Message from the Bishop
We have had a few winters over the past decade where it has been barely noticeable that it was winter—few frosts, little rain, no snow. Not this year! We have had a week or two of good frosts and now we are having a few weeks of cloud and rain! Will we yet see snow on the plains?
Back in May it was intended to hold the biennial sessions of the Tikanga Pākehā Conference (formerly known as Inter Diocesan Conference) and General Synod, in Nelson. Lock-down changed those plans and new arrangements have been worked out. On Tuesday evening 14 July our General Synod representatives will join a three hour Zoom session of the Tikanga Pākehā Conference. There is an all day session on Zoom for General Synod, Saturday 25 July. Finally, there is likely a few days of a face to face session for General Synod in early December in Nelson. Please pray for our General Synod representatives as they prepare for these meetings: myself; clergy: Mark Barlow, Stephanie Robson, Toby Behan; lay: Byron Behm, Wanjiru Muriuki, Sue Robb, Vivienne Jackson; with Edwin Boyce (Diocesan Manager) supporting us and working with other Diocesan managers in administration of proceedings.
All papers in preparation for General Synod may be viewed on the General Synod (GSTHW) page on the National Anglican website.
Probably the biggest single item on the agenda of General Synod is a major revision to Title D—our church’s canonical legislation on ministry standards and discipline in the life of our church. Title D both sets the standards for the character and competency of our ministry (licensed ordained and lay ministers, officers of our church such as churchwardens and vestry members) and the processes by which any complaints about failure to maintain these standards are to be received and responded to. Archbishop Philip Richardson and Chancellor Jeremy Johnson have created a video about long overdue proposed changes to the way we manage and record disciplinary procedures. The background to this video can be seen on the Anglican Taonga website. The video itself is available for viewing here.
Please pray for Margi and Les Memory (Hornby, Templeton and West Melton) as they mourn the death of Margi’s father, Meyrick Carruthers, and prepare to lead Meyrick’s funeral in Clinton on Friday.
We are seeing both advertising and news items pushing and pulling NZ voters one way or another on the two referenda regarding Cannabis and End of Life Choice which we will have opportunity to vote on in September. Within a week or so we should be able to advertise two events in our Diocese which will be an opportunity to hear further—for and against—on these two issues. The general disposition of Christians in Aotearoa New Zealand is against change on these two matters. I am part of this general disposition and will not pretend to even handed neutrality on these matters. Nevertheless our events will be opportunities to hear differing views. It is likely also that we will circulate some literature sourced from other parts of our church which will put the case for not voting for change—while this may seem one sided, I suggest that in the wider scheme of advertising and promotion through mainstream and other media, such circulation will be useful in putting a Christian viewpoint that should be heard along with other voices in a democratic society.
Thank you for your continuing support for the Pandemic Relief Fund. About now many ministry units which applied for government employment subsidies will cease to receive them. From within the Anglican Centre we are working with ministry units on monitoring financial situations through these crucial months. Within another month or so it will become clear which ministry units will require assistance from the fund.
As we continue to see the impact and debates about racism around the globe and in our islands, the following event may be of interest to you: Understanding Systemic Racism in Our Own Land Guest Speaker: Sir Mark Solomon, Saturday 11th July, 7pm at Northcity Church, 95a Sawyers Arms Road, Papanui. (Although this is a free event for people to attend, it is appropriate that we give a generous koha to Sir Mark, if you want to contribute towards this please let the organisers know! This event is organized by Te Raranga City Wide Church Network with the support of Heads of Denominations in Christchurch. An image for advertising is available for download here and also listed below.
I am taking a break for a couple of weeks and am very grateful that Deputy Vicar-General Mark Barlow and Diocesan Ministry Educator Stephanie Robson will write the e-Life messages while I am on the break.
This week’s Gospel reading is Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30. Lots can be said about these verses and you will hear good things this Sunday in the sermons across our Diocese. Here I share the lovely rendering of the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30 which Eugene Peterson offers in his vibrant translation The Message:
‘Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest.
Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.’