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Calendar confusion

I am delighted that five names are being considered to be added to the calendar by the New Zealand Anglican Church (for non-Anglicans: that’s as close as we get to “canonising” them as saints). I initiated this process with a motion to our diocesan synod. But the motion was actually for a complete review of our calendar, including a suggestion to include far more significant names. The last bit of my motion was a clause: whilst you are thinking about this – don’t forget to consider adding the following. Somewhere in the labyrinthine communications of our church all the rest of the motion fell off. The post script part of the motion is, so far, the only part being actioned.

The five being added to the calendar (and the Liturgical Commission is so confident that there will be no controversy about them that it has already added them to its resources) are
August 8 Mary MacKillop, Teacher, 1909
Brother Roger of Taize: Encourager of Youth, 2005
September 5 Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Missonary of Charity, 1997
November 22 C.S. Lewis, Apologist, 1963
December 10 Thomas Merton, Spiritual Writer, 1968

Whilst I am delighted Thomas Merton will be acknowledged, because the process envisioned in my motion was not followed, I am sure he himself would be very disturbed to find himself on a liturgical calendar but not John of the Cross! It is lovely that an Australian Roman Catholic foundress, Mary MacKillop, will be on our New Zealand Anglican calendar, but why, then, not Mother Hannah, New Zealand Anglican foundress of the Order of the Good Shepherd in Auckland…

My motion was

Mover: the Rev. Bosco Peters
Seconder: the Rev. Dr. Geoff Haworth
That this Synod requests the Common Life Liturgical Commission to review the calendar so that it
a) continues and highlights the traditions that feasts, holy days, and other commemorations interrupt the systematic reading of scripture as little as possible, and do not detract from the primary focus in major liturgical seasons;
b) restores our celebrations to be in step with others in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia, and of the universal church by allowing for more than one option for celebration each day;
c) increases, refreshes, and enriches the offering of the example of people whose lives and work give special encouragement to others of all ages, and to those engaged in various aspects of the Church’s life and witness; and that in this review
d) reference be made to the recent calendar refreshment in the Church of England and the calendar in the New Zealand book Celebrating Eucharist
and that,
e) thought be given to including:
16 August Brother Roger of Taizé, Prophet of unity, Encourager of youth, 2005
5 September Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Foundress, Missionary of Charity, 1997
22 November C. S. Lewis, Apologist and Spiritual Writer, 1963
10 December Thomas Merton, Monk, Spiritual Writer, 1968

Most of the original motion vanished

My motion on the calendar is rooted in the concept of Liturgy as the church’s common prayer. It sought for the church to re-visit the calendar in the light of developments. My motion pointed to two resources amongst others that would help in this re-visit: the calendar in Celebrating Eucharist developed with local and international consultation about a decade on from the New Zealand Prayer Book, and the Common Worship (Church of England) Calendar, a further enrichment after much consultation, another decade later. The motion also had a final “and don’t forget to think about…” clause (e) listing other people after these suggestions to highlight some further possible celebrations. I continue to be at a loss how that motion resulted in the “don’t forget to think about about these other people” clause being the only one actioned.

I think it’s lovely that Thomas Merton may end up in our calendar – but imagine his confusion that he is there and John of the Cross is not! I think it is cool that Mary McKillop might end up on our calendar – but wonder why an Australian Roman Catholic foundress is there and a New Zealand Anglican, Mother Hannah, foundress in Auckland of the Order of the Good Shepherd is not. These are just two obvious examples.

Somewhere between our diocesan synod, diocesan manager, diocesan liturgical committee, Tikanga Pakeha Liturgical Working Group, provincial secretary, Common Life Liturgical Commission, chairs, bishops, secretaries, and General Synod – the substantive part of the motion was misplaced. My several attempts to correct the process prior to General Synod did not succeed. Nor my several attempts to find out where it was derailed. Thankfully I have now been promised that the rest of the motion will be discussed later this year.

New Zealand abandons one celebration per day

Of interest is that whilst until now New Zealand has kept to the principle of one celebration per date, moving ecumenically, internationally agreed celebrations to keep one option per date – even to the point of recently moving St Mark to make way for ANZAC Day, with this General Synod motion Mary MacKillop is on the same date as Dominic, Brother Roger is no the same date as Holy Women of the Old Testament, and CS Lewis is on the same date as Cecilia. Hence already any discussion of section b of my motion has become less urgent. New Zealand is deciding to have more than one celebration per day.

New Zealand Diocesan Synod Reps

1) Please support the addition of these celebrations into our calendar
2) Please highlight that this is only the ps. of a much more significant motion which seeks a much larger discussion of whom we celebrate together here
3) Please note and highlight that in passing these General Synod additions to our calendar we are accepting we have moved away from a principle of only one option per date and hence have no reason to not restore all celebrations to their international, ecumenical dates.

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