Greetings. Who am I?

For a rough and brief word picture (the truth may emerge in the months ahead!) I am a 58 year old Anglican priest, married to Anne van Gend (who alas will remain in Central Hawkes Bay most of the time) and the father of, yes, six daughters and two sons. Not all were provided by Anne. Well not this Anne: I was married previously to a different Anne and she provided me with the six wonderful daughters (all living around Melbourne) to whom this Anne added the two wonderful sons. (See what I did there – same adjective! Fathers must be so careful).

Though I was (I think – I wasn’t there) conceived in Kenya, I was born, the youngest of three, in Kenya. I lived there for a few years, then Ghana, before settling in New Zealand when I was seven. I grew up on the Kāpiti Coast, though I was at Anglican boarding school in Whanganui for ten years. Enough to make anyone an atheist, and it did, though I converted to Christianity a few years later.

I gained a degree in English Lit before heading off to theological college in Melbourne. I married the archbishop’s daughter (“Anne 1”) and remained in Australia for most of the next 25 years. After an amicable marriage break-up I remarried, this time to an Anglican priest (“Anne 2”) who had grown up in Taranaki but trained at theological college in Brisbane. 

Since ordination in Melbourne in 1987 I have been somewhat mobile, serving for various periods and capacities in metropolitan, rural and remote Australia and provincial New Zealand. Eventually I was somewhat conspicuously dismissed as Dean of Waiapu. I successfully appealed that dismissal as wrongful, but did not return to the position after the national tribunal found in my favour. Instead I have spent a couple of years writing and being a househusband, exercising my preaching and presiding ministry at a small Tikanga Māori church in Napier 

I have had a couple of books of New Testament theology published, suggesting that might be one passion. More recently I have written a novel, though that has yet to find a publisher in a difficult market. I am currently writing a concordance of the lyrics of Bob Dylan, which should keep me out of trouble for another several years, and I have another novel percolating in my mind. Apart from Dylan, I am also enthusiastic about literature and theology (when I can find time and stay awake long enough to read), several sports (I umpired and coached netball for twenty years), outdoorsy things like kayaking and hiking, am a lap-swimmer and a frenetic walker. Incidentally I love preaching and presiding and pastoring, but as an academic may get a bit obscure … please don’t hesitate to tell me (nicely!) if I get a bit fluffy and obscure. 

As interim priest my pledge is to journey with you during a time of discernment. Apart from being true to myself in preaching and liturgical eccentricities, my task is not to make changes, but to ensure the garden is well-readied for whoever God is preparing for your future. To that end I will simply concentrate on getting to know you, sharing a few special times with you, caring for you in life’s travels, praying for and with you, and making sure you are loved and cared for as a special niche in the Body of Christ. 



You come to be among us as one who serves.


We thank you for coming to minister Christ to us and help us minister Christ to each other. We are grateful for the many gifts you will bring to our community: for drawing us together in worship, for visiting us in our homes, for comforting us in sickness, for showing us compassion, for blessing our marriage, for baptising our children, for confirming us in our calling, for supporting us in bereavement, for helping us to grow in our faith, for encouraging us to take the initiative, for helping the whole community realise God's presence among us.

For our part, we pray that we may always be attentive to your needs and never take you for granted. You, like us, need friendship and love, welcome and a sense of belonging, kind words and acts of thoughtfulness.

Let us support one another on the road ahead.


God our Father, we ask you to bless Michael and confirm him in his calling. Give him the gifts he needs to respond with generosity and a joyful heart. Give us the gift of welcoming hearts and on-going support.


We offer this prayer for Michael, who is our brother and friend, in the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.