Although it is late July and it feels like our annual Synod is not for a couple of months, our Synod begins on Thursday evening 3 September and is thus only five weeks and one day away! At the end of next week we begin the first of our pre–Synod meetings. There is a lot of important business to focus on, including consideration of a Diocesan Mission Action Plan to guide us through the next decade, changes to the way we assess parish quota for the Diocese, and an important motion re the Cathedral Project. Please pray for our Synod—our preparations, our reflections on whom we will elect to positions of responsibility, our Synod preacher (the Reverend Joshua Taylor) and myself as I prepare the Presidential Address.
In the diversity of interests, concerns, and opportunities in our wider church, and in the Diocese, my last week has included the first day of a two day workshop on Suicide Awareness last Friday, a Cursillo NZ National Secretariat meeting by Zoom on Saturday, attendance at Evensong and the Theologians at the Cathedral seminar following in the course of which the Reverend Hugh Bowron gave a fascinating two part presentation on a nationwide Anglican mission in the early 1910s, and then on Monday morning, a lovely Induction service at St Margaret’s College as the Reverend Stephanie Clay became the new Chaplain of the school.
On Friday evening Teresa and I, along with Dean Lawrence and Elizabeth Kimberley were present for the launch of The Christchurch Invitation—Mahia te Aroha, an initiative of the Muslim community, in collaboration with the Christchurch City Council and others. The invitation is to all of us to “Spread Peace, Share Kai, Reflect and Reconnect” as part of the journey of healing following the mosques massacres. For further details please visit www.mahiatearoha.nz The aim of the Christchurch Invitation—Mahia Te Aroha is to harness the extraordinary response of compassion and aroha that was outpoured following the events of 15 March 2019.
I have received notice from the Reverend Bosco Peters that he will retire from his role as Chaplain of Christ’s College, effective at the beginning of Term 1, 2022. Bosco will have completed 24 years of service in this post when he retires and there will be much to say about Bosco’s ministry, with thankfulness to God, at the end of this year.
The Reverend Colin Brown has died and his funeral is at 2 pm, Thursday 29 July at St Barnabas’, Fendalton. Colin was ordained deacon in 1954 and priest in 1955. He has served our church and society with academic distinction, including lecturing at St John’s College (1956-66), Vice Principal at College House (1966-67) and lecturing in the Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy at Canterbury University from 1967-1993, along with writing and publishing. Notable in the latter respect for our Diocese were Colin’s history of the Cathedral, Vision and Reality: Christchurch’s Cathedral in the Square (2000) and his joint editorship with Jane Teal and Marie Peters of Shaping a Colonial Church: Bishop Harper and the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch (2006). Please pray for Anne, Colin’s widow and their family.
The funeral for the Reverend Bernie Cox was held at the Chapel at Burnham Military Camp last Friday. Bernie was ordained deacon in 1956 and priested in 1958, serving in parishes in the Nelson and Auckland Dioceses before serving as a military chaplain from 1975 to 1990 with our defence forces. Bernie’s last role with our forces was Principal Chaplain (Army). Bernie then served in two Wellington Diocese parishes before retirement to Gore and then, more recently, to Christchurch. Please pray for Bernie’s family.
I have been reading two books I want to draw your attention to. First, the Reverend Ron Hay, priest and alpinist, known to many in our Diocese, has written and illustrated with superb photography The Spirit of the Mountains: Alpine Adventures and Reflections. This is simply a beautiful book in words and in pictures, a celebration of our Aotearoa New Zealand mountains, and an expression of the spirituality of creation. Email Ron for your copy firstname.lastname@example.org , $40 plus P and P.
Secondly, Steve Bell, whom I shared a flat with in Cairo in 1982-83 and who went onto to significant global mission leadership based in the UK, has written Mountains Move: Achieving Social Cohesion in a Multi-Cultural Society (accessible from Amazon). This is a “must read” book for guidance as we negotiate our way through changing society towards kindness and understanding of each other’s faiths and ideologies. A special interest of the book is understanding and appreciating Islam in Western society.
Last Wednesday I went to Mangere to listen to the testimony of a witness to the Royal Commission on Abuse in Care https://www.abuseincare.org.nz/public-hearings/about/tulou-our-pacific-voices-tatala-e-pulonga/ . During the course of that testimony, the Reverend Ray Oppenheim, Vicar of Avonside at the time, was publicly named as the survivor’s abuser. The survivor was a young girl at the time. If any reader knows of other instances of abuse, they are encouraged to make contact with my office (email@example.com ) or to contact the Royal Commission directly or to contact our national Registrar for complaints regarding ministry standards at firstname.lastname@example.org .
NZCMS is making a call to prayer: “We are having a 12-hour call to prayer this Saturday, July 24, beginning at 7am and finishing at 7pm. The focus is specifically for Mission Partners who are seeking to return to NZ in the next few months. All have stayed and served throughout the pandemic, and they are due a time of Leave and Home Service in NZ.” Please pray for return visas to the country of service to be issued; and for MIQ spots in NZ to be obtained.
This Sunday we continue our Gospel readings further into John 6, verses 24-35. What is The Bread of Life offering us? What nourishment do we need from The Bread of Life?