Dear Friends,

Registrations for the ‘Leading you Church into Growth’ conference currently stand at about 70 but I know that there are a number of parishes yet to register their teams. Please do this as soon as possible as registrations close on Friday 7 October. Click here to register. Also note that that conference begins at 12noon on Tuesday 18 October (click here for programme) and there is an evening meal on the first night. This will be a great opportunity to enjoy fellowship together, mix and mingle with our conference presenters Rev Harry Steel and Ven Riannon King and discuss insights. Please take this opportunity for personal learning and extension seriously—it is a golden opportunity to be equipped for ministry and mission in our changing world.

A Civic Service of Thanksgiving for Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, held on Sunday at 5 pm in the Transitional Cathedral was very well attended and excellently reported in The Press. In other parts of the Diocese through the long weekend special services were also held and I thank everyone involved in preparing, leading and participating in all these services. We have remembered our Late Queen with fulsome thanksgiving. Now we pray for our new King and for his government.

Synod Business: a couple of motions addressed questions of the environment and our response to Climate Change. One resolution urges us to plant, as far as possible, native plants in decorative areas of our church properties. Another motion challenged us to pick up our work on environmental matters following a resolution at our Synod in 2019. Standing Committee will do more work on the latter. An important question is what each ministry unit can do, as well as what the Diocese in its entirety can do to lower CO2 emissions, reduce pollution and generally improve our care for the earth God has placed us in.

This past week for me and Teresa has included a variety of events and services. It was rewarding to be able to visit clergy in Methven, Temuka and Timaru last Thursday evening and Friday, then to conclude Friday with attendance and speaking at the Anglican Care South Canterbury AGM in the Marchwiel parish hall. Sunday was memorable: the morning and early afternoon being spent at College House for services to re-open the Chapel of the Upper Room after repair and strengthening work has been completed. (Photos below) This architectural gem of the late Sir Miles Warren is a masterpiece of design, construction and now of extra safe engineering. Sunday was rounded off, as noted above, with the civic service for our late Queen.

The Reverend Christine Allan-Johns has announced that she will conclude her role as Vicar of Oxford-Cust at the end of January, 2023. I am grateful for Christine’s faithful service in this parish through the past nine years: thank you, Christine! You are leaving big shoes to fill.

Church leaders always tread a fine line when speaking politically. Archbishop Stephen Cottrell gave a remarkable sermon recently, at a church service associated with the UK Labour Party annual conference, which I am happy to link to here, because what he says could be and should be said at any political party’s conference church service, left, centre, or right, including here in NZ where we have similar issues re poverty to the UK.

A different aspect of church and politics will be found in well-known peace activist and Dominican friar Peter Murnane’s book launch for Clerical Errors and How to Heal our Christian Church which is on Tuesday 5th October 5.30-7pm WEA Christchurch.

This week’s gospel is Luke 17:5-10. After a certain consistency in a connecting theme through Luke 16 (money), chapter 17 has more of a ‘miscellaneous’ or ‘potpourri’ feel as Luke gathers up sayings of Jesus, determined, it seems, that none be lost to his readers. In this passage we are both challenged and inspired to think about ‘faith’ and ‘faithfulness.’