I thought I’d post Bishop Justin’s latest letter to the Diocese. He reflects on spiritual gardens – both collective and individual. He tells us of some of his activities and visits and I find it inspiring that wherever he goes he seeks faith. There is a lesson to be learned in every meeting; every activity. We can learn much from his Christian energy and outlook.
I have been reflecting a great deal this month on the parable of the weeds (especially as spring growth starts …). I feel that we often spend a lot of time frustrated at the weeds amongst us and we spend a lot of time strategising about how to pull them out. The challenge with this approach is that firstly as we do weed control we damage the good crop, and secondly I am not sure as a Diocese we can always tell the difference between wheat and weeds! So instead I have been focusing on recognising and being thankful for the good things among us. This month I have been deeply encouraged by the following:
* Our yearly Clergy Conference was a significant time in our life together. Clergy and others drew aside and refocused on being the people we are called to be. We deepened both our personal faith journeys and our relationships one to another.
* I travelled to Waitangi and joined with representatives from our Anglican Schools on a pilgrimage around historical sites of significance from our early history. This pilgrimage was outstanding on two levels: firstly in how God has been moving through our history using ordinary followers to invite people into His Kingdom, and secondly I really enjoyed relating to our different schools, and am excited by the potential of our journey ahead.
* Over the last two weekends, Parish visits have also been deeply encouraging. The Parish of Miramar-Seatoun-Strathmore was a pleasure to visit, and the Parish of Churton Park was exciting to visit on their 20th anniversary. We reflected on the vision and faithfulness of the founders. However we also challenged ourselves to honour their input by being willing to pioneer in this generation. As at Waitangi, the question comes again about who will relocate to support the work of the Spirit in a different location. I think this is a question all followers of Jesus must ask themselves in every generation.
* Finally I have been impressed with the depth and nature of the same sex discussion taking place across the Diocese. Even though it is a challenging issue to discuss well, the feedback I have received is that this process is being done respectfully, and with a spirit of listening and understanding.
Let us continue to nourish the good seed in our individual lives, Parishes and across the Diocese, while resisting the temptation to focus on weeding each other’s lives.
Bishop of Wellington