GA News Tues 15 November

Assembly opens with induction of new Moderator

The Right Rev Richard Dawson was installed as Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand yesterday evening at General Assembly 2016, at Knox Church, Dunedin. A powhiri was followed by a service involving the transfer of the Moderator ceremonial cloak (Te Korowai Tapu) and the laying on of hands by past Moderators: Very Rev Bruce Hansen, Very Rev Alister Rae, Very Rev Pamela Tankersley, Very Rev Dr Graham Redding and Very Rev Peter Cheyne.

Constitution of the Assembly by the outgoing Moderator Right Rev Andrew Norton was followed by an apology to Te Aka Puaho by the Council of Assembly Convenor, Rev Colin Marshall. The apology was for unintended consequences of changes made to the selection of Commissioners to Assembly which was done without consultation with Te Aka Puaho and disenfranchised a number of their Commissioners. The outgoing Moderator Right Rev Andrew Norton said to Te Aka Puaho Moderator Rev Wayne Te Kaawa and other representatives of the Synod, “We apologise. We can do better.” Andrew and Wayne then pressed their foreheads together in hongi.

Download opening sermon

The new Moderator delivered a sermon on his Moderator theme of ‘hope’ titled, “Hoping Against Hope,” in which he encouraged the Church to be a hopeful people and to embrace hope over fear.

Pioneers of Hope song 

During the opening service a new Church schools centenary hymn by the Rev Malcolm Gordon “Pioneers of Hope” was performed by the Columba College, Dunedin choir. Written to celebrate the centenaries of Presbyterian Church schools throughout Aotearoa New Zealand, Presbyterian students from all over the country formed a combined choir for Pioneers of Hope's first official recording. Watch a performance of the song

Minister Training - Practising Hope

A ministers’ training event for over 140 ministers marked the start of Assembly Week. KCML Principal Rev Dr Steve Taylor says ministers highlights from the day including being able to reflect on practice and hear from gifted colleagues.

The day for ministers only aimed to resource ministers and provide an opportunity to reconnect and be updated on best practice in ministry.

The Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership (KCML) team worked with the Moderator’s theme of ‘hope’ to offer a day focused around: Practising hope: gathered and scattered.

Lynne and Steve Taylor introduced research on how Presbyterian churches worshipped and prayed after terrorist attacks on Paris. Findings from a survey of 160 churches offered insight into “how to respond as church to hard stuff” Steve says.

Eight workshop options were provided led by experienced ministers from across the diversity of the Church. “They enabled in-depth discussion and shared practical resources for offering hope in the hard places of human experience” Steve says.

PYM Equip Hope of the Church

Presbyterian Youth Ministry (PYM) held an Orientation Day yesterday for GA Youth Commissioners at the Assembly venue. PYM’s Matt Chamberlin and Gordon Fitch were joined by 21 Youth Commissioners from several of the Church’s presbyteries and Te Aka Puaho. Over the past few weeks Youth Commissioners have prepared with PYM for the processes of Assembly through online training.

During GA, Youth Commissioners will time spend time in discussion of GA business, take part in daily 7pm catch-ups, enjoy a meal with the Moderator, have a social Gathering, and participate in the GA Bayfield School mural painting Serve the City project.