying to work out whether or not they could share this space, it would confirm that message - you aren’t good enough.

Which was the narrative I told myself for most of my adolescent life, and the more I talk to people, seems to be the shared experience of many young people in the church. Which really is just nuts considering the bible is littered with stories of Prodigal love, of divinity meeting humanity. God seems to constantly show up in the broken/uncomfortable/insert-dissonant-adjective-here to be with the very people who have a definitive lack. Everyone’s favourite German, Jürgen Moltmann writes on this “in a civilisation that glorifies success and happiness and is blind to the sufferings of others, people’s eyes can be opened to the truth if they remember that at the centre of the christian faith stands an unsuccessful, tormented Christ, dying in forsakenness.”

Amongst the difference, amidst the brokenness, when we long to deeply, truly know the other, that is when we start to discern just how deeply and truly we too are known. I couldn’t know His grace until I fell from it, I couldn’t realise His strength until I was floored by my own inability, I hadn’t experienced the freedom of forgiveness until I was deeply hurt.

As Rachel Held Evans puts perfectly - “He shows us how to enter into a way of life in which the broken and sick pieces are held together in a way of love, in which strangers literally touch each other and in doing so make a community spacious enough for everyone”. It’s time to grow the heck up and start listening to our other. Let go of the accommodating narratives that keep us comfortable, flag the ‘my-perfect-wife-in-the-front-row-and-two-kids’ daydream and instead be honest that if we haven't experienced brokenness yet, we probably will soon, so let’s just wrap our arms around each other and really try this love thing.

And it’s not easy, opening yourself up to love another really hurts. That’s the risk of asking to be known. It’s admitting that you care, and that it would cost you something to lose this person. It is fighting through awkward, uncomfortable and sometimes outright humiliating conversations when letting go would honestly just be easier. Again Henri writes “loving someone means allowing the other person to respond in ways you have no control over. For the great mystery of love is that while it can be received it can also be rejected, every time you love you enter into the risk of love”.

It is a self-giving, sacrificial, deeply vulnerable gift. But I’m convinced it is at the same time a work of art and the most natural thing we could ever do. It is the calling and desire of our heart and to mourn the loss of it, does not mean it was never there, or won’t be again. We don’t float in and out of love as much as God doesn’t float in and out of the sky to dabble here and there. Love is always here, love is in our blood and our bones cry out to give it.

Loving the other

I go to a homegroup and I often think about how on paper, it’s completely nuts. Amongst others, we have the husband who makes hilariously inappropriate comments, the beautiful mum who is full of wisdom, the dearly-loved dad who a few weeks ago asked what ‘lol’ means (wait not lots of love?!)  thrown in with a couple of students and burnt-out millenials who gather biweekly around a coffee table and a plate of Mint Slices joined together by one common purpose - to truly love one another. It’s not smooth, there are mismatched beliefs and uncomfortable moments but over the past four years we have carried one another through real crap. At some point, and I couldn’t tell you when, we stopped seeing age and stage and became a family. And it is the most pure and beautiful thing I have ever been a part of.

What if the next step, for all of us, is both as simple and mind-bendingly complex as loving the other. In whatever space, romantic, familial, friend, we all just commit to being out here, walking each other home with grit and willingness and most of all propelled by grace. That’s the kind of church we all could get on board with.

“We created something precious, together, in the midst of very dark times. Is that not what love is all about? - Jared Noel

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Next message series: Sacred Differences


Following on from Pentecost something amazing happened in the people who were following the way of Jesus; they became a place in the world of radical diversity, unified despite their differences, making peace for all to be welcomed into this new Way. They became a community of sacred differences.

Join us on this new series June 16—July 28 as we explore what diversity means in the story of the Kingdom of God right now.



Pentecost Takeover Part III: Where To From Here?


So, there’s a strong sense that we’re swivelling in our own prophetic story. We’re hurling toward this Pentecost feeling as though we’re becoming stronger, more open, and more willing to take on responsibility for the hurting world around us. Change is in there air and we’re reshaping the way we tell our own story.

Where to from here then? How does any of this change our daily, weekly, monthly rhythms as a community?

Well, here are three ways as a starting point that I see we can lean into this newness moment;

1. A New Story Requires a New Outpouring

Whenever the Spirit brings a new calling to a person or community it brings with it a deep sense of insecurity and self-awareness.

If the many of us in our community are to move from identifying as exiles finding a home to wounded-healers building a new home for others, we’re going to need some divine grace to grow in the gifting we need to see it happen.

Pentecost is about God’s empowerment partnering with our intention.

We need a new outpouring of the Spirit to invite those we’re not connected with yet into our midst, and then we’ll need the Spirit’s gifting and power to give us the courage and strength to heal them in the way they need it most.

This is God’s work from beginning to end and we will need a newness of God to achieve it.

2. A New Story Requires A New Language

Psalm 107 has given us a language - this North, South, East and West in-gathering of our generation to the table of hospitality. We’ve leant into that language and given ourselves and each other space to heal.

Now, we’re leaning into the latter verses where we can “establish a city to dwell in” (107:36) and “sow fields, plant vineyards and get a fruitful yield. [that] By his blessing they will multiply greatly” (107:38).

Not because we haven’t done it, but because we’re now identifying it with our collective calling, not jsut the calling of the minority.

This means each one of us needs to seek a Spirit-empowered-prayer-dependant trust in God to build this community right. It means we start to build a common language of building a home for others, for divine hospitality, for divine encounter and for healing.

The shape of our prayers can continue to turn outward as they already are, and Tables, CR and Gratis can be ever further engulfed into our collective spirituality, allowing them to take the lead in showing us how to reach out to our own worlds.

Every one of us is responsible for this journey of language discovery.
We’ll only discover it together.

3. A New Story Requires New Practices

Starting with prayer.

There can be no new outpouring of God’s empowerment and no new language without first discovering it in prayerful imagination. We are not inviting people to our table, but to God’s and to do that we must first practice the Spirit’s hospitality ourselves.

If there is some kind of cost to owning new space and becoming more responsible for the world around us it’s surely first discovered in prayer. Where we take on the longing for healing and freedom and love of the world around us, on our knees, in the quiet spaces we’d otherwise give to entertainment and self-satisfaction.

Prophetic words are a co-artistry with the Holy Spirit, and prayer is the palette we paint with.

But that’s not all we have. These prayers should lead us into new habits of invitation toward family, workmates, colleagues and acquaintances to our own dinner tables.

Our prayers empower our actions, they don’t replace them.

To sum it all up, what we need to become is a community seeking the Spirits empowering for the good of the world around us, discovering a new language for the house we’re building, and praying our guts off to see God’s kingdom come in our midst.

You in?



Changing our story and living into God’s invitation takes intention and grace. We need a new Pentecost moment with every new call God brings into our lives because it’s his kingdom-power that delivers the goods, not our own energy. But by leaning into the language of where we’re going and seeking God in urgent prayer, we can partner with the Spirit to bring about newness in our community and city.


What areas of your life do you feel you need a new outpouring of the Spirit to see breakthrough in?

What could it look like for you to partner more intentionally with God in those areas?

What rhythms or ministries within Central Vineyard are you passionate about seeing empowered?

What practices do you have in your life currently that remind and prompt you to pray for God’s outpouring into yourself and the work you’re doing in the kingdom?

Take a minute to ask the Spirit whom in your life he may want to invite to his table in this season?


We need your power, Father,
now as much as ever.
Only you can change our story,
empower our community life,
and form us into a people of loving-prayer.
Teach us how to participate in your holy invitation,
To the world and to each other,
That we may build the kingdom your way,
in your strength,
and in your tender love.



Pentecost Takeover Part II: Learning To Tell A New Story


Earlier this year Rob Wiseman said something to me that really stuck. I was in the middle of making sense of a sudden change of life for the better. I’d gone from some incredibly hard years into a space where it felt like things were getting constantly better for me and the family. As weird as it may sound to you reading this, it was actually hard for me to lean into the idea that things were changing for good and that it wasn’t just some small interval before the next disaster.

Well, in the middle of my verbal processing with Rob he stopped me and said something really profound, “sounds like it’s time for you to change the narrative you’re telling about your life.”

He was dead right.

It’s not always easy to change the way you’re telling our own story because more often than not there are no clear page turns or new chapter titles - we transition through seasons slowly. That’s what makes prophecy so beautiful.

When God speaks prophetically into our lives he gives us a new story to hook into, one that can change the way we speak about our circumstances and the small decisions we make in our immediate hours, days and weeks.

Prophecy opens up a new space in our imagination so we can tell another story. The story of who God is helping us become.

Well, five weeks ago we felt God say the same thing to us as a community as Rob had said to me. We were drawn back to relook at our story in Psalm 107, to see where God leads these exiles once they’ve been gathered from the four corners of the earth. As we reflected we felt the Spirit calling us to rediscover our lives in this new city we find ourselves in. To retell our narrative as the gathered people and not no longer the still-gathering.

As we prayed it through he showed us that once this generation were drawn together where “he let’s the hungry dwell, and establish a city to dwell in” (107:36) they were then called to “sow fields, plant vineyards and get a fruitful yield. [that] By his blessing they will multiply greatly” (107:38).

In other words, they changed the story they were telling about their journey.
It may sound like semantics, and it’s not like we haven’t been putting our roots down these years anyway, but when wanderers begin to take responsibility for the land they’re settling in they take ownership of the space of hospitality.

They pivot from the mentality of those in need to those reaching out to others who need.

What that doesn’t mean for us, is our creating new programs and changing the way we are in order to become more “evangelistic” in whatever sense you may hear that word. But what it does mean is that we need to be willing to change our own narrative from being a people who are gathering from the four corners of spiritual doubt, cynicism, pride or woundedness to a people setting a table for a world that feels all those things without the hope of Jesus.

That will be easier for some of us reading this than others.

It means us re-looking at our practices and how we live them out with even more intention and love. It means taking on responsibility for our part in the table setting of divine love.

If we start building our community without stepping out of our exile identity as a generation, we’ll probably never even think to imagine we’re ready to begin playing our part in that table setting.

It’s not impossible to get addicted to healing up and to being given space to rest and time to get your bearings. But we can’t live there. Not if we want to keep healthy.

What’s meant to be a stage in our coming back to communion with God can quickly become a lifestyle. But if we primarily identify with our hurts, doubts, and aches, we begin a process of blinding ourselves to the needs of others.

That’s why the ending of Psalm 107 is so important to us, and why we based an entire series “Faithful Presence” on it. Because ultimately, this North, South, East and West gathering of ours was for a purpose - it was to become wounded-healers, the hospitalised becoming the hospitable, the hungry now becoming the table setters for the great banquet of love that is the kingdom of heaven.

How do we go about this as a community? You’ll have to wait until the next blog post for that. What’s important today is that we consider the shift. That we look deep within ourselves as individuals and as a community and to ask ourselves if we’re willing to open up, to accept that we are no longer a generation of cityless people, but that we’ve found a home, and it’s time to open it up to the world with new eyes.

That’s not assuming you’re not already doing that by the way - our living this way is one of my great prides in our community. But as I learn’t in my conversation with Rob, it’s not only about what we’re doing or not doing, it’s about starting with a story change and allowing the prophetic Spirit to move in us through that as we tell a new story together.

So, are you ready to respond to the Spirit with us and help us change the story of Central Vineyard?




[As part of our preparation for Pentecost I’ve created some questions and prompts to pray through individually and in whatever circles you’re gathering in these next few weeks. Each blog post will end with an opportunity to allow the Spirit to prompt you in your own journey and your place in the whole as we work toward our Pentecost evening on June 9.]



Sometimes it takes us a while to catch up with what God is doing and to find language for it. Every now and then we have to choose to change the story we’re telling about our lives before we’re even ready to accept it - a prophetic decision to lean into the future God is designing whether we feel ready or not. We feel the Spirit telling us that we’re in this moment as a community. That he has gathered us from the four corners of our generation and that it’s time to respond to him in discovering how identifying as welcomers, and not exiles, in God’s tomorrow looks like.


What are some moments or seasons in your life you’ve felt God calling you to “change the story you’re telling about your life”?

How have you responded to this invitation over time? Or have you not?

What do you think it looks like for us as a community to respond to this invitation?

What part do you play - large or small - in helping us lean into this prophetic moment?

What do you feel the Spirit might say to us to encourage us at this turning point?


God of ever-flowing newness, make us your newness people too.
You have gathered us and healed us,
At times in part, and at times in full,
At times in minutes, and at times with patient longevity.
Make us wounded-healers just like you,
Gatherers of thirsty, hurting and disoriented souls,
Table setters in the wilder-places,
Courageous ushers of your kingdom.
You’re changing our story, you’re writing new history,
Teach us how to build with you,
As you prophesy to the uncertainty within us.



Pentecost Takeover Part I: Our Prophetic Journey


When I first stumbled into the Auckland Normal Intermediate hall where Central Vineyard was meeting at the time I was at the end of myself spiritually speaking. Katie and I had been visiting churches for well over 9 months trying to return to local church after a three year hiatus where we’d been meeting in home churches, prayer gatherings and through local and international travel.

We were exhausted. Exhausted because we were tired of walking into church communities that felt foreign to who we’d found God to be. But also exhausted inside. We were wondering whether to give up hope that there was a community that felt as if the Spirit would be free to lead us as a people, together.

Walking out of ANI that day, out of that small gathering of forty people, Katie and I didn’t even discuss it, we just knew we’d found our home.

We felt at the time like we were exiles who had found a table to eat at, sojourners who’d finally found a place of acceptance. A place we could rest. We’d found our home now not only in God’s kingdom, but in a particular local community that understood.

This story and this language has been a consistent theme over the years when we’ve asked newcomers their experience of walking into one of our gatherings. From day dot we’ve been walking in a story of homecoming, and on our first birthday the Spirit confirmed it when he told us through a prophetic word that we were and would become a Psalm 107 community.

Psalm 107 depicts a people - an exile people - being gathered from the four corners of the earth, being healed by God and welcomed back into his family. It’s the only Psalm or small body of writing in the entire bible that repeats the same phrase four times only to represent the four navigational points of both our physical and spiritual worlds.

for us, This Psalm is an all-embodying statement that God was bringing us home from spiritual malnourishment, disappointment, hurt, cynicism, depression, pride and loneliness. it was our homecoming.

This word and Psalm were the foundation of our Faithful Presence series which helped us lay a foundation of hospitality, gratitude and spiritual expression in the worlds around us. Many of us felt like we were re-building the basics of following Jesus together through the months and years that followed.

As we slowly grew into who God was inviting us to become we became living proof that “He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water” (107:35).

From that first birthday of around 80 people or so to the next we doubled in exiles finding their way home. Now, as we head toward our fourth birthday we’ve tripled that and then some the size of our table with people who have met us over dinner, found us in our aching to overcome, sat with us in our desire to beat numbness and celebrated with us in the new life that God has brought.

This Pentecost, we remember that god spoke, then transformed us. He made a highway in the wilderness for us. he made a people where there had been no people.

On our first coming of age he told us he would bring in more of us, and he did. He kept his promise because it was his pleasure and longing to do so. That’s so much of what the prophetic is.

In our story so far, the Spirit moved among us to do what so many people thought would be impossible - he brought in hundreds of us from a “lost generation”. One we’re told were doing little more than leaving religion behind for cynicism and hurt.

So maybe our own prophetic Psalm could go something like this:

“God saw us out there in the far reaches of our liminal spaces,
and he loved us too much to leave us in our wandering.
He drew us in, little by little,
until the deserted city became a flourishing garden -
One not full of overconfidence and self assured know-how,
but full of the meek,
the unsure,
the recovering.
God brought us together and blessed us so that we could heal,
so that we could re-understand his love for us
and his promise to make a Way.
Now, Central Vineyard has become a gather place
for the North, South, East and West of a lonely generation.
Our own little monument to hope,
in the midst of a world experiencing a crisis of faith.”

But God is speaking to us as a people in a new way again.
The Spirit is on the move - as he always is - and we’re not about to stop following him.
This Pentecost we’re preparing for a change, a pivot, a swing into something new, discomforting and exciting.

And we hope you’re ready for the adventure.




[As part of our preparation for Pentecost I’ve created some questions and prompts to pray through individually and in whatever circles you’re gathering in these next few weeks. Each blog post will end with an opportunity to allow the Spirit to prompt you in your own journey and your place in the whole as we work toward our Pentecost evening on June 9.]



God is the welcomer of exiles. He goes out to find any person who is lost, overwhelmed, exhausted or dehydrated by their own mistakes and by the worlds. He has drawn us all into a particular spiritual family in a particular place - Central Vineyard - and now we have a particular story together. God is restless until he has met us kindly in the wilderness. We remember and we celebrate him in our communal awakening story this Pentecost season.


Read through Psalm 107

Where do you find yourself in the story of the exiles coming home?
What was it like for you before you joined the Central Vineyard whanau?
What’s changed since you have?
Who has God revealed himself to be in this journey?


Father of the four corners of our hearts,

  our world,  

     our cosmos;

we celebrate your welcoming disposition toward us;

       your drawing us in and your making us a home together

               in this place of hope and healing.

We remember our unique collective story -

 That you have given us a family,

    And that you have built us a home.

May we never forget it.




A Prayer Vigil Homily: Love, hatred and us

This homily was written and spoken by Strahan Coleman at our Prayer Vigil on March 20th.

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
— 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

What is love?

We say that God is love.

But if so, what kind of love is God? Is it the kind of love that seeks for itself to be in control? Or to overcome evil or their enemies through coercion and strength?

Is God the kind of love that separates, see’s others superficially and seeks to overcome their individuality and personal expression?

What is love?

God is love.

But what kind of love is he?

And if God is love, then what does that mean for us, for humanity and for the world?

God may not be anything at all for you tonight. God, may be a myth, a hypothetical or an obstruction to love. God may even be a terrible memory or a bad taste in your mouth.

If so, then what is love?

And if God isn’t love to you, then who is God?

We can be in danger of misunderstanding love. Without an anchor love can become a chameleon to our own personal motives, our selfish ambition or at worst, our untamed hatred.

When we misunderstand love, we misunderstand one another and even our enemies because humanity was made to function perfectly only under the warmth and expression of love. Love is meant to be in our DNA. Like oxygen, love has the power to air out the sickness within us, within our communities and within our minds if we will allow it.

So when we lose love, when we misunderstand or manipulate it, we risk the wellbeing of our society, and the fabric of goodness that holds it together.

Regardless of religion or belief few people could disagree about the qualities of love that we heard earlier tonight - that it is kind, that it is patient, that it is caring and seeks to build up rather to tear down another.

Few people would argue that love is violent, that it is self-seeking, that it excludes or that it would rather risk harming the other before laying down it’s own self.

In the Christian tradition it is believed that God is love, and that he is the kind of love that would rather die for His enemies than kill them. Something we largely misunderstood for millennia, and something that sadly today, many of us still completely miss. That kind of love, that Christ-love, would have been found lying with the victims in the mosques last Friday. That kind of love would rather have bled with them than be the aggressor against them. That kind love, we must sorely admit, has on the whole been absent from our tradition for far too long.

That same kind of love would refuse to coerce even its enemies to believe as it does, or to act as they do. Because that kind of love also respects the autonomy of the human heart to choose.

Because what is love if it is not free?

Love was made to be the fabric of every culture, religion and race.

Love is humanity expressing herself at it’s best. But when love is centered on oneself, one’s own race, or one’s belief systems, then this distortion tears at the fabric of human dignity.

What happened last Friday was not right-love. It was fractured love, love for self and an obsession over differences.

In fact, it wasn’t love at all. It was hatred, hatred born from the fear of losing power. What if that kind of hatred is born when we consider ourselves more worthy of particular rights than another? More worthy of land or peace or power.

Maybe hatred isn’t in that sense necessarily an absence of love but a misdirection of it. Maybe it’s an over consideration for one’s own self which when placed in the hands of ideologies that further exaggerate them, causes love to suffer great harm.

In this light, last Friday, the life of fifty people were taken because one refused to allow a self-sacrificing love, an other-love, to inform their own worldview.

It’s easy to place the blame for that kind of misdirected love solely on the deranged, the obscure or the rare. But painfully, the risk of that kind of malfunctioned love exists within every one of us.

Last Friday true-love wept and grieved as hatred stole the lives of fifty innocent people.

People who were themselves seeking greater love, greater peace, and greater hope.

These fifty people had taken time out of their week to actively embrace love, and were slain during their ascension toward it.

That injustice, that heartbreaking image will haunt our history forever. There is no way to go back, no way to erase the pain and horror that their families now experience as a result of another’s hate.

In our limited capacity we can’t change the past.

But we can change the future.

We can change the future by not waking up tomorrow as we did yesterday, but by being more aware and more willing to seek out the other.

We can change the future by refusing to continue to love in a passive or naive kind of way.

We can change our future by allowing our love to be affected by grief, even matured, even transformed by it.

By choosing tonight to wake tomorrow with the kind of love that humanity should hope for - a selfless, other-filling love, love that seeks to embrace and celebrate difference rather than allow it to separate us, a love that doesn’t need to agree in order to eat together, play together, or dream of a better future together - we can change the country our children will grow up in and that the marginal in our communities can enjoy.

These days require so much more of us than the past. For the religious, they require us to practice what we’ve preached for so long but refused to live. We must look outward toward those who are different to us and unite in the face of a world in crises, an environment in deep threat, and a society broken in pieces by the politics, beliefs and actions of hate.
These days require us to not allow assumption to empower our enemies. They require us to speak up, not just for Muslims, not just for immigrants or those from different cultural backgrounds, but for the marginalised wherever and whoever they may be.

These days require us, regardless of beliefs, to seek out a true love, a love that can unite an increasingly hostile global community and an increasingly aching one. They require us to lay ourselves down not for one another’s similarity, but for the innate value of humanity in every single human being.

Because the kind of love we long to celebrate, the kind of love we hope to saturate our lives in, is the kind of love that seeks not to assimilate one another, but to honour and embrace.

That is probably the kind of love being sought by the men, woman and children at the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre last Friday.

So today we grieve, we weep and we remember the fifty who were unjustly slain and their mourning families.

But we can also resolve to not allow our communities, our families and ourselves to go on un-evaluated and unwilling to make this world a better place, in love.

We may carry wounds, we may carry anger and frustration, but those wounds can strengthen us if we let them, they do not have to weaken us.

They are a part of our story now. A story of redemption and hope and of forgiveness and love, if we choose it to be.

My prayer is that that story will become our story.

The story of Aotearoa.

A people learning to love.




New journey: Twenty_One_Days


We’ve just spoken about our sacred togetherness as a community, and now it’s time to put our action where our intent is. As a church our vision is to pursue Jesus fully with our whole lives and to actively play the unique part He is calling each of us to, together.

You might realise something as you read that, but if you missed it, we’ll make it clear: something our church is passionate about is to see the vision Jesus gives you for your life happen.

But how do we get this vision?

Jesus had a rule for how he went about this himself. He said in John 5:19 that He “only does what He saw the Father doing.” He did this by retreating to pray and seek, or other times He did it by spotting the Father’s leading in the moments right in front of Him as He met a person who needed to be healed or forgiven. All Jesus did was informed by His choice to be a person of prayer, so as a church, we are taking 21 days to seek God in this way for ourselves, our church and our city.

TWENTY_ONE_DAYS is us together seeking God in many ways – messing up the norms and moving the furniture around as we do so – and if you want to pursue Jesus intentionally with us, we’d love you to join us in this journey.





Welcome to 2019 at Central Vineyard!


We’ve had a couple of weeks powered-down and this week we have turned off the auto-reply on the emails and flicked everything back into action.

With the beginning of this new year we are excited to begin with our new staff and leadership structure. Welcome to Rob and Alisha Wiseman who now begin their new roles as co-leaders at Central Vineyard alongside Dan and Gab! There are some other changes in our team and some new things, but more on that later in the month...

With this new season, we want to ask something of you: Can you please take some time this week to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you afresh about what His call is to you and our church this year? We are so quick to put in plans, but we do not want to go where Jesus is not leading us as we begin this chapter of the pilgrimage together. As Jesus taught us to pray; give us today our daily bread – what we need for now, not what we had last year.

We believe that as we continue to trust Jesus we will be in for a great journey this year.

See you at our gathering this Sunday – or the next one if you’re still away – and don’t forget to get your tickets for our big start-of-the-year moment together: formatio.

See you soon!



Good Gifts for Gratis

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Each year Central Vineyard takes the opportunity of Christmas time to look outward in serving and blessing our community in a meaningful way. For the last two years we have begun an initiative called Good Gifts - together, we contributed to, assembled, and gave beautiful gift hampers to those nearest to us.

This year we are excited to be giving our Good Gifts to our Gratis community!


Our Gratis community comes from the Gratis Free Store, which we have been running out of our Community Hall for the last year and a half. We collect surplus food from local cafes and give it out freely every Monday evening, creating conversation and community with all who come. Many people in our community don't have a lot, and Christmas can be a challenging time to make ends meet. We want to do what we can to make their Christmas season a little more special.

What are our 2018 Good Gifts?

This year our Good Gifts are going to be a mix of practical and treat; socks, tea, soap and chocolate, all bundled up with care and love.

Donate, Assemble, PASS-ON.

Each Good Gift for Gratis costs $20, so please consider donating for one – or as many as you would like – below.

On Sunday 16 December 3pm-5pm we will be assembling our Good Gifts at Community Hall, please consider volunteering to come and help us, sign up below.

The Good Gifts will be passed-on to Gratis customers on the final Gratis evening of 2018 (17 December) by our wonderful Gratis team and the volunteers that evening.


Name *
Donations are given to Central Vineyard Charitable Trust and are tax deductible.

Online giving information will follow form submission. Any questions please email accounts@centralvineyard.org


Name *



Advent Journey 2018: The God Interruption

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In amongst the absence of God speaking to his people,
the oppression of another Empire ruling over them,
the apprehension of what was to become of them,
and the narcissism of self-preservation, came the God interruption.

From the absence, came hope.
From the oppression, came joy.
From the apprehension, came peace.
From the narcissism, came love.

Emmanuel – God with us – interrupted human history and started to write a new story.

For December we are making space for this same interruption to grab us as we head towards Christmas by walking an advent journey through each of these themes together.

Hope, joy, peace, love… Christ.