December 2017/January 2018

Greetings everyone, 

I spent an hour with some of the younger clergy from Marlborough on Tuesday and they were certainly feeling the wind-up to Christmas. They were tired but still excited by all the plans to celebrate Christmas. That would be the same for every one of us. We want to make the most of the opportunity to celebrate the great reality of the incarnation but we get trapped in the rush and bustle of end-of-year activities, holiday plans and everything else. Thank you sincerely for all you are doing. It’s been great to experience some of those pre-Christmas activities already. 

I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Jude Saxon as Youth Ministry Enabler for the Diocese.  He is based at BTC as well as working some hours in the Anglican Centre.  Jude is also being employed as Internships Enabler for Bishopdale College, where he will have oversight of Interns and internship placements as well as tutor the Internship courses.  There is significant cross-over in these two roles, as new Interns appear across our Diocese, including Cobden in 2018. 

Jude has a strong background in Youth ministry, having been Youth Pastor at Richmond New Life church for a number of years.  He also has significant experience in regional and national youth networks and organising groups.  Jude is a relational person and we are confident that he will put a lot of his energy into building relationships with Youth leaders and resourcing the work across our Diocese.  Both the Diocesan team and the team at Bishopdale College are excited to welcome Jude and begin building networks and relationships with him.     027 6238746

I took part in a wonderful service at All Saints on 3 December, with seven people offering themselves for confirmation. So exciting to see the calibre and commitment of these young people. All Saints had also been the venue for a public reconciliation ceremony the previous week between the Mayor (representing the Council) and Hone Ma Heke (an interesting character who has been camped outside the Farmers store for the last few years – despite several attempts to move him on). Through the efforts of one of All Saints parishioners this ceremony of reconciliation was held at which the Rev Simon Martin preached a superb message – perfect for the occasion. So inspiring to see the church truly being the church within the local community. The news report can be viewed on: 

A couple of weeks back a very special service was held in the Awatere on the first anniversary of the earthquake. The Anglican Church in Ward was packed and about 50 Ni-Vans squeezed into the sanctuary.  It was a lovely service – photos can be seen in the Witness which is coming out this week. It was a bittersweet service though because at the end I announced that Dawn was resigning from her position in the Awatere to spend a year (under the auspices of CMS) teaching at the Presbyterian College in Vanuatu. The look of joy and surprise on the faces of the Ni-Vans was a huge testimony to her ministry which has been outstanding in the midst of so many setbacks – personally and parochially. Dawn will be finishing up at Christmas and moving to Vanuatu toward the end of January. We wish her every blessing.

I was in Buller on the 26th November to celebrate 150 years since the building of the first Church of St John’s in Westport. Those early years were pretty tough on the Coast. Two years after the church was built a tsunami ripped through the town dragging house and land right out to sea. Two years later weeks of rain saw the Buller River burst its banks and flood the town. But still they persevered – and it says something about the tenacity of the Coasters. It was, again, a wonderful service. I was thinking about Bishop Suter as I drove down the lower Buller Gorge. When he went there they got as far as Inangahua and then had to travel by boat down the Buller to Westport. Suter’s recollections of the rapids are quite graphic. 

Then on 1 December - Friday evening - we took part in rather an historic occasion when we joined with our Tikanga partners to have a joint ordination (of Henk Lups and Luke Shaw from Nelson and John Hyland from Te Pihopatanga o Te Wai Pounamu) and the presentation of Nani Wiki and Ramari Joseph as Archdeacon and Canon respectively.  Wonderful to be able to welcome Bishop Richard Wallace back into the Cathedral!

 Our grateful thanks and love go to Kevin Topp who recently retired as Priest-in-Charge of the parish of Kaikoura.  Kevin and Sandy have had an amazing ministry down there and this Diocese owes them so much. We pray they might enjoy a very well-earned retirement in the Marlborough Sounds (in the parish of Havelock about a kilometre from our retirement home!!) 

Also great to be able to congratulate Rebecca Burgess and Kate Dugdale who have both completed PhDs this year and are both associated with BTC. This is an amazing achievement from two very talented and gifted women. We are so proud of them. 

Hilary and I are travelling to Fiji to take part in the episcopal ordination of the Rev Henry Bull – who will be the new Bishop of Vanua Levu. Many within the Diocese will remember Henry’s ministry here a few years ago as part of a SOMA team from Fiji who spent time in the Diocese following a national Missions conference.  He is a man of great integrity and very deep faith. I am so excited about this appointment.

 Please don’t forget our Diocesan ‘Convergence’ camp that will feature Steve & Watiri Maina at Kaiteriteri in February. It is a wonderful Diocesan occasion in a beautiful spot. There will be separate children and youth programmes running during this camp. 

Finally, my  sincere thanks to the Rev Yvonne McLean who is stepping down as Regional Dean of Nelson.  She is such a faithful servant. I have appointed the Very Rev Mike Hawke (a natural gatherer of people) into this role. 

May God’s richest joy and blessing be with you as you celebrate the birth of Christ and may you enjoy good times of relaxation with family and friends during the holiday period.


With every blessing


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