Bishop’s Letter for March 2015

Bishop’s Letter for March 2015

Greetings Family

It was great to see everybody at the Diocesan Hui the other weekend.  It was an amazing time of worship, storytelling and empowerment.  So thank you for your hard work.

The next time we gather as a diocese will be for the Chrism services.  We realise that many parishes no longer do a Renewal of Baptism Vows service so we thought we would do this together.  I look forward to seeing those of you who attend to stand together to declare our living faith in Jesus our Lord.

The Chrism services are to be held:

  • Holy Monday 30 March at St John’s, Feilding at 7.30pm
  • Holy Tuesday 31 March at St Mark’s, Carterton at 7.30pm
  • Holy Wednesday 1 April at the Wellington Cathedral of St Paul at 7.00pm

Yesterday I was driving home from attending the wonderful Kapiti cluster meeting and while driving was listening to the radio.  The radio was covering the Members of Parliaments’ remuneration debate.  While I was enjoying the discussion my mind drifted to today’s lectionary reading, a passage in John’s gospel where Jesus is talking:

11 “I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep.  So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away.  Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.”

John 10: 11-13

As people of Jesus I think we are called to have the same mentality as of Jesus.  As politicians discuss appropriate pay, we are called to be like shepherds in the responsibility God summons us to.  All of us are invited to care for the “sheep” that God has called us to – for some this maybe children or youth, our neighbours, those in retirement villages, prisoners, our families, etc.  All of us are invited by God to become like shepherds to those we care for and journey with.  We choose to care even when the going gets tough, we choose to care even when there are more exciting and glamorous ministries.  Why?  Because God has called us and we are his friends and servants.

As a Bishop it’s easy for me to remember the call to be a shepherd as I carry around a crozier to remind me that I am not a “hired hand” but a shepherd, and that when I want to run away instead I am called to lay my life down for those God loves.  It’s not just the ordained though who are called to be shepherds; we all are.  We are all called to care and also to pursue the lost sheep and help them find the abundant life that God promises them.

So may I encourage us to reflect on what it means to be a shepherd and not a hired hand in our ministry and life.

Finally I am again raising money for Oxfam by walking 100km with some other Anglicans.  I am excited to be supporting Oxfam’s vital work in reducing poverty and demanding justice for the world’s poorest communities.

If you want to support our team go to this link:

http://www.oxfamtrailwalker.org.nz/otw15/teams/team-lightning

Those who take part in the event are hoping together to raise over a million dollars.

It is also true that Jenny has a team and you could instead support her team:

http://www.oxfamtrailwalker.org.nz/otw15/teams/team-sunshine

However she is ahead of my team in sponsorship …

 

Blessings

+Justin

Bishop of Wellington