Dear Friends in Christ,
Our annual Clergy Conference, held at Holy Trinity Avonside last week, Tuesday and Wednesday, went very well, and not least because the new Holy Trinity proved to be a superb venue. We were blessed through our conference by contributions on the mission of God from our external guests, Dr Csila Saysell, who led two Bible studies on the mission of God in the Old Testament, and Archbishop Paul Martin who spoke at our conference dinner. The blessings also came through our own contributors from within the Diocese as we engaged with our Diocesan Mission Action Plan, improvements to parish websites, our response to the Royal Commission on Abuse, and the “how to” of recording information about our people in the light of the latest revision to our nation’s privacy legislation.
This past weekend it was a privilege to participate in three wonderful services. On Saturday afternoon we were at St. Mark’s, Opawa-St. Martins, for the re-opening of St Mark’s Church, with ceremonies including the consecration of a new St. Anne’s Chapel in the northern transept of the church, rededicating St. Mark’s Church, and naming the parish lounge the Chapman Lounge. On Sunday morning we were at St Andrew’s, Oxford, for a service which included some brilliant music, praying for five young woman from YWAM as they head away on mission to Turkey and dedicating two “Poppy bowls” crafted by Hokitika craftsman, Jimmy Gordon. Then, at 4 pm Sunday afternoon, Teresa and I took part in the rededication of St. Faith’s Church, New Brighton. For both St. Mark’s and St. Faith’s, the services were just one event in a weekend of celebrations in each place – a very big congratulations to these parishes for their patient endurance through many years as they have both worked and waited for their churches to be open again for the business of worship and mission.
In the midst of a busy weekend, it was also a privilege to be part of the City Mission’s “Plate Up” fundraising dinner at the Town Hall. Funds raised through this event (over $100k, with final tally yet to come) will contribute to the provision of books, uniforms and shoes for school children in Canterbury. While mentioning the City Mission I am pleased to announce that Corinne Haines, currently the Interim City Missioner will be the City Missioner through the remainder of 2022 and for a further eighteen months from this August. Congratulations, Corrine on this appointment!
Covid: both anecdotally, and in our public media, we are learning that in Canterbury, we remain in the midst of a continuing covid storm as many people are testing positive or needing to isolate with those in their household have tested positive. This includes a growing number of our clergy and/or their spouses. At the same time, we are finding this winter is a bit more wintry than some previous winters have been. Please take care. Monitor symptoms. Take RAT tests (which are available in our archdeaconries). Masking remains vital when we gather as church – please do not let our high standards on masking slip.
I am glad to announce that the Reverend Alexa Evenden will be Interim Priest in Charge of the Parish of Ellesmere from mid June 2022 – thank you Alexa for taking this role on.
In other clergy news, please pray for the Reverend Sandy Constable as she and her family mourn the loss of her sister, Linda, and for the Reverend Spanky (Joshua) Moore as he and his family mourn the loss of his father, Allan.
Since later 2019, Ed Hilder has served our Diocese as our South Canterbury Youth Enabler, in conjunction with his primary role as youth worker in the Parish of Highfield, Kensington and Otipua. At the end of this month Ed will conclude his respective youth ministries in order to begin training with NZ Police. Thank you, Ed, for your ministry. We have loved having you on our Diocesan Ministry Team. I am very pleased that Ed and his family will be remaining in Timaru and involved in the Parish of Highfield, Kensington and Otipua.
Last week a lovely opinion piece written by Hamish Clark, about the Christ Church Cathedral, was published in the NZ Herald: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/opinion-why-the-christchurch-cathedral-is-key-to-the-heartbeat-of-the-city/QI4I45KBSCYF7EP5AM665Q4FKU/.
Teresa and I are working on our plans to participate in the Lambeth Conference (https://www.lambethconference.org/) for bishops from around the Anglican Communion. This will take place in Canterbury, Kent, UK, from 26 July to 8 August 2022. We will be out of the Diocese for approximately six weeks and leadership in the Diocese during that time will be in the hands of our Vicar-General, Archdeacon Mark Barlow.
Climate change matters are, rightly, to the forefront of our minds in these days – our future living conditions on planet Earth are at stake. At least one motion in respect of climate change is coming to our Synod in September. Environmental matters will be discussed at the Lambeth Conference. Recently we have been informed of a video resource from the Third Order, Society of Saint Francis, “to help people address the causes of human made climate change. In particular to offer a way to stand together so that we can make right the wrongs that have made in the past and help to form a truly living relationship between humankind and God’s creation today and for generations to come by standing with the Indigenous. You can find this video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmxnP-kL7cs&authuser=0”.
Speaking of our Synod: this will take place this year from Thursday evening 1 September to Saturday afternoon 3 September. The deadline for motions and bills is at the end of this week. Plans are being made for pre Synod meetings in late July and early August, and these dates/times will be circulated soon to Synod members.
This Sunday is Pentecost and the reading I want to make comment on this week is Acts 2:1-21 rather than the appointed Gospel, John 14:8-17, 25-27. Pentecost is a shattering event in the history of God’s people. Phenomena of fire and plural languages are experienced. Some observers think the followers of Jesus are drunk. If there is one thing I hope we always keep in mind as we reread the story of this dramatic birth of the church, it is that the Holy Spirit sometimes will be wild and disruptive in the life of the church. Anglicanism has a tendency to love good order – the Holy Spirit is not committed to sharing that tendency!
Finally, this weekend is also an opportunity to join with the Queen and her family in celebration of 70 years of her reign. She has been and is remarkable in her leadership and in her Christian witness. May thanksgivings for the Queen be prayed in our services this Sunday. I also hear that in some of our parishes there will be special morning teas to follow!