Lynda Patterson 1974-2004
The National Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, the wider church too, beyond our shores and beyond our denomination, was shocked last Sunday to hear that Dr Lynda Patterson, Dean of Christchurch, had died suddenly (of natural causes) the previous night.
Lynda has been for the last many months cast into the frontline of the conflict between Diocese and elements of the Canterbury community; she fought, with her bishop and close friend Bishop Victoria, for the right to rebuild the lost Cathedral in a manner meaningful to a new world and a new church. Lynda has been the stopping point for vitriol and abuse and threats since she stepped up as acting Dean in December 2011. She was appointed permanent Dean of Christchurch in November last year. She was not being melodramatic, a fortnight before that, when she told her fellow cathedral deans she believed the role might kill her. We knew it was true.
Originally from Northern Ireland, Lynda has been a prophet, a pastor and a priest, as well as a healer, a reconciler, and a theologian par excellence, something of a treasure in the NZ Church since David Coles ordained her in 2004.
The cathedral community and Diocese of Christchurch have lost a wonderful, vibrant human treasure: Bishop Victoria Matthews in particular has lost a close friend and confidant. The tight-knit community of deans has lost an inspirational friend and colleague. The loss is tempered only by the privilege of sharing in some small way in the too-brief journey of a wonderful and Christlike soul and servant of God.
Lynda Jayne Patterson: may she rest in peace and rise in glory.