Dear Friends,

When I read through ELife I note a host of amazing and very worthwhile activities, events, and courses. In our busy Diocese some of these clash timewise with one another. We cannot get to everything but most of us can get to something which will enrich our lives as disciples of Christ or be an opportunity for us to enrich the lives of others. Go for it!

Joining last weekend with the prayer mission and worship ministry team in Hokitika was an enriching experience for Teresa and me. Cassie Lee (Sumner-Redcliffs Parish) had organised a team of intercessors and musicians from parishes in our Diocese and The Prayer Collective, along with a family from the Diocese of Wellington, who began arriving in Hokitika during last week. We were able to join for a worship event on Friday evening in All Saints and then in intercession for Hokitika Saturday morning, praying both at All Saints and then at several locations around the town. The weekend concluded with the team ministering in All Saints and in another church in Hokitika. A big thank you to those who travelled to Hokitika and to those in Hokitika who hosted us so generously.

Keep praying for two people being ordained soon. At 1.30 pm this Saturday afternoon, at El Rancho, Waikanae, during the Diocese of Wellington’s annual Ministry Conference, Rosie Fyfe, National Director of NZCMS, will be ordained deacon. I will be present for the service since Rosie will transfer her residency from Wellington to Christchurch early in 2020. Then at 3 pm, Sunday 20 October, in the St Peter’s Hall, Parish of Upper Riccarton-Yaldhurst, I will ordain the Reverend Kofe Havea as priest. The preacher will be her father, the Reverend Sosaia Fineanganofo, who is travelling to Christchurch from the United States for the occasion.

As mentioned last week, the Reverend Antony (Tony) Courage has died. His funeral is 2 pm Tuesday 15 October in the Transitional Cathedral. Clergy are asked not to robe and to be seated with the congregation. Pray for the Reverend Carole Graham as she mourns the death of her husband and works with Dean Lawrence and others on preparations for the service.

Many readers know Chris Oldham, Cathedral Administrator and Chapter Secretary. Please pray for Chris and his family as they mourn the death of David Oldham, Chris’ father. David Oldham’s funeral service is 2.30 pm tomorrow, Thursday 10 October in the Transitional Cathedral.

I am very pleased to announce that the Reverend Dawn Daunauda, Vicar of Amuri Parish, North Canterbury, will be the new Archdeacon of North Canterbury, effective 1 November 2019. A very big thank you to Mandy Neil who has been the Acting Archdeacon this year.

This coming Sunday is the Reverend Lynne Horwood’s final Sunday as Vicar of Ellesmere Parish. Thank you Lynne for your ministry in Ellesmere since 2014. We wish you a well-earned retirement based in Lincoln!

A reminder that on Saturday 19 October there is a Preaching Workshop in South Canterbury delivered by Tom Innes and Stephanie Robson—details below.

In this e-Life we are publishing news from Dean Lawrence Kimberley about a new way of sharing the story of the Transitional Cathedral to visitors, the essence of which is that “Visitors will be asked to join a tour of the Transitional Cathedral offered by one of our friendly guides, who will be able to answer your questions. Tours will be brief, around 15 minutes in duration, and visitors will be asked to pay $5.00 for this.” I encourage you to read the full item and the details in it, including assurance that the cathedral is open to those who come to pray and such intercessors will not be asked to take a tour.

Last week I promised to say a little about recent news of NZ religious affiliation statistics, which we were alerted to in the news because the 2018 census figures showed for the first time that NZ has more people declaring no affiliation than declaring an affiliation to a religion. In fact I wrote an op-ed for The Press which has not yet printed it (which itself says something about the (un)importance of religion in NZ today). The op-ed is now posted on my personal blog. Ron Hay has also blogged about this news. Here I simply suggest that all such measures should provoke us to reflect deeply and prayerfully on what we are doing in our ministry and mission. Mostly as Christians, for instance, we are very good at thinking about what we Christians want from our life together and how we might organise that life better. But we are a minority. What do we think the majority of irreligious (but probably spiritual) Kiwis think about what we do? What bridge could we build from minority to majority which would see movement across the bridge towards us and the treasure of the kingdom? What is it about Jesus Christ that brings joy, hope and love into our lives such that we want fellow Kiwis to also share this experience?

Finally, this election week, Brian Rudman, NZ Herald journalist, having also read recent religious news, has a biting opening sentence to an article: “Local body voters are rather like Christians, a slowly declining minority. And for much the same reasons; a lack of faith and doubts in the relevance of the rituals involved.” Ouch. I ask that 100% of readers get out and vote in our local body elections. In a democracy all elections matter because through them we express judgement (holding politicians to account) and justice (choosing representatives who will effect fairness and equity in society). I can think of no good theological reason why Christians should not make the effort to vote!