Dear Friends,
The South Canterbury Archdeaconry service at Fairlie on Sunday was wonderful and the picnic afterwards was lovely—sunny and warm without being too hot!

[Image: Deacon Carol Rodgers from Te Ngawai Parish), Bishop Peter and South Canterbury Archdeacon Indrea Alexander. Photographer Jan Hill.]

This coming Sunday 7 February I am leading an Induction Service for the Reverend Doctor Carolyn Robertson as she becomes the first Vicar of the (Enlarged) Parish of Shirley. The service will be at 10:30am in All Saints, Burwood. At Synod last year we revised the boundaries of the Parish of Shirley to incorporate the districts of Burwood and Marshlands. We have not quite settled on a new name for the parish, hence describing it at this point in time as the (Enlarged) Parish of Shirley.

This week we welcome Cherie Dirkze onto our Anglican Centre and Diocesan Ministry Team as our new Diocesan Safeguarding Officer. Cherie’s role includes the previous role of Diocesan CYPSO (Children and Young Person’s Safety Officer) and will assist with and help to develop existing work on police vetting, safe practices, health and safety, record-keeping and boundaries training for pastoral ministers. The continuing work of the Royal Commission (including a particular attention to the history of our Diocese) reminds me regularly of the importance of highest and best practice in safe ministry.

  I am pleased to report to you that a new member of faculty will join St Johns College / Hoani Tapu, Auckland at the beginning of February 2021.  Dr Tom Noakes-Duncan joins the College from the School of Government at Victoria University of Wellington where he lectured in the work and practice of restorative justice.  Tom will teach into the Diploma of Christian Studies, the Diploma of Anglican Leadership, as well as join faculty as a mentor and coach for students in the semi-formal and informal formation processes that are integrated into the normal rhythm of College life. Tom graduated with his PhD in Theology from Otago University in 2016.  His thesis was published under the title Communities of Restoration: Ecclesial Ethics and Restorative Justice (Bloomsbury/ T&T Clark, 2017).

Tom Noakes-Duncan will be welcomed to the College next Tuesday afternoon 9 February at the opening College Powhiri for 2021. Also welcomed on that occasion will be our new students and their families. Please pray for Eddie and Ripeka Bijl and Robert and Leisa Jamieson and their children as they settle into College life; and continue in prayer for Cassie Lee who will be in her second year of studies at the College. I am delighted that our Diocesan Ministry Educator, the Reverend Stephanie Robson will be representing our Diocese at the Powhiri next Tuesday.

Our Lenten Studies for 2021, Rebuilding the Ruins, are in the mail as I write to those who have ordered them. It is not too late to make an order—details are elsewhere in this e-Life.

Two dates looking ahead. Ash Wednesday is a fortnight away, 17 February and in various parts of the Diocese joint Anglican-Catholic services are being worked on. If there is not a joint service happening close to you, you are welcome at the Transitional Cathedral, 5:30pm for a service being arranged by Dean Lawrence and Fr Simon Eccleton, with Archbishop Paul Martin invited to be our preacher. A few days afterwards, Saturday 20 February, a Diocesan Family Fun Day is happening at Waipara—details elsewhere in e-Life—and already we have 85 people registered for this event!

This Saturday is Waitangi Day and I think this weekend may be the first occasion in which we have a “Mondayised” long weekend in recognition of Waitangi Day. We are a country that has made great improvements in race relations and in putting past wrongs to right. We are also a country that has a long way to go in achieving full justice for Maori and Pakeha. Emma Espiner, writing in the Guardian, observes that the imminence of a Covid-19 vaccine for inoculation in New Zealand highlights an opportunity to develop our understanding of just health treatment for Maori, namely, that Maori as a group should be offered the vaccine ahead of Pakeha because many measurements of health highlight the great vulnerability of Maori compared to Pakeha. To some (if not many) Pakeha this looks like racial discrimination: shouldn’t the vaccine be equally available to all Kiwis, Maori and Pakeha alike? Emma’s challenge, in effect, is for Pakeha to view such a question through a Maori lens rather than a Pakeha one. (To read her article click on the Guardian link above.)

The gospel this Sunday, Mark 1:29-39, also speaks of health. The healing of sickness and deliverance from demons by Jesus were signs of the kingdom of God breaking into the world. The development of ministries of healing, through prayer and through scientific discovery continue to be part of the implementation of the kingdom in the world.