Message from the Bishop

Dear Friends,

Greetings on Ash Wednesday and best wishes for a disciplined Lent!

It has been very good to welcome Archbishop John Sentamu and the Reverend Margaret Sentamu to our Diocese, in particular to share in a pōwhiri with Pīhopa Richard and the people of the Hui Amorangi o Te Wai Pounamu at Te Hepara Pai yesterday. We will say more next Wednesday about their visit.

Pray for Michael and Mary-Jo Holdaway (tomorrow evening) and Elspeth Wingham (Friday evening) as they are commissioned into their leadership roles in the Parishes of Methven and Rakaia and in the Parish of Glenmark-Waikari respectively. Please also pray for a group of confirmees whom I will confirm at St Martin’s Church in the Parish of Riccarton-Spreydon on Sunday morning.

Last weekend it was a privilege to join with Bosco Peters, Christ’s College Chaplain, in dedicating a new stained glass window in the chapel to the glory of God and in memory of the late rugby legend Jock Hobbs. Sunday morning at St Mary’s Addington was lovely and a pleasure being in one of our beautiful older churches.

On Sunday afternoon I joined Helen Roud and Spanky Moore as Anglicans among 100 or so people gathered by a government initiative into an inter-faith hui (one of several being held in cities around our nation). The obvious motivation for the hui being held was the terrible events on 15 March 2019 and the timing was intended to sharpen our focus on remembrance this coming 15 March (when a National Remembrance Service will be held at 3 pm in North Hagley Park). I will say something next week about how, beyond the National Remembrance Service itself, we can helpfully remember and act on the events of that tragic day in 2019. Here I note to you the Togetherness Tour, Kotahitanga, 29th Feb to 15th March advertised elsewhere in this e-Life.

I hope it is obvious that I am committed to confirming people in their faith and I want to underline the invitation elsewhere in this e-Life for people otherwise unable to be prepared for Confirmation in their local parish to be prepared through sessions led by Dean Lawrence and Elizabeth Kimberley towards a Confirmation Service in the Transitional Cathedral Sunday evening 14 June 2020.

Congratulations to Jo Latham, Vicar of the Parish of North West Christchurch (formerly the Parish of Belfast-Redwood and the Parish of Bishopdale) who has recently celebrated 20 years in her position. Jo thank you for your ministry in your parish and in our Diocese.  Congratulations also to Murray Lennox who has been the face of music at All Souls, Merivale-St Albans (and previously St Mary’s, Merivale) for the last 17 years. As he retires from his role as Musical Director he will be greatly missed. The good news is that Murray is not leaving the parish, but will continue to attend All Souls Church.

Murray Lennox, who is stepping down as Music Director for All Souls Merivale-St Albans Parish, speaking after his valedictory concert at All Souls Sunday 24 Feb 2020

I am always joyful to see ecumenical co-operation and one photo here captures the joy of a local ministers’ association meeting in north-west Christchurch! On the one hand I encourage all vicars/priests-in-charge/associate clergy to meet with their local ministers’ associations. On the other hand I ask wardens and vestries to understand that a vital part of ordained ministry is working with other churches in the district.

Round-table discussion with ministers of different denominations in the N-W of Chch. This meeting (19 Feb) was to discuss possible combined Lent events. From L to R: Elliott Rice (Papanui Baptist), Tim Frank (St Paul’s), Glenda Hicks and Jo Latham (NW Christchurch), Donald Scott (North City), Anne Preston (Christchurch North Methodist). 

Congratulations to Jacqui Paterson, a former vicar from in this Diocese, who will be one of two joint Deans of St Mary’s Cathedral Taranaki. Archbishop Philip and Bishop Waitohiariki’s announcement explains the new appointments in this way: “Consecrated as a Church in 1864 serving both Māori and Pākehā, and as we approach the 10th anniversary of the consecration of Taranaki Cathedral, it is with delight that we announce the appointment of Jacqui Paterson and Jay Ruka as joint Deans of Taranaki Cathedral. Jacqui will also serve as Archdeacon of Parininihi and Jay will also serve as the establishment Director of the Paul Reeves Education Centre.” (Jay Ruka will be known to many readers for his widely read book Huia Come Home.)

The churchwardens’ and treasurers’ conferences in March are important events. Almost weekly in the Anglican Centre we learn of and digest new aspects of compliance to rules and regulations, or proposals for changes to existing legislation and, generally, of course, we reflect on how our ministry can be safe for all the people we are involved with. Whatever we make of the 21st century world, it is the world we live out the gospel in and it is the world in which we are called to serve Christ faithfully even if we long nostalgically for the simpler world of the past. Thank you to all who serve in our parishes, lay officers and clergy: you are champions!

In wishing you a disciplined Lent, I am not only wishing you well in respect of specific Lenten disciplines such as prayer, fasting, and Bible study groups. I am wishing us all—myself included—an ever deepening appreciation of the discipline of Christ himself who resisted all temptation to do anything other than God’s will and continually offered his life for the life of the world, even to dying sacrificially for each and every one of us. Through this death we are forgiven and reconciled to God and through the resurrection, and consequential outpouring of the Spirit, empowered to live lives of holy love, witnesses to God’s will for all humanity. Thus today, Ash Wednesday, we have opportunity to be signed with the cross and asked to repent and be faithful to the gospel.