This week I am writing this message in the middle of a two day retreat with the Tikanga Pākehā bishops, based at the Community of the Sacred Name. It is good to be together and it is good to be “retreat” focused in our meeting rather than “agenda driven.” Late yesterday we were able to visit the Cathedral site in the Square and to see first-hand considerable progress being made on the stabilization of the building. We then walked to the Transitional Cathedral for Evensong – a beautiful service of prayer, praise and proclamation of God’s Word to end our day.
On Sunday Teresa and I were with the combined congregations of St. Chad’s and St. Ambrose in the newly repaired and refurbished St Ambrose Church, Aranui in the Parish of Linwood-Aranui. The work done there is first-class and it was a privilege to lead the rededication of the building as part of our service.
Let’s keep praying together for our congregations as they work in districts affected by the recent floods. This week we pray for the congregation in St Peter’s, Springfield and St Ambrose, Sheffield in the Parish of Malvern. In Springfield, residents are cleaning up after extensive flooding. Most residential streets have two or three large skip bins parked at the side of the street, which were filled up quickly with wet carpets, damaged furniture, and debris that has been carried in with the high water levels. Sadly, gardens too were contaminated with the silt that was brought in on the rising waters. Springfield usually houses ski field workers but currently the hotel and back-packers are hosting a few of the families who had to evacuate their homes. Please pray for those rebuilding and repairing damage done. (see the prayer for rural canterbury later in e-Life)
This weekend, having been scheduled for some time to be at St Alban’s, Pleasant Point on Sunday, Teresa and I will be in South Canterbury, catching up on people in various districts there. We will be able to join a post-flood fund-raising concert at St Peter’s Temuka at 1.30 pm on Saturday afternoon. Details about the concert are elsewhere in e-Life
This year, in response to many challenges in our society regarding mental health, our Diocesan Ministry Educator, Stephanie Robson, is facilitating a series of workshops and seminars on aspects of mental health. These are being advertised in e-Life. On Monday earlier this week I was able to attend the first of these, on Drugs and Alcohol, led by the Reverend Doctor Pauline Stewart. This was excellent and I thank Pauline for the presentation she made.
This Sunday, Ordinary 12, the Gospel is Mark 4:35-41, Jesus Stills the Storm. What are we to make of this story of wonder which is also a sign of Jesus’ identity as the Son of God. Is the boat a symbol of the church, and if so, what are the storms which buffet us, and (as Jesus would say to us), Where is our faith?
Errata: In last week’s edition of e-Life I noted that The Reverend Janice Stead (Parish of Shirley) had been awarded Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to sport and the community; Janice is now in fact a Member of the NZ Order of Merit