Dear Friends in Christ,

Yesterday and today is our annual Clergy Conference, held at Holy Trinity Avonside. Consequently, my message this week will be shorter rather than longer.

The Reverend James Ullrich will be Interim Priest in Charge of the Parish of Akaroa-Banks Peninsula from early June. Thank you James for taking up this ministry.

Bishop Michael Gielen (currently Auxiliary Bishop of Auckland) will be the next Catholic Bishop of Christchurch, with his installation taking place in early July 2022. I look forward to working with +Michael and will miss ++Paul Martin as he now becomes fully focused on his Wellington archepiscopal role.

I am pleased to be able to report that I am much recovered from my run in with Covid. I remind readers that we have made RAT tests available to archdeacons to distribute in their ministry units. Let’s keep masking and (as far as possible as winter bites) ventilating our buildings.

It was lovely on Sunday morning to join with God’s people at St. Mary’s church, Rotherham in the Co-operating Parish of Amuri. In the midst of many economic challenges at this time, it is good to learn that plentiful rains have been falling on our farms.

This coming weekend, as previously noted in e-Life, I am looking forward on Sunday afternoon to being at St Mark’s Opawa-St Martins as it reopens, and we consecrate its new St. Anne’s Chapel, and then, on Sunday afternoon, to re-opening St. Faith’s, New Brighton in the Parish of East Christchurch. Let’s give thanks through the weekend for God’s blessings on these parishes.
Tomorrow (Thursday) is Ascension Day and the Gospel reading is Luke 24:44-53. This Sunday’s Gospel passage, John 17:20-26, connects us, on the last Sunday of the Easter season, to the unity of the church, preparatory to celebrating the Holy Spiritual birth of the church the following Sunday, Pentecost, 5 June. Perhaps our reflections through these important days could be on the singularity of God’s mission (there is only one divine mission on earth) and the uniqueness of God’s church (Pentecost was not the birthday of twins or triplets, but of one infant church). Christ’s prayer in John 17: what do we make of it?