Dear Friends in Christ,
We are on something of adventure as a nation as we make significant steps forward in the 2020s (compared to any other decade I recall) to becoming a bicultural and bilingual society. So, this Friday is our first ever public holiday which acknowledges something of importance in Te Ao Maori: Matariki. In this holiday we are invited to share together in celebrating the appearance of the astronomical sign which heralds the turn of the year and to remember with thanksgiving those who have gone before us. Matariki refers to both the cluster of stars called Pleiades in ancient Greece (and continued as a term in modern English) and to one of those stars. Potentially we can see seven stars, though one may be hidden. The Bible refers explicitly to “Pleiades” (e.g. NRSV) or Matariki (Te Paipera Tapu) on three occasions: Job 9:9; Job 38:31; Amos 5:8.
There is an intriguing possibility of an implicit reference to Matariki in the Book of Revelation where reference is made to the exalted Jesus holding in his right hand “the seven stars” (1:16; also 2:1; 3:1). For further intrigue on this reference and its possible connection to the geographical location of the seven churches of Revelation, see this blogpost “The Mystery of the Seven Stars“.
Teresa and I had an enjoyable visit to Geraldine at the weekend, participating in worship at St Anne’s, Pleasant Valley and at St Mary’s, Geraldine. Our enjoyment was boosted by watching a very fine Crusaders’ win in the Super Pacific Rugby final while out for a meal on Saturday night with Vicar Tony and Christine Kippax. Have the Crusaders ever played a more perfect 80 minutes of rugby?
This week I am pleased to make two announcements in respect of ministry standards in our church and in our Diocese. The first announcement is that our Ministry Standards Commission now has a live website: www.ministrystandards.org. On this website is comprehensive information about how a complaint about misconduct can be made. I think it is worth citing in full the first section of the frontpage to this website:
“These ministry standards apply to everyone in licensed Anglican ministry, and to non-licensed office holders, including:
- Ordained ministers (priests, deacons, bishops)
- Licensed lay ministers
- Licensed volunteer leaders
- Elected leaders (vestry, synod, committee, board members) who have signed a declaration
- Licensed youth leaders
- Licensed children’s workers
Misconduct occurs when any person from the above groups of people who is in a leadership, teaching or pastoral role violates boundaries (emotional, sexual, financial) with a parishioner, student, employee or staff member in a professional relationship.
Anyone can lodge a complaint about a person in the above list.”
Consequent on this website going “live”, in the near future we will be updating our current posters in churches and other church premises concerning our churches being safe places. The development of the Ministry Standards Commission is significant. It means that people may go direct to this body with a complaint without needing to refer to the Bishop.
Nevertheless, in our life as a Diocese we have situations in which people have a complaint or a concern or an unsettling niggle about a person in their ministry unit where that person is beyond the scope of the Ministry Standards Commission. There are also situations in which the Ministry Standards Commission refers a matter of “unsatisfactory misconduct” back to me for further determination. Thus, we continue to have the position of Diocesan Monitor to assist our Diocese in various matters beyond the scope of the Commission. I am delighted to announce today that we will have two Monitors available to the Diocese, with Clare Ayers joining David Coster in the role. To have both a female Monitor and a male Monitor has been an aspiration for some time now and I am very pleased that this has been achieved—thank you Clare, and welcome on board. Both Clare and David are Presbyterians and offer independence in their work from our Diocese and the wider Anglican church. Clare may be contacted on 021 217 1581 or at email@example.com. David may be contacted at 027 220 5765.
I congratulate Murray Lennox, a well known musician within our Diocese, who is the first person in NZ to receive the recently instituted Nicholson Award which honours the founder in 1927 of what is now known as the Royal School of Church Music. His valedictory reads: NICHOLSON AWARD Awarded for significant administrative work as a voluntary officer or member of staff within the RSCM; or an award for a significant contribution to church music and/or liturgy at a local RSCM Area level. Congratulations, Murray!
This Sunday 26 June 2022, Ordinary 13 our Gospel reading is Luke 9:51-62. This passage sets us on a course with Jesus towards his crucifixion in a section of Luke’s Gospel known as the Travel Narrative. At the beginning of this section the theme of discipleship is explored in robust terms. In effect the passage invites each of us as readers and hearers of the Gospel to ask ourselves, “Are we committed to Jesus as his followers for the long haul?” The passage is realistic: not everyone will answer that question in the affirmative.