Saturday, November 27, 2010


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.


Brother David said...

Is this the hymn?

I was only familiar with the Newsboys version of this, not as a congregational hymn.

Prior to that I knew of a Southern (White) Gospel song, also named In Christ Alone, made popular by Contemporary Christian recording artist Michael English.

Peter Carrell said...

That is the song (Youtube)

Father Ron said...

"On both occasions it was the WRATH OF GOD versions each time"

Yes, and that's what worries me, Peter, about strong-arm Nelsonian muscular Christianity. There is so much pain and dislocation in the world - needing the comfort and compassion of Christ, and yet here we are rejoicing in The WRATH of God!

I wonder what any West-Coasters who might have been in the congregation would think about that. how would it comfort them?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron,
I think the rejoicing is that the wrath of God was SATISFIED, not in the wrath per se!

Not quite sure why 'Nelsonian' or 'muscular' figure in your concerns! The first induction involved a woman vicar and woman preacher and had no Nelson connection. The second induction involved nothing 'muscular' in the theology represented (e.g. in the preaching), and it was not the first time In Christ Alone was sung in that parish!

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, "Father" Ron (how Roman and patriarchal that sounds!) is worried that the Carrell-Chamberlain axis has Christchurch in a half nelson. Are they plotting a three-quarter or full nelson? England expects ...., and this Chamberlain is no Neville! :)

Every blessing on your partnership in the gospel, and may the Gospel of God Incarnate, Crucified and Risen shine forth from the pleasant streets of Fen-dawl-ton to the many needy parts of the city of the plains, which has indeed suffered a great deal of pain and (seismic) dislocation - just the balm the city needs! And Fen-dawl-ton needs it too - the gentle days of Bob Lowe-style (non-theology passed long ago. 'In Christ Alone' is a great anthem full of Reformation truth (solo Christo, sola fide, PSA) that stands alongside another 19th century classic that has enjoyed a revival of recent years, 'Before the throne of Christ alone'.

Al M

Zane Elliott said...

Hi Peter, you'll be pleased to know (although Fr. Ron will not!) that I'll be ordained presbyter/priest in Dunedin on saturday 4th dec - the same hymn, will be played then too - Our muscular Nelsoninsm is striking both Chch and Dunedin!

Andrew Reid said...

Hi Peter,
I suspected there might have been a Nelson connection in there. We had the privilege of Bishop Derek Eaton serving in our location in the Middle East for a year or so recently. My father in law also worked with him on the board of African Enterprise. Hope he is actually getting something like a retirement now!

Anonymous said...

"Our muscular Nelsoninsm is striking both Chch and Dunedin!"

Oh dear, is Hamilton next? Do I see a signal?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Zane,
I am very pleased to hear that you will be ordained priest in Dunedin on Saturday 4th December: prayerful best wishes for that!

I think you will find plenty of muscular people in Dunedin, some of them are Christians ...

Go well at St Matthew's.