Dear Friends,

Last week I spent three days at the Royal Commission on Abuse in Care, during which Bishop Ross Bay, myself and Archbishops Philip Richardson and Don Tamihere were cross-examined about the evidence we had submitted to the Commission and about responses by our church to complaints made through recent decades. There are a number of matters to communicate about and to work on in our Diocese as a result of these hearings and I intend to develop a full report in a document which will be available to all in the Diocese, likely in the week after Easter. One of those matters will be how we might follow up apologies made at the Commission. For example, might a public liturgical service in the Transitional Cathedral be an occasion for making those apologies within our Diocese? For the present, a variety of links to the hearings at the Commission and to news reports are given below.

I am very pleased to announce that the Reverend Jeff Cotton will be the next Vicar of the Parish of South Christchurch, a 0.4 FTE role which begins on 1 May 2021. Jeff will hold this role alongside his role as Chaplain to St George’s Hospital. This announcement means that at the end of April the Parish of Woodend-Pegasus will farewell Jeff who has been Priest-in-Charge since 2019. I ask for your prayer for God’s provision for ministry leadership in Woodend-Pegasus from 1 May.

Please pray for preparations for Easter Camp—for youth and youth leaders preparing to gather at Spencer Park from Maundy Thursday evening until Easter Monday, for speakers and camp leaders preparing talks, seminars and worship service, and for the many people who will cook meals, run events, clean toilets and showers and be available to respond to needs which arise. Sammy Mould and a wonderful network of youth leaders are working with youth in the Diocese so that they can experience all the good things of God which Easter Camp provides. As always, it would be wonderful if the weather is both calm and dry!

The Parish of Christchurch St Luke’s has announced that Easter Day will be the last Sunday in which its services will be held at the Community of the Sacred Name, Tuam Street. From Sunday 11 April its services will be at Knox Presbyterian Church, Bealey Avenue.

Last weekend many from across our Diocese and the Diocese of Nelson gathered in the Sumner School Hall for a memorial service for the Reverend Paul Heard who died on 17 March 2020. The tributes made to Paul eloquently expressed his love for Jesus, his ambition to lead people to Jesus and his love for family, cricket, golf, skiing and generally for adventures, some risky and all full of good humour. There were some amazing stories told but the essential story woven through the tributes was that God’s hand was on Paul’s life. We give thanks to God for Paul’s life and ministry.

A special part of the weekend for Teresa and me was participation in two events for the Hororata School 150th Jubilee (postponed from a year ago). My primary education began at the school late in 1964. It was a privilege to be able to preach at the Jubilee service held in the school on Sunday morning and led by the Reverend Jenni Carter, Vicar of Hororata.

Yesterday it was a joy to participate in three ecumenical events. In the middle of the day was a regular meeting of Christchurch “heads of denominations”, organised by Te Raranga. On this occasion we farewelled Pastor Ken Shelley who has been the convenor for Te Raranga’s work over the past decade and more. Ken is moving to Nelson and I am sure he will make a wonderful contribution to the life of churches there. In the middle of the afternoon staff from Anglican, Catholic and Presbyterian offices gathered with Methodist staff in Weteriana House, Langdons Rd, Papanui, continuing a custom of enjoying hot cross bun refreshments in Lent during the week before Holy Week. Then, in the evening I was a contributor at the book launch for Sr Kath Rushton’s new book The Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor: Hearing Justice in John’s Gospel. As I looked around the one hundred or so people gathered for the launch, it was lovely to see Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian and Methodist friends and colleagues. The breadth of the gathering was a tribute to Sr Kath’s ecumenical spirit as much as to her scholarly achievement.

This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday. It is possible to prepare a service in two parts, a Liturgy of the Palms focused on Mark 11:1-11 and a Liturgy of the Passion focused on Mark 14:1-15:47 (or Mark 15:1-39). In the part of the Anglican church I am most familiar with, the focus for this last Sunday in Lent has been on Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem, often illustrated with a palm procession and a message on the humility of Jesus entering his royal city as a king like no other king. When the Liturgy of the Passion follows, the contrast between the cheering of the palm waving crowd and the jeering of fist waving crowd on the day of Jesus’ crucifixion is underlined. Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem begins his passion—the suffering which includes death on a cross for the sake of the sin of the world.


News items of Anglican apologies to people in our care