Dear Friends,

It is an old saying that “a week is a long time in politics” and this has been exemplified by the fact that when e-Life was sent out last week, Jacinda Ardern was our Prime Minister and as this e-Life is sent out, Chris Hipkins is our newly sworn-in Prime Minister. We have much to be grateful for as we reflect on Jacinda Ardern’s leadership and we can be thankful that the Labour Party has chosen her successor as seamlessly as possible. We also have much to repent of in our nation as we observe the vitriol, threats of violence and general misogyny directed against Jacinda Ardern and her Prime Ministership. Even in her departing I note that many on social media have barely paused in acknowledgement of her service before denigrating aspects of that service. Is it too much to ask that we simply give thanks for who she has been and what she has done and remain silent about any other thoughts? Let’s pray for her well-being and safety and pray for Chris Hipkins as our new leader.

It was lovely to visit the Parish of Westland last week and, among other meetings and events, to hear a brilliant and well-attended talk by Paul Madgwick on A History of the Māori Church in Westland. I look forward to his full history of Māori in Westland, Poutini, being published about a year from now. On Friday afternoon I led a service of de-dedication for Saint Aidan and Saint Columba church at Kowhitirangi [see photos towards the end of this e-news]. The visit was also an opportunity to have a guided tour of major work on the All Saints church roof in Hokitika. Then, on Sunday, it was a privilege to be part of the induction service in St John’s church for the Reverend Lucy Flatt as she became the Vicar of Highfield, Kensington and Otipua.

One topic of conversation on the Coast was the return of tourists and the challenges business are facing in respect of securing hospitality staff. On the other side of the Alps, there are also challenges as this news item reports, in respect of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Tekapo in the Parish of Mackenzie.

At the end of this month the Reverend Christine Allan-Johns concludes her ministry as Vicar of Oxford-Cust. Thank you, Christine, for many years of dedicated, energetic, and creative ministry leadership in this parish and even long involvement in ministry in North Canterbury and elsewhere in the Diocese. We wish you well for the next chapter in your life and ministry.

Also, at the end of January, the Reverend Stephanie Robson concludes her ministry in the Diocese as our Ministry Educator. Thank you, Stephanie, for serving in this role since early 2019, connecting with the lives and ministries of many people across the Diocese including (but not limited to) Boundaries training, Post Ordination training, the Diocesan Discernment process, chairing the Diocesan Study Leave committee, advising and supporting many people seeking scholarships and grants for theological study and ministry training, and working on our Diocesan response to the Royal Commission. I very much appreciate your representation of the Diocese on national bodies such as the Anglican Ministry Educators’ Network and the Tikanga Pakeha Ministry Council. We wish you well for the next chapter of your life and ministry.

I am delighted to announce that the Reverend Megan Herles-Mooar, Vicar of Merivale-St Albans, will be the next Archdeacon of Christchurch, effective from 1 February 2023. I thank Archdeacon Mark Chamberlain for his work as Acting Archdeacon of Christchurch throughout the past year.

I have had an opportunity to read our 2023 Lenten Studies book, A Holy Church: Becoming the Communities We are Called to Be. I congratulate the team led by Gareth Bezett who have composed the studies and edited the book as a whole. The substance and tone of the six studies is both appropriate and helpful for our Diocese, and for all churches in NZ, in response to the work of the Royal Commission on Abuse. If you are not yet geared for Lenten studies this year, please note that the book this year is styled in such a way that it could be worked through in any six-week period of time. Head to Theology House to make your order.

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

  • 7pm Thursday 26 January Holy Trinity Avonside: Induction of the Reverend Lisa McInnes as Vicar of Avonside. Preacher: Bishop Peter Carrell.
  • 7.30pm Friday 27 January St Barnabas Fendalton: Commissioning of Dr Andrew Butcher as Senior Associate Lay Minister for the Parish of Fendalton. Preaching will be shared between Bishop Peter Carrell and Dr James Arkwright, a colleague of Andrew’s at BTI, Tauranga.
  • 10.30am Sunday 29 January Craighead School Auditorium: Combined South Canterbury Anglican Churches Service. Preacher: Bishop Peter Carrell.
  • 7.30pm Thursday 2 February, Transitional Cathedral, come to An Evening 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 [see notice later in this e-news].
  • 7pm Tuesday 14 February in St Silas Church, Redwood (clergy red stoles): the ordination to the priesthood of the Reverend Bernard Walker (Deacon, Parish of Northwest Christchurch)
  • 6pm Thursday 23 February in the Transitional Cathedral: the ordination to the diaconate of Mr Steven Dunne (Ministry Team Leader, Parish of Woodend-Pegasus)

In respect of the forthcoming ordinations, please pray for Bernard Walker and Steven Dunne as they are in retreat this week (concluding Thursday), led by the Reverend Chris Orczy, Inner City Chaplain.

Last Wednesday I asked for prayer for Andrew Bagshaw, a volunteer aid worker who had been missing in Ukraine since Friday 6 January 2023, and for the Bagshaw family as they sought news of their son and brother. Today the Bagshaw family have confirmed that Andrew has died. A news report with details from their statement can be read here. Please continue in prayer for the Bagshaws.

Finally, this Sunday 29 January 2023, Epiphany 4, the gospel is Matthew 5:1-12, or, if celebrated as The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple (if transferred from 2 February), the gospel is Luke 2:22-40. One observation which connects the two readings is that everything in the story of the presentation about Anna and Simeon implies they were people with the kind of characters envisioned by the Beatitudes in Matthew 5.