I begin by sharing two messages of thanks from Nelson. Mike and Patsy Hawke have written in response to our support for them and their family earlier this year,
“We want to thank you and the Christchurch Diocese for your extraordinary love, support, prayers, and generosity following the tragic death of Peter and Sarah only one month apart.”
Spanky Moore, following our Diocesan and Anglican Centre farewells to him and Sara a few weeks ago, writes,
“I’d just like to say a HUGE thank you from my whānau to the diocese team! Thank you for your kind words last week! Thank you for the kind gift and card! We will put it to good use setting up home here in the capital of sunshine and pottery! Thank you also to the diocese at large for their generous gift too.”
A quick review of highlights of the past week: the Reverend Jeff Cotton’s induction to the Parish of South Christchurch was very well attended—thank you to the Reverend Toby Behan who preached and to South Christchurch leaders for a well-organised service and excellent supper; our Diocesan Discernment Weekend took place with the usual care and attention to God’s guidance; on Sunday morning and late afternoon, Teresa and I were at services in the Parishes of Christchurch St Luke’s and Woodend-Pegasus respectively.
In the early afternoon on Sunday, we attended the annual St John Founders Day Service at All Souls Church, Merivale-St. Albans which was followed by a dedication of two new ambulances. Within the service itself a special highlight was formal acknowledgement of the Reverend Bob Tremewan’s 25 years of service as Chaplain to St John.
You will be noticing that we are having something of “yet another debate” on the place of Māori within our nation. I sincerely hope that Judith Collins has genuine concerns and is not chasing points in political polls. If her concerns are genuine about Māori being resourced to look after Māori in matters such as health then they are not shared by the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia. For three decades now, since we revised our constitution and became a Three Tikanga Church, our governance and management structure has supported Māori in being resourced to make decisions which are good for Māori because they are being made by Māori for Māori and not by Pākehā for Māori.
While observing the current debate about Te Ao Māori, I want to take this opportunity to encourage the use of Te Reo in our liturgies, not only in our spoken words but also in our songs. A New Zealand Prayer Book—He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa offers many opportunities to use Te Reo as we worship together and it is appropriate for our ministry units to incorporate the use of Te Reo in worship. Naturally development of worship in this way raises the question of gaining confidence in the use of Te Reo through learning. I commend as an example the recent initiative of the Parish of Fendalton which has organised Te Reo classes. It was wonderful to learn at the weekend that these classes have been over-subscribed!
Last week I promised that this week I would say something about Communion guidelines in Level 1. Unfortunately I have run out of time and will leave this till another week. Suffice to say this about one aspect of communion distribution which concerns me as I move around the Diocese: when offering the chalice to a communicant, the edge of the chalice must be firmly and carefully wiped with the purificator, the chalice turned so that the next recipient does not sip from the edge of the chalice just touched by the previous communicant. Additionally, the purificator should be moved through the fingers of the chalice bearer so that a new part of the purificator wipes the edge of the chalice. In summary: every chalice-bearer needs to be well-trained in administering the chalice hygienically.
This Sunday’s Gospel continues in John 15 as we read verses 9-17. There are very deep matters to ponder here. For instance that we can be “friends” of Jesus and not merely “servants.” And, can we exhaust in this lifetime understanding what it means that we did not choose Jesus but he chose us (v. 16)?