Monday, September 17, 2018

Keeping the main thing the main thing?

So far being bishop-elect is very interesting (many different aspects of ministry leadership being met for the first time) and very demanding (lots of things to attend to). I am rapidly learning new skills in time management!

I am already conscious that in a sea of details I could get lost.

What is the main episcopal thing which I need to keep the main thing? (Your comments appreciated).

I am not without ideas about what the main episcopal thing is - in simple terms, it is leadership through teaching and pastoring, with a special emphasis on raising up leaders to share this common task of care for God's church (i.e. discerning people for ministry leadership and appointing leaders of ministry such as vicars).

But I can see that to keep that main thing the main thing will be a challenge.

Fortunately yesterday evening's OT reading is helpful (Exodus 18:13-26).
But as I said to someone yesterday, I am finding that even when tasks are delegated, new tasks come in which need new delegations :)

Monday, September 10, 2018

Enclave theology or ecumenical theology?

Thanks to a recommendation here a post or five ago, I am dipping into a beautiful book on eucharistic theology, The Eucharist and Ecumenism: Let Us Keep the Feast by George Hunsinger (Cambridge: CUP, 2008). A Reform theologian builds bridge towards a way for our eucharistic theology to unite us across our differences. Brilliant. A man after my own heart.

Hunsinger captures something which I have never quite expressed in my own mind about theological difference by invoking the concepts of "enclave theology" and "ecumenical theology." It is worth thinking about. Here is some of his explanation, pp. 1-2, 8-9 .

"By "enclave theology," I mean a theology based narrowly in a single tradition that seeks not to learn from other traditions and to enrich them, but instead to topple and defeat them, or at least to withstand them. Enclave theology is polemical theology even when it assumes an irenic facade. Its limited agenda makes it difficult for it to take other traditions seriously and deal with them fairly. Whether openly or secretly, it is not really interested in dialogue but in rectitude and hegemony. It harbours the attitude that the ecumenical movement will succeed only as other traditions abandon their fundamental convictions, where they are incompatible with those of the enclave, in order to embrace the enclave's doctrinal purity. ... Enclave theology makes itself look good, at least in its own eyes, by making others look bad. ... [p. 1] 
Ecumenical theology takes another approach. It presupposes that every tradition in the church has something valuable to contribute even if we cannot yet discern what it is. The ecumenical movement will succeed not when all other traditions capitulate to the one true church - whether centred in Geneva, Constantinople, Canterbury, Wittenburg or Rome - to say nothing of other symbolic locales like Lima, Cape Town, New Delhi, Canberra or Beijing. On the contrary, it will succeed only by a deeper conversation of all traditions to Christ. Ecumenical theology, though properly grounded in a single tradition, looks for what is best in traditions not its own. It seeks not to defeat them but to respect and learn from them. It earns the right to speak only by listening, and it listens much more than it speaks. When in the midst of intractable disagreements, it searches for unforeseen convergences. Its hope for ecumenical progress means that no tradition will get everything it wants, each will get much that it wants, none will be expected to make unacceptable compromises. Each will contribute to the richness of the whole, and all will be expected to stretch to accept some things that at first did not seem possible. Ecumenical theology, while unable to avoid speaking pointedly at times, seeks a charitable spirit which "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" (1 Cor. 13:7)." [p. 2]

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Fancy Karl du Fresne noticing something I said!

I love reading Karl du Fresne's columns. He is straightforward, clear and generally conservative in a reasonable way. However I never expected him to notice a minion like me and the words I have said.


Now, it is entirely fair of Karl to critique the role of the church in politics and society, and no doubt we do our share of virtue signalling and falling over ourselves to be relevant in ways which, er, turn out to be not that relevant.

But as a reporter of many years, Karl might at least give me and other church leaders the benefit of the doubt on one matter: that we might have talked about Jesus with our interviewers and those interviewers might have thought it less than newsworthy to report that a Jesus follower thinks Jesus should be at the centre of life.

Blessings, Karl, if you should read this!

Monday, September 3, 2018

A Week in the Life of

Sunday: Lovely Prophets at the Cathedral event with challenging message about importance of pacifism. News that a vicar has resigned.

Monday: Quiet day working from home. Archbishop rings at tea-time. Voting is complete. Majority is replete. Letter of Offer coming.

Tuesday: Sign Letter of Offer. Meet Charlie Gates of The Press for interview. Think that goes well. Sign Declarations with my father as witness. Am now officially "Bishop-elect of Christchurch." Media release. Work afternoon tea. Lovely photo of Teresa and me on the Stuff website.

Wednesday: Buy two copies of the Press to take to Auckland. Dad and me are on the front page. Interviewed by Susie Ferguson of Morning Report over my phone while in airport departure lounge. Not as scary as I thought it would be. Fly to Auckland for two day meeting at ST John's College.

Thursday: Check Morning Report files on internet. No interview to be seen. Either I am Mr Boring or the announcements at the airport made for poor sound quality. Memo to self: arrange interview times not to coincide with airport lurking. Conduct another radio interview. Everyone asks about the cathedral and about same-sex blessings. My colleague whom I have shared a room with says I will never need to share a room again. He is right: there are too many emails and I will need to get up at 5 am when away.

Friday: Post Ordination Training but I cannot make the whole day. Meet with Archbishop Philip x2 in the afternoon. Then to the TC for a celebration of the signing of the Cathedral joint venture agreement - it is the joint venture agreement which means I do not have to work out which mix of mortar is best for the cathedral reinstatement.

Saturday: believe it or not, I get some gardening done. Potatoes planted on 1 September. Strawberries too.

Sunday: Lovely service at St Aidan's Bryndwr. News that another vicar has resigned.

There have been some ups and downs in my first week as bishop-elect but overall Teresa and I have this amazing, and unexpected excitement about the role and about the future of the Diocese.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Oh, so that is why you have been somewhat distracted lately ...

It is true. Blogging will never be the same again. I will need to be even more diplomatic than I have, ahem, always mostly tried to be. But I will keep blogging even though this is now my life. The ways of God are mysterious and I never thought I would reach this day, but it has come to pass - thanks be to God.

Sydney, Hamilton, Dunedin: Anglicans Down Under!


Last Thursday I went to a fascinating and memorable meeting in Hamilton. Its genesis lay in the GS 2018 Motion 7 decisions, a response to that from the Archbishop of Sydney, Glenn Davies, and a response to that response from our Archbishops by way of invitation to meet kanohi ke te kanohi (face to face). Around 20 of us gathered at Hemi Tapu, a Maori Anglican pastorate church and hall, to speak freely to Archbishop Glenn and then, at the end of our day together, for Glenn to speak to us. Those from our church included bishops, clergy, laity, drawn from Tikanga Pakeha and Tikanga Maori, most of whom self-identified in respect of our spectrum of theologies, of responses to GS 2018*, and sexualities.**

It was a fascinating and memorable meeting because of the mix of people and views present, because of the gracious and warm hospitality shown us, because of the warm fellowship in the place as we mixed and mingled over food and drink as well as engaged in discussion, and, last but not least, because of the careful and considerate contribution Archbishop Glenn himself made to our hui.

A report from Archbishop Glenn is here on the website.

I understand that Anglican Taonga may also soon have a report on its site. (It is working on another story at the moment - more on that in my next post, hopefully later today).

I encourage you to read the Davies report.It contains an attractive vision for a way forward for our church but also, and perhaps more helpfully, for the global Anglican movements. (I say "more helpfully" because a shift in tone and stance between global Anglican movements would be very encouraging for us locally as we work on the almost certain future in which we have two Anglican churches in these Blessed Isles.)

(*A leading figure re disaffiliation was there, three key leaders in the formation of the "AFFIRM Christian Community" contributed, I was specifically asked to be present as an evangelical who is comfortable staying in our church. **A gay priest commented that in his experience this  gathering of our church had the highest percentage of gay and lesbian Anglicans ever. Let the reader understand: the percentage was some 15-20%, but there have been gathering to talk about gay and lesbian Anglicans at which no such Anglicans have been present.)


Recently an Anglo-Catholic hui was held in Dunedin and a full report is now on Taonga, here. The event seems most worthwhile and there is the prospect of another such hui being held in the Diocese of Wellington next year. Christchurch in 2020?

Sunday, August 26, 2018

What can a Kiwi bishop authorise re liturgy?

This post has been significantly revised after its initial posting since I thought I had the correct version of Title G Canon XIV. I now have that canon correctly and have revised my words below accordingly.

Within our church we have had a fairly broad approach to what constitutes an "authorised" service. Currently, as the pertinent example for this post, bishops and priests are permitted to use for a eucharistic prayer, any such prayer authorised for use in any other province of the Anglican Communion.

This provision has been welcomed in a number of parishes because it enables use of eucharistic prayers seen as more appropriate for certain contexts than anything comparable within our authorised prayers - a popular example being the use of "Prayer H" from the Church of England's Common Worship service book (pp. 204-205 in my lovely black leather edition).

This provision has also been welcomed in a number of parishes because it enables (say) a new vicar from the Church of Mars to continue to use tried and familiar rites from the Martian prayer book.

At least two criticisms of this universal inclusivity of authorised eucharistic prayers matter in my mind.

1. It unwisely presumes that all Anglican authorised eucharistic prayers are equally valuable (even as they are equally "valid" as Anglican eucharists). But, intrinsically, this is unlikely because (e.g.) we do not find that across the Communion all provinces are equally committed to inclusive language. And, of course, only one province, our own, is committed to the use of Te Reo Maori in eucharistic services.

2.  While it usefully opens the doors to "valuable" eucharist prayers from other provinces, it also potentially closes the door in some parishes to use of our own eucharistic prayers - prayers liturgical servants of our church have laboured over to produce and for which our church through synodical decision has expressed its intent to use as the "common prayer" of this church.

Consequently I support (and voted for at GS 2018) a bill to remove the current permission to use any authorised eucharistic prayer from any Anglican province of the Communion. That removal comes before our Diocesan synod for consideration in a couple of weeks.

Already it is clear that the prospect of not being able to use (say) Prayer H is uncongenial. My own response will be to propose that we observe other aspects of our legislation which provide for use of services.

Specifically, our constitution (part G, cited below) provides for "authorised services" to include services authorised under Title G Canon XIV (cited below). If, as Tikanga Pakeha, we agree that it would be valuable to have (say) "Prayer H" used freely within our Tikanga, we have a mechanism for achieving that end. (That is, if we want to use Prayer H, and we deem it to be not inconsistent with the Constitution or Formularies of this church). Alternatively, if I am understanding Title G Canon XIV correctly, an individual diocesan bishop (following the specific instruction below) could authorise a service which included Prayer H



Constitution part G

PART G    


1.            In this Constitution and in the Code of Canons if not inconsistent with the context thereof or by express words excluded all words and phrases referring to the diaconate, priesthood and episcopate, and in particular, but without limiting the generality hereof the words "Bishop", "Priest", "Deacon", "Curate", "Pastor", "Vicar" and "Minister", shall include both females and males.  In the use of Formularies of the Church words denoting males may be replaced with words denoting females consistently with the above provisions and when the occasion and circumstances so require.
2.            In this Constitution and in the Code of Canons if not inconsistent with the context thereof respectively and unless there are clear words to exclude or restrict such meaning the words and phrases following shall severally have the meanings hereinafter stated, namely,
Words importing the singular number include the plural number and words importing the plural number include the singular number.
Words denoting males or females include the other as the case may be.
“Clergy” includes all persons in Holy Orders who shall hold any spiritual charge or cure or a Bishop's  licence or permission to officiate in this Church, but shall not include a Bishop.
“Authorised Services” includes (a) Formularies, (b) Experimental uses as authorized by the Church of England Empowering Act 1928, and (c) other services authorized under Title G Canon XIV.[1]
3.            Any doubt which shall arise in the interpretation of the Constitution for the time being of this Church shall be submitted for final decision to the General Synod / te  Hīnota Whānui or to some Tribunal established by it in that behalf.
4.            It shall be lawful for the General Synod / te  Hīnota Whānui to alter amend or repeal all or any of the provisions hereof save and except those which have been hereinbefore declared to be FUNDAMENTAL PROVISIONS,
PROVIDED always that no such alteration shall be made until it shall have been first proposed in one General Synod / te Hīnota Whānui and been assented to by Te Runanganui o Te Pīhopatanga o Aotearoa, the Synod of the Diocese of Polynesia and a majority of the several Diocesan Synods in New Zealand and finally agreed to in the meeting of the General Synod / te Hīnota Whānui next ensuing.
In applying this Constitution the Māori and English texts shall be considered together.

[1] Statute 726, 2016


Each Tikanga is authorised to approve forms of service not inconsistent with the Constitution / te Pouhere, or with the Formularies of this Church.
Within Tikanga Māori, Te Runanganui o te Pīhopatanga o Aotearoa may act to grant such authorisation.
Within the Tikanga of the Diocese of Polynesia the Diocesan Synod of the Diocese of Polynesia may act to grant such authorisation.
Within Tikanga Pākēha the Synodical Conference may act to grant such authorisation provided that this authorisation will apply only in those dioceses in New Zealand whose synod has ratified the authorisation of the Synodical Conference.
Ngā Pīhopa Amorangi may authorise forms of service to be produced and used in different situations in Te Pīhopatanga upon such conditions as Te Pīhopa may determine.
The Bishop of Polynesia and other Bishops with episcopal jurisdiction within the Diocese of Polynesia may authorise forms of service to be produced in different situations in the Diocese of Polynesia upon such conditions as the Bishop may determine.
Diocesan Bishops and other Bishops with episcopal jurisdiction within a Diocese in New Zealand may authorise forms of service to be produced and used in individual ministry units, after consultation with the Vestry or equivalent body, and in other particular areas of the Church’s work, upon such conditions as they may individually determine in each case, and in consultation with their Diocesan liturgical committees.
Any form of service authorised under this Canon:
is an authorised service, but is not a Formulary unless it shall have been approved under the provisions of the Church or England Empowering Act 1928 and the Constitution / te Pouhere;
must conform to ‘A Form for Ordering a Service of the Word’ or ‘An Alternative Form for Ordering The Eucharist’; and
must not be inconsistent with the teachings of the Formularies.
A copy of any service so authorised shall be forwarded to the General Secretary, to be held in the records and archives of the Church.