Dear Friends,

The daily cases numbers for Covid have dramatically increased since I last wrote, but, at least as I write today, case numbers within our Diocesan area are very low. I ask that we keep meeting together physically while we have low numbers. When case numbers rise in different districts, I encourage local decision-making about whether or not to switch to online modes of worshipping and meeting together.

It is paramount as we enter this period of the pandemic that (1) We are all masked when we worship together; (2) Our youth and children’s ministries follow similar requirements to schools re masking. Masking is a critical aspect of keeping others safe and thus our obligation to one another is to mask well, nose and mouth covered. I recommend, in line with Government regulations re workers at gatherings, that ministry leaders wear medical grade masks (or better) and not cloth masks.

During the past week it is has been a privilege to visit two church buildings in our Diocese. On Friday I was in the Chapel at College House. This architectural gem of Sir Miles Warren has been strengthened and reinstated. It was to have been re-opened this Sunday but due to Red Light restrictions, the opening is delayed. On Sunday Teresa and I were at worship in St Aidan’s, Bryndwr. This reinstated building, with a new kitchen, was a joy to be in. A recommissioning service for this church will be held when we are permitted to have more than 100 present.

On Saturday afternoon, at St David’s Belfast, I prayed for and commissioned the leadership team for the next Cursillo Weekend (postponed from March to October 2022). On Sunday evening, at the Transitional Cathedral during Evensong, I commissioned Archdeacon Mark Barlow as Vicar-General. Unfortunately, Canon Mark Chamberlain was not able to be present for his commissioning as Archdeacon for Regeneration and Mission. We will announce a new date soon for that to take place.

Sunday evening, at 8pm, incidentally, saw the first of our Diocesan Young Adult Worship evenings at the Transitional Cathedral with around 70 participating.

The commissioning of the Rev Chris Orczy to be the first St Luke’s Inner City Chaplain will take place during the contemplative eucharist in the Transitional Cathedral at 12:05pm on Wednesday 23 February. All are welcome (up to the limit of 100 persons).

The new Holy Trinity Church, Avonside will be consecrated by me on Thursday 24 February 2022. The parish has already reached its limit of 100 persons under Red Light regulations so I am afraid we cannot promote this important event as “open to all.”

Ash Wednesday this year is 2 March 2022. Each Ash Wednesday in Aotearoa New Zealand is an opportunity to bring Anglicans and Roman Catholics together and usually there is a joint service in either of our cathedrals here in Christchurch. This year’s joint service will be a Livestream-Only Service (broadcast from St Mary’s Pro Cathedral). We will publish details in a future e-Life of how to join the livestream.

The Rev’d Natasha Glenderran, Vicar of Hanmer Springs will conclude her ministry in Hanmer at the end of April in order to take up a full-time position as Chaplain to Wesley Care, Harewood Road, Christchurch.

Archdeacon Susan Baldwin will retire as Vicar of Malvern, Archdeacon of Westland and the Chatham Islands, and Rural Ministry Developer at the end of July, 2022.

I ask for your continuing prayer to God as Lord of the Harvest for the provision of ministers for all our vacancies—I am glad to report that already there are signs of your prayers being answered.

Early Monday morning, the Rev’d Canon John Meadowcroft died at the age of 94. John was ordained in the Diocese of Nelson, served with his late wife Monica and family as a missionary in Pakistan, and was Vicar of Papanui, 1976-90. He then served as Vicar of St Matthew’s, Dunedin, 1980-89 (and, on a personal note, was my Vicar when I studied theology in Dunedin).  After a period as Priest in Charge of Katikati, John and Monica returned to Christchurch and have been here ever since. I will be leading a Memorial Service to celebrate John’s long life in the John Rhind Chapel, entrance from London and Whitmore Sts, Christchurch, on Saturday, February 19 at 1pm. Numbers are limited to 100 and My Vaccine Pass will be required. The service will be live-streamed via
ID: johnrhindfuneral Password: 6LYU5B.

This Sunday, February 20, Ordinary 6, the Gospel is Luke 6:27-38. How do we love our enemies? How does a Ukrainian Christian respond to Jesus’s words with Russian tanks and missiles aggregating at the Ukrainian borders? Closer to home, can those of us who disagree strongly with protestors on Parliament’s grounds and on Cranmer Square find love and compassion for our fellow citizens?