Dear parishioners,

This year I feel that it is important for me to share regular updates with you about the life and mission of our parish as we move forward into this new season of growth and change.

It seems appropriate that I am sharing the first of these new updates with you, now that we are well into the season of Lent. This is a time in our liturgical calendar where we take stock, and rid ourselves of all that disrupts or harms our relationship with God. Then at the end of this time of sacrifice we will spend even more time celebrating the profoundness of the Resurrection and the great and lasting hope and joy this ushered into human history.

I can’t help but see this as a sort of metaphor for where our parish finds itself right now.

Over the coming months and years we are going to be entering into a process of taking stock and preparation, building (literally and figuratively!) for something new – a coming day of celebration and new life in the history of our parish community.

Just like Lent, there will be big and important challenges that we need to grapple with. I know that if we fix our gaze on Christ, and remain faithful to His leading, all will be well.

We have all been called by God for this moment in history, to participate in His mission of living and proclaiming the Gospel with faithfulness and love. As Saint Paul reminds us, we are one body with many parts, and each of us has a unique contribution to make to the life and mission of our parish over the time ahead.

With that in mind, let me share with you three important points as we embark upon this next season together.

Firstly, this year we are going to be developing a strong communications plan for our parish.

These regular updates are part of that, but we also know that we need to improve our other communications with you. So we will be utilising various different channels to ensure important information is reaching as many people as possible, as efficiently as possible.

Secondly, part of what comes next will involve some big practical steps, such as a complete stocktake of all of our parish buildings and assets.

In order to make wise and prudent decisions for the future of our parish, we need to ensure that we are not operating in the dark or leaving port without first ensuring we know everything about the ship we are sailing in!

Thirdly, I want to assure you that we are still very much in the discernment phase when it comes to the some of the biggest challenges and decisions that lie ahead of us as a parish community.

No big decisions have been made, no agendas have been formulated, we are simply focused on moving forward, step by step in faithfulness to the perfect will of God.

In relation to the building project at Rangiora, we are still in the early stages of the master plan for the new church and presbytery.

The Church Building Committee is currently preparing the necessary work and documentation to apply for resource consent for the demolition of the old church.

On this point, if you have any uncertainty about the rationale behind the decision to demolish the church please feel free to approach me or the Church Building Committee for a copy of the full engineering report. We are more than happy to share this with those who might have concerns about the careful and thorough work that has gone into this decision.

Any other plans about our parish buildings, Mass locations and times, or other important aspects of our communal life and worship together, will only be made after careful consideration and consultations. So if you hear rumours about big changes that we haven’t yet announced, please don’t worry, they are nothing more than rumours.

Thank you for all of the many ways you are faithfully serving the mission of Christ in our parish, may the remainder of your Lent be a time of growing intimacy with Jesus.

The Lord bless you and keep you,

Father Do