Dear Friends,

Thank you for your support for the Cyclone Gabrielle Appeal. (Note that these donations will be receipted and are eligible for tax rebates). Late yesterday afternoon the amount raised via this appeal was $237,000. Last Wednesday, Standing Committee decided to make an immediate response on behalf of the Diocese as a whole with a $10,000 donation. Please continue to pray for people affected by the damage and destruction—people are distressed, feeling vulnerable and overwhelmed.

This past week for me has included fruitful experiences in our collaborative work for the Lord. Friday was a delight to share in Post-Ordination Training. Saturday morning was uplifting as a joint meeting of the Anglican Care Trust Board and the City Mission Divisional Committee looked at how we can develop our governance structure. There was a lovely spirit in the congregation in St John’s Woolston on Sunday morning (and an outstanding morning tea to follow). From yesterday through to tomorrow, I am in Auckland for a meeting of our House of Bishops—I always enjoy meeting with my episcopal colleagues!

Later this week, on Saturday, our church will have a new bishop, when Sione Uluialakepa is ordained in Suva cathedral. He will then be installed as the Archbishop of Polynesia. A prior booking for a wedding means that I am unable to be in Suva to share in the ordination. I am very pleased, however, that our Vicar-General, Archdeacon Mark Barlow will be able to represent me on this important occasion, and that our Diocese will also be represented by the Reverend Leni Havea and the Reverend Kofe Havea. Thank you, Mark, Leni and Kofe for undertaking this travel.

At our joint Anglican Care meeting on Saturday, those gathered took the opportunity to farewell and thank Nalini Meyer for her work on the City Mission Divisional Committee and Anglican Care Trust Board, and especially for Nalini’s tireless service as Chair of the Divisional Committee. Thank you, Nalini!

On Sunday morning, Archdeacon Nicky Lee was farewelled from the Cathedral as she retires from her roles there, both as Volunteers’ Manager, Dean’s PA, and Deacon. In various roles, Nicky has worked in the Cathedral for many years, first in the Square and latterly in the Transitional Cathedral. Thank you, Nicky! (Nicky remains our Archdeacon for Deacons).

Many readers will have appreciated the contribution Eddie O’Connor has made to their lives through his ministry as Warden of Sister Eveleen Retreat House, Scarborough Hill, Sumner. Whether keeping the house shipshape and in good repair, or providing delicious food for retreatants, or leading retreats and quiet days himself, Eddie has been outstanding. However, God’s call on Eddie’s life is leading him away from Christchurch and in early April Eddie will begin theological study and ministry formation at Bishopdale College, Nelson. It will be a privilege to confirm Eddie this coming Sunday morning in the Parish of Lyttelton (where Eddie has been one of the churchwardens).

Preparations are underway in the Parish of Lincoln to welcome Gabriele Anderson who moves from Auckland in a couple of weeks to minister in the parish with a special focus on Rolleston. In due course Gabriele will be ordained deacon and formally become a curate in training under the Vicar of Lincoln, Archdeacon Mark Barlow. Please pray for Gabriele as she concludes her current chaplaincy ministry and prepares to move south.

This Sunday 12 March 2023, Lent 3, the gospel is John 4:5-42 (Jesus and the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well).  Yes, this is one of the longer gospel readings the lectionary proposes. But what a story: encounter, ordinary water and living water, identity of God’s Anointed, true worship, gospel of the Saviour of the world, a woman as “apostle to the Samaritans”. There is a lot to ponder in these 38 verses!