Message from the Bishop

Dear Friends,

It was a privilege last Friday to meet Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, in the course of their visit to Tūranga and to the Cathedral in the Square. It is both exciting and encouraging that Prince Charles has undertaken to be the Royal Patron for the Cathedral reinstatement project, to commit support of the Prince’s Trust and to make a personal donation to the cause. Speaking personally, I have never met a “royal” before and never been at the centre of such an event. What most impressed me about Charles and Camilla was their genuine interest in meeting people and speaking with them – whether especially invited guests or citizens of Christchurch lined up behind metal barriers.

This Sunday we begin the season of Advent. We reflect and celebrate on the coming of another Prince—the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, coming into our world through Incarnation (becoming one of us) and returning to our world in the Eschaton (coming as Judge of the world and Gatherer of all God’s saints). Our greatest royal privilege is to know this Prince and to be citizens of his Kingdom.

Last Thursday Archdeacon Mark Barlow and I conducted the induction of Susan Gill as Vicar of Ellesmere with Stephanie Robson, our Diocesan Ministry Educator preaching. It was my first visit to St James’ Church, Southbridge.

We have two further inductions before Christmas: all welcome, clergy are invited to robe (alb and red stole), and local archdeaconry clergy are requested to robe. The Reverend Toby Behan, to be next Vicar of Rangiora at 7 pm on Thursday evening 28 November 2019 at St John’s Rangiora. The Reverend Sampson Knight to be Vicar of Spreydon-Riccarton at 3 pm Sunday afternoon 1 December 2019 at St Martin’s Spreydon.

As I announce these inductions, I gladly express my thanks to the Interim Priest in Charge of Rangiora, Lynnette Lightfoot and to David Winfield who has been half-time Assistant Priest through much of this year at Spreydon-Riccarton.

This Saturday we have Ordinations of three people as deacons: Cameron Pickering (for Merivale-St Albans), Mary-Jo Holdaway (for Ashburton and Mid Canterbury), Stephen Murray (for Ashburton). All parishioners, supporters, friends and families are welcome, clergy are requested to robe (alb and red stole) for the service which will begin at 1 pm, Saturday 30 November 2019 in the Transitional Cathedral, Hereford Street, Christchurch.

Please pray for Toby, Sampson, Cameron, Mary-Jo and Stephen as they prepare for their new ministries. Cameron, Mary-Jo and Stephen are on a pre-ordination retreat as I write to you, led by Andrew McDonald, Vicar of the Mackenzie Cooperating Parish, who will be preacher at the ordination.

This time next week I will be able to inform you who the new Vicar of Papanui will be. Today it is my pleasure to thank Glenda Hicks for her ministry as Interim Priest in Charge of Papanui through the past year. Glenda’s last Sunday is this coming Sunday. Other arrangements are being made for the care of the parish between next week and the arrival of the new vicar.

Also coming up this  weekend is Deeper Camp at Woodend. This year for the first time this Diocesan camp is aimed at Years 7-10 and will be based upon  the Drama of Scripture lead by key speakers Josh Taylor and Lucy Flatt (both in ministry in Timaru). Just under 100 young people and youth leaders from several young groups  are looking forward to  a weekend of worship, talks, games, food, sun (hopefully), games, prayer, workshops and games (lots of games needed for this age group).   

Last Sunday a new youth worker for the Parish of Highfield, Kensington and Otipua and for the Archdeaconry of South Canterbury was announced. Edmund (Ed) Hilder from Auckland will begin his new two part role in late January 2020: 1. Ed will be an “Anglican Youth Worker” based at St John’s Timaru (30 hours per week), and will set up a youth group and community-facing youth work in Timaru.  2. As “South Canterbury Anglican Youth Enabler” Ed will resource and encourage churches across the district to reach out to youth in their communities (10 hours per week). A fuller profile of Ed can be found as a news item on our website.

Many of you will know that as Bishop of Christchurch I am Warden for six Anglican Schools. Along with other encounters, services and Board meetings during the year, it is my intention to be present for at least one end of the year event at each school. On Friday evening I will be at Christ’s College, on Monday evening at Cathedral Grammar (albeit in the Transitional Cathedral), and on Tuesday evening at St Margaret’s College. Next week I will mention the remaining engagements.

In 1919 the Anglican Board of Missions was formed in order to be an ordered mechanism for funds to be collected from our parishes for overseas missions. That is, for 100 hundred years many individuals via their parishes, and many parishes via a parish budget have given funds to Anglican missions. In turn Dioceses, including our own, have set targets for the overall collection of funds from their ministry units for sending to the Board. Perhaps the best known significant beneficiary of this means of gathering financial support has been the New Zealand Church Missionary Society. Some years ago the name of the Board was changed to the “Anglican Missions Board” but the essence of the work has continued. Thus 2019 is the centennial of the Board’s existence and on Friday evening Teresa and I were privileged to join with the current Board, AMB staff, other bishops and invited guests for a Centennial Dinner in Wellington.

As we head towards a traditional day of ordination, St Andrew’s Day, 30 November, it is good to acknowledge ordination anniversaries:

65 years 1954 Colin Brown–Auckland–deaconed
             1954 Michael Cocks–ChCh–priested

60 years 1959 Earle Williams–Wellington 
             1959 James Foster Riley–USA–deaconed

             1959 Dick Tripp–ChCh–priested
             1959 Malcolm May–South Africa–priested

55 years 1964 Ken Davy–ChCh–deaconed
             1964 Paul Hammonds–ChCh–deaconed

             1964 David Boyd–ChCh–priested
             1964 Michael Brown–ChCh–priested

50 years 1969 Philip Robinson–ChCh–deaconed
             1969 David Coles–Auckland–priested

             1969 Craufurd Murray–Durham, UK

As far as I am aware, following the death of John Ford, the most senior clergyman in our Diocese by years of ordination is John Meadowcroft (deaconed 1951; priested 1952, Nelson.)

As we move to conclude the Church year and move from Ordinary time into Advent , the beginning of our church calendar, we have the opportunity to concentrate on the promise of God fulfilled—the long awaited coming of the Saviour, the birth of Jesus. Advent is a time of anticipation and preparedness for Christmas where we celebrate the God’s grace for all humankind. The AnglicanLife December Magazine is full of Advent and Christmas stories, ideas to think about, and activities for our younger members to do. Pick up a copy this Sunday and dip into it over the coming ‘silly’ season to help you reflect Christ rather than consumerism.  You can also find the magazine online on our website

And for many readers, Advent is a magical time of twinkling lights, candles, music and drama—including carol services and dress-up pageants!  I am looking forward to participating in the Advent Carol Service at the Transitional Cathedral this Sunday evening, 1 December at 7 pm. Might you join me, Dean Lawrence, Chapter and Choir if you are in Christchurch city?

Advent Blessings!