It is good to be back in the Diocese!
It was a privilege for Teresa and I to be able to travel recently to the USA and the UK, primarily for the purpose of participating in the Lambeth Conference 2022, with 650 bishops and 480 spouses from 39 Anglican provinces, but along the way to and from Canterbury, Kent, we had memorable visits to cathedrals and parish churches, and encounters with clergy and laity in The Episcopal Church and the Church of England which have encouraged and inspired us in our respective ministries.
The meat and drink of the Lambeth Conference are in its “Calls”—papers which call on Anglican churches throughout the Anglican Communion to go deeper into following Christ, look out into the world in mission and evangelism, and work for unity, reconciliation and saving human society on our planet. The full set of Call papers can be read on the Lambeth website.
I have come back from Lambeth grateful for an experience which has contributed to my training and formation as a bishop—being at Canterbury, Kent made me realise what I had missed by not being able to attend a bishops’ training school there (they were not held in 2020 -2022). I feel more confident in my role after this amazing opportunity to meet and converse with many other bishops. I am also encouraged that being a Diocese committed to Regeneration with a focus on intentional discipleship and mission action planning is perfectly aligned with the current heartbeat of our global Communion. There is much more to say (and I will say more in my Presidential Address to Synod) but for now I conclude by saying how moving it was to be in Canterbury Cathedral—the mother church of the Communion—and to connect there to the deep history of the Church of England and to the miracle of Anglican Communion growth across the globe which has unfolded since the earliest days of English Christianity. Actually, the significant global growth has occurred since the first Lambeth Conference in 1867!
Yesterday I was able to visit the Reverend Mark Sullivan, Vicar of Heathcote-Mt Pleasant, following surgery after a plane crash (mentioned in last week’s e-Life). I was very glad to find Mark in good spirits and ask for your continuing prayer for a full recovery for him.
It was very good to be at The Abbey on Saturday evening, at All Souls, Shirley-Burwood—a single evening youth/young adults event being repeated in Wellington and Auckland, over the weekend, as an alternative to planning a full national Anglican young adults Abbey weekend and plans failing because of Covid (as per the past two years). On Sunday morning Teresa and I were delighted to worship at Te Hepara Pai, Ferry Road, Christchurch and to reconnect with Bishop Richard and Archdeacon Mere Wallace after our time at the Lambeth Conference. In the evening we were at the Transitional Cathedral for The Cathedral Grammar School’s whole school service.
While we were away, a number of people in our Diocese took on extra workloads and I thank you all for doing so—especially Archdeacon Mark Barlow for leading the Diocese in his role as Vicar-General, and Veronica Cross, my Executive Assistant. Between them they held back hundreds of emails from travelling over the airwaves to me!
This is also a good time to thank several clergy who have recently served in interim ministry capacities, either because a parish has been without a vicar or their vicar has been on study leave. Thank you, Peter Beck (St Michael and All Angels), John and Christine de Senna (Mt Herbert), Jan Brodie (study leave cover, Addington), Susan Gill (study leave cover, Merivale-St Albans).
The 150th anniversary of St Augustine’s, Waimate is being celebrated this week, with school visits to the church through weekdays, a Men’s Breakfast on Saturday morning, a Thanksgiving Communion service at 11 am on Sunday (I will be preaching and presiding), lunch following, an open church during the afternoon and then a Choral Evensong at 5 pm featuring the St. Mary’s Timaru choir.
Our annual Diocesan Synod meets next week, beginning with our Synod Eucharist to which all are welcome, at 7 pm (this is the correct time), Thursday 1 September in the Transitional Cathedral (preacher: Mr Gareth Bezett, Director of Theology House). Our business sessions are on Friday 2 and Saturday 3 September at St. Christopher’s, Avonhead. Your prayers for this opportunity for clergy and laity in the Diocese to confer together are much appreciated.
Coming up in the Diocese are many valuable opportunities for meeting, learning, reflecting – see elsewhere in this e-Life—and I commend to you the Consider Your Call event on 13 September re our calling in Christ’s ministry and the Leading Your Church into Growth conference, 18-20 October. Details further down this page.
This week’s gospel is Luke 14:1, 7-14 which asks two searching questions of followers of Jesus in respect of status and inclusion. What are our responses?