I am writing this from Auckland where I am attending three days of the Royal Commission on Abuse hearings into how the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia has provided redress to survivors of abuse. You may have read in the media harrowing stories of abuse and descriptions of shortcomings and mistakes by our church in the handling of complaints. The first thing to say is to salute the courage of the survivors who have told their stories and to acknowledge with gratitude the gracious and constructive ways they are commending needed changes to us. While we have been making changes to our policies and procedures through recent years, I acknowledge that the experience of the past few days has highlighted ways in which across our whole church, we need to consider further changes.
Next week, as advertised here in e-Life, there is an exciting book launch at the Anglican Centre, 8 am, Thursday 17 December for Talanoa, Telling our Stories, Kōrerohia a tātou pūrakau
(further information can be seen here). In this book over 40 women, ordained and lay, tell their stories of the history making decision of our church to ordain women.
Congratulations to the Reverend Dr Carolyn Robertson who has been appointed Vicar of the (enlarged) Parish of Shirley, effective from 1 January 2021. (A new name for this parish which encompasses Shirley, Burwood and Marshlands is being worked on.) A date for an induction service has not yet been decided but is likely in late January or early February.
A new Clerical Directory is being prepared, so it is time to update listings. Further information around the process appears further down this newsletter.
Thank you for responses from ministry units re. Christmas Service details to Jo Bean (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that we can have a coherent and comprehensive guide to services times and locations on our Dio. website this Christmas.
Teresa and I are enjoying End of Year events for our Anglican schools and each occasion is a reminder of the opportunity our schools provide for the proclamation of our Christian faith.
On Sunday I was privileged to participate in services in the Cooperating Parish of Mackenzie—Fairlie and Tekapo. A bonus was visits to newly established community gardens in each centre.
I am aware that through these weeks Ordination Anniversaries with a significant number (30, 40, 50, etc. years) are being celebrated. I m not going to list names since I am bound to omit someone! But I do want to acknowledge that each such anniversary is the reaching of a milestone in a journey of faithfulness and to wish all our senior, experienced clergy many more years of fruitful ministry.
Recently I mentioned the forthcoming launch of a new app for our church, offering an electronic means on smart devices to engage in Daily Worship. Unfortunately a technical glitch has delayed this launch. Be assured that when the launch occurs, it will be made known to the Diocese.
Advent 3 (already?!) continues our liturgical journey towards Christmas with further opportunity to reflect on the coming of Jesus and the role of John the Baptist in preparation for his coming in mission to Israel. Our gospel reading from John 1 this Sunday emphasises the global scope of that mission: “The true light which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world” (John 1:9). The Royal Commission hearings are currently highlighting how far short we have fallen as a church being an agent who brings that light to all. This Sunday is an opportunity to reflect on what we need to repent of as well as on how we may be available to God so that we might be light to the world.