Dear Friends,

Many readers will have stayed up late on Monday evening to watch the funeral service for our Late Queen Elizabeth II. It was an excellent service with the God of Jesus Christ, our late Sovereign’s Lord, and Saviour, at the centre of every aspect of the service, with a superb sermon from Archbishop Justin Welby (the text of which can be read here) and outstanding, moving music.

At 5 pm, this Sunday 25 September 2022, A Civic Service of Thanksgiving for Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, will be held at the Transitional Cathedral, Hereford Street, Christchurch. All are welcome to this service, which will also be livestreamed via the Cathedral’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. I will be the preacher. This service takes place on the eve of our special public holiday on Monday 26 September in commemoration of the Late Queen’s death. At 2pm, on that day, a National Memorial Service will be held at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Wellington, and broadcast and livestreamed (though I do not have information to hand on the details, but I think we can assume that TV One at least will be broadcasting the service).

Registration numbers are climbing for our Leading Your Church into Growth conference, 18-20 October, but there is plenty of room for further registrations. This conference is an important step in our Diocesan journey of regeneration. Details for registration are further down this page.

Synod Business: after many years of very close co-operation and shared responsibilities for mission and ministry between the Parishes of Ross-South Westland and Hokitika, the parishes have wished to merge into one ministry unit, and Synod in early September resolved that this will be so. The merger will take full effect from 1 January 2023. Standing Committee at its September meeting subsequently approved the naming of this ministry unit as the Parish of Westland.

This past week has included a variety of events and services. Last Wednesday night the Living Wage Movement organised a forum in Aldersgate, Durham St, Christchurch, during which the two leading candidates for Mayor of Christchurch and a number of candidates for the Council were able to speak. On Thursday night, Teresa and I enjoyed a St Michael’s Church School performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. Friday night I was with the St. Barnabas’ Fendalton Youth Group for a Q and A session—some very good questions were asked! Sunday morning, we were at a celebration of the St James Harewood’s 160th anniversary. An earlier celebration this year was unable to include refreshments after the service due to Covid restrictions. This time we were able to have a lovely morning tea. Then, Sunday evening, again in respect of an event delayed because of Covid restrictions, we were in the Christ’s College Chapel for a thanksgiving and farewell choral eucharist for Bosco and Helen Peters, celebrating Bosco’s 24 years’ ministry as Chaplain of the school.

The Reverend Jill Keir has announced that she will conclude her role as Vicar of Avonside at the end of this year. I am grateful for Jill’s faithful service in this parish through the years which have included an extension to the parish hall and the building of a brand-new church: thank you, Jill!

We are in the middle of the voting season for our local and regional body elections—my papers arrived in yesterday’s mail! Across our Diocese we have ten local councils: Christchurch, Selwyn, Waimakariri, Hurunui, Westland, Ashburton, Timaru, Waimate, Mackenzie, and Chatham Islands. Let’s pray for great mayors and councillors to be elected. We can congratulate Marie Black on already being elected Mayor of Hurunui—no one else has stood against her! There are also significant matters at stake when we vote for our regional councillors. May we all have wisdom as we make our choices.

The Government has announced that nearly all Covid restrictions on gatherings have been lifted. Accordingly, a new set of Diocesan Guidelines, consistent with this announcement, has been published on our website here.

This week’s gospel is Luke 16:19-31. In an era where we often observe that the gap between the rich and the poor is growing rapidly, the gap between the rich man and poor Lazarus is instantly recognizable. One question we could ask (among many questions this passage poses to its readers) is, What is the link between this parable and the first Lukan beatitude in Luke 6:20.