Message from the Bishop

Dear Friends,

Welcome back to Level 1!

Clearly, if there is a lesson to be learned from the past six weeks, it is that we cannot take Level 1 life for granted. We are more likely to go back to Level 2 or even 3 than we are to go to Level 0. Accordingly, while we may enjoy aspects of Level 1 life—for instance, communion in two kinds, bread and wine; congregations larger than 100—we should maintain habits of contact tracing such as using our phones to capture QR codes.

Early last week, sadly, Jeff Hill, husband of Archdeacon Katrina Hill, died suddenly. Please pray for Katrina and her family, and the Parish families of East Christchurch and Shirley/Burwood/Marshlands as they mourn Jeff’s death and prepare for a memorial service, 2pm Friday 16 October at the Christchurch City Salvation Army Centre, corner Salisbury and Colombo Streets.

Previously in e-Life I reported the blessing and commissioning of the Girl Choristers of the Cathedral Choir. Last Thursday it was a pleasure—spiritually and musically—to hear the Girls sing their first Evensong.

As we head towards a full public release in mid to late October of the 100% Concept Design for the Cathedral in the Square, I note this article in the NZ Herald today.

It was good to be in the Waimate District Co-operating Venture at the weekend. A meal out Saturday evening with Archdeacon Indrea and Neville Alexander at The Waimate, a recently refurbished hotel now opened as a first class restaurant, demonstrated the commitment of well known local businessman, Gary Rooney, to invest in the future of Waimate. Various other projects are being developed by Gary Rooney including a new bakery. It is fashionable at election time to “have a go” at the wealthy among us, usually seeking more taxes from them, but throughout NZ there are wealthy business people who use their wealth to enhance the amenities of our local communities—something not always acknowledged by NZ’s political punditocracy!

On Sunday I had the privilege of preaching and presiding at two churches for the first time, St Mary’s Esk Valley and at the Glenavy Church. After the second service Teresa and I, with a small group of parishioners, shared communion with Kathy McCulloch and prayed for her as she faces serious illness. For 19 years Kathy has led youth work in the Glenavy district. Please pray for Kathy.

Later that afternoon we were at Craighead Diocesan School where I confirmed three young women, Danielle, Heather and Rosie. Pray for them as they continue in the way of Christ.

We are now clearly in the last weeks of this year’s Election and Referenda, with the last day of voting being 17 October 2020. After some drafting and redrafting a statement by NZ religious leaders on the End of Life Choice bill has been published. Speaking broadly, it appears simpler to offer a united position on this matter than on the second referendum question, concerning the legalization of marijuana. For church leaders, we can offer some expertise borne of experience in pastoral care in speaking about dying and death. Next week I will offer some thoughts on the complexity of the marijuana “question” which lies before us, both specifically re the referendum and generally for our society (whatever the referendum determines).

A brief update on the two Appeals we have been making here. The Pandemic Fund appeal has reached $30,281.90—thank you. The Mirpurkhas Hostel appeal has reached $17,610—thank you. (The Mirpurkhas appeal includes some donations from outside the Diocese).

Tonight, at 6pm (23 September), I am commissioning Archdeacon Indrea Alexander as (part-time) Team Leader for the Parish of Marchwiel and re-licensing lay and ordained ministers in that parish. Since we are at Level 1, all are welcome to attend. (Indrea will remain Vicar of Waimate Co-operating District and Archdeacon of South Canterbury).

This coming Sunday the epistle reading is Philippians 2:1-13. Among many things that can be said about this passage is this: we are called to follow the example of Christ, who humbled himself in respect of privileges unknown to us, that we might be included in the family of God.