Dear Friends,

I am delighted to announce the following appointments: 

  • Canon Mark Chamberlain will become the new Archdeacon for Regeneration and Mission from 1 February 2022.
  • Archdeacon Mark Barlow will become Vicar-General from 1 February 2022.
  • Archdeacon Indrea Alexander will become Deputy Vicar-General from 1 February 2022.
  • The Reverend Dr Meg Harvey began a new role as Assistant Priest in the Parish of Christchurch St Michael’s on 1 November 2021. 

Canon Mark Chamberlain and Bishop Peter Carrell

Mark Chamberlain’s appointment means the Parish of Fendalton now begins a search process for a new vicar—please pray for Fendalton as they begin this process. The new position which Mark will take up is funded by our annual grant from the St John’s College Trust Board and thus will involve development, resourcing and training for lay and ordained persons in ministry units as we engage with the challenge of being a regenerating Diocese and being a Diocese in mission. The shape of the missional aspect of the role will be framed by the DMAP (Diocesan Mission Action Plan) which our forthcoming Synod will discuss and, hopefully, adopt.

It was good to be at St Barnabas’ Woodend-Pegasus on Sunday afternoon to support Steve and Emma Dunne and their family as they settle into life and ministry there, and to lead a service of commissioning and licensing for Steve as Ministry Team Leader (see lead image above).

Yesterday it was good to be with Mayor Lianne Dalziel, Christchurch City Councillors and staff for a site visit to the Cathedral in the Square (see images further down in this newsletter). Each time I visit I rejoice to see the progress being made by Naylor Love and Cathedral Project staff towards the stabilization of the Cathedral—that is, towards the point when it is safe for people to re-enter the Cathedral and for the next stage of the reinstatement to begin.

Later in the afternoon it was a privilege to Chair the AGM of Anglican Care and to participate in the regular monthly Anglican Care Board meeting. At the AGM we recognised 10 years of service by Georgette McAlpine, Anglican Care’s Finance Manager, and we paid tribute to the work of Moka Ritchie as Chair of the Anglican Care Trust Board. This past year all Anglican Care staff, in each of our divisions, have worked very hard to respond effectively and often innovatively to the challenges of various Alert Levels, including the challenge of this Covid era prompting more people than ever before to seek the assistance of Anglican Care, especially the services of the City Mission. The Board has worked hard through the past year on a number of matters, one of which has been the development of our partnership with the Youth Hub as it progresses plans to build on land Anglican Care owns in Salisbury Street, Christchurch. The final Diocesan magazine this year features all the work AC have achieved, so be sure to look out for it at the end of November.

Last week Christchurch had a “Covid scare” as we learned of cases of Covid infection in our community. Thankfully—to date—the spread of the infection appears to have been checked. The wake-up call for all of us is to be ever vigilant about following the Government’s regulations and our Diocesan Guidelines with respect to the way we gather for worship and meet for fellowship.

In the light of last week, I think we should be moving beyond “encouraging” the wearing of masks to parish leadership requiring that for the safety of all in our congregations, we all wear masks (and especially wear masks when we sing). Where food is part of our fellowship, this food should be served to each person on a plate, in order to minimise the handling of food in the context of spaces with many people present in close proximity to one another.

It is time for a review in each of our ministry units: are our practices enhancing the safety of those present? What could we change in order to lessen the risk of passing on the infection? None of us want our services or gatherings to become a “super spreader” event but, frankly, this is a possibility, unless we are vigilant and maintain our observance of Government regulations and Diocesan Guidelines.

Our questions as we move towards transitioning from Level 2 to the new Traffic Lights framework, hopefully by Christmas, remain from last week’s e-Life:

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?

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

Tonight, Standing Committee considers questions about policy in relation to the Traffic Lights framework. The 90% mark is getting closer and closer. The Traffic Lights could be turned on in early to mid-December. A big thank you to everyone who has made the choice to be fully vaccinated. Each individual choice contributes to the total. Reaching the 90% target makes a difference to our health as a whole nation. Reaching a better place as a nation is critical to the church reaching a better place than languishing in Level 2 (or Level 3 if in the north of the North Island).

For those interested in whether the Anglican Centre has moved to Cardale House, Tuam Street, Christchurch, we have shifted the date of our move to the week of 22 November 2021.

Our Gospel reading on Sunday is Mark 12:38-44. This is a passage with two parts which we work hard to connect. One connection is via “widow” as a catchword. Another is via a subtle theme of commendation of humility and anonymity in giving. Yet there are striking differences: verses 38-40 condemn the appearance of religious commitment while verses 41-44 commend sacrificial generosity.