Dear Friends,

The 150th anniversary of St Augustine of Canterbury, Waimate celebrations took place last week, including school visits to the church, a Men’s Breakfast on Saturday morning, a Thanksgiving Communion service at 11 am on Sunday and Choral Evensong at 5 pm featuring the St Mary’s Timaru choir. It was a privilege to participate in the Thanksgiving Communion service and lunch following.

While in South Canterbury: I am delighted to announce that the Reverend Lucy Flatt, currently Chaplain, Craighead Diocesan School, will be the next Vicar of Highfield, Kensington and Otipua, from late January 2023. Please pray for Lucy and Cameron and their family as they prepare for this change of focus for their ministry in Timaru, and for Craighead as we work on securing a new chaplain for 2023.

Our annual Diocesan Synod begins tomorrow evening with our Synod Eucharist to which all are welcome, at 7 pm, Thursday 1 September in the Transitional Cathedral (preacher: Mr Gareth Bezett, Director of Theology House). Our business sessions are on Friday 2 and Saturday 3 September at St. Christopher’s, Avonhead. It is a relief to be able to meet this year, as planned, unlike the past two Covid-affected years. Synod papers are available on our website and the Presidential Address will be available on our website soon after it is delivered on Friday morning.

The floods in Pakistan are devastating and many lives have been lost. I have been in touch with a mission partner in Pakistan who comes from our Diocese. Thankfully, she is safe and gives this update on the Hostel many in our Diocese have supported financially: “Two hostel boys have gone to families to start the rebuilding of their houses, for other boys distance and circumstances mean they have stayed at the hostel. At the hostel they have food and a dry place to sleep. The boys do some self-study, but also are looking at how they can help the community locally. The transformer in the area blew up over a week ago, they are still awaiting its return from repairs. We knew the rooves would leak so plastic had been put over the most vulnerable rooves… of course water still got in. [These] repairs [are] for when things dry out, including wiring and replacing fans/ lights with water damage.”

Specific Prayer requests for the situation in Pakistan, especially in the area of the Diocese of Hyderabad, are:

  1. Emergency relief to reach those most isolated, for equitable distribution and protection for the vulnerable
  2. For access to food, clean water, medicine, shelter, and protection from mosquitos for those in need.
  3. For those responding at all levels: government, army, NGOs, and local level
  4. For the response of the Diocese of Hyderabad and its projects to the needs around us: motivated by, strengthened in and expressing God’s love and compassion

I reiterate what I wrote last week: that in our Diocese there are many valuable opportunities for meeting, learning, reflecting – see elsewhere in this e-Life—and I commend to you the Consider Your Call event on 13 September re our calling in Christ’s ministry and the Leading Your Church into Growth conference, 18-20 October. Details further down this page.

This week’s gospel is Luke 14:25-33. An irony on Father’s Day is that the passage includes these words, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother …”. I won’t forecast here what preachers across our Diocese say Jesus means at this point, except to note that the whole passage concerns the cost of discipleship.