While the Holy Spirit was being invoked musically and then in silence, episcopal hands were laid upon our new Bishop of Christchurch, The Rt.Revd. Dr Peter Carrell, in the auditorium of Christchurch Boys High School – the same venue that was used for the episcopal ordination of Christchurch’s Roman Catholic Bishop +Paul Martin, recently. Bishop Paul was present among the guests at this Anglican bishop’s Ordination and led the prayers for his future ministry.
Both bishops in Christchurch have had to access the larger space of the Boys High School to accommodate the crowds expected because both their cathedrals in the city lay in ruins after the earthquake.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand
Here is an account of the occasion in our ‘Anglican Taonga’ (per courtesy ‘Stuff’) :-
Here is a link to the Ordination Service:-
Christchurch’s new Anglican Bishop takes on restoration, dwindling congregations and same sex blessings
Peter Carrell becomes the new Anglican bishop of Canterbury today. On the eve of his ordination, he talks to CHARLIE GATES about restoring the cathedral, his predecessor and attracting a younger congregation.
Peter Carrell grew up in a vicarage but did not come to the Anglican faith until he was 11.
He was on holiday in Riverton Rocks in Southland.
“I had a very strong sense that to escape the judgement of God I needed to commit my life to Christ. I was fearful of going to hell.
“As a young person, I may have had too strong an imagination.”
It was the start of a religious journey that on Saturday afternoon will see him officially become the new Anglican bishop for Canterbury.
Carrell chose to hold his installation ceremony in front of the ruined Christ Church Cathedral as a symbol of his commitment to restoration.
“I wanted to make clear that we are really connected to the cathedral and its future in the Square,” said Carrell.
“We could have had the service in the transitional cathedral, but … it is really good to be able to say to the whole of Canterbury and New Zealand that this diocese is really committed to the reinstatement of the cathedral.”
The front of the cathedral has been tidied up in preparation for the ceremony on Saturday. Tall grass and vegetation has been cut down, asbestos-contaminated rubble taken away, and fallen masonry cleared and catalogued by stonemasons.
“I’m delighted we’ve been able to do something about that,” Carrell said.
“Tidying up work has been going on to have the place as tidy and clean looking as we can possibly make it before Saturday.”
Choosing the ruined cathedral for his ceremony makes him immediately different to his predecessor, Victoria Matthews, who wanted to demolish the cathedral and build a modern replacement.
His change in leadership style is also demonstrated in his more open relationship with the media.
Matthews did not sit down for an interview with Stuff between 2013 and her departure in 2018. In contrast, Carrell invited Stuff for an interview ahead of his installation on Saturday.
But Carrell is diplomatic about his predecessor’s legacy. He did not think her time as bishop was divisive.
“I think that would be the view of some people in Christchurch. I think others would think the cathedral itself and its situation was divisive, independent of who was the bishop.
“Bishop Victoria never set out to divide anybody, let alone the city of Christchurch.”
He said her legacy was to bring the church together and focus on their religious mission.
“She did a huge amount of good in our diocese. She got this diocese talking about mission again. What it means to reach out to people beyond the walls of the church.
“She left us as a diocese in really good heart. Our finances generally are in a good state.”
He wants his main focus as bishop to be on rebuilding fading congregations and attracting more young people to the Anglican church.
“Overall, we are declining in Sunday attendance. We have some great parishes with really good congregations and we have others that are declining.
“In a number of congregations they are also increasing in age. That makes it really challenging to see some of our parishes even existing in 10 or 20 years time.”
He wants the diocese to focus on connecting with younger worshippers in what is a “rapidly changing world”.
“We have been traditionally pretty bookish, we believe in the Bible and use prayer books, but the new generation is often much more interested in video rather than books, and conversation rather than reading.”
SAME SEX BLESSINGS
Another key issue he faces, aside from cathedral restoration and fading congregations, is fall-out from a decision by Anglican leaders last year to allow same sex blessings.
The move means each vicar can decide if they will conduct same sex blessings with permission from the local bishop. The decision has led to a number of Christchurch worshippers, parishes and priests leaving the Anglican church.
Carrell’s approach to the issue is moderate, diplomatic and anxious not to focus too keenly on divisive issues.
“I’m very sad that people have chosen to leave.
“I personally believe that no one needed to leave, but I completely respect a difference of view on that and that people have determined that the … the decision is a step too far and they need to leave.
“I am pleased that nevertheless many people who have conservative convictions on this matter are choosing to remain in our diocese. They are recognising that this is a broad church and more than one view on this can coexist.”
Even though his father was an Anglican vicar and later an assistant bishop, Carrell took some time to decide on a life in the church.
He was born in Christchurch, but lived in Hororata and Dunedin as a child, before returning to the city aged 11.
After completing a degree in mathematics at the University of Canterbury he went on to a bachelor of divinity at the University of Otago, before becoming an Anglican priest in 1987 at the age of 27.
He now lives in Christchurch with his wife Teresa Kundycki-Carrell, who is a lay chaplain at Cathedral Grammar School. They have four adult children who are all in their twenties.
Carrell is a board member at Christ’s College and was director of education for the Anglican diocese before being appointed bishop.
Despite his late start in the church, Carrell is committed to his new role and wants to still be bishop when the cathedral is fully restored in about 10 years.
“I would really like to be part of the reopening as the bishop of Christchurch not the retired bishop of Christchurch.
“I think the inner city of Christchurch in the last six months – with the opening of the library, the new cinema and the imminent opening of the Town Hall – is looking really exciting at the moment.
“The cathedral will take its part in a vibrant inner city life.”