Dear Friends in Christ,
It was lovely to be back at St John’s, Highfield, Timaru on Sunday and to see familiar and new faces in the congregations, drawn from multiple generations. Please continue to pray for this parish as it seeks a new vicar.
On Monday the 2022 Queen’s Birthday honours were announced. Congratulations to the Reverend Louise Deans who is to be a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the community and women. Louise is one of several Anglican clergy from throughout our country to be honoured in Monday’s announcement. Notable within our wider community is the admittance of Sir Stephen (Tipene) O’Regan as a new Member of the Order of New Zealand.
Some readers will be familiar with the name of the Reverend Paul Ostreicher, a New Zealand priest who for many decades ministered in the UK, but now, at the age of 90 is living in Wellington. Paul, whose ministry focused on peace activisim, has been awarded an OBE in the UK honours list. Recently Paul and Archbishop Rowan Williams exchanged open letters in the pages of the Church Times on the question of whether the Russian Orthodox Church should be expelled from the World Council of Churches. You can read about it here.
That exchange of letters concerned the Russian Orthodox Church’s role in supporting the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Tragically, the war continues. Russian aggression has not yet yielded any justification for its callous destruction. Faraway, we can only pray for peace and for a just settlement of this unwonted and unnecessary war.
Covid: It is worth repeating from last week, as case numbers continue to be high in our region: Please take care. Monitor symptoms. Take RAT tests (which are available in our archdeaconries). Masking remains vital when we gather as church—please do not let our high standards on masking slip.
We are not far off Matariki (and our first Matariki public holiday, Friday 24 June). Some liturgical resources for celebrating this astral phenomenon associated with the new year in Te Ao Maori have been made available for our church. Our website has them here.
This Sunday is Trinity and the reading I want to make comment on this week is Romans 5:1-5 rather than the appointed Gospel, John 16:12-15. What the Romans’ passage highlights is that when we talk about God as Three in One and One in Three, we talk about God being for us, the Threeness of God working with a single will and purpose of Love for us: “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” The proper response to God as the Trinity of Love is then adoration and praise. That is, Trinity should not become a doctrinal rabbit hole down which we fall into debate and division.