Last Wednesday, the final day of our annual Clergy Conference at College House focused on developing our skills and competencies as ministers with particular reference to the Regeneration of the Diocese. The Reverend Carolyn Robertson (Vicar of Shirley) spoke about reaching the generation known as Millennials. Emma Tovey, Diocesan Children’s Ministry Developer, followed up that session by working with the conference on developing great children’s ministry. In the afternoon, John Eatwell, University of Canterbury/Strategic People Group, worked with us on leading change in our ministry unity. Ethan Wilson-Bruce and Archdeacon Nick Mountfort (Parish of Upper Riccarton-Yaldhurst) led a session on digital ministry—an essential development in the 21st century, and the day was capped off with Archdeacon Mark Chamberlain reporting to us on his very recent engagement with growing churches in the UK.
The challenges of Regeneration in our Diocese are immense—the possibilities for our new future are exciting—the present examples of growth, here and in the UK are inspiring. God is with us on this journey. As we heard in the gospel reading last Sunday, Christ says, “I will build my church.”
Preaching is vital to our Regeneration. Making God’s eternal Word applicable to today’s situation is the privilege of the preacher and the gift of preaching. An excellent training opportunity is coming up for aspiring preachers (and givers of talks other than sermons)—thanks to Theology House for organising this! Theology House is offering preaching courses starting later this month. The lead teacher is Archdeacon Nick Mountfort. I will lead a Bible Study at the beginning of each course. Details at https://theologyhouse.ac.nz/courses/. If you or someone you know is considering preaching or even if you are a regular preacher and want to brush up on some basics, this will be a great option.
On Saturday it was a privilege to share in an afternoon tea at the Transitional Cathedral celebrating volunteers who work there, organised by Francesca Rae, the Cathedral’s Volunteers Manager, as part of National Volunteers Week. The ability of the Cathedral to be open, welcoming, and hospitable to visitors relies on volunteers, as do many other aspects of its mission and ministry. Sunday morning and early afternoon was an opportunity to share in St. Peter’s, Upper Riccarton-Yaldhurst’s patronal festival with a joint service in English and Mandarin involving the St Peter’s congregation and the Victory Christian Church, followed by an amazing Chinese cuisine lunch and wonderful biblical dramas acted out by our Mandarin-speaking brothers and sisters.
In the late afternoon, at St Faith’s New Brighton in the Parish of East Christchurch, it was very rewarding to participate in the dedication and blessing of a new window, the Lyall Calvert window, on the street side of the church—a clear window offering the community an opportunity to see inside the church from the street, and then to dedicate and bless a new ancillary building for the church, the Kath Pickering Lounge. Following that, we shared in another meal, this time Indian cuisine, provided by a local family to acknowledge the parish on the day their five children were baptised by their vicar, Archdeacon Katrina Hill.
Please pray for those who will be ordained in late July/early August: Gabriele Anderson (Lincoln), Andrew Butcher (Fendalton), Simon Green (St Michaels and All Angels) will be ordained deacons at 10.30 am Saturday 29 July in the Transitional Cathedral. Our preacher will be Acting Dean Bosco Peters. The Reverend Steven Dunne (Woodend-Pegasus) will be ordained priest in Holy Innocents, Amberley, 7 pm Friday 4 August 2023. The preacher at this service will be Archdeacon Dawn Baldwin.
For a number of weeks ahead, I will use a quote from many Archdeacon Mark Chamberlain has brought back from his visit to the UK—the quote being relevant to the Regeneration of our Diocese. This week it is:
“Partnership prevents harmful competition and wasteful duplication.”
This Sunday 2 July 2023, Ordinary 13 the gospel reading is Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30. Lots to say about these verses but just one thing here: Our Lord Jesus is a kind, loving and merciful friend and companion to all his disciples.