Parish Letter from Peter Beck
17 September 2021
Dear Parish family
Kia Ora e te whanau!
This Sunday our Parish Eucharist is in the Retreat House of the Community of the Sacred Name. Many thanks to Mother Alena.
While we are Level 2 [it looks like there may be some easing of the restrictions all being well next week] as I indicated in my letter earlier this week we are following the advice from our Bishop and the Diocesan Office:
- You are strongly recommended to wear a face-mask [we will have disposable masks available]
- On arrival a welcomer will mark your attendance on a register. Hand sanitizers will also be available.
- The seating will be arranged to maintain the 2m social distancing required.
- We have been advised not to have singing. So we will have times of recorded reflective music.
- There will be no physical sharing of the Peace greeting. We can look at one another and smile/nod a greeting
- Communion will be in one kind. We will use wafers rather than the pita breads
Our weekday services on Wednesday and Thursday will be in the Knox Chapel as usual.
I am so looking forward to us gathering together in these last weeks before the parish is dissolved. I think these arrangements and the instructions during the service will keep us all very safe. But of course, if you are uncertain about whether to come or not, there are the on-line service available which I have detailed in the last few parish letters. And please don’t hesitate to call me on 021 654 445 if you would like to.
As well as our usual services over the next few weeks there are three which I draw especially to your attention and deeply hope that those of who can will be able to be present:
On Sunday 10th October at 9.30am our Parish Eucharist will take the form of a service to acknowledge our grief and sadness at the closing of our parish. During the service, in a time of reflection there is an opportunity if you wish to share with the rest of us what St Luke’s means to you. Or you may prefer to sit silently as you remember and pray. You may like to light a candle. You are very welcome to bring to the service something which symbolises what St Luke’s means to you, and together with rosemary and a flower, which we will provide as symbols of our grief and our thankfulness, to lay them before the altar in front of the icon of St Luke. If you are not able to be present you may like to send a message for me to share on your behalf . The service will be followed by a catered Morning Tea
On Sunday 17 October, there won’t be a service in the morning. Instead we gather at the Transitional Cathedral at 5pm for a Festal Eucharist for the Diocese and City, to give thanks for 162 years of ministry of our Parish and to pray God’s blessing for the future. We are leading this service and have invited the Cathedral Choir to take part. Bishop Peter will be the celebrant and I will preach. The service will be followed by a reception in the foyer of the Cathedral. [If there are Covid restrictions in place in terms of numbers we will have to send out invitations to ensure that our parish whanau and other invited guests are able to have a seat. I’ll let you know as soon as I can]
On Monday 18 October, St Luke’s Day our final service will be a Sung Mass for our parish family to celebrate our Saint’s Day at 6.30pm either at Knox or CSN. This will be of course be followed by drinks and nibbles!
Before this at 5.15pm you may like to join me at the church site for some prayers giving thanks for the churches which stood there. [The site will be retained until the end of March 2023 as the home of the 185 white chairs].
Anglican e-Life 8 September 2021 Message from the Bishop
A very big thank you to all members of Synod and to our supporting staff in the Anglican Centre for a very smooth and productive couple of Zoom sessions of Synod last Thursday and Friday nights. Of particular note we approved the dissolution of the Parish of Christchurch St Luke’s, to take effect on St Luke’s Day, 18 October, 2021. Please pray for this parish and its parishioners as they prepare for a series of services and events in October to mark this dissolution.
Anglican e-Life Message from the Bishop
On Sunday 2 May 2021, at a Special General Meeting, parishioners of the Parish of Christchurch St Luke’s voted unanimously that the Parish be dissolved on St Luke’s Day, 18 October this year. This is a very significant moment in the history of this parish and of the Diocese of Christchurch. St. Luke’s parishioners have shown courage in facing the reality of their situation and creativity in setting out a way for the mission of St Luke’s to continue in other ways.
The decision taken represents a significant rearrangement of our ministry to the inner city of Christchurch. As we move forward in the Regeneration of the Diocese through this decade, there will be changes and some of them will be painful as well as potentially very fruitful. But where possible, as in this case, I look forward to the initiative for change being taken from within our parishes rather than imposed by the Diocese.
AnglicanLife 12 May 2021
The Anglican Parish of St Luke’s in the City is to close on 18 October this year, its Feast day, St Luke’s Day. This was decided at a Special General Meeting held on 2 May 2021. The recommendation to close will go to Synod to be ratified in September.
For 162 years St Luke’s has been a liberal voice for the gospel in the heart of Christchurch, sustained by a deep commitment to a contemplative style of spirituality and outreach.
Since the earthquakes St Luke’s has been at various venues but has not found a permanent home, and congregation numbers have declined.
Currently the former site of St Luke’s Church is leased to the Side Door Arts Trust who have the 185 white chairs art installation there.
St Luke’s parishioners are grieving deeply over the loss of their parish, but are also courageously looking forward. The parish is not merging with another but closing and their assets are being gifted to both the Cathedral and the Cathedral Reinstatement fund.
Rev’d Peter Beck says, “Parishioners are very clear that they would like the financial assets of the parish to be invested by the Church Property Trustees in order to fund a fulltime priest or deacon as part of the Cathedral team. This person’s main ministry focus will be chaplaincy to the inner city (e.g. to businesses, to ministries engaging with those who are poor, to the creative arts) as well as ensuring that a regular celebration of the Eucharist in the St Luke’s style is maintained at the Cathedral. Parishioners would also like funds to be available to support contemplative spirituality projects as well as social justice and service projects in the inner city.”
Additionally, once the Side Door Arts Trust’s lease is finished, in 2023, the parish recommends that the land be sold, with preference for a sale which leads to positive ’social impact investment’ and the proceeds be contributed to the Cathedral Project.
The Special Parish Meeting’s full parish resolution for recommendation to Synod :-
Media statement on behalf of
St Luke’s in the City
12 May 2021
St Luke’s in the City to close
The Anglican Parish of St Luke’s in the City is to close on St Luke’s Day, 18 October this year.
For 162 years St Luke’s has been a liberal voice for the gospel in the heart of Christchurch, sustained by a deep commitment to a contemplative style of spirituality and outreach. Situated at the corner of Kilmore and Manchester Streets the Parish Church was fatally damaged in the 2011 earthquake and had to be demolished. The parishioners became homeless.
Over the last 10 years the parish has ‘camped out’ in other church communities. Churchwarden Jenny Drury has been quoted as saying “We are grateful for their generosity in enabling us to have a place to worship, but it is not possible to re-establish and nourish our outreach and ministry without our own permanent base in the central city. All our efforts to find a new home have been unsuccessful. Even so the parish has maintained its contemplative style of inclusive worship and its commitment to such social justice and service projects as ProTXT, the safety alert system run by the Prostitutes’ Collective.”
While there has been a very deep commitment to the parish and its heritage, there has been a slow and consistent decline in membership over the last ten years and it is an increasingly elderly congregation. “There does come a point where there are insufficient people resources, and flagging energy left to maintain and grow a parish,” says Drury.
St Luke’s parishioners are grieving deeply over the loss of their parish.
Usually in such circumstances a parish merges with another parish. But the people of St Luke’s in the City are determined that all that St Luke’s has stood for should continue in a new and transformative way. They want a legacy for the inner city which is not guaranteed by merging property and assets into another parish in the usual way. At a Special General Meeting of parishioners it was unanimously agreed to recommend to Bishop Peter Carrell and the Standing Committee that the parish be dissolved subject to successfully agreeing with the Diocese on a way forward which enables a legacy mission for St Luke’s.
Current priest in charge, Rev’d Peter Beck says, “Parishioners are very clear that they would like the financial assets of the parish to be invested by the Church Property Trustees in order to fund a fulltime priest or deacon as part of the Cathedral team. This person’s main ministry focus will be chaplaincy to the inner city (e.g. to businesses, to ministries engaging with those who are poor, to the creative arts) as well as ensuring that a regular celebration of the Eucharist in the St Luke’s style is maintained at the Cathedral. Parishioners would also like funds to be available to support contemplative spirituality projects as well as social justice and service projects in the inner city.”
Currently the former site of St Luke’s Church is leased to the Side Door Arts Trust who have placed their 185 white chairs art installation there. At the end of the lease in 2023 the parish recommends that the land be sold, with preference for a sale which leads to positive ’social impact investment’ and the proceeds be contributed to the Cathedral Project.
“If these recommendations are agreed to by the Diocese at its annual Synod in September it means that what St Luke’s in the City has stood for all these years can be continued into the future,” says Beck. “It’s a real Easter story of death and resurrection.”
For further information:
• Rev’d Peter Beck: 021 654445 / firstname.lastname@example.org
• St Luke’s is currently operating out of Knox Presbyterian Chapel, 28 Bealey Avenue, Christchurch.
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