October 2015

 

 

Greetings everyone,

 My deepest thanks to the parish of Buller who hosted our Diocesan Synod so wonderfully. It was a privilege to hold Synod back in Westport for the first time in 46 years! I particularly want to acknowledge Rev Steve Wockner and Pip Fairbrass who did so much of the organising. Comments from those attending have been incredibly positive. Thank-you!

 My sincere apologies to those representing youth at this Synod. I promised them that at the end of Friday’s business and again at the end of Synod I would invite them up to reflect back to Synod their impressions of the experience. They were great on Friday – but in the busyness of the wind-up I totally forgot to invite them to respond at the end of Synod.

 The day after Synod I repacked my bags to head off to the annual Bishop’s weeklong ‘training event’ which this year was hosted by Tikanga Polynesia. We were ferried out to this idyllic little island west of Suva where each one of us had our own private ‘bure’ (thatched cottage) on the water’s edge. Beautiful clear water – it was absolutely stunning. The only problem was we had a week of rain and cold winds. The rain was so heavy our ‘bures’ began to leak – and the toilet block was about 100 metres from the accommodation so nocturnal walks were not the most pleasant of experiences.

 However it was probably the best gathering of Bishops I have attended. It was very positive and the Bishops grappled with some of the deeper issues facing our life as a Church – particularly our three Tikanga partnership, 25 years after the church’s constitution was amended to embrace our three cultural strands.  A very constructive and positive gathering.

 Last Sunday, after arriving back in Nelson, Hilary and I both headed over to Golden Bay to stand alongside Ian and Karen Thatcher as he read out a statement to his parish advising them of the cancer that has now metastasised into his bones. It was so moving to be with them all on Sunday. Please keep Ian and Karen in your prayers.

 Things have moved pretty quickly on the resettlement of refugee families in New Zealand and the Anglicans and Roman Catholics are being seen as crucial to the coordination of New Zealand’s response. The Church has been very proactive. Nelson has been identified as one of the 9 or 10 resettlement areas and I have invited Rev Chris Donaldson to be our Diocesan contact as things continue to move.

 This has been a month on the move for me – happens every now and again as everything gets concentrated into a short period of time. This weekend Hilary and I head up to Auckland for the four yearly ‘Common Life Missions Conference’. There are only a few going from the Diocese – distance, and the cost of travelling has made it difficult. The keynote speaker is Rev Dr Chris Wright and I am so looking forward to hearing him again. (Great to have such a gifted evangelical as the keynote speaker)

 I offered to take responsibility (again this year) to co-ordinate the worship so it will be a pretty full week. We will be back in time for Standing Committee on the 13th October.

 On a personal note I flew down to Christchurch a couple of weeks ago to help my sister move our Mum out of her home where she has lived for 50 years and into a rest-home. It was tough because she didn’t want to leave the familiarity of her surroundings. We are thrilled though at how well she has settled in a very loving and caring environment at Annaliese Haven in Kaiapoi. Felicity and Aubrey Whitcombe have already been to visit.... 

 Nick Kirk has continued to be battered because of his stance against the performance of the ‘Armed Man’ in the Cathedral because it includes the Muslim call to prayer. This was always going to be a controversial decision. In the context of the work – which is a ‘Mass for Peace’ the ‘call to prayer’ is simply representing one of the two sides in the Kosovo Crisis – it is followed directly by the Kyrie representing the other side in this very violent and bloody event.

 However, since it was last performed in the Cathedral in 2007, sensitivities have become even more heightened with recent ISIS events. It is a different world now.

 The media are fuelling the debate – this is what sells papers and lifts ratings!

 Neither Nick or I are going to be drawn into this media debate with its accusations of intolerance and bigotry. We will just continue to be a Cathedral that proclaims Jesus as Lord and Saviour – and let that be our response. Perhaps when it is all settled we might jointly write to the paper and explain the difference between tolerance and respect.

 I think Jesus calls us to the latter....

 Spring seems to have well and truly ‘sprung’ – after a long and rather chilly winter.

 May we all see signs of new life in our own faith and in the life of our churches.

 May Jesus continue to bless us and guide us.

 +Richard

 

 

 

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