‘What’s Happening’ is a weekly publication that highlights the services and events in the Cathedral in the week ahead. Hard copies are distributed at Sunday Services and the relevant notice and event details also available on line here.
Progress on the steel support system in the Transitional Cathedral can now be clearly seen on site. Large beams surrounded by cardboard tubes are supported by this framing steel. In time the steel will be enclosed by shipping containers, an innovative and interesting feature of Shigeru Ban's Cathedral design.
CLICK HERE for more information and details on how to join the over 800 families and individuals benefiting from affordable market fresh produce and information on good nutrition. Four processing hubs are now operating around the city as the Cathedral Healthy Eating Programme branches out.
It would seem Telecom is expanding its skills base into packing fruit and vegetables, all to support the Cathedral’s “Healthy Eating Programme.” Each Wednesday morning a group of Telecom employees comes to St Aidan’s Church in Bryndwr to join Cathedral volunteers packing fruit and vegetables into bags ready for distribution to families mainly in the east and south of the city.
Cathedral volunteers do a great job each week but, with demand for the fruit and vegetables increasing quite rapidly, some extra help was needed. They now have Telecom helpers alongside and, for the month of May, staff from The George Hotel, who were out of their building and prepared to give some time. These employee volunteers – willing and friendly – make the work easier.
Trisha Ockwell from Volunteering Canterbury is the link between the Cathedral and the employee volunteers and sees to the recruiting and co-ordination, while the Cathedral provides the training, plenty of encouragement and usually home baking for morning tea! The Cathedral is delighted to have this support from Telecom and The George Hotel volunteers. Out of all the hours
in their working week, the time spent as volunteers at the Fruit and Vegetable Coop appears to rate highly with them. We enjoy their energy and company and are thankful for their support.
Two new tandem axle trailers now support the Cathedral’s Healthy Eating Project. Pictured below with the trailer funded through a generous donation by the Riccarton / Waimairi Lion’s Club are
Rev Brian Thomas, passionate weekly volunteer worker for the Coop, and staff from the Shirley pick up hub - Te Puna Oraka. The second trailer was funded through a donation by Westpac bank - New Brighton Branch.
During his eighth visit to Christchurch, lead architect in the transitional cathedral project Shigeru Ban met with local professionals engaged in the project. Having recently launched the building programme officially, discussions took place around 'detailed design', a phase that will allow costing to be fine tuned prior to the start of construction. Shigeru also met with representatives of the St John's congregation, operators of the site where the cathedral will be built. They envisage a partner building programme alongside incorporating an office building and community meeting space. The meeting pictured took place in Beca's (project management company) Sydenham office.
Shigeru Ban and architect associate Yoshie Narimatsu return to Christchurch April 22nd for their eighth visit in conjunction with the ‘Cardboard Cathedral’ project. They will spend two days consulting with local architects, engineers and project managers. Shigeru will also deliver a public lecture on Sunday evening April 22nd at 7.30pm as part of a Christchurch Art Gallery’s three lecture symposium. To take place at the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (DL Theatre). Details HERE
The Cathedral Healthy Eating Project is building from strength to strength. A valiant and dedicated team gather each Wednesday at the processing hub to assist in supplying over 3 tonne of fresh fruit and veges to around 250 families around the city. A fantastic effort. If you're keen for some fun and productive exercise we would love you to join us. No experience required, simply a desire to assist those in need with practical assistance.
The Programme does not give away food, rather, families pay $10 for a large pack of fruit and veg which the Cathedral purchases direct from the market. Each pack contains at least twice what can be obtained from local supermarkets. A real saving for struggling families. This is a wonderful project in which to be involved and a very practical and life changing Cathedral ministry. If you're interested in helping, please
call Nicky, Cathedral Volunteers' Manager on 353.7883.
Two memorable sermons featured here were preached on Dean Peter's final Sunday, Feb 19th, 2012. The first by Peter himself and the second, by Theologian in Residence, Ven Lynda Patterson.
‘Up to our necks in life.’ Final sermon as Dean of Christchurch 19.02.12
Readings: Is.40 27-31; Mark 16.1-7
"I was installed as the 12th Dean of Christchurch on the evening of the 8th December 2002. I remember standing in the pulpit as I preached the sermon on that wonderful occasion. I craved the indulgence of the congregation while God and I had a little talk. It went like this: ‘Lord, what am I doing here? I’m feeling decidedly inadequate and unworthy. Who am I that I should take on this role within this great house of prayer and amongst these people? Apart from anything else I’m a Jaffa, an Aucklander, though I prefer the definition of jaffa as just another fun filled Anglican! I am both excited and to be honest a little terrified! All I want to be is your faithful priest and if its not too much to ask, have an abundant life!’ And God, who is the Ground of my Being, and the source of my life, said, ‘ I would not have brought you to this point, to leave you on your own. Be not afraid!… Put your mind into your heart and stand in my presence all the day… I am with you. I know you Peter Beck. I know your gifts. I know you, warts and all. Go for it!’ Now after 9 years, I come to another watershed and turning point in my life. I think I might well have a similar conversation this Thursday morning before I am sworn in as a city councillor for Burwood Pegasus, the most earthquake damaged ward of our city. I have been presumptuous enough to put the lectionary on one side for this morning’s service and use the readings that we used at my installation, because they speak of my faith and how I have approached my ministry and mission for Christ throughout my nearly 40 years of ordained life. I look back at what I said with some poignancy as we acknowledge and as our bishop has dramatically impressed upon us through The Press this week, the terrible damage that the cathedral has suffered over the months since this period of seismic activity began in September 2010. And I also look back with a deep sense of satisfaction and pleasure at the way in which together we have done our best to maintain and sustain the unique role that the cathedral has played in the life of our city and diocese. Regularly I would sit in the Cathedral when no one else was there and wait on my God. I would greet the cathedra as a place which stands at the heart of our city and diocese, holding and nurturing the essence of our yearning for meaning, value and purpose in our lives. This building in so many ways stood to express the soul of the city and diocese in the heart of the city. With all our faults and failing as people and as a community of faith we were committed there to seek what is true and of wholeness and justice and peace. The building may be gone, but the ministry and mission we shared lives on. At my installation I greeted this place and prayed that its doors may be open to all, people of all faiths and none – all who want to pause in the busyness of their lives, to stand back, to get things in perspective, to wait on their God, to ponder on the deep yearnings of their hearts and the issues of the world and of human living – all who want to make a difference for good in the world. I greeted this place where we come to worship, to celebrate and ponder our Christian faith, to laugh and to cry, and sometimes to rage. All of us are up to our necks in life. I sometime think it is like sploshing around in a great mudpool together trying to make sense of it all, trying to find meaning and value and purpose for ourselves, trying to make a difference for good. There is no divide between sacred and secular. That’s a barren dualism. Our God is a God of incarnation, and is with us, up to God’s neck in life with us. The particular role that the Church, and our cathedral has played in this great mudpool, is to seek to point to the activity of God, to share in God’s work of building a world of peace and justice and love, where all are treated with respect and integrity. Our role is to celebrate in worship and in our lives the incredible wonder of God’s love in Christ as the Ground of our Being and source of all life and love. I have really enjoyed being your Dean. For me this has been the best job in this church. I have truly enjoyed the relationships we have built, the friendships we have made, the discussion and debates we have shared as we searched and pondered on life and God’s will for us all. We have from time to time agreed and disagreed, We have stood together when we have faced criticism, like we did over the altar cloth, and we have sought to learn from every experience. And in our engagement with the life of the city and world as it flowed in and through this Church, we have had as the foundation of our response, our faith in the risen Christ. As Mark recounts in his rendering of the Resurrection story, this risen Christ is not to found locked away in a hidden room, safe and sanitised. Rather he has gone before them into Galilee, the Galilee of the Gentiles, the marketplace – there you will find him! Emmanuel – God with us! The very heart of our proclamation in word and deed is our resurrection faith, which it seems to me, is in a sense simple, before it is sublime. And it is this and you’ve heard it so many times from me– life is stronger than death, love is stronger than hate. All the rest is at its best explanation, at its worst distraction. In the darkest of times, though all around me would seem to deny it, I will hang on to that faith – all that separates and injures and destroys is overcome by all that unites and heals and creates. In the life of this Cathedral, in its core business of worship and of engaging with the life of the city and diocese, and ministering to their needs as best we can of those who reach out to us, this is the essence of our being. The building by its very presence reminds us of this, as it also reminds us of our shortcomings as Church. All that happens within it and through it and by us, its living stones is for the sole purpose of glorifying God by living out the faith that life is stronger than death and love is stronger than hate. Nothing has changed. No wonder then that I feel so inadequate and unworthy, for it is not easy to have the courage to live life on the basis of this premise. It may lead to a cross! It is however what we humans are called to do and be. It is the purpose of the Church; it is our offering to the rest of the creation. And it is true! Our Cathedral in the Square continues to stand as a symbol, a symbol of our broken city. But the spirit of our city has not been broken and our life goes on. For me the cardboard cathedral which I really hope and pray will be built soon, will be a symbol of real hope and confidence in our future as a city and as the Cathedral church of our diocese. Through this beautiful building you will find a home again and once again give a presence for the Cathedral’s life and ministry, to once again be the place where the city comes to celebrate and grieve, and to be for so many its heart and soul. And whenever you feel weary and tempest tossed as the days go on, as the quakes go on, and as we strive to rebuild our city and our lives, do not forget the words of the prophet – those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up like eagles, they shall run and not be wary, they shall walk an not faint. Kia kaha. Amen"
"There’s a story told about a preacher who was well known for his excellent sermons, but no one who heard him ever realized that they’d all been written by his longsuffering curate. Finally one day the curate’s patience ran out. The preacher was speaking to hundreds of expectant listeners, and at the bottom of page two he read the stirring words, “And this, my friends, takes us to the very heart of the book of Habakkuk, which is…” Then he turned the page and found it completely blank except for the words “So long. You’re on your own now.” We gather here tonight for a great celebration of Peter’s time as Dean, to wish him and Gay well , to offer them our congratulations and benediction, and to assure them that the very last thing we want to say to them is “So long. You’re on your own.
I’ve spent some of the last month in my spiritual home, the Bodleian Library in Oxford, tucked away among the mole-like academics, sucking a surreptitious boiled sweet and listening to the scratching of a hundred pencils. While I was there, I dug up a little handwritten book of advice for cathedral deans by Richard Trench, Dean of Westminster in the early 19th century. It’s an eccentric gem with about a hundred almost-illegible aphorisms. Many of them offer advice about what to do if your chapter are revolting, and there’s a striking section on methods for drying kippers – which were obviously of more theological significance in the 19th century than they are now. But a couple of sentences stood out. A dean, says Trench, must keep a decent coach and horses, so his dignity may not be compromised on any occasion. A dean’s speech must always be moderate, and he must strive to cause no offense to anybody. And a dean must react to all things he hears with due seriousness. “Let there be no levity in your manner, but be in all things passing grave.”
Dignity, inoffensiveness and a certain po-faced gravity. Well Peter, if those are the criteria for success as a Dean, I’m afraid you’ve failed. When I think of Peter’s ministry among us for the last nine years these are not– thank God – the phrases that spring to mind. As we say farewell to him tonight, I want to consider the ways in which his ministry has turned them on their heads.
The first virtue which Peter has managed to avoid is standing on his dignity. The English word ‘ministry’ comes from a root which means small and insignificant. All those who minister are, quite literally, mini people in the scheme of things, and smallness and weakness is our stock in trade. The word that St Paul uses in this evening’s NT reading for those who minister means a servant, or an attendant, and it’s very closely associated with the word that means dusty from running. You should be so anxious to wait upon God that you run to do God’s will, and you get sweaty and covered in filth in the process.
If I could sum up Peter’s ministry in a single snapshot, it would be this. Moments after the February 22nd earthquake, with the sirens sounding on all sides, and as the Cathedral tower fell, Peter was outside the building grey with dust comforting the crowds who gathered speechless and uncertain in the square. And in the days and weeks which followed, he was there to articulate a promise of hope for people who couldn’t quite find the words themselves. This is priesthood - the action of emerging out of a crowd and doing something on behalf of other people which they cannot do for themselves. Peter’s ministry has been characterised by his ability to talk to anybody at any time about anything. There’s not much room for dignity if you’re doing that properly.
The second quality that the book recommends for a Dean is inoffensiveness Now, I’m not suggesting that Peter has gone out of his way to cause offense, but he doesn’t suffer from the terrible oppressive vice of Christian niceness. God preserve us from cardboard cut-out clergy who smile slightly too much to be convincing, and are just a little more dull and two dimensional than the rest of the world. Peter tells it like it is, which is sometimes not what people expect to hear.
If we are to be authentic ministers of the Gospel, we have to be people who become more richly ourselves by experiencing the extravagant ordinariness of God’s grace. There is a natural, unfussy, unselfconscious kind of holiness which allows us to become ourselves and to appreciate each other more fully. When the Church absorbs this atmosphere of rich holiness, without censoring itself to be what people expect, we can find in other people and ourselves just a hint more quirkiness and individuality than we might otherwise be aware of.
“Be in all things passing grave.’ The last virtue that Peter has managed to avoid is a kind of po-faced humourlessness. I have never met a man who needs so little encouragement to don a tutu. He is a person of strong convictions held lightly, which is a rarity in a church filled with people who hold frivolous convictions with the utmost seriousness.
There is a small English country church at Preston Blisset in Buckinghamshire. When you stand behind the altar and look up, you can’t help but notice a fourteenth century carving of an ample bottom pointed straight towards you. Professor Diarmuid McCulloch begins his great book on the Reformation by calling attention to it. He doesn’t know its purpose, but he reminds us that “This was a religion where shouts of laughter as well as roars of rage were common in church, and where the whole breadth of human life was known and appreciated.” The church is not the world with the filth washed out, but the world deepened and enriched and made more real by the experience of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Peter stands firmly in that tradition.
The three pieces of advice to deans in Richard Trench’s little book assume the church is embedded right in the centre of society, decent, charitable, comfortably off, and focusing its energies on serving the needs of its current members. But there is a prophetic call for the church to explore the meaning of being in the world but not of it—a church on the edge, far from the centres of power and influence, rooted in serving the community and calling on others to commit to doing the same. That is a tradition that this cathedral community has long subscribed to, and Peter is part of the long line of Deans who have ministered not only to those within the church but to those who barely register that it exists.
Earlier we heard the choir sing the triumphant song of Simeon in the Nunc Dimittis. "Lord now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace." The words often seem to describe an ending, but in fact they come at the beginning of St Luke's Gospel. Simeon had seen a hint of the salvation to come. He has seen a beginning, and that gives him the strength and the courage to carry on. Peter and Gay, what is an end for us is a new beginning for you, as Peter takes up his role as a city Councillor, and the whole new calling with the misery and the joys that that will involve.
The Franciscans have a liturgy for taking leave of a community and making a new beginning surrounded by support and love and prayers. It acknowledges that living in community has its good times and its bad and that there is a sense of pain and insecurity in moving on, as well as blessing and growth and that, surrounding all of this are the loving arms of God. When you leave, its never just “So long. You’re on your own now.”
So I’d invite you to pray for Peter and Gay, and for the threads that bind them to this community where they are loved and to which they have contributed so much.
Let us pray.
We praise you and thank you, God of the journey, for those who are soon to leave us. We entrust them into your loving care, knowing that you are always the faithful traveller and the companion on the Way. Shelter and protect them from all harm and anxiety. Grant them the courage to meet the future, and grace to go into new life; through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen."
Lynda Patterson, Theologian in Residence, ChristChurch Cathedral
$536 was recently received to assist with the rebuild of ChristChurch Cathedral from children in Island Bay, Wellington, connected to the local Presbyterian Church. Inspired by the now severely damaged Cathedral stained glass windows, children designed and produced a colourful series of Christmas cards. Profits from sales amounted to the generous cheque received by us. A huge thank you to designers Toby (6 yrs), Hana (6yrs), Tom (6yrs), Lexie (8yrs), Oliver (9yrs) and all who helped with this creative enterprise.
Peter Beck will shortly conclude his time as Dean. In his final report, he speaks of his time in 'the best job in the church.'
"This is my last report to you. First of all I want to say what an immense privilege and honour it has been through God’s grace for me to serve as Dean of Christchurch. It has indeed been for me the best job in this Church. I have been a priest for over 38 years and this community of faith is one of the healthiest and most functional I have ever been part of. Thank you for your support, your encouragement and your critique. I know I am leaving at a crucial time in the Cathedral’s history. It has been a very hard decision to make and not done without a great deal of thought and prayer. I don’t always understand the nature of God’s call but it does seem right to pass the baton on to a new dean to focus on the building of the new cathedral, a dean who will have the confidence not only of the Cathedral community and the Chapter, but also of the wider diocese and of our Bishop.
The decision to stand in the by-election for Burwood Pegasus ward of the City Council was not a hard one to make. We live on the edge of the ward in the eastern suburbs and as the Patron of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Network I have been intimately involved in the very difficult issues so many people are facing. Either it was coincidence or synchronicity or the mysterious movement of God’s grace, but with the surprising resignation of Chrissie Williams as the city councillor, it seems right to step up and seek to continue to serve the people of this city and my God and my church in this way. Again this was with much prayer and seeking to be open to God’s call. And it does feel like a call. I guess I will have to wait until 10 February, the election day, to find out whether or not I got it right!
If I have any legacy as the Dean, I hope I will be seen as someone who with the cathedral community sought to continue to offer a place of hospitality and welcome to people of all faiths and none, where Anglican Cathedral worship has been offered to the very best of our ability, and where even within its busy bustle, the peace and serenity of God’s presence pervades through the beauty of this place and the welcome by its people. I have sought to foster the church’s engagement with the life of the city following the example of my immediate predecessors, ministering to its needs and debating and discussing the critical issues which are part of our lives.. What a privilege we have to be the stewards of the icon of our city with the opportunities this gives for Christian ministry and in so many ways engaging the city in the deep things of what it means to be human beings in community. This has been exhilarating and deeply humbling. It is a precious role that this Cathedral has played over the years, and I sincerely hope that this delicate and vital relationship with the wider community will continue.
That is why I have been so persistent in promoting the cardboard cathedral as a beautiful symbol of hope for our city’s future and a presence for the cathedral to exercise its role as the spiritual heart of the city and diocese as a new cathedral is born. I do want to encourage you in developing the Ministry Action Plan, to be bold in continuing to do what we do well and thinking outside the square for the new initiatives in ministry and mission which are uniquely those of Christchurch Cathedral.
I have been profoundly blessed by a staff team which over the years has not only [largely!] put up with me, but has regularly gone the extra mile for the Cathedral’s ministry and for our community. The great army of volunteers which helped to keep the cathedral open 365 days a year have been amazing and I know many of you continue in your volunteer service through the veggie coop and the other ways we reach out into the east. Others are champing at the bit to continue their ministry to the city and diocese as soon as the transitional cathedral can be opened.
There is so much I could say and so many to thank. Suffice it to say in words I have used a lot recently, words of Dag Hammarskjold, ‘For all that has been thanks. For all that will be, yes!’
ChristChurch Cathedral appears to have suffered further serious damage in the rash of Friday afternoon Christchurch quakes.
CERA boss Roger Sutton surveyed the city from the air during the afternoon – and he told a 5.30pm Friday press conference that it looked as though the cathedral had sustained further damage.
The Dean of the Cathedral, the Very Rev Peter Beck, said he understands that "some areas have deteriorated significantly."
Clouds of mortar dust were seen rising from the already-severely damaged west end of the cathedral, where the Rose Window once stood.
Dean Beck says there were no workers on the cathedral site when yesterday's jolts came.
He says the extent and consequences of the further damage are not yet clear, and that the Cathedral will remain cordoned off while assessments take place.
Dean Beck says the diocese will work with CERA to make sure that all the relevant assessments are undertaken as quickly as possible.
"As we've said throughout, our first priority is people's safety. Once we have further information, we'll make sure that our wider Christchurch community is updated."
Meanwhile, Bishop Victoria Matthews has instructed that all Christmas weekend church services in the greater Christchurch area be held outdoors.
Where midnight Christmas Eve vigil services are concerned, she suggested parishioners “BYOT” – Bring Your Own Torch.
Diocesan communication officer Philip Baldwin reports minor damage to a church hall in Kaiapoi.
The first 5.8 earthquake struck at 1:58pm, and was followed by a swarm of powerful aftershocks. The one which struck 80 minutes later, for instance, was rated at 6 on the Richter scale and centred just 10km east of Christchurch.