Jesus: central to our faith

Bishop Justin Duckwoth
Bishop Justin Duckworth

Greetings Family

I have been reflecting this month about the centrality of Jesus to our faith. I was impacted when I sat through three different talks by gifted Anglicans. All talks were inspirational and had great content; they all talked about the parables, teaching and ethics of Jesus. However in each case I can’t remember Jesus actually being mentioned by name. It made me reflect on my own life, whether my faith has become a “formula” based on Jesus but no longer actually connected to Him.

As a follower of Jesus I am more convinced than ever that the core of our faith must revolve around Jesus. It has been my pleasure to be involved in a few Confirmation services in this last month. I particularly remember wonderful services at All Saints’, Palmerston North, St James’, Lower Hutt, St Philip’s, Stokes Valley and St Peter’s, Pahiatua. It was a great privilege to set these people apart as they commit themselves to following Jesus for life. To pray afresh for each of them that God’s Spirit would empower them in emulating the way of Jesus and strengthening their relationship with the living God. Each Confirmation reminds me of my own life commitment to follow Jesus where ever he leads, and to willingly embrace the joy and struggles of that calling.

I would encourage us all, as we head into Advent, to reflect on the centrality of Jesus to our lives. As Anglicans it would be great if we were not primarily known for our great church services, our slick programmes, our wonderful Choirs or even our compassionate social services; but for being people of Jesus.

What excites me at the moment is the courage shown by the Wanganui Archdeaconry. As a family they have undertaken to do a significant makeover of the Raetihi Vicarage. I even believe that John Rowan had Bishop Mwita Akiri from Tanzania up there helping! I am planning to join the youth of the Diocese in lending a hand on 10 and 11 December. I find these times often the richest times: joining with other followers of Jesus, rolling up our sleeves and getting stuck in to make a tangible difference. Returning the Vicarage to a livable standard will enable us to place a gifted Missioner in our Northern most Parish. When I talk to Archdeacon Elizabeth Body I am overwhelmed with the stories of God’s provision through God’s people. A loaf and a fish here and there, and slowly the place is being transformed – one small miracle of generosity at a time. Well done Family.

May you be captivated once again by the passion, person and mission of Jesus.

+Justin

Ted Dashfield’s Diamond Jubilee

Rev. Ted Dashfield

On December 2, Advent Sunday, Ted Dashfield celebrates the 60th anniversary of his ordination as a priest.

Ted, who has spent 58 of his 60 years in the church in the Wairarapa, was born in 1926 in Wanganui, the fourth of five children. “It was quite a good year,” he says. “The Queen, Marilyn Monroe, Phar Lap and President Mugabe were of the same vintage.”

Service not self

In 1931, at the start of the Depression, the barefoot Sunday-School regular became a pupil at Queens Park School, close to the Sarjeant Art Gallery and what is now the Whanganui Regional Museum. He remembers passing through the entrance archway inscribed with the school motto: Service not self.

Eight years later he entered Wanganui Collegiate, whose then headmaster, F.W. Gillgan, had kept wicket for Essex and was to exert a strong influence over Ted’s life. There he was confirmed in the school chapel and regularly fainted from hunger before the 8am Sunday service.

When World War ll broke out “boys were leaving school and going away and being killed,” says Ted.

“The war, the Holocaust and the atomic bomb were somehow the background of my life.”

Off to Japan

After two unsuccessful applications to Australia’s Royal Military College – Duntroon he joined J Force in the 22nd Battalion in 1946. The proud motto of the 22nd, once commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Haddon Donald, was Second to None. His ship arrived in Kure, Japan, base of the miniature submarines that penetrated Sydney Harbour, and the 2000-strong brigade was based in Yamuguchi Prefecture, very close to Hiroshima.

There, “a ‘mad’ padre got under my skin,” says Ted. “I’ll talk about him at the Advent Sunday services. I also remember a little Japanese boy calling out to me, ‘Shoeshine? Shoeshine, soldier?” at about 2am at the Osaka railway station and giving up my hopes and plans to be a soldier. I thought the army was not the best way for me any longer. I’ll be talking about that, too.” (For ten years Ted was part of the army’s army’s Chaplain’s Department.)

He served two terms in Japan, the best part of three years, then came home and applied for ordination. “To my surprise, after quite a wait, I was accepted.”

Masterton Curate

Clipping of parish magazine entry, showing the Rev. Ted Dashfield as Assistant Curate, 1952
Parish magazine directory entry from 1952

After two years’ training at College House in Christchurch Ted was ordained deacon in 1951, priested in 1952 and served as curate at St Matthew’s, Masterton, for three years. Kingi Ihaka, later Sir Kingi, was a curate there at the same time.

In Masterton he met Helen Berney, twin daughter of Dr Hugh and Lilian Berney. Strangely, says Ted, Hugh Berney was the doctor who attended the riot by Japanese prisoners of war at the Featherston military camp.

In 1955 they married and immediately sailed to England where Ted was to spend two years as curate in Cannock in the diocese of Lichfield. “They were wonderful people; a vicar, five curates and a Church Army captain.”

Tinui beckons

Rev. Ted Dashfield welcomes parishioners at Whareama

The Rev’d Ted Dashfield welcomes the Douglas family to St Andrew’s, Whareama, 1958 – 01-25/129.digital

At the end of his term he received a letter from the Bishop of Wellington Reginald Owen asking him to become vicar of Tinui. “The bishop said it’s the only vacancy, and please let me know by return post!” He did so.

Interior - St John the Evangelist, Homewood

The lovely light interior of St John the Evangelist, Homewood

In Tinui from 1957 to 1964, he was involved with the establishment of St John’s, Homewood and, with great help from Castlepoint residents Jack and Erica Broad, he helped prepare the ground for St Peter’s by the Sea. They obtained land from the government of Sir Keith Holyoake, Ted chose the name St Peter’s by the Sea and things were underway when he left Tinui to become vicar of Carterton.

Dashfield family

The Dashfield family, taken while Ted was Vicar of Carterton.
Left to right: Helen, James (standing), Ted, with Philip and Prue sitting in front. 

Headmaster

Then, “out of the blue”, he was appointed headmaster of St Matthew’s Collegiate School, serving there from 1969 – 1980 and starting a fashion for male principals in girls’ schools.

School chaplaincies at Nga Tawa and Huntly followed; then two terms as interregnum headmaster of St George’s School Wanganui in 1982.

Back to Tinui

Pressed then by Bishop Eddie Norman, “the soldier bishop”, to become priest in charge of Tinui, Ted felt he had been there, done that and politely declined. The bishop politely insisted, and Ted said “I’ll do it for six months which will give you time to find somebody else.” The six months became almost six years! Home for the duration was their Riversdale bach.

Ted eventually “retired” in 1988.


Join us at St Matthew’s Church for 8am Eucharist and/or 7pm Choral Evensong, Advent Sunday, December 2. All are very welcome.

Prison Fellowship moves on from faith-based unit

The Faith Based Unit (FBU) at Rimutaka Prison will close in November and Prison Fellowship NZ will celebrate its work at the prison with events over the weekend of November 24th and 25th.

Changed focus

Although the Prison Fellowship knows they have made a difference in the lives of many men, they have been unable to prove this satisfactorily to the Department of Corrections.

The Prison Fellowship continues to support the Department’s work to reduce recidivism, using the interest and skills of their mainly Christian communities.

They want to work across the entire prison system so more volunteers and churches get the opportunity to help transform lives

They are looking for a place in the correctional system that fits both Christian communities’ needs and Ÿthe Department’s. At the moment that seems to be in the self-care units in 10 prisons.

They are exploring with Corrections ways of using the experience gained from the 9 years in the FBU to identify new opportunities.

They are keen to make the self-care units a “village” which prepares men and women well for their Ÿeventual release.

They will continue support for men and women in the community through the Community Throughcare schemes, including

  • Target Communities,
  • halfway houses,
  • assisted accommodation, etc

so that they can remain crime free.

They have done this after a great deal of prayer and discussions.

Continuing care

They are working with the Prison Chaplaincy Service of Aotearoa to ensure that the spiritual needs of the men they have been caring in Unit 7 at Rimutaka continue to be met, and will be walking alongside those for whom they have already started making transition plans for as they leave prison.

Further information is available in a special issue of the Prison Fellowship Newsletter