Dear Friends,

What an extraordinary Coronation Service on Saturday night! There has been much commentary since in the media and in personal conversations so my only addition to that is to note the Archbishop of Canterbury’s sermon text can be read here, and to give thanks to God for the witness to the King of Kings within the service and its ceremonies as King Charles the Third and Queen Camilla were crowned.

On Sunday evening our own local celebration of the Coronation was held in the Transitional Cathedral with Mayors (Phil Mauger, Dan Gordon, and Marie Black), members of the diplomatic corps, and representatives of other churches and faith traditions present among a congregation of over 200 people. The Cathedral Choir was superb, the contribution of Chapel Brass much appreciated, and representatives of Anglican schools wonderfully prayed for our newly crowned king and queen—thank you all! A special thank you to Dean Lawrence Kimberley who coordinated the planning of the service. My sermon text for the occasion can be read here.

It was good on Sunday morning to share in further ordinations in Te Hui Amorangi o Te Waipounamu, this time at Te Hepara Pai, Ferry Road, Christchurch, when three new deacons (Angela Hepi, Nerissa Kaa, Mere Molonet) were ordained and a kai karakia (Roye Frankland) was licensed. It is always a pleasure to share in ministry with Bishop Richard and Archdeacon Mere Wallace—Mere was our preacher on this occasion.

This week, Bishop Richard, and I, along with other bishops and representatives from episcopal units in Aotearoa New Zealand are at a Te Kotahitanga Forum in Auckland which is focused on a major report, Te Pae Tawhiti, on the future of theological education and ministry formation in our church. The commissioning of this report was in 2019 and the years since (with some disruption due to Covid) have been spent in careful and wide-ranging research by researchers Dr Steve Taylor and Ms Animoa Val Gould. Their brief has been to look into the state of our church and the education within it and to look ahead to 2040 in their proposals for our consideration. Next week I will report further and also will hopefully be able to inform readers where the final version of the report can be accessed from. I am delighted that the Reverend Josh Taylor, one of our post-graduate students at St John’s College is able to represent our Diocese with me at the Forum.

As I write this message in Auckland this morning, the news on TV is attending to the many challenges of the flooding in Auckland yesterday. In the mercy of God, I was on an early morning flight and thus avoided taking hours to travel from the airport to our venue in Parnell later in the day. The early flight enabled me to spend time with students and staff at the College—I am grateful for their hospitality and very proud of the contribution our students (Eddie, Ripeka, Lukas, Matt, Cassie, Ciru and Josh) are making to the life of the College. In a time of change of leadership at the College, the Reverend Jemma Allan is the Acting Dean of Tikanga Pakeha students, and it was good to spend time with Jemma yesterday. Last week the new Manukura [Principal] for the College was announced … the next paragraph cites part of the formal announcement made by the College:

“Dr Emily Colgan [will] be the next Manukura of St John’s Theological College. Dr Colgan is a biblical scholar of local and international renown. As a Senior Lecturer and Academic Dean at Trinity Methodist College, she is known for her excellent and relational teaching and academic administration. She has developed and led innovative and contextual theological curricula. Emily is a life-long Anglican, a lay member of St Luke’s Mt Albert, and a professed member of the Third Order of St Francis. She is married to Rev’d Richard Bonifant, and they have two daughters.”

Emily will take up her appointment in late August. I look forward to inviting her to visit our Diocese after that and to meet with our key staff in education and training here during that visit.

Dean Lawrence and Elizabeth Kimberley will be farewelled from their Cathedral ministries at the Transitional Cathedral, this Sunday 14 May 2023, following the 10 am Choral Eucharist. All are welcome. I am delighted that deans from other cathedrals in New Zealand will be present for the day.

This Sunday 14 May 2023, Easter 6 we have the reading, Acts 17:22-31 (in place of the Old Testament reading). This reading reminds us that preaching the gospel in some times and places is very hard. The Athens of Paul’s day bears resemblance with the Western world of our day. What do we learn from how Paul went about preaching the message of Jesus in Athens?