Just over two weeks ago we moved into Thorndon. After living in the beautiful Reikorangi Valley for nearly 11 years it feels good but strange to be back in the city. The shift went well so thank you to everybody who helped carry boxes, etc. Continue reading →
As we approach the shortest day and the heart of winter, I pray that we each may experience afresh God’s love, grace and compassion in the darkness of our own lives.
Often, as a Bishop, I get asked three questions: the first normally revolves around my appearance – having dreadlocks and bare feet or jandals; the second is my view on the same sex issues facing the Church; and the distant third is around my seeming addiction to sausage rolls … Continue reading →
The media fascination with Bishop Justin Duckworth continues, with a recent article in Wellington’s Dompost.
By the glow of a candle stub cradled inside a coconut shell, Justin Duckworth says sorry for letting anxiety and stress get in the way. And at morning prayers the next day, in the tiny chapel he helped build in the foothills of the Tararua Range, the Bishop of Wellington asks God for insight into a difficult problem. Continue reading →
As I spend time around the Diocese it becomes apparent that people are embracing the reality that we are in a season of change. We are all experiencing the normal sense of anxiety as we venture into the unknown.
For me personally, this has taken the form of working hard to form a Diocesan leadership team to help us navigate in this new environment. Continue reading →
I have been reflecting on giving up coffee around two years ago. I gave up when I started consuming five or more cups a day, and noticed that I was feeling ‘wired’ most of the day and also had a low level of anxiety through the day. So I was surprised last week to again feel ‘coffee wired’ and initially thought that Alayne may have been spiking my herbal tea with caffeine! She assured me that she certainly had not, and the disappointing thing was that I had had no coffee! Continue reading →
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.
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.
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.
Greetings friends and family, it has been a busy end to the year. I have just finished the prizegiving season with our schools. I joked with the Principals that I was running league tables judging each Principal’s speech for content, delivery and most of all length. I was once again impressed by the calibre and achievement of the young people in our schools. However it also reminded me of the Biblical principle “for whom much is given much is expected” – we are involved in education so that our young people can be formed and educated to take their place in creating a just world; reflective of God’s Kingdom coming on earth as it is in Heaven.
Raetihi Vicarage makeover
I managed to escape for a few days and join many others from the Diocese in Raetihi as we DIY’d the Vicarage. It was a great few days that had many Kingdom ingredients. There was at least 35 of us from all around the Diocese; 25 were young people, and it was intergenerational (even my Dad came from Melbourne). We worked hard and laughed a lot. It was a joy to see old ones pass on skills to younger ones – Chris Casey teaching teenagers to scrape and prepare window sills for painting, and then teach them good painting technique (not that I am saying that Chris is that old!)
We experienced amazing hospitality with phenomenal meals and enough baking to force a growing Bishop to consider a diet. People have been so generous in donating building materials. However even with this input, Alison from Raetihi informed me that they were rebuilding in faith; the giving income was less than the upgrade expenditure. We both agreed though, that God’s provision was always good for his projects (just in case you missed it, this was a subtle hint to consider donating a few dollars to help!!) When I reflect on our Diocese commitment to “being family” I thought this was a great example of the family in action. I came away energised and thanking God for the people of this Diocese.
Support and goodwill
I want to take this opportunity as the year grows to an end to just say how much I have appreciated the support and goodwill we as a family have experienced as we have started this new season of ministry. I am still humbled daily by people’s grace and encouragement as I grow into this calling.
Ted Dashfield mentioned in despatches
I finish this Advent news with a few words I received from Archdeacon May Croft reflecting on her attendance at an Evensong at St Matthew’s, Masterton; a celebration of Reverend Ted Dashfield’s 60th anniversary of being Priest.
“Ted’s address was wonderful …he has a way with words and can be quite profound. He ended by saying something like ‘… oh just one more thing … it’s all about Jesus you know and how we relate to him … who we think he is.’”
The 2012 Diocesan Ordination Service was held in Wellington Cathedral on Saturday, 24 November.
Nine deacons were ordained to the priesthood, and one to the diaconate. (See list of names of those who were ordained here.)
Bishop Justin’s sermon – enthusiastically endorsed with laughter and applause – asked the 10 new ordinands to live dangerously, to live adventurously. And the outreach benefits of hitchhiking. Great listening!
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.