Living below the line and Synod 2012

Kia ora koutou

This last month has been full of life and potential:

Firstly as a family we survived Living Below The Line for the five days; living on $2.25 each a day.  It was a tough week with the hardest moment for me being when I had lunch with Charles Waldegrave from the Family Centre at an upmarket restaurant.  I had a glass of water as I watched Charles eat the most delicious looking meal.  Poor Charles; I think I might have ruined his scrumptious lunch as he felt guilty for eating while I looked on!

Bishop Justin Duckworth talks to Synod
Bishop Justin Duckworth addresses Synod 2012

I was amazed as I did LBTL of the amount of time I spent thinking about my next meal and how to make the meal work.  It reminded me that for much of the world, this is a constant experience of concentrating each day on just feeding one’s family.  What I enjoyed about LBTL was the camaraderie between fellow participants, whether it was Bishops, other Clergy or numerous people within our Diocese – the sense of community as we went through a similar experience together was great.

People having Eucharist in The Square, Palmerston North, as part of Synod 2012
Synod 2012 Eucharist in The Square, Palmerston North

Having just finished LBTL, I was delighted at Synod that one of the motions passed was concerned with addressing the growing inequalities within our own bountiful land, where the disparity between the rich and the rest is dramatically increasing.  I have spent time reflecting on this motion and the Climate Change motion, particularly wondering what we as a Diocese can do.  In some sense it’s easy to pass a motion at Synod on these issues as just about all agree that these are huge areas of concern.  The more challenging issue is what we actually do.  As God’s people it is important that we are doers and not just talkers.

Synod though wasn’t just talking – we also danced!  Saturday night of Synod was a real treat as we joined together in a barn dance.  We had talked together during the day of the importance in these challenging times of “being family”, however that night we were.  We danced, laughed and ate together.

It has been Jenny’s and my pleasure to visit different parts of the family this month.  To return to Stokes Valley after all these years was a moving experience – we were not prepared for how God is so present in this Parish.  The connection with neighbourhood young people and their families was truly miraculous.  It was our joy to encourage the Parish to not spend the best of their energy on the challenges they face, but instead to focus on joining in what God’s spirit is already doing amongst them.  So often we fight fires in ministry as opposed to following the fire of God in our midst.

Finally last weekend we spent Sunday in Pahiatua and Eketahuna, enjoying the hospitality of God’s people.  It was my privilege to confirm five young people.  The Parish was a beautiful picture of the Kingdom, with intergenerational and multicultural diversity, all sharing in the Kingdom Banquet.  I would like to thank all the Clergy and leadership by name, however having seen them all, there would not be room on this page!

I think on that note I want to just recognise how blessed we are as a Diocese and say thank you to God once again for the life he has called us all to.  We want to be a people of gratitude.



See also The Perfect Storm: Bishop’s Charge to Synod