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Diocesan Vision

2018 BISHOP'S CHARGE

The Most Reverend Philip Richardson

Kia whakakorōria ki te Atua i runga rawa, kia mau te rongo ki runga ki te whenua, kia pai te whakaaro ki nga tangata katoa.

Hōnore ki te Arikinui te Kingi ko Tūheitia. Ki te kāhui ariki katoa, ma te Atua rātou e manaaki e tiaki i nga wā katoa. Ki te waka Tainui tēnā koutou. Ki te iwi o Ngāti Maniapoto, tēnā koutou. Ki te Pīhopatanga o Aotearoa ki te Amorangi ki Te Manawa o Te Wheke, tēnā koutou.

E te maungatapu e tū ra, ko Taranaki, tēnā koe: ki te waka Tokomaru, te waka Aotea, te waka Kurahaupō, tēnā koutou. Nga mihi nui ki te Pīhopatanga o Aotearoa ki te Amorangi ki te Upoko o Te Ika.

We have glorified God with the first language of this country.

We have honoured Kīngi Tuheitia and his household, we have greeted the Tainui tribal confederation, including Ngāti Maniapoto, as well as our partners in mission from the Maori Bishopric of Te Manawa o Te Wheke.

We have acknowledged the presence of the sacred mountain of Taranaki. We have acknowledged the Taranaki tribes as well as our partners in mission from the Maori Bishopric of Te Upoko O Te Ika.

Thanks

Thanks to all of you who gather for this synod – you have had two synods this year – which is probably one too many!!  However, this is my fourth Synod and my fourth Charge. I want to thank my very good friend and colleague Jeremy Johnson who is the acting Chancellor for this Synod. Jeremy is the Chancellor of the Diocese of Christchurch and one of my two Primatial legal advisors. Jeremy has, more than anyone I know, worked tirelessly to assist the Church to address the challenge of facing into the realities of identity in Christ and human sexuality. He has brought grace, dignity, intelligence and experience. I am in his debt, the Church is in his debt. He is a passionate disciple of Jesus and an inspiration to me.

My thanks particularly to the senior leadership team of this Diocese who have carried significant additional demands and workload since the beginning of this year. You are absolute stars and it is a genuine privilege to call you my colleagues

I want to acknowledge Belinda and our children who have been so patient and kind in the face of my absences. I love you more than I can find adequate words to express.

 

 

In Memoriam

For those who have served the Diocese, and this Synod in particular, who have died during this last year we give thanks to God. And we also hold the many others known to each of us here tonight in this moment of thanksgiving. The names of those notified to the Bishops office will be included in the final version of this Charge for the record of the Diocese. They include; the Reverend Geoff Ginevar, Mr Ian Mitchell.

Please stand. May they rest in peace and rise in glory

Artirikona Tikituterangi Raumati

 

Archdeacon Tiki could trace his whakapapa back over 1,000 years. They say every great preacher really only has one sermon and many ways of saying the same thing! Tiki had three sermons: “The truth shall set you free”, “peace at all costs”, “he tangata, he tangata, he tangata”. Rooted in whakapapa and whenua, - Gospel driven proclamation.

These simple Gospel messages straddle the fault lines between Maori and Pakeha in Church and Society.  In the end we will all, in the prophetic words of Te Whiti o Rongomai, be speckled potatoes, we will all be of mixed whakapapa Maori and Pakeha, all that might divide us from our past and present will be drawn together – so honestly face the past and we will be liberated for a new future, a society based on peace, truth, justice and right-relationship.

 

Much to the consternation of many, Tikituterangi – great, great grandson of Te Whiti o Rongomai - asked to be buried in the churchyard at St Mary’s New Plymouth; a conflicted and difficult space, especially for Maori. This Church stood on one side of the war that saw the illegal confiscation of all land from Taranaki Maori. In death he wanted to build bridges, to help us face into our history in order to build a future for our children and their children. That was his life’s work. We are all into this together. For him this was the message of the cross, the message of the Gospel. This was the focus of his discipleship of Jesus. So he asked to lie next to the soldiers and the Crown agents who took the land of his people. Reconciliation is the Gospel: It cost the life of the son of God. Reconciliation is almost unknown - we have peace in many places but that is not reconciliation. That deep God-given gift: that takes time, sacrifice, perseverance, honesty, it is costly – it cost the life of the son of God. Presence is essential in reconciliation. You have to be there it is intergenerational work. 
 

Manawa o te Wheke and Upoko o te Ika
 

The past year has seen considerable deepening of our relationships with nga Amorangi o te Manawa o te Wheke me te Upoko o te Ika. This has been at a local level and at a Diocesan level. In particular it is wonderful to welcome our partner in mission the Reverend Ngira Simmonds. Ngira you are highly respected and you are among family. Your role as Manutaki is demanding and wide ranging. Whatever we can do to support your ministry we will try to do. We need to address our common mission collaboratively and distinctively. We will seek to be good partners. Thank you for being here.

 

 

Repeating the heart of it:

 

Over the years, in successive Bishop’s Charges, we have repeatedly identified that there are three intersecting priorities in the proclamation of the Gospel, three points of focus:

worship / prayer / thanksgiving; discipleship/ formation / education; commitment to community / service / outreach -evangelism.


To repeat the heart of it: the Gospel that Jesus and all the New Testament writers proclaimed was simply “the present availability of life in the Kingdom of God to everyone through trusting Jesus”. It’s the good news that you can begin a new kind of life with God right now by placing your trust in Jesus and his words. It’s an invitation to participate now in the life of God, joining him in what he’s doing right now on Earth. Life under God’s rule is available to anyone who wants it, and we enter that life by trusting Jesus (which is what “believing in” him means). That’s the good news Jesus and the apostles preached.

As we live out and incarnate this gospel, we also need to be ready to “give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have” (1 Peter 3: 15). We need to be ready to tell someone the good news when the opportunity arises, with gentleness and respect, of course, but also with clarity and boldness. But there’s a challenge for us here: When was the last time someone asked you to give the reason for the hope (or faith or love) you have? It’s easy to become consumed by coming up with answers to questions that nobody is asking, rather than focusing on living authentically faithful lives in close enough proximity to people who might actually ask us some questions about the hope we have!
 

State of the Diocese:


Let me talk a little about the state of the Diocese. The Road Map presentation tomorrow will provide the third update on the work that has been undertaken by many people to address the serious financial, governance and management challenges we have had to face in the Diocese. We are facing squarely into some up-hill challenges.

 

Our congregations are growing older, there is decline in attendances and traditional congregational life is tough. It is hard to make traditional congregational life work in the midst of significant social trends that have been going on for decades. This is especially true if we wish to remain embedded in particular communities, serving the whole community. “Gathered” congregations are sustainable especially in large urban areas.. Bishop Helen-Ann and I  detailed these social trends in the Synod Charge last year, based largely on the research work of Dr Kevin Ward over the past 40 years. So much of this will not to be addressed by ‘doing what we have always done harder or better’.

Here is the key message from last year: belonging needs to happen before believing can occur. And this is the key question: How do our churches become the kinds of communities to which those completely outside the Church may make come kind of connection, and therefore might possibly someday end up belonging, and so eventually come to believe?

All of that said, it has been my privilege to visit many communities across the Diocese and indeed across the country where this ‘place to belong’ has been very evident. Those visits have shown me some remarkable examples of “mission against the odds”. Just to mention two. I had a great visit to Katikati earlier this year. The Reverend Brendon Gibbs has been there as Vicar for as long as I have been a bishop in the Diocese. It is a strong, diverse, positive congregation with a varied range of ministries and responses to the local town and district. In no small part this is due to Brendon’s leadership. It was abundantly clear to me just how embedded in that community he is. His intimate knowledge of the people and their lives, his clear delight in them and the way his life is woven with theirs. This is the heart of ordained ministry, faithful, deliberate, dealing with the ordinary stuff. Ordinary - extraordinary ministry!

 

Another visit that touched me was a recent visit to St Mark’s Nawton, to Joel and Suzanne Rowse. They kept telling me how ordinary their ministry is, how they were doing nothing particularly innovative. Well …. I am not sure I agree! Again what I witnessed is a deep commitment to that community and its people, faithful, resilient, surprised by how God won’t let them leave. People clearly have a place to belong. This was deeply sacrificial ministry.

 

There is great strength and courage in these types of ministries and I honour them.

I am delighted in all sorts of signs of God’s faithfulness in the Diocese. The way God honours our endeavours. Here is a list of many but let me highlight a few:
    

  • 23 younger people (in their 20’s and 30’s) offering themselves for ministry across the Diocese over past 3 years:
  • Food Together
  • Marfell Community Housing Opportunity
  • Recycle a Bicycle and Red Cross relationship
  • Waitara Community: Jared and Jess Dixon – sacrificial, intentional engagement with those on the edge.
  • New Youth Programmes in Waikato and Taranaki
  • Seasons for Growth in Hamilton
  • Collaboration with Auckland and Waiapu over discernment
  • Collaboration with Te Manawa o Te Wheke (25 years+)
  • Kuching Exchange resulting in increased collaboration and new youth exchanges Hamilton Urban Deanery
  • Missional collaboration in Hamilton: Anglican Action plus Claudelands
  • Lay Leader of a Cooperating Parish: Heather Major
  • LiFT Programme: technology, educational quality, 160 people over two years aged from under 10 to over 80
  • Two new PhD students in theology for Diocesan Clergy
  • Funding for new narrative web portal
  • Funding for new youth Catechesis resource.
  • Funding for Provincial App with significant Waikato and Taranaki input: eKarakia
  • Introduction of Good Soil Collective (3DM) to Diocese
  • EfM made available for up to 120 people
  • New regular online communication FREE
  • New regular Bishop’s Training Days for clergy
  • New stewardship resource made available
  • Formal exploration and promotion of Parish Nursing
  • Normalised use of online feedback and registration tools
  • New community Garden at St David’s and St George’s (Dinsdale) directly benefitting school children and families
  • Two new Selwyn Centres (Chartwell and Dinsdale)
  • Collaboration with Te Rautini providing significant income to Dinsdale, refurbished interior, and youth worker(s)
  • New lay Deans in North Taranaki with the “Workshop” project underway
  • Archdeacons with portfolios: demonstrating delegation and experimentation

 

I want to pay tribute to the leadership of the Diocesan Manager and the small Diocesan administration team and the greater interdependence which is growing with the Bishop’s Staff team.

 

  1. Diocesan Staff:
    1. Additional staff capacity within the Diocesan Office within existing budgets
    2. Increasingly vibrant office environment
    3. Rhythm of annual staff reviews introduced
  2. Finances:
    1. Balanced 2019 operating budget
    2. Revised Parish Accounting fee structure using assessment formula and continuing to be subsidised
  3. Refreshed Finance and Audit and MMRS committees operating
  4. Developing partnership with Manawa o Te Wheke including prospect of co-location with Rev Ngira Simmonds.
  5. Growing policy and guidelines portfolio addressing key issues
  6. Growing understanding of the management requirements for the future of the Diocese

 

I want to also affirm:

 

  1. Trust Management are providing up to date, easy to access and robust financial reporting and analysis and we are developing an increasingly positive and proactive relationship;
  2. Diocesan team have responded to changes and additions really well and continue to embrace new challenges and opportunities;
  3. Stephen Black for his enthusiasm for exploring what might be in his role as Director of Vocations;
  4. Robin Brockie as Executive Financial Governor for his continuing insight and analysis over financial matters across the entire Diocesan structure;
  5. Bishop’s Staff for engaging on a journey about their growing leadership role
  6. Standing Committee for working with a new management approach and allowing time to test this

 

Embedded Communities

The bishops spoke last year about a major initiative to develop a range of self-sustaining embedded communities.

Small communities of Christians, embedded in our towns and suburbs, living out a rule of life with a focus on

  • Prayer - a daily rhythm of prayer
  • Discipleship – lifelong commitment to growing into Christ and intentional discipling of others
  • Service – particularly of those most vulnerable and marginalized in our society

What might these look like? (from the 2017 Bishops’ Charge)

  • A group of families and individuals living in their own homes who gather together for prayer and eucharist, intentional reflection on what it means to be disciples, and committed in their local context to serving the last, the lost and the least
  • A couple of houses in the Catalyst housing initiative which Simon Cayley will speak about tomorrow, one house could be home to a family who commit to that community long term while the other house is for others to come for shorter periods of time to be part of the ministry of that place.
  • A retreat centre with a focus on healing and education, spiritual formation and refuge. Again with a small community of hosts at it’s heart offering hospitality and committed to prayer, discipleship and service.
  • A social enterprise such as a cafe with a couple of families owning and running it, as a means of income and community connection.
  • A social enterprise responding to employment among young men run by members of one of the embedded communities.
  • An embedded community offering support to young people in one of our smaller towns where there is little for young people to do and where gang culture is strongly determinative.
  • What would it look like if an embedded community of young adults was linked to one of our schools and involved in the provision and training of Chaplaincy.
  • Or a community associated with the life and ministry of our Cathedrals?
  • There are some exciting possibilities for partnership with Manawa o te Wheke and Upoko o te Ika in a number of our communities.
  • A current discussion is taking place about what a relationship between some of these embedded communities and our Theological College St John’s College might look like. Perhaps with students living in one of the embedded communities within our Diocese while continuing with their studies. So for a period, say a year, their theological training and education will be from within the context of this disciplined life of prayer, intentional discipleship and service.

So this new mode of being, which is as old as our faith, might be that, instead of the vicar in the vicarage, the local expression of ministry and mission could be a small community of Christians living in a way that commends the gospel to the wider community in which they are set. It is not hard to imagine that this way of being church would also have an impact on how we might gather the local Christian community together for Sunday worship. We are seeing the establishment of such communities in a number of places in the Diocese. By next year Synod we will have some of these speaking for themselves.

 

 

Bishops staff team:

 

I want to particularly acknowledge the Bishop’s Staff team: Archdeacons, Deans, Diocesan Manager and Director of Vocations. My goodness you have stepped up. To the Reverend Sue Burns, thank you so much for working with us at each meeting, helping us to build a healthy culture, and to help us reflect carefully and strategically.

 

Archdeaconry developments:

 

I signalled at our special Synod in January that I believed smaller clusters of parishes was important to foster closer relationships, inter-dependence in mission and mutual support. I have been deeply grateful for the hard work of Trevor Harrison, Christine Scott, Paul Weeding, Joyce Marcon, Val Riches and Malcolm French. In Waikato Archdeaconry the model of co-Archdeacons seems to be working well with Paul and Joyce supporting each other while also having particular ministry units they give particular attention to individually. In Piako we are moving to splitting that large and spread out Archdeaconry into two. This will happen immediately following this Synod after final consultation with ministry units about where the line will fall. Archdeacon Malcolm will be responsible for the southern part of Piako. Val Riches has served this Diocese at the most senior level throughout her ministry career. She has been an archdeacon in two archdeaconries and Vicar General for an extended period. She brings wisdom, compassion and an extraordinarily generous spirit to everything she does. Val has indicated to me that she wishes to step down as Archdeacon and while I am sad about that, and will miss her experience and knowledge of the Diocese from Bishop’ Staff, I have had to agree that the time is right in order for her to be able give greater focus to some exciting ministry developments. I am very pleased to announce that the Reverend Terry Ellis has accepted my invitation to serve the northern part of Piako as Archdeacon. Terry has served as a priest throughout the Diocese and in Paeroa for a significant period of time. He also shared his considerable passion and skill as part time diocesan children and family worker for a number of years. Terry brings a humble, pastoral heart to the Bishop’s staff team and I am looking forward to his perspective and his wisdom.

 

Archdeacons are also picking up specific portfolios and I am grateful that Val will continue to chair Boards of Nomination in the Waikato.


Episcopal leadership going forward

 

In 1997 this Synod agreed to the amalgamation of the northern parishes of the Diocese of Wellington into the Diocese of Waikato. At the same Synod final agreement was reached on the establishment of a second Bishop for the Diocese. At General Synod in 1998 these developments were approved and on the 14th of February 1999 at Stratford in Taranaki an electoral college of the Diocese elected me as the first bishop in Taranaki. In 2008 the General Synod made the necessary constitutional changes to enable two bishops to share the one position of Diocesan bishop. A first for the Anglican Communion. Dual Episcopacy in that formal sense has lasted for a decade. With the resignation of Bishop Helen-Ann Hartley and the recognition that funding from the Episcopal endowment had not been enough to cover the costs of the Bishops for some years we resolved on the 20th of January this year that I would be the sole bishop in the Diocese. It was agreed that each subsequent synod would receive a report on progress towards resolving matters in a way that would allow consideration of a second bishop. More will be said about financial realities in the “Road Map” update tomorrow. But in short income from the endowment has shrunk, and despite significant cost cutting over the years and especially with only one bishop, we still are not breaking even. Steps are being taken to address that which will be described tomorrow, however I can say that three years ago I wrote a paper for the SJCTB setting out an argument  for St John’s funding for the ministry of Bishops. This, after extensive consultation has been approved and from 2019 some funding will be available. This will allow our current structure of one bishop to be fully funded next year and to provide support for those who carry the load of shared leadership.

 

However I need to say as clearly as I can that the point made by Bishop David Moxon in 1997 that this large and diverse Diocese cannot be adequately led in mission by one bishop remains true. A bishop has unique missional opportunities across Church and Society. Such leadership is necessary in both Waikato and Taranaki. Setting aside the matter of funding we need to urgently address the shape of leadership going forward.

 

To this end I am intending to appoint a small commission to explore all options. This Commission will be made up of up-to three commissioners from outside the Diocese but will be supported by an advisory group drawn from Standing Committee and Bishop’s Staff.

 

I will announce further details within the month.
 

Primacy

 

It is true this has been a demanding period to be Primate of the Church in some way a perfect storm. Not only an unprecedented number of changes in episcopal leadership across the province but also generational shifts in leadership of the other two Tikanga which has on several occasions left me feeling as though I was the ‘last primate standing’. We have also had an unprecedented number of complaints to deal with and my small office has been under constant pressure as a result. One of the many reasons I am so grateful to Jeremy Johnson is because of some work he and a colleague are doing for us which will provide a strong and consistent way of addressing complaints.

 

The passing of Motion 7 at General Synod marked a significant decision point in a process which has been in train since the first Commission on Human sexuality in 1976. The need to facilitate and support processes, especially in the Diocese of Christchurch to support those individuals wishing to disaffiliate, has been demanding and time consuming the fact that this coincided with an episcopal vacancy in that Diocese added to the challenges. I am grateful for the leadership Archbishop David Moxon provided through the electoral process in Christchurch and the role other bishop will provide in the upcoming Episcopal vacancy in Nelson.

 

All that said the opportunity to lead this Church at a critical time has been a profound privilege and I am grateful for the support of colleagues and the Grace of our loving God.


Kuching
 

Finally a word about the relationship with the Diocese of Kuching. This has spanned more than 25 years and is a fruitful as it has ever been. The Bishop of Kuching, bishop Danald and Julita have just left the Diocese with a strong commitment to deepen the partnership and to widen it to include our brothers and sisters in Manawa o te Wheke.

 

Remember the three points of focus we have had before us over the last 5 years in different forms: worship / prayer / thanksgiving; discipleship/ formation / education; commitment to community / service / outreach -evangelism.
 

Can I leave you with a simple vision that can guide us over the next year:

 

As the Diocese of Waikato and Taranaki we are family,
we are disciples, we are servants. 



 

 

Download the 2017 Charge here.

Jump to 2014 Charge to Synod

Jump to 2015 Charge to Synod

DIOCESE OF WAIKATO AND TARANAKI

SECOND SESSION OF THE THIRTY EIGHTH SYNOD

2016

PRESIDENTS’ CHARGE

 

Kia Whakakororia ki Te Atua i Runga Rawa, Kia Mau Te Rongo ki Runga ki Te Whenua, Kia Pai Te Whakaaro ki Nga Tangata Katoa. 

 

Honore ki Te Arikinui Te Kingi Ko Tuheitia.  Ki Te Kahui Ariki Katoa, Ma Te Atua Ratou E Manaaki E Tiaki i Nga Wa Katoa.  Ki Te Waka Tainui Tena Koutou. Ki Te Iwi o Ngati Maniapoto, Tena Koutou. Ki Te Pihopatanga O Aotearoa ki Te Hui Amorangi Ki Te Manawa O Te Wheke, Tena Koutou.

 

E Te Maungatapu e tu ra, ko Taranaki, Tena Koe:  Ki Te Waka Tokomaru, Te Waka Aotea, Te Waka Kurahaupo Tena Koutou.  Nga Mihi Nui Ki Te Pihopatanga O Aotearoa Ki Hui Amorangi Ki Te Upoko O Te Ika.

 

We have glorified God with the first language of this country.

 

We have honoured the Maori King and his household, we have greeted the Tainui tribal confederation, including Ngati Maniapoto, as well as our partners in mission from the Maori Bishopric of Te Manawa O Te Wheke.

 

We have acknowledged the presence of the sacred mountain of Taranaki. We have acknowledged the Taranaki tribes as well as our partners in mission from the Maori Bishopric of Te Upoko O Te Ika.

 

Welcome to our special guests here tonight, especially our ecumenical partners.  In particular we are delighted to welcome back to the Diocese our brother in Christ the Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church of Melanesia, the Most Reverend George Takeli. Archbishop it is a deep honour to have you with us tonight. Also welcome to the General Secretary of this Church, and a son of this Diocese, the Reverend Michael Hughes. Michael is an outstanding servant of this Church and it is lovely to have you with us tonight.

 

Thank you to all of you who gather for this synod.  We want particularly to acknowledge that many of you are here having been chosen by your communities to be their representatives, and while as members of Synod we gather together we wish to express our particular thanks to the senior leadership team of the Diocese who shoulder specific responsibilities: our Chancellor, our Vicar General, the Deans, Archdeacons and our Ministry Educator.

 

Thank you to our Diocesan Manager, to the members of Standing Committee, our Trust Boards, Management Resources Sub-committee and Ministry and Mission Resources Sub-committee and the other task groups in the life of the Diocese.

 

To our colleagues working at Charlotte Brown House and Tikituterangi house, and to colleagues at Trust Management Limited; thank you for your warmth, your humour, your vision and your commitment.

 

Thank you to the many volunteers who work so tirelessly and faithfully in different ways to support our life together.  Your diverse contributions are of immense value and we are so deeply grateful.

 

And finally to our families, especially to Myles and Belinda, we want to acknowledge the cost, and the unfailing love and support you offer us – thank you.

 

In Memorium

 

We remember those who have died since the last time we gathered to transact our business as the Diocesan Synod, some we will record in this Charge; some are written on our hearts. 

 

Brother Brian SSF, Geoff Hyde, Reverend Lesley Hyde, Tilly Campbell, The Venerable Bruce Dale, Reverend John Hoar, Brian Haskell, Reverend Mary Mould, Joan Harrison, Diana Smith.

 

Please stand with us in silent thanksgiving. 

 

Please stand

 

May they rest in peace and rise in glory.

 

Episcopal Vision

 

2017 will see the third year of our episcopal vision: that grounded in prayer, we are equipped for discipleship and connected to community.  Throughout the process of the working out of the vision, we have been keen to stress that the three strands are interwoven.  They will each have a life beyond this three-year period, and will continue to inform and shape our engagement with God’s mission.

 

As we stand on the cusp of the launch of our vision for community, we wish to acknowledge the positive working relationships which as bishops we have enjoyed with two city mayors, each approaching the end of their terms of office.  Mayor Andrew Judd of New Plymouth, and Mayor Julie Hardaker of Hamilton, we are profoundly grateful for the positive working relationships we have enjoyed and for the high level of good will between our roles.  We thank you both, and wish to assure you of our prayers for this next season of your lives.  As bishops we consider the many connections that we have between church and wider communities to be essential, mutually challenging and life-giving.  Opportunities abound for community links to be forged and strengthened throughout the Diocese.  We applaud those connections already made, and we encourage each one of us to seek new ways to support and enable our ministry and mission units, chaplaincies and other ministries to serve the many lives they interlink with.

 

We are hard-wired for relationship, with God and one another.  The dynamic union that is represented in the life of the Trinity gives us a model of relationship to follow.  Drawn into community we celebrate what we hold in common whilst acknowledging that we are all different too.  This is the mystery of creation: each one of us is a unique child of God; each one of us shares the desire to know God more fully.  We cannot escape that profound sense of reach and longing.  God calls us to know God more, and we respond through becoming disciples.  The first disciples were called to follow Jesus, and to fashion their lives after him.  The coming of the Holy Spirit provided energy and inspiration for the increase of the community of faith that would become the early church, the first Christians, followers of The Way.  The Anglican Church honours the Apostolic Succession through our three-fold ministry of deacon, priest and bishop.  Yet all God's people are called, each has a vocation to be what God is purposing them to be.  Ministry is for each and every one of us, lay and ordained.  We are each given tasks and responsibilities for the purpose of increasing and strengthening the community of faith. 

 

In the first Charge of this episcopal partnership in 2014 we outlined our three-fold vision.

 

By beginning our focus on prayer, we acknowledged that prayer is essential for our relationship with God.  Without regular prayer, we cannot communicate with God; without regular prayer we lose connection with God’s will and purpose in our lives.  To wait patiently on God in prayer, in silence, in meditation, while out walking, with other people, alone, in worship, in celebration, in despair, all of these are held before the God who hears our cry and sustains us always.  When Jesus’ disciples asked him how they should pray, Jesus’ response as told in Luke’s Gospel was the command to pray The Lord’s Prayer.  This prayer is a mandate for discipleship, both in its being and in its doing.  As disciples, we give glory to God; we seek God’s Kingdom on earth as in heaven; we ask not solely for our provision but for that of others, sufficient for the day ahead; we forgive the sins of others as we ourselves are forgiven; we seek protection from all that prevails against us, whilst upholding the need for protection of our most weak and vulnerable members of our communities.  The journey of discipleship is characterised by a desire to deepen the understanding of our faith, in the company of others.  None of us can place God in a box, and all of us must seek continually to grow in humility and openness to God’s constant capacity to surprise and shock us out of prejudice and complacency.

 

This year our focus has been on discipleship, and the launch of the new Living Faith Today course and Bishops' Certificate next year will form the basis of all lay training in the Diocese, and represents a significant raising of the bar of our expectations and valuing of lay ministry.  We have been encouraged by the many signs of focus on discipleship over the course of this year, but equally we feel that there is always more that we can each do to intentionally celebrate and engage with God's mission as disciples of Jesus Christ.  We continue to seek for a culture in this Diocese that is joy-filled and hope-filled, and which rejects negativity and ill-feeling towards our neighbours. 

 

Next year, 2017, our focus will be on connecting to community. As Christians, followers of Christ, we are committed to vibrant, healthy, attractive servant communities and we are also committed to building the ‘Kingdom of God, here on earth – as it is in heaven’.

 

So as we gather here as the church to make decisions for and about the life of the church, but the basis of our decisions cannot be, “Is it what I want?” or “Is it good for the Church?” The criterion for our decisions must be, “Will this enhance or inhibit the spread of the Kingdom, the ‘new community’ of God?” or to put it another way, “Is what we are doing true to the nature of the Kingdom of God?” In a book of essays published in the 1950s, called “Soundings”, John A.T. Robinson wrote, You can have as high a view of ministry as you like as long as your view of the church is higher, you can have as a high a view of the Church as you like as long as your view of the Kingdom is higher.”

 

A good portion of the Gospel is taken up with Jesus’ teaching about the nature of the Kingdom of God. It is an upside down community - Jesus reversed the general value system by pronouncing blessing on the poor, the hungry and those who weep.

 

As the Church we are called to be this sort of community, a sign, a glimpse of what God is calling the whole creation into being; a community that lives for others. Seeing the needs around us; responding, healing, accepting, forgiving, reconciling.  A sign of the God who is in our midst.

 

Jesus was open to the world around him, in dialogue with it and yet standing in contrast to it - so the church must also be.  We need to be clear about the Gospel that we proclaim.  This Gospel argues the health of a community is measured not by the relative comfort of the majority but by the experience of its weakest member.  It is a Gospel that expresses power through servanthood.  It is a Gospel that proclaims a community in which loving is more important than winning, being vulnerable is more important than having power and where helping someone to find the best in themselves is better than managing peoples lives.

 

The manifesto of this community is seen clearly in the Sermon on the Mount and pre-eminently in the Beatitudes. This is a high vision of community, it is a demanding manifesto, it almost seems impossible – Jesus recognises this - you will notice that each beatitude begins in the present tense and moves to the future tense.

 

The present tense indicates that the beatitudes are expressions of what is already true about the Christian community. Of course, not every member of every part of the Christian community can claim to be meek, merciful and pure in heart, but the beatitudes are addressed, not initially to individuals but to the whole household of faith. Among every authentic Christian community can be found persons of meekness, ministers of mercy and workers for peace. Their presence and activity among us is a sign of God’s blessing and a call to conform our common life more and more to these kingdom values. But the move to the future tense challenges and reminds us of how far we have to go.

 

In the world, the way is power; in the Kingdom of God, the way is love. In the world, the focus is self; in the Kingdom of God, the focus is others. In the world, the rule is law; in the Kingdom of God, the rule is trust. In the world, the practice is get; in the Kingdom of God, it is give.

 

We are all citizens of both the Kingdom, the new community of God, and this world. This needs to characterize every interaction we have both within our faith communities, across the Diocese and in the way we relate to, and serve the communities in which we are set.

 

This understanding of community works on a number of levels:

 

                      

Parish or Ministry Unit, School, Hospitals, Prisons, Agency and Foundation; Bishopric; Diocesan; Provincial, and across the Communion.  Each of these foci are enabled by the connection we have with God in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.  It is God’s Holy Spirit that inspires us in action, and calls us to minister in God’s name.  We are greatly encouraged by positive developments in the field of vocations.  We are extremely grateful for the innovative and inspiring work being undertaken by our Diocesan Director of Vocations, to foster and encourage vocations among some outstanding young people. 

 

We pay tribute also to the outstanding work done by our school, tertiary and hospital chaplains, and those working in secular employment.  We all need to realise that all God’s people, lay and ordained live and work 'in community'. 

 

Our vocational deacons minister so often on the edges of society, with those in the greatest need, in our cities and rural environments; our priests embody incarnational and sacramental living wherever they are located. 

 

Lay ministers and many others who volunteer tirelessly do so because they recognise the call of God to be Christ to all whom they meet, whether that is seen or unseen, we know how much goes on that is unheralded, and we wish to offer our profound appreciation and gratitude for all that hard work and commitment shown by so many.

 

At General Synod Te Hinota Whanui in May, the theme of Climate change was prominent, not least by motions and presentations by our Pacific sisters and brothers.  Care for creation must be a priority, for it affects so many other aspects of our daily lives.  We cannot afford to see it as someone else’s issue, it belongs to each of us too. 

 

A few months ago many of us in Taranaki and from beyond, joined with our Mayor Andrew Judd on a walk for Peace from his office in New Plymouth to the village of Parihaka it was a potent expression of the hope we have in us – believing that we can find a way of dialogue across great difference, pain and suffering and that we can heal the past and forge a positive future. As we walked, men and women, old and young, maori and pakeha, the affluent and the afflicted, we talked and we listened and we were changed by the experience.

 

There are many, many examples of excellent community engagement initiatives already across our Diocese, and here we want to highlight just a small number in the hope that this may inspire others to realise that it is possible, but that you have got to heed God’s call to start small and aim big, and you need to think deeply about the culture you inhabit currently – how welcoming are you?

 

From Putaruru – vicar Jan Tarrant reports: Messy Church is not simply an opportunity to engage in craft activities and have a ‘free meal’, but a time when families can come together to enjoy being together and making things together, eating together and celebrating God together through his word, through music and through prayer.  It is different from a children’s activity programme because it is an event for children and their carers or parents together, and an element of worship underpins it all.  Leader Mary Addison has found it to be an opportunity to invite people into an experience of Christian community that is friendly, hospitable and fun.  It provides us with an occasion to engage with our wider community, where people are invited along not only to participate in the ‘messy activities’ but where their often ‘messy life’ is not a barrier to them or to us.

We begin the afternoon gathering in the church by setting the theme, and then move on to about an hour of craft activities; thematic to the story we are engaging with.  We then celebrate in the church, retelling or acting out the story, and enjoy music, singing and/or participation with simple musical instruments.

 

Next, we share a hot meal together.  This is a proper ‘sit down meal’ where the dining space has been prepared  creatively, and the children and their carers sit at the table, learning table manners and the pleasure to be gained by sharing a meal with others.  This is the Eucharistic part of the session.  Relationship building (as in any church service) is an important part of the gathering.  It has not only enabled gathering with new people at St Paul’s, but with old people in new ways.’  

 

Selwyn Centres have been established in several parishes in the north of the Diocese. Andrew Brock from the Bishop’s Action Foundation captures something of this vision for building community among older people in our suburbs, towns and villages.

 

video

 

From Huntly, vicar Peter Sampson reflects on his initiative to hold photographic exhibitions in the community: ‘The occasional photography exhibitions in town began out of my desire to meet people and to contribute to the life and well-being of the town.  And as the clergy, to model the mission focus I was talking about to the members of the church.  I wondered how my growing interest in photography and my desire to connect with people related?  I put posters around town to gauge interest in an exhibition and developed an adhoc collective called 'elevate'.  A few emerging photographers contacted me to participate.  In the spirit of Luke 10, I knocked on doors until I found that 'person of peace' who was sympathetic to my idea and provided exhibition space in the main street.  At the opening, I spoke of celebrating creativity, participation and being local. Each time we've had an exhibition we've met and included new people.

 

The simple idea of seeing if others wanted to participate in a photography exhibition has had numerous positive outcomes.  Seeing the pride on the faces of those who never imagined they would have their work displayed in public is wonderful.  Creating a little buzz around town is fun. And developing relationships with others prepared to take a risk for the sake of bringing a little light into the town has been a joy.

 

A couple of people connected with during the exhibitions started coming to church.  Unfortunately, welcoming these newcomers into our existing congregation has been more difficult than I expected.’

 

Judy Wood the Coordinator of the Seasons for Growth speaks about a programme that has made a difference in the lives of hundreds of children who have been traumatized by grief, loss and abuse.

 

video

 

Later on during Synod we will listen to and engage with students from St Paul’s Collegiate who have started an inspiring ministry with local low-decile schools, called ‘Over the Fence.’  We look forward to that presentation, and commend these young women and men as role models to us all.  Our invitation for 2017 is for each ministry unity, however constituted and expressed to create a new initiative or share an established programme with neighbouring parishes to engage directly with their immediate surrounding community.  We would do well to stop and think for a moment, if as churches and other related bodies we weren’t here, would we be missed?  We want to build a different culture throughout every part of our Diocese to engage in God’s mission at a local level.

 

By the time we reach 2020, which will see the tenth anniversary of this Diocese as it was renamed, we want to see visible growth and strengthening in all areas of prayer, discipleship and commitment to community service.  This then is our 2020 vision.  Our vision and commitment as Bishops is to lead this Diocese towards sustained growth, for the flourishing of all God’s people, known and loved by God without question or discrimination. 

 

Grounded in prayer – we are equipped for discipleship – and connected to community.

 

 

DIOCESE OF WAIKATO AND TARANAKI

FIRST SESSION OF THE THIRTY EIGHTH SYNOD (2015)

 

PRESIDENTS’ CHARGE

 

Kia Whakakororia ki Te Atua i Runga Rawa, Kia Mau Te Rongo ki Runga ki Te Whenua, Kia Pai Te Whakaaro ki Nga Tangata Katoa. 

 

E Te Maungatapu e tu ra, ko Taranaki, Tena Koe:  Ki Te Waka Tokomaru, Te Waka Aotea, Te Waka Kurahaupo Tena Koutou.  Nga Mihi Nui Ki Te Pihopatanga O Aotearoa Ki Hui Amorangi Ki Te Upoko O Te Ika.

 

Honore ki Te Arikinui Te Kingi Ko Tuheitia.  Ki Te Kahui Ariki Katoa, Ma Te Atua Ratou E Manaaki E Tiaki i Nga Wa Katoa.  Ki Te Waka Tainui Tena Koutou. Ki Te Iwi o Ngati Maniapoto, Tena Koutou. Ki Te Pihopatanga O Aotearoa ki Te Hui Amorangi Ki Te Manawa O Te Wheke, Tena Koutou.

 

We have glorified God with the first language of this country.

 

We have acknowledged the presence of the sacred mountain of Taranaki. We have acknowledged the Taranaki tribes as well as our partners in mission from the Maori Bishopric of Te Upoko O Te Ika.

 

We have honoured the Maori King and his household, we have greeted the Tainui tribal confederation, including Ngati Maniapoto, as well as our partners in mission from the Maori Bishopric of Te Manawa O Te Wheke.

 

Welcome to our special guests here tonight, especially our ecumenical partners.

 

Thank you to all of you who gather for this synod.  We want particularly to acknowledge that many of you are here having been chosen by your communities to be their representatives, and while as members of Synod we gather together we wish to express our particular thanks to the senior leadership team of the Diocese who shoulder specific responsibilities: our Chancellor, our Vicar General, the Deans, Archdeacons and our Ministry Educator.

 

Thank you to our Diocesan Manager, to the members of Standing Committee, our Trust Boards, Management Resources Sub-committee and Ministry and Mission Resources Sub-committee and the other task groups in the life of the Diocese.

 

To our colleagues working at Charlotte Brown House and Tikituterangi house, and to colleagues at Trust Management Limited; thank you for your warmth, your humour, your vision and your commitment.

 

Thank you to the many volunteers who work so tirelessly and faithfully in different ways to support our life together.  Your diverse contributions are of immense value and we are so deeply grateful.

 

And finally to our families, especially to Myles and Belinda, we want to acknowledge the cost, and the unfailing love and support you offer us – thank you.

 

In Memorium

 

We remember those who have died since the last time we gathered to transact our business as the Diocesan Synod, some we will record in this Charge; some are written on our hearts.  Please stand with us in silent thanksgiving. 

 

May they rest in peace and rise in glory.

 

Our Episcopal Vision

 

In our charge to Synod last year, we presented our three-fold vision for the Diocese: that grounded in prayer, we are equipped for discipleship, and connected to community.  This past year has seen a particular focus on prayer and liturgy, and on our Anglican identity, with training events held, and the week-long feast of Anglican prayer and spirituality.  This has enabled our whole Diocese to gain strength in our corporate life during a period of ongoing consolidation and change, looking to critical questions about our future sustainability as we engage in God’s mission.  As we move to our focus for 2016: discipleship, we do so conscious that this prayerful foundation is the basis for our life together as disciples.   This intentional link is nowhere better illustrated than in Jesus’ teaching of the Lord’s Prayer to his disciples, which we heard read to us in its version in Luke’s Gospel.  This is a prayer that forms the heartbeat of our lives as Christians.  The New Testament scholar Bishop Tom Wright describes it as ‘a prayer for people who are following Jesus on the kingdom-journey.’ 

 

We want to explore briefly, four key areas which form our vision for the outworking of the theme of discipleship over the coming year.

 

Firstly, the Lord’s Prayer says something important about the nature of discipleship.  The disciples ask Jesus to teach them how to pray, as John taught his disciples.  You cannot be a disciple if you are not open to being taught something new; indeed that is the very meaning of the word ‘disciple’: one who is a pupil or an apprentice.  The relationship of teacher to pupil represented by Jesus and disciples tells us that disciples are those who learn by being in the company not just of one another, but of the one from whom they are learning: Jesus Christ.  This process of teaching and learning did not happen instantly, but rather for Jesus’ disciples, as indeed for us, it took time.  We know from the Gospels, that those who followed Jesus encountered many challenges and situations that looked to be utterly hopeless; but each challenge was turned into an opportunity, with imagination and a compelling commitment to the unshakeable eternal reality of the One who called the disciples into new life: the God of all grace who never lets us go.  We know that frequently the disciples got things wrong, but Jesus never gave up on them.  The life of discipleship is all about the company you keep, those from who you are willing to learn, and more often than not, it was and is about keeping the company of those whom we are most unlike, the most vulnerable and forgotten by society as a whole.  That is a challenge of the utmost importance, because it calls us to vulnerability in how we learn; it demands of us courage and tenacity; it requires of us great humility and patient wisdom.  Discipleship is not an intermittent activity, it requires intentional and constant seeking on God through making our whole lives the outworking of what we learn through saying the prayer that Jesus commanded us to pray.  We seek a Christian presence of discipleship in every aspect of our communities, so that each person may contribute to a Gospel that puts justice and compassion at its core.

 

Throughout next year, there will be many continuing opportunities to engage in learning and training.  We continue to be very intentional in seeking to green our leadership, and in thinking carefully about how we can best grow and resource our lay ministry.  We also ask that you be open to seeking out new ways of offering yourselves through service to others in your communities, and growing the many excellent things that are already happening, sharing those ideas with one another in your regions and archdeaconries.

 

As we continue to grow in discipleship through careful stewardship of our gifts, resources and assets, we ask that every parish, school, and ministry unit follow the 2016 Lent course that is being produced by Theology House in Christchurch.  Entitled ‘Stewardship: Through Lent with Mark’; this series of 6 studies for small groups has been jointly written by Peter Carrell and the Bishop of Waikato.  We hope that by engaging with texts from Mark’s Gospel in fresh, practical and thoughtful ways, we will all grow together in what we learn from the insights we can share.

 

A second important message from the Lord’s Prayer is that there is an intimate connection between our prayer, our life in discipleship and the call on each one of us to be our sister and brother’s keeper, and to care for the world that is our home.

 

The prayer Jesus taught begins with the hallowing of the name of God, giving praise for the unmerited gift of life in creation, and immediately turns to pray that the kingdom of peace justice and righteousness might be a reality here and now. A community in which human beings flourish, the creation is treated with respect and the resources of the earth are sustained for those who are to follow us.

 

Here we have the extraordinary scope of the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be Done on earth as it is in heaven”.  From the heights of heaven to the needs of earth and all who inhabit it, in one great step.  From the hallowing of God’s name and its holiness, to the doing of God’s will to the provision of food.  Take care of neighbours physical needs, give her water, food, clothes, healing and companionship.  “In as much as you have done it unto the least of these my brothers and sisters you have done it unto me”. (Matt 25:40)

 

We are called to be stewards of this great mission.

 

What a huge spiritual burden it is for us well-fed Christians to have to remember our starving brothers and sisters every time we pray the Lord’s Prayer.  What an enormous responsibility that rests on us to not only remember our brothers and sisters in Kiribass, the Tokelau or the Marshall Islands, or the people of the Irrawaddy delta or the great river deltas of Bangalore who are so impacted by the consequences of climate change.

 

In a world seemingly dominated by hatred and distrust, the Way of Christ is a way of living that has one major remedy for the undoubted evil in the world: the remedy of forgiveness.  The testimony of the ancient church is abundant on this point;  II Corinthians 5:19 ‘in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us’;  Ephesians 4:32 ‘Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ has forgiven you’. 

 

What is emphasised is the fact that the Christian has entered into a world not governed by fear or distrust but by love, a world from which the divisions and oppositions of secular society have vanished and there is ‘neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free’.   The consequence is a new sense of community which finds expression in mutual service.  We have entered into that sense of community when we utter the first phrases of praise in the Lord’s Prayer.  We enter it when we pray with all our neighbours for our daily bread but we enter the deep inner court of Christian community when we utter the forgiveness petition. 

 

When we have experienced the Way of forgiveness and seen the transformative power of love we can do nothing other than respond to human suffering generously and unconditionally.

 

An area in our contemporary situation where this comes in to sharp focus is the response we as a Christian community and as a wider society are making to the current refugee crisis.

  • 4 million people across the borders in Lebanon, Jordan,  Iraq and Turkey
  • 1.5 million in Germany alone by the end of 2015.
  • The number of refugees from Syria has doubled from 2014 to 2015
  • You have seen the images and you have heard the numbers.
  • Simply the biggest movement of people since the second world war.

 

As we respond with our resources to assist with the resettlement of the additional intake of 600 refugees we have the opportunity to demonstrate to our government that as a society we have the capacity and the moral obligation to significantly increase our intake.  It also demands of us a significant recommitment to interfaith dialogue and understanding.  The role of this Diocese in assisting with the resettlement of refugees will be important over the coming months, with Hamilton already a refugee resettlement area.

 

The third important message from the Lord’s Prayer is that this is not a prayer simply for the individual.  It only achieves its fullest meaning when it is prayed together by the whole body of Christ, or with an awareness that even if we pray it on our own we are joining in a chorus of languages and cultures with Christian sisters and brothers the world over. 

 

 

Give us each our daily bread.

And forgive us our sins,

for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.

And do not bring us to the time of trial.

 

This image that we displayed for the first time at Synod last year is made up of photographs from the life of our whole Diocese.  These photographs form an image of Christ, and remind us that all our lives are interwoven with each other because together we respond to God’s call of discipleship.  We rightly celebrate the many ways in which we currently share with one another through collaborative action.

 

We will as Bishops be giving special focus to seeking ways of encouraging and growing fresh opportunities for the sharing of ministry and resources in ways that both honour local engagement in mission, and seek new connections with those around us.  Our Anglican ecclesiology is very clear in its strengthening of the whole body: locally, across the Diocese, nationally, and as part of the worldwide Anglican Communion.  Both Bishops rejoice in many connections and links with other parts of our Communion, and we both speak with great confidence that our Communion is a vital part of who we are as Anglican Christians.

 

2016 will see the continuation of our rich and long-held partnership with our Tikanga Maori brothers and sisters of Te Manawa o Te Wheke through our joint Ministry School.  This partnership is an outstanding and unique example in the life of our whole Church of the outworking and honouring of our Treaty-based relationships.

 

It is clear to us also from experience in the north, that the work of Anglican Action, fast gaining increasing national recognition in its tireless work for justice through service, illustrates that partnership and collaboration for the sake of the most vulnerable in our midst, models for us possibilities for how we can engage with the corporate nature of the outworking of the Lord’s Prayer in our own communities.  This anticipates the third aspect of our vision in 2017: that we are connected to

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