Presentation on theme: "Earthquakes? Cancer? Faith in God? An interview with Bishop Victoria Matthews of Christchurch New Zealand Bishop Victoria was one of the very first Anglican."— Presentation transcript:
Earthquakes? Cancer? Faith in God? An interview with Bishop Victoria Matthews of Christchurch New Zealand Bishop Victoria was one of the very first Anglican women priests to become a bishop, and served first in Canada, and now in New Zealand. She shares her experience of suffering and her vision of God’s love in this interview, which connects to RE learning not just about women bishops, but also about evil and suffering and about spirituality and revelation. There are 18 examples of pupils’ work as well.
What led to you becoming a priest? “When I was about 15 years old I was an unhappy teenager. I recognize now that this is quite common but at the time it was painful. My mother died when I was 13 and my father had re-married. I was lying in bed one night pondering life and all its unfairness when I heard a voice that said, “You are my beloved and I will never leave you or forsake you. And you will be my priest.” There was absolutely no question that the voice was Jesus, and I knew that at that moment my life had changed for ever. The Anglican Church of Canada would not ordain women to the priesthood for seven more years (November 30, 1976) and somehow I knew if I shared what I heard from God, I would be the laughing stock of family and friends. Thus, with God granted wisdom, I kept my calling to myself until I was in the last year of my undergraduate degree.”
What do you think the Christian vision of life offers to young people today? That is a great question. I think it offers everything. In the first world we are eaten up by consumerism. We are told that spending money and purchasing stuff is the secret to meaning and happiness. But that is not the Christian vision. The Christian vision is that God’s love is sacrificial. God is prepared to die that you might fully live. What a gift and a promise that is. So the Christian vision invites service and sacrificial giving.
Bishop Victoria’s cathedral, in Christchurch, before the earthquake – and afterwards.
In the classroom Read: a pair of students are to read the interview aloud to groups of 5 or 6, one reading questions, the other answers. Discuss: what did you find interesting, puzzling or surprising about Bishop Victoria? Consider: creating women bishops is controversial in Britain today. Why? In what ways do you think Bishop Victoria seems to be a good leader? What might the church be missing if this does not happen? Ask: if you could extend this interview, what extra 5 questions would you ask the bishop? Write: take a postcard, and write to Bishop Victoria. Keep it brief, but deep. In what you say, answer these two questions: what impressed you about her ideas and her life? What did you learn from this work? On the next 18 slides, you can read some replies to this task from other students, mostly aged 14 or 15.
What extra questions would you ask Bishop Victoria?
What do you think was the source of Bishop Victoria’s calmness in the face of suffering?
Hayley found the article made her think about purpose in life. What is Bishop Victoria’s purpose? And what would you say gives you purpose in life?
Lucy highlights the Bible quote: ‘For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain’ Explain to your partner what you think these words mean to Bishop Victoria
Why do you think some people ‘blame God’ for sufferings, while others continue to trust in God?
Why do you think Molly relates to the story of Bishop Victoria?
How do you think Bishop Victoria would answer Jasmine’s questions: ‘Should I have turned to God? Would it have helped?’
Eleanor talks about overcoming sexism. Who else do you know who has faced this challenge successfully?
“Feeling sorry for yourself because you’ve lost your phone is petty” Do you agree?
Luke is impressed by the impact of God’s voice on Bishop Victoria. Some other postcard writers have not mentioned this. How important is it in her story? [Note: most of the replies we got to this activity come from young women, but Luke and Liam (next slide) write very good ideas too. Any comments?]
Liam notices that Bishop Victoria made sense of her cancer through her faith. Do you know anyone else who uses religion to make sense of suffering? How do people do this?
What stereotypes do you think Hermione Alex and Emily are thinking about here? How can we get rid of such stereotypes?
Lindsay and Aresa compare losing faith with maintaining belief. Why do you think it might be good to maintain faith through troubles? Why is it hard?
What does Maddie mean by saying “we are so wrapped up in materialism that it takes something drastic to show us what is really important?” Do you agree?
Several postcards have mentioned inspiration. What, exactly, is this, do you think? Write a definition.
Imogen writes about making the most of the one precious life God has given us. What do you think are Bishop Victoria’s ways of putting this into action?
What extra questions would you ask Bishop Victoria now you have seen what other students said? How could you use her example in your exams? Think about topics like persecution and prejudice, evil and suffering and arguments about God.
Earthquakes? Cancer? Faith in God? An interview with Bishop Victoria Matthews of Christchurch New Zealand RE today would like to thank Bishop Victoria and also all the schools, teachers and students who have contributed to this work Copyright, RE Today, 2013.