Message from the Bishop

Dear Friends,

The new year is well under way and there has been plenty going on in the wider world, from Australia’s bush fires, Middle East turmoil, Royal Family crisis to Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate. The year is only 22 days old and already feels like we have had a full year’s worth of dramatic events and happenings.

Here in the Diocese of Christchurch there is also plenty going on!

Tonight at 7 pm, at St Paul’s Papanui, all are welcome for the induction of the Reverend Tim Frank as Vicar of Papanui. (Clergy, red stoles). Tim and Judy, Tikva and Jonathan and new baby due soon – you are most welcome in your new Diocese.

Also in respect of new appointments: 

  • the Reverend John Hearne will be inducted as Vicar of Cheviot, all welcome, 7 pm, Thursday 30 January at St John’s, Cheviot (Clergy, red stoles).
  • the Reverend Stephanie Clay will be inducted as Vicar of Amberley, Holy Innocents’ Church, Amberley, 10 am, Sunday 2 February.
  • the Reverend Elspeth Wingham will be Priest in Charge of the Parish of Glenmark-Waikari, from Saturday 1 February 2020.
  • this Sunday 26 January there will be an announcement in the Parishes of Methven and Rakaia re a collaborative appointment of ministry leadership for the two parishes.
  • the Reverend Victoria Askin, currently Interim Priest at Picton, Diocese of Nelson, will be 0.5 FTE Associate Priest of the Parish of Riccarton-Spreydon from 22 March 2020.

This Sunday 26 January Teresa and I are looking forward to participating in a combined South Canterbury Archdeaconry service, 10.30 am at St Marys Geraldine (cuppa from 10am). Preacher is Lucy Flatt, and the theme is Caught in God’s Love. All welcome. During the service I will be commissioning and licensing Ed Hilder as South Canterbury Youth Enabler (and Timaru Anglican Youth Worker). Ed and Clare and daughter Esme—you are most welcome in your new Diocese. 

A reminder that the Blessing of the Site of the former church known as St Peter’s and as Our Lady of the Snows at Jacobs River, South Westland, to be conducted by Bishop Richard Wallace, Bishop Paul Martin and myself is 10 am, Saturday 1 February and that at 2 pm that same day, at St James’ Church, Franz Josef, I will ordain the Reverend Vivien Simkin as priest for ministry in the Parishes of Ross-South Westland and Hokitika. All welcome to both events. Clergy, red stoles for the ordination.

The funeral of Janet Hall, wife of the late Reverend Reg Hall, is at 11 am Monday 27 January 2020 at St Barnabas’ Fendalton. I also report to you that Donald Lill, previously from Ellesmere Parish, and lately of the Ashburton Parish died on 10 January, with funeral on 14 January. Donald served the Ellesmere Parish and the Diocese in many different ways over many years, including as synod person and on diocesan committees.

In making announcements above, also today I want to acknowledge with much thanks the work of Roger Sutton as Anglican Missioner—a lovely farewell morning tea was held for Roger at the City Mission this morning.

I am very pleased to inform you that the Reverend Jolyon White has accepted the role of Acting Anglican Missioner, for three months, pending decisions by the Board about the future structure of Anglican Care. Jolyon is well known to us from his years as Director of Anglican Advocacy.

A big thank you this week to the Reverend Lynnette Lightfoot as she completes her interim ministry at Papanui.

Please continue to pray for the Reverend Paul Heard as he battles serious illness and pray for Kay, his wife, their family and the Sumner-Redcliffs church family as they support Paul with amazing love and care.

At the beginning of 2020 I want to underline the continuing importance of Regeneration to my role as Bishop of Christchurch through these years. I found many signs of regeneration across the Diocese last year and I look forward to both fostering such signs and making new discoveries this year.

Very soon Cassie Lee  will complete her youth ministry in the Parish of Sumner-Redcliffs and journey to Auckland to begin study and formation for ordination at St John’s College. Pray for Cassie as she settles into this new life. Another new beginning at the College will take place shortly after new students arrive, on Sunday 9 February, when the Reverend Katene Eruera is commissioned as the new Manuhera/Principal—Teresa and I will be representing the Diocese on that occasion.

I have had, as perhaps you have also over the summer, an opportunity to do some reading. One recommendation I make from my own reading is a book receiving widespread, global commendation, Dominion by Tom Holland. Intriguingly this same book is being published, no doubt for different markets, with different subtitles: Dominion: The Making of the Western Mind and Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World. My own summary of the book is this: Christendom is not dead (a novel but persuasive thesis). Christianity is always reforming or being reformed, before and after Reformation with a capital R. And despite linear character of “Christian history”, there is a lot of recycling! Holland’s approach is to work his way – with panache and flair – through 2000 years of history since the “revolution” of Jesus and Paul – the revolution that everyone matters, that there are not grades of human beings. The title of book, Dominion, sums up his thesis that although the church in the West has declined in external power and influence, nevertheless Christianity – its ideas and values – has “dominion” over the way we live, whether we identify as Christian or not. There are many more things to say in appreciation about this wonderful book. Theology House will be purchasing this book and thus it will soon be available to borrow from its Library.

Recently the Primates of the Anglican Communion, including two of our three primates, Archbishops Philip Richardson and Fereimi Cama, met in Jordan. The Communique from the meeting can be downloaded here. Despite much talk about Communion fractures, it is a joy to report that only 3 of 40 primates chose to not attend the meeting and that the atmosphere of the meeting, according to our Archbishops, in contrast to some in the past, was happy and positive. I am really looking forward to the Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops in late July this year because I sense a strong and widely shared resolve to live with and respect our differences.

Finally, to conclude this week on an especially warm and joyful note, there is a lovely profile of one of our clergy families, the Reverend Toby and Prue Behan, as they begin their new ministry at Rangiora, on the Stuff Website.