On Ascension Day, we remember the words of the angels:
“Men of Galilee, why do you stand there looking up?”
In other words, go and get on with everything Jesus tells you do.
– Bishop Eleanor

This Ascension Sunday, the 13th of May 2018, we will gather together at Wellington Cathedral of St Paul to celebrate those who have accepted God’s call to the Diaconate.  This ordination service marks a fresh celebration of the diaconate order in the life of our church.

Bishop Justin is keen to renew the energy and focus on the Household of Deacons in our diocese.  Quite separate to those who are deaconed as a transitional phase towards priesthood, vocational deacons are are not so much called to gather and nurture the family of God, but to point us outwards to engage with the communities in which we are located.  Symbolically in our liturgy, it is the deacon who reads the Gospel and sends people out – embodying in their ministry that same reminder to us to be Jesus’ hands and feet in the world. We are so thankful for Amber Leonard Schoss, Chris Frazer and Lynley Webster and the way their lives of dedicated ministry shine with this reminder.  You can read more about them and their ministries in the “Our Ordinands” section.

Lynley Webster

Lynley is married to Michael, and is mum to Seb (23), Nick (19) and Coco the dog. She says she feels privileged to worship with a whole lot of young people at Blueprint, an Anglican pioneer mission unit.  “Life is exciting and challenging as I hang out at The Freestore (which collects surplus food from cafes and bakeries and redistributes it to those who need it, while providing a caring community), and with those I meet in the streets of central Wellington,” Lynley says.  “I help run a koha cafe at Massey University Wellington, as part of my chaplaincy role there. I try each day to be led by the Holy Spirit to love those I come across.”

Christine (Chris) Frazer

Chris has a 29-year history of management of social services both as a Deacon within the Methodist Church as well as The Salvation Army NZ.  In the Methodist Church Chris she was tasked with the development of  inner city ministry which, when set up  included a practical response to those in need e.g. the Lower Hutt foodbank, benefit advocacy, cookery classes and a ‘time out’ crèche for single parents. Alongside this was the social justice advocacy working with government and civil society  to change and improve conditions for those most in need.   Chris’s final appointment within the Methodist Church was to convene the national social services body, Methodist Mission Aotearoa. A one-year appointment the role was to further the theological and philosophical development of new directions for social service ministry within the Church.

Following on from this Chris was asked to take up an appointment within  the Salvation Army firstly as social services manager at Hutt City then as national  consultant for community ministries. This then led into her final appointment as social justice advocate within the Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit. In that role  Chris developed and coordinated the Army’s work in relation to trafficking in persons/labour exploitation and played a lead role in supporting and coordinating New Zealand’s nascent response to TIP (Trafficking in Persons), including through the organising of the first four national people trafficking conferences (2009-2014), in partnership with non-government and government agencies.  Additionally Chris established and coordinated for two years the NZ arm of the global organisation STOP THE TRAFFIK.

More recently within the Anglican Church, Chris; working alongside the US Embassy and MBIE, coordinated the Tip of the Iceberg trafficking and labour exploitation conference in 2017 and is presently working with them on the upcoming  workshop in July. Representing the Anglican Diocese of Wellington, Chris is a founding member of the Consultative Group on Trafficking in Persons which is convened by Immigration NZ.

Over the years other key achievements have included research into food banks and poverty with a number of published reports, extensive media work, campaign organising and the setting up of Catalyst, a community trust.  In 1993 Chris was awarded the New Zealand Centennial Suffrage medal for her social justice work.

Amber Leonard Schoss

Amber was born into a big, loving family; and life and ministry has been God’s continuation and growing of that. She eventually realised that many young people in Aotearoa don’t get the care they deserve.  She discovered that some people whose job it is to care do harm; and at the same time some people care very much.  Despite this, she suspected that God had opinions on this.

After finding her way into a walk with Jesus, Amber became part of Urban Vision, the then-new monastic order in which houses of ordinary yet awesome friends make their home alongside friends in neighbourhoods of challenge and hope, living in a way that speaks of the transforming God who lives amongst us.

She lives at home with her husband, Rob; as well as Tim who is part of their whānau. They sometimes share their home and family with Tim’s mum, Amanda; and brother, James; as well as seven other awesome people (and whoever else has the mattresses in the lounge that night!) They live, pray and share life together alongside and among the community of the Cathedral, the Anglican Centre, Anglican Youth Movement houses and our other friends and neighbours.

Amber does not have a job but says that she has lots of cups of tea!  She got part way through a social work degree once but “Jesus kept on asking me to do outrageous things that got in the way!”  She is working on a Bachelor of Theology degree through the University of Otago, and says she loves how studying theology has helped frame some of the things God has to say to His people and the world.

Amber says she feels called to join this “outrageous family” that is the Church and in particular to speak alongside voices that aren’t always heard, and talk about things that are sometimes hard to talk about.  #metoo

Everyone in the diocese is welcome to come to the Cathedral and celebrate with us.  The service will begin at 5pm on Sunday the 13th of May, and will end at approximately 6:15pm

Light supper will be served afterwards.  If you can help, either through providing food or serving it, please read the “How you can help” section to find out more.

Priests are not required to robe, but those in the Household of Deacons, please robe in support of those called to your particular house within God’s church. Robing space is available in the Crypt. Deacons and Archdeacons are invited to process in with Bishops and ordinands at the start of the service. Deacons will be seated separately and after the ordination itself will stand and gather around each Deacon in turn in prayer.

Please send your apologies if you can’t make it to the Bishops’ Office at rebecca@wn.ang.org.nz.

As this is an evening event, drinks and light refreshments will be served in the nave of the Cathedral following the conclusion of the service and we hope you will stay to join Chris, Amber and Lynley in celebrating the commitment they have made. Priests – we would to invite you to serve the Diaconate afterwards by assisting with teas and coffees etc. Please email Gendy if you can volunteer for this. And likewise, if you are able to bring a plate of finger food, that would be amazing as some of the Deacons come from communities with deep needs. Again, if you are able to help in this way, please let Gendy know.

The Cathedral car parks are available for free use on a Sunday, and these will be available on a first come, first served basis. If you have particular parking needs, please contact the Cathedral at admin@wellingtoncathedral.org.nz.

There is pay and display parking available just north of the Cathedral on Molesworth Street, and on-street parking in the Thorndon area is usually available at that time of day, and may have free parking for a certain time – check the signs near where you are parking for more information.