Dear Friends,
I am very pleased to announce that at 1 pm Saturday 30 November 2019 in the Transitional Cathedral I will ordain as deacons: Mary-Jo Holdaway (St John’s College), Stephen Murray (Parish of Ashburton) and Cameron Pickering (St John’s College). All welcome. Clergy please robe (red stoles). The retreat leader and preacher will be the Reverend Andrew McDonald (Vicar, Mackenzie Cooperating Parish). Please pray for Mary-Jo, Stephen and Cameron as they prepare for their ordination. Cameron will be Assistant Curate in the Parish of Merivale-St Albans. Mary-Jo, her husband the Reverend Michael Holdaway (also at St John’s College) and Stephen Murray will minister in the Parish of Ashburton and, as required, in the Archdeaconry of Mid Canterbury.

I also announce that after careful reflection and much prayer, it has been agreed between Bishop Ross Bay, Diocese of Auckland, myself and Ian and Daisy Yong, that when Ian concludes his studies at St John’s College in November this year, Bishop Ross will ordain Ian as deacon for ministry in the Parish of Panmure, Auckland. It has been a joy to visit Ian and Daisy and their family while they have been at College these past four years. The leading of the Holy Spirit, however, is for them to remain in Auckland and not to return to our Diocese. I am delighted for them that Auckland have discerned Ian for ministry there.

A further announcement, this time concerning the Parish of the Chatham Islands. Archdeacon Susan Baldwin (Vicar of Malvern, Archdeacon of Westland and the Chatham Islands) has been a regular visitor to the  Chathams to conduct services and undertake pastoral work. Susan will continue to be Archdeacon but will cut her regular visits there down to an annual visit. The Reverend John McLister, Vicar of Lyttelton, from 1 December 2019 will undertake several visits each year.

Two de-consecrations of churches are coming up. At 10.30 am Friday 1 November 2019 I will deconsecrate St John’s Church, Bishopdale. The final service at St Anne’s, St Martin’s is at 10 am Sunday 3 November 2019 and I will de-consecrate the church at the conclusion of the service. All are welcome to these services, especially those with past associations with these churches.

The next set of Lenten Studies is well underway. This time the writers are Dorothy and Tom Innes. The title of the study book is “Life in the Garden” and the biblical journey is from Genesis to Revelation. The Bible has sometimes been described as the story of two gardens, one found in Genesis and one in Revelation. I am looking forward to seeing this book published and urge ministry units in our Diocese to plan now for Lenten Study groups for 2020.

A little while ago I asked for your prayers for the Reverend Paul Heard as he continues battling with cancer. Please keep praying, upholding Paul, his wife Kay and their family.

It is good to read this announcement from St John’s College: “The Board of Governors of the College, Te Kaunihera, has pleasure in announcing the appointment of The Venerable Katene Eruera BA MTheol Auck, LLB VUW as the next Manukura/Principal of the College. He will succeed The Reverend Canon Tony Gerritsen who retires in December 2019 after six years in this inaugural position. Katene who is Te Rarawa is currently Te Ahorangi, Dean Tikanga Māori, at the College, a position he has held since 2013.” The announcement in full can be seen by clicking here.

This past week has included an interesting variety of events, meetings and services. There was an excellent Senior Leadership Team meeting last Thursday. Later that day I attended my first ever meeting of the Diocesan Bicultural Education Committee—a committee which has faithfully served the Diocese for over 30 years. On Saturday morning I spoke at the Fendalton Parish Men’s Breakfast and then attended my first ever Cursillo National Secretariat meeting (in my capacity as Episcopal Advisor to Cursillo). Meanwhile, also on Saturday, 20 people participated in a Preaching Course in South Canterbury led by Tom Innes, Acting Director of Theology House and Stephanie Robson, Diocesan Ministry Educator. Sunday morning saw Teresa and I at a lovely service at St Andrew’s Oxford, where I confirmed Kate McPherson and received Julie Philpott and Roger Philpott into the Anglican church. Then that afternoon we gathered with many others in a Tongan-themed St Peter’s Church Hall for the ordination of Kofe Havea to the priesthood. And a lovely feast afterwards, prepared by Kofe and Leni’s family. Last night I participated for the first time in the St Margaret’s College Founders’ Day service.

Also at the weekend, as some readers will be aware through photos and livestream video on social media, the Reverend Jay Behan was ordained a bishop in the Chapel at St Andrew’s College, Christchurch. In response to this event I want to first of all cite a public statement issued by our Archbishops in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Statement by the Archbishops re the CCAANZ Ordination 

On Saturday 19 October the Reverend Jay Behan, a former cleric in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia (ACANZP), was ordained bishop for the Church of Confessing Anglicans Aotearoa/New Zealand (CCAANZ).

We have previously set out our concerns about this new denomination here.

Here we acknowledge that members of our church are very concerned to see photographs on social media and other news sites which clearly identify that among the consecrating bishops at the ordination were bishops in communion with our church who have crossed boundaries without informing either the Archbishops of this church or the Bishop of Christchurch or the Bishop of Te Waipounamu.

The disrespect for the normal protocols of the Anglican Communion and the lack of courtesy shown to our church by these boundary crossing bishops is disturbing and we will be making an appropriate protest about their actions.

We are especially concerned at the boundary crossing of bishops from the Anglican Church of Australia. We value our trans-Tasman relationship with our neighbouring church and are disappointed to find a lack of respect for the jurisdiction of our church.

As further consequences of the disaffiliations from our church in 2018 are experienced, we wish to place on record our immense thanks for all members of ACANZP who have chosen to remain in this church, including those with similar convictions to those who have disaffiliated and our takatāpuhi whānau (LGBT+ family), in order to faithfully serve God in a church which values diversity, inclusion and respect for a difference of viewpoints within our common understanding of being Anglican.

Archbishop Donald Tamihere, Te Pihopa o Aotearoa
Archbishop Philip Richardson, Senior Bishop of the New Zealand Dioceses

I am expecting the statement and an associated article to be published on Taonga, by the end of today.

(24 October 2019—the statement has been published here)

Alongside this statement I wish to make a some further comments and observations.

With the Archbishops, I thank every member of our Diocese, lay and ordained, who has chosen to remain in our Diocese, committed to serving God faithfully in a church in which we do not always agree with each other and in which we recognise that some issues in life give rise to significance difference between people otherwise deeply united in our love for Jesus Christ. It is a privilege to be your Bishop, to see the breadth of your love and the width of your grace as you accept one another in Christ.

I acknowledge, secondly, that the sheer breadth of our diversity as a Diocese means that a range of responses to Saturday’s ordination exist. Some of us are very sympathetic to the formation of CCAANZ, recognising that beloved brothers and sisters in Christ felt that they had no other option than to disaffiliate from our church, and are delighted that a well-known and familiar leader, Jay Behan, is now their bishop. Some of us are horrified at what has happened, seeing no need for anyone to have left, let alone establish a new church, very concerned at the use of the term “Anglican” in the new church’s name, angry that bishops from within the Anglican Communion crossed boundaries, from their province to ours, to participate in this ordination, and worried that yet more pain has been caused for the Rainbow Community in our Diocese. Others would see themselves as somewhere in between these two bookends of reactions.

Finally, I observe that we are in the midst of some significant shifts in the landscape of global Anglicanism. In the course of the weekend we discovered that not only the Diocese of Sydney, but also the Diocese of Melbourne, through a Synodical resolution, voted to send greetings to Jay and to the new church. That is, two of the largest dioceses in our nearest Anglican neighbouring church recognised as authentically Anglican a second Anglican church in these islands of ours. Greetings also came from other Anglican provinces further away. In the same Sydney Synod last week, that Diocese declared itself to be in impaired Communion with our Diocese (because we are open to priests being permitted to conduct a blessing of a same sex marriage). That is, the Anglican Communion at the weekend showed ever more clearly that it is becoming a different kind of Communion. Whether it will be divided into two Communions, or simply become a Communion of utter confusion (as to which Anglican churches are recognising which other Anglican churches as authentically Anglican), it is too early to tell.

For a set of news items and reflections on the events, statements and actions of the past week, I commend this post on Thinking Anglicans.

These are challenging times but I believe in a God who brings good out of difficulty. I hope you do too.

With much love—arohanui,