Thanksgiving Service - Auckland 2010

Service of Thanksgiving in recognition of those who have given the gift of life to others was held at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Parnell, Auckland, on Sunday 2 May, 2010.  The service commenced with a welcome by the Precentor, The Venerable Howard Leigh, which was followed by five stanzas of the hymn of praise by F. S. Pierpont.

          For the beauty of the earth,
          for the beauty of the skies,
          for the love which from our birth,
          over and around us lies,
          Christ our God, to you we raise
          this our hymn of thanks and praise.


The Gathering prayer was:

          God our Creator,
          we gather to remember with thanksgiving
          those who have given life
          through the donation of organs and tissues,
          together with their families,
          and the recipients of their gifts.
         We celebrate with joy the glory of human life
          and the value you place on each of us.
         As we recall both our fragility and our resilience
         we ask that you will deepen our wonder at the
         human body, our reverence for the human spirit
         and our commitment to the human community.
         We ask this for your love’s sake.


A Donor family member, Mrs. W. Selby, then reflected on her experiences. 

This was followed by the Heaven Bent Choir singing “Precious Lord”. 

A recipient, Mr. S. Watson, then spoke of his experience of life-saving transplantation, finishing with reading a poem called “Morning Birds”, written by a kidney transplant recipient in Dublin, in 2001, called Andy Dunne.  This poem starts:

          It’s hard to put my thoughts to words
          For words could not portray
          The admiration and gratitude I hold
          For You and Yours today….

Following the reading of this poem, all transplant recipients were invited to walk to the front of the Cathedral to light a candle in memory of their donor.  The Heart and Lung Recipient Co-ordinators and the Liver Recipient Co-ordinators gave the candles and guided recipients to the sand boxes to place their candle.  During this time the Heaven Bent Choir sang “Fa’Afetai” which is a Samoan song of Thanksgiving.


Once all recipients were seated again, the congregation said in unison:

          Loving God, we remember with gratitude those who
          have given life and hope to others.  We light these
          candles as a symbol of this renewal of life and health.


The congregation then stood and sang a hymn by David. J. Evans, which starts “Be still, for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One, is here.” 

Following the hymn, the Address was given by Dr. James Judson, an Intensive Care Specialist at Auckland City Hospital and a Medical Specialist with Organ Donation New Zealand. 

The reading as from John 12:20-25, which was followed by the Reflection by The Venerable Howard Leigh.  After the Reflection, the Heaven Bent Choir sang “I want to be ready” and then the congregation was led in a responsive prayer for donor, donor families, recipients and the people within medical and caring professions, which concluded with the congregation saying the Lord’s Prayer in unison. 

At this point the Donor Co-ordinators from Organ Donation New Zealand, led by Janice Langlands, invited members of families of those who had donated organs and tissues to come to the front of the cathedral to receive their gift of a camellia, called “Donation”.  In this the Co-ordinators were assisted by two child recipients.  During this time, the Heaven Bent Choir sang “Come Sunday”. 

The congregation was then invited to stand and sing “Guide me, O thou great Redeemer” by W. Williams, which was followed by the closing prayer.  As the service finished, the Heaven Bent Choir sang the “23rd Psalm”.  After the service concluded, Organ Donation New Zealand invited recipients and their families and donor families to share lunch with them in the Cathedral’s visitor centre.