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Dunedin Dean becomes the 15th Bishop of Waiapu

For immediate release March 9, 2008

Dunedin Dean becomes the 15th Bishop of Waiapu

David Rice, the Dean of the Anglican Cathedral in Dunedin, has been chosen as the new Bishop of Waiapu.

Bishop-elect Rice is 46, and he sees his election as evidence of a growing desire within the Anglican Church to see the next generation of leaders begin to emerge.

“About 15 years ago,” he says, “there were a number of priests, each in their late 40s, who put their hands up and accepted the challenge of leadership in this church. The wheel is turning. It’s now time for a new wave of priests to show they’re ready to embrace that challenge.”

David Rice’s election has been welcomed by Archbishop Brown Turei, the Primate of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.

“I look forward to working with him”, he says. Archbishop Brown, who is himself based in Gisborne, and is also Pihopa o Te Tai Rawhiti – or leader of the Maori Anglican Church in the Tai Rawhiti tribal region -– says he also looks forward “to introducing David to our people.”

The Diocese of Waiapu, which covers much of the east of the North Island, is a cradle of Anglicanism in New Zealand, and it has a reputation for pioneering. When the diocese elected Paul Reeves as Bishop in 1971, for example, it was the first diocese to choose a Maori Bishop.

In Dean Rice, Waiapu’s electors have made another bold choice. They’ve chosen a young bishop, a man who was born and raised in the United States, and who, till ten years ago, was a Methodist minister.

Those electors will also have been attracted by David Rice’s leadership at St Paul’s Cathedral. Dunedin’s cathedral had been through troubled times – and now, six years after he began there, the picture is much brighter.

“The mother church of this diocese is now in good shape,” says Dean Rice, “and it’s one of main contributors to the life of this diocese.”

David Rice was born and raised in Lexington, North Carolina, and he won an athletic scholarship to Lenior Rhyne College, where he played tennis and gridiron – he’s 1.93m – and he took degrees in history and religion.

He later won a place at the Duke University’s Divinity School, gained a Master’s Degree in Divinity, trained for ministry in the Methodist Church – and in 1989 he was posted to a parish in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In 1991 David and his wife Tracy came to New Zealand, and for two years he served as minister to the Thames Uniting Parish, before returning to another five-year posting at a Methodist church in his home town, Lexington North Carolina.

By their third year, David and Tracy had decided they wanted to make their home in New Zealand. They returned to New Zealand, where he was received into the Anglican Church in Christchurch.

He then served in the Mt Herbert parish on Banks Peninsula for four years, before accepting appointment as Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral in 2002.

David Rice will be ordained and installed as Bishop of the Diocese of Waiapu on Saturday June 7, at the Waiapu Cathedral in Napier.

David and Tracy have two teenage children.


Note to Editors: An expanded version of this story, which tells more about David Rice’s path to Waiapu, is the lead item on the ‘Latest news’ section of the Anglican Church news website: http://www.anglicanchurch.co.nz.

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