As I write this Pip and I have just become the grateful owners of a new home! It’s in West Melton backing on to a lovely reserve with walkways and a playground close at hand, views of the mountains in one direction and the beautiful Port Hills in the other. It’s like a Christchurch suburb transplanted in rural Canterbury!

And Advent is a perfect time to purchase a house! Advent is the four-week season leading up to Christmas. It’s a spiritual season that acknowledges our travail and hope for a future not yet born – when we embrace the spiritual disciplines of vigilance and perseverance as we prepare for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

For us, this Advent will be about planning, cleaning, rationalizing possessions and slimming down our lives in readiness for the big move. This process perfectly fits the Advent disciplines – undertaking a spiritual inventory, working and waiting with patience and nurturing our expectation of what God wants to do through us in the future.

Part of that future of course involves beginning my new role as Archdeacon for Regeneration and Mission in the Diocese. Many people have asked me what kind of things I’ll be doing. At the recent Synod we confirmed the long-awaited Diocesan Mission Action Plan. One of my tasks will be to help roll out this plan throughout the Diocese. Other work will include enabling parishes to seek spiritual regeneration and re-structuring to enable more effective missional engagement. There will be Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes all round!

As Pip and I reflect on the last 11 years we’ve served the people of Fendalton, we thank God for your friendship, support and shared vision of a renewed and confident church. Thank you for sharing your lives with us – the heart-ache and the hope, the sorrow and the joy. Thank you for everyone who put their shoulder to the wheel of ministry with me, who believed in me and trusted my leadership. By God’s grace I have been part of the extraordinary team which is St Barnabas, Fendalton.