It is Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, so I begin by saying, “Ka mihi mātou ki te Atua mō te oranga o tō tātou Kuini.” We give thanks to God for our Queen.
As we continue to come to terms with the loss of our Late Queen Elizabeth II and to embrace our new Sovereign, King Charles III, many words have been said or written in the days since Queen Elizabeth’s death, and I do not propose to add to what I myself wrote in the Special e-Life we went out last Friday. However, among many wonderful and well-written things I have come across since last Friday, I draw your attention to just one article, “Queen Elizabeth, Servant of God,” (https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2022/09/queen-elizabeth-servant-of-god), written by someone who knew her well, Archbishop Rowan Williams.
At 5 pm, Sunday 25 September 2022, A Civic Service of Thanksgiving for Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, will be held at the Transitional Cathedral, Hereford Street, Christchurch. All are welcome to this service, which will also be livestreamed on the Cathedral’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. I will be the preacher. This service takes place on the eve of our special public holiday on Monday 26 September in commemoration of the Late Queen’s death, during which day a national memorial service will be held at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Wellington and broadcast on national television.
The Government has announced that nearly all Covid restrictions on gatherings have been lifted. Accordingly, a new set of Diocesan Guidelines, consistent with this announcement, has been published on our website at https://anglicanlife.org.nz/news-and-announcements/covid-guidance-for-the-diocese-of-christchurch-14-september-2022/. The last paragraph of these new guidelines is reproduced here:
“Generally, the fact that the NZ Government has changed the rules around Covid is now a reason to be freer than we have been but the fact that Covid is still in our community (to say nothing of other viruses) remains a reason to act in ways which work to safeguard health and to respect the choices of people (e.g., to continue masking).”
On Tuesday night we had an excellent turnout for the Consider Your Call event we had been advertising. I am encouraged about interest being shown in ministry discernment and in currently advertised vacancies. Please keep praying, however, as there is much work to do in our appointment processes.
I commend the Leading Your Church into Growth conference, 18-20 October, to you, which is now just over a month away. This conference is an important step in our Diocesan journey of regeneration. Details for registration are further down this page.
Synod Business: before the Synod there was a lot of talk about a motion being proposed which sought for parishes to plant native plants only in decorative parts of church properties. We had a debate which canvassed some important pros and cons of such a comprehensive step. Wisely, Synod agreed to amend the motion and the amended motion now guides us to plant native plants where it is appropriate and practical to do so. (Next week I’ll mention another matter.)
I know that sometimes when I mention my activities, readers are concerned that I may be too busy. But often the busyness of a week or weekend is very fulfilling. This past weekend was such a weekend. Friday night through to late Saturday afternoon I participate in a Diocesan Discernment Weekend. I am excited that we may be able to have three new students at St John’s College next year. Saturday evening, Teresa, and I, along with Dean Lawrence and Elizabeth Kimberley were guests of Pīhopa Richard and Archdeacon Mere Wallace for a very enjoyable dinner as part of the Ngā Kāhui Wāhine o Pīhopatanga o Aotearoa national hui, held here in Christchurch. Then, on Sunday, Teresa and I were able to travel south to Geraldine for the final service and farewell lunch for Tony and Christine Kippax, then head north to St. Peter’s, Allenton, Ashburton for a service of de-dedication for this building, prior to its sale. Our day concluded with Evensong at the Transitional Cathedral. Both this service and the morning service in St Mary’s, Geraldine were very well-prepared services to assist in our thankful remembrance of our Late Queen.
Across the Diocese, last Sunday, through this week, this coming Sunday and beyond, services of remembrance and thanksgiving for the Queen have been held or will be held in many parishes: thank you to everyone being involved in this way in offering opportunity to express our feelings of grief at the loss of our Queen and thankfulness to God for her life of service. In such ways we witness to Christ as the rock on which her life and our lives are founded.
This week’s gospel is Luke 16:1-13. This is easily my “Most Difficult Parable To Understand”. At risk of over-simplification, the puzzle lies in its multiple messages and how they (or at least one of them) links to the story which Jesus tells about the Unjust or Shrewd Steward. Nevertheless, there is an important sense in which the passage does convey the urgency and importance, the utter importance of being right with God and being found to be inside God’s kingdom rather than excluded from it.