Dear Friends,

Tomorrow is ANZAC Day. Among many services being held across our Diocese, I commend to those living in or near Christchurch the Citizens Service at 10 am in the Transitional Cathedral. As we observe this day and commemorate all who have given their lives in service for our country, we will be mindful that war continues to plague our world. The saddest misconception of the Great War was that it was not the war to end all wars. Rightly, our primary focus tomorrow is on the conflict at Gallipoli which began on 25 April 1915, but two years later, in 1917, ANZAC troops fought against the Ottoman Empire in Gaza. 107 years later further battles are being fought in Gaza. They should cease immediately. Nothing is to be gained from this conflict continuing. I am grateful that our Government is clearly calling for a ceasefire.

All are welcome at the Induction of the Reverend Victoria Askin as Vicar of the Parish of Northwest Christchurch, at 7 pm, Wednesday 1 May 2024, in St. Silas’ Church, Main North Road, Redwood. Clergy are invited to robe, alb and red stole.

Please pray for the Reverends Simon Green and Gabriele Anderson as they prepare to be ordained priest in a few weeks’ time. All are welcome to their respective ordination services: Gabrielle Anderson7 pmThursday 16 May, 2024, in St. Stephen’s Church, Lincoln and Simon Green, 7 pm, Friday 17 May, 2024 in St. Michael’s and All Angels Church, Oxford Terrace, Christchurch. Clergy are requested to robe, alb and red stoles.

Congratulations to Cassie and Takape Kamunaga on the birth of their daughter, Alison Nicola Kamunaga on Friday 12 April, 2024, here in Christchurch. (Cassie will be ordained deacon on Saturday 20 July, 2024).

It was good to be in Ashburton on Sunday, to preach and preside at the 10 am service in St. Stephen’s Church. I was especially pleased to be able to do this as it meant that Archdeacon Indrea Alexander, Vicar of Ashburton was able to be on a well-deserved break.

Life in our wider church continues to be busy and influential on life in our Diocese. Next week, Te Kotahitanga – the board which advises the St. John’s College Trust Board, meets in Auckland for two days. Among other matters we will consider are applications for Trust Board scholarships (several people in our Diocese have applied in the most recent application round) and a report – called Te Pae Tawhiti – on the present and future of theological education and training for our church, looking ahead to 2040. On 18 May, members of General Synod in the Pakeha dioceses gather in Hastings for a regular Tikanga Pakeha Conference. Our meeting there segues into General Synod itself which meets from 19 – 23 May.

The Tikanga Pākehā Ecumenical Group (TPEG) has alerted me to the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Ascension May 9 – Pentecost May 19) and to news about inter-faith relationships. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is a global ecumenical event, whose theme in 2024 is “You shall love the Lord your God … and your neighbour as yourself” (Luke 10:27). All ministry units are encouraged to be in prayer through this specific period andresources for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity have been jointly prepared and published by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches. The resources can be found at this link: Resources for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2024. Materials as adapted for Aotearoa by the National Dialogue for Christian Unity are available from your local Archdeacon.

On the matter of Interfaith relationships, TPEG congratulates all those who offered hospitality to Muslim neighbours during Ramadan this year and encourages all Anglicans to plan to offer hospitality during Ramadan next year. Our diocesan representative on TPEG is the Reverend Mike Hawke and I thank Mike for his continuing service on this body on behalf of us all.

Thank you for praying for the Cathedral Reinstatement Project and for those of us who are involved in the forefront of the present situation as we both ponder the way or ways forward, and respond to numerous media enquiries, most of which this week are critically scrutinizing the details of what has been communicated to date. As best I can I am continuing to make the case that expectations on the Diocese to now fund the completion of the reinstatement are misplaced. The time when we could have contemplated building a cathedral within our own resources was when we favoured demolition and a new build. We cannot now complete reinstatement alone. Continue to pray!

The Gospel for this Sunday 28 April 2024, Easter 5 is John 15:1-8. The beautifully symbolised promise of spiritual union with Christ – vine, gardener, branches, fruit – is itself an outworking of the resurrection of Jesus. We are invited into deeper relationship with one who is alive. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!