Dear Friends,

On Sunday it was good to be at the Transitional Cathedral for the first of The Cathedral Grammar School’s “whole school” services for 2024. Today I am in Timaru in order to present Lara Hearn-Rollo with her ministry license as the new Principal of Craighead Diocesan School.

Yesterday was Waitangi Day. The Dawn Service can be seen on YouTube and I commend the sermon preached by Dr Alistair Reese beginning at 30:16.

Bishop Steven Benford, Bishop of Dunedin, has announced that he will conclude his episcopal ministry in the diocese in May this year. I will miss Bishop Steven and his voice in the house of bishops.

Ash Wednesday is a week away. Please participate in Ash Wednesday services in your local parishes but it may suit some re time/location to join the annual ecumenical cathedral service between Anglicans and Catholics in Christchurch – this year the service is at 5.30pm, Wednesday 14 February, is being hosted at St Mary’s Pro Cathedral, Manchester Street.

Ash Wednesday begins the Season of Lent. Theology House’s annual Bible study booklet – in 2024 titled, A Future of Hope – is available to be ordered and orders will be responded to promptly.

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).

Another significant matter for our Diocese this year is the “Anglican Campaign” for fundraising for our Cathedral Reinstatement Project. Two events are just a fortnight away – 20 and 21 February – with details elsewhere in this e-Life. 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.

I am very grateful that the Reverend Jan Brodie will be Interim Priest in Charge of the Parish of Linwood-Aranui and (from the beginning of May) that the Reverend Peter Hurricks will be Interim Priest in Charge of the Parish of Burnside-Harewood. Please pray for them, for the Reverend John Sheaf who has begun his interim ministry in the Parish of Opawa-St Martin’s, for all lay and ordained leadership in our ministry units who have no permanent vicar at this time. I also ask for your prayers as we seek vicars (or other full-time priest) for our vacancies, especially the above-named parishes and for the vacancy for a priest to work in Mid Canterbury.

Last week I acknowledged the conclusion of (the majority of) Emma Tovey’s work as our Diocesan Children and Family Ministry Developer. It is timely, therefore, to update all of us on the Under 40’s Ministry Team in 2024:

Under 40’s Ministry Team Leader: the Reverend Sammy Mould – – 022 021 5401. (35 hours p.w..) Sammy is first point of call for anything regarding children, families, youth, and young adults. Happy to talk with any ministry units about anything for under 40’s ministry. Due to the part time nature of the remainder of the team, please contact Sammy in the first instance.

Under 40’s Leadership Developer: Paul Hegglun – . (20 hours p.w..) Paul’s speciality is leadership development especially in the areas of worship music, discipling and growing young leaders.

Under 40’s Safeguarding Educator: Nathan Muirhead – . (10 hours p.w..) Nathan has a wealth of knowledge around policies and procedures and will helping be helping Cherie Dirkze (Diocese Safeguarding Officer) to make sure our Diocese and ministry units are striving to be safe places for our children and young people.

Children’s Ministry Educator: Azairia Peach – (8 hours p.w..) Azaria’s skills and knowledge in children’s ministry will be vital for continuing to help grow vision and practicalities for building children and families work across the diocese.

Under 40’s Resource Creator: Emma Tovey – (5 hours p.w..) We are delighted that Emma is staying on while she studies to continue to create the fantastic VIP Magazines and work on next year’s Faith Journal.

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. 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 11 February 2024 is Mark 1:40-45 for Epiphany 6. In summary, Jesus heals a leper! But there is much to explore in the story, from the secrecy Jesus’ attempts to engender to the depth of Jesus’ own emotion about disease and illness – a depth English translations often fail to communicate well.