Bishop Justin’s February 2014 Letter

Kia ora koutou – greetings from Wellington on this most stunning and sunny day

A dramatic difference from where I was a week ago.  I was privileged to spend a week at Canterbury Cathedral attending Bishop’s School, and unfortunately while I was there England was experiencing massive flooding.  I joined with 25 other fresh Bishops from the global Communion to learn together and to share our experiences.  Obviously the week was a rich time, and the good news is I can reassure you all that now that I have been to Bishop’s School I know exactly what I am doing – yeah right!

I must admit though that while I was overseas for two and half weeks, I was very homesick.  I couldn’t wait to get back to the Diocese and join in what God is doing amongst us.  Over the summer I reflected on the increasing number of fledgling expressions of new life present in our Diocese.  These signs of hope are still small and fragile, however they fill me with confidence that God is at work.

What has been particularly encouraging is to return and to be caught up in the energy surrounding the Diocesan Picnic/Hui – a time to gather and share our stories, and be encouraged as we attempt to respond to the invitation around deepening our discipleship, our commitment to biculturalism and actively engaging in issues of child poverty.  Archdeacon Wendy and her team have done an amazing job so now all we have to do is participate by sharing from our own local perspectives.

I was reflecting on this season of change in the Diocese while at Canterbury Cathedral.  I was present on the feast day of Jesus being presented in the temple (Luke 2:22-40), and I reflected on two characters in the passage; first Anna:

“There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher.  She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.  She never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying.   Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.” (NIV)

Anna was the older faithful one, who lived her life in prayer and testified to where the kingdom was present.  I recognise many Anna’s in our Diocese at this time, mature followers of Jesus who through this season of change hold us all in prayer and keep testifying to where Jesus is present amongst us.  What a gift you are.

Secondly Mary a teenager:

“Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: ‘This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.  And a sword will pierce your own soul too.’”

As Mary witnessed and participated in the change Jesus brought she paid the price “a sword will pierce your own soul too.”  I recognise many within our Diocese who are actively embracing the Kingdom amongst us, are therefore also accepting that they will need to pay the price for their discipleship.  This profound picture of Mary mirrored by many at this time within the Diocese is a source of much encouragement.  To those who live this call at this time – thank you.

Turning to more mundane matters, a few of you have caught me running or walking around Wellington’s waterfront; it is true I am in training.  Four of us have decided that we would attempt the Oxfam 100km trail walk, raising money for Oxfam to support their justice work towards poverty alleviation.

We are attempting to raise over $2,500 as a team and hopefully be part of helping to raise over $1million collectively.  If you want to donate and support Oxfam, and encourage us in walking 100km then follow the following link:

Yes, it is true our team is called “team-lightning” – it is definitely an overstatement on our ability!

See you around the waterfront.



Bishop of Wellington