Last night was a momentous and lovely occasion at St Barnabas' Fendalton, the neighbouring suburb to the one I live in here in Christchurch. The Reverend Mark Chamberlain was instituted as Vicar of Fendalton. Archdeacon Peter Beck led the service (in the absence of Bishop Victoria who is in Capetown for an IASCUFO meeting) and Bishop Richard Ellena of Nelson preached. From July 2002 till the end of January 2010 Mark and I worked closely together on the staff of the Bishop of Nelson. When I left in January, one of the hardest things was leaving that successful working partnership behind.
But God moves in mysterious ways and ten months later Mark and Pip and family, having made the momentous decision to take up a new ministry challenge right here in Christchurch, are settling into a new vicarage and parish.
There was a good turn out of clergy, both locally and from the Diocese of Nelson. Always good to catch up with colleagues and friends! The music was outstanding and that leads me to make one observation. It concerns the extraordinary popularity of the hymn In Christ Alone. Last night was the second institution of a new vicar I have been to this week. On both occasions we have sung In Christ Alone. And, yes, it was the 'wrath of God' version each time.