Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
As we head rapidly towards the year’s end I first want to say a very big thankyou to all readers. You receive this email because you are a supporter to one degree or another of “Anglican Life” in the Diocese of Christchurch: thank you for your support, your prayers, your ministry, and your witness to Jesus Christ through 2019.
Even at this end of the year, there is quite a lot to write about, with much thanksgiving.
Last Thursday, 12 December, Dean Lawrence and I hosted an event at the Transitional Cathedral for board members, staff and consultants working on the Cathedral Reinstatement Project. Our simple message to those gathered was, Thank you for all you are doing.
On Saturday morning we had a superb Consecration of All Souls Church, Merivale-St Albans, with Archbishop Philip and Belinda Richardson present and an overflowing congregation. ++Philip shared in the consecration with me and preached.
We are very grateful for the Richardsons’ commitment to join us at this busy time.
On Sunday morning, I was privileged to preach and preside in the Burnside-Harewood Parish, at both St James and St Timothy’s churches. At morning tea in the St James Hall, we prayed a prayer of thanksgiving for 50 years of that hall being in existence, offering a meeting place for church and community, and, on occasion, for Diocesan ministries.
A little further away, in Dorie, a small settlement south-east of Rākaia, a lovely Christmas Carol service was held with the small St Patrick’s Church filled with 44 adults and 15 children present, led by Helen Wallis, Priest in Charge of the Parish of Rākaia who has done a superb job through this year energetically shepherding this parish through significant changes. In most of our parishes last Sunday, a special Christmas service will have been held, representing huge effort on the part of musicians and/or budding thespians.
On Sunday evening 65 people, drawn from Nelson, Marlborough and the Archdeaconry of North Canterbury gathered at St John’s Rangiora for the commissioning of Dawn Daunauda as Archdeacon of North Canterbury. It was heart-warming to see people making a great effort at this time of the year to be present for this important occasion.
Tonight, Teresa and I will join with many others for the City Mission’s Carol Service in the Transitional Cathedral. As we prepare for our Christmas festivities, remember that for many people, their “family” on Christmas Day will be the hundreds who gather for the City Mission’s Christmas Dinner at Christchurch East school. A very big thank you to City Mission staff and many volunteers who work enthusiastically to make this occasion happen.
This Sunday we expect to have announcements in two parishes about new vicars (Timaru-St Mary’s; Cheviot). As this is the last e-Life for 2019, and the next e-Life will not be until the New Year, we will post the announcements on the Diocesan website on Monday 23 December.
The time and date for the induction of Tim Frank as Vicar of Papanui is 7 pm, Wednesday 22 January, 2020, at St Paul’s Church, Harewood Road.
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services: a big thank you to Jo Bean who has worked on putting together for our website as comprehensive a list as possible of all services being held in our Diocese on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day. We have not been able to achieve 100% of all service information but we are close to it. If you are holidaying in the Diocese or have friends or relatives holidaying and wondering where to celebrate Christmas in church, the link is here.
For those who enjoy video more than writing, a brief end of year/Christmas message from me can be viewed here.
In international Anglican news, overnight it has been announced that Bishop Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford, is to be the next Archbishop of York, succeeding John Sentamu in June 2020. Bishop Stephen was a very well received speaker at the Anglo-Catholic hui held in Wellington in August this year.
This will be my final message for a month or so. e-Life, without a lead message, will resume in the new year before I complete my own holiday period.
What a year this had been! Our nation has experienced two significant tragedies, here in Christchurch and on Whakaari/White Island. Global economic and political turbulence has continued unabated. Intractable conflicts have sadly remained intractable. Yet there is much to be thankful for: the God we meet in the baby Jesus, born to Mary in Bethlehem, in turbulent times, amidst tragedy and intractable conflicts, is the same God today, immersed in our world, God with us, God our Saviour.
Will you pray with me that Jesus Christ will continue to be born anew in the hearts of many people?