Dear Friends,

A few days ago in a special e-Life we announced the death in Zambia of Bishop John Osmers. This Saturday 26 June at 2 pm in the Transitional Cathedral all are welcome at a memorial service celebrating John’s mission and ministry in South Africa, Botswana and Zambia. Both from afar and on return trips to New Zealand John was an influential figure in the anti-apartheid movement here. In his retirement years John has lived half a year in Zambia and half a year here in Christchurch. He has been tireless until his final illness in serving a community of refugees from Rwanda who have been domiciled in Zambia.

The Rev’d Dr Ted Johnston has died and his funeral is at 2 pm, in St Peter’s Church, Springfield this Friday 25 July. Ted’s ministry began in the Diocese of Auckland, deaconed in 1956 and priested in 1957. He was able to engage in advanced theological study through Princeton Theological Seminary which concluded with a D.Min awarded in 1991. From 1974-78, Ted was Dean of St Peter’s Cathedral, Diocese of Waikato. In our Diocese Ted served as Principal of College House, 1970-74, Hospital Chaplain, 1979-81 and Director of Anglican Social Services, 1981-90. This warm tribute was paid to Ted in this morning’s Press notice: “Ted was a faithful Christian who strived to be a good priest and a better disciple of Jesus and championed the cause of the ordination of women for the full ministry of the Anglican church.”

Please give thanks to God for John and Ted’s lives and ministries, and pray for their loved ones as preparations are made for services later this week.

Teresa and I enjoyed a lovely weekend in South Canterbury, a highlight of which was the post Flood fundraising Concert at St. Peter’s Temuka on Saturday afternoon. All items were superb. One was a recital of the poem Tangmalangaloo by Australian poet John O’Brien—selected, we were informed, before they knew a bishop would be present in the audience. It was lovely to be with God’s people—Anglican and Presbyterian combining together—at St Albans’, Pleasant Point for worship on Sunday morning.

This Sunday evening, 27 June, the next Theologians in the Cathedral seminar is being held, featuring Christchurch theologian and Old Testament specialist, Dr Richard Neville. (Details are available in this e-Life).

The Board of Anglican Financial Care (i.e. our church’s pension board) is pleased to announce the appointment of Margaret Bearsley as Chief Executive. Margaret will succeed Mark Wilcox, who advised the Board late in 2020 that he wished to step down, giving the Board time to identify a suitable successor. Margaret is expected to take up the CE role on 13 September 2021.

This coming Sunday is an opportunity for our St Peter’s churches to celebrate their patronal festivals, none more so that St Peter’s in the Parish of Upper Riccarton-Yaldhurst where we will be gathering without Level 2 restrictions which constrained the number of parishioners and supporters of the reinstated church when we dedicated it at the end of February earlier this year.

The Gospel this Sunday is Mark 5:21-43, the fascinating story of Jesus healing Jairus’ daughter, in the middle of which story is the healing of another, older woman (a so-called “Markan sandwich”). The two women are linked by the number 12 as well as by illness in need of healing through the touch of Jesus (in two different senses of the word “of”). The deep impact of these healings on the first disciples is evidenced by their continuing to retain Jesus’ words to the young woman in Aramaic—Talitha cumi—even when retelling the story in Greek. On a personal note, Talitha Cumi were the first names of one of my great-great grandmothers!