Hundreds of mourners gathered at the Christ Church Transitional Cathedral yesterday to farewell its dean.
The Very Reverend Lynda Patterson, 40, died of natural causes in her home on July 20 after a recent undisclosed illness.
Associate dean of the cathedral Nick Mountfort said Patterson's death had brought great sadness. However, the funeral was also about celebrating her life in her "spiritual home".
"May we gather in deep gratitude for the wonderful gift that she brought us."
Northern Ireland-born Patterson last year became the cathedral's first female dean after first visiting Christchurch in 2002 while on sabbatical leave from Oxford University.
Bishop Victoria Matthews said those who filled every seat in the cathedral had gathered to remember Patterson's life "before God".
She liked to make fun of herself, Matthews said, dressing up as dogs, parrots and octopuses for parish events.
Her death reminded everyone that life was "transitional".
"Deans, even wonderful deans, are transitional too and we weep."
When the flower arrangement arrived for her casket Matthews asked for some "travelling vines" to be added to reflect Patterson's character. Matthews said Patterson suffered from an ongoing illness and suffered pneumonia several times while her earthquake-broken home was being repaired. However, during that time she was still "incredibly present for others".
Matthews said Patterson was deeply loyal to the people she served.
"She offered deeply generous and extravagant ministry to the very end."
Those privileged to spend only a brief time with her left feeling blessed, she said.
HONOUR GUARD FOR FUNERAL
A funeral service for the late dean of the Christ Church Cathedral will include a 200-strong guard of honour.
A New Zealand funeral service including the honour guard will be held at the Transitional Cathedral in Latimer Square today at 1pm.
Anglican diocese spokesman Jayson Rhodes said the hymns, readings and musical setting of the service had been chosen by Patterson.
He said her body would be returned to her family in County Down, Northern Ireland and a funeral and burial would take place at Dromore Cathedral.
Bishop Victoria Matthews said Patterson was "highly respected" for her preaching and teaching.
"She was also a great pastor who brought both compassion and appropriate humour to every situation."
- The Press
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