Message from the Bishop

Dear Friends,

It was a good feeling to be in church on Sunday—at the Transitional Cathedral—and stories from around the Diocese tell me that many shared that feeling. By wonderful coincidence our 2020 “rebirth” was on Pentecost, the birthday of the church!

Last week I wrote that it looked like we would be in Level 2 for four Sundays. This week I can write that it looks like I was wrong—that we could be in Level 1 next Wednesday after only two Sundays with Level 2 restrictions. Sometimes it is good to be wrong! In this case to be at Level 2 for such a short time is a tribute to our success as a nation in eradicating the virus.

On Friday this week Denise Munro concludes 11 years of service in the Anglican Centre. Thank you Denise for all you have done as our Receptionist and for all you have done to ensure our committees have been well organised for meeting spaces and for refreshments as well as ensuring our databases have been up to date, contributing to maintenance of our IT set up and to facilitating social events for our Anglican Centre staff. Anglican Centre staff look forward to a social event to farewell Denise when we can safely gather for fun and food at Level 1.

On Sunday Archdeacon Helen Roud was farewelled from her role as Priest in Charge of Christchurch St Luke’s. Thank you Helen for your work in this parish! (Previously I have written that Helen continues as Vicar of Addington and shortly begins high level training in Clinical Pastoral Education.) Last Sunday was also the final Sunday for the Reverends Justine and Bob Tremewan who concluded their work as Interim Priests in the Parish of Woolston—thank you Justine and Bob for your faithful service through this past year. This Sunday coming, Bishop David Coles begins work as Interim Priest in the Parish of Akaroa-Banks Peninsula—thank you David and Joy for taking up this commitment!

Anglican and Episcopal bishops have been at the forefront of two recent international stories. Dominic Cummings, a senior UK government advisor, breached UK Lockdown guidelines, journeying from London to Durham. A dozen or so bishops unitedly condemned this breach, observing that many British citizens had sacrificially followed the guidelines laid down by their government. The appalling tragedy of George Floyd’s homicide at the knee of a policeman in Minneapolis has sparked protests, riots, Trumpian denunciation of state governors as “jerks” and a reawakened lament for endemic racism in the USA. Yesterday came news that President Trump determined to make a symbolic statement by standing in front of an Episcopal church which is opposite the White House while holding (many would say “brandishing”) a Bible. Appallingly, to get to that photo opportunity police fired teargas to disperse protestors, some of them Episcopal clergy. Rightly US bishops, along with many others including Joe Biden, have condemned Trump for his misuse of church and Bible. The bishops of our church will be communicating our solidarity with our US Episcopal colleagues at this time.

Here in NZ we have also seen protests and are being reminded that we are not without work to do ourselves in ridding our society of the scourge of racism.

This Sunday at 2 pm I will be deconsecrating All Saints, Cave in the Parish of Te Ngawai. All welcome (up to 100 persons!). The weather forecast is for chilly weather and for reason of physical distancing we will be conducting the service outside the church so if you are coming bring a well-insulated coat.

I am very grateful to Alison Kennedy for the invitation to attend the Reverend Nelson Kennedy’s funeral at St Stephen’s, Lincoln last Friday. I was able to take the opportunity to acknowledge Nelson’s long service for Anglican Care, the City Mission and other ministry and mission in our Diocese. Nelson ministered in the Parishes of Burwood and Lincoln. He will be much missed. Pray for Alison and their family and for the church family in the Parish of Lincoln.

Today I have participated in the funeral of the Reverend Earle Williams at St. Mary’s Addington. Earle was ordained in the Wellington Diocese in 1959 and served in parishes there before becoming a Hospital Chaplain in 1976. In 1987 Earle and Elspeth shifted to Christchurch where Earle served as Chaplain in our Hospitals until 1993. From 1994 to 99, Earle was Vicar and Ministry Enabler in the Pukaki Co-operating Parish. Back in Christchurch from 1999, Earle and Elspeth served in the Parish of Addington as part of the Local Shared Ministry Team. Together they have contributed through teaching, training and pastoral care to many people in our churches. Pray for Elspeth and their family and for the church family in the Parish of Addington.

I have also received notice of the death of the Reverend Maurice Betteridge who grew up in Christchurch and was ordained in this Diocese in the 1950s and served here as Vicar of Lincoln before becoming Vicar of St Matthew’s Dunedin in 1959. Maurice’s next move, in 1965, was to Australia where he has lived ever since. He held two notable positions in Australia: Federal Secretary of CMS Australia, 1973-79 and Principal of Ridley College, Melbourne, 1979-1992.

You have ordered this wondrous world, O God,
And you know all things in earth and in heaven;
So fill our hearts with trust in you that by day and by night,
At all times and in all season,
We may without fear commit those who are dear to us
To your never failing love,
For this life and the life to come,
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This Sunday is Trinity Sunday. It is always a challenge to talk about God as Trinity—God who is Three yet One. But, with events around the world in view, let’s remember that God’s revelation as Father, Son and Holy Spirit is a revelation of the kind of God in whose image each of us is made. This Trinitarian God calls us to be humans bound together in a society of love. A spirit of division is not found in the Trinity. A spirit of inequality does not come from the Trinity. A spirit of indifference to poverty and oppression does not exist within the Trinity. God is love.