Dear Friends,

It was lovely on Sunday morning to be at The Point station, Windwhistle, for the Parish of Hororata’s Service of Lessons and Carols. Steve and Tina Richards were our generous hosts. In the history of this station there have been significant periods when the billiards room we gathered in was used for worship services. Then, in the evening, it was a pleasure to join the Young Adults Worship Night in the Transitional Cathedral for the last gathering for 2022.

This morning it was a privilege for Dean Lawrence Kimberley and myself, on behalf of the Diocese, to join with CCRL senior management staff in cooking breakfast for the workers on the Cathedral site as a big “thank you” for the hard work which has taken place this year. If you are in the Square, you will see that new hoardings are in place. The refurbished Citizens War Memorial has been installed on its new site (to be fully opened in time for ANZAC Day 2023)—it looks amazing and fit and ready to go for the rest of this century. Next Tuesday we are planning for a large screen to be erected as part of the hoardings. It will also contribute to the flow of information in the Square about progress on the Cathedral.

Later this morning the Diocesan Ministry Team farewelled William Jamieson from his role as Youth Mental Health Educator. William has been working with us through the past year, on the last stage of the present project which has been generously funded by the St John’s College Trust Board. Thank you William for your ministry among us. One result of this project is that we see the need for future Diocesan applications to the Trust Board to include funds for continuing training and upskilling for youth workers and other ministers in mental health first aid, suicide awareness and the like.

There are many carol services happening across the Diocese. Here I mention but two of them. Tonight, at 7 pm in the Transitional Cathedral is the City Mission Carol Service. On Sunday evening, also at 7 pm, is the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at the Transitional Cathedral. All are welcome to both services.

I remind readers that details about Christmas services in our Diocese can be found on our website .

Work on the 2023 Theology House Lenten Study book, A Holy Church, is well advanced. Theology House has produced this study at the request of the Diocese to support our journey towards a meaningful response to the work of the Abuse in Care Royal Commission.  The subtitle Becoming the communities we are called to be neatly summarises the goal of this publication.  All ministry units are encouraged to take up the challenge of this study for Lent.  Self-examination can be uncomfortable, but it is essential if we are to learn and grow. Ash Wednesday in 2023 is 22 February and orders for A Holy Church can be made via the Theology House website.

This Sunday 18 December 2022, Advent 4, the gospel is Matthew 1:18-25. In this passage, Matthew tells us three salient facts:

  • the conception of Jesus was a divine act according to God’s plan;
  • the name of Jesus meant something important: it summarised his purpose, to save people from their sin;
  • Jesus was born as a normal baby with a mum like any other baby

What response could we make to this baby?”