Dear Friends in Christ,

Thank you to everyone who took time last Friday to pray for peace in Ukraine. This week, all the praying around the globe is encouraged by some better signs for peace prospects than we have seen in previous weeks. Let’s keep praying for talk to became cessation of war and beginning of reconstruction of Ukraine. Helen Pugh, a member of our Diocese, has composed a wonderful hymn which is itself a prayer for Ukraine and its use in our services is encouraged. A PDF with lyrics and tune is available on our website.

On Sunday it was good to be in the Parish of Highfield, Kensington and Otipua, preaching at the morning services. As this and other parishes work their way through vacancy ministry supply and vacancy appointment processes, I ask you to continue to pray to the Lord of the Harvest to supply the workers our ministry units need. I am thankful that quietly and gently this supply is emerging, and in the weeks and months ahead I will be making announcements about appointments.

This week, however, I need to announce a further resignation. The Rev’d Edrick Corban-Banks will conclude his ministry as Vicar of Akaroa-Banks Peninsula at the end of May, 2022. We wish Edrick and Clare well for the next chapter of their life and ministry, based here in the Diocese of Christchurch.

Following on from the Prime Minister’s announcements last week about changes to Red Light settings, I can now make the following announcements re Diocesan settings which remain the same and settings which change re worship and other gatherings (with a fuller update on our website and in a memo to be emailed to ministry unit leaders this afternoon):

Remaining the same

  • My episcopal expectation that we continue to wear masks when gathering for worship and other meetings. Omicron is an airborne infectious disease, and it is common sense to continue to mask.
  • Communion in one kind (bread) only: this is under review, but until we are clearly past the peak of Omicron there will be no change to this Diocesan expectation.

Changing (unless locally decided otherwise)

  • Standing Committee has approved the following guidance to the Diocese of Christchurch, in the light of the NZ Government announcement that some settings in the Red-Light phase are changing:
  1. From Sunday 10 April 2022 onwards, all services (and other church gatherings/events) are open to all people, without requirement to show a vaccine pass (unless a local decision is made otherwise).
  2. From Tuesday 5 April, 2022 onwards, there are no requirements to show a vaccine pass on entry to church premises in our Diocese (unless a local decision is made otherwise). 
  • The ADMSC Board (which is responsible for the governance of the Anglican Centre), at its meeting last night, agreed that the Anglican Centre will no longer require display of Vaccine Passes by visitors from Tuesday 27 April onwards.

Today I was privileged to take part in the funeral in the Transitional Cathedral for the late Elizabeth Tipping, who died last week, in her 100th year. She was one of the outstanding lay leaders in her generation, and served this Diocese in a multiplicity of ways, having served as member of Standing Committee and as a member of the Board of Nomination. She was a Church Property Trustee, a member of the Anglican Care Trust Board, and she was a leader in AAW serving as Diocesan President of that organisation. At the local level she served as a Church warden and vestry member. Elizabeth also made a national contribution. She was a member of General Synod, served as the national President of AAW, and served on the St John’s College Trust Board. Her leadership touched nearly every aspect of the life of this Church. For her gifts so freely given we give thanks and praise to God.

In this e-Life some photographs tell important stories. We celebrate some baptisms for the Parish of Burnside-Harewood and are reminded of the purpose of the church: to proclaim the gospel and make disciples. We gratefully acknowledge the Rev’d Dr Geoff Haworth as the new Warden of the Community of the Sacred Name and commit to praying for the Community. We give thanks to God for the Rev’d Frances Stapleton’s 20 years of ministry as a deacon, served on both sides of the Alps, first on the eastern side and for some years now on the western side.

This Sunday, 3 April, Lent 5, John 12:1-8 draws us into the solemnity of a special dinner party at Bethany, a few miles from Jerusalem. Here the smell of Jesus’ death is in the air. Perhaps only Jesus and Mary sensed this at the time. But as readers of the Gospel, familiar with the whole story, we know that Jesus’ death is close at hand. And, we know that this dinner party takes place after the resurrection of Lazarus (John 11), so hope for Jesus is also embedded in this narrative.

Nga mihi nui,