Message from the Archdeacon for Regeneration and Mission

Dear friends and colleagues,

Today farmers, home and business owners in parts of Otago, Canterbury and Westland are responding to the devastating floods of the last 48 hours. Buildings, farmland, roads and bridges have been damaged effecting locals and travellers alike. The Waitaki River peaked at almost 4 times its usual flow. We very much feel for all those effected in our Diocese and pray that those in most need would receive timely support.

One of the great privileges of my role is that I’m constantly meeting committed, faithful and talented lay people across our Diocese. I’ve had formal meetings with 13 Vestries in the last 3 months who are eager to hear about the Diocesan Mission Action Plan in more detail and to wrestle with its local implications. Tonight I spend time with Sandy Constable and the Vestry of Kaiapoi. There is much value in taking stock, giving thanks to God for the good that is happening and dreaming and planning for a better future.

After spending time with family in New York, Bishop Peter and Teresa are now in London. Bishop Peter has been asked to facilitate a series of Bible Studies this week as other bishops arrive from all over the world. Lambeth itself gets underway on July 26.

The evangelism training course ‘Faith Empowered’ is filling up with five confirmed applicants. Many people I meet lack confidence in their faith and feel ill-equipped to commend their Christian faith to others. This ten-session course will help participants grow in confidence, become familiar with some approaches to faith sharing and practice their new skills. Why would we not want to tell others the best news of all – the good news of Jesus Christ and God’s love! Click here for more information and how to register.

I also commend the ‘Leading your Church into Growth’ conference coming up from 18–20 October at St Christopher’s. This conference will be tremendously encouraging to participants and comes at exactly the right time as we seek a kind of spiritual ‘re-set’ following the challenges of Covid. Each Parish is being invited to send a team consisting of their Vicar/Priest-in-charge and two lay people so that the learning and energy can be brought back and shared. Click here for more information—rego forms will be available soon.

On this Sunday 24 July, the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, the gospel reading is Luke 11:1-13 and covers Luke’s version of the Lord’s Prayer, the Parable of the Importunate Friend, and the well-known encouragement to ask, seek and knock. Each section is about our attitude and practice of prayer. One of the biggest hindrances to persistent, effective prayer is that we don’t believe that God really cares or is really listening. But in each section of the reading, we’re reminded that God does care, God loves us and God wants the very best for us. If we would respond to the persistent request of a bothersome friend, how much more will God listen to us and answer our prayers? How much more will God give us his Holy Spirit? How much more will God be our loving heavenly Father?

Grace and peace,

Mark Chamberlain
Archdeacon for Regeneration and Mission