Dear Friends,

Last Friday, 22 October, the Government informed us of a new “traffic lights” framework for management of the Delta outbreak, once we have reached the 90% fully vaccinated target. Information about the new framework is available on the Government website here.

On the one hand this framework underlines the importance for churches in NZ of the target being reached: we will have options of moving out of the 100 limit restriction.

On the other hand, we will have choices to make about operating without a requirement for vaccination certificates or operating with that requirement. Next week I will be working with Standing Committee on whether that choice should be made by Standing Committee for the whole Diocese or whether that choice will be devolved to each ministry unit.

As we move forward in discussion about these proposals in coming weeks, I ask that our discussions with respect to services, meetings and events in our churches and halls in the new framework focus on this question:

What will enable our people to be confident that they are safe when gathering with fellow believers to worship God and to share in fellowship with one another?

Perhaps this question also has a Christmas angle:

What will enable visitors to our churches for Christmas services to be confident they are safe when gathering to worship Emmanuel?

These are exciting days for our nation as we can see the 90% mark being reached within a month or so and thus the prospect of release for northern regions from their present Level 3 constraints. Many readers here, like Teresa and myself, will have close family living in Auckland city and are very keen to know that we will be able to see them over the summer season.

Finally on Covid-19 this week: yesterday I issued revised Guidelines to ministry unit leaders for our life together in Level 2. These revised Guidelines are posted here. [You can get to them via the link on the home page as well.]

Last Friday Dean Lawrence, Gavin Holley (General Manager of CPT) and myself were part of a small function in the Mayor of Christchurch’s office when Dean Lawrence formally handed to Mayor Lianne Dalziel the deed of gift for the Citizen’s War Memorial ownership to transfer from the Diocese to the Christchurch City Council. If you have been in the Square lately you may have noticed that the Memorial has been deconstructed and removed from its location beside the Cathedral. After restorative work on the monument, it will be reinstated on a new site (where the police kiosk used to stand), on City Council owned land.
Mayor Leanne Dalziel, Dean Lawrence Kimberley, Bishop Peter Carrell with the deed of gift

As noted in the lead image this week, on Saturday it was a privilege to participate in the wedding of Archdeacon Dawn Daunauda to Mr Ross Baldwin at St Mary’s Church, Rotherham. This was a very happy occasion marked by perfect North Canterbury weather—warm, no wind, no burning sunshine. I now have the challenge of not confusing Archdeacon Dawn Baldwin with Archdeacon Susan Baldwin!

Please pray for Steve and Emma Dunne and their family as they settle into life and ministry in the Parish of Woodend-Pegasus. Steve will be commissioned as Ministry Team Leader at 3pm on Sunday 31 October at St Barnabas’, Woodend. (Due to Level 2 restrictions we are not able to extend a general invitation to people outside the parish to attend this service.)

We are working on the next part of Synod (diaried for Saturday 20 November 2021) taking place under Level 2 conditions. I ask all Synod members reading this to maintain the evening of Friday 19 November (for worship together) and the whole of Saturday 20 November in your diaries. Even if the situation worsened and a physical session of Synod is not possible, we will meet via Zoom on that Saturday.

Our Gospel reading on Sunday is Mark 12:28-34 (if not transferring All Saints’ observance to this Ordinary 31 Sunday) or John 11:32-44 (if observing All Saints Day). Who are the saints or holy ones of God? They are those who love the Lord their God with all their being and love their neighbours as themselves (Mark 12:28-34) and believe that the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is something they themselves will share in (John 11:32-44).