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Episcopal Ordination Bulletin

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 02 July 2012

Wellington greets Bishop Justin

It's a mystery how a man who likes to mix with convicted criminals, who commends a life of slavery, who walks barefoot into Cathedrals in the middle of winter could be so ... well, so downright popular. Yet there's no mistaking just how enthusiastic Wellingtonians are for such a man.

Because 2000 of them shoehorned into the Cathedral of St Paul on Saturday to see Justin Duckworth Ordained and Installed as Wellington's 11th Anglican Bishop. There were so many in the congregation, in fact, that it's as well the Fire Department didn't see them standing in the aisles, and against the walls. And when, moments after the gathered Bishops had laid hands on Justin, and prayed the prayer of Ordination, and Bishop Justin was presented to the people … well, that was the cue for a thunderous and prolonged ovation.

But the thing about Justin Duckworth is that there is no mystery about him. No mystery about what he's always stood for, and what he will continue to live by now that he's a Bishop. Carved into the Pastoral Staff he was given on Friday by inmates at Rimutaka Prison are three marks which indicate the core values of Urban Vision, the movement Justin and his wife Jenny helped found 25 years ago, and which anchor him still.

Those strands are:
  • having a Jesus centre
  • belonging deeply together 
  • giving our best for the least
Justin told the Cathedral congregation that he was thinking about those who couldn't be with them today – and he told the congregation of a wero (Maori challenge) that those inmates, who are in the faith-based unit at Rimutaka, had laid upon him:

Please, never forget us. We need you to stand up for us, and to stay faithful to those of us who need you most.

Healing the Scars of Slavery
The assembled robed clergy of the Diocese heard a variation on that theme in the 15 minutes before they processed into the Cathedral. Justin gathered them in The Loaves and Fishes, the café next door to the Cathedral, and talked about the year he'd spend as Priest in Charge of a London Parish in 2007. They met a Christian then whose life purpose was to heal the scars left by slavery. He'd inspire groups of English and Africans to walk from city to city to show those wounds are still real – and he made that a walk a headturner. Because this time, it was the white people who walked in chains and yokes.

Justin walked from Birmingham to Liverpool that way, chained to his children, and he told the clergy on Saturday that he'd found that experience "profoundly disturbing". Yet that, he suggested, was the life that each robed person in that room had volunteered for. "Jesus leads a triumphal procession of slaves," he said. "We are the ones who choose to be slaves, yoked together."

'Walk With Us in Jesus' Footsteps'
So those who choose to be slaves for the Gospel duly processed into the Cathedral, with Justin and his wider family, and about 140 members of the Urban Vision family taking up the rearguard – called on by the Karanga of Putiputi Mackey, and responding with: Come with us, walk with us, in the footsteps of Jesus, a Taize-style chant composed by one of their number, Gemma Minogue.

Toa Helu read Ruth 1: 16-17 (Where you go, I will go ); the choir sang Psalm 121; Archdeacon Don Rangi read Philippians 2: 5-11 (Let the same mind being you that was in Christ Jesus…who emptied himself, taking the form of a slave…) while Reverend Dave Smart – who built the Chapel of Tarore at Ngatiawa – read John 21:15-19 (Feed my sheep ).

Reverend Martin and Alison Robinson – who co-founded Urban Vision with Justin and Jenny, and who are Chaplains at Rimutaka Prison – then preached the sermon. Alison began by telling a rabbinic tale in which a prince dreamed of creating a community where everybody cared for their neighbour, even at cost to self. He invited chiefs of the various clans to celebrate that visionary community-to-be by selecting the best wine in their cellars, and emptying that into a communal vat. But each chief was suspicious, and so each emptied into that vat bottles, not of vintage wine, but of water. "I understand," said Alison, "the resistance to doing something so foolish and extreme."

Yet many of the decisions Justin and Jenny had taken over the years seemed almost ridiculous at the time. But they had been taken simply to attempt to walk authentically in the footsteps of Jesus. One example of Justin's gift of dreaming the impossible, she said, was his driving Urban Vision to launch community musicals, with casts composed mostly of strugglers from the neighbourhoods in which Urban Vision serves. And so Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat, then Jesus Christ Superstar, then Oliver – which had a cast of about 30 kids from ten different ethnic backgrounds – were brought to the stage with each show being bigger and more ambitious than the last. "In some sense," mused Alison, "we are embarking on the next musical. "The cast is just a little bigger this time."

Martin Robinson then said that he believed God's word for the Diocese is "courage". "We are being called to have the courage where Jesus leads us, under Justin's leadership, to have the courage to do the ridiculous, to contribute to the communal vat, because that is the Kingdom way."

From the Known to the Unknown
Later in the service, after Justin's Ordination and Installation, his wife Jenny gave a brief but moving speech. She gave a mihi, and thanked the Diocese for its support over the death of her mum, who passed away three weeks ago. She remembered Justin's mum, too, and gave thanks for others who've died after leading lives of loving service to the Diocese. Jenny spoke of her amazement at the path her family had been led to walk – and quoted an observation Justin had often made: that God always leads His followers "from the known to the unknown." She said the Duckworth family "was used to sharing Justin – and would gladly share him now with the Diocese."

Leaving a Lasting Legacy
The new Bishop then spoke briefly about the legacy he hopes his Diocese will leave. He didn't want future generations to look back at the Anglican Church as the provider of fine buildings – but as the body that had given birth to generations of faithful followers of Jesus Christ, "as numerous as the stars in the sky." He talked of the need to leave the bricks and mortar of Egypt, and to head out into the wilderness – and he thanked his clergy for their courage and commitment to the cause of Christ.

A Kiwi Version of the Gospel
The service was long. With so many in the Cathedral, even the serving of communion took about 15 minutes. But to the throngs of well-wishers who were still queuing up to greet their new Bishop an hour after the service had ended, that didn't seem to matter.

For Archbishop David Moxon, the sheer energy of the occasion – and the numbers who turned out for it – was the thing that impressed him. "There is joy here," he said, "but also depth. This is the Holy Spirit at work." He felt the new Bishop demonstrated "an extraordinary commitment to the apostolic lifestyle … and yet there's something very Kiwi about him. We're seeing a Kiwi version of the Gospel here, and a radical commitment to the least, the lost and the last."

Our thanks to Lloyd Ashton for his words above taken from Anglican Taonga.

Photo Gallery
Follow the link for a wonderful photo story of the Episcopal Ordination and Installation of Justin Duckworth

Episcopal Ordination Photo Gallery  > 

Thanks to Jay Berryman for the wonderful photos.

Cope and Mitre

The Parish of Masterton played a crucial role in the Ordination with Reverend Liz Greville making Justin's cope and mitre.  |  Bishop Justin's Cope  >

Comments from around the Diocese and the World
Local comment:

"I'm just back from St Aidan's (5.20pm Saturday) where we had Bishop Justin's Ordination live-streamed and projected onto a large screen in the church. Forty people attended and were there for the duration. There were four or five from nearby Parishes who were so grateful to be there as they – as for many of our own people – would not have been able to attend the Cathedral with all the transport, waiting time, etc., that would have meant.

"It went extraordinarily well and those present were most grateful for the opportunity. Many were elderly and others did not have access to the internet. But being together with their friends in the warmth of the church and with a clear picture and excellent sound, they told me they felt they were actually in the Cathedral without having to go to all the hassle of being there.

"There were younger people there too – a couple grabbed a cup of tea as they come in (just like the movie theatre!) and sipped as the service went along. Wonderful stuff! Having the Order of Service was just great – we all stood when we were supposed to, sat, kneeled, responded and, I might say, sang heartily – all because everyone had an Order of Service. We even had Communion when they did the same at the Cathedral (using the Reserved Sacrament, of course!).

"We provided tea and tiny cakes afterwards and the buzz that was going on around the tables then was remarkable. People were genuinely excited and enthusiastic and looking toward the future under the guidance of Bishop Justin – and this applied to the whole age range that was present. It was all quite thrilling and gratifying and there was a real sense of community among us that the Bishop had spoken about.

"Our sincere thanks – all 40 of us who were at St Aidan's – to whoever is the innovative person who thought of the idea of live streaming the service, and then put it into action. A brilliant idea! The camera work was most professional as was the sound. Well done, indeed! And may this be a precedent for other such occasions as this is an excellent use by the church of modern technology.

Errol Pike
Bishop's Warden
St Aidan and St George – Miramar, Seatoun and Strathmore"

European comment:

"I have just finished watching Bishop Justin's Episcopal Ordination via live stream, in the Netherlands where I now live, after living in Christchurch and Dunedin a number of years in the 90's. I worshipped regularly at Holy Trinity, Avonside and All Saints', Dunedin.

"What a wonderful, rich, inspiring and blessed service this was! I am so glad that halfway around the world I was able to watch this live, getting up at 3.30am to experience this. Please pass on to Bishop Justin my congratulations, and blessing. May his life continue to enrich the Diocese and the whole Anglican Church in Aotearoa. (I must say that I was a little homesick as it has been 12 years since I lived in New Zealand.)

Wilhelmina Hein

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No reira waiho ko te aroha o Te Matua Kaha Rawa hei korowai mou.
May the love of Almighty God enfold you!