Kia ora whānau
Both of us began the year, alongside many of you, at the New Wine festival in Kāpiti. We were really thankful for the reminder given by a number of the speakers to live with hope and trust in the ‘now but not yet’ kingdom of God.
What this means is that at many times we experience the joy, the revelation, the glory and the wisdom of God’s fullness, and we also long for this in the places and spaces where this is not our experience. We live in that tension, but we live into it in a posture of trust, hope and gratitude. We both experience this personally in our own lives – whether within ourselves or the people we love.
This year is the Lambeth Conference for all Bishops across the global Anglican Communion and so we are increasingly aware of what ‘now and not yet’ means for our brothers and sisters all over God’s world. I (+Ellie) am part of a WhatsApp group hosted by my friend +Vicente, in the Diocese of Niassa, Mozambique. Every day is a reminder of ‘now and not yet’ – the frequent deep pain and sorrow of loss where basic medicine is not available to save lives – and at the same time the frequent videos of dance, joy and hope that mark people’s experience as they live into the reality of following Jesus.
We also experience this ‘now but not yet’ kingdom all around our Diocese at the moment. We are grateful and proud that this year has begun with so many of our communities making covenant promises with each other in commitment to particular people and places.
Recently installed in new parishes are Sarah McMenamin at Oroua, Amy Houben at St Matthew’s Palmerston North, Pete Watson in Masterton, Kat and Alan Maxwell in Martinborough –– and, this Sunday, our intentional communities of AYM, Blueprint, Urban Vision and the Community of Transfiguration make their covenants to their rules of life for the year ahead. It is so beautiful that we choose to link arms with one another in this journey of local transformation. We also enjoyed a great source of inter-Diocesan relationship as an enormous group of supporters turned out from our Diocese to support Wendy Scott as she was installed as Dean of Waikato Cathedral.
We ask you to cover all of these new beginnings and fresh commitments in our parishes and ministry units and missional communities in prayer. Also a reminder to you all to make the most of our Lent Studies resource and join a group if available in your parish, and to get yourselves the upcoming Training Day at Samuel Marsden Karori on Saturday 14 March – open to all and with some great topics for us all to get our teeth into.
Every blessing to each of you as you seek to bring God’s message of transforming hope into each of your local communities.
+Justin and +Eleanor