As bishops, we send our warmest greetings and blessings to each and every one of you this Christmas season. As we joyfully await the birth of Christ, we re-encounter the power of the incarnation once more. Jesus’ birth marks a beginning, as our calendar year is ending, and we acknowledge the hard work that so many have undertaken throughout this year in our parishes, schools, hospitals and in the community. A deep and profound thank you on our behalf.
This Christmas Day is a day of great significance in the life of our nation, and our wider church. There are two significant events being held in the Bay of Islands over the Christmas period. The first was held yesterday, Sunday 21st December, and was the official opening of the Marsden Cross Heritage Park by the Governor General. Both Bishop Helen-Ann and Archbishop Philip attended this event. The link to the TV3 news item about showing this briefly is below.
The second event is an Anglican-led ecumenical service to be held on Christmas Day at Oihi Bay, at which ++Philip will be preaching. This service is to formally celebrate the 200th anniversary of the first Christian service in Aoteaora. There are expectations of 1000 people at the service. This service is to be broadcast live on Christmas Day on TV One commencing at 11.00 am.
Bishop Helen-Ann will preach and preside at the Midnight Eucharist on Christmas Eve at St Peter’s Cathedral in Hamilton. On Christmas Day Bishop Helen-Ann will join with the parish of St David, West Hamilton to share in their worship.
Charlotte Brown House and Bishop Helen-Ann’s office will be closed from mid day on the 23rd and will reopen 5th January. Bishop Helen-Ann is on leave from December 26th until January 15th. Archbishop Philip will be on leave from December 26th until January 19th; Anne Kelderman will be in the office from January 12th.
Wishing you a blessed and safe Christmas,
Yours in Christ,
(signed: + Helen-Ann, + R )