Monday, November 12, 2018


I am receiving remarkable encouragement and sympathy from many people from all parts of the church as I go deeper into this period of being "bishop-elect" and draw closer to the actual date of taking up the role of Bishop of Christchurch (9 February 2019).

The particular prompt for this encouragement and sympathy is the character of this particular year in the life of our Diocese: (in no particular order of  challenge), making progress on reinstatement of our cathedral, disaffiliations from existing parishes, new Anglican churches being formed in our midst, consequential multiple vacancies in our parishes. Some say this is the most challenging year in our history as a Diocese! (I will let future historians pronounce judgment on that call.)

But also encouraging - very encouraging - is my experience of the continuing congregational life of the Diocese.

Eight days ago, a morning service with a well supported "remaining" congregation in the Parish of Woolston and an afternoon service which filled the brand new All Souls Church in Merivale=St Albans Parish.

Yesterday morning, a very good "remaining" congregation in one of the churches of the rural Parish of Rakaia and then in the afternoon an excellent congregation - full of young families - in the Parish of Woodend-Pegasus.

No one, least of all me, is going to jump to the conclusion that all is well because of these lovely experiences. We who remain in the Diocese will continue to debate and discuss many things - we are still a diverse group of Anglicans. We will continue to struggle with the challenge secularism brings against evangelistic action. And we are on the look out for good, keen vicars to lead parishes forward into what is now a new era for us.

But facing the future is always easier when the present encouragements remind us that God is at work among us.


Father Ron said...

It is good, Peter, that you are receiving messages of encouragement from your colleagues in ministry. The fact that you are getting NO messages from the departees in our diocese is another sign that God is giving you a unique opportunity to lead the diocese in ways that are more inclined to the 'Unity in Diversity' ethos natural to traditional Anglicanism, deriving from Christ's prayer that "All may be One" - despite the negativity of those who would prefer separation on the grounds of ritual purity.

Faith in the redeeming power of Christ is stronger than any human belief in our own capability of achieving our own perfection. (cf St.Paul: "Why do I do the things I ought not to do. Why do I not do the things I ought to do?" - ending up with the recognition of the reality of our human situation: "But thanks be to God for the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!").

God has only frail human beings to carry out His will in our cosmic world

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
I am not getting "NO messages from the departees".
I recently spoke at a meeting of the Latimer Fellowship in which remainers and disaffiliators were present and we had a good conversation together.
Relationships are cordial and long may they remain so.

Craig L said...

Hi Peter,

Having attended that recent Latimer Fellowship meeting, I was very grateful that Peter spoke so well at it - it was very encouraging, and I thought that you were both frank (as you could be) and generous Peter. It was great to hear some of your background story, and it was really good to hear your views on the current state of things and how you see it - and the future as well.

Overall I thought it was an excellent event and pretty cordial - I was somewhat taken aback and embarrassed (given I attend the same church) by the line of questioning taken by one of the attendees. I hope you appreciate that not all of us are as black and white as that, and it is a much more nuanced and pastorally challenging topic/discussion than some would see it.

Best wishes for your new role, and great to see that you are getting some encouragements in what must be a challenging time.

Craig L.

Father Ron said...

so, Peter, we can look forward on ADU to hearing from thgose who have left our diocese? I must admit, there is little debate going on here at the moment. Perhaps it all has to happen elsewhere. A bit like the Lambeth Conference, really.

One does wonder what sort of restrictive accommodations would have to be made by our diocesan Synod to facilitate the return of the 'lost sheep'.

Unknown said...

Kia kaha e te Pihopa Kowhiri! We look forward to your ordination and ministry. The future is exciting for the Haahi and for the Mission God calls us to.

Father Ron Smith said...

Thanks, Peter, for the information about your attendance at the Latimer Fellowship (not an official organ of the ACANZP?).

I acknowledge the need for 'entente cordiale' with all fellow Christians. However, when they withdraw from fellowship with us on an official basis, it is surely correct to say that there can be no official canonical relationship?

At least, that's what I interpret from the message of our Archbishops to Sydney's Archbishop Davis.

I note with sadness that the Bishop of Albany in TEC has already resiled from the constitutional decision of TEC's equivalent of our General Synod - on the very same basis as that tendered by the local FCANZ group. I do hope our diocese of Christchurch will not slide into the same stand-off relationship with our Church in N.Z.

Such a situation would be like the stand-off between the Anglican Communion and the self-proclaimed GAFCO/FOCA advocates - not unlike the situation in Sydney, where its Archbishop is a GAFCON member.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Craig
Thank you heaps for your kind and encouraging words!

Glen Young said...

Hi Peter and Ron,

Where is all the talk now of the ACANZP being a "BROAD CHURCH".Isn't it strange how the Constitution was so fluid but now that the inevitable has occurred and the money and property needs safeguarding,it is so absolute.
It is clearly,General Synod who stands outside the Doctrine of the Constitution 1857. You have got the Church you voted for.