Message from the Bishop

Dear Friends,

Christ is Risen! Alleluia!

“I have seen the Lord,” is Mary Magdalene’s witness to the disciples (John 20:18). Death and burial was not the end of the story of Jesus of Nazareth. Mary testifies to a new encounter with the risen Jesus. Soon the disciples are able to say to the absent Thomas, “We have seen the Lord” (John 20:25). Our Paschal celebration, beginning on the Day of Resurrection and continuing through to Pentecost, is a celebration that Jesus has been raised from the dead so that we might live joyfully and without fear of death.

I congratulate and thank all those who contributed to services through Holy Week and Pascha: a lot of hard work by many and some superb technical skills by a few whom God has gifted to our Diocese. Thank you! Dean Lawrence Kimberley was interviewed on Monday about the experience of online worship during Lockdown and this can be heard at this RNZ link.

Finally about Easter, and definitely on a lighter note, clergy of the Auckland Diocese have put together this fun video for Easter.

While a firm decision will be made by Cabinet on Monday re remaining in Lockdown or not, it is becoming pretty clear that even if the Lockdown is lifted, we are going to be at least Level 3 for a while longer and that almost certainly means a continuation of “online worship.” I believe we are learning good lessons as we go and are improving week by week. Our Diocesan Ministry Team is available to assist as required and this week I particularly want to highlight the contribution which Paul Hegglun can make when called upon with respect to use of music and song for online worship. Please contact Paul to see what he has to offer.

Normally at this time of the year we try to round up all reports for Synod in September and remind that motions and bills need to be submitted by early June. At the May meeting of Standing Committee I will be recommending that we relax our due dates by one month to ease pressure on some busy people in our Diocese. The new dates will be advised after that meeting. (It is, of course, acceptable to get reports in early!) At this point in time we are not changing the date of Synod (10-12 September) but we acknowledge that delay may be required.

Anglican Missions has launched the following Emergency Appeals:

  1. Support response and recovery efforts following Tropical Cyclone Harold (Category 5) which devastated large areas of Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Fiji and Tonga last week  leading to loss of life and significant damage to houses, crops and infrastructure. Our Appeal will contribute to a broader emergency response being implemented by the Anglican Church of Melanesia, the Vanuatu Council of Churches and partners including Anglican Overseas Aid (Australia).  
  2. Support COVID-19 preparedness and response initiatives in the Diocese of Polynesia. While confirmed cases remain relatively low in the Pacific, the threat is high and the Diocese of Polynesia is already engaged in a number of practical activities. Our Appeal, which we are working out with several other church and faith-based partners, will support these actions.

These are difficult times for us in New Zealand but we will appreciate that our brothers and sisters in the South Pacific face similar or worse difficulties in respect of these matters.

Thank you to Jo Bean and Scott Walters (and others) who help put e-Life together each week. I want to especially acknowledge an extra effort being made through these weeks of the Lockdown to ensure that e-Life is as encouraging as possible.

We remain in this extraordinary time, where we have so much to be thankful for and so much to be concerned about, when the news changes daily and often even hourly, and when our fellow citizens are suffering and dying. We have a long way to go. In Churchillian terms, we are likely only at the end of the beginning of the COVID-19 fight. Let us pray for strength and faithfulness for ourselves and for others, confident that the One we pray to is the God whose power raised Jesus from the dead.

He is risen indeed! Allelulia!