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7th Bishop of Waikato knocks on Cathedral doors

February 20th 2014

7th Bishop of Waikato knocks on Cathedral doors

Representatives from throughout the Anglican Communion will attend the service of Ordination and Installation for the Rev’d Dr Helen-Ann Hartley as the 7th Bishop of Waikato this Saturday 22nd February.

The service will begin at 1pm with a procession up the hill to Hamilton’s St Peter’s Cathedral. A karanga will call Helen-Ann Hartley and her supporters into the Cathedral.

Following her ordination, in a second part to the service, Helen-Ann Hartley will be welcomed as a Bishop of the Diocese of Waikato and Taranaki and the wider church. This begins with the Bishop following an ancient tradition of knocking three times with her pastoral staff on the closed doors of the Cathedral. The doors are then opened to the Cathedral where the chair resides as a symbol of the bishop’s office.

Helen-Ann describes the day as a celebration for the Diocese, and for her, the beginning of a sacred privilege and task in leading others.

In the ordination service Helen-Ann will be presented with vestments and symbols that tell of the nature of that leadership. These include a cope and mitre, designed and made by the Cathedral’s guild for vestments and fabrics. A carver from Tokoroa, Lionel Matenga, has made the pastoral staff.

The pectoral cross is in the shape of a Cuthbert Cross. It has been made by silversmith Les Howe in the town of Durham, where Helen-Ann grew up, in the north-east of England. The cross was blessed, at the tomb of St Cuthbert in Durham Cathedral, in February by Canon Rosalind Brown. Helen-Ann was priested in the Diocese of Oxford in 2005 and sees Durham as the beginning of her spiritual journey.

The Diocese of Waikato and Taranaki is a dual episcopacy. This is a model of leadership that is unique in the Anglican Communion, with two equal bishops sharing jurisdiction. Helen-Ann will lead the Diocese with Philip Richardson, the Bishop of Taranaki; he is also Archbishop of the New Zealand Dioceses.

The model reflects the history of the Diocese and how the gospel can be best served. The Bishop of Christchurch, Victoria Matthews, will lead the two bishops in a commitment to dual episcopacy during the service.

The service will also mark the third anniversary of the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake through prayer and also some music being used that was dedicated to the community of Christchurch Cathedral.

Helen-Ann will be the third woman to hold the position of Bishop in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia. She will be the first woman ordained a priest in the Church of England to become a bishop and so her ordination is being followed with interest by UK media. The Church of England is currently debating the issue of women being allowed to be bishops.

The Diocese of Waikato and Taranaki includes the Waikato, Waitomo, Piako and Taranaki regions of the North Island

The Rev’d Dr Helen-Ann is the third woman to be a bishop in New Zealand. She follows Bishop Penny Jamieson who was Bishop of Dunedin from 1990-2004 and Bishop Victoria Matthews chosen as Bishop of Christchurch in 2008.

As bishop the formal title for Helen-Ann will be, The Right Reverend Dr Helen-Ann Hartley


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