Dear Friends,

Please pray for the ordination of Margaret Neate to the priesthood this Saturday afternoon 4 December at 3.30 pm at St Peter’s, Upper Riccarton. This is a My Vaccine Passes service—all welcome who can display their passes. Clergy: please robe, wearing alb and red stole. Archdeacon Nick Mountfort will be our preacher.

I am very pleased to announce a new date for the ordination of Bernard Walker to the diaconate, 7 pm Tuesday 14 December 2021 in the Transitional Cathedral. Although this is a My Vaccine Pass service, Northwest Christchurch parishioners intending to be present should contact your parish office. People outside the parish, including all clergy wishing to attend (albs and red stoles), are also asked to register their intention by emailing Veronica Cross.

The Orange Traffic Light
Tonight Standing Committee works further on a number of matters for which there is discretion, connected with the change on Friday to the Orange Traffic Light, which is expected to last until at least 17 January 2022.

It is vital that we approach this new mode, especially when the Auckland borders open up, committed to doing what it takes to both be safe and to give others confidence that we are practising safe habits in our attendance at church and participation in other events on church premises.

This week I want to particularly note that mask wearing is a vital part of being safe and giving confidence to others that church is a safe place. Some congregations, frankly, have become slack on this matter. Consequently, I am changing my language from “encouraging” mask wearing to “expecting” mask wearing. Collectively our expectations should be that we will mask when in church. The previous encouragement to wear masks was intended to encourage all to wear masks while stopping short of making mask wearing mandatory. It was not intended to have the outcome that one or two in the congregation mask and the rest do not.

Other News
Last Thursday evening Teresa and I had a wonderful evening at the Transitional Cathedral as Cathedral Regulars and Volunteers gathering for Evensong and then for a meal together. On Friday night we entertained newly engaged couple the Reverend Rosie Fyfe (NZCMS National Director) and her fiancé Nathan—congratulations and best wishes as you prepare for your marriage in March 2022. May the Traffic Light be Green by then!

Saturday and Sunday were spent with Pihopa Richard and Archdeacon Mere Wallace and the clergy of Te Waipounamu at Hanmer Springs—a very big thank you to +Richard and Mere for their hospitality, and also to the Parish of Hanmer Springs who hosted the retreatants on Saturday in the hall and on Sunday for worship—with a lively and lovely sermon by the Reverend Mike Hawke.

On Tuesday morning Pihopa Richard, Dean Lawrence and I shared in a service of blessing for the new site of the Citizens War Memorial in Cathedral Square (approximately on the site of the former Police Kiosk). Tuesday and today have been my first full days in the new Anglican Centre. Last night I participated in a St Andrew’s Day Evensong at the Transitional Cathedral, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the priesting of the Reverends Terry Alve, Gerald Jacobson and Derek Tovey, though for COVID related reasons only Terry and Margaret Alve were able to be present in person. (I am conscious there are a number of clergy anniversaries about this time and intend in an e-Life before Christmas to list all the notable ones.)

Our Gospel reading on Sunday is Luke 3:1-6 (Second Sunday of Advent). John the Baptist is the outsider who speaks to the insiders, the afflicter of the comfortable, and to be frank, not much of a comforter to the afflicted. What is his message? What is God saying to the church today through John his wilderness prophet?

John the Baptist is a spearhead in the mission of God. Critical to the DMAP [Diocesan Mission Action Plan] is understanding God is a God of mission: “the God of mission calls us to bear witness to who God is, to tell what God has done in Jesus Christ, and to partner in God’s work in the world by going out to be salt and light. We call this the missio Dei.” A sad effect of the pandemic is that it presses us to look inwards as a church as we reorganise ourselves. Our Advent challenge is to look outwards and beyond ourselves.

Finally, the finishing touches to the new Anglican Centre at Cardale House, Tuam Street, are progressing well, but not quite finished. We are confident that from Tuesday next week (7 December onwards) staff will be present in their offices in the usual way, at 95 Tuam Street, with phone systems working.