Dear Friends,

I am delighted to announce the following ordinations:

  • Associate Professor Bernard Walker will be ordained deacon, and licensed for ministry in the Parish of Northwest Christchurch, at 10.30 am Saturday 27 November, 2021 in the Transitional Cathedral.
  • The Reverend Margaret Neate, currently deacon in the Parish of Upper Riccarton-Yaldhurst, will be ordained priest and licensed for ministry in the same parish, 3.30 pm Saturday 4 December, 2021 in St Peter’s, Upper Riccarton.

Due to Alert Level 2 regulations, attendance at each service is limited to 100 plus staff. If you are not a parishioner of the respective parishes and wish to be present for either service, please consult with the respective Vicars, Jo Latham and Nick Mountfort.

Please pray for Bernard and Margaret as they prepare for their ordinations and participate in their pre-ordination retreat in the days before 27 November.

The Reverend Susan Gill has announced her retirement from ministry as Vicar of Ellesmere, with her last Sunday being 20 February 2022. I am very grateful to know that Susan is not retiring from ordained ministry and will be serving in other capacities, including as a supervisor and spiritual director.

Teresa and I were pleased to be at St John’s, Woolston on Sunday morning to share with the congregation and their Priest in Charge, Kirstie McDonald, in celebrations of 164 years of mission and ministry in Woolston. It is good to see growth in the congregation there.

Preparations for our face to face, physical meeting of Synod continue for Saturday 20 November and for two Synod services the evening before in the Transitional Cathedral. Our confidence in going forward rests on Covid continuing to be not present in our community. If we were to have a “scare” such as we had a few weeks back, we will change our approach and meet on Zoom instead.

Covid-19 will come to our community eventually. Aucklanders have done a mighty job in being vaccinated and the Prime Minister is right to signal that soon Aucklanders will be able to leave Auckland. That means, as best I understand things, that the management of Covid in New Zealand life will not be confined to the upper North Island. The new Traffic Lights Framework will become our new rule and guidance for living with the management of the spread of Covid in our community. Currently a lot of work is being done within our Diocese, within our national Anglican church, and within the Government in relation to churches with respect to what church life will be like in the new Framework.

It is not possible at this time to yet share with the Diocese where this work will land, but I want to offer some thoughts to prepare ourselves for what is likely to be required of us. The important questions will be: How do we care for and welcome all people? How do we give people coming to church confidence that our churches are safe rather than risky environments? As appointers of clergy and employers of lay staff, how do we ensure the health and safety of our staff?

Answering these questions includes the possibility that the current strong recommendation to wear a mask when worshipping could become a mandate for all present to be masked. Likely there will be stricter discipline required re the serving of food and drink on church premises. Should we continue singing, or at least reduce the amount of singing we do in services? Likely there will be a mandate that lay and ordained ministers, especially those working with children or vulnerable persons, will be vaccinated. Critical to our thinking should be this question; Are we as a church caring for children and vulnerable persons as well as civil society is caring for them (per mandates for health and education sectors)? In all these matters, under the Traffic Lights Framework, we will be responding to the presence of Covid in our communities: the virus is infectious. We must ask what we can do to minimise the spread of the infection.

Our Gospel reading on Sunday is Mark 13:1-8. This week I am not going to attempt a one sentence response to this extraordinary passage. Instead, I draw your attention to a helpful article on this reading by Ian Paul at