“Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full”. [Luke 14:23]
Kia ora whanau
As I write I am on pilgrimage with a group of young men and women from our Anglican schools, travelling around sites of significance to the faith story of our Diocese. What a privilege it is to refresh our understanding of the courage and tenacity offered by those who sowed the seeds of the gospel in our part of New Zealand.
The life of Octavius Hadfield, our second Bishop of Wellington, has particular resonance as I think about the events of the last couple of weeks. Hadfield never stepped out of the public arena when there were issues which affected the marginalised and oppressed. He understood the significance of the welcome he had received from the Te Ati Awa people, and worked hard to protect the rights of those who had offered him such generous hospitality. His persistence came at the expense of his reputation amongst his ‘own’ people, and he was resoundingly pilloried in the public arena.
In the same way I am so grateful that this week I have witnessed the same courage in us – on Thursday night Amnesty International hosted a refugee vigil at Parliament and it was wonderful to see so many of you there. Following my letter out to you all the Sunday before last, the beautiful and generous responses to the refugee crisis have resulted in the church being able to offer concrete assistance to the Red Cross. It will be wonderful to see how this plays out – thank you all so much for your caring and compassion as we explore ways to make God’s kingdom come.
I ask for your continued prayers and ongoing lobbying for refugees, and for Syrian Christians who are in many cases more marginalised than their Muslim brothers and sisters. Please pray also for our world leaders as they make decisions which affect the lives of so many.
I also ask for your prayers as our Diocese holds its Synod this weekend. Our theme, ‘Offering Exquisite Wine’, parallels the generous hospitality offered this week by so many of you, and it will be exciting to see how we can develop this further over the coming year.
Bishop of Wellington