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.This process will take this year; it is an exciting and scary journey as people like Gareth Bezett and Rob Moonlight join the team and unfortunately others like Tony Gerritsen leave for other challenging ministry positions. Through this transition I realise that any change brings a level of uncertainty – this is natural. However we can trust that the same God, who raised Jesus from the chaos of his crucifixion and death, is still at work in our Diocese through our seasons of change.
Being a family
Last year I encouraged the Diocese to pick up the challenge of being a family. Whatever activity we are involved in, how we are together is as important as what we do. That means, for example, that every meeting is an opportunity to build a greater sense of family and belonging. We are starting to form clergy clusters – strengthening the relationships between Parishes, recognising that we are not islands in ministry but we are in this together. In whatever context we find ourselves in the Diocese in the future what must be true is there is a deepening commitment to our corporate journey together.
Later this year, at Clergy Conference and Synod, I will encourage us to be a Diocese of disciples committed to making disciples; that discipleship will reside at the centre of all we do together.
So going forward as a Diocese we will strategise how to increase our formation and discipleship. Later, in 2014, we will add a third commitment, that we are a Diocese who gives ourselves for the lost, last and least. These three commitments will underpin our life going forward:
We are a Diocesan family
Of disciples making disciples
Who give ourselves for the last, lost and least
These commitments will empower us to reach our Diocesan Missional dreams.
In Synod 2012 we passed a Motion concerned about the rising inequality between rich and poor. I would like to see us reflect that concern in our actions. In the next few months we will be inviting Parishes to a movie discussion night, where we engage with this important justice issue.
A living wage is the income necessary to provide workers and their families with the basic necessities of life. A living wage will enable workers to live with dignity and to participate as active citizens in society.
We call upon the Government, employers and society as a whole to strive for a living wage for all households as a necessary and important step in the reduction of poverty in New Zealand.
It is my hope that following on from this many Parishes will consider adopting the Living Wage Campaign as a practical outworking of this Synod commitment. I know some Parishes have already made an aspirational commitment to implement the Living Wage Campaign over the next few years. On a simple level I can’t help reflecting on John the Baptist’s words in Luke’s Gospel:
“Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”
As a Bishop I am blessed with a good salary, it is hard for me to accept that others within my sphere of influence don’t have a wage that allows them to contribute meaningfully in our wider society. I am happy to limit my wealth acquisition if it means I help somebody else get a living wage.
So can I encourage you and your Parish in time to supporting the Living Wage Campaign, and be willing to pay the price for compassion and justice.
Why should we do this?
Because we are Anglicans; we are faithful followers of Jesus who are willing to pay the price of our convictions.