Bishops’ Pastoral Letter: Peace be with you

Bishops’ Pastoral Letter: Peace be with you

Dear Whanau

We greet you once again with the peace of Christ; the peace that Jesus himself gives to us, a peace that the world cannot give and the peace that speaks to quiet any troubling in our hearts and speaks hope and peace to any fear.

The Peace of God be always with you.
Thanks be to Christ, who unites us in peace.

Immediately before our Prime Minister addressed our nation today, we met (via Zoom) with all our diocesan leaders, every Vicar, Priest in Charge and Vestry members. We shared the three key strategies and corresponding details for how we will co-ordinate together as the people of God:

We are family

Connection is key to being family together.  I (+Ellie) am deeply appreciating new web-based ways of communicating with my own natural family, which is spread around the world. It is so important that we as a Wellington diocesan family have a clear way of being connected together.

Movement Online is that way.

Through Movement, we will be able to share updates of the situation, share our resources for being church in this season and bring together our stories of hope. It will also be the way that we can still be together as one. Please help us to connect people into Movement Online so that no one is left alone. You can encourage them to sign up to regular updates here.

Live-stream of Sunday service

Tomorrow we will be live-streaming a Sunday service on Movement Online. Our desire is to move around our diocese, and each Sunday, have a live-streamed service that shares different local expressions of our family of God. This is a way that we can keep seeing each other and be connected to each other in our beautiful variety. Through this medium we can keep meeting and encouraging each other as family.

Tomorrow at 10am both of us will be leading worship from a combined expression of our local ministries and mission, and you will be able to join us from the Movement Online website. We know that local churches may already be organising live-streaming, which obviously we encourage you to join, but as a diocese we want to provide this shared way of worship so that no one misses out.

We are disciples

Home-based church will now be the norm of our worship and we have carefully coordinated resources for this which are now available on Movement Online. We have very clearly encouraged all of us to be part of intentional discipleship, and this happens in small groups. These home-based church resources are intended to be led by the people of God, and our Archdeacon for Mission and Ministry, Gendy Thomson, introduces them here with an instructional video of how to host and grow home-based churches.

We come to this new season of church with the clear understanding that home-based churches are a vehicle of discipleship, a vehicle for raising missional leaders and a mechanism to actually grow the Kingdom of God.

We prioritise the last, lost and least

We are calling all parishes to co-ordinate a community care register. With close collaboration with health authorities, we are encouraged that door-to-door connection in local neighbourhoods, to make contact and connect vulnerable people into church-based support networks, is a key building block in strengthening community resilience. Again, we are providing resources and guidelines to our parish leaders for how to do this well. This really is the time when we join with the Holy Spirit to bless and serve the most vulnerable in our communities.

Friends, know that as we have to work together, under pressure and in a challenging climate, that we need to have a proactive posture of grace and love. This is a season where we choose to cultivate and enjoy the fruits of the Holy Spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Know of our prayers for you all as you reach out to each other, reach out to your neighbours and lean deeply into our loving and faithful God.

Go now to love and serve the Lord, Go in Peace

+Justin and +Eleanor