Covid Level 4—Diocesan Announcement
Advisory: All physical services in the Diocese of Christchurch this Sunday 22 August are cancelled. Following the announcement last evening by our Prime Minister that we are in Level 4 until at least 11.59 on Friday 20 August, and working on past experience of a subsequent stepping down of levels before we get back to Level 1, it is fairest and most supportive for our worship leaders, preachers, choirs, music groups, children and youth ministries if we make this decision now rather than “wait and see” what Friday’s announcement is.
Vicars/Priests in Charge are encouraged to offer online services where feasible or to point parishioners to online services offered elsewhere in the Diocese. While I expect many such services across the Diocese will be available to attend online, here I simply mention the following so that every reader has at least one morning and one evening opportunity if more local opportunities for corporate worship are not advertised to you: there will be a morning livestream service at 10 am, led by the Dean, Lawrence Kimberley, https://www.cardboardcathedral.org.nz/pages/this-sunday and in the evening, there will be Night Prayer by Zoom at 8 pm from St Barnabas’ Fendalton, https://zoom.us/j/959998327.
Unfortunately an important national Anglican youth/young adults event, The Abbey, planned for this weekend at El Rancho, Waikanae has had to be postponed. There will also be postponements of funerals, weddings and baptisms. This is a challenging time for many New Zealanders: let’s be kind to one another and sympathetic to those for whom even a few days of Lockdown is devastating.
Ordinary News and Views
From Thursday evening last week until Saturday lunch-time, the third Anglo-Catholic Hui was held at St Michael and All Angels. I was able to be present for most of the hui and appreciated fellowship with over 100 fellow Kiwi Anglicans, drawn from most of our episcopal units in Aotearoa New Zealand, with superb input from featured main speakers Fr Richard Peers (Christ Church, Oxford, via online delivery) and the Very Reverend Tony Curtis, Dean of Dunedin, and from contributors to a series of stimulating seminars.
On Sunday morning Teresa and I were present at the 9.30 am service at Holy Trinity, Avonside. Looking past the altar, through the windows of St Francis’ Hall we were able to see the nearly completed new Holy Trinity church building. It is hoped that final work on completing the building and securing a Code of Compliance will happen reasonably soon so that the first service can be held within a couple of months. The consecration of the church is planned for February 2022. On Sunday late afternoon, we were both involved in The Cathedral Grammar School service at the Transitional Cathedral.
Last week we received news that former NZCMS Mission Partner, Marjorie Foulkes has passed away, aged 101 years old on August 11. Marjorie and her late husband Francis, were faithful members of NZCMS for many decades, serving in Nigeria and also teaching at the CMS training centre at St Andrews Hall in Melbourne. Subsequently they served at the Bible College of NZ (as Laidlaw College was then called) and then at St John’s College, Auckland. Please uphold Marjorie’s family in prayer. A funeral date is not yet available.
We have also received news of a successor to Pauline McKay as National Director of Christian World Service. “I am delighted to announce the appointment of Murray Overton as the new National Director for Christian World Service. Murray takes up the position on August 23 and looks forward to meeting you once he has begun work.” Further information is at https://cws.org.nz/new-national-director/
On Saturday night the Fuzzy Robes played to a full house at St Saviour’s at Holy Trinity, Lyttelton—it is a delight to hear news of “our” band’s success with their music through this year.
The Gospel this Sunday, 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, is John 6:56-69. In this reading those hearing Jesus on the bread from heaven are challenged as to whether they are for or against Jesus and his message. I love the New English Bible version of verse 60, “This is more than we can stomach.” Unfortunately the Revised English Bible discontinues the dark humour of “stomach” in relation to Jesus’ talk of food from heaven and offers the more bland words, “This is more than we can stand.”
This has been a week of sobering news. A mammoth earthquake in Haiti with devastating loss of life has been overshadowed in the news subsequently by the news from Afghanistan. My heart breaks, as I am sure yours do also, for the future of Afghani girls and women who almost certainly will be deprived of human rights, educational and vocational opportunities equal to the men of Afghanistan. As we pray for ourselves in Level 4, let’s also pray for the people of Haiti and of Afghanistan.