Archbishop's Remarks - Diocesan Thanksgiving Service

Your Excellency, Hon. Chief Justice, President of the Senate, Members of Parliament, fellow bishops, other members of the clergy, other distinguished persons, friends all.

We thank God for this wonderful day and for yet another opportunity for worship. I hope is has been a blessing to all present and those who have joined us on the internet.

As I draw closer to the end of my ministry as Bishop of this diocese, and offer thanks to God for his guidance and support, let me also thank all who have come together to make these last two weeks of my ministry as Bishop and Archbishop pleasant and memorable. I deeply appreciate all that you have done.

A special thanks to the office staff who have been working overtime to ensure all things are well organised and in true Anglican fashion done decently and in order without fuss or fanfare.

Thanks to all those who organised, and in anyway contributed to the farewell events of these two last weeks of my ministry as Bishop of this diocese.

I treasure the kind words of those who spoke at the dinner on Friday. I appreciate all who attended. It is always reassuring to be appreciated.

This experience of this service is affirming and uplifting. Thank you all for being here. Your presence is a commitment to Jesus as Lord and to work hard to ensure that this diocese continue to be be a beacon of Christ presence in this country and beyond.

I thank the Canon Missioner and his team for their labour of love in organising this service and previous ones. I deeply appreciate the effort put in to make this service one that makes every Anglican in this country very proud.

I thank all those who have made contributions to my ministry as Bishop of this diocese during the past seventeen years.

Words of gratitude are offered to members of the clergy for their support. I could not have achieved anything without the work and the support of the clergy in the parishes.

My thanks to all the members of Synod during the past seventeen years, and to the members of the Synod Council.

These two central groups in our diocesan structure assisted in implementing the ideas, and the policies that we thought were critical for moving the ministry and the mission of the diocese to new levels.

I deeply appreciate the work and the achievements of the Diocesan Trustees during my ministry. Faced with many challenges this body kept working to live up to its responsibility as the managers of the diocesan property and guardians of its pension fund.

I have no doubt that you will push on to help this diocese to realise the type of financial position that can provide the resources we need as we seek to strengthen our ministry.

And to all our diocesan groups I say a big thank you for your prayers and support. You have been there along the way, not only performing your special ministry but doing so ever conscious of your connection to the wider ministry of the diocese.

I thank God for making it possible to minister at the highest level in this Province as Archbishop. I thank my fellow bishops for their support in this ministry.

I count it a great privilege to minister at this level.

My ministry as Archbishop provided me with the opportunity to assist with the management of the Anglican Communion, that umbrella body that embraces some 80 million Anglicans throughout the world.

I was humbled by this experience of being aware that I could make a difference in the spiritual development of someone in Sudan, Jerusalem, or South Africa or Fiji.

I treasure the wisdom and the experience to which I had access during my ministry as Bishop and Archbishop. There were many times when sound advice was offered, and accepted.

I will always treasure the words of an experienced who. told me when I became bishop:

Bishop John as you go through your ministry, just do not try to say everything about everything ......

This sharing often helped me to see many other perspectives of the particular issue. For this contribution to my ministry, I am grateful.

I could not have done it without the sport of my Family. My wife Betty and son Stuart provided unflinching support for my ministry. I thank God for them.

I have watched the diocese move along a path of positive development and growth, even if at times it seems as if it was moving at snail's pace. But it was moving.

In this context my ministry demanded a level of understanding, and a depth of patience that are both critical for leadership at any level.

I was fully aware that like the disciples of Jesus, each of us will move along at a different pace along a common path. But the important thing is keeping our eye on the goal of the journey.

The goal was to strengthen the ministry of this diocese, especially focusing this ministry on those critical areas of life that often need to be connected to our faith, to our belief in God and our acceptance of Jesus as Lord.

It is with this perspective that we embrace the Fifth Mark of Mission and reclaim the responsibility to be good stewards of the environment, that we engaged in a ministry addressing the HIV/AIDS crisis, and highlighted the need to assist with the responses to the challenges posed by NCD's.

We worked as well to ensure that these were topics for discussion in Synod and created projects in the diocese and parishes that responded to these conditions.

We must with earnest continue to work with our youth, not only those in our congregations to those in the wider community as well. I have every confidence that our youth ministry will continue to grow, and will become stronger. Let us support the youth ministry in our parishes and in the wider diocese. Continue to pray for all those who Minister to our young people .

My ministry as bishop was a mixture of a host of experiences. All in all, the good and supportive ones far outweighed their opposites.

Standing here at this juncture and looking back over the past 17 years, I have few regrets. Of course there is always the idea that if I had done A instead of B, or C instead of D ,a particular result would have been more positive.

But this is hindsight. And we all know that leadership demands making critical decisions drawing on the available resources at a given point in time, and without the support of hindsight.

I thank God for his support and guidance during my years as Bishop. My hope is that with his grace I have been able to make a positive difference in the ministry in this diocese.

We have in this diocese a solid foundation on which to build. The same holds true for the Province. The foundations have been constructed over the centuries. Our duty in our time is to strengthen them, and to pass them on stronger than we inherited them.

My hope is that the building blocks added to foundation of the diocese during the past 17 years, and to that of the province during the past eight years will add to the strength and the vision of the ministry of diocese and Province.

May God bless each of us as we move forward in his name in this diocese and Province and strive harder to be a bright beacon of Christ presence within our communities.