Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand (PCANZ) Moderator Right Rev Hamish Galloway has released this year’s Advent Message under the dark cloud of COVID19 and the threat of climate change. Quoting Pope Francis, Rev Galloway drew attention to wars, the refugee crisis, the production and trade in weapons – other tragedies less visible than COVID19, yet affect all of humanity.

As such, he urged church members to reflect on several questions while lighting each Advent candle imbued with meaning and relevance:

How do we die to ourselves and care for our neighbours with agape love?

How do we maintain unity, peace and welcome to all with the schism between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated in our society and churches?

Where can we find a deeper resilient joy in the Lord in such challenging times?

In conclusion, he exhorted them to light the hope candle with the conviction of God’s presence and the powerful memory that Jesus’ birth points to a God who has not abandoned us.