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Southbound team seeks God’s blessing on their trip

Following the tradition of many years, this Sunday 30 September at 10:00am the Christchurch Transitional Cathedral will welcome and bless the Antarctic explorers, scientists, logistics staff and visitors as they journey to Antarctica this summer. Dean Lawrence Kimberley will pray for their safety and will also hand over to the Chaplin of the departing team, the Chalice, for use in the unique Chapel of the Snows at Mc Murdo Base.

Dean Kimberley enjoys welcoming the intrepid and excited team each year.

“It’s a great celebration and a privilege to send them off on their way. They visit a place of great awe and beauty, danger and mystery – another aspect of God’s wonderful creation. The research they do down there is invaluable to our understanding of our amazing world. And as stewards of this planet, we need to improve our knowledge so we can better look after it,” says the Dean.

Antarctica, a place in darkness for many months, is now approaching its summer season of light. This means the team of summer scientists and logistics staff will be heading down to Antarctica very soon for the activity-filled summer season. This includes New Zealanders, Italians, Americans and a number of other nationalities who travel down and work at Scott Base and McMurdo Base each summer.

As the new season gets underway, the City of Christchurch hosts many visitors from around the world who pass through Christchurch on the way to begin working on the Antarctic continent. New Zealand’s own contribution to this work is backed up by 60 years of experience of working in Antarctica. New Zealand is a recognised a world leader in this scientific research, which underpins New Zealand’s strong commitment to environmental protection.

Acting CEO Peter Smith say the Service is another rite of passage for the departing team’s preparation for the season.

“For many years, the ‘South to Antarctica’ Church Service was the sole marker for Season Opening. Now days it’s one of many events and still immensely important. Everyone is welcome to join in and celebrate the handing over of the chalice and the beginning of our scientific season,” he says.

The events begin on Thursday this week with world-class scientists to hear from, aircraft to inspect, huskies to pat and exciting people to meet. For full details go to www.christchurchnz.org.nz/events/antarctic-season-opening

The Transitional Cathedral traditionally keeps the silver and gilt chalice safe during the winter months but each summer sends it back down to the ice to serve the community there. The chalice was given in 1987 by Miss Betty Bird to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Robert Falcon Scott’s visit and death at the South Pole in 1912.

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