Dear Friends,

It was wonderful to be in the Transitional Cathedral last Wednesday evening for the Installation of our new Dean, the Very Reverend Ben Truman. A very big thank you to the great team of people who made this service possible, and to people from all parts of the Diocese, and from other dioceses, who came and formed a great cloud of witnesses for the occasion.

Through this past week it has been lovely to be part of end of year events in our Anglican schools – Christ’s College, The Cathedral Grammar School and St Margaret’s College – tomorrow I will be at Craighead Diocesan School for their prizegiving in the morning and leaver’s ball in the evening.

On Sunday morning, Teresa and I were at the Church of the Resurrection, Rolleston (Parish of Lincoln) for the 50th anniversary of that church. Our vision is for a much larger church to be built in Rolleston – a vision that has been kept by that congregation for many years, but now [in an era of rapid housing growth] we wish to see the vision become a reality. I thank the Reverend Gabriele Anderson and her team for their work on this celebration, and Archdeacon The Ven. Mark Barlow (Vicar of Lincoln) for his sermon.

That evening we were at the Transitional Cathedral for their annual Advent Carol service and will be back there at 7pm Sunday, 17 December for the annual Christmas Carol service – the music will be excellent – please join us there!

This morning Dean Ben, Teresa and I were at the Cathedral in the Square, helping our Reinstatement Project team cook breakfast for the workers on the site as a “thank you” for their hard work through 2023. As we make progress on the reinstatement we need to raise more funds to complete this big task. I will write more next week, but we are beginning an Anglican Fundraising Campaign in February, 2024. In this campaign we will be offering Anglicans throughout Canterbury, Westland and the Chatham Islands the opportunity to support the Project. Actually, Anglicans everywhere – (some read this from other dioceses) will be most welcome to support this Campaign!

This coming weekend the Reverend Cameron Pickering will be installed as a new Canon of our Cathedral (replacing Ben Truman) – 10am in the Transitional Cathedral, Sunday, 10 December. All welcome.

Then at 4pm Sunday, 10 December, we will re-dedicate St Paul’s church, Glenmark (Parish of Glenmark-Waikari). All welcome but please bring your own fold up chair to sit on – the pews are not yet back in the church. Also: bring a small plate for afternoon tea.

The continuing war in and against Gaza is one of the most troubling issues of our time. We wish the killing to stop. We wish the killing had never started on 7 October. We can only accept as delusionary that contacting Palestinians in advance of their homes and offices being bombed voids the IDF of moral responsibility for the deaths which nevertheless follow. It is also delusionary to think that a Palestinian state under Hamas rule would be recognisable to Kiwis as a “free” state. It can feel (as I feel) that there is little we can do to end this utterly tragic mess. Nevertheless, we could choose to put our names to a petition or letter urging our Government and parliamentarians to voice their support for cessation of violence. Last week I mentioned a petition associated with the Parish of East Christchurch. This petition is being circulated this week to vicars and wardens for consideration as something which might be promoted in each ministry unit. I also draw your attention to a letter which could be signed by individuals or by ministry units – this is published by Aotearoa Christians for Peace in Palestine and is available here.

Our Gospel reading this coming Sunday, Advent 2, is Mark 1:1-8. John the Baptist appears and reappears during these Sundays of Advent and then, after Christmas, of Epiphany. Today we read about John because he is the trumpet voice preparing for the coming of Jesus, not as the child to be born in Bethlehem, but as the adult prophet-teacher-missioner of God, announcing the Good News of the kingdom of God – the kingdom in which God puts wrongs to right and reconciles people separated from God to himself.