Friday night marked the penultimate occasion in our Come Holy Spirit Week of Prayer, with the ordination of Bishop Eleanor Sanderson, and her installation as Assistant Bishop of Wellington. The Cathedral was packed with approximately 900 worshippers, from all parts of the Diocese and Province, from the seasons of Bishop Eleanor’s ministry and around the world, and from every generation. In this article in the Anglican Taonga magazine, the Rt Rev Victoria Matthews, Bishop of Christchurch; noted that “there was a deep sense of rejoicing there, and a coming together of all ages and stages of the Christian journey. It had the sense of being the church on pilgrimage.”
The ordination makes Bishop Eleanor the fourth female bishop in the Province of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia. The two other present female bishops, Bishop Victoria of Christchurch and Bishop Helen-Ann Hartley of Waikato, were present at the service, alongside a number of other Bishops from across the three tikanga of the church, and ecumenical guests. Being the first female bishop in the Diocese of Wellington was a focus of media coverage prior to the event, with the New Zealand Herald running this story about the ordination, as well as a short piece on Newshub’s The AM Show. However for Ellie’s father, the angle was slightly more personal in an English newspaper article entitled “My daughter, the Kiwi bishop.” Mr Grourk spoke of his pride in his daughter, prior to flying to New Zealand to be at Friday’s service.
For those who couldn’t make it to the ordination, a live stream was made available on the Movement Facebook page (which is still available here). The live stream attracted over 1,700 views across the duration of the service, with the post on Facebook being seen by over 10,000 people. Those in attendance used the hashtag #bishopellie to share moments from the after party, which transformed the Cathedral into a happening hive of celebration – the music could be heard booming down the street! You can see a selection of the posts below, and you can access the photo album on our Facebook page here.
A huge vote of thanks must be given to everyone who volunteered their time, homes and expertise in order to make the service such a success. Additionally, we extend a massive amount of gratitude to everyone who attended, watched online, or who was with Bishop Eleanor in thought and spirit – the event was a very visible tribute to the beauty of family coming together to celebrate.