Dear Friends,

I really enjoyed being part of the Diocesan Prayer Pilgrimage last weekend. It was a privilege to be with over 160 praying people spread across our five “waypoint” events. It was a joy to know that many other people were praying through the hours of the weekend and/or involved in local prayer events in their own ministry units. A big thank you to Archdeacons Mark Chamberlain, Ben Randall, Indrea Alexander, Dawn Baldwin; Dean Ben Truman; the Reverend Toby Behan; and the Reverend Vivien Harber for your co-ordinating and planning work to make this Pilgrimage happen. Some highlights of the Prayer Pilgrimage can be found in this week’s e-Life.

Let’s keep praying for the regeneration of our Diocese!

A big thank you to the people who are already responding to our Anglican Campaign to raise funds for our Cathedral. Your contributions and pledges are most welcome. We look forward to more to come.

There is heightened interest in the progress of the Cathedral’s Reinstatement and questions have been raised about Anglican financing of the Cathedral. In response to these questions I wrote an article for The Press which was published earlier this week. I welcome the heading given by The Press to the article because the heading reiterates my main point, that mentioning the total wealth of the Anglican church says nothing about the availability of that wealth (much of which is simply the estimated value of our churches and halls) to assist with our Reinstatement Project. The article can be read at Claims of vast Anglican assets make no mention of availability | The Press.

Last week I was in Palmerston North for a meeting, first, of the Tikanga Pakeha Ministry Council and then for a combined meeting of this Council and Te Waka Matauranga (the equivalent body in Tikanga Māori). Our longest and strongest conversation (in both meetings) was about the role Te Tiriti o Waitangi plays in the life of our church and of our society. One reflection I had during those days was that Māori are united on the importance of Te Tiriti whereas Pakeha are in at least two minds about it. But do we who are Pakeha not have an obligation to take on board the importance of Te Tiriti to Māori? If we proceed to permit the debate David Seymour seeks to have, are we (again!) disregarding the voice of Māori in the life of our nation?

For further reading on Treaty matters in current national life, I commend the following addresses to you: Dr Michael Stevens’ (Ngai Tahu historian) address delivered on Waitangi Day 2024, at Te Rau Aroha marae; Archbishop Don Tamihere’s sermon at the recent national hui at Turangawaewae; and Dr Alistair Reese’s sermon delivered at the Waitangi Day Dawn Service last month.

On Sunday afternoon it was my privilege to give the address at the graduation service at Holy Trinity, Avonside, for CAIRA Supervisors who have recently completed their 18-month training programme. Our ministers – vicars, youth workers, children’s workers, pastoral workers, etc – have their ministries enhanced by good pastoral/clinical supervision. I am very glad that we have seven new supervisors in the Canterbury area, available to supervise.

Yesterday I was able to be at the (invitation only) funeral service for the Reverend Richard Roberton in St Mary’s, Halswell. The tributes given by Richard and Alison’s children highlighted the man and priest known to many in the Diocese – pastoral, frank in views, friend to many, a strong commitment to the Anglican church and with many interests outside the church. Richard’s service, organised by himself, was a model funeral service – in my humble view!

Beginning at 8am, Saturday 9 March, there will be a Gaza Ceasefire Pilgrimage which offers Christians the opportunity to identify with and support brothers and sisters in Christ in Gaza by walking/cycling/rolling the 36 km from Rangiora (Victoria Park, near the Band Rotunda) to Christchurch (mirroring the journey taken by families in Gaza escaping from Gaza City to Rafah). The full pilgrimage schedule is available here and route map is available here. Along the way there will be opportunities to stop and to pray. For further details, you can register or see how you can get involved. It is my intention to be present for the first part of the pilgrimage and Dean Ben Truman will be at the Transitional Cathedral to welcome the pilgrims at the conclusion of the Pilgrimage.

On Sunday morning 10 March at 10.15am, Ms Susan Wallace, the Vicar-General of Te Hui Amorangi o Te Waipounamu will be ordained deacon by Archbishop Don Tamihere, at Te Hepara Pai, Ferry Road, Woolston. I am unable to be there since I will be at All Saints, Methven that morning. I have asked Teresa Kundycki-Carrell to represent me at the service.

The Reverend Felicity O’Brien will be the next Vicar of Oxford-Cust. All are welcome to her induction service at 7pm, Tuesday 12 March 2024 in St Andrew’s, Oxford. Clergy please robe with red stoles.

On Sunday in All Saints, Hokitika, I was very pleased to announce that, following the retirement of the Reverend Vivien Harber at Easter, the Reverend Viv Simkin will be Interim Priest in Charge of the Parish of Westland from 1 April to 30 June 2024. Then 1 July till the end of the year, the Reverend Tim Handley (from the Diocese of Wellington) will be Interim Priest in Charge of this parish.

The Reverend Ana Fletcher will be ordained bishop and licensed as Assistant Bishop of Wellington at 10am Saturday 10 April 2024 in St Paul’s Cathedral, Wellington.

The Gospel for this Sunday 10 March 2024, Lent 4 is John 3:14-21. There is a lot to reflect on in this passage – not least, verse 16 – probably the most famous verse in the Bible. Within that verse we can focus on the phrase “God so loved the world”. In most of John’s Gospel, “the world” is a place of enmity against God. Yet here it is clearly stated that God loves this oppositional world. How great the love of God is for us!