April 2017

Greetings to you all, 

‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.’

 My deepest thanks for all the work throughout the Diocese to celebrate Easter so creatively and sincerely. The death and resurrection of Jesus is the very centre of our faith and it is a joy to be part of a Diocese that embraces this foundational reality with confidence and enthusiasm.

 Many of you spent hours preparing moving worship opportunities that inspired parishioners and visitors. It still remains a great opportunity to showcase the heart of who we are and what we believe and I was thrilled to hear of what was being planned in and around the Diocese. I spent most of the weekend at the Cathedral where there were both services of quiet reflection, dramatic re-enactment and so much glorious music. The large choir singing the Hallelujah chorus as people came forward for communion on Easter Sunday will remain with me for a long time. It was also gratifying to hear something of the large numbers of folk who attended worship services over Easter. We can sometimes get disheartened by the constant reference in secular media to the decline of the Church. Yet many of our churches were full over Easter.

‘But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.’

 Hilary and I head away this afternoon on Sabbatical / study leave. We return around the middle of June. I will be looking at the relationship between Bishops, Deans and Cathedrals – particularly the role of the Cathedral in the life of the Diocese and to the strategic plan of the Diocese – particularly when the Cathedral is also a parish Church. It will also involve exploring different Governance models of Cathedrals. I have some interesting meetings arranged with some very colourful and influential characters which hopefully will also be inspirational. We will be meeting up with Phil and Greta Greenwood at the Leadership Conference at Holy Trinity Brompton at the very beginning of June. I will also be doing the Bible Studies at the clergy conference for the Diocese of Derry and Raphoe (Northern Ireland) which is being held at ‘Lusty Beg’ a little Island retreat in the middle of Lough Erne, south-west of Londonderry.

During our time away Tim Mora, as Vicar General, will fulfil any of the tasks that need sign-off from the Bishop but for day to day Diocesan stuff, decisions will be made by Annie Fraser and David Hollingsworth.

 Our departure this afternoon means that we can’t attend the funeral service for Allan Cousell who died suddenly in China a couple of weeks ago. Allan and Christine were two of our CMS missionaries and parishioners of Victory before heading away to serve in China. They have had an amazing ministry among foreign language students studying in China and became surrogate parents to so many young people. Allan was a treasure – a real extrovert who loved Jesus and loved people. He and Christine were so deeply committed as a couple and the times Hilary and I shared with them over a meal on their trips back home were always a time in which we felt built up and encouraged. On their last return home, only a few months ago, they were talking about their plans to relocate back in New Zealand – and it wasn’t to retirement but what new adventure God might have for them. The love, thoughts and prayers are with Christine at this time.

 Congratulations to Nathaniel and Simone (Pettersen) on the birth of Sophie – their fourth child and to Sam and Paula (Anderson) on the birth of Emma (their fifth child). We were also delighted for Richard and Kaye Dyer when their grand-daughter (Gemma Rose) was born the day Kaye was ordained.

 On the 30th of this month Kevin Gwynne retires after 35 years of ordained ministry – almost half of which was served as chaplain to Wairua hospital. We are so grateful to Kevin for this dedicated and committed role. We are thrilled that he and Sheryll will be staying on in the Diocese. Kevin’s successor has been appointed and we will advise you of that within the next couple of weeks.

 I’m delighted to advise that Susan Gill has accepted my invitation to be Regional Dean of Waimea.  I certainly appreciate her ministry as the Vicar of Richmond and value her care and involvement of both the church community and the wider community.

 We are very grateful to Nathan Hughes for the outstanding way he has filled the interim role of youth facilitator.  Although we are sad to lose Nathan from the diocesan office and youth ministry, it is great to see him and Rosie fulfilling their call to serve Jesus overseas through CMS.  He will spend the next few months travelling throughout New Zealand attempting to raise about $50,000 toward their financial support while working in India – something that every mission partner has to do. Our prayers are with them during this time.

 You will note from emails sent recently that Mark Griffiths from the UK will be here in Nelson during our time away. He is being sponsored here by New Wine (NZ) and I strongly commend him to you. Mark is one of the leading proponents and practitioners of Children and Family ministries in the UK. He is one who certainly walks the talk – but is also an incredibly engaging speaker.

 I want to also briefly acknowledge the life of Richard Rainey whose funeral service was held yesterday at the Cathedral. Richard was our previous Diocesan Chancellor – a man of deep and committed faith, a generous benefactor to the community (particularly to the Nelson School of Music), an accomplished musician (sang in the Cathedral choir for 25 years – and was acting Director of Music about 10 years ago), a humble yet enthusiastic man. He was deeply respected – hence a packed Cathedral for his farewell.

 May God bless you and keep you over the next weeks. We’ll keep in touch.

 With our love,

 +Richard (and Hilary)

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