Last week’s General Synod/Te Hinota Whanui finished on a good note with a superb final meal together on Friday evening. It was wonderful to share the experience with our Diocesan team: the Reverends Toby Behan and Lucy Flatt, our lay representatives Byron Behm, Vivienne Jackson, Ciru Mariuki, Sue Robb, and our Diocesan Manager, Edwin Boyce. (Unfortunately, our third clerical representative, the Reverend Dr Carolyn Robertson was not able to attend the Synod.)
Significant notes from the Synod include the following: careful discussion about the culture of St John’s College and changes to the appointment of its governing body, Te Kaunihera, which will now be appointed by General Synod Standing Committee rather than by Te Kotahitanga; as mentioned in the last e-Life, a significant education day on mātauranga; some modest changes to our common prayer (which will receive further examination when each diocesan synod or hui amorangi considers these bills next year); a request from our Diocese for a new introduction to A New Zealand Prayer Book to be composed, to replace the current forward, preface and introduction, was agreed to. Throughout our meeting, in the light of the Royal Commission on Abuse, concerns about our progress in becoming a safe church permeated discussions and decisions. Fuller reporting on the Synod may be found at Anglican Taonga, https://www.anglicantaonga.org.nz/. Finally, we all shared in a very moving farewell to Archbishop Philip as one of the Presidents of General Synod/Te Hinota Whānui. Archbishop Philip concludes his time as senior bishop of Tikanga Pakeha at the end of June 2023 and, save for some extraordinary matter of urgency, there will be no further session of the Synod until 2024.
The Reverend Dr Ken Booth has died peacefully, after a long illness, and his funeral is at 11 am this Friday 4 November 2022 at Knox Presbyterian Church, Bealey Avenue. Please pray for Bee Bryant, Ken’s widow, and his children Neville and Diana and their families as they mourn his loss. Ken was deaconed in 1965 and priested in 1966 in the Diocese of Dunedin. He was curate in St. Paul’s Cathedral, Dunedin, 1965-69, and concluded advanced theological study with a PhD from St Andrew’s University, Scotland, in 1974. From 1972-1980 Ken taught church history at St. John’s College, Auckland. Following that ministry, Ken was Warden of Selwyn College, Dunedin, 1980-85 and then Vicar of St John’s Roslyn, Dunedin, 1985-1997. Ministry here in Christchurch then beckoned, and Ken became Director of Theology House, 1997-2006. In retirement from full-time ministry Ken served as Precentor and Residentiary Canon from 2006–2013. Also important to mention is that Ken served on our Prayer Book Commission which produced A New Zealand Prayer Book in 1989. He is fondly remembered by former students, colleagues on the Commission and in Dunedin and Christchurch Dioceses, many friends, and fellow members of his beloved Riccarton Rotary Club.
I also give notice of the death of David Price, who until recently worked for CPT in our Recovery Project Team. David’s funeral will be held at Lamb and Hayward, Wairakei Road, Christchurch, at 2 pm Wednesday 9 November 2022. Our condolences go to David’s family and close friends.
I am delighted to announce that three new students from our Diocese will begin studies and formation at St John’s College in early 2023: Matt Maslin (lay minister on the staff of St. Augustine’s, Auckland city; but of Christchurch provenance), Ciru Mariuki (St Augustine’s, Parish of Cashmere), and Lukas Thielman (All Saints, Parish of Shirley). Please pray for Matt and Zara and their family, Ciru, and Lukas as they prepare to make the transition to life at the College.
In recent days I have been very pleased to learn of new appointments in Canada of two clergy well-known in our Diocese. Bishop Victoria Matthews has been appointed Episcopal Administrator with oversight for St Matthew’s Cathedral for the Diocese of Moosonee, beginning 1 November 2022 (further details here), and the Reverend Dr Thomas Brauer will become Rector of St. John the Evangelist, Smiths Falls, Ontario (Diocese of Ottawa) on 11 January 2023.
Today I have received the resignation of the Reverend Stephanie Robson from her role as our Diocesan Ministry Educator, from 28 February 2023, with her last day in office before annual leave being 31 January 2023. At the end of January, I will attempt to sum up Stephanie’s contribution to the Diocese through the previous four years, suffice to say, for now, how grateful I am for the significant input Stephanie has made in a number of important areas of our Diocesan life, as well as to ministry education in our Tikanga.
Yesterday we held the AGM for Anglican Care. Following that meeting, at the first Anglican Care Board meeting, Jane Evans was elected Chair of the Board. At the AGM we congratulated six new Life Members of Anglican Care: Moka Ritchie, David McCone, Margaret Hopkins, Raemon Greenwood, Max Bremner, and Judy Stewart. I am grateful for Jane’s willingness to serve as our Chair and I thank our new life members for their amazing contributions to the work of Anglican Care.
It was a delight this weekend past for me and Teresa to be present in the Parish of Marchwiel, in the Church of St Philip and All Saints, celebrating the feast day of All Saints. This coming weekend we will be at All Saints, Prebbleton, celebrating 150 years of the life of this church.
This Sunday 6 November 2022, Ordinary 32 offers Luke 20:27-38 as our Gospel reading. We all have questions about life after death, though I have never heard anyone worry about the question which was put to Jesus in this encounter. The answer Jesus gives is a reminder that Christians believe life after death, resurrection life, is different to life as we currently experience it—which is a significant point in Paul’s exposition about resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15. What Jesus says also opens up the question of the power of God—a life-giving power which is greater than the power of death.