Dear Friends,

Our Pre Synod meetings have concluded and I am very grateful for useful feedback received during them as we refine proposals for our Synod. A significant theme for our Synod is Regeneration of the Diocese and the role the Diocesan Mission Action Plan plays in our work on regeneration.

Please pray for all members of Synod as we prepare to gather on Thursday evening 7 September and work our way through business on Friday 8 and Saturday 9 September. We begin with our Synod Eucharist at 7 pm, Thursday 7 September in the Transitional Cathedral – all members of the Diocese are welcome to join Synod members for this occasion. Our preacher will be the Reverend Canon Ben Truman.

Recently the ministry of Eldercare in our Diocese celebrated 10 years of faithful service across the ministry units of our Diocese. I thank the Reverend Anne Russell-Brighty for her leadership of this important ministry and thank her and her colleagues for their work, which is an expression of the gospel in action.

Next Easter the Reverend Vivien Harber will conclude her ministry of leadership and ministry enabling on the West Coast. Initially working in the Parishes of Hokitika and of Ross-South Westland, and more recently in the Parish of Westland, Vivien has been an inspirational priest in this large district, with a special heart for ecumenical work across all churches. Shortly we will begin advertising for a priest to reside in Hokitika who will offer continuity of leadership to our mission in Westland. Please pray now for God to provide the right person for this important role.

Dr Nick and Tessa Laing are NZCMS mission partners from our Diocese, working in Uganda. It was lovely to read, a few days ago, in our secular media a story about their work.

It was a pleasure to be at The Abbey on Saturday in Waikanae, sharing in worship, plenary and seminar sessions with (by my count) around 150 people, most of whom are involved in youth work in our church. It was especially good to see the involvement of people from our Diocese in the leadership of the event and in the provision of excellent music ministry – thank you!

It was a delight on Sunday to be at St. Aidan’s, Mt Somers, sharing ministry with the Reverends Annette and Harvey Eggleston. St. Aidan’s is a beautiful church and even more so on a sunny, warm spring morning with snow on nearby mountains!

It is hard to escape the fact that there is a General Election this year, with final voting day on 14 October. Although the polls imply that we already know the result, there is a lot to think about. Media focus on National and Labour, sometimes revealing that their respective policies are more or less identical, may be distracting us from considering the ramifications of policies of potential support parties for either Labour or National.

As we work in our Diocese on Regeneration, it is important to discover what is happening elsewhere in the worldwide church, what is working, what is not, and to reflect on possible lessons for what we are seeking to do. Recently my attention was drawn to a Financial Times article on the situation in Scotland: ‘No congregation, no church’: how Scotland lost the faith.

This Sunday, 27 August 2023, is Ordinary 21. The epistle reading is Romans 12:1-8. The greatest question the Bible answers is, “Does God love humanity whom he created?” The second greatest question is, “How then should we live?” Through Romans chapters 1-11, Paul has given a specific answer to the first question: God loves all humanity, Jews and Gentiles, demonstrating that love through Christ dying on the cross to save us all. Now, his epistle pivots to answer the second question.