Diocesan Mission Action Plan
John the Baptist, featuring last Sunday and this Sunday in the Gospel readings—this week, Luke 3:7-18—crashes into his society as God’s straight talking missioner. Last Wednesday I noted that the DMAP talks about God as the God of mission. To quote again a critical statement from the DMAP: “the God of mission calls us to bear witness to who God is, to tell what God has done in Jesus Christ, and to partner in God’s work in the world by going out to be salt and light.” This Sunday’s Gospel reading challenges us, even though we are in a different age and a different stage of human life, to be godly in our work in the world. Are we living justly and dealing fairly with others? In a world of inequality, are we sharing our excess with those who suffer lack? What role does the baptism (i.e. flooding over us) of the Holy Spirit play in empowering us to become the missional people God wants us to be?
Orange Traffic Light
Last Wednesday, Standing Committee looking at both the recently issued Tikanga Pakeha Bishops’ pastoral statement (26 November), and the Diocesan Traffic Lights Framework policy (19 November), determined to reissue them together in one document. There is no change to our Diocesan policy, save to ask that ministry units making decisions take account of the Bishops’ statement that the normative position of the New Zealand Dioceses is that services are My Vaccine Pass services. The reissued and enlarged policy statement is available on our website.
Anecdotally, it seems that most congregations across the Diocese last Sunday managed the first services in the Orange Traffic Light. Where My Vaccine Pass services were run, there has been gladness to have more than 50 people, even more than 100 people in church. Some new services are starting up which offer welcome to both the vaccinated and unvaccinated. Thank you to all who are making these changes work.
When the Auckland borders open up next week, we must be committed to doing what it takes to both be safe and to give others confidence that we are practising safe habits in our attendance at church and participation in other events on church premises. This means, among other things, that we will take seriously the Government’s mandate that mask wearing is encouraged. I have gone further and said that I expect masks to be worn in church. If you are not wearing a mask in church, my challenge to you is this: on what basis are you ignoring the Government’s wise advice, to say nothing of my strengthening of that advice? I can think of no medical basis for ignoring the Government’s advice.
We had a lovely service for the ordination of Margaret Neate to the priesthood last Saturday afternoon at St Peter’s, Upper Riccarton. This was a My Vaccine Passes service—and everything went smoothly in respect of checking passes. A big thank you to Archdeacon Nick Mountfort (our preacher) and his team which made everything happen for the service and refreshments afterwards.
Our next ordination is for Bernard Walker to be ordained to the diaconate, 7pm Tuesday 14 December 2021 in the Transitional Cathedral. Although this is a My Vaccine Pass service, Northwest Christchurch parishioners intending to be present should contact your parish office. People outside the parish, including all clergy wishing to attend (albs and red stoles), are also asked to register their intention by contacting Veronica Cross (firstname.lastname@example.org).
It was good to be in the Parish of Mt Herbert on Sunday, sharing in services at Governors’ Bay and Diamond Harbour, with one service being a My Vaccine Pass service and the other not so. I want to thank the Reverends John and Christine de Senna for their Interim Priestly leadership of this parish though the past year. As we work out the next stage in leadership of the parish, I am very grateful for the commitment John and Christine have to continue ministry in the parish with a single focus on mission and ministry in Diamond Harbour.
Recently, the Reverend Mandy Neil completed several months as Interim Priest in Charge of the Parish of Amberley: thank you Mandy!
The usual end of year Anglican school events, to which Teresa and I are invited and participate in, have taken a different course due to the pandemic—most becoming “in school” events with people outside the community of students and staff not able to join in. But some primary school events have happened in the Orange Light mode with parents and supporters also able to attend. Through this past week and into next week we are very pleased to participate in events for The Cathedral Grammar School, St Michael’s Church School and St Mark’s School.
Last week we held our first meetings since Synod for Standing Committee and the Church Property Trustees. I want to thank members who concluded service on both these important bodies: the Reverend Drs Meg Harvey and Thomas Brauer, Moka Ritchie (Standing Committee) and the Reverend Dr Carolyn Robertson (CPT). At our meetings last week, we welcomed new members to both bodies: Corinne Haines, the Reverends Michael Brantley and Kofe Havea (Standing Committee) and Susan Sullivan (CPT).
All staff are now working in the usual way in the new Anglican Centre at Cardale House, 95 Tuam Street, Christchurch. Finishing touches to work on the building and its surrounds continue. One significant matter likely will not be complete and fully functional till later next week: our carpark, including visitors’ carpark off Tuam Street itself. Incidentally, the fascinating story of Effie Cardale may be read at https://teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/3c3/cardale-effie-julia-margaret.
You may have seen or read media reports earlier this week of a change to the governance of the Cathedral Reinstatement Project. This change focuses governance on one Board, that of the Christchurch Cathedral Reinstatement Limited (CCRL). Consequent on the dissolution of the Christchurch Cathedral Reinstatement Trust (CCRT), I want to thank Peter Guthrey (Chair) and Board members and staff through the past three and a bit years for their generous and hardworking service. As the change to the structure of governance is taking place, Justin Murray is stepping aside from his role as Chair of CCRL and he and I are delighted that Mark Stewart will succeed him as Chair. I also thank Justin and CCRL Board members and staff for their service through these past few years.
Believe it or not, this Sunday is the Third in Advent. This strange year is racing towards its end!