A Future of Hope -Lent Study Guide 2024
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This study gives us the opportunity to contemplate how we will live out our faith as churches, as communities of grace.
A Future of Hope comes about in the context of the need for the Church in Aotearoa to respond meaningfully to the work of the Abuse in Care Royal Commission. This study is intended to complement and build on A Holy Church published last year but can also be used on its own. Where A Holy Church focused on our relationship with God, A Future of Hope speaks more to our relationship with our neighbour. While parts of this study necessarily deal with the past, it is deliberately future focused, asking how we can walk forward together without ignoring the past.
This second and final study in this series is not the end the work required of us, but I hope it is a good next step. As I said of A Holy Church,a key goal is to help churches find a posture from which to response meaningfully to the Royal Commission. We must both face up to our shortcomings and commit to doing better into the future.
The study opens with a chance to draw lessons from Restorative Justice, a practice where offenders and victims have the opportunity to meet, share, and listen to each other. The Christian faith’s teaching on forgiveness is one of our unique gifts but it is a gift that has been misused. My chapter explores the limits and challenges of forgiving when harm happens in churches. David Tombs offers us a perspective on the Parable of the Good Samaritan that will help us consider the matter of redress for victims.
Communities are affected by traumatic events and Lucy D’Aeth brings her public health expertise to bear on how communities can build resilience and promote wellbeing. As we work to build communities that are safe for everyone, we can sometimes experience new requirements as imposed regulations. Cherie Dirkze helps us see safeguarding as reflecting who we know God to be. We finish with some reflection on how we might live out these lessons in our own church communities.