Dear Friends,

It has been distressing to learn of torrential rain and flooding in (and beyond) Auckland at the weekend, with the rain continuing this week. I note this afternoon that the Prime Minister, Chris Hipkins, is describing the damage as the biggest non-quake event in New Zealand’s history. There are no easy solutions to the problems intense climatic events pose and there will be more distress in the future because we now know that events such as Auckland has experienced will become more frequent and may affect any region in our islands at any time. Already some readers are asking about how to contribute to the needs of Aucklanders this week. The recommendation from the Diocese of Auckland is that we make a donation to their City Mission.

This past week has been busy for the Diocese. The Reverend Lisa MacInnes was inducted as Vicar of Avonside on Thursday night. Dr Andrew Butcher was commissioned as Senior Associate Lay Minister in the Parish of Fendalton on Saturday night. [A photo from both events can be seen later in this e-news.] On Sunday morning the combined Archdeaconry of South Canterbury service was held in the Craighead Diocesan School Auditorium in Timaru. Also, within the last week, I met with Dean Lawrence Kimberley and the Reverend Dr John Fox (University of Canterbury chaplain) to plan a thanksgiving service in the Transitional Cathedral as part of the 150th anniversary celebrations of the founding of the University in 1873—all will be welcome at 5pm on Saturday 29 April. Finally, of note to the whole Diocese, at the end of last week I was able to begin a new cycle of clergy professional development appraisals—it has been many years since we have had the time and mental space to focus on these within the Bishop’s office.

In the past week we have hosted two farewells in the Anglican Centre for departing staff. On Friday we farewelled Heather Fraser who has been the Theology House Administrator for the past few years and who has been of great help in other areas of administration her, including her role as Minutes Secretary to Standing Committee. We wish Heather well in her new role with Workplace Support. Then, yesterday afternoon we had a farewell for our Diocesan Ministry Educator, the Reverend Stephanie Robson (whose ministry I wrote about in last week’s e-Life). Thank you, Heather, and Stephanie, for your work with us.

I am pleased to announce that from 1 February 2023, the Interim Priest-in-Charge of the Parish of Oxford-Cust will be the Reverend Felicity O’Brien.

Early next week the Reverend Alexa Evenden concludes her ministry through the past few months as an assisting priest on the staff of the Parish of Fendalton. Thank you, Alexa, for your valuable contribution through the past few months. We wish you well for the next chapter in your life and ministry.

Coming events/services: all are welcome. (Clergy are invited to robe, alb and red stole for the two ordinations advertised below).

  • 7:30pm Thursday 2 February 2023, Transitional Cathedral: meet with Bishop John Bluck, who will speak on Becoming Pakeha: A Work in Progress. This event has been organised by Te Raranga, the leading network of churches in Christchurch.
  • 7pm Tuesday 14 February 2023, St Silas Church, Redwood: the ordination to the priesthood of the Reverend Bernard Walker (Deacon, Parish of Northwest Christchurch)—please note that seats are limited for this service and the parish would appreciate non-parishioners letting the parish office know if they are coming (03 352-1366 or
  • 5:30pm Ash Wednesday 22 February Ecumenical liturgy with imposition of ashes: Preacher: Bishop Michael Gielen, Catholic Diocese of Christchurch.
  • 6pm Thursday 23 February 2023, Transitional Cathedral: the ordination to the diaconate of Mr Steven Dunne   (Ministry Team Leader, Parish of Woodend-Pegasus).

This Sunday 5 February 2023, Epiphany 5, the gospel is Matthew 5:13-20. Reflecting on the famous phrases “salt of the earth” and “light of the world” we might ask of ourselves, does anyone in our community/workplace/sports club know that we are Christians? What is different about our lives which demonstrates the rule of God over us and offers a sign of creation being restored?