Dear brothers and sisters in Christ!
On Monday and Tuesday, I welcomed back to New Zealand Rhiannon King and Harry Steele – our Leading your Church into Growth conference speakers. Harry is joined by his wife Zoey this time. They arrived fit and well and are very glad to be with us again! We have 161 registrations with 20 more who will experience the conference through three remote hubs in Timaru, Temuka and Hokitika. I very much look forward to the opportunity to consolidate learnings and to strengthen our vision for the regeneration of our Diocese.
It was wonderful to travel to Hanmer Springs on Friday night with Pip, and to share with the Vestry on the Saturday and to preach and preside on Sunday. The lay leaders of the parish have been without a half time clergy person for 18 months now, but they continue to do a magnificent job in maintaining the buildings and grounds and continuing the outreach and ministry of the parish. Having a coffee after the service in the church grouped around the wood burner was special!
Bishop Peter and Teresa’s ministry trip to Tanzania has now almost come to an end. The final acts included presiding at five separate confirmation services – two on Friday (8am and 2pm!), one on Saturday and two more on Sunday! What an amazingly uplifting experience that must have been. I can’t wait to see the photos! Bishop Peter and Teresa will be arriving back in New Zealand today (Wednesday) but I daresay he will need some time to recovery from what must have been both an exhilarating but exhausting trip. We hope to see Bishop Peter at the conference at some stage but will try not to be too demanding!
It has been with horror and deep sadness to see that war has again broken out between Israel and Hamas. The murder and taking of so many civilian hostages are especially deplorable. Please remember and pray for the tiny minority of Christians in Gaza and Israel who will be suffering. Let us condemn the violence but continue to pray for peace with justice in the Middle East. There will be a Prayer Vigil for the Middle East at the Cardboard Transitional Cathedral on Monday, 16 October at 7:30pm. It will be led by Bishop Peter Carrell and Acting Dean Bosco Peters. All are welcome.
On Sunday, it was announced at the Cathedral that the Bishop has appointed Matt Maslin as a curate for the Cathedral, taking up this appointment after his ordination as a deacon. Matt is married to Zara, and they have two young children, Piper and Page. Matt will be ordained in the Cathedral at 10.30am on Saturday, 25 November.
Loren Cunningham, founder of YWAM (Youth with a Mission) died last Friday morning. He was a charismatic visionary who motivated literally millions of young people to travel the world with the Christian message. Many of our churches will have welcomed young people undertaking a DTS (Discipleship Training School) as part of YWAM. We can all be stirred up in our faith by Cunningham’s example who began a movement which has carried forward the mission of Christ to the world.
This Sunday’s Gospel reading is Matthew 22:1-14 and is one of a group of parables that Jesus told his opponents while he was teaching in the temple in Holy Week. Like last Sunday’s parable it tells the big story of God’s mission to the world – from the calling of Israel, the incarnation of the Son as the center piece of God’s plan, through to the calling of the Church to carry forward God’s mission to the world and finally the demands of discipleship. There’s a lot to preach on! Both Israel and the Church are the objects of the divine prerogative – they are both invited into relationship with God and are both called to account for their response to God’s grace.