Dear Friends,

Today is the Queen’s actual birthday. I can only imagine that her celebrations will be muted since her 95th birthday is so close to the extraordinary funeral of her beloved husband, Prince Philip. I enjoyed watching this solemn, thoughtful, disciplined service and have enjoyed insights from commentators into the thinking of Prince Philip behind each aspect of the service he prepared before his death. There was neither eulogy nor sermon (though eulogistic thoughts and ministry of the word was woven through the service). One of the fascinating reflections here and there on social media following the funeral is the question whether a funeral requires a eulogy or a sermon!

On Sunday morning it was a privilege to participate in the 10:30 am service at St Christopher’s, Avonhead and during that service to confirm Lance McBride and at the end of the service to present Jay Brantley with a lay ministry licence.

At Antioch on Sunday evening, at St Barnabas’ Fendalton, Teresa and I were part of a farewell for the Reverend Spanky and Sara Moore as they head to new ministry—pioneering new churches—in the Diocese of Nelson, beginning there on 1 May 2021. I want to take this opportunity to thank Spanky and Sara for their contribution into the lives of many people across the Diocese of Christchurch through many years—The Kitchen, communications, Salt and Light, Festivals of Salt and Light, The Thirsty Workers Guild, The Kiln, 3DM, Silent Retreats, involvement in the Diocesan Discernment process, University of Canterbury Chaplaincy, Young Adults Ministry as part of the Diocesan Ministry Team, Vocatio, preparing many couples of marriage, wise counsel, deep insights, talks and sermons and podcasts, always with an open home and warm hospitality including cakes and scones to die for, and somehow finding time to grow a family: Edith, Fred, and Victor! Thank you, thank you, thank you, Spanky and Sara. We wish you well for your ministry in the Diocese of Nelson. I refuse to say “Good bye” but happily say, “Au revoir!”

This weekend is ANZAC Weekend and ANZAC Day falls on a Sunday. While I understand the importance of ANZAC services taking place in our local communities in the course of Sunday morning I want to underline my support for all clergy who nevertheless are rightly and properly ensuring that an ordinary worship service takes place in our parish churches. Adjustment of times of services to suit parish and local community is appropriate. It is also appropriate for a service in a parish church to be an ANZAC service. But where an ANZAC service in a local community is not in the local parish church it is appropriate for a service of worship to also take place in the parish church.

All are welcome to the Induction of the Reverend Jeff Cotton as the Vicar of the Parish of South Christchurch, at 7pm, Wednesday 28 April, in St Nicholas’ Church, Barrington Street. (Clergy red stoles). Our preacher will be the Reverend Toby Behan, Vicar of Rangiora.

I ask for your prayer the next Diocesan Discernment Weekend—30 April to 1 May—praying that the Holy Spirit will guide and lead the Bishop’s Advisory Committee on Ordination (BACO) and several people who are being discerned for ministry as we meet together at the Community of the Sacred Name. The Committee for this weekend is myself, the Reverends Stephanie Robson, Jenny Wilkens, Nicky Lee and Mr Peter Cattell.

The Gospel this Sunday is John 10:11-18 which invites us to reflect on Jesus the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for us his sheep (verses 11, 15, 17, 18). The promise of the Good Shepherd for the people of God is that we will be protected from the “wolves” that would destroy the church (12) and be known and loved by the Good Shepherd just as the Good Shepherd is known and loved by the Father (14-15, 17).