For a long time now the growth and development of the Parish of St Christopher's Avonhead - the largest parish in the Diocese of Christchurch, also in the South Island, and among the largest three or four in all Aotearoa NZ - have been much noted in conversations around our church, perhaps especially in the South Island, and perhaps most particularly among evangelical/charismatic Anglicans. For some twenty years the vicar at the helm of that growth and development was Mike Hawke. About fourteen months ago Mike moved onto another position and the search process since then has had a hiccup (when an announced vicar-designate decided not to come to the position). Nevertheless the show (so to speak) has carried on wonderfully, especially facing the post-quake missional challenges in Christchurch, with Bryden Black (commenter here) as Helmsman in Charge. And many questions being asked through many months about when a new vicar would be found, could a new vicar be found, where would a new vicar be found, so many in fact that it seemed that this (obviously) lost vicar would never be found.
Well the good news is that the new vicar has been found. Sort of under the noses of the nominators. It was announced yesterday that the next Vicar of Avonhead, Christchurch will be Ian Smith, currently Vicar of Spreydon, Christchurch.
Ian is a very experienced minister who will be a superb leader for Avonhead. I am slightly, okay, quite a lot biased in favour of Ian: he and I were once colleagues in the Diocese of Nelson! Also, it is true that he often laughs at my jokes. Not everyone does.