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Listening: New Zealand bishop chosen as Lambeth Conference chaplain

[Episcopal News Service]  The Rt. Rev. Winston Halapua, an Auckland-based bishop, has been chosen by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to be the chaplain of the 2008 Lambeth Conference -- the once-every-decade gathering of the world's Anglican bishops.

Halapua is the first Anglican Bishop for the Diocese of Polynesia in Aotearoa New Zealand, which means he is the bishop of the Polynesian Anglican community there and has overall responsibility for a number of New Zealand-based Samoan, Tongan, Indo-Fijian and Fijian congregations.

Halapua is also Principal of the College of the Diocese of Polynesia at St. John's College in Meadowbank, a lecturer in the School of Theology at the University of Auckland, and until last year he was a member of the Anglican Consultative Council -- the representative council of Anglican lay people, clergy and bishops which is chaired by the Bishop John Paterson of Auckland.

As the chaplain for the Lambeth Conference, Halapua will head a team of clergy who will lead the worship and provide chaplaincy to the brigade of bishops at the conference.

The bishops will meet at the University of Kent, Canterbury, for 18 days, between July 16 and August 4, 2008. The university is a close neighbor to Canterbury Cathedral, seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

In addition to Halapua's responsibilities for the bishops' conference, he will also have chaplaincy duties at a parallel conference being run for the bishops' spouses, who are also invited to Lambeth.

A spokesperson for the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was in Auckland last week to discuss arrangements for the Lambeth conference with local bishops, said that Halapua's ministry and work throughout the Anglican communion had been "valued and appreciated" and this respect lay behind the invitation from Williams.

Halapua was born and raised in Tonga, and his father was the first Tongan Anglican bishop. His doctorate is in sociology, and he has studied Christian mission and ministry in Fiji (he holds Fijian citizenship), United Kingdom, Israel and New Zealand. He has written a number of academic books.

He was one of three Polynesian bishops ordained in Suva in April last year.

Halapua's wife, Sue, is also ordained, and is vicar of Holy Trinity Church in Otahuhu, in the Diocese of Auckland. They have two adult children.