Dear Friends in Christ,
This is my last e-Life message to the Diocese for some weeks. This weekend Teresa and I leave for the Lambeth Conference for bishops in the Anglican Communion, www.lambethconference.org. This is the first Lambeth Conference since 2008, having been delayed to 2020 from the regular 10-year cycle date in 2018 due to upheaval in the Communion, and then further delayed by Covid to this year.
Some 650 bishops and 480 spouses are expected to attend. We arrive in Canterbury, Kent on 26 July and leave there on 8 August, with the days in between including a Welcome day, two-day retreat, four days in conference mode, a day outing to Lambeth Palace in London, and then four further days in conference mode. The theme is God’s Church for God’s World. The Bible studies are on 1 Peter. We are looking forward to meeting new people, to learning more about the character of Anglican churches across the globe and to receiving valuable spiritual feeding. There will also be some annual leave before and after the conference spent with family and friends in the USA and UK.
While I am away the Diocese will be in good hands through the leadership of our Vicar-General, Archdeacon Mark Barlow, supported by our Deputy Vicar-General, Archdeacon Indrea Alexander and our other archdeacons and senior Diocesan staff. The best contact for Mark for any matter which might otherwise be raised with me is through Veronica Cross, Bishop’s Executive Assistant, firstname.lastname@example.org.
It was good to be at St Christopher’s, Avonhead for two services on Sunday morning. At the 10:30 am service I confirmed Sheila Carston and affirmed Jack Hollis (who has been previously confirmed). As we journey in this decade towards Regeneration of our Diocese, guided by the Diocesan Mission Action Plan (DMAP), it was good to see (looking back on past visits) generational change within the congregations at Avonhead. Our drive forward as a Diocese via the steps set out in the DMAP is going well and a comprehensive report of steps taken to date will be a feature of our Synod, 1-3 September 2022.
The Reverend Peter Beck has been a very active and diligent Interim Priest in Charge of the Parish of St Michael and All Angels this year and will conclude his term on Sunday 14 August—thank you Peter! From Monday 15 August until Christmas, the Reverend Bosco Peters will be Interim Priest-in-Charge of the parish. Recently a significant review of the parish was undertaken, and I am very pleased with the resulting report and recommendations. We now move to develop the Parish Profile and I expect advertising for the vacancy to begin while I am away.
We continue to have vacancies in our Diocese and several parishes are advertising simultaneously. I ask for your prayer for the Lord of the church to send the right ministers for each of our vacant parishes (whether currently advertising or about to advertise): Ashburton, Ellesmere, Fendalton, Halswell-Prebbleton, Hanmer Springs, Hororata, Malvern, Sumner-Redcliffs. Thank you!
Covid has not gone away. Instead, it is increasing in numbers of infections through these weeks. Once again, I ask and remind everyone in our Diocese to observe (at least) the following: wearing masks during services, staying home if unwell, and when communion is offered in two kinds, that it is done in such a way that no one needs to refuse the chalice.
As I leave the Diocese for several weeks, I am encouraged that the first steps are being taken in planning for an “Anglican Campaign” in which we will be inviting members of our Diocese to make or pledge a contribution to the remaining funds required to get our Cathedral reinstated. Our lead as Anglicans committed to the reinstatement of our Cathedral is important in the overall campaign to secure funds from citizens of goodwill and generosity towards the Cathedral. As mentioned last week, one important way to keep in touch with developments in the Reinstatement is to sign up to the project’s quarterly newsletter at www.christchurchcathedral.org.nz. Please follow the project on social media: Facebook [@ChristChurchCathedralReinstatement], Instagram [@Chchcathedralreinstatement] and LinkedIn [@Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Project].
In the course of writing this week’s message I have learned of the death of Max Palmer, a well known pastor in Christchurch city, with a long association with Majestic church and the New Life movement, and a deliverer of training for the Prepare Enrich Marriage course (to name just a few of his many ecumenical involvements). Max’s funeral will be at 1 pm Monday 11 July at La Vida, Hansons Lane, Christchurch.
This Sunday 10 July 2022, Ordinary 15 our Gospel reading is Luke 10:25-37, the Parable of the Good Samaritan. For “seven surprising things about the Good Samaritan” in this passage, you might like to read what Ian Paul has to say at www.psephizo.com/biblical-studies/seven-surprising-things-about-the-good-samaritan-in-luke-10. Here, in one sentence, I observe that one aspect of the power in this story lies in its capacity across generations and cultures to challenge us freshly about who our neighbour is and what the obligations to love our neighbour entail.