Dear Friends,

It was a privilege and a spiritual tonic for Teresa and me to be on a Bishops and Spouses’ Retreat in Napier at the end of last week, with our retreat facilitated by Fr Mark Chamberlain from the Catholic Diocese of Dunedin. On Sunday morning at the Transitional Cathedral, it was a joy to baptise and confirm Jyotsna Thakkar and to confirm Trevor Penn and Andrew Parker.

Last Friday the Reverend Bruce Don died in Timaru at the age of 95. He had a long association with St Mary’s Church where he served as an Assistant Priest for many years before health concerns meant he was no longer able to attend the church. After deaconing in 1952, Bruce served in the parishes of Fendalton, Sumner-Heathcote, Lyttelton, Methven, Sydenham-Beckenham and Hinds in our diocese before engaging in a secular career until taking up his role as Assistant Priest in St Mary’s, Timaru in the late 1980s. His memorial service is likely to be in St Thomas’, Woodbury at a date yet to be confirmed.

Please pray for Lucy and Tim Cookson, their family and the Hororata and Christchurch Boys High School communities as they mourn the death of their second son, Will, in an avalanche in Austria at the weekend. Lucy is the Bishop’s Warden for the Parish of Hororata.

News of the devastating quakes in the Turkey—Syria region this week reminds us of our own experience of destructive quakes here in Canterbury. I am glad our Government has promptly offered aid. We may wish to contribute through aid agencies.

The Church of England is going through its own season of intense debate over the blessing of same-sex partnerships. In relation to that debate at their General Synod this week, you may be interested in Archbishop Welby’s Presidential Address to the synod.

Please note below a change of time for the ordination service for Steven Dunne, from 6pm to 7pm on 23 February.

Coming events/services: all are welcome. (Clergy are invited to robe, alb and red stole for the two ordinations advertised below).

  • 7pm Tuesday 14 February 2023 in St Silas Church, Redwood (clergy red stoles): the ordination to the priesthood of the Reverend Bernard Walker (Deacon, Parish of Northwest Christchurch) – please note that seats are limited for this service and the parish would appreciate non-parishioners letting the parish office know if they are coming (03 352-1366 or
  • 5:30pm Ash Wednesday 22 February Ecumenical liturgy with imposition of ashes. Catholic Diocese of Christchurch Michael Gielen, Preacher: Bishop
  •  7pm Thursday 23 February 2023 in the Transitional Cathedral: the ordination to the diaconate of Mr Steven Dunne (Ministry Team Leader, Parish of Woodend-Pegasus). Please note change of time to 7 pm for this service.

This Sunday 12 February 2023, Epiphany 6, the gospel is Matthew 5:21-37. Here Jesus restates and intensifies commandments found in the divine law revealed to Israel through Moses. One way to think about this teaching is that God’s law seeks the good of the community – its harmony because relationships between people are just. Jesus offers a deeper, stronger harmony than the law given through Moses provides for. For example, harmony is superficial if there are no murders but nevertheless hatred of others occurs. The healthiest community is free of hatred as well as of murder.