I am still buzzing from the Diocesan Hui/Picnic – 460 people gathered to share and learn off each other. We worshipped, prayed and encouraged each other. It was a great day. It was a privilege to see so many Diocesan people in one place excited by the mission of God. I commented on the day that calling the event a “picnic” was incredibly relevant. We spent the day talking to each other about what was happening across the Diocese, as we listened we “picked’ the things we liked. Then we were encouraged to “nick” them and take them back home to resource our Mission Units.
Archdeacon Wendy Scott did a great job of gathering and resourcing us around Biculturalism; Interim Administrator and Registrar Gareth Bezett mobilised us into deeper discipleship and Archdeacon Stephen King showcased the numerous different responses to Child Poverty across the Diocese. With Wendy ultimately coordinating, these three delivered an amazing event.
Well done everybody!
On my Sabbath I was reading Nigel Dixon’s book Village without Walls (Nigel is our Bishop’s Chaplin for Parish Health and Development.) Nigel’s book reminds us of the importance of festivals for building community and faith development – that in the Old Testament, God’s people regularly gathered together and had a festival. As I read about this I realised that the Diocesan Picnic was a contemporary festival, feeding our faith journeys and building community and family across the Diocese. If you are a Congregational Leader and haven’t read Nigel’s book I certainly recommend it. He talks extensively about the need for our local congregations to be alternative communities, or families. I totally agree with him and think we are rebuilding this “village without walls” across the Diocese in different communities as we focus on being family.
Another expression of this growing sense of family was witnessed in the youth Top Parish event run by Chris Casey and his talented team, with over 250 young people competed. The highlight for me was that our Anglican schools were also present so it was Parish youth ministry and school ministry together. I know Parishes and schools are already talking competitively about next year’s event.
On a personal note, what has particularly been feeding me in the last few weeks is the daily office. The Anglican Centre and the Cathedral are now meeting regularly for the daily office across Monday to Friday. We start our day worshipping at 8.30am doing the morning office, then share Eucharist at 12.15pm and finish our day with evening prayer at 5.15pm. This strong prayer rhythm feeds and sustains me, while also deepening my relationships with those I share life with around here.
In the morning office we have started the journey through the Book of Hebrews. I have found myself once again captivated with Jesus and His transforming presence. As I spend time each morning reflecting on Jesus I am reminded afresh of how I so easily domesticate the Son of God. I have been challenged again, like the first disciples, to be willing to have my life turned upside down by Jesus and follow Him where ever He leads.
This Lent, may you also experience your life being captivated afresh by the person of Jesus.
Bishop of Wellington