Greetings to you all as we enter Lent 2021!
Last year the conclusion of Lent—Holy Week and Easter/Pascha Services—our commemorations and celebrations were dramatically affected by Lockdown at Level 4. This year the beginning of Lent—Ash Wednesday—our services are affected by being in Level 2. Our Lenten fasting begins with a fasting from Ashes on Ash Wednesday. I understand that some parishes may be transferring Ashing from Wednesday to this coming Sunday, should we be back in Level 1. Other parishes will not do so. We are free in the Lord to make a choice.
On Monday we sent out a Special e-Life which gave renewed guidance re life in Level 2, with a special focus on Ash Wednesday services which must be conducted according to Government regulations re gatherings, and according to our own Diocesan Level 2 Guidelines. This afternoon we hear further from the Government about Level 2 ending at midnight tonight or being extended. Either way, clergy preparing for Sunday 21 February are permitted to prepare for and conduct services as though we are in Level 2, and the Diocesan Big Day Out Family Fun Day on Saturday 20 February has been re-organised so that it conforms to Level 2 requirements.
Tonight’s central Christchurch Anglican-Catholic Ecumenical Ash Wednesday Service, with Archbishop Paul Martin preaching, is being Live-streamed from the Transitional Cathedral at 5.30 pm (and will be available as a recording thereafter). Due to being in Level 2 we ask only those participating in the service to be present in the Cathedral itself and the congregation at large to tune in from their homes. The link for the service is: https://youtu.be/CcXwqwC38Aw
The service sheet is available for download now from:
Yesterday, knowing that there was likely going to be the maximum 100 people present for the late Reverend Betty Cox’s funeral service, I was very glad to be able through the blessing of technology to tune in to the Live-streaming of her service which was led by the Reverend Carolyn Swift. We thank God for Betty’s life and witness, for her service in the church, especially at St Andrew’s North New Brighton, both before and after ordination as a deacon in 1997.
The funeral service for Sarah Hawke, daughter of the Very Reverend Mike and Patsy Hawke will be held at 2 pm this Friday 19 February at St Christopher’s Avonhead. This service will be Live-streamed. Check out the St Christopher’s YouTube channel on the day. Mike and Patsy have sent this message, “Sarah died suddenly of a seizure aged 34, only weeks after Peter’s sudden death of a dissected artery at aged 42. We have a huge hole in our hearts. Our consolation is that they are in the loving hands of God with all the other saints.”
Back to the Diocesan Big Day Out arrangements: I remind you (from Monday’s Special e-Life) that:
- The Big Day Out will still go ahead in Level 1 or Level 2, but will be cancelled if the level is raised higher.
- Catering is unfortunately cancelled. Please BYO picnic food. We are super sorry for the inconvenience.
- Please do your best to socially distance at the event, and stay home if you are sick.
The event will now be split into two halves, morning and afternoon, to ensure that we are under 100 people in each half of the day.
Morning people will need to leave by 1.30pm and afternoon people will need to arrive after 2pm.
People will need to sign up for either option and it will be a first in first served system. The link to choose a session is here: https://forms.gle/QyhfN1vsLgtvYAUp7
I am very grateful that the Reverends John and Christine de Senna began an Interim Ministry on 9 February in the Parish of Mt Herbert.
SOMA (Sharing of Ministries Abroad NZ) are offering to lead Parish Renewal Weekends here in NZ, given that overseas renewal missions are not possible in the usual way for this enterprising ministry. Details are advertised elsewhere in this e-Life. Is this something your parish is interested in?
On Sunday it was a privilege to confirm 10 people in two different services. Please pray for Christine, Evan, Janneke, Lizzie, Nathan, Ravi, Ruth, Shawn, Terry (St Timothy’s, Burnside-Harewood) and Ranui (Transitional Cathedral) as they continue their life in Christ.
This coming Sunday Teresa and I will be at St Barnabas’ Fendalton. At the conclusion of the morning’s services we will be re-opening the parish’s administration building which will be known as the St Barnabas Centre—Hāto Pānapa Pokapū. I am looking forward to visiting this refurbished building which I am receiving glowing reports about!
The gospel reading will be Mark 1:9-15. To begin our Sundays in Lent we go back a little in Mark’s unfolding story of Jesus’ ministry to the time when his calling was tested strongly. We have been living through testing times for what seems a long time now—the 10th anniversary of the 22 February 2011 quake is on Monday—and recent events, including the tragic news of both Peter and now Sarah Hawke’s deaths, weigh down on us who believe in the God who is love. One of the striking aspects of this gospel passage is that Jesus is both “Beloved” of God and driven into the wilderness to be tested. Our experience as Christians is known to Jesus Christ after whom we are named.
Ngā mihi nui,