Dear Friends,

Last week the media made something of Brian and Hannah Tamaki publicly indicating they would not be receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. My counter is that Christian leaders should be encouraging receiving the vaccine.  If we love our neighbours as ourselves then we want them to be in good health. In a time of Pandemic we protect our neighbours’ good health by being healthy ourselves, that is, by not getting COVID because we have taken the reasonable precaution of being vaccinated. Elsewhere in this e-Life is some information about the vaccines researched and produced by the ICBC.

Last week Rosa-Jane Whitcombe, adult daughter of the Reverends Felicity and Aubrey Whitcombe died and her funeral was held at All Saints, Burwood on Friday afternoon. Please pray for Aubrey and Felicity and their family as they mourn Rosa-Jane’s passing.

On Saturday a tragic accident occurred outside St Cuthbert’s Church, Governor’s Bay, just before a wedding was due to take place. The accident has been reported in the Press over the past few days. A motorcyclist, Josh (Joe) Broughan was killed. This news is distressing and I ask for your prayers for all involved, foremost for the family and friends of Josh Broughan as they mourn his death.

On Sunday morning Teresa and I were able to attend the Commonwealth Day Service in the Transitional Cathedral with Ms Sam Pass, UK Deputy High Commissioner speaking. It was good to be able to welcome leaders of other faith communities to the service.

Sunday 28 February 2021 was the Reverend Mandy Neil’s last Sunday at St. Nicholas’ Barrington Street as Interim Priest of the Parish of South Christchurch. Thank you Mandy for your ministry there! I am grateful that the Reverend Meg Harvey is available to lead Sunday ministry in the parish for this month and Easter.

I am pleased to announce that the Reverend Peg Riley, Chaplain at St Margaret’s School will become Associate Priest in the Parish of Upper Riccarton-Yaldhurst from 1 July 2021. (I will formally acknowledge Peg’s many years of ministry at St. Margaret’s nearer the time of her departure from the school).

I remind readers that the Reverend Paul Heard’s memorial service will be at Sumner School Hall, Dryden St, Sumner, 2 pm Saturday 20 March. All welcome. Paul’s special request to clergy is that there be no clerical collars, robes or processions. I will be honouring that!

I wonder if the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby wishes he had asked Presiding Bishop Michael Curry to preach on Matthew 18:15 rather than 1 Corinthians 13 at Meghan and Harry’s “second” wedding! Incidentally, for those concerned about hearing about two weddings for the Sussexes—a revelation generating worldwide Anglican social media chatter—my best understanding is that three days before the formal, legal, televised wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Archbishop Welby witnessed a private exchange of vows between the couple. I sympathise with the Archbishop pastorally improvising in this way to offer the couple a secluded moment of significance away from the glare of television and publicity.

Sunday’s Gospel—Lent 4, Year B—is John 3:14-21. In a world where we are wary of binary divisions and warm to the concept of “my truth”, this passage is uncomfortable reading. Life versus death, condemnation versus salvation, light versus darkness, and what is “true” is determined from God’s perspective not from ours. God’s love for the world sends the Son, offers eternal life and blesses living in the light. What and who will we believe in?