Dear Friends,
Last week’s Ash Wednesday Ecumenical Service, livestreamed from the Transitional Cathedral was a joyful experience as Anglican and Catholic clergy, participants and choirs blended together to offer worship which has been appreciated near and far. We are very blessed to have Livestreaming facilities at our cathedral.

The next morning our Senior Leadership Team met for the first time in 2021. This group consists of our Archdeacons, Dean, Vicar-General, Diocesan Manager, Ministry Educator and Chaplain to the Retired Clergy and is invaluable to me in oversight of the Diocese pastorally and in corporate reflection on many issues of the day.

Last Synod we set ourselves the task of drafting a Diocesan Mission Action Plan for presentation at Synod 2021. The DMAP Working Group, chaired by Bruce Deam, met with me last week. I am pleased with the progress we are making towards the draft proposal which will be circulated in early June with Synod papers.

On Friday afternoon about 450 people, from within the Diocese and from much further afield gathered at St Christopher’s Avonhead for Sarah Hawke’s funeral. Please continue to pray for Mike and Patsy and their family as they mourn Sarah’s death.

What a spectacularly blue sky day we had on Saturday—perfect for our Diocesan Big Day Out Family Fun Day at Waipara. Teresa and I enjoyed meeting people and viewing activities as we shared in the first half of the day. A big thank you to Emma Tovey and her team for excellent organisation.

It was still hot back in Christchurch that day for the 2 pm book launch at the Transitional Cathedral for a new liturgy, The Farewelling of a Home, carefully and creatively produced by Jane Simpson—thank you, Jane!

Last week I wrote that I had heard glowing reports of the (re)new(ed) St Barnabas’ Centre in the Parish of Fendalton. On Sunday morning I was able to visit this for myself prior to a service of blessing for this building. The glowing reports are well deserved. The St Barnabas Centre will not only be an asset for the Fendalton Parish but also for the local community and for the Diocese (e.g. for educational classes and for meetings).

Monday 22 February was the 10th Anniversary of the Canterbury Quake. It began for me with a site blessing for the New Classroom Block at The Cathedral Grammar School. At 12.30 pm Dean Lawrence Kimberley and I were present for the National Memorial Service, held on the banks of the Avon River, opposite the Memorial Wall. You like me will have been reading and hearing many views and reflections this week on life since the Quake. Am I allowed to say that I think there has been too much focus on what went wrong or what has not yet been achieved? There is much we can be thankful for and a huge team of government, civic, business and community leaders have toiled through these ten years to enable our city and province to get to where we are today.

Speaking of post Quake toil, I encourage you to visit the Square and see for yourselves the progress being made on our Cathedral. I continue to meet people who ask “Is anything happening yet?” Action on the site is happening and has been now happening now for six months.

Congratulations to the Reverend Cameron Pickering who played in his 200th match for Old Boys Collegians Cricket Club last Saturday. Cameron scored 146 not out which will have made the game doubly memorable for him and his team mates!

This Sunday, Lent 2, the Gospel reading may be Mark 8:31-38 or Mark 9:2-9. What a choice: Discipleship or Transfiguration? But perhaps we can reflect on both passages together. Jesus calls us to follow him sacrificially as we deny self and take up our cross. But as we follow Jesus we find ourselves becoming more like Jesus. In other words, true discipleship is transfiguration as we ourselves are changed from one degree of glory to another (2 Corinthians 3:18).