Bishop Jim’s new crozier
Bishop Jim White was presented with a specially carved staff (crozier) during a service of farewell and thanksgiving for his ministry on 1 December.
Bishop Jim has stepped down from his ministry for medical reasons after eight years as Assistant Bishop in the Anglican Diocese of Auckland.
“It is a slightly odd thing to be handed a crozier on retirement,” he said. “However, it is a symbol that indicates there is an as yet unknown ministry as a retired bishop. It has become a very important gift of hope – hope for a future.”<
The making of the crozier began in 2014 when Bishop Jim, after admiring another bishop’s crozier, obtained the horn from a high-country merino farm. In September this year his brother David, a cabinet maker, picked up the project.
David cut the horn to size, fitting it to the stick which was part of a kauri log that was salvaged from the bottom of the Kaipara Harbour.
A bishop’s staff takes the shape of a shepherd’s crook to symbolise their role as a ‘shepherd of the flock’, as Christ is the Good Shepherd. The carved imagery on Bishop Jim’s crozier comes from the book of Revelation and is the result of much research, discussion and collaboration.
The main carving is of the archangel Michael slaying the great taniwha, Satan. The first design for this figure was done by artist Tom Tuke and the final carving by Neil Turner of Titirangi. Under the figure is the word Mataatua, which means ‘the face of God’ and has been taken as the name of the crozier as a whole.
Bishop Jim said St Michael has always held significance for him because he was ordained deacon on the Feast of St Michael and All Angels. The story in Revelation about the war in heaven when Michael defeats Satan has taken on new meaning for him in recent months while he’s been living with lymphoma.
“Michael is often first seen as a healing angel, and then over time as a protector and the leader of the army of God against the forces of evil,” he says.
The other carvings on te rākau are the traditional Lamb of God figure and Alpha + Omega symbols.
Bishop Ross Bay paid tribute to Bishop Jim during the service along with Pīihopa Te Kitohi Pikaahu, Archbishop Philip Richardson, Auckland City Missioner Chris Farrelly, and The Reverend Brenda Rockell.
Other bishops in attendance were: Pīhopa Ngarahu Katene, Bishop John Bluck (retired), Bishop George Connor (retired) and Archbishop John Paterson (retired).