Message from the Bishop
Alleluia, Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia!
On Monday a special e-Life communicated our draft guidelines re Level 2. We wait to hear from the government tomorrow (Thursday) about detailed guidelines for Level 2 life. After that we will adjust and then confirm our Diocesan guidelines.
Something I wish to make clear today is that when we go to Level 2, decisions on the re-opening of our churches should be made by each ministry unit.
Depending on the constraints required by the government, with special reference to those who are deemed “at risk” in respect of age and health, it would be understandable if some ministry units felt they were not ready to open until we reach Level 1. It is likely also that parishes with more than one worship centre will be looking very carefully at the question of whether all worship centres can open “safely” according to the rules of Level 2.
Facing our Communities
Level 2 is an opportunity to connect with our local communities. After seven or more weeks which will have been stressful for many, could we see ourselves facing outwards in mission?
I want to commend to each ministry unit the possibility of organising a visiting programme to homes in our respective areas. Planning for a visiting programme is already underway in the New Brighton area as Archdeacon Katrina Hill plans for this with Anglican Care Projects Officer Janette Sprott and the Acting Anglican Missioner, Jolyon White. This could be repeated across our Diocese in many ministry units.
Our vision is for our churches to connect with people, listen to their stories and offer practical help and support. If this vision strikes a chord with you and you would like to find out more about how Anglican Care might assist you and a team of volunteers with planning and training, please register your interest with Veronica Cross. Our window of opportunity here may be comparatively short in terms of weeks spent in Level 2. We would love to hear from you.
As I write this I have had a sneak preview of the remainder of this week’s e-Life – there are a lot of very interesting happenings coming up and there is plenty of news. I commend each item to you.
Something very important in the reinstatement of our Cathedral is the Site Blessing advertised below. I am looking forward to joining this event with you via Livestream (at 7.45am). Level 2 restrictions on numbers mean that the two priority clergy for this event are Dean Lawrence Kimberley and Pihopa Richard Wallace. I am very grateful for their ministry on this occasion.
The extraordinary response of the City Mission to the extraordinary demands of Lockdown on their services is neatly captured in this Seven Sharp video.
Recognising that many of us are tired I want to mention the following two important events “for your information” rather than for action – we can emphasise an active response in another year.
1) The annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 25-31 May 2020. Various materials to assist ministry units in praying through this week are available. Please contact Veronica Cross for these.
2) The annual global prayer festival Thy Kingdom Come 21 -31 May 2020 which invites us to “Join the global wave of prayer calling all Christians to pray between Ascension and Pentecost for more people to come to know Jesus Christ.”
For those who have time to do some reading, relevant to this viral season, I commend to you…
a) “We’re all monks now” which engages issues of attentiveness, grace, finding meaning, anxiety, and the illusion of control, and
b) the latest issue of a NZ theological journal, 'Stimulus'.
The other day I followed up a link sent to me to a UK service which featured Archbishop Rowan Williams as preacher. His sermon was based on last Sunday’s gospel reading, John 10:1-10. You can watch it here. The whole sermon is worth listening to – of course! – but I was struck by this thought within it: the resurrection is not an idea, and it’s not a solution to a problem. Rather it is a new world which we are called to enter into. Incidentally, I think that’s a good way to think about the lectionary readings for this coming Sunday. By faith we enter into that new world today; with hope we anticipate the full experience of that world when God calls us home; in love we share the joy of this new world with others, eager that they might enter it also.