“Master,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.”
“Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.” (Luke 9, 49-50, NIV)
Greetings to you all in the name of our risen and ascended Saviour.
Since the last letter, General Synod has now been and gone, and Motion 29 (which has now become Motion 7) has been passed, affirming the decision made at General Synod in 2014 to live in two integrities around the issue of the blessing of same-sex relationships. We are so grateful to the leadership of our Diocesan General Synod representatives as they faithfully and humbly sought to discern God’s will and enter into difficult conversations wholeheartedly and honourably. Over the next 6-8 weeks we will hold three roadshows around the Diocese, attended by us and by General Synod representatives, at which you will be able to hear more information (including the more broader news around other important social justice motions passed). Please keep an eye out for details of those on Movement Online.
For many, there will be those who find General Synod’s decision on Motion 29 a challenge: for some who feel it has gone too far, and for those who feel it doesn’t go far enough. Wherever we lie on this spectrum, we continue to feel that how we behave as a church going forward speaks more to those who do not know Jesus than whatever our personal viewpoints might be, for this reason: our world has lost the ability to work together in disagreement.
In the passage from Luke 9 quoted above, our lectionary reading for this morning, we see Jesus affirming the ministry of those who approach their relationship with him from different perspectives. Our enemy seeks to divide us from within, but we must remember that the world watches how we deal with issues that we cannot agree on. Please know that within the broader Communion, the positive way that the three tikanga of our church has dealt with the issue of same-sex relationships has not gone unnoticed. The way every member of our Province (that includes each individual!) cares for and speaks to and of one another in diversity role-models to the rest of the church how we as Christ’s body can bring everyone into the fullness of life that he offers.
We encourage you to continue to pray deeply for us as Bishops as we decide how Motion 29 will be lived into in our Diocese, as well as each parish leader and all of our brothers and sisters in our Diocese and across the Province who are wrestling with this issue.
Finally, on June 23, we are looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible at our Team Training Day in Palmerston North. This is open to anyone, lay and ordained, who has any leadership role within our church. Please keep an eye on Movement by Mail or the website (movementonline.org.nz/teamtrainingday) for details of the training sessions available.
Your sister and brother in Christ
+Eleanor and +Justin