Monday, September 20, 2010

More Stirring Words

Bishop Kelvin Wright has an extraordinary challenge as Bishop of Dunedin, a diocese "down on its luck" in various ways, financially, numerically, and in terms of fissive issues. They have just held their first Synod under his presidency. He writes about it at Available Light. Below is an excerpt from the written version of his Charge (in his post he notes that he actually spoke freely, and frankly, moving beyond the confines of the officially printed words). It is wonderful to read of signs of hope, details of a strategic plan for change emerging, and generally a strong sense of faith that the best is not only yet to be, but coming soon.

"We are a church: we are not a political party or a social welfare institution; we are not a club or a philosophical society. While faith in the Gospel leads inevitably to social action, the care of others, a supportive community and to profound thinking on the nature of life, the universe and everything, these are not our primary reason for existing. We are here to worship Almighty God. It is only when we are fed with the life of God that we can be fired with God's love, confronted by God's justice and made one in the Body of Christ with all who share God's gifts of love.  We have a part in the mission of God not because we chose it but because God chose us, and in choosing us, God did not leave us to get on with the job unaided. God has sent the Holy Spirit to strengthen and to guide, to warn and to revive the church."


liturgy said...

Two points, Peter:

I have long thought that not having worship as our primary mark of mission is a surprising blindspot for Anglicans.

Also - you and I will take it for granted, but overseas visitors to your site may not realise how much this text alludes to and is subdued with our NZ Prayer Book liturgical texts.



Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bosco,
Yes. Even I noticed that nice incorporation of our liturgy!

Anonymous said...

'...this text alludes to and is subdued with our NZ Prayer Book liturgical texts.'

Yes, it was rather quiet and subdued.
Al M.

Anonymous said...

On a serious note, while Anglicanism has declined seriously in Otago-Southland in the past 20 years (to judge from confirmations, number of fulltime clergy, church attendance), some conservative evangelical-charismatic churches in Dunedin (Apostolics, Dunedin City Baptists, Leith Valley Pres.) appear to have made an impact on the student body, while the self-described 'campus church' didn't, while the Cathedral has not drawn families as it did in the past. So the pattern of decline is not wholescale across the churches: some forms of Christian worship, discipleship and faith-sharing will find responses. Liturgical liberalism (especially hung up on sexual politics and same-sex issues) has little appeal in an already socially liberal agnostic climate.
Al M.