I am very grateful to God, and to the hardworking people from the Anglican Centre, led by Edwin Boyce, and from St Christopher’s Avonhead Parish, led by Vicar Michael Brantley, that we were able to hold our physical session of Synod on Saturday. We were able to meet in two groups of 100 or less in two different, separated parts of the St Christopher’s complex, connected via video technology. The Synod passed resolutions on the funding pathway for the Cathedral Project, the Diocesan Mission Action Plan (DMAP), a new statute for the St Michael’s Church School, and legislation concerning our internal life as a Diocese (re Synod, Complaints, Ministry and Mission Units); and we elected people to key Boards and Committees, as well as to represent the Diocese at General Synod (2022-23).
Every Synod needs to be bathed in prayer. Thank you for your prayers! It was uplifting to meet in the Transitional Cathedral, via two services, each within Covid Level 2 limits, on Friday evening, for our Synod services, with the Reverend Joshua Taylor, Parish of Highfield, Kensington and Otipua preaching. Thank you Dean Lawrence and the Cathedral team for making these services possible, including Livestreaming.
Let’s continue in prayer:
First, for Associate Professor Bernard Walker who will be ordained deacon, and licensed for ministry in the Parish of Northwest Christchurch, at 10.00 am Saturday 27 November 2021 in the Transitional Cathedral. If you wish to attend this service (which will be held under Alert Level 2 conditions, i.e. a limit of 100), and have not otherwise made contact with the Parish of Northwest Christchurch, please contact the Parish Office, firstname.lastname@example.org or ph: 352-1366 by midday tomorrow Thursday 25 November. The Livestream link for this services is https://youtu.be/ot9WlVrKyis.
Secondly, for the Reverend Margaret Neate, deacon in the Parish of Upper Riccarton-Yaldhurst, who will be ordained priest and licensed for ministry in the same parish, 3.30 pm Saturday 4 December, 2021 in St Peter’s, Upper Riccarton. This service will be held in the Traffic Lights Framework (which begins midnight 2 December) and next week we will confirm whether or not this is a vaccination passes only service. Both Bernard and Margaret are on retreat this week.
Thirdly, for our dean/vicars/priests in charge and vestries/church councils as they work on the choices before them for services from Sunday 5 December when we expect most if not all the Diocese to be in the Orange Light mode. That means unless a decision is made to mandate a service to be vaccination passes only for attendees, then the current limit of 100 attendees drops to 50 attendees. The Diocesan policy document which informs this decision-making is found at https://anglicanlife.org.nz/news-and-announcements/traffic-light-system-for-covid-19-management/ . This policy may be tweaked a little as further information comes to light from the Government. I am noting that, as the sands of time run down before the change late next week, some parishes are taking the step of mandating all services to require vaccination passes.
The Parish of Woodend-Pegasus is on the look out for a 20-foot container. Veronica Cross is emailing other parishes about this but if you happen to know of a spare container that Woodend-Pegasus could consider, then please get in touch with Veronica at email@example.com.
On Sunday, Teresa and I worshipped at Lifestreams in the Parish of Fendalton, during which I was delighted to share with the Reverend Jenny Wilkens in the baptisms of three people. Recently we announced a new role for Canon Mark Chamberlain, Vicar of Fendalton. I can now share with you that when he concludes his ministry at Fendalton and begins work as Archdeacon for Mission, Jenny Wilkens will become Priest-in-Charge and the Reverend John Shoaf will be Assistant Priest in the Parish for six months during the interim period between vicars. John and Melissa Shoaf return to the Diocese from the USA in January 2022.
Our Gospel reading on Sunday is Luke 21:25-36 (First Sunday of Advent). This is very Adventish: when Advent is about the “coming” of Jesus Christ to the world, both in redemption (beginning with Christmas) and in judgment (ending with the Final Judgment), in the three passages within this reading, we are confronted with Jesus challenging us to be ready for his coming.
Back to the DMAP: the critical challenge for this document is that we do not metaphorically or literally put it in a drawer in our office desk and forget about it. Reference to the DMAP will be a feature of our life moving forward, including my messages in e-Life. The document is available for all to read at https://anglicanlife.org.nz/news-and-announcements/diocesan-mission-action-plan-dmap/ .
Finally, the finishing touches to the new Anglican Centre at Cardale House, Tuam Street, are taking a little longer than we hoped. This time next week we will be able to be definitive about the re-opening of the Anglican Centre, both in respect of landline phone numbers working again and of the doors being open to visitors. Meanwhile, your patience is appreciated and contact via email and mobile phone with staff members continues unchanged.