The period between Ascension and Pentecost is an (elongated) Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Tonight all are welcome to join with members of several denominations at an Ecumenical Service of Prayer for Christian Unity, 7pm at the Transitional Cathedral.
The fragility of human unity is tragically exposed when violence takes place. This past week or so we have seen conflict erupt between Israel and Palestine with devastating loss of life. This is folly. Not one step towards true and lasting justice and peace for Arabs, Jews and Christians in the region will be advanced by bombs and rockets. Yet the conditions for this eruption to take place have been set through divisions within both Israeli and Palestinian society. As we pray for Christian unity this week, let us also pray for a united determination to secure peace in the Middle East.
126 on the Corner is the Hei Hei Broomfield Community Hub, based in the former St Aidan’s Hei Hei church, now extended and in new buildings on the site. It was my privilege on Friday afternoon to share with the Reverend Les Memory, Vicar of the Parish of Hornby, Templeton and West Melton in the blessing of these buildings. Missional work based on this hub is led by Tracey Buunk and she and her team work under the oversight of Christchurch City Mission’s Community Development. The property is owned by the Hei Hei Broomfield Community Development Trust which means there is a manageable interface between local community and our Diocese.
The Cooperating Parish of Hinds does not often feature in my message to the Diocese, so it is a delight to note a report from Archdeacon Joan Clark: “On Sunday the Hinds Parish held at celebration of 100 years since the organ was installed. It was donated by the 12 Anglican families who lost men in WW1.” (see image later in this newsletter)
My church involvement on Sunday was at The Cathedral Grammar School Founders’ Day service which began with a church service on the day of its foundation, 16 May 1881. Noting an advertisement from 1881 reproduced in the service booklet, and listening carefully to stories of the early days of the school, told by Dean Lawrence in his sermon, I can only say that many aspects of church schools, from fees to staffing to subjects taught were very, very different 140 years ago!
We received news on Friday 14 May that Sr Luisa, CSN died in Tonga, and in a special e-Life on Monday morning we gave notice of her death and the Requiem Mass planned for Tuesday morning. About 45 people were present for the service, presided over by Dean Lawrence Kimberley, Warden of the Community of the Sacred Name, in the presence of Mother Alena and Sisters Keleni, Anne, and Annette, with a Commendation for Sr Luisa led by myself as Visitor to the Community. At the same time the physical funeral service for Sr Luisa was being conducted in Tonga. It has been poignant for the Community and its supporters to be united in grief and separated in geography, with no one from New Zealand or Fiji being able to travel to Tonga.
When I look at the whole of e-Life I see amazing opportunities—retreats, quizzes, conferences, ministry opportunities, seminars—only a small portion of which I mention here. I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the many great events happening in our Diocese, or in other churches of our regions, week after week. We have much to be grateful for.
This Sunday is Pentecost and our Eucharistic readings should include Acts 2:1-21 whether as the 1st or 2nd reading. Jesus has ascended to the Father, having promised the Holy Spirit would come. I imagine the 120 disciples gathering in the Jerusalem upper room for prayer had not the slightest idea what would happen. Acts 2 tells us it was pretty dramatic when the Spirit came. Pentecost should not only be a festival in which we look back to that amazing event but also an occasion when we look around and ask, “Where is the Holy Spirit today and what is the Holy Spirit doing among us?”
From Monday to Wednesday next week, clergy, chaplains and the Diocesan Ministry Team meet together for our annual Clergy Conference in Hanmer Springs. Your prayers that this will be an occasion which fits the theme of the conference—Refresh—would be appreciated.