Dear Friends,

This Sunday evening at the 5pm Evensong in the Transitional Cathedral I will commission Canon Mark Chamberlain to be Archdeacon for Regeneration and Mission (ARM) and Archdeacon Mark Barlow to be our new Vicar-General. Please pray for both Marks as they take up their new duties. (As previously communicated, if you wish to attend, please approach either Mark to ensure a place within the limit of 100.)

The commissioning of the Rev’d Chris Orczy to be the first St Luke’s Inner City Chaplain will take place during the contemplative eucharist in the Transitional Cathedral at 12:05pm on Wednesday 23 February. All are welcome (up to the limit of 100 persons).

Ash Wednesday is getting closer—2 March 2022. I take this opportunity to remind you of the availability of the 2022 Lenten Studies book, Sentinels, published by Theology House and suitable for small group studies. Each Ash Wednesday in Aotearoa New Zealand is an opportunity to bring Anglicans and Roman Catholics together in joint services and usually there is a joint service in either of our cathedrals here in Christchurch. This year’s joint service will be a Livestream-Only Service (broadcast from St Mary’s Pro Cathedral). We will publish details in a future e-Life of how to join the livestream service.

Recent announcements of vicars concluding their current ministries have been made. The Rev’d Peter Hurricks will conclude his ministry as Vicar of Halswell-Prebbleton effective from the end of February. The Rev’d Andrew McDonald will conclude his role as Vicar of the Mackenzie Cooperating Parish at the end of February. Archdeacon Joan Clark will conclude her ministries as Vicar of Ashburton and Archdeacon of Mid Canterbury effective from the end of April. As previously announced in e-Life, the Rev’d Susan Gill’s last Sunday as Vicar of the Parish of Ellesmere is Sunday 20 February. Thank you Peter, Andrew, Joan and Susan for your ministries. I am delighted that you are all going to remain resident in our Diocese.

Our Anglican Schools are underway again, navigating a new set of school-specific Covid regulations and welcoming new students and new staff. On Monday last week it was a privilege to share with Dean Lawrence in the blessing of the new Boys School building at The Cathedral Grammar School and in a Chapel Service in which new student leaders were presented with ties and badges. Last Thursday, in order to formally present the Rev’d Cameron Pickering with his licence as the new Chaplain of Christ’s College and to pray for him, I joined an assembly there which was livestreamed to the whole school. Some further formal inducting of Cameron into his role will take place at a Sunday evening Chapel service when the Covid situation permits. It is a pleasure to report in this e-Life that students from St Margaret’s College have raised funds for Tonga.

Today as I write there is progress on upgrading the Tuam Street carparking area for the new Anglican Centre. We will report to you when the carpark is complete and visitor carparks clearly painted ready for your visit. When all our landscaping is completed we will have an open day.

This Sunday, 13 February, Ordinary 5, proposes Luke 6:17-26 as the Gospel of the day. This is the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain. It has significant differences from his Sermon on the Mount while also sharing common themes and concerns with that sermon. It is something of a challenge in our day of concern over inequality, a possible two-tier welfare system and transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich to read and reflect on, Blessed are the poor … woe to you who are rich.

As we monitor the daily Covid statistics—perhaps mystified that case numbers are not yet rapidly climbing—we can be thankful that we have extraordinarily high vaccination rates in our districts. We can also give thanks for our shared commitment to masking in church, physical distancing, contact tracing and hygiene vigilance. In other words, let’s keep up our good work!