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Waikato Cathedral celebrates its 100th birthday!

A day of feasting and hope!

Archbishop Philip, Bishop Helen-Ann and Bishop Ross, the Bishop of Auckland.  Bishop Helen-Ann holds the crozier that was symbolically returned to the Diocese by Bishop Ross during the Centenary Eucharist.

It is perhaps fitting that the 100th birthday of the Waikato Cathedral of St Peter fell close to the third Sunday of Advent.  Traditionally known as 'Gaudete' Sunday (reflected in the rose or pink coloured candle of the Advent wreath), the third Sunday of Advent is a Sunday of rejoicing and hope amidst the rather stern imagery of this season that leads up to the birth of Christ.  Following a year of celebrations and occasions to mark the 100th anniversary of the church's opening, including an exhibition in the Waikato Museum, and various festivals, today's Eucharist was a jubilant conclusion to the festivities as we also looked forward in hope.  Local MPs David Bennett, Tim Macindoe and Sue Moroney joined Hamilton City Mayor Andrew King and members of the City Council in an acknowledgement of the important relationship that a Cathedral has with the city in which it stands.  Clergy and people from across our Three Tikanga church joined in worship that was enhanced by beautiful music of the Cathedral choir who had recruited a very special new member: Dame Malvina Major.  Dame Malvina graciously agreed to come out of retirement to sing in public during Holy Communion.  She has also agreed to be the patron of the new Cathedral foundation, which in due course will seek to raise funds for choral and organ scholarships, restoration of the Cathedral organ, support for the Cathedral's city facing ministry, and earthquake strengthening.

The service was started by a mihi from Waikato Missioner the Rev'd Ngira Simmonds, representing the Hui Amorangi Te Manawa O Te Wheke.  We acknowledged the interwoven relationships of our pilgrimage in faith, and the importance of the sacred hill of Pukerangiora upon which the Cathedral stands, a place of prayer over hundreds of years.  Dean Peter Rickman was joined by Dean Peter Beck, the Dean of Taranaki, and previous Cathedral Deans.  Archbishop Philip preached a sermon in which he challenged the Cathedral community to use the Beatitudes as a lens through which to view the next season of its engagement in God's mission.  Towards the end of the service, Archbishop Philip blessed a new Cathedral welcome banner, a beautiful and intricately woven tapestry of colour and story crafted over many months by the Ladies of the Order of Fine Things (LOFT).

When the Cathedral was opened in 1916, Hamilton was still part of the Diocese of Auckland.  The Diocese of Waikato was not founded until 1926.  During the Eucharist, a very special crozier was symbolically returned to the Diocese by Bishop Ross Bay, the Bishop of Auckland.  Some years ago, the previous Dean of Waikato, the Rev'd Jan Joustra discovered the 'hook' of the crozier in a cupboard.  It was in poor repair, and it was not until recently during restoration and cleaning by Canon Dr Bryan Bang and Cathedral Sacristan Daryl Smart that a Latin inscription was revealed.  The inscription described how the crozier was gifted by Waikato clergy in 1922 to the Bishop of Auckland in the hope that he might gift it back when a new Diocese was formed.  Although this occasion must have taken place, the crozier was lost, and so today Bishop Ross handed it back to ensure that it would be used once more.  It was a fitting reminder to us of our wider links particularly to the Diocese of Auckland, but also of our whole church.  This was a point well made by Archbishop Philip in his opening remarks of his sermon: that a Cathedral is part of a much wider Diocesan, Provincial and ultimately worldwide Communion family.

To quote words from former UN Secretary General, Dag Hammarsköld (1905-1961), 'For all that has been, thanks.  To all that shall be, yes!'.

Story Published: 11th of December - 2016

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