Dear Friends,

This week I begin by acknowledging the tragic death of a young man, Jordan Morris, at the City Mission on Sunday evening. These past few days have been challenging for staff and for clients – both emotionally and administratively – as the shock of the death has been felt, and as new accommodation and arrangements for evening meals has been arranged for those who would otherwise have slept in the Night Shelter. Please pray for the family of Jordan as they prepare for his funeral this Friday afternoon, for the man who has been arrested in relation to this death, and for Corinne Haines, our City Missioner and all staff and volunteers at the Mission.

It is incomprehensible to me that our Government is entertaining the thought of reviewing our current prohibition on semi-automatic rifles. The imam of the El Noor mosque, Gamal Fouda, should not need to have a meeting with the PM to persuade him and his government to not put this up for review. Good leadership leads on such a matter and does not open it up for review. Gamal Fouda’s concern is especially poignant in this week of the fifth anniversary of the Mosques shootings here in Christchurch on 15 March 2019.

Last Saturday it was good to join with pilgrims sharing in the Gaza Ceasefire Pilgrimage – a journey of some 36 kms from Victoria Park, Rangiora to the Transitional Cathedral, Christchurch. I was able to be present for the first hour and the last hour but some intrepid and fit pilgrims walked the whole way! Let’s continue to pray for a lasting and just peace for this part of our world – a peace which seems as far off this week as it was in the middle of October 2024. I thank Cole Yeoman for his work in preparation for the pilgrimage and his leadership on the day.

Another part of my Saturday was to visit the ordination retreat for Susan Wallace, the Vicar-General of Te Hui Amorangi o Te Waipounamu. I was delighted to learn that we had good representation from the Diocese present for her ordination service the next morning.

I was in Mid Canterbury on Sunday, enjoying a magnificent sunny day with congregations at All Saints, Methven in the morning and St John’s, Barrhill in the afternoon.

Last night we had an excellent turn out of local parishioners, family, clergy and parishioners from two parishes in Christchurch, Linwood-Aranui and Opawa-St. Martins for the induction of the Reverend Felicity O’Brien as Vicar of Oxford-Cust, with the Reverend Elspeth Wingham, Priest-in-Charge of Glenmark-Waikari preaching.

Responses to our Anglican Campaign to raise funds for our Cathedral keep coming in. Thank you. Your contributions and pledges are most welcome. We look forward to more to come.

Last week I mentioned the Treaty of Waitangi. If readers of e-Life are interested in taking Treaty matters further through group study or by arranging to have a workshop on the Treaty, could you please email Jolyon White, Director of Anglican Advocacy. Next Wednesday I hope to be able to give some links to new videos on the Treaty which are being developed elsewhere in our church.

Jane Simpson has written a poetry collection, Shaking the Apple Tree. It is about sexual abuse, with particular reference to the Anglican church – the church to which Jane belongs. This book will be launched by the Reverend Louise Deans at 7.00pm on Saturday 23 March at All Souls Church, Church Lane, Merivale, Christchurch. If you cannnot make it to the launch, it will be live-streamed on Facebook. The book is available to purchase for NZ$25.00 + p&p and copies may be pre-ordered online.

The Gospel for this Sunday 17 March 2024, Lent 5 is John 12:20-33. This passage is in our Lenten readings because Jesus talks about his forthcoming death. It has a significant missional aspect at its beginning: the apostles Philip and Andrew who facilitate a meeting with Jesus and some “Greeks” at the festival who wish to see Jesus. One part of praying for the Regeneration of our Diocese is that many people today would want to see Jesus – to meet him (through us) and to get to know him.