What a great time it is to be part of this Diocesan family. Over the last eight weeks since the last Bishop’s Letter I have been amazed by our diversity, and the dedication by which so many of you work with vision and drive to see God’s Kingdom come in our region.
Two weeks ago I travelled on pilgrimage with a group of Christian youth workers, learning with them the kawa associated with marae visits in our region and just beyond. We were privileged to stay at Ratana, Parihaka and Hiruharama, and finally at Turangi; hearing the epic stories of faith associated with each of those seminal places. The warm welcome and hospitality received there is testament to just how fortunate we are as Anglicans in Aotearoa.
In sadness Jenny and I returned to Otaki last week, where we started our pilgrimage, to mourn the sudden death of Archdeacon Te Hopehuia Hakaraia, Ministry Educator for Te Hui Amorangi and Vicar of Rangiatea. Standing with brothers and sisters from our three Tikanga partners to celebrate the life of this hard-working servant of God.
Here in the office, administration staff are beginning the process of preparing materials for Synod in September. It seems timely to update you with some of the progress made around our three Synod charges – generous hospitality, climate care, and child poverty.
Whilst we are so disappointed at the Government’s decision to raise the refugee quota by only 250 places by 2018, we still have so much to be proud of. After all our voices, combined in advocacy with other agencies, have succeeded in achieving the first quota rise in 30 years. We have demonstrated generous hospitality both in word and deed – through our advocacy, and through our ongoing involvement in gathering and setting up refugee households in the region.
We are fortunate to have researcher Chris Frazer on board to prepare information for us all around our responses as individuals and as parishes to the challenge of climate change. This issue is one that strikes at our fundamental existence and can no longer be seen as a niche interest for those with a passion for ecology, but something that we all take responsibility for – informing ourselves and making changes to our lifestyles. Keep an eye on Movement Online for Chris’ resources. As a Diocese, we will be focussing on the challenge of reducing transport emissions.
Congratulations to the combined youth services of Wellington City and Wellington Cathedral, who have opened temporary emergency accommodation/hei kohanga ahuru for homeless under-18 year olds in the city. The Loaves and Fishes Hall of the Cathedral is open nightly for this. By providing a dedicated safe space for homeless youth they can be connected with the services they need to change their lives going forward. An enormous amount of gratitude to the volunteers who have committed their nights to being there for young people so that youth workers have someone to refer people to if needed.
Of course these are only a small sample of the projects going on around the Diocese – please do write in if there is something you’d like to champion together.
Hopefully you all will have received the pew newsletter prepared by Archdeacon Julie Rokotakala around the outcome of General Synod discussions around the A Way Forward same-sex marriage discussion document. Please see below for the document, and I encourage you to think deeply through this and continue to hold this issue and those so deeply affected by it in your prayers.
Finally, I wanted to clarify some of the discussion around the potential appointment of an Assistant Bishop, and the possibility of Jenny and I moving to Whanganui as a result of this appointment. Should this concept pass through Synod in September, the appointment will follow an Electoral College process, likely to be called for around March 2017. It cannot be an internal appointment. Any potential move north will then take place in 2018. It is likely that the Assistant Bishop will work in a 0.5 position, in combination with another parish or Diocesan role. Please do feel free to continue to ask questions if you have any.
Your brother in Christ