We are living through a period of devastating natural events. As the full impact of the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria is being revealed—some 40,000 people have died—there is opportunity to respond to the earthquakes, for instance through contributing to a Christian World Service appeal: https://cws.org.nz/donate-to-turkey-syria-earthquake/ .
But our immediate concerns this week are, understandably, here in our own country as Cyclone Gabrielle devastates people’s lives, livelihoods, and homes. Although heavy rain is falling today in the central and northern parts of the South Island, it is unlikely that we will experience what many pictures and videos from the North Island are showing. The scale of devastation is such that it is difficult—beyond praying—to know how we might help practically. An initial message from Bishop Andrew Hedge, Bishop of Waiapu (i.e. including Gisborne, Tairawhiti, and Hawkes Bay) is overwhelming as he describes the damage to his region. We will let you know what help we can give when information comes to hand.
Last Friday I met with Mr Nanai Naseri and Mrs Christina Naseri who are respectively Area Convenor and Area Chaplain for the upper South Island for the Order of St. Luke the Physician (oslnz.co.nz). They were on their way to minister in the Parish of Westland where there is a Hokitika based chapter of the Order. Another chapter local to our Diocese is in Cheviot. If you wish to renew links with the order, please get in touch with Christina at Cfnaseri8@gmail.com.
Sunday services this past weekend were in St. John’s Church, Barrhill (Parish of Rakaia) and All Saints, Methven (Parish of Methven). It was a privilege to share in worship with the people of God in these places, including our clergy for both parishes, the Reverends Michael and Mary-Jo Holdaway. Their last Sunday in these parishes, before their move to the Parish of Otago Peninsula, will be Easter Sunday.
It was very good to be in St Silas’ Church, Redwood, Parish of Northwest Christchurch, last night, for the ordination of the Reverend Bernard Walker to the priesthood. A big thank you to the ministry leadership team who helped put the evening together and to the Reverend Glenda Hicks who was our preacher.
Hot off the press this morning in the Anglican Centre are copies of our Diocesan Children’s Ministry Developer, Emma Tovey’s latest resource book, VIP Tamariki. Elsewhere in e-Life are contact details for your order.
Speaking of resource books, Theology House’s 2023 Lenten Studies book, A Holy Church: Becoming the Communities We are Called to Be, continues to fly off the shelves. It is not too late for your order—https://theologyhouse.ac.nz/—plenty of copies remain available.
Next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, I encourage members of our Diocese to participate in our annual Ecumenical Liturgy with Imposition of Ashes at 5.30 pm at the Transitional Cathedral.* The preacher will be Bishop Michael Gielen of the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch. This year, following through some recent national ecumenical conversations, we are inviting the congregation of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church here in Christchurch to join us. *To be frank, it would be good to see more Anglicans at this occasion than we have seen in recent years—please join us!
Then, next Thursday, 23 February, also in the Transitional Cathedral, all are welcome at 7 pm for the ordination to the diaconate of Mr Steven Dunne (Ministry Team Leader, Parish of Woodend-Pegasus). I am delighted that our preacher for this occasion will be the Reverend Graeme Pratley (who has been assisting the Parish of Woodend-Pegasus with priestly ministry, leadership and mentoring for several years). Clergy are encouraged to robe, alb and red stoles.
To complete a busy month for the Diocese, at 7 pm, Tuesday 28 February, the Reverend Jordan Greatbatch will be inducted as the Vicar of Christchurch–St Michael’s and All Angels (in St Michael’s church, Oxford Terrace). All are welcome and clergy are encouraged to robe with red stoles.
Later in the year, there will be another Leading Your Church into Growth (LYCiG) conference. More details soon but please put in your diaries the dates 12-14 October.
This Sunday 19 February 2023, Epiphany 7, the gospel is Matthew 5:38-48. From this passage the English language has drawn familiar, frequently used phrases in our everyday language: turn the other cheek, go the second mile, love your neighbour. (The last, of course, is found in other places in the Bible). Perhaps a question this passage poses to us is why other phrases are not also as familiar: love your enemies, give to everyone who begs from you and do not resist an evildoer?