The situation in Gaza is horrible. A cessation of hostilities will save lives immediately. We pray for peace but our ambition must be for peace which lasts and which is just. Such peace has not to date been achieved during the lifetime of the modern state of Israel and it is going to be an outcome not only of what Israelis and Palestinians agree to, but also of what other nations, especially the USA, Iran and Saudi Arabia also support. I see no lasting peace which does not include universal recognition of the state of Israel, agreement as to its boundaries, withdrawal of settlements on the West Bank as part of formal establishment of a new state of Palestine, and repentance by Hamas of its evil deeds on 7 October 2023. Based on past attempts at peace along these lines, this is impossible. With God, all things are possible. So, we must pray for a miraculous peace.
Last week the ACANZP “house of bishops” met for three days in Wellington. On the third day we were joined by the NZ Catholic bishops (minus Archbishop Paul Martin who is in Rome for the important Synod on Synodality). Out of that third day meeting we produced a joint statement on the situation in Gaza and Israel, especially in the light of the then very recent deadly explosion at the Al Ahli Arab Hospital. That statement is found elsewhere in eLife and is on Anglican Taonga. I acknowledge letters in the Press this week calling for Christian leaders to make statements. This is our bishops’ statement and it has been circulated to media outlets.
The Anglican Missions Board has begun an appeal for funds for the Al Ahli hospital in Gaza – details are on the Anglican Missions website.
While we were meeting in Wellington, the Diocese of Wellington was hosting their Leading Your Church into Growth conference with Rev. Harry Steele and Ven. Rhiannon King contributing. Let’s keep the momentum of our conference going by continuing to think and act according to the principles laid down in the conference teaching.
This weekend is a big weekend for two of my favourite sports. The NZ Black Caps continue their round robin games in the Cricket World Cup, taking on Australia on Saturday night. The next morning the All Blacks play South Africa in the final of the Rugby World Cup. The latter coincides with or overlaps many of our church services. Please respect others at church who may be recording the game at home in order to see it after their service by not revealing the result!
Yesterday morning it was a pleasure to join Christian ministry colleagues, including our own clergy from the west of Christchurch, at a University of Canterbury 150th Anniversary Multi-faith Breakfast. I thank the university for their hospitality and the Senior Ecumenical Chaplain, the Reverend Dr John Fox for his role in organising this important event.
Today I am in Auckland for a meeting of Te Kotahitanga – a Standing Commission of the General Synod of our church which advises the St John’s College Trust Board on the distribution of its education funds.
Among various events of importance being advertised in this e-Life, I want to especially mention this week, the 71st AGM of Anglican Care, at 4.30pm Tuesday 14 November 2023, at the City Mission, 276 Hereford Street, central Christchurch.
Our Gospel reading this coming Sunday is Matthew 22:34-46. Many scholars have written long books attempting to elucidate what the core message of the Old Testament is. Jesus provides that core message in a few verses: “You shall love the Lord your God … You shall love your neighbour as yourself”. Last week I read this quote by Paul Farmer (Google him): “The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world.” That is another way of saying, “Love your neighbour as yourself”.