Remembering the Shortest Lives on the Shortest Day

The middle of June in New Zealand, marks the shortest day of the year and for some, a time to remember the most inexplicable sadness that can happen within a family – the death of an infant or the loss of a pregnancy.

In recent years groups which offer support and counselling for those who experience bereavement in pregnancy or early childhood, have organised memorial services to gather together and remember these ‘shortest lives on the shortest day.’ For some, the bleak mid-winter can be harsh and bring up difficult memories.  (continued)

Print version of this article: Reflecton (Remembering the Shortest Lives on the Shortest Day) 2015

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Accepting the gift…

A recent article in the news media provides a poignant insight into the gift of a Downs’ Syndrome child.  Elizabeth Shiltz writes beautifully about why she ‘kept her Downs’ Syndrome baby’ and how the seeds of that decision were sown from family wartime experiences of previous generations.

View the article at:

Her story is drawn from “Defiant Birth”, edited by Melinda Tankard Reist, which recounts the experience of parents who against social and often intense medical pressures, resisted the option of ending their pregnancy once a perinatal anomaly had been detected.

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New email for Retreat enquiries

A new email has been established for enquiries about Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats.   The new email address for Retreat enquiries is: [email protected]

All enquiries are treated with the utmost sensitivity and all information and communications are strictly confidential.

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Rachel’s Vineyard Trust registered for ‘Givealittle’

Secure online donations through ‘Givealittle’

One of the advantages of being registered as a charitable trust, is that Rachel’s Vineyard NZ is now registered for secure online donations through the Telecom Foundation website: “Givealittle”.

If you haven’t used ‘Givealittle’ before, you’ll hopefully find it easy to navigate.  You’ll be directed to the Rachel’s Vineyard page and you’ll be invited to make a donation.  The website is secure and when you enter your email address, you will receive your tax receipt immediately.

Your donation will be paid into the Rachel’s Vineyard bank account in full – on the 20th of the next month.  It has been working well since we registered only a few weeks ago.

You’ll find us at:

Once again – Thank You so much for your support.  It may be ‘givealittle’ but it means a lot.




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Rachel’s Vineyard (NZ) Trust – CC49941

Thanks to all those whose support and prayers have brought about the Rachel’s Vineyard (NZ) Charitable Trust.

Our donors and sponsors should all have received their donation certificates – please contact us if, for any reason, you are still waiting.  Remember to use the Charities Commission number for your donations to Rachel’s Vineyard (CC49941).


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2014 Retreat Programme (NZ)

The year ahead looks to be already full of blessings.  The next Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat is scheduled for:

Friday 3 to Sunday 5 October 2014.

To find out more and to request Registration forms, please contact Wendy Hill on 027 254 9222 or email the Retreat Enquiry address:  [email protected]

Places are limited and ALL enquiries are treated with strict confidence.

“I came that you could have life – and have it to the full.”  John 10:10

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Prayerful Countdown to November Retreat

Preparations are in hand for the final Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat for the year, which will take place over the first weekend in November, 2013.

  •  Thank you to those who have asked to join the Prayer Network.
  •  Thank you to those who have offered to help with the catering and donations of food for the weekend.
  •  Thank you to those who have made offers to help with transport out to the Retreat Centre

Please email your contact details to:  [email protected] or speak to Wendy Hill on 027 254 9222

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Julie Kelly, RV Australia, loses battle with cancer

The Australian Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats network has bid a sad goodbye to Dame Julie Kelly, whose bravery in encouraging the Catholic Church in Australia to find a compassionate and healing response to women and men who have been hurt by abortion, saw the establishment of the first International Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat site.

Julie had been receiving treatment for cancer for some time and on Thurs 17 October, she died, surrounded by family.

No doubt much will be recorded in the Australian Catholic media of her commitment to the establishment of Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats in Australia and her prayerful support of this work now established in New Zealand, but to those who knew her, even a little, her graceful intelligence, elegant manner and quick wit are what many will miss most.

Our prayers are with our Australian Rachel’s Vineyard colleagues, and with Julie’s family who so generously shared her with us.

Suzanne O’Rourke, 19.10.13

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Volunteers Formation Day

Small as a mustard seedYou have been trusted to look after something precious…… 1 Timothy 1:13 -14.

You are invited to an afternoon of prayer, reflection and formation for those wishing to help with Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats. Your contribution may be ‘small as a mustard seed’, but it has a place in this work.

Please join us in Lower Hutt for a light lunch at 12.30pm — we will finish at 3pm, Sunday 6 October. Please RSVP to Wendy Hill ph 027 254 9222 or Suzanne O’Rourke 021 549 528. Please download RV Volunteers postcard.

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New account details for supporters

The Wellington CDF (Catholic Development Fund)management team have advised they have reviewed their account handling facilities and will be phasing out current accounts, in favour of investment account facilities.

As a result, Rachel’s Vineyard has moved its banking arrangements from CDF Wellington to Kiwibank.

Rachel’s Vineyard bank account (effective 01 March 2013):

Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats
Account number: 38-9014-0606936-00
Kiwibank, Lambton Quay Branch

For those who support the work of Rachel’s Vineyard by donations through automatic payment, a new payment authority will need to be started.  This can be done either through internet banking or by contacting your bank directly.

When making a donation through internet banking or througha regular automatic payment, please ensure that you put your name in the reference box, so we can acknowledge your donation.

Particulars:  ​DONATION
Reference:​[insert name]

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