Dear Friends,
The first Kiwi to have received the vaccine whom I personally know is the Reverend John McLister, Lyttelton Port Chaplain and Vicar of Lyttelton. Clergy are not generally deemed in Covid-19 times to be essential workers so John will have been vaccinated as Port Chaplain and not as Vicar! Thank you John for setting a helpful example to us all as the roll out of the vaccine continues in the weeks and months ahead. To read the article flip to p2 of this e-Newspaper:

The National Memorial Service for the 15 March 2019 tragedies, held on Saturday afternoon at the Christchurch Arena was a moving service, well reported in the media. One challenge we continue to face and need to embrace is to continue to challenge racism wherever we find it and discrimination when it becomes visible in our communities. It is particularly sad to read this week of bereaved families deciding to leave New Zealand because of continuing racism.

Sunday was a beautiful day and it was a privilege to be with God’s people at the Church of the Ascension, Waikari. A few days previously I was in a different part of the Parish of Glenmark-Waikari when I led a site blessing at St Paul’S Church, Glenmark (see pictures later in the newsletter). It is wonderful to see work underway on restoring this historically significant church.

Connections between our Diocese and the two Anglican Halls of Residence at the University of Canterbury, College House and Bishop Julius Hall, are enduring. Later this year we plan to re-open the strengthened and renovated Chapel of the Upper Room at College House. On Thursday evening, as one manifestation of the enduring links, Teresa and I enjoyed a fabulous Initiation Feast at College House. The food was wonderful and the students’ speeches and musical items between courses were amazing. Speaking of Canterbury University life…

I am delighted to announce that the Reverend Doctor John Fox, currently Assistant Curate in the Parish of Sumner-Redcliffs, will be the Senior Ecumenical Chaplain at the University of Canterbury, taking over from the Reverend Spanky Moore at the end of April. As this role is a half-time role, John will be continuing in ministry in Sumner-Redcliffs for a while yet.

A little further afield, in the Diocese of Nelson, the Reverend Doctor Graham O’Brien, Ministry Educator will be the next Dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Nelson, taking over from the Very Reverend Mike Hawke when Mike retires in the middle of this year. Graham is known to many of us through his contributions in recent years to debates and seminars in our Diocese on euthanasia, as well as through shared ventures in discipleship development between the Dioceses of Nelson, Christchurch and Wellington.

As we draw closer to Holy Week and Easter (Pascha) I remind clergy of the invitation to the Chrism Eucharist and Reaffirmation of Ordination Vows (11 am St Christopher’s Avonhead, 5 pm St Peter’s Temuka, Tuesday 30 March 2021) and the need to RSVP re a light meal following.

Today I head to Auckland to share in the Anglican focus of the Royal Commission on Abuse. I will report on our appearance in next week’s e-Life.

This Sunday, Passion Sunday, Lent 5, our Gospel is John 12:20-33. Some Greeks within this story wish to see Jesus and approach Philip for an introduction. As we journey through Lent towards the Cross (about which the passage has much to say), are we available to introduce people to Jesus who died and rose again?