Dear Friends,

This week’s e-Life comes in the middle of the Leading Your Church into Growth Conference at St Christopher’s Church, Avonhead—I look forward to reporting on my own experience of the conference next week. I missed the first day of the conference yesterday due to a meeting in Wellington of the House of Bishops of our church. We were going to also meet today, but the Royal Commission on Abuse has requested our Archbishops and the Bishop of Auckland be present for cross-examination today—I expect there will be a report of today’s proceedings tonight and/or tomorrow morning in the media.

Quite a lot has happened in the Diocese through the past week. Last Thursday it was a pleasure and a privilege to participate with Bishop Richard Wallace in the blessing and opening of two new City Mission buildings in Hereford Street (between Barbadoes St and Fitzgerald Avenue). One building is a new café which will provide an opportunity for training in the arts of barista coffees, catering, and hospitality. The other building is a set of three transitional housing apartments. In 2023 the third and final new building will be blessed and the whole site officially opened. In the meantime, I can advise the café is excellent, open to the public and definitely has the least expensive coffees and milkshakes in Christchurch (possibly New Zealand)!

The ministry training day in South Canterbury on Saturday at Marchwiel, Timaru was excellent—we explored Anglican church ministry, reflecting on and being informed about lay and ordained ministry. A big thank you to Archdeacon Indrea Alexander and her team for organising the day.

Some weeks ago, I asked for prayer for the Reverend Mark Sullivan, following serious injuries received after a plane accident.  Mark is resuming duties in his parish, Heathcote-Mt Pleasant, and it was good to be able to be present for Sunday’s service in St. Mary’s, Heathcote and to thank the congregation for their support of Mark through the weeks of his recovery. Please continue to pray for Mark through his journey of healing.

Our guest speakers for the conference this week, Archdeacon Rhiannon King and the Reverend Harry Steele arrived in Christchurch on Saturday. It was a delight to meet with them and Archdeacon Mark Chamberlain on Monday morning following their joining our youth workers for their regular Monday morning meeting in the Anglican Centre.

Recently some members of our Cathedral Choir were generously sponsored to make a three week visit to Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. The Sub-Dean of that Cathedral, Richard Peers, posted a lovely photo at the end of their visit, assuring all viewers of his Tweet that they were “fantastic.” This image can be seen further down in this e-Life newsletter.

If you are in the Square, please take a look at the progress on our Cathedral. Recently a significant part of the fencing on the east side of the site has been dismantled and it is much easier to see what is happening, with parts of the interior of the Cathedral exposed to public view.

I ask again for your prayer for our General Synod/Te Hīnota Whānui which meets next week in Nelson (Tuesday 25 to Friday 28 October inclusive) and for our team of representatives.

This week’s gospel is Luke 18:9-14. In many ways this parable speaks for itself and needs little further explanation. On what basis do we consider ourselves to be righteous? Do we hold people in contempt whom God would not hold in contempt? There is only one pathway to righteousness!