The other day I re-read the story of the Passover in Egypt. Isn’t it stunning that God has built into history various events that foreshadow the Easter story, rich in incredible details that all find their fulfillment at Calvary? The slaughtering of the lamb, the salvation of those protected by the blood. There is even the possibility that each father made the sign of a cross as he lifted the hyssop from the basin and touched the lintel and then the two doorposts. I wouldn’t put it past God to have incorporated the cross into this great night of release from bondage.
Similarly there is the image of Abraham sacrificing his only beloved son, quite possibly on the very spot where Jesus was later crucified. Abraham and Isaac were to travel to a particular location that God had chosen, on a mountain in Moriah (Genesis 22:2) that is, where Jerusalem was later built (2 Chronicles 3:1). I can’t prove it and I haven’t checked what the scholars think but, again, it just seems like the kind of detail that would be typical of God.
Then there is the fact that Abraham didn’t sacrifice his son because God provided a substitute.
Our God is a stunning God – not because of intriguing details but that God should have sent Jesus into the world to be its Saviour. Our lives are utterly different because of the incredible mercy of God.
What an extraordinary story we have to tell.
I pray that you will know God’s mighty inspiration as you seek to share that story again this year. If God wants you to be innovative, may God inspire that innovation. If God wants you to tell that story simply and unadorned may it still be powerful. And may you hear God speak some fresh revelation into your life.
Dear Friends and Colleagues
Every Sunday morning congregations around our country stand to dedicate themselves and their resources to God’s work and mission in the world. The affirmation that what we have as congregations together – the money, the breadth of skills and gifts – are not ours, but are all things we commit to God’s purposes, is a radical idea.
At our most recent Press Go meeting the team discussed the ongoing challenge of shifting thinking away from Press Go being seen as the provider of grants, to that of Press Go as facilitator of mission and growth through the sharing of the resources we hold together as part of God’s church. At times we have celebrated the fulfilment of this ideal with the commitments that some of our congregations have made to regularly support the work of Press Go through their giving, or in the wonderful and generous support St John’s here in Wellington has provided to support the rebuilding of the church in Waitara.
The Press Go team is supporting some terrific mission work around New Zealand, all of which is being undertaken by congregations and presbyteries who have a commitment to see our church and its mission grow and develop. Considering the hundreds of millions of dollars congregations have tied up in buildings and invested in bank accounts, our church has certainly no shortage of money. We also do not have a shortage of people and congregations, given the support they need, who will provide the kind of innovation and leadership which will see our church grow and flourish. The Press Go team need your help in both upholding a bigger vision for our future and in releasing the resources to support the fulfilment of that vision. If you want to know more about what is happening or how you can contribute to our growth, please contact the Press Go convenor Andrew Norton.
The Nominating Committee have received the names of five nominees who are prepared to be considered for the role of Moderator-designate. Presbyteries, UDCs and Te Aka Puaho will have received information about each of these five people.
All presbyteries, UDCs and Te Aka Puaho are asked to nominate one of these people. and to send that name to the Convenor of the Nominating Committee, the Rev Ian Hyslop, 10 Cox Street, Geraldine 7930 - email@example.com. The nomination must be with Ian by Tuesday 22 May 2012 – one week later than previously notified.
The Assembly will open at our national marae at Ohope on the morning of Thursday 4 October and continue from there to Rotorua Boy’s High School from Thursday afternoon till its conclusion on Sunday 7 October. Any proposals for legislation or any other matter that a church council or presbytery might like to bring to the General Assembly will need to be the Assembly Office by 1 June 2012.
It is not too early to begin the task of commissioning elders and ministers to attend the General Assembly in October. The earlier we can do this, the less expensive will be the travel costs. Flights into Rotorua can be expensive and so we are contemplating chartering buses from Auckland airport for South Island commissioners leaving Auckland for Rotorua on the afternoon of 3 October, and asking all North Island commissioners to car pool from wherever they are coming. We should have these details finalised shortly.
Every presbytery must ensure that each congregation shall have as its commissioner either a minister or elder. Please follow the process outlined in Chapter 8:17 of the Book of Order. More detailed information will be sent to presbytery clerks. We expect the cost of sending a commissioner to the Assembly will be similar to the 2010 Assembly, around $700. This amount includes a travel subsidy as well as most meals, but does not include the cost of accommodation. Details of accommodation options will be sent to commissioners.
Orientation day for youth representatives will begin a day before the formal start of the Assembly. Presbyteries may send two youth representatives, but note that the 2010 General Assembly ruled that amalgamated presbyteries may appoint two representatives per pre-amalgamation presbytery.
In November of this year seven well trained enthusiastic and committed interns will be available to be called to a ministry. These students bring with them a range of experience, skills and gifts. Several of them have many years of church ministry experience and all draw from a range of backgrounds which will contribute to the richness of their ministry and leadership. Information about all current interns including those in their final year can be found here.
We are compiling a portfolio detailing the background, qualifications, interests and experience of the final year students. If you are the convenor of a Ministry Settlement Board and would like more details about the students who are completing their training this year, please contact the Rev Allister Lane who is providing the liaison between interns and ministry settlement boards.
In order for ministers to retain their certificate of good standing, it is essential that they participate in the Ministry Development Programme and complete their first ministry review by October 2013. Many have already benefited from the review process. Minister will not be in good standing if they do not have a review that is less than two years old as at October 2013. This does not apply to retired ministers, unless they are in, or plan to return to, some active, recognised ministry role. Full details here.
Our current Global Mission Coordinator, the Very Rev Pamela Tankersley, will shortly complete her term providing leadership in this vital area of our Church’s life and mission. For a skilled and gifted person with a passion for mission and a commitment to building on partnerships with local church, diaspora and global communities, this is both a challenging and very fulfilling role. This is a full time, Wellington based position requiring a significant commitment to engage with mission support groups, congregations, presbyteries and communities throughout New Zealand and abroad. The position will also provide the main liaison with CWM and other global mission and church agencies. For a job description please click here Applications to the Assembly Office close on 30 April.
Thank you again for your generous support and for all the ways you help our Church and its mission.
We have filled most of the places on this trip toVanuatu for 17-25 year-olds, to work at a school on Tanna Island. But we can accept a couple more. For more information click here.
It has been great to welcome the Rev Han Kyoung Gyun to the national team. Kyoung will be working with Global Mission (and other national ministries) to advise us on relations with Asian missions. His appointment has been made possible with the support of the Council for World Mission and the Presbyterian Church of Korea.
I have just returned from attending this commission in New York, on behalf of Presbyterian Women. This year the theme was ‘The empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication, development and current challenges’. You can find a report here.
In Auckland the week of 3-11 March, a group of New Zealand women facilitated a wonderful course for the Council for World Mission, providing tuition in ICT and in Project Management. Honey Thrupp of Te Aka Puaho and Ere Talagi Ikitoelagi participated from New Zealand.
An intrepid team from Wairau Presbyterian Church, Blenheim, will travel to Port Vila next week to carry out some repairs to Sutherland House, the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu’s flats, in which many of us stay on our way to mission projects in Vanuatu. Neville and team – we appreciate your work very much indeed.
Global Mission coordinator
Easter camps around the country start this week. I am speaking at our camp in Hawke’s Bay and Gordon is speaking at our intermediate camp at Hunua, Auckland. For those who are interested here is a link to the various Easter camps around New Zealand: http://www.pym.org.nz/ministries/easter-camps/.
It is not too late to sign up to Kiwieaster, a text-based experience of the Holy Week in real time. Kiwieaster has been picked up by newspapers around New Zealand, which has provided PYM with positive exposure.
The Diploma in Presbyterian Youth Ministry started this year. The Diploma is a collaboration between PYM, the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership, local churches and the student’s chosen academic institution – either Laidlaw College or Carey Baptist College. It demonstrates the Presbyterian Church’s commitment to youth ministry and the training of youth workers.
The Diploma in Presbyterian Youth Ministry is based on an internship model of learning.
The integration of theological learning and ministry context provides a richness that cannot be achieved in the classroom alone. Youth ministry interns can apply to start in the second semester. For more information and to download a prospectus click here.
Registrations for Connect 2012 are now open. It is in Rotorua from 6-8 July. I am excited about this year’s theme, ‘dream big’. All of the excellent keynote speakers, Lloyd Martin, Rod Thompson, Mick and Ruby Duncan, will address this theme from different angles.
There are 35 workshops plus some bonus workshops on the Friday night. You can check out the workshop options at www.pym.org.nz/connect, or download additional Connect flyers.
Even if you do not have any youth leaders or cannot make it this year, we would value your prayers as we lead up to this event and during the weekend.
Youth Ministry Development leader
As you read this, my husband Paul, son Blake and I will be winging our way to Europe. After holidaying with family in Holland and England, we are going to Cambridge University for my semester of study, research and reflection at Westminster College.
This sabbatical is made possible by the Cheshunt Foundation. My topics of interest are children’s spirituality and how we disciple children (as churches and parents) so that their faith “sticks”. There are no easy or foolproof answers to this, but there’s lots of research on the topic and this sabbatical will give me the opportunity to properly read all the books and articles and websites I have been ‘bookmarking’ over the years. What a treat! I will also be able to participate in papers offered by Cambridge, explore their libraries and have one-on-one sessions with experts such as Dr Rebecca Nye. And of course attend Evensong at King’s College Chapel (can’t wait!).
I’m also running a conference for Council for World Mission European Churches sharing the Kids Friendly vision, story and resources and will be consulting with the Presbyterian Church of Wales for a week. Then there’s time with Lucy Moore, founder of Messy Church and some interesting conferences.
Paul will be “home schooling” Blake which will include trips to museums, historical places and other exciting adventures.
In my absence Lucy Davey will be holding the fort and of course Cheryl Harray will continue to serve the Synod of Otago and Southland and Jackie Coleman the churches of Te Aka Puaho. Yvonne Durling will continue to offer administrative support.
Term 1 has been a very busy time for me with lots of trips, training days and coaching appointments being fitted in before I fly. Term 3 is already booking up, so if you think you’d like to have Kids Friendly visit your region, let Lucy know, and she will book it in for the second half of the year. If you’re interested in following my research you can do so here.
Kids Friendly national coach
Registrations for the South Island Ministry Conference are now being taken. You can find the information brochure and registration form at www.etchurch.co.nz. Early Bird Registrations close on 13 April. Because of the popularity of the keynote speaker Dr Rod Wilson, spaces are limited, so be in quick.
This is a wonderful opportunity for women from around New Zealand to gather and discuss how we can grow our organisation and make it accessible for all women attending Presbyterian churches. Guest speakers include Gwen Neave, ONZM, JP and former Turakina Maori Girls’ College alumni and John Hunt, author on Gaelic Spirituality. For those interested in furthering our Presbyterian Women’s organisation which supports projects internationally and nationally and is a member of UN Status of Women please do not hesitate to contact us. A vacancy currently exists for a Co-convenor, to join the present Policy and Administration team based in the South Island. For more information contact Jan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is still time to register for this event. If your work has anything to do with older people and support services for older people, then this is the conference for you. Programme and Registrations online here.
The next vacancies at Glen Innis are:
April 23 - 30 Homestead
May 7 - 14 Homestead
June 18 - 25 Homestead
June 25 - July 2 Homestead
July 2 - 9 Homestead
Parents/Carers of children aged 0 to 6 – you’re invited to join the next group on
Monday 21 May for six Mondays – 7.30 to 9.30 pm at Island Bay Community Centre, 137 The Parade. Couple - $90, single - $67.50. Contact: Liz (04) 3835114 email@example.com or Janice (04) 3837732 firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out the ParentsInc website for more info or to register.
From 6 to 14 May Rev Mark Holmen will be sharing in Auckland, Hamilton, New Plymouth, Wellington and Christchurch. Mark is a national and international consultant and speaker for the Faith At Home movement that equips congregations to make the home the primary place where faith is nurtured. More information and registration details here.
This conference will be hosted by Windsor Park Baptist Church, 550 East Coast Rd, Mairangi Bay, Auckland. Keynote speaker will be Pastor Carey Nieuwhof, Senior Pastor of Connexus Community Church in Ontario and co-author of 'Parenting Beyond Your Capacity'. He has worked since 2005 helping communicate an 'Orange' message to church leaders and parents globally. For more detailed information, including the speaker lineup, see http://engagingwithorange.com/.
Jeff Haines, an independent researcher is searching for hard copies of The Outlook from the 1920s-30s. If you can help contact him on (09) 425 0432.
Barrie Allom has launched a new book titled To Catch a Butterfly. In this book Barrie writes candidly of a much loved but not always understood daughter, one who walked outside the frame of conventionality, leaving a trail of heart-searching questions. Barrie spent 30 years as a priest in the Anglican Church, specialising as a hospital chaplain. Subsequently, as a civil celebrant, he has brought a profound understanding of life’s ultimate events to a wide range of people. This memoir describes a personal experience close to his own heart. Retail price (incl. GST) $30. Available direct from the author, email@example.com or phone (06) 377 5777.
Musica Balkanica presents, "The Scared Music of the Balkans”. Includes songs celebrating the spirit of Easter in Greece, Romania and Serbia. All songs will be sung in the native language of the country of heritage. Programmes available for koha/donation. St Michael and All Saints, Oxford Tce, Christchurch. 4pm, Sunday 15 April.
Christian World Service has launched a Sahel appeal to support efforts to head off a food crisis in West Africa’s Sahel region. At stake already are ten million people in the Sahel region struggling to feed themselves as a deepening drought impacts.
CWS global partner, the ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together) is already active in the Sahel, both in disaster relief and helping Sahel people find better ways to farm in drought prone conditions. The Sahel situation is deteriorating fast with one million children at risk of severe acute malnutrition. The Governments of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger have already declared crisis and called for international assistance.
CWS recently sent out a Sahel appeal leaflet to churches that breaks the huge numbers down into one family story. It asks readers to imagine what life is like for 28 year-old Fatumaou who has to feed her family on acrid wild thorn leaves just to have something to eat that day. This snapshot of reality in Tin’Akoff, Burkina Faso was gathered by ACT Alliance people on a recent fact finding visit there.
ACT Alliance governing board member, Paul Valentin, who took part in the visit, said eating just once a day was already common. “There is a sense of despair because people literally don’t know where their next meal is coming from,” said Valentin.
Credit Card: phone 0800 74 73 72 or go online www.cws.org.nz
Direct Deposit: name of account - Christian World Service
Account Number: 06 0817 0318646 00, ref: Sahel Food Crisis
Email your postal details to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want a receipt
Post: Christian World Service PO Box 22652 ChCh 8140
Mr William Kang, intern, Takapuna - St George's Presbyterian Church, to licentiate, Northern Presbytery, 7 December 2011.
Rev Howard Carter, St Andrew’s First Presbyterian Church, Northern Presbytery, to Ellerslie/Mt Wellington – St Peter’s Presbyterian Church, Northern Presbytery, 8 March 2012.
Rev Peter Dunn, Waipu Presbyterian Church, Northern Presbytery, to National Ordained Minister at Windsor Community Church (Presbyterian), Southern Presbytery, 31 January 2012.
Rev Sue Fenton, Other Recognized Minister, Wellington Presbytery, was inducted to the position of 50% part-time minister at Wadestown Presbyterian Church, Wellington Presbytery, 15 March 2012.
Rev Silvia Ellen Purdie, Manawatu Wanganui Presbytery, to part-time National Ordained Minister at Palmerston North - Milson Combined Church, Manawatu Wanganui Presbytery, on 26 February 2012.
Rev Rodney Routledge, Ministers Emeriti, Presbytery of Christchurch, accepted a half-time appointment as Stated Supply at St Andrews at RangiRuru, 1 February 2012.
Rev Arona Tusega, Licentiate, Northern Presbytery, to National Ordained Minister, St Andrew’s Otahuhu, 1 March 2012.
Rev Stephanie Wells, Maniototo Parish, Presbytery of Christchurch, to Transitional Minister, Spreydon St James Presbyterian Church, Presbytery of Christchurch, 1 March 2012.
Changes in Status:
Rev Ian Crawford, Locally Ordained Minister, Southland Regional Resource Ministry (25% time), and Stated Supply at Windsor Community Church, Invercargill (75% time), Southern Presbytery, has resigned the charge of Windsor Community Church and continues the appointment to Southland Regional Resource Ministry (25% time), Southern Presbytery, 20 January 2012.
Rev Sue Fenton, Presbytery of Wellington, has resigned from the position of Pioneer Mission Ministry Co-ordinator and remains as Other Recognized Minister, Presbytery of Wellington, 28 December 2011.
Rev Bob Franklyn of the Congregational Federation of the UK Church has completed his term as minister in the parish of Hutt City Uniting Congregations, 22 January 2012.
Rev John R P Hodgson, Honorary Associate Minister, Mt Eden-Greyfriars Presbyterian Church, Northern Presbytery, is now Other Recognized Minister, Northern Presbytery, 13 March 2012.
Rev Silvia Ellen Purdie, Manawatu Wanganui Presbytery, resigned as Minister of Charge at Foxton-Shannon Cooperating Parish, Manawatu Wanganui Presbytery, 31 December 2011.
Rev Brian Thom, National Ordained Minister, has completed his term as Stated Supply at Taihape/Waimarino Presbyterian Parish and Hunterville Presbyterian Church, Manawatu-Wanganui Presbytery, 31 January 2012.
Rev Hamish Kirk, Nelson-Marborough Presbytery, has taken a chaplaincy position at Linton Military Camp and transferred to Manawatu Wanganui Presbytery, 1 October 2011.
Rev Tevita Taufelele, Methodist Church, completed his term as minister at Hutt Valley Uniting Congregations, 31 December 2011.
Rev Suresh Chandra, Methodist Church, started a term as full-time minister at Upper Hutt Uniting Parish, 9 February 2012.
Rev Michael Schwass, Hornby Presbyterian Community Church, Presbytery of Christchurch, has retired from active ministry and remains as Other Recognised Ministers, Presbytery of Christchurch, 12 June 2011.
Rev Rodney Routledge, Presbytery of Christchurch, retired 13 December 2011 and remains under Ministers Emeriti, Presbytery of Christchurch, 13 December 2011.
Rev Brian Thom, National Ordained Minister, Manawatu-Wanganui Presbytery, has resigned from the ministry of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand and returned to South Africa.
Rev David Clark died on 13 March 2012.
Sir Rodney Gallen KNZM QC died on 3 March 2012.
Rev Brian Hardie died 11 February 2012
Rev Ernest Orange died on 1 January 2012.
Rev Talosaga Su’a died on 2 January 2012.
Kirwee Presbyterian Community Church ceased to exist on 29 February 2012.
Flagstaff Union Church dissolved on 31 December 2011. Flagstaff Presbyterian Church was established on 1 January 2012.
Check out our listing of national and regional events.