The attachment gives the official statement regarding the lack of an announcement before Christmas concerning our beloved Cathedral in the Square. We came so close and I will always be deeply grateful for the sacrificial contribution of the Cathedral Working Group, which was Government appointed; the staff of Church Property Trustees and the Church Property Trustees themselves. Jeremy Johnson our Diocesan Chancellor was particularly magnificent as were Steve Wakefield and Roger Bridge who were the CPT representatives on the Cathedral Working Group. Both Steve Wakefield and Roger Bridge went on to assist greatly with the negotiations after the completion of the Working Group’s Recommendation Report. In a sentence: we almost got there, and earlier this week we did think we had arrived.
We will now have a break over Christmas and decide where and how to proceed in the later part of January. Please pray for all involved in this matter thus far. The Minister Gerry Brownlee has had the November earthquake on his plate as well as the changes in Cabinet. I wish him and his staff a blessed Christmas and a jolly good rest over the holidays.
I also wish to thank the Rev Canon Helen Roud and the Ven John Sheaf who have exercised the ministry of Co-Vicars General during my somewhat interrupted Study Leave. Their ministry has been exceptional. I continue on Study Leave until late January and plan to take the month of July in order to make up what I lost when I came back to join in the work and negotiations about the Cathedral building in the Square. In January the Ven John Sheaf will step back from being Bishop’s Chaplain and Vicar General and return to his retirement. Assisting Helen will be the Deputy Vicar General the Rev. Andrew Starky who has recently returned from his Study Leave.
On 21 December we bid farewell to Michael Gorman, our City Missioner, at a lovely occasion at the Transitional Cathedral following the Carol Service. Thank you Michael for your care and love for the city and those who are too easily overlooked in our midst. May your retirement be blessed.
In two days time we will gather across the Diocese to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child. I think our observation of the incarnation this year is especially poignant as there is so much violence and suffering in the world. To mark the birth of the Prince of Peace, the Christ, and to recall the joy of the angels, the faithful if rather frightened response of the Shepherds, and the humble obedience of Mary and Joseph brings home to us a message that we are each and all called to listen to God’s call to lead lives that demonstrate the compassion and generosity of the Gospel message. “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me” as one Gospel song expresses it.
In closing, I pray you will hold fast to Emmanuel, God with us, and have a most blessed Christmas.
In the name of Christ Jesus our Lord,
+VictoriaDelayed Cathedral Announcement - Press Release