We are in Holy Week. Yesterday it was a privilege to preach at both Chrism Eucharists (Avonhead and Temuka) where all the baptised present had opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to ministry as baptised disciples, and clergy present reaffirmed their ordination vows, as deacons, priests and bishops (see photos later in the newsletter). Tomorrow Teresa and I head to Hokitika to share in services tomorrow evening and on Good Friday. I am especially looking forward to tomorrow evening’s service which will be at a church we have visited but never worshipped in, Kowhitirangi and Kokatahi Church of St Aidan and St Columba.
We return Saturday in order to visit Easter Camp. Please continue to pray for the Camp (that nothing will prevent it going ahead), for campers and leaders, especially those from our ministry units, and for those who will speak at plenary and other events. (For more idea on how to pray for this, read the article on page 5 of the latest AnglicanLife magazine.)
As you will have seen from the image above, last Thursday morning Dean Lawrence led a service of blessing for the Citizens War Memorial, prior to it being partially disassembled, repaired, strengthened and translated to a new site in Cathedral Square. A news article on the service can be read here.
Saturday night saw Teresa and I present at St Saviour’s Lyttelton’s monthly Saturday evening contemplative eucharist (see photo later in the newsletter). This was also an opportunity to visit the Vicarage for the first time since its restoration, 10 years after it was significantly damaged by the Canterbury quakes. Everything looks and feels wonderful and downstairs there is a large reception room in which the congregation were able to enjoy pizza and sushi after the service. This was also an opportunity to catch up with John McLister, Vicar of Lyttelton and Port Chaplain, on the amazing ministry he and his team are offering to seafarers in Lyttelton port—a ministry repeated in other ports through New Zealand and, thankfully, with signs of increasing support from our Government.
At St Margaret’s College on Sunday evening we were present for their Tenebrae service—a lovely service of readings and music and dance which led the congregation through the Gospel stories of Holy Week (see images later in the newsletter).
I ask for your prayers for the Whitcombe family. A few weeks ago Rosa-Jane Whitcombe, daughter of the Reverends Aubrey and Felicity Whitcombe died. On Monday we received news of a further tragic death in the family—Daniel Price, son in law of Aubrey and Felicity, died suddenly in Wanganui. Especially pray, please, for Daniel’s widow Elizabeth and their children, Zion, David and Sally.
This Sunday the lectionary offers a choice of Gospel Reading, John 20:1-18 or Mark 16:1-8. Both readings tell us of the resurrection of Jesus. There are some striking differences between the two readings but each attests to the physical fact of the tomb in which Jesus was laid being empty. And both readings attest to the importance of those who love Jesus meeting with him as the risen Lord. May we, this coming festival Day of Resurrection, meet afresh with our living Lord.