Dear Friends,

Response to Cyclone Gabrielle continues with huge work, some of it being seen via media reports and much of it unseen. Hāpaitia | The Anglican Cyclone Gabrielle Response Group has continued to meet nearly every day through the past week and will meet twice weekly through the next few weeks. I continue to ask that as individuals and ministry units we support Anglican responses in Hawkes Bay, Tairawhiti and Northland by visiting Anglican Missions to donate to the Cyclone Gabrielle Appeal. (Note that these donations will be receipted and are eligible for tax rebates). Late yesterday afternoon the amount raised via this appeal was $167,000.
Also, a Cyclone Response Hub is now in operation at Anglican Missions and is ready to receive all offers or suggestions that you are fielding for material or practical support for our most affected communities. Please connect via The staff at the Cyclone hub will receive and log offers of support and match them with requests from people on the ground.
Since the last e-Life I have been involved in some wonderful services. At 5:30pm on Ash Wednesday a well-attended ecumenical service heard Bishop Michael Gielen preach for the first time in the Transitional Cathedral. A very big thank you to Dean Lawrence and Fr Simon Eccleton for their preparation for this service [see photo further on in this e-Life].
The following evening, we had a lovely ordination service in which Steven Dunne was ordained deacon in the Transitional Cathedral. The Reverend Steven Dunne is now licensed as Deacon and Ministry Team Leader for the Parish of Woodend-Pegasus. On Sunday morning, at St Christopher’s, Avonhead it was a privilege to confirm Angus, Charlotte, Comet, Greg, Matthew, and Miriam, and to pray for renewal of baptism and confirmation for John [see photo at the top of this e-Life]. Last night, at St Michael and All Angels, Archdeacon Megan Herles-Mooar and I inducted Fr Jordan Greatbatch as the new vicar of the Parish of Christchurch—St Michael and All Angels. Welcome, Jordan, to the Diocese of Christchurch! Due to a prior commitment to a meeting of Cursillo NZ’s National Secretariat on Saturday morning, I missed one event I am usually present for at this time of the year: the AGM and commissioning service for the AAW—I am grateful that our Vicar-General, Mark Barlow, was able to deputise for me.
This Friday 3 March, is the World Day of Prayer and across our Diocese various services are being held. The World Day of Prayer is an important event for bringing Christians of different denominations together as one people of God [see information and a link to resources further on in this e-Life].
Beginning last Sunday and continuing through all the Sundays of Lent, the Transitional Cathedral is holding a Lenten Series of sermons at 5pm Evensong on the theme, Embracing Justice. Full details of the programme are found elsewhere in this e-Life.
Today is 1 March, and March is an important month for Neighbours Aotearoa which, every year in March, encourages us all to do something, small or big, which enables us to get to know our neighbours better. Further details are at the Neighbours Aotearoa website.
I am pleased to share the following link to a joint statement from our Archbishops and the Archbishop of Canterbury made in response to the recent deaths of Andrew Bagshaw and Christopher Parry who died while attempting to rescue people in war torn Ukraine.
This Sunday 5 March 2023, Lent 2, the gospel is either Matthew 17:1-9 (the Transfiguration) or John 3:1-17 (Jesus and Nicodemus). Going with the former acknowledges a significant event in Jesus’ journey to the cross. The latter is a possible choice because one route through Lent is to focus on Jesus’ encounters with individuals and thus highlighting the possibility that Lent is a special time of preparation for individuals preparing to be baptised at Easter.
A month from now, at 4pm Saturday 1 April, the Reverend Harry Newton will be inducted as Vicar of the Parish of Sumner-Redcliffs. All will be welcome at a venue to be confirmed in Sumner or Redcliffs.
Finally, I set out a challenge of fasting this Lent by turning off social media each Wednesday. This is a reminder as much to myself as to readers!