So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13 [NIV]
This month’s Bishops’ News comes to you from one of the fullest periods of the year in our diocesan calendar. Through this week, we have been reminded again of the staggering breadth of Christ’s church in the actions of individual men and women and children of faith, past and present, in Aotearoa and across the globe, in ways too many to name.
We began the week remembering in our church calendar the occupation of Parihaka by British forces, on 5 November 1881, and the prophetic insight of Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi as they led their people in peaceful resistance.
Last Tuesday at our Anglican Centre staff meeting, we were blessed to hear of Reverend Jenny Dawson who with friends had, in remembrance of the actions of the Parihaka women who baked bread to share with the British soldiers, baked their own loaves to share with neighbours and friends, and re-tell the narrative of Christ’s peace as seen at Parihaka.
Last Wednesday, we were back with our friends at Rātana, joining with them in celebration of the centenary of the birth of the Rātana movement through the receiving of T W Rātana’s visions and the beginning of that great ministry of healing in our land.
Across this period, we have been blessed by the presence among us of Cath Livesey from the UK, leading workshops on prophetic discipleship, Rich Robinson and the team from 3DM UK and Australia, and by Oscar and Bea Muriu from Kenya leading discussions on missions, church growth and leadership development.
It has truly felt that this week has been a glimpse of the lived reality of Christ’s church – no Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female.
And as we move into this weekend, we are looking forward to joining with as many of you as possible in our Diocesan Thanksgiving and Ordination celebration on Saturday 17 November. We will come together humbly in thanksgiving knowing that it is God who gives us the new life and growth we long for. Please continue to pray for our ordinands as they move through their week; their entering into a covenantal relationship and laying down of their lives for Christ’s church.
Throughout this period, can we encourage you to reflect on the Ephesians passage above – knowing that a movement is made of individuals making intentional decisions to be like Jesus. He calls us to be the most authentic versions of ourselves; developing mature servant hearts that lead to a unified body of Christ.
+Justin and +Eleanor