Message from the Bishop

Dear Friends,

Two significant events are coming up re church buildings in our Diocese. This Saturday at 11 am, Teresa and I will join many people with links to Holy Innocents, Mt Peel in the Parish of Geraldine—especially the extended Acland family—for its Sesquicentennial celebration. 

The following Saturday, 14 December, at 10 am, Archbishop Philip Richardson and I will consecrate All Souls, Merivale-St Albans. (“Consecration” of a church means that it is not only up and running but also completed and debt-free.) Clergy attending the consecration are asked to robe and wear white stoles.
This past week has been busy for the Diocese but in a very good way. We have inducted Toby Behan and Sampson Knight into their respective positions as Vicar of Rangiora and Vicar of Riccarton-Spreydon. We ordained three fine deacons on Saturday at the Transitional Cathedral: Mary-Jo HoldawaySteve Murray and Cameron Pickering.

Also happening over the weekend was Deeper Camp—a Diocesan Youth Camp for Years 7-10—at Woodend which went very well and it was a pleasure to be able to be present for Sunday morning. I don’t think I have ever played volleyball and shared the Eucharist on a Sunday morning before! See the photo below of their nightly prayer circle.

Finally for the weekend, there was a lovely Advent Carol Service at the Transitional Cathedral.
Participation in end of year events in our Anglican schools is a privilege and are a powerful reminder of the gifts and abilities God blesses his creatures with! This week and next I will be visiting Craighead Diocesan School, The Cathedral Grammar School, St Michael’s School and St Mark’s School.
At 7 pm Sunday 15 December, at St John’s Rangiora, I will commission Dawn Daunauda as Archdeacon of North Canterbury. All are welcome to the service. Clergy: alb and red stole. I am the preacher for the occasion and I will be sharing my vision for North Canterbury.
On Sunday it was announced in the Parish of Papanui that their new Vicar will be Tim Frank. Tim is currently Assistant Curate in the Parish of Cambridge, Diocese of Waikato and Taranaki. Tim will begin his ministry in mid-January and we will announce the time and date of his induction when confirmed. Please pray for Tim, Yudy his wife, their daughter Tikva, son Jonathan and third child due in February 2020, as they prepare to move and to join our Diocese. I take this opportunity to thank Glenda Hicks for her leadership of the Parish of Papanui through the past year — very much appreciated!

Also announced is that Stephanie Clay, who has been Priest in Charge of Amberley, will be Vicar of Amberley. I will be leading a commissioning service to affirm this change in leadership at 10 am Sunday 2 February 2020 in Holy Innocents, Amberley.
I am very pleased to announce that I will ordain Viv Simkin as priest at 2 pm, Saturday 1 February 2020, in St James’ Church, Franz Josef. Viv has served as a deacon in the Parishes of Hokitika and Ross-South Westland for many years. This next step in her journey in ministry has been quietly percolating for several years and her priestly ministry in these two parishes will be much appreciated.

Earlier on that same Saturday in February, I will be joining Bishop Richard Wallace, Bishop Paul Martin and many members of the Anglican and Roman Catholic parishes in South Westland at Jacobs River as we bless a memorial to the joint-use church which was destroyed in a storm a few years ago. (When time for the service of blessing is confirmed we will announce it here.)
Phil and Carol Trotter have served in our Diocese for many years. After two years residency at St John’s College, Phil and Carol have made a decision about their next chapter in ministry. Phil writes:

I deeply thank the Christchurch Diocese, St. John’s College and Manukura Tony Gerritsen, for creating the space for me to come here, to be here and to leave here with my head held higher than when I arrived.   
I had always hoped to find a teaching position in a ministry training college, post St John’s. Due to whānau (including our three mokopuna) residing permanently in Auckland, I have accepted a three-quarter time appointment at Laidlaw College here in Auckland: a mixture of classroom lecturing, tutoring distance papers and mentoring internship students in the distance programme. Carol has rekindled her love for teaching children, and taken a full-time job at St Joseph’s Catholic school, which began this term and will continue into next year. 
The findings of my Master’s Research Essay on discipleship practices that make disciples that last, shows the immense value of ‘mentoring’ and of ‘active involvement’ in forming disciples that last. There is also a significant witness to the importance of the social dimension to faith formation, and some interesting findings on how people describe their connection with God and God’s activity in their discipleship. My hope is that I can integrate this material into a revised and more research-informed version of the Growing Disciples resource I recently completed for the Diocese of Christchurch—and that this can be available for wide distribution in Aotearoa. 

Christchurch Diocese has been ‘home’ for us in so many ways and for so long, it seems strange to be making a more permanent move away. But we still have our family home and next of kin in Christchurch and we do imagine, one day, that we will return. Thank you again to our Christchurch Diocesan whānau.
Finally, in the midst of Advent and Christmas seasons—with services of readings and carols, Christmas cards with captions and sentiments, it is possible that we form ideas about the birth of Jesus Christ which are not completely accurate, historically or theologically. My attention has been drawn to British scholar Paula Gooder and a video of her teaching entitled, “God With Us: Seeing the Christmas Stories with Fresh Eyes (2019).” It can be viewed hereThis video is about 90 minutes and many won’t have 90 minutes spare over the next few weeks, so I commend to you, if time is short, just watch a section of it: the six minutes from 21:27 to 27:37.