It is good to be back from our visit to the Diocese of Western Tanganyika. I bring greetings to our Diocese from Bishop Emmanuel Bwatta and his Diocese and Cathedral.
Thank you to all who prayed for me and Teresa. We had an amazing time, kept well and travelled safely. I intend to write a full report – with photos – for the Diocese, in time for Standing Committee and CPT’s early November meetings. Just two photos are included here. The outstanding feature of our visit was seeing the growth of the churches in Western Tanganyika, illustrated frequently by churches we visited being reconstructed on a larger footing.
We arrived back in time for the beginning of the Leading Your Church into Growth Conference held at St. Christopher’s, Avonhead, Thursday to Saturday, with over 160 people present in person and another 20 people online. A big thank you from me to Archdeacon Mark Chamberlain for his and his team’s work in organising and facilitating the conference. Our speakers, Rev’d Harry Steele and Venerable Rhiannon King were superb – thank you to both of them – and it was lovely to have Zoey Steele, Harry’s wife, present and participating this year.
The situation in Gaza, the events which precipitated Israel’s current military action against Hamas are disturbing for those of us far away and terrifying for those held hostage, being bombed (in Gaza and in Israel), and, within Gaza, facing extreme shortages of the basics of life. As President Biden and others seek to influence decision-making we can do little but we can pray and there is one avenue of practical support we can consider.
Our prayers can be influenced by this statement of our own Archbishops, responding to a communication from Archbishop Hosan Naoum of Jerusalem:
“The Archbishops support the call of Archbishop Hosam Naoum, The Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, alongside The Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, for a global day of prayer and fasting on Tuesday 17 October in response to the breakout of war in the Holy Land.
Archbishop Don says, ‘We know the history and politics of the region are incredibly fraught and complex, but our hearts are with the innocent Palestinian and Israeli children and families who have been killed and are suffering because of terrorism and military atrocity.” The Archbishops wish to echo the call of Archbishop Hosam for a two-state solution in the region that will allow Palestinian and Israeli families to live together in a just and lasting peace. The Archbishops will be attending a House of Bishops meeting today with Diocesan and Amorangi Bishops from around the Province, and will ask those gathered to join them in fasting and prayer for Israel-Palestine, and for the rights of oppressed and marginalised Indigenous peoples throughout the Anglican Communion.”
Although the call to prayer (made in northern hemisphere time), specific to Tuesday 17 October, is out of date, we can pray and fast through this week. It was good on Monday night to be part of a congregation of 20 people who gathered in the Transitional Cathedral for a Prayer Vigil for Peace in the Middle East. Parishes are encouraged to consider hosting such vigils through the coming week.
Overnight we have learned the terrible news about an Anglican hospital in Gaza, the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital. This hospital has been in operation since the 19th century so has survived two world wars to date, including battles fought nearby by the ANZACs in 1917. Unfortunately, it was hit by a missile overnight, with 500 people taking refuge in the hospital killed, and the hospital itself 80% out of action. I understand that there is likely to be a worldwide Anglican appeal for funds to rebuild this hospital. We will provide details in e-Life when they come to hand.
Every 5 November, here in Aotearoa New Zealand, we have our own historically significant opportunity to work for peace and justice – Parihaka Day. This year there are three commemorative events in collaboration with St Mary the Virgin (Addington), Holy Trinity (Lyttelton) and Rāpaki Church. All are welcome to a church service at St Mary’s at 10.30am, followed by a short hikoi to Addington Gaol (where Parihaka leaders were held), then a silent hikoi from Holy Trinity, Lyttelton to Rāpaki at 2.30pm (there will be places people can join this walk along the way), concluding with a service at Rāpaki Church with light refreshments served afterwards. Further details elsewhere in e-Life and at https://www.facebook.com/ParihakaOtautahi
Wonderfully many people in our Diocese are involved in many varieties of pastoral ministry. Most, if not all, benefit from good “pastoral supervision”. I commend to you the possibility of attending a “taste and see” event in respect of CAIRA Supervision training – details elsewhere in this e-Life.
It was lovely to be at St. Mary’s, Addington on Sunday morning and to meet new members of this regenerating congregation.
At 5pm, we were at the Transitional Cathedral for Evensong and in the course of that service I presented licences to Jenny May (as Honorary Canon) and to Lay Canon Carole Muir (to be Pastoral Visitor for the Cathedral community).
I am delighted to announce that when Canon Ben Truman becomes Dean (and thus ceases to be a Clerical Canon), the Reverend Cameron Pickering will become our newest Clerical Canon, effective from 1 December 2023. Cameron is Chaplain at Christ’s College and a former curate of the Cathedral.
With so much going on in news and announcements above, I could overlook our interesting, and not yet finally settled election result from the weekend. Let’s pray for the new government and for the final vote counting to bring clarity to its shape and political character. As it happens, our Gospel reading this coming Sunday, 22 October 2023, is the always relevant passage, Matthew 22:15-22. Taxes must be paid, in the time of Jesus and in our time, and whatever the result of our election! Let us also be generous givers to God.