He was in the local news defending the recent ordination as deacon of Rev Juan Kinnear, a man living openly in a gay relationship. Juan later became a priest and was associate priest at the cathedral. He is now Priest enabler at St John's Waikouaiti.
I was disappointed when I finally moved to Dunedin in 2010 to find David Rice was now Bishop of Waiapu with the cathedral in Napier where I worshipped last month.
However he was still able to support the cause of GLBT people in the Anglican church of Aotearoa New Zealand and Waiapu has been a leading diocese in this development.
Last year the Diocese of Waiapu put forward the following motion to General Synod.
The diocese of Waiapu, which covers Bay of Plenty and Hawkes Bay, has put forward a proposal for dioceses which wish to be able to bless same-sex unions to be able to do so, and for gay priests to be ordained.
The Diocese of Waiapu strongly believes that sexual orientation should present no barrier to ordination, the Motion says.
As a diocese, like others, we have experienced first-hand the ministry of gay and lesbian clergy, some of whom have been in faithful, loving, committed same-gender relationships, and believe them to have enriched the life of our Church.
We are therefore grateful that successive bishops have discerned within the lives of these people a call to ordination, and acknowledge this work of discernment is a serious and significant aspect of episcopal ministry.
We have become concerned in recent years that bishops of this and other dioceses appear to have come under pressure to withhold discernment for ordination because of a person's sexual orientation and their living out of that orientation with a loving, faithful relationship, the Motion continues.
As a diocese we believe such pressure runs contrary to the traditional understanding that the responsibility for discerning and acting upon the call of the Holy Spirit on an individual to a life within the holy order of priests or deacons rests firmly in the hands of the bishop of the diocese /hui amorangi.
We therefore ask that:
This General Synod / Te Hinota Whanui affirms the long tradition and practice of episcopal autonomy in the discernment of a person's call to ordination.
The Diocese of Waiapu has also put forward a Motion for the General Synod to:
Move forward with the provision of an authorised liturgy for the blessing of same-gender relationships to be adopted for use by those dioceses which wish so to do.
So I am sad to learn that Bishop David is to return to the USA as provisional bishop of San Juan. I know San Juan needs all the help it can at this time but pray that a similarly brave bishop is appointed to continue the good work in Waiaipu