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Today the church remembers George Augustus Selwyn, Bishop of New Zealand, and of Lichfield, 1878.The first Bishop of New Zealand was trained at Eton and Cambridge and had credentials, talent, and influence enough to have lived a most comfortable and successful life in England. Instead, he chose to go halfway around the world and live for nearly two decades under the most trying circumstances, forging the foundations of a new branch of the church in a troubled land. It is exhausting even to read of his journeys through the islands of Melanesia and New Zealand, using the unsophisticated and sometimes hazardous nineteenth-century modes of transport in an often hostile land. Bishop Selwyn was a tireless evangelist, pastor, teacher, organizer, and administrator. Perhaps most importantly, he gained the respect, indeed the love, of the native Maoris to whom he first brought the light of the gospel. During a decade of cruel and tragic warfare between the English colonists and the Maoris, he was able to bring the ministrations of Christ to both sides. Finally, he was able to play a reconciling role in the establishment of peace. He was elected Bishop of Lichfield, England, in 1868 and held that office for the last ten years of his life. He was a capable scholar and a man of many interests, exercising influence in both the church and state. When we are led to serve you far from home, keep us in your care. Amen.
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Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant George Augustus Selwyn, whom you called to preach the Gospel to the people of New Zealand and Melanesia, and to lay a firm foundation for the growth of your Church in many nations. Raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom, that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.