Dear Friends,

On Friday night and Saturday, Teresa and I were able to be with our students at St John’s College, including the Valedictory Day events on Saturday. We have a wonderful group there. Two of our students graduated from the College on Saturday. Matt Maslin will be ordained deacon on Saturday 25 November, and I am expecting to ordain Cassie Kamunaga (née Lee) in 2024. Meanwhile the Reverend Josh Taylor, Ciru Mariuki and Lukas Thielmann continue their studies at the College in 2024.

I remind you that our end of year ordinations – Matt Maslin, Jo Cotton and Sammy Mould as deacons, and the Reverend Dr Andrew Butcher as priest – will take place on Saturday, 25 November – 10.30am in the Transitional Cathedral – clergy please robe, red stoles. Our preacher will be the Reverend Chris Darnell, Vicar of Whitby, Diocese of Wellington. All welcome.

This Saturday and Sunday, Teresa and I are involved, along with others from our Diocese, in significant events for Te Hui Amorangi o Te Waipounamu. At 10am on Saturday, 18 November, we will be present for the opening of a new facility (by Archbishop Don Tamihere and Bishop Richard Wallace) at Te Pā Mihinare o Waipounamu, 290 Ferry Road, Christchurch. Then we travel for a late afternoon pōwhiri at Arowhenua Marae, followed on Sunday morning, 19 November by the reconsecration of newly restored Holy Trinity Church, Arowhenua, the ordination to the priesthood and installation of its Kaitiaki Minita Mihana, Rev’d Wendy Heath, and the celebration of the first Kai Hapa there in many years. The service will commence at 10.00am, followed by Hakari at Arowhenua Marae.

The installation of our new Dean, the Reverend Canon Ben Truman, will be at 7pm on Wednesday, 29 November 2023 in the Transitional Cathedral. All welcome. Clergy are invited to robe, red stoles. Our preacher will be Archdeacon Mark Barlow, Vicar of Lincoln, Archdeacon of Irakehu and Vicar-General of our Diocese. Please pray for all named above preparing for ordinations this weekend and the weekend following, and for Ben as he prepares for his installation.

On Sunday morning, 12 November 2023 the final service and de-dedication of the Church of the Ascension in the Parish of Heathcote-Mt Pleasant was held. I thank the Reverend Mark Sullivan and the wardens of the parish for their organisation of this important day in the life of the parish. Later that day I was able to be in the Parish of Westland in order to meet with wardens, treasurer and vestry as we carry work forward towards advertising for a new stipended priest for this parish, to be appointed following the retirement of the Reverend Vivien Harber, whose last Sunday will be Easter Day, 2024.

On Sunday, 12 November 2023 the Reverend Chris Ponniah announced to his parish that he will conclude his time as Vicar of Burnside-Harewood on Sunday, 4 February 2024. Chris has served this parish with enthusiasm and a wide vision for inclusion of people from diverse backgrounds. I am glad that Chris, post 4 February 2024, will be available to assist with Sunday supply ministry and in other ways in our Diocese.

I ask for your prayers for the Lord of the harvest to raise up a significant number of ministers for parish vacancies – both permanent appointments and interim supply! Parishes currently or soon to be vacant are as follows (with an asterisk meaning that the interim minister is not yet determined): Oxford-Cust, Burnside-Harewood*, Opawa-St. Martins*, Geraldine (advertising has closed), Hororata, Westland, Akaroa-Banks Peninsula, Linwood-Aranui*, Northwest Christchurch, Mid Canterbury Senior Priest*. The Cooperating Parish of Pukaki continues to seek a part-time enabler.

Lent begins early next year – Wednesday, 14 February – and Theology House is preparing a new study booklet for Bible study groups. I will give more details about the booklet next week. Is now a good time to begin planning for six weeks of study during Lent, if you have not already begun to do so?

Gaza/Israel/West Bank: Let’s keep praying for a ceasefire which is part of a definitive, committed pathway to a just and lasting peace. Tonight, at 7.30pm, there is a candlelight vigil for Gaza, at the Bridge of Remembrance, Christchurch. All welcome.

Our Gospel reading this coming Sunday, Ordinary 33, is Matthew 25:14-30. What does it mean to be a “good and trustworthy slave” (i.e. faithful disciple) of Christ? What has Christ given to us that we are putting to good use in his service?