Tēnā koutou katoa e te whānau a te Karaiti, dear family in Christ:
We extend to you all the bonds of fellowship and commitment that were woven together during our three days of Ministry Leaders’ Family Camp: our deep relationships with our Tikanga partners, our ancient beginnings and fresh partnership with NZCMS and Anglican Missions, our deep bonds of belonging to each other as family together here in this land at this time and our identity as a church movement called to be bearers of good news to, for and with Tāngata Whenua. This was a significant moment in our journey together. We encourage you to take time to read about our time together on Movement Online here, and to talk to the people from your community who were there.
In responding to Jay Ruka and Cindy Raukere’s encouragement and challenge to us, I (Justin) made it clear that we invited them to bring a wero (challenge) to us at this point in time. We did this because we recognise that there is a move of God’s Holy Spirit right now in renewal with the people of this land and I (Justin) did not want a Bishop of this Diocese to have to give an apology in 50 years’ time that we had missed this move of God. Jay so powerfully spoke to us of his own sense of this moment, that usually he speaks about history, but in these days, he believed he was speaking into a moment in history. The stories he was sharing were our stories, they were ours to own, ours to reclaim, ours to proclaim.
Both of us, as your Bishops, are deeply aware that the Holy Spirit of God works faithfully to bring healing to the parts of ourselves, our world and our church that the enemy has sought to steal and destroy. Our time together was shaped by the whakataukī: ka mua, ka muri; we walk backwards into the future. Our constant invitation from God is to participate in that healing work, personally and collectively. I (Eleanor) spoke of the goodness of the great works of God in creation and redemption and how both of those good gifts have a history in this land of them being stolen through the work of shame. You can listen to my talk here:
We want to say really clearly to all of us that God gives good gifts and that the invitation to be part of Christ’s great work of new creation, a creation fully reconciled to God, is wide open. What a privilege it was to celebrate our final Eucharist with the ordination of Reverend Rosie Fyfe, the new National Director of CMS, and the power that there is when we proclaim that our lives are totally given over to the mission of God in this world.
We echo the words of the Apostle Paul: “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the Gospel the righteousness of God is revealed” (Romans 1:16-17)
Let us intentionally walk backwards into the future, with the twin footsteps of repentance and belief, so that we increasingly come to live in the reality that the Kingdom of God is here.
“The time has come,” Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”” (Mark 1:15)