Dear Friends,

A highlight of the past week was attendance last Thursday, for the pōwhiri and commissioning eucharist service for Dr Emily Colgan, the new Manukura of St John’s College, Auckland, The service was presided over by Archbishop Sione Ulu’ilakepa (Polynesia) and the preacher was Archbishop Don Tamihere (Aotearoa). This visit to Auckland was also an opportunity to catch up with our students at the College.

We live in challenging economic times. Whatever we make of the wisdom of proposing a change to the general principle of GST (that it be applied without exceptions), we appreciate that many Kiwis need every extra dollar available to them to meet basic costs of living. We also appreciate that financial penalties make life very difficult for those struggling to meet those basic costs. One such penalty is the cost of disconnection and reconnection fees when power bills are not paid. I thank the Reverend Jolyon White, our Director of Anglican Advocacy for speaking up about this, (behind a paywall). “In the advocates’ petition, launched earlier this month, they also called for a ban on disconnection/reconnection fees relating to unpaid bills. Jolyon White, director of Anglican Advocacy, a Christchurch based organisation, described disconnection fees as “kicking someone when they’re down”.”

The first Sung Evensong in the Cathedral in the Square since 2011 took place on Thursday 3 August and can be viewed on YouTube. A very big thank you to all who worked to ensure this memorable occasion took place.

In our wider church there are wonderful stories of faithful and fruitful ministry. One of these stories, familiar to a number of people in our Diocese, concerns The Shed, a youth ministry in Greymouth, now 25 years in operation, led by Nicki and Tim Mora. The story is told here, with the aid of one of our own clergy!

Our weekend past included participation in the Theology House Preaching Course in Ashburton and in the Term 3 Cathedral Grammar Service in the Transitional Cathedral on Sunday evening. This weekend coming, I will join youth and young adults from our Diocese at The Abbey in Waikanae on Saturday, and on Sunday I will preach and preside at St. Aidan’s, Mount Somers at 10 am.

This Sunday, 20 August 2023, is Ordinary 20. The gospel reading is Matthew 15:10-28 or 15:21-28. The whole passage, 10-28, can be read through the lens of “defilement”. What we eat and whether we wash our hands before eating or not does not defile us in God’s eyes. But what comes out of our hearts may defile (verses 18-20). The Canaanite woman who then encounters Jesus was, in a sense, “defiled”—a Gentile and not a Jew, to be excluded from reckoning among “the house of Israel”. But the result of the encounter is an affirmation by Jesus that she is counted among the people of God by virtue of her faith.

Go the Matildas!