Opoho Presbyterian Church is a friendly, multigenerational church, in the suburb of Opoho above the Botanic Gardens in Dunedin, New Zealand.
We welcome all people interested in living an abundant life in God, through following Jesus Christ.
We embrace a diversity of views and embrace and enjoy this diversity, always seeking answers and welcoming questions.
We meet on Sundays at 10 and at other times. Come and join us!
The God we gather to worship calls us to share the good news Jesus Christ brought us, and to help each other become part of what God is doing around us, being actively involved in the life of our community and nurturing each other in a fellowship of accepting love.
Due to the Covid-19 emergency, our morning worship service on Sunday 22 March was the last until further notice. Please follow us here and on facebook as we look to find other ways of being church and supporting each other through the time ahead.
50 Signal Hill Road
A Poem for Sunday Morning
Do you honestly think I will not be with you?
Can you really believe that 10 am on Sunday in a particular building defines me?
Have I not always walked with you, carried you, cradled you, watched over you?
Am I not here all around you?
Look out your windows – you see me
In the sky, in the birds, in the leaves, in the sun.
Look into your heart – I am there:
Your strength, your courage, your compassion, your goodness --
All of them came from your love of me,
And my love of you.
Do not despair.
You have always struggled with change and uncertainty.
Sometimes you have worried and lost hope.
Always I have come to you and lifted you up.
Hear me in the music. See me in the clouds, the sea, the night sky.
Believe me when I say:
Be Not Afraid.
Abby Smith, 29 March
A Lenten pandemic prayer
Good morning, Lord. It is Lent. This is the time when people traditionally give something up or maybe add in something new. A special time for reflection. We do this with different goals: to sacrifice as he did; to focus on important things; to revise, to reset, to reschedule. To become changed.
Lord, this year, we are all doing Lent, whether we like it or not. We are giving up handshaking. No passing of the peace, no hugs. No church, no parties, no weddings. We are adding in more hand-washing, thinking about distance. We are focusing on what’s important. We are sacrificing our freedom for the greater good: revising our plans, cancelling travel, going to work when we thought we were done, not going to work when
we thought we were busy. No doubt, we will all be changed.
The question is – how? We are not passive ragdolls, tossed about by random events. We have choices. We are the active creators of our own life stories. Will we become fearful and angry? Will we retract, constrict, hide? Will we refuse, deny, break the rules? Will we give up? Perhaps some will.
Lord, we ask, with all our hearts, this Lent, and this Pandemic, for your help. If we are to be changed, if the world is resetting, let it be guided by and grounded in your love. We ask for the chance, Lord, to know what’s right, and for the courage to do it. We ask for this new space and time we are likely to have to be positive, maybe even fruitful.
Today, we pray for everyone on this troubled beautiful globe, every single person, every one of your beloved people. Everyone here, everyone there. May we all be changed. May we find grace and love, compassion and care, now, in a Lenten Pandemic, and always.
Abby Smith, 22 March
Psalm writing at Opoho
A small group of us meet every two or three months to encourage each other with our with our psalm writing.
A collection of psalms from the first two years of the group is now available.
Prayer in a time of anxiety
Like many of us, I was taught to pray by my mother – simple prayers, and later a litany of intercession for a quite large group of relatives – all of them, except my sister, now departed.
Looking back now, I realise that none of that was ‘about me’, about what I wanted or thought I needed… .
Somehow, growing up, church left me with the impression that prayer was about asking, but at school I faced a question. Could I ask for success? - I did a bit of distance running at high school. But I came to realise that I was never going to be anywhere near the best, and that it would be wrong to ask for that – the best one on the day deserved to win.
The same issue arose about exams. I was always anxious, and prone to loosing focus. By now I was beginning to see some kind of ‘context’. Prayer needed to fit the context – it was not a magic way of manipulating it. I could ask for calm, and clear recollection of what I had studied, but the result was up to me.
As a university student I discovered Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a French priest-scientist who made a big effort to understand evolution in Christian (and somewhat mystical) terms. His Phenomenon of Man was much discussed at that time, but for prayer his Le Milieu Divin (the translator was stuck for an English equivalent) was more helpful. This ‘Living in the context of God’ made sense for me, alongside Paul’s assertion, ‘in him we live, and move, and have our being’.
Now, in this time of shared anxiety about what lies ahead, we are being called to think and act with those around us in mind. That is, to show solidarity – instead of entitlement. To live with the realisation that we are all in this together. To do first of all what is required, not what best suits us.
In a real sense prayer and solidarity are the inside and the outside of the same thing. If we do what we can, within the restrictions in place, to express kindness, to keep in contact by phone or other means, to help people to know we are mindful of their situations, then our prayer will focus also on the reality of God, and of the assurance we are not alone now, or at any time.
And what about prayer itself? Jesus spoke of a parent/child relationship. Many of us have learned how to listen to the concerns of our children, and recall sharing our own anxieties, even as adults. When I asked a group of village people in North Sumatra how they understood prayer I got a response I have never forgotten: ‘to present everything for God to look at’; but the man used a word for ‘present’ that is used in only one context – to present oneself or some situation, humbly and with a deep sense of awe and respect, for the Sultan to consider. Traditionally the sultans did not respond in any way. The petitioner had to leave his or her concern in trust…
One of the first names for the early followers of Jesus was people of ‘The Way’ – so prayer is part of our ‘Living in the Way of God’. And so is our solidarity with everyone around us. Prayer is how we can share our anxious concerns about what is ahead, and solidarity is our acting in the knowledge that ‘living in the Way of God’ gives shape and warmth to what we try to do together and for each other. We are all in this strange new reality together, but we are not alone. Prayer and solidarity are the shape of our response.
Simon Rae, 24 March