Thursday 4 October 2012
The Right Rev Ray Coster is the new Moderator or elected leader of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand. He begins his two year term from 4 October 2012.
Ray has been minister of St Andrew’s Presbyterian in Mount Maunganui since 1985; prior to that he was the minister of Trinity Presbyterian in Timaru.
He has served the Church in various capacities at local, regional and national levels. He has served on the Council of Assembly (the body that governs the Church between General Assemblies), and has chaired the Press Go Board, which oversees a radical new approach to growing the Church through distributing funds donated by Presbyterian churches to promising church growth projects.
Ray says his Moderator theme of “Reviving the Flame” is about acknowledging that the Church is in need of revival, a new spark to make its flame burn brighter.
“I love the word revive. It speaks to me about God never giving up on God’s people. In some ways I feel as though the Presbyterian Church has been in a wilderness for many years. We are all now aware of our Church’s downward statistics. We have moved from a denomination of about 130,000 people at weekly worship in the early 1960s to around 30,000 today. It could be very easy to become despondent about this, give up and feel like we are failing. But the desert or wilderness is a place of meeting and restoration. That’s where revival, refreshment and restoration begin.”
Ray is married to Judy and has four adult children.
The Right Rev Ray Coster will be installed as Moderator at the beginning of the General Assembly 2012, at a service at the Church’s national Ohope Marae. The service involves the transfer of a ceremonial cloak (Te Korowai Tapu) and the laying on of hands by past Moderators.
The Presbyterian Church is the third largest denomination in Aotearoa New Zealand, with more than 400,000 people identifying as Presbyterian in the 2001 Census, and 30,000 regular church attenders.