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New Zealand:Bishop Gray to Jefferts Schori:"You can wear a mitre in my cathedral

NEW ZEALAND: Bishop John Gray to Jefferts Schori: "You can wear your mitre in my cathedral"

by Lloyd Ashton
June 28, 2010

TEC Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori was welcomed at three New Zealand churches yesterday: Auckland's Holy Trinity Cathedral; St Michael and All Angels in Christchurch - and the tiny chapel at Te Hepara Pai, the Christchurch marae which is the spiritual home of Maori Anglicans in the South Island.

In physical dimensions, those first two churches dwarf Te Whakaruruhau (The Protector) the chapel at Te Hepara Pai.

But on the scales of hospitality?

On Sunday, Te Hepara Pai punched way above its weight there.

There wasn't a big crew at the marae - perhaps 25 tangata whenua in Te Whakaruruhau , with another few folk toiling out in the wharekai, the kitchen and dining room.

But they were determined to honour their guest with the words they spoke at the powhiri, the songs they sang for her entertainment, and the hakari, or meal they laid on for the Bishop and the other manuhiri who accompanied her.

Wharekawa Kaa, who is a leading kaumatua in the south, led the tributes from the tangata whenua. It was a great thing, he said, for Maori and for the church to have Bishop Katharine come to them.

Richard Tankersley and Peter Beck - Dean of Christ Church Cathedral - responded for the manuhiri, the visitors, and Piripi Waretini was Bishop Katharine's kaiarahi, or cultural guide.

Piripi spelled out her whakapapa ("waka - Qantas and Air New Zealand; maunga - the Cascade Mountains; awa - the Florida Keys; turangawaewae - Pensacola") to create for her the platform that tikanga requires.

He then dwelt on her academic distinction; her masters in biology; her doctorate in oceanography - and how she had married scientific distinction with theology.

And by reciting a famous whakatauki of Tawhiao, the second Maori King, Piripi was acknowledging Bishop Katharine as a pathfinder, one who champions the equality before God of those on the margins:

Kotahi te köhao o te ngira, e kuhuna ai te miro ma, te miro pango, te miro whero

There is but one eye of a needle, through which the white, the black and the red threads must pass

It's not customary protocol for women to sit on the paepae. Or to speak on the marae.

Bishop John Gray, Te Pihopa o Te Wai Pounamu, however, invited Bishop Katharine to do both - and she spoke briefly of her long-held desire to come to this country, and her thanks for such a welcome.

There was, as you'd expect, entertainment and good humour. Archdeacon Andy Joseph picked up a ukulele and led the hosts and visitors through a medley of oldtime popular standards (eg "It's a sin to tell a lie) and himene (eg "Arohaina Mai").

Bishop John Gray kept up the humour, too.

Sunday was a sodden day in Christchurch, and on their way from the carpark to Whakaruruhau, people had dodged around the puddles and brushed past the weeds of a small, vacant site.

On that site - which is no larger than a house site - he told Bishop Katharine that he planned to build his "cathedral".

It clearly won't be as big, say, as Southwark Cathedral in London.

"But in my cathedral," he told her, "you can wear your mitre."


New Zealand: Pelting rain - and a promising start
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, leader of The Episcopal Church, arrives in Auckland.

by Lloyd Ashton
June 26, 2010

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, leader of The Episcopal Church, after the St John's College powhiri. The Most Rev Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (in effect, the Anglican Church in the United States), landed in Auckland yesterday.

She came on a day of persistent, pelting rain - but that didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the 60 or so folk who took part in the powhiri at St John's College to welcome her.

Bishop Katharine was clearly among friends - or at very least, people who were determined that she should experience manaakitanga, or hospitality, on her arrival in this country.

Archbishops Brown Turei and David Moxon were on hand, and Archbishop David said the New Zealand church had benefitted from three decades of Episcopalian Church generosity and hospitality.

Many in the room had personally benefitted, he said, from the higher education they'd had at American universities and Episcopalian seminaries; and when Bishop Katherine had been the Bishop of Nevada, he'd been a guest in her own home.

So the powhiri for Bishop Katharine was a gesture of appreciation, said Archbishop David, a reciprocal token, a small underlining of the bonds of affection that - in theory, at least - link Anglican provinces. He also said he looked forward to taking part in discussions with Bishop Katharine on "a wide range" of issues.

Bishop Katharine thanked him for the welcome, and thanked the church in this province for two gifts to the wider Anglican world: The New Zealand Prayer Book/He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa, which she said is treasured far beyond these shores; and the three-tikanga model of church governance which is important to the wider Communion.

The formal recognition of autonomous cultures within the one body, she hinted, could be more significant than is yet realised.

Two-hour forum

After the powhiri, a short liturgy, and afternoon tea, about 25 invited people - including the archbishops, the Bishop of Auckland, Ross Bay; Te Pihopa o te Tai Tokerau, Kito Pikaahu; Waiapu Bishop David Rice and retired Bishop George Connor - moved on to a two-hour forum with Bishop Katharine and her chaplain, the Rev Canon Chuck Robertson.

They discussed the pros and cons of local ministry - lay and ordained Christians sharing the tasks of local ministry under the authority of a bishop, and with the support of the wider church.

Nevada was one of the places which pioneered local ministry, and Nevada's bishops helped New Zealand develop its own licensed shared ministries. A number of the clergy at the forum said LSM had made them change their thinking about priesthood.

The discussion then turned to the wider affairs of the Communion - in particular, the Covenant. There was little enthusiasm for that by the New Zealand clergy present, particularly where Section 4 is concerned.

Some spoke of their suspicion at the 'colonising' effect a covenant could have - they said it was like the mother country demanding a retying of the apron strings.

Some women clergy suggested that if a covenant had been in place 40 years ago, it could have been used to squash women's ordination - while others were suspicious that the three-tikanga constitution could have been tossed out from afar.

The idea of an alternative 'covenant for mission' was floated, and in the final session the forum considered the challenges and opportunities of mission and, in particular, leadership in mission.

After the forum, the guests from America and their hosts moved first to the College's Waitoa Room (1846) and then to the old Dining Room - both of which are among the most significant historic buildings in New Zealand.

There they were given a candle-lit, four-course cordon-bleu meal, prepared and served by the students of St John's College themselves.

Before the Presiding Bishop had arrived, much had been made about showing manaakitanga to guests. Irrespective of what those guests might look like, think like or stand for.

Last night, the students of St John's College gave a practical demonstration of what manaakitanga actually means.

Conversations around human sexuality

Before leaving the United States, Bishop Schori said her intention in visiting New Zealand and Australia was "to speak with people there about their conversations around human sexuality and also about their missionary development work -- not in the sense of finances but in the sense of leadership development and theological education."

Addressing the TEC Executive Council's meeting in Maryland on June 16-18, she said: "We're also going to have a conversation about the work that they're doing around the Millennium Development Goals, and obviously our relationships within the Anglican Communion."

Archbishop Moxon reiterated last week that her visit to New Zealand would be low-key and informal.

"Last year the Presiding Bishop told us that she was planning a visit to Australia, and she asked us then whether she could stop over en route in New Zealand.

"As Archbishops we're simply responding to her request with the normal hospitality that we extend to Primates of the Anglican Communion.

"There's no set agenda for this visit, no conferences or summits - we'll simply be having informal conversations about our respective missions. Her visit is also an opportunity for this church to describe our approach to the questions on sexuality before the Anglican Communion.

"Reciprocal visits between provinces," says Archbishop David, "are a normal part of our Anglican way of life, and we want to extend the appropriate hospitality to the Presiding Bishop."

Neva Rae Fox, the Episcopal Church's programme officer for public affairs, said the trip had been planned for more than a year, and was all about building relationships.

After her New Zealand visit Bishop Jefferts Schori will travel to Brisbane to preach at Christ Church St Lucia on July 4. The bishop of that diocese, Archbishop Philip Aspinall, and Bishop Jefferts Schori both have served on the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion since February 2007.

Bishop Jefferts Schori has achieved unique distinction in several areas. She is a scientist (with a doctorate in oceanography); a pilot - and she is the first woman to lead a national church in the 520-year history of the Anglican Church.

Bishop Jefferts Schori's schedule

SUNDAY, June 27


10am - Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori preaches at the Eucharist service in Holy Trinity Cathedral.


3pm - Powhiri at Te Hui Amorangi O Te Waipounamu, 290 Ferry Road. 7pm - Evensong at St Michael and All Angels (corner of Durham St and Oxford Terrace). Bishop Jefferts Schori will preach.

MONDAY, June 28

2pm - "In conversation with Bishop Katharine". An open, informal 90-minute gathering at the Bishop's Centre, Te Hui Amorangi O Te Waipounamu, 290 Ferry Road.

6pm - "Conversation and Language - violent and otherwise " Canterbury Women's House, 190 Worcester Street (between Latimer Square and Barbadoes Street) Women and men are welcome to this event. Donation of $10. Please bring a plate of finger food for a shared tea after the talk.

TUESDAY, June 29

6pm - "Science and Religion - your context or mine?" C1 Lecture Theatre, University of Canterbury, (near James Hight Library between Clyde and Ilam Roads). A secular gathering for both women and men. Donation of $5.


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