Dear Friends,

Today we begin the season of Lent with Ash Wednesday services. For readers in the greater Christchurch area, I encourage a great Anglican attendance for the ecumenical service tonight at St Mary’s Pro Cathedral, Manchester Street, Christchurch at 5.30pm.

I am looking forward to the twin launch of the “Anglican Campaign” to fundraise for our Cathedral Reinstatement Project, on 20 and 21 February in Christchurch and then in Timaru. Details are elsewhere in this e-Life. All welcome. RSVP numbers to date are very encouraging for both events. 2024 will be a Year of Fundraising for the Cathedral – please consider how you might support this amazing and important project, without diminishing your support for your local church.

Vital to 2024 will be a Year of Prayer in our Diocese and for our Diocese as we seek the Regeneration of the Diocese. Please plan to participate in the Diocesan Prayer Pilgrimage over the weekend of 1-3 March, 2024. Participation includes everything from praying in your own home/local church to joining others at regional events (Timaru, Ashburton, Cathedral, Rangiora, Hokitika). Further details may be found at:

I congratulate two members of the Diocese on recent academic success.

Andrew Clark, Vicar’s Warden, Parish of Woodend-Pegasus, has completed his Bachelor of Theology through the University of Otago. It was a privilege to be able to present Andrew’s degree certificate at St Barnabas Woodend on Sunday afternoon at the conclusion of the 4pm service there.

Archdeacon Nicky Lee (Archdeacon for the Household of Deacons) recently completed her NZ Diploma of Christian Studies through St John’s College, Auckland. I look forward to a service, probably in the Cathedral, in the future when I can present her diploma certificate to her.

The 4pm service on Sunday afternoon at St Barnabas Woodend completed a Sunday for me and Teresa which began with a confirmation service at St Nicholas’, South Christchurch in the morning. Please pray for Judith Tuilotolava whom I confirmed. In both services it was wonderful to see signs of regeneration – new people, new generations in our churches. Thanks be to God.

At 2pm on Saturday 13 April, 2024, in the All Saints’ Hall, Hokitika, there will be a farewell function for the Reverend Vivien Harber to mark her retirement as priest and ministry enabler in the Parish of Westland. Friends and colleagues of Vivien’s are warmly invited to share in this event. (If you are not a member of the Westland parish, please let Veronica Cross,, know you are intending to be there – for catering purposes). For those staying in Hokitika for the weekend, the following morning I will be preaching and presiding at the morning service in All Saints.

In our prayers, let’s continue to pray for a ceasefire in Gaza which is intended to lead to a lasting and just peace between Israel and Palestine. This week the urgency of our prayers is heightened by Israel’s plan to imminently invade Rafah, the final refuge for many, many Palestinians. Negotiations are going on behind the scenes – may they prevent further killing of innocent people. Let’s not forget conflict in other places, from Ukraine to Sudan, and pray as fervently for lasting and just peace to reign in those places also. Nothing and no one is served by killing and injuring fellow human beings in the name of any cause, religion or ideology.

The Gospel for this Sunday, 18 February 2024 is Mark 1:9-15 for Lent 1. The suffering of Jesus in his earthly life, marked by his patient endurance, begins with temptation in the wilderness – with a testing of his resolve to obey God’s will for his life even under the duress of the normal comforts and supports of life (family, friends, food, and shelter) being absent.