Message from the Bishop

Dear Friends,

It was good to be able to have a two week break. Much of it was spent in Hanmer Springs which, in common with other Kiwi holiday destinations this winter, was teeming with people. All this is good for the domestic economy but we remain under threat of the health, social and economic consequences of the Pandemic. Community resurgence of the virus in Victoria and New South Wales is keeping us vigilant against a resurgence here but with the best collective will in the world we may nevertheless be unable to avoid a further Lockdown. Thus as churches, as we resume “normal” practices re services, meetings and other activities, we should remain prepared at very short notice to respond to any requirement to change practice if we need to combat community transmission.

While community transmission is non-existent here, “normal” practice can now include the normal practice of receiving communion in both kinds, and receiving wine via the common cup, sipping the cup or intincting. All those involved in distributing communion should be as vigilant re hygiene as ever and once again I ask that consideration is given to avoiding use of hand sanitizer by those distributing communion becoming a visible rite which breaks the flow of the Communion rite itself through the Breaking of the Bread and the Distribution of the Bread and Wine of Communion. One possibility is that those distributing communion move forward to stand near the communion table during the Eucharistic Prayer, using hand sanitiser at the same time as the Table is prepared.

Each ministry unit is being asked to assist in the use of the COVID-19 contact tracing app: is there one or more copies of the QR code poster supplied to your ministry unit on display?

Last Sunday it was good to be in the Parish of Avonside as two young people were baptised and a third young adult formally renewed her baptism and confirmation. In early to mid August we are expecting work to begin on the construction of the new Holy Trinity church for the parish.

This Saturday our General Synod representatives, along with Edwin Boyce our Diocesan Manager and Veronica Cross our note-taker for the day, will be gathering at the Anglican Centre to participate in an all day Zoom session of the Synod.

There is a proposal for General Synod to also meet in Nelson, 5-8 December this year. Whether the Diocese of Polynesia members will be able to physically join us or need to participate via Zoom is a moot point as we watch developments in the South Pacific re “travel bubbles” (or not).

An important development in the life of the Cathedral, the introduction of Girl Choristers has made the news. Check it out here.

This  Saturday evening, 7.30 pm, the Rev’d Dr Graham O’Brien speaks at St Barnabas’ Fendalton on the End of Life Choice Bill. I plan next week to say more about the two referenda questions we are invited to answer when we vote in the General Election in September. We hope also that by then we will have details about two seminars being planned for Saturday mornings 15 and 22 August.

Speaking of the General Election, the past week has highlighted the tremendous challenge of finding and keeping political representatives who are both competent and righteous (remembering that this biblical word refers to “right relationships” as much as to “right/just behaviour”). The least we can do as Christians is to obey the instruction in 1 Timothy 2:2 to pray “for kings and all who are in high positions.”

The latest edition of AnglicanLife is being distributed this week (and available here on the web). Please share copies with family and friends. I thank Jo Bean for her work as Editor (along with several other media roles) and thank the team who help put the magazine together, including our many writers!

This Sunday is Media Prayer Day and we are asked to include in our intercessions all those who work in media in our country.

This Sunday is also Social Services Sunday—we are invited to reflect on and pray for the work of all our church social services. In our Diocese this work is under the name Anglican Care and includes a variety of ministries including the Christchurch City Mission. Fuel for our prayers can be found here.

Our Gospel reading this Sunday includes the Parable of the Mustard Seed (Matthew 13:31-32). This and similar parables are not only messages of hope but also promises from God who wills that the kingdom of God will continue to grow, no matter what happens, and who calls us to be participants in that growth as we share our faith in Christ.