Bishop's Blog November 2016

Greetings everyone,

It was great to see a group from the Diocese at the WillowCreek Leadership Summit last Friday. Although it is similar stuff presented (on leadership) every year there is a real sense that we, as leaders, need to be constantly renewed and refreshed in good leadership principles in order to keep our ministries and very few groups do this as well as WillowCreek. Unfortunately I missed the first talks and many others had to leave before the evening session in order to travel home. Apparently I missed two outstanding addresses at the beginning, but the last two on Friday evening were superb – they certainly finished on a high. The first of these two was T.D. Jakes who I don’t usually listen to, but the interview he did with Bill Hybels was stunning – pearls of wisdom all the way through: ‘have you noticed that, if you are drifting, you always drift down-stream – you always drift with the current. You can’t drift if you want to move against the current....’

And then Danielle Strickland’s reflections on leadership were sincerely moving and enlightening.

We have purchased a copy of the DVDs for the Diocese (and for BTC) if any folk would like to use these talks with those who are on your leadership teams (ordained or lay). 

Although the Clergy and Lay Conference at Lake Rotoiti was a few weeks ago now – I’d like to thank Graham O’Brien, Sue Fallow and the various teams involved. It was a great few days away and I was especially thrilled to see so many families there. Next year it will be the Regional Retreats once again.  

A couple of weeks ago it was Spring Camp time at Bridge Valley. Well over 100 young people attended from all parts of the Diocese. I was only there for part of the day on Saturday but the enthusiasm was evident from everyone there. Great work from Nathan and Luke and the team that they had developed and drawn around them. It was Luke’s final camp as the Diocesan Youth co-ordinator and his contribution to the development of these camps was warmly recognised by all those present. It was quite an emotional experience for Luke as he laid down the mantle of youth leadership but he was excited to see the numbers of young people who made a deep and sincere commitment (or recommitment) to Jesus during this weekend. Luke is moving into the ordained ministry in the new year. 

While talking about gatherings I was also really impressed at the variety and quality of speakers at the first Social Services Conference hosted by the Diocese. It was quite inspirational. I just wish the talks had all been recorded for those unable to be there. Thank you Gerrie and your support group who helped you plan such a successful two days.

 I am delighted that Rev Mike Hawke has agreed to become Dean of Nelson Cathedral. He will be inducted on Sunday 11th December at the 10.00 service. Mike was offered the position six years ago, but decided to accept the Mission Board position that was also being offered at that time. I am thrilled that we’ve had a second opportunity to attract him and that he has accepted.  I believe that the gifts he brings will be perfect for a role such as this and I so look forward to having Mike and Patsy in the Diocese.

 I facilitated the first of the Regional Deanery meetings to look at a way ahead for the Church as the Provincial Church moves ahead in its desire to bless those same-gendered couples who have entered into a civil marriage. It was a packed gathering in Marlborough and very engaged discussion.

 General Synod put their decision to move ahead on hold for two years while the Church tries to determine what a structure might look like that enables two opposite viewpoints to remain in communion. To that end the Archbishops have appointed a small committee to consider this issue. Because it is more of an issue for the conservative wing of our Church I have been asked to be on that committee – representing, not only the views of this Diocese, but groups such as Latimer, Affirm etc. This work has to be done by early next year! Please pray.

 In the rest of this Ad Clerum you will see references to special events coming up: a Civic Service to pray for the two new Councils in Tasman and Nelson; the ordination service in the Cathedral on Wednesday, 30th Nov at 7pm. And tomorrow evening (Wednesday) I’m over in Golden Bay to install Philip Lyes as Vicar. Please pray for Philip and Lynda as they settle back into the Diocese. We also welcome back from sabbatical Dawn Daunauda and Marge and Robin Kingston – Marge came back very unwell so we keep her in our prayers.

Civic service at Cathedral on the 11th Nov and Mike Hawke’s installation on the 11th December.

 Congratulations to Elaine Tyrrell who was recently invested with her QSM for services to health. 

 Almost at Advent – again an opportunity for spiritual reflection as we head into Christmas. What does it mean that the God of Creation chose to become one of us? What does it say about God and what does it say about us?

 Over the past few weeks I’ve had a couple of books on the go. Both of them seem to reflect on the ministry of Cuddeston College – the primary College for Anglican ministry formation in the Diocese of Oxford. The first was simply called ‘Anglicanism – confidence, commitment and communion’ and was written by Rev Dr Martin Percy, a member of staff at Cuddeston, Dean of Christ Church Oxford and Professor of Theological Education at Kings College London. It is a very well-written affirmation of the strengths of traditional Anglicanism and I have found it enlightening and affirming.

 The second book is very different in tone and is titled ‘That was the Church that was.’ (sub-titled ‘How the Church of England lost the English people.’) It is quite cynical, but has some very perceptive insights that I found very challenging:

Looking at the post-war Church the authors write: ‘Faced with the challenge of maintaining a living relation between its traditions and the society of which it was part, it baulked. It had proved adept at transforming itself into a central part of post-war welfare society, but the post Thatcherite settlement threw it completely. Rather than engage with what was happening, it started to mutter threats against the society of which it had been part, and to turn inwards. Clericalism increased and internecine warfare between clerical tribes proved a destructive distraction. Rather than attempting to hold things together, leaders succumbed to the temptation of thinking that their brand of churchmanship held the solution, if only it could be imposed on the others.’

 An intriguing book that I had issues with all the way through – but I couldn’t put it down.

So if you want a sleepless night……

 So, approaching Advent, we simply get on with the mission we’ve been called to and celebrate Jesus – Emmanuel – God with us.

 God bless you all.

 +Richard

 The following for your information, which missed the November Ad Clerum.

 BMT position review

 As part of our ongoing desire to be as effective as we can be for the Kingdom, we have constantly looked at how we function as the Bishop’s Ministry Team (BMT) within the Diocese in relation to our Strategic Plan, which every member of the BMT is totally committed to.  As a consequence we have invited an independent group to work with us in considering how we function in our specific ministry areas and whether there might be other ways of operating that we hadn’t considered.  We hope that their initial thoughts will be made available early next year.

 Although this is my ministry  - for the outworking of the Bishop’s vision - there may be opportunity later for creative, constructive input once the initial report is available next year.

 Update on David Hollingsworth 

David’s treatment regime has been increased from 16 to 24 weeks.  This means that his stem cell transplant is rescheduled to take place in January 2017.  Please continue to uphold him in your prayers.

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