Dear Friends in Christ,
Today I read about a young woman in the north of England who has died of cancer only a matter of weeks after receiving a diagnosis. She had been waiting for months to get a GPs appointment. This story hit me like sucker-punch! Not because I knew her or her family but because it is the latest in a long list of stories about outrages, injustices, violent crimes, tragedies and abominations being perpetrated and experienced throughout our world. Watching and reading about the war in Ukraine, mass shootings in America, upheaval in Sri Lanka, the growing death toll from COVID internationally and locally, martyrdoms in Nigeria, rampant inflation and the global impact of food shortages, is akin to receiving a series of body blows!
I have been reading a book by Dr Amy Orr-Ewing called Where is God in all of the Suffering? which examines the Christian attitude and response to the existence of pain, loss and grief. I turned to it in search of comfort, advice and understanding. You will not be surprised to learn that its pages contain no trite explanation or holy panacea. What is there, though, is a plea to choose to love!
Out of love, we pray for those who suffer; we give to those who are in need; we shelter those who are homeless; we advocate for those who have no voice; we weep with those who grieve, and we stand with those who are otherwise alone. Because we have been enveloped and transformed by the love of God, we can do no less. Re-visiting this foundational reality of our faith didn’t give me a solution but galvanised in me the renewed determination to be someone who acts out of love. My prayer for us as a diocese is that love will continue to be our diet, our currency, our atmosphere, and our lingua franca leading us to prayer and to becoming the answer to our prayers.
On the day of their departure Bishop Peter and Teresa attended the installation of Bishop Michael Gielen as the Catholic bishop of Christchurch. It was great to be able to welcome Bishop Michael, who hails from Auckland to The Mainland.
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It is with pleasure that we announce the appointment of Rev Canon Brenda Bonnett as vicar of the Parish of Linwood-Aranui effective from 1 July. Congratulations to Brenda and the parish.
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Rev Mike Hawke is our diocesan representative on the Tikanga Pākehā Ecumenical Council. He is on the lookout for any news of ecumenical events or activities taking place in our ministry units. Please contact Mike on 021711726 or at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any stories to share.
Kia ora koutou katoa,