Dear Friends,

It was lovely to be at St Christopher’s Avonhead on Sunday morning in order to confirm Jordan, Josiah, Sarah and Victoria at a combined service. 
 Later that day, at the Transitional Cathedral we installed Susan Rendall as a new Lay Canon. Susan replaces Rosemary Allison on Chapter and we thank for Rosemary for her service as a Canon over many years.

On Monday I participated in an event recognising longevity of staff tenure at St Margaret’s College. The longest serving staff member recognised was Mike Summerlee (father of Alex Summerlee, our Vice Chancellor). Mike has taught science at the College for 43 years—a very impressive tenure indeed!

Every year many ministry units in our Diocese support the Christian World Service Christmas Appeal. Ministry units should have received promotional materials in the post by now and I encourage ministry units to take up this opportunity to support those in need—2020’s specific focus is helping families who are struggling to feed their children in the pandemic, under the theme “Give us life” (Psalm 80:81b). I note that CWS National Director Pauline McKay’s covering letter reminds us that the first CWS appeal was launched by Archbishop West Watson in the Christchurch Press 75 years ago. The focus then was on helping communities in Greece to rebuild after the war.

The Mirpurkhas Hostel Appeal continues to receive donations—thank you! The latest total is $26,275 and we understand that $20,085 has been sent to the hostel already.

When General Synod in 2018 made decisions permitting the blessing of same-sex marriages under certain conditions, it also made legal provision for the setting up of “Christian Communities” meaning the setting up of communities of Anglicans with shared values and with provision for continuity of those shared values. That is, where ministry units form a Christian Community, new vicars for the ministry units concerned must be chosen from within that Christian Community or from among clergy willing to sign their agreement with the shared values of the community concerned. Since 2018 an Anglican network AFFIRM has been working steadily on the setting up of a Christian Community according to the provisions made in 2018. In 2019 one of our parishes, Sumner-Redcliffs decided through a parish general meeting to become a member of the Community.

Recently that Community has determined that it will be called the Community of St Mark. The first annual conference of the Community of St Mark will be held here in Christchurch, 6-7 November 2020 and I am glad to be one of the speakers at the conference. The theme is Announcing the Kingdom in today’s world (Mark 1:15). Elsewhere in e-Life we are advertising a celebratory dinner at St Christopher’s Avonhead on Friday evening 6 November to acknowledge the handing over of organisation of the Community from AFFIRM to the new Community of St Mark itself. All are welcome to the Dinner and to the Conference.

I remind you of the date and time of the following Ordinations and ask you to pray for Mary-Jo, Cameron and Margaret as they prepare for their ordinations:

  • The Rev’d Mary-Jo Holdaway to the priesthood, 7pm Friday 30 October, at All Saints, Methven.
  • The Rev’d Cameron Pickering to the priesthood, 4.30pm Saturday 31 October, at All Souls, Merivale-St Albans.
  • Margaret Neate to the Diaconate, 10.30am Saturday 28 November at the Transitional Cathedral.

Please continue in prayer for Archdeacon Katrina Hill and her family as they prepare for a memorial service for Katrina’s husband, Jeff Hill, 2pm Friday 16 October at the Christchurch City Salvation Army Centre, corner Salisbury and Colombo Streets.

Each year a well organised national Anglican process of review of economic factors such as increase to salaries and wages, CPI, and the like yields a recommendation for a stipend increase to apply from 1 May. For many lay employees across the Diocese this increase then flows through to their salaries or wages. This year’s recommendation was, first, somewhat unexpectedly high, at 3.3%, and secondly, challenging, as implementing it from 1 May would have meant sailing against the winds of economic uncertainty generated by the Lockdown. Thus our decision-making (via the ADMSC (i.e. “Finance”) Board of the Diocese) was to not implement the increase in the usual way on 1 May and to keep the matter under review. Recently we arrived at a decision to apply the increase to stipends from 1 November 2020. In respect of stipends, salaries and wages which are increased the effective increase for 1 May 2020 to 30 April 2021 will be 1.65%.

This Sunday is the Patronal Festival of St Luke. The gospel reading Luke 10:1-9 includes these words, “The harvest is abundant but the labourers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out labourers for his harvest.” We have a few parishes looking for extra clerical staff at this time (though not advertising for them yet). In our weekly Harvest email there are often advertisements for youth works and children/family workers. Please pray with me for the Master of our Harvest to send labourers!

Arohanui and don’t forget to vote,