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Personal delivery . . . Timaru author Rosie Staite hands a copy of her book Faith Bright Shining to the Rt Rev Dr David Coles, retired Bishop of Christchurch. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

by Claire Allison

Rosie Staite had not planned to write a memoir.

The Timaru woman was working on a collection of poems that were “slightly autobiographical” when the name Faith Bright Shining popped into her head.

“And in 10 days I wrote 30,000 words, then thought, ‘golly, what have I done?’

“For a writer who is an introvert, this is a very public thing to do.”

Permanent voice damage meant Mrs Staite had had to stop working.

“That’s given me the last two years to reflect back on what’s happened and why, and my story within that.”

Faith Bright Shining follows Mrs Staite’s life from student years to becoming a wife and mother, and, although choosing not to become ordained, her many and varied leadership roles for churches in Christchurch and South Canterbury, and her role as a marriage and funeral celebrant.

“I really enjoyed my ministry, in the churches, but more particularly in the country areas and the community, where I have been able to be a bridge between what has been and what is.

“I think God is bigger than our boxes that we try to contain him in, and holiness is bigger than the boxes.”

It has been a time of tremendous change.

“I have done it for me, it’s my story of faith, which goes from the stained-glass windows to the kitchen tables.

“From the time I arrived in South Canterbury, the churches have changed, society has changed, and the role of women has changed, and I have been involved in the transitions of all those.”

She said it had been a huge challenge to write it, and to be brave enough to do so.

While she said the book was “her truth” she gave many of the people referenced the courtesy of a chat and a coffee to discuss their part in the book.

“I needed to talk to the people I have talked about.”

Her standing in the churches is reflected in the foreword from the former Anglican Bishop of Christchurch, the Rt Rev Dr David Coles, and reviews from other church leaders.

This book is quite different from her others.

Mrs Staite has written two volumes of All Age Worship resources, for churches to adapt for their situations, and two collections called Take a Minute, intended as coffee table or staffroom books.

Mrs Staite hoped her book would be inspiring and helpful for people who might not go to church on Sundays.

“But now it’s out there it’s not my business what people think of it. I haven’t done it for ego, I’ve done it as a story that needed to be told. And I would hope that it might see people write their own stories.”

Faith Bright Shining are available from Highfield Post Shop and the Timaru Christian Store, or by emailing rosie_staite@xtra.co.nz