Dear Friends in Christ,
Holy Week and Easter included some lovely services as Teresa and I gathered with the people of God to commemorate the death of Jesus and to celebrate his rising to new life. It was a blessing to be in Franz Josef on Maundy Thursday, Okarito, Hari Hari and Hokitika on Good Friday; a privilege to confirm two young men during the Vigil Service at St Michael’s and All Angels on Holy Saturday and a joy to be participate in the morning services at the Transitional Cathedral on Easter Day. A highlight was an ecumenical walk with Anglicans and Catholics to the Trig Station at Okarito, with twelve stops along the way to read the Passion Narrative according to St. Matthew’s Gospel. At the top of the hill there was a special moment when clouds parted and Tasman and Cook were visible in the morning sunshine!
Despite many cancellations of customary major events and services on ANZAC Day due to Omicron’s presence in our community, some services across the regions of the Diocese and in some of our ministry units did go ahead. The 10 am civic service at the Transitional Cathedral was well attended, with Mayor Lianne Dalziel and Duncan Webb MP present along with some military personnel and representatives of uniformed service organisations – the music was fantastic!
On Easter Day or this Sunday past, several of our clergy had their “final Sunday services”: Susan Baldwin (Malvern, Archdeacon for Westland and the Chatham Islands, Rural Ministry Developer) who will be moving to Kaikoura but will remain part of our Chatham Islands team, Thomas Brauer (Sumner-Redcliffs) who returns to Canada with Cheryl and their children Joshua and Elsa, Jenni Carter (Hororata) who will remain in our Diocese in retirement mode, Joan Clark (Ashburton, Archdeacon for Mid Canterbury) who will remain in our Diocese in retirement mode, and Natasha Glenderran (Hanmer Springs) who begins a new ministry soon as Chaplain to Wesley Care, Papanui. By “retirement mode” I mean to express my hope that in retirement there will be continuing contributions to the ministry needs of the Diocese!
It has been my privilege to work with each of Susan, Thomas, Jenni, Joan and Natasha on a range of matters, including but not limited to their respective parish ministries. They are an amazing set of ministers and each has been faithful in God’s service in the places and roles to which God has called them. Our Diocese has been blessed by their presence among us and their work for us—thanks be to God! And a very big thank you from me, on behalf of the Diocese, to each of you!
I also want to mention with gratitude, Philip Baldwin, who has made a variety of contributions to the life of our Diocese. Many of us are grateful for Philip’s musical ability as he has played the organ for Synod devotional services and the like. But within the Anglican Centre, staff here recall Philip’s superb ability through several years at Upper Riccarton when he filled in for a variety of roles with effective use of his gifts and skills, with lots of good humour.
Omicron is certainly making its presence felt in our communities, including the Chatham Islands. I am both grateful and admiring of our ministry units as we continue to gather to worship God and for fellowship with one another, even as we make adjustments for those on our rosters who at the last minute need to ring or text in to say, “Sorry. I have just tested positive. I cannot make it today.”
The news from Ukraine is, frankly, depressing. Russia appears intent on at least some territorial gains, whatever the cost. It is the opposite of joyful to find that the quite reasonable offers from pro Ukrainian countries to support Ukrainian defensive efforts with military equipment are being met by Russian announcements that this is provocation and may led to nuclear retaliation. Let’s continue in prayer, asking the Lord for wisdom to prevail, and the power of love to transform hearts otherwise filled with the love of power.
This coming weekend is our Diocesan Discernment Weekend. Please pray for the eight candidates for discernment who will participate in the whole weekend, for the Reverend Jenny Wilkens, our Diocesan Director of Ordination as she leads the weekend, and for myself and other members of the Bishop’s Advisory Committee on Ordination (BACO) as we meet with the candidates.
The Cathedral Project continues to make great strides forward during the present phase called Stabilization. On the TV1 Breakfast Show this morning there was an item on the Cathedral (https://www.tvnz.co.nz/shows/breakfast/live) in relation to the Open Christchurch architectural festival (https://openchch.nz/) when some tours of the site will take place (already fully booked!) The Cathedral piece occurs on the TV livestream from 3:01:25 for about 4 minutes. Something I will be writing about through the next few months will be ways and means for individual Anglicans in our Diocese and beyond to contribute financially to the Project as it advances beyond the Stabilization phase to the full Reinstatement.
With the retirement of Archdeacon Joan Clark as Archdeacon of Mid Canterbury, I have asked Archdeacon Mark Chamberlain to be Acting Archdeacon of Mid Canterbury for the time being.
This Sunday’s Gospel passage, John 21:1-19, has a lot going on in it. At least half a dozen different sermons could be preached from it. One sermon could focus on Jesus reconciling Peter to himself and recommissioning him for mission and ministry. Another sermon could focus on the unbroken net and what it symbolises for the universal mission of God. What would four other sermons from this passage be about?