Bishop’s Letter: February 2013

Bishop Justin Duckworth
Bishop Justin Duckworth

Kia ora koutou katoa


What a stunning summer!

Our family has had a great holiday, a few of our highlights were tramping the northern circuit around Mt Ngauruhoe, resting at Omori and attending New Wine at El Rancho with hundreds of other Anglicans. However the holidays are dwindling into the background now as the Diocese moves forward into the adventures that God has for us in 2013 and beyond.

I was deeply impacted as I read the end of Psalm 77 (The message translation) in the morning office;

“Ocean saw you in action, God,
saw you and trembled with fear;
Deep Ocean was scared to death.
Clouds belched buckets of rain,
Sky exploded with thunder,
your arrows flashing this way and that.
From Whirlwind came your thundering voice,
Lightning exposed the world,
Earth reeled and rocked.
You strode right through Ocean,
walked straight through roaring Ocean,
but nobody saw you come or go.”

What resonated with me was the sense of the overwhelming chaos that threatens us, whether it’s global, national or even Diocese. We/I often feel out of control surrounded by many overwhelming obstacles. Yet God walks through unhindered! The problem is “but nobody saw you come or go”. God is active in our chaos, however, the writer of Psalm 77 does not assume that we will ever be able to recognise God’s transformative work in our world. At this time in history I have confidence that God is at work, I pray though that we/I will have eyes to recognise it. We are called always to be a courageous people of faith.

Where ever Jenny and I visit in the Diocese we constantly come away saying they are amazing people. We are so impressed by the courageous signs of hope that are happening around our Diocese despite the surrounding chaos. To mention a few;

  • The completely renewed vicarage at Raetihi and the installation of the Reverend Sam Bate as a Missioner. The courage shown by the parish of Ruapehu is inspirational and the generosity of the wider Diocese in time and money is legendary.
  • The new Diploma programme starting in a few weeks has over 40 participants from across the Diocese.
  • Sending two new young adults to St John’s
  • The service at Marton where the wider Parish gathered along with the year 9 students from Nga Tawa
  • The installation of The Reverend Ellie Sanderson at the parish of Eastbourne, the welcome of the Parishioners and the huge sense of call that Ellie feels to be part of the family of the Diocese of Wellington.
  • Young clergy and family retreat, over 75 family members came to Ngatiawa to strengthen relationships across the Diocese family

My personal favourite Kingdom moment came when I was just about to address a public rally and felt relatively alone and anxious about my contribution. Just then a beneficiary came up to me and said

“God has said that I should come up and pray for you, as what you are doing today is difficult.”

Then this saint quietly prayed that I would have wisdom and courage, then he just disappeared again into the crowd.

I am always impacted that of the ten lepers who were healed by Jesus, only one returned to Jesus to say thanks. We, as a Diocese, need to start the year by saying thank you to God for our life together, it is a challenging and rich life, it is the abundant life!

Family, I would ask you to uphold a couple of matters in prayer in this next month.

  1. The nominators are getting into the final stages in our discerning of a new Dean. Pray that God will guide us in this important task.
  2. The Tikanga Pakeha Bishops are meeting on the 18th of March to discern a new Archbishop for Tikanga Pakeha. I would ask that Parishes pray on the 17th in their services and parishioners remember us in their prayers on the 18th.

Thank you, family.