E te whanau o te Atua, kia ora koutou katoa

One of the insights that I have gained while deputising for Bishop Peter has been with regard to the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes in preparation for our annual session of the diocesan Synod. As I reflected on this, it occurred to me that there may be people in our diocese who have only the sketchiest notion of what Synod is and does.

Like all Anglican dioceses, we are episcopally led and synodically governed. That is to say the bishop is our spiritual, clerical, constitutional and statutory leader but that decisions about the devising and approval of budgets, expenditure of diocesan funds, setting of wider ministry and mission priorities, amendment of diocesan regulations and many more, are made by the Synod when in session, and, for some functions, by Standing Committee throughout the rest of the year. As such Synod is a very important body in the life of a diocese. It is comprised of licensed clergy and elected lay members from each ministry unit as well as representatives of other diocesan bodies. Membership is both a privilege and a serious responsibility.

Each year, usually in early September, the members of Synod are ‘summoned’ by the bishop to attend the Synod Eucharist and the two-day session. In other words, this is not just another meeting to which you can send your apologies if you don’t feel like attending! Permission must be sought from the bishop to be excused.

During the session, the Synod elects and appoints certain members to diocesan boards, trusts and committees and considers and debates Bills and Motions. Bills, which establish, amend or repeal the diocesan statutes, and Motions which either govern the proceedings of the Synod or seek to introduce new initiatives or matters of moment that individual members or ministry units feel need to be brought to our attention or acted upon. This year’s session of Synod commences on Thursday evening 1 September with a Eucharist at the Transitional Cathedral, followed by the 2 days of business.

I want to ask you all to pray for the diocesan staff, thankful for their hard work in preparing for Synod, as well as for all of the members who will make decisions on our behalf and for bishop Peter as he presides over the business.

On a related matter, I want to thank the diocese for all of the support and encouragement that I received while acting for bishop Peter during his ‘missionary journey!’ The team at The Anglican Centre have been so kind and helpful, as have Standing Committee, the Senior Leadership team, and the archdeacons!

Rev’d Mark Sullivan, vicar of Heathcote-Mt Pleasant has been badly injured in a plane crash and is in Christchurch Hospital awaiting surgery, Please uphold Mark, Sue and their family in your prayers.

It is with pleasure that we announce the appointments of Rev’d Margaret Neate as Vicar of the Parish of Ellesmere effective from 7 November 2022, and Rev’d John Shoaf as Vicar of the Parish of Halswell-Prebbleton effective 14 November. Congratulations to both Margaret and John, and to the respective parishes.

He mihi arohanui ki a koutou katoa!

Mark Barlow