Jean Vanier honoured at Christchurch service


On Saturday 8 June, over 100 people joined with L’Arche (Kapiti), Mount Tabor (Auckland), Marralomeda (Christchurch) and Faith & Light communities to honour the memory of Jean Vanier who died in Paris on 7 May.

Participants in the service included people from all Christian faiths with and without intellectual disability.

A joyous atmosphere prevailed as the symbols and banners came up the aisle in procession and then a quiet moment while those present watched a video presentation on Jean’s life and message.

Speakers included:

  • Anne-Marie Pike, founder of Marralomeda Community, who spoke about the history of  the New Zealand Connection with Jean Vanier
  • Candice Wilson, community leader of L’Arche Kapiti, who spoke about the significance of the Washing of Feet in their communities
  • David Treanor, Envoy L’Arche International, who spoke about Jean Vanier’s last weeks and the peace he felt within as he made his journey home. David movingly read Jean’s last message to his friends.

The sacrament of the washing of feet is very central to life at L’Arche, Marralomeda and Faith & Light… a ritual that reminds them that Jesus calls us to serve one another.

After a reading from John’s Gospel, a mime was presented.

Then everyone in the congregation washed each other’s hands in pairs and shared a blessing/prayer together.

Christchurch’s Catholic bishop Paul Martin and the Anglican Bishop of Christchurch Peter Carrell washed each other’s hands and prayed together.

Quotations from Jean were read by some of the young people present.

The celebration concluded with the singing of  “Christ be Our Light” and a bit of fun when everyone batted balloons to each other.


Supplied: Anne-Marie Pike

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News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

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