Dear Friends,

Yesterday was a significant day in the history of our Cathedral in the Square: a series of celebration events to mark the end of the Stabilization Phase (making the building safe to 34% of current building code for a public building). Although the building is safe to enter, the whole site remains a construction zone and so for each event yesterday, we could only have 20 invited guests (CCRL staff and worksite staff were additional to that number). At 7am Bishop Richard Wallace, Dean Lawrence and I were able to lead a service of prayer and thanksgiving with invited guests drawn from Chapter, CPT, Standing Committee and cathedral and diocesan staff. At 10am media, civic leaders, including Minister Megan Woods and Deputy Mayor Pauline Cotter, and Christian, Jewish and Buddhist religious leaders were present. We are very pleased with the positive coverage in the media yesterday. It was good to be back. Much has been achieved and there is much yet to be done.

At 4pm, Saturday 1 April, the Reverend Harry Newton will be inducted as the new Vicar of Sumner-Redcliffs in the Sumner Anglican Church, Nayland St, Sumner. All are welcome and clergy are invited to robe with red stoles. Please note that Sumner that afternoon will be full of people (due to a surfing event), and it would be advisable to travel in good time to secure a car park near(ish) to the church. Carpooling would be a good idea! We have been advised that the following may be best: rather than heading through the village and turning into Nayland St, turn off onto the Esplanade and then into Hardwicke St as an alternative route. Please pray for Harry and Aimee and their children as they leave Greytown and make their transition to Sumner-Redcliffs.

At 11am on Tuesday 4 April, during the annual Chrism Service with Renewal of Ordination Vows at St Christopher’s, Avonhead, the Reverend Megan Herles-Mooar will be installed as Archdeacon of Christchurch—members of the Archdeaconry, and of Megan’s Merivale-St Albans parish are most welcome to attend. Please communicate with Veronica Cross, if you wish to stay for lunch afterwards.

Thank you for your ongoing support for the Cyclone Gabrielle Appeal. (Note that these donations will be receipted and are eligible for tax rebates.) As of this morning, the amount raised via this appeal was over $322,000. I am very pleased to announce that the Anglican Care Trust Board are contributing $10,000 to the appeal.

Last week I noted that the current Warden of Sister Eveleen Retreat House, Eddie O’Connor, is leaving soon. Please pray for a new Warden—the advertisement for this role may be found on our “Work for us” page on our website.

As I write this morning, the weather is somewhat bitter. The weekend was gorgeous—good for the Sail GP races! On Sunday we were in the Parish of Malvern—it was good to be with the Reverend Tom Innes, the Interim Priest-in-Charge, and to meet over a wonderful lunch with Vestry and Nominators in order to chart the next steps towards securing a new Vicar.

In my travels around the Diocese I am always looking for signs of Regeneration—the population of our churches with multiple generations of people. I am glad to report that such signs are present. But the signs are not yet everywhere in the Diocese. Please continue to pray for our regeneration—for people to become Christian disciples and participate in our church worship and mission. In each ministry unit I encourage a continual reflection on what we do as church. Is what we are doing leading to regeneration or inhibiting it? We live in a very challenging time. In Synod this year, Standing Committee will be bringing some sobering news about what our future will look like unless some changes occur. Change is painful but it is necessary for life to flourish—that is true of nature, and it is also true of the church.

Thank you to all who are making Bible studies an important part of your Lenten journey this year. Many are using the Theology House published study book, A Holy Church. Some feedback about these studies has been coming into the Anglican Centre—thank you—and the feedback will help shape our next set of studies for 2024.

This Sunday 26 March 2023, Lent 5 (also known as Passion Sunday) the gospel is John 11:1-45 (Jesus and Raising of Lazarus). There is much to say here but the triumphant note in the story is that Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life (25a). The extravagant promise in the story is that those who believe in Jesus, even though they die, will live (25b). Although Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, the details about this take up just a few verses (17, 38-44). The importance of the story is in the importance of believing in Jesus. We the readers are also characters in the story, challenged like the disciples and Mary and Martha are: Do you believe this? (26).