Dear Friends,

Synod is next week! Please pray for all members of Synod as we prepare to gather on Thursday evening 7 September and work our way through business on Friday 8 and Saturday 9 September. We begin with our Synod Eucharist at 7 pm, Thursday 7 September in the Transitional Cathedral—all members of the Diocese are welcome to join Synod members for this occasion. Our preacher will be the Reverend Canon Ben Truman. Ben said Yes to my invitation to preach before we knew he would be our Dean-elect but the timing of this Synod sermon is apt given the news of his new appointment.

If Synod is a September highlight for the Diocese, then the October highlight is the Leading Your Church into Growth (LYCIG) conference, 12-14 October, at St. Christopher’s, Avonhead Information and registration details are with all our ministry units. We are encouraging at least six people to come from each ministry unit. Registrations so far are very encouraging but please don’t leave registering to the last minute!

On Sunday morning I was able to announce personally the appointment of the Reverend Canon Ben Truman as our new Dean, from 1 December 2023, at the 8 am and 10 am Transitional Cathedral services, and then at the end of the 10 am service at St. Mark’s, Opawa-St. Martins. For any readers who may have missed the Special e-Life announcement on Sunday, it can be read at Special e-Life | New Dean for Christ Church Cathedral.

Yesterday it was a pleasure to be part of two presentations here in the Anglican Centre. The first was the presentation of Theology House Certificates of Ministry and Leadership. The second was the presentation of certificates of completion of the Church Army (UK) Faith Empowered course on personal evangelism. It is wonderful to see people begin and then complete study and training, drawn from a variety of our ministry units. A very big thank you on behalf of the Diocese to all involved, including Gareth Bezett, Emma Tovey and Paul Hegglun for the Theology House course, and Archdeacon Mark Chamberlain and Captain Monika Clark for the Church Army course.

I am very pleased to announce that from 4 September 2023, Yvette Koo Butcher will be our Diocesan Communication and Media Advisor (the role formerly held by Jo Bean). In this half-time role, Yvette will work on Diocesan communications including our weekly e-Life and communication of our news on our (soon to be revamped) website and social media.

The death of Andrew Bagshaw in Ukraine earlier this year continues to raise questions about the circumstances of his death and about what action may be taken to constrain Russian power. Andrew’s parents, Dame Sue and Phil Bagshaw are asking Kiwis to sign a petition urging the end of veto rights at the UN’s Security Council for the five superpowers: (read here for further information).

This Sunday, 3 September 2023, is Ordinary 22. The epistle reading is Romans 12:9-21. Quite a bit in this passage (and in Romans 13) is useful reading as we prepare for our General Election (14 October). Which party, for example, offers a vision for a society in which we “live in harmony with one another” (v. 16)? Who is offering a way forward so that NZ “extends hospitality to strangers” (v. 13)? In the next few Sundays, we read on into Romans 13 which also challenges us about the kind of society we want to shape as Christians, summarised in the commandment, “love your neighbour as yourself” (13:9).