Warm greetings to you all.
A few weekends ago I visited North Shore Presbytery. It was the weekend after the Sunday television programme on St Paul’s, Devonport. While I was there I met with St Paul’s congregation. I was impressed by the sincerity and integrity of everyone I met. All parties have the best interests of the parish at heart, but there are some strong differences of opinion about what led to the dissolution of Sherri Weinberg’s pastoral tie and the current crisis in leadership at St Paul’s. I believe a number of the perceptions that have been formed are not accurate, and have been variously affected by breakdowns in communication, an absence of proper procedure, and hearsay. The situation has certainly not been helped by the way much of the conflict has been portrayed in the media. A key part of North Shore Presbytery’s role will be to enable a process whereby these misperceptions might be corrected and differences resolved. Please uphold both North Shore Presbytery and the parish of St Paul’s in your prayers.
As part of my visit to North Shore Presbytery, I was asked to lead two workshops. The first was on the theology and practice of eldership. About 30 elders and parish councilors in the presbytery attended. For some, it was the first time they’d been given the opportunity to consider the history and theology of Presbyterian leadership, as well as discuss current challenges and realities.
The second workshop was on my selected Moderatorial theme of “Reformed and Reforming”, with a particular focus on mission and what this might look like for our Church today. Each workshop took just two hours. Do let me know if you would like me to run these sorts of workshops when I visit your presbytery.
Yours, in Christ’s service,
One of the true privileges of my role is the opportunity to meet with Church leaders from around the Pacific to discuss the mission and ministry we share in common. Two weeks ago, the Pacific region of the Council for World Mission (CWM) held its biennial planning meeting in Nadi. The 31 member churches of CWM (nine from the Pacific region, all from a Reformed Church background, with historical connections to the London Missionary Society) represent an important international community of churches that the Presbyterian Church belongs to. Together, we share in the resources generated from sizeable investments, and commit ourselves to the values of “partnership in mission” (the core of our relationship).
Our focus for the Pacific region is to: support the work of the churches in Melanesia especially in their response to the spread of the HIV/AIDS virus, encourage young people, support women and engage with regional mission projects. To find out more about the CWM family, that you are a member of.
One of the outcomes of the meeting was the creation of the role of mission facilitator, this role will oversee the coordination and fulfilment of our shared mission work in this part of the world. This position will soon be advertised through all member churches.
Every presbytery should now have established a presbytery reform team, with the intention of putting in place the new presbytery structure by October of this year. The function of these teams is outlined in the Presbytery Task Group Report (D8-1 and following) in the White Book. After deliberation at GA08 this resolution was amended to: “That the Presbytery Reform Teams be established by the beginning of 2009, and that presbyteries begin operating within the new presbytery structure as soon as practicable, and that the new presbytery boundaries be formalised by the General Assembly.”
The Very Rev Garry Marquand is the convenor of the Presbyteries Task Group and you can contact him for more details email@example.com
There are two matters which need to be dealt with by presbyteries, udc’s and Te Aka Puaho before August under our special legislative procedure (formerly the Barrier Act) . View the memo regarding these decisions.
As you may be aware, there are occasionally times when our Church is presented in a less positive way. These stories usually feature some matter of conflict. I am not sure what it is about conflict which makes it newsworthy. However, conflict most frequently emerges from events that are frequently complicated and almost always have some sort of history.
Most recently, various media have picked up on stories relating to events associated with St Paul’s Church in Devonport. Time and money, and also the need to attract audiences, prevent media from researching the history or complexities behind such events. When I am asked to speak on behalf of the Church on such matters, my intention is always to provide a balanced view and not to contribute to the sensationalism of any story – and especially a story which, at its heart, reflects the anguish and upset of a good number of those in local and regional leadership roles in the life of our Church. It’s important for me to emphasise to you, as I have in media interviews, that this situation is about a congregation unable to support a minister. Differences in theology have played no part in the decisions of the presbytery, and it’s frustrating to see this inaccurate interpretation repeated. It is heartening indeed to know, from the calls and emails I have received, how many of you are upholding the people of this congregation and the wider North Shore Presbytery in your prayers.
I am pleased to announce the appointment of Carlton Johnstone to the national role of Youth Development Leader. His appointment is part of the Church’s commitment to support mission and ministry to younger people. Carlton is a young man whose life has been immersed in both practical and theoretical matters relating to young people, and their engagement with faith and the church (so much so that he has recently completed his PhD on the subject through the University of Auckland).
Carlton starts work in a couple of weeks and will work out of the Wellington Assembly Office. His primary focus will be on supporting local, regional and national Church leadership as they seek ways to engage with, and reach, younger people in their congregations and wider communities. Carlton will also work closely with the PYM team, and will spend time with Jill Kayser looking at how she has implemented the Kid Friendly model. It is hoped that presbyteries, Te Aka Puaho the PI Synod and the Asian Council will provide opportunities for him to speak to them about his research and experience with young people, and for them to speak with him, as a way of facilitating a better understanding of wider context youth issues. There will be more to read about Carlton later.
The Council has agreed to find a replacement for Stephanie Redhead’s role of supporting youth leadership in our Church. This will allow the Church to continue to provide the administration and coordination necessary to ensure that support for, and awareness of, young people in the life of our Church are kept at the forefront.
In the meantime we have contracted with Auckland Presbytery for Emily Wotton to coordinate the main youth training and support event of the year, Connect, to be held in Auckland on the first weekend in July. This is a very important event in the life of our Church so please budget now to send your youth leader(s).
Finance manager Brendan Sweeney is working hard to develop draft budgets for all areas of our national Church’s work. If you are part of a committee, work group or reference group receiving national Church funding, please ensure you discuss your budget with Brendan.
A new booklet is available explaining the Ministry Development Programme. You can download a copy of the booklet. Hardcopies of the booklets will be sent to ministers, parishes and presbyteries later this month
The Council met last week in Wellington. A theme of the two day meeting was the challenge of finding ways to ensure that we hear the voice and concerns of an increasingly diverse Church. To this end, the Council's next meeting will be in Auckland with members of the Pacific Island Synod.
As well as hearing reports from the Leadership and Resource committees, the Council also, as part of the General Assembly directive, considered nominations to strengthen the group working on the Focal Identity Statement, Kupu Wakapono.
The Council heard a preliminary report from Murray Robertson which provided an opportunity for Council members to reflect on the different ways the national Church fulfils its commitment to support local and overseas mission.
The Council were thankful for the on going commitment of congregations to support Assembly Assessment. They received a detailed research paper from the Church Property Trustees providing an over view of historic Church spending patterns during times of recession and affirming the robust status of the Beneficiary Fund.
The Council appreciated reading the activity reports from staff involved in the breadth of work supported by the Assembly office.
As AES, I reported on trend information in relation to statistical data and demographic changes in the life of our Church, this information was recently used as the basis for a briefing paper to the Press Go Board.
Ray Coster and the Press Go team are keen to develop the momentum for this new initiative dedicated to supporting the growth and mission of our Church. As you set your budgets for this year, please be mindful of the challenge before us of sharing our resources with one another, please choose to commit at least a 1% return on your investments to the Press Go Board to be used for supporting innovative, growth focused mission projects. View the Press Go webpage for further information and the criteria for projects.
After the distribution of donation packs to parishes in late February, we’ve been encouraged by the responses that are starting to come in. Thank you for your generosity.
Press Go application packs are now complete and ready to be requested. If you have a project that could benefit from funding, please ask for an application pack by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or telephoning (04 )801 6000. View the Press Go webpage for further information and the criteria for projects.
The Press Go board is planning to meet again this month, as we work on developing an overall strategy for involving congregations in Press Go’s commitment to growth.
Thank you again for your prayers and your generous support of our Church.
While visiting a minister friend recently, I refused his offer of a “lolly” by explaining that I had given up sugar for Lent. He threw up his arms in horror and said, “We don’t do Lent. We’re Presbyterian!” Had early years of Catholic schooling, and later years worshipping in Anglican churches, confused this baptised Presbyterian?
Many of you have heard me harping on about the validity of structure and ritual for children. And no, I don’t think ritual is particularly Catholic or remotely scary, I just know from personal experience with my own children that the use of ritual deepens our celebration of, and reflection on, the Christian seasons.
During Lent our family give up things that are dear to us. I LOVE chocolate and home baking, so my denial of these definitely helps me think of Jesus and all that He gave up for me.
My son, Blake, has given up sweet drinks and this has generated many conversations about his faith with his friends.
“But why can’t you have Sprite?” Blake’s friend asked. “Because I’ve given it up for Lent”, Blake answered. “What’s Lent?” replied his friend. “It’s when we give up something to remind us that Jesus gave up his life”, Blake explained.
A child’s explanation is the most simplistic and beautiful, and so readily accepted by his peers without question or ridicule.
The Christian seasons are central to our children’s faith. Too often when we share Lent and Easter with children we omit the cruel and violent parts of the story, believing it to be inappropriate, but if we do this, we deny them the whole Christian story. Children can and do respond to traditional Lenten spiritual disciplines in meaningful ways. So, this Lent and Easter, consider sharing the whole story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Request the Kids Friendly Lent and Easter resource here email@example.com.
A reminder about our music scholarships for young musicians, details can be found on the website.. This is a new initiative and through it we want to affirm the ministry of music and establish a vibrant network of young musicians in the Presbyterian Church. Applications close on 30 April.
Birthday celebration! In August we’ll be marking the 500th anniversary of John Calvin’s birth. A conference is scheduled for 24 and 25 of August 2009, to be held in partnership with the University of Otago. Pencil those dates in your diary. More details can be found in the upcoming events page of the website. We’re also hoping that a Son et Lumiere performance will be staged at First Church, more details on this to come.
Remember, if your presbytery is thinking about holding a ministry or leadership training event, check out our workshop brochure, it now has a menu of over 50 workshops.
Finally, please pray for our ministry students. This year we have 11 students serving as interns in parishes around the country. If you want to explore the possibility of your parish hosting an intern in 2010 or 2011, let me know. I’m very happy to talk with you about what the benefits are and what’s involved.
Early in March four Timaru churches held a Mission Summit to discuss becoming more effective in mission by their congregations forming one parish. Subsequently, each of the four churches met independently to continue the discussion, and on Sunday 22 March all the churches voted to move ahead with this vision. This is an ongoing journey and serves as a model for other small cities. The National Mission team is privileged to be a part of this process.
On request National Mission makes available research and background information that can be of used in a variety of ways, most importantly to support mission initiatives. For example, Queenstown Lakes District is a high growth area, both through tourism and migration from other parts of New Zealand. To complement Wakatipu’s Pasta Café initiative, and a recent study leave report relating to high growth tourist areas, the National Mission Office has collated information on demographics, social issues, council plans, and more. Information to complement your mission initiative can also be made available for your area.
We would like to congratulate Fergus Sime, the current Moderator of the Synod of Otago and Southland, on his recent engagement.
John is due back from study leave in early April. Over the coming weeks he and the team will be involved with mission strategy planning meetings, Church initiatives such as Press Go, a Mission Possible team gathering and Easter activities.
A Prayer Network is coordinated from the National Mission Office. The vision is that every community, every congregation and every pastoral leader is prayed for and has a prayer team. We are always encouraged to hear from intercessors and prayers who may want to be a part of this growing ministry.
Plans for Presbyterian Youth Ministry’s National Youth Leader’s Conference are well underway. It will be a fantastic event hosted by Auckland Presbytery. In light of all the competitive airfare promotions I suggest you keep an eye out for deals (online in particular) and book your flight for Connect 09 now.
Connect 09 is being held at Carey Park, Henderson Valley, Auckland, from 3 to 5 July. Please make sure that your flight arrives before 7pm on the Friday and doesn’t depart until after 4 pm on the Sunday. This will ensure you have access to organised transport to and from the conference venue.
This year Connect is being organised by Emily Wotton, the Youth, Child & Family Ministry Advisor for Auckland Presbytery. She is working with the PYM Focus Group, and a local arrangements team from the Auckland area, to prepare a fantastic event.
Emily can be contacted with any enquiries on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 09 524 5379 or 021 1614794. Event Advertising with full details will be available from mid April.
The 53rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) was held in New York from 2 to 13 March 2009. The convenor of the APW United Nations committee, Mary McIntyre, attended for APW and found it to be an intense, stimulating and inspiring time of working to improve the status of women globally to achieve gender equality.
The main theme of the 53rd Session was, “The equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including care-giving in the context of HIV/AIDS”. Also discussed was, “Equal participation of women and men in decision making processes at all levels” and “The gender perspectives of the financial crisis”. Documentation is available on the CSW website.
This year, APW became an official member of the Ecumenical Women Coalition (EW), an international coalition of church and faith-based organisations at the United Nations committed to gender justice and equality. EW was invited to present a statement from the floor as recognition of its work; its recommendations were well received.
The EW statement spoke of faith based organisations being grounded in communities and being uniquely positioned to respond to HIV/ AIDS at all levels.
Last year, APW in conjunction with Global Mission, produced an HIV/AIDS brochure as part of this response. Mary says that APW would like to see the Church use the APW brochure widely; and that the brochure was of great interest in New York.
Mary says that she sees the work of APW at the United Nations as of “great importance in our outreach programme”. She says that in 1998, when APW achieved UN consultative status, APW undertook to be a Christian voice on the world stage, “Speaking for those who have no, or a limited voice, is a responsibility we have as followers of Christ in a country of freedom and opportunity. Please support this work”.
The Police Christian Support Network will hold its inaugural National Conference from 16 to 18 October 2009 in Wanganui. All police staff welcome.
What can you do to assist?
Pray. Tell any police staff you know. Offer to help with travel expenses. Donate funds.
For more information contact:
email@example.com or phone 06 345 3557 Tuesday to Friday.
The Introduction Work Group is seeking Parish Profiles for the 2009 graduating Interns from the Knox Centre of Ministry and Leadership. Please forward the profiles to:
The Convener - Amanda Guy, 4 Mount Street, Wakari, Dunedin or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information phone (03) 476 6559 or (03) 476 2967.
CBA (Christian Broadcasting Association) produces radio programmes designed specifically to communicate the Christian faith to people outside the influence of the church. Their Good Friday programme will be heard by more than 300,000 listeners nationwide on NewstalkZB and the Radio Sport network. For more information on the CBA appeal visit: www.cba.org.nz/appeal.
Rev Catherine Hollister Jones is known for sending small piece of paua shell to put in a prominent place at home or work, as a reminder to pray for New Zealand. Catherine is appealing for people to pray for Members of Parliament and the challenges they face. She asks that you find out the name of your local Member of Parliament and pray that God bless him or her. Contact her at email@example.com
Give your mother a gift with a difference this Mother’s Day. Mangrove seedlings may not look pretty in a vase, but for people in the Philippines they provide food and protection against coastal erosion and storms. Help them restore the healthy environment they depend on for the essentials of life. “Marvellous Mangroves”, part of the CWS Just Gifts programme, cost only $25. Order online at www.cws.org.nz or phone 0800 74 73 72. Order by 1 May for Mothers Day on 10 May.
CWS is supporting the "don't corrupt aid campaign" to keep New Zealand’s international aid focussed on addressing poverty elimination and separate from trade interests. Proposed changes to the structure of NZAID threaten the quality of aid funding and would sideline the poorest people. People are being asked to write letters to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. For more information and sample letters please see www.cws.org.nz
This year Fair Trade Fortnight runs 2 to 17 May. Churches are invited to sign up for “A Fair Cuppa” after a Sunday service during that fortnight. CWS will provide worship and other resources, and information about ordering from Trade Aid’s warehouse. There is also a campaign to get fair trade bananas stocked in supermarkets. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information or watch the website: www.cws.org.nz
The “Lenten Walk” reaches Wellington on Easter Sunday (12 April). All are welcome to attend a short symbolic event on Parliament’s steps at 4.30 pm. A service of celebration follows at St Paul’s Cathedral, 5 pm. Contact Andrew at email@example.com. If you have not been able to join the walk, you can still take part by submitting your thoughts and concerns for the planet. This will form the basis of a submission to the government, see http://www.cws.org.nz/take-action/climate-change/take-action/walk-planet/support-form
View the new acquisitions list for January 2009.
Church Register Changes for Bush Telegraph as at 25 March 2009
Mr Nicholas McLennan, Student Ordinand, Wellington Presbytery, was licensed on 22 January 2009.
Rev Gene Lawrence, Minister St John’s Hastings, Hawkes Bay Presbytery, to Minister St Andrew’s Wanganui, Manawatu Wanganui Presbytery, 8 March 2009.
Rev Kent Potter, Minister, St Andrew’s Mt Maunganui, Bay of Plenty Presbytery to Other Recognised Minister, 15 February 2009.
Rev Keith Nisbet, Other Recognised Minister Wellington Presbytery, to Other Recognised Minister, Auckland Presbytery, 1 April 2009.
Rev Dr Jan Calvert, Minister, Hutt City Uniting Churches, Wellington Presbytery, to Ecumenical Hospital Chaplain Waikato Hospital, Waikato Presbytery, 29 January 2009.
Rev Colin Hay, Minister Emeritus, Dunedin and North Otago Presbytery, to Stated Supply (part-time), St Paul’s Oamaru, Dunedin and North Otago Presbytery, 1 December 2008
Rev Colin Hay, Minister, St Paul’s Oamaru, to Minister Emeritus, Dunedin and North Otago Presbytery, 30 November 2008.
Rev Ken Baker, Aged Care Chaplain Presbyterian Support Otago, Dunedin Presbytery, is to resign from this charge on 12 April 2009. He will continue (half time) as Minister Coastal Unity Parish, Dunedin and North Otago Presbytery.
Visit the Ministerial Vacancies page for a complete list of the latest regional vacancies in New Zealand.
For the latest job vacancies, visit the Job Vacancies page.
Council for World Mission CWM) Moderator
Visit the Events page for upcoming events near you