Dear Friends,

Working backwards through the past week:

It was very moving to be part of a vast crowd in Cathedral Square yesterday morning for the first Dawn Service there for many years. The newly restored and rededicated Citizens War Memorial looked fantastic against the backdrop of the Cathedral. Later in the morning we had an excellent Citizens Service in the Transitional Cathedral.  Many churches in our Diocese have now received a Poppy Bowl made by Hokitika craftsman, Jimmy Gordon. It was lovely to read about Jimmy’s work in The Press yesterday.

On Sunday morning Teresa and I were in the Parish of Oxford-Cust, with services at St Andrew’s, Oxford and St James’, Cust followed by a superb lunch. Please pray for this parish as it is led by Interim Priest-in-Charge, the Reverend Felicity O’Brien and as it begins the process of finding a permanent vicar.

On Saturday, a meeting took place at Te Hepara Pai, Ferry Road, Christchurch between representatives of the Anglican Church of Australia’s General Synod Standing Committee and representatives of our General Synod Standing Committee, with Bishop Richard Wallace and myself invited to be observers. After some disruption to travel in recent years it was a very happy experience to connect with our friends in our neighbouring church. Most of the combined group were able to join for worship in Te Hepara Pai on Sunday morning. It was a privilege to show three of the visitors progress on the Cathedral site during Sunday afternoon.

Last Wednesday evening I was at St Peter’s, Temuka for their AGM and while there, I was able to dedicate the new ramp-and-steps for the church. A special part of the AGM, in the context of our Diocesan response to our Diocesan Mission Action Plan, was to witness the presentation and adoption of the parish’s own Mission Action Plan.

Across our Diocese various forms of training and teaching are offered each year. This week I want to highlight Children’s Ministries Online Training, facilitated by Emma Tovey (and advertised elsewhere in this e-Life). I commend this training to all involved, in a small or great degree, in ministry with children in our ministry units. Registration forms can be accessed here.

On Saturday night (NZ time) 6 May, our Sovereign, King Charles is crowned in a service in Westminster Abbey, led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby. Through the next days the following prayers could be used in our services as we pray for our King and this significant occasion:

Coronation Service prayers
O God, who providest for thy people by thy power, and rulest over them in love:
Grant unto thy servant CHARLES, our King, the Spirit of wisdom and government,
that being devoted unto thee with his whole heart, he may so wisely govern,
that in his time thy Church may be in safety, and Christian devotion may continue in peace;
that so persevering in good works unto the end, he may by thy mercy come to thine everlasting kingdom;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(based on 1953 Coronation Collect)

And from the NZPB (page 138 updated):
God, the source of all authority,
bless our King, Charles, and his family
and the family of nations he upholds;
may he remain a worthy focus of our loyalty,
and point us unfailingly to a higher commonwealth,
the true humanity
to which he and all his subjects owe allegiance;
for you are the God of nations; you are our God.

Three important services are coming up at the Transitional Cathedral:

  • All students, staff, graduates, and supporters of the University of Canterbury are invited to a special service at 5 pm on Saturday 29 April to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the founding of the University. The service will be led by the Reverend Dr John Fox, Senior Ecumenical Chaplain at the University, with me as the preacher. 
  • All are welcome to pray for our King and to give thanks for his coronation at the Kings Coronation Service, 5 pm Sunday 7 May 2023 (I will be the preacher). 
  • The farewell for Dean Lawrence and Elizabeth Kimberley from their ministries at the Transitional Cathedral will be on Sunday 14 May 2023, following the 10 am Choral Eucharist. All are welcome.

This Sunday 30 April 2023, Easter 4 (Good Shepherd Sunday) has the Gospel reading is John 10:1-10. A pervasive theme through John’s Gospel is that Jesus Christ came into the world to give life: I am the way, the truth and the life. I am the resurrection and the life. Here, Jesus comes to give abundant life. May we, the resurrection people of God receive and live out abundant life in Christ.