Dear Friends,

Teresa and I were blessed, last Thursday, with a perfect spring day in Masterton for Waitohiariki Quayle’s ordination as bishop and installation as Pīhopa o Te Upoko o Te Ika. Taonga has the story and pictures here.

This Sunday past we were at Rakaia in the morning, with a superb congregation of 30, a helpful parish meeting afterwards and a wonderful lunch. Later, at 5 pm, in a Confirmation Service in the Chapel of St Anthony of Padua at Craighead Diocesan School I confirmed Jessica Townshend and Emma Peckitt (click for photo).

This week I am at a House of Bishops’ meeting in Wellington. Our first day was spent with the NZ Catholic bishops. Our longest session together was on our mutual preparations and engagements with the Royal Commission into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of faith-based institutions. Both churches are working on national, coordinated engagement with the Commission in order to ensure that responses to the Commission (e.g. if it seeks documentation of past or present practices and processes) are efficient and comprehensive. Dioceses, schools and other Anglican institutions will pay a proportionate share of the cost of this national engagement with the Commission. Our Archbishops, legal advisors and General Synod Standing Committee are to be congratulated on the depth and breadth of their work to date on this matter.

As abortion law reform makes its way through parliament, it may be helpful for our engagement with this proposal to read a report here. There are also two documents supplied by Graham O’Brien, Ministry Educator in the Diocese of Nelson which could assist parishes discussing these matters: one a copy of the proposed bill and the other a document which highlights what changes are proposed to our current legislation (resource sheet and bill explanation). However, please note submissions close today Thurs 19 September 2019: click here to make a submission.

What can we do about Climate Change? I suggest we cannot do much by way of very big things (such as stopping industrial pollution in the largest nations of the world) but we can do many small things. A motion passed in our Synod this year asks us to engage, to learn and to do things. I will discuss this motion and its contents throughout the year to come. But one small thing we could consider is biking to church on Sunday 27 October as part of a theme of Care of Creation for that Sunday (further information can be seen here).  This initiative is asking people of all faiths that weekend to “pedal to prayer.” Might we get into training now?

Previously I mentioned the superb Anglo-Catholic Hui held in Wellington in August, with outstanding addresses from Bishop Stephen Cottrell. Bosco Peters has helpfully put up links to videos of all +Stephen’s addresses.

Last week I promised to say more about our recent Synod. Jo Bean has the story of Synod in pictures.  Check the story out as a news item on our homepage. When we have completed our post Synod process of confirming the wording of the statutes and resolutions agreed to, we will post the link to them here. In the meantime, this is my anecdotal version of what we accomplished:

  • we amended our statute on Local Ministry and Mission in order to make it easier to form a  vestry when a congregation departs a parish, and to form an ecumenical agreement with another denomination
  • likewise re our financial regulations to clarify terms on which a parish may secure a mortgage from CPT and to give greater flexibility, when required, re setting of quota
  • We confirmed General Synod Statute 751 concerning a change to the declarations we make when taking up office in the church
  • We resolved to hold annual conferences for churchwardens and treasurers
  • to comprehensively revise all our Diocesan statutes in a timely manner
  • to raise $200k for our Missions’ target
  • to review guidelines for vicarages
  • to look into whether we can authorise our Diocesan Manager to make executive-type decisions where parishes wish to use small sums of money from their trust funds (which otherwise require approval of Standing Committee)
  • to consider practical action from my Presidential Address
  • and to embark on a series of actions in respect of response to Climate Change and Ecological Emergency.
Not resolved, but left on the table for further consideration before next Synod were two motions on funding of ministry and mission through better deployment of assets and a motion on listening to and understanding the Rainbow community within our Diocese.

Put like that, we did quite a lot together! Once again I thank all our synod members for their participation in this important work. Next week I plan to bring you news of who are members of our committees and boards, following our elections at Synod.