GA News Wed 16 November

Outgoing Moderator address

Very Rev Andrew Norton thanked the Church for the huge honor and privilege to serve as its Moderator over the past two years.

He acknowledged his pleasure in experiencing the wonderful diversity of the Church and the ways God is at work in its communities of faith throughout the country. He also acknowledged the weight of the office, “the deep pain of division and our woundedness”…read more.

Thanks to the Church

Te Aka Puaho commissioners joined Moderator, Rev Wayne Te Kaawa, at the front of Assembly as he gave thanks to General Assembly for their support of the upgrade to Ohope Marae.

Since completion of the $1.2 m refurbishment, of which General Assembly contributed $300,000, Te Aka Puaho reported that the marae has been invigorated, and was in constant use by the Church, schools and other more.

Small faith communities affirmed

General Assembly strongly affirmed the role that small communities of faith and congregations play in the life of the church and wider community.

Council of Assembly Deputy Convener Jenny Flett, said that the Council brought the proposal in response to concerns from the wider Church that rural and smaller ministries have felt disenfranchised by Church more.

Press Go to pick up administration of Presbyterian Foundation

A resolution that the administration and oversight of the Presbyterian Foundation – which distributes grants for mission – be incorporated into the work of Press Go – also charged with funding missional opportunities – was approved by General more.

Local ordained ministers can serve beyond parishes

General Assembly has cleared the way for local ordained ministers to serve outside a parish context.

The effect of the change is that local ordained ministers may now train to serve as chaplains, special ministry roles within presbytery and more – opportunities which were not available to them under previous more.

Overseas Guests

Assembly is fortunate to have a number of overseas guests who will address the Assembly over the next three days. Guests are: Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu, Rev Allen Nafuki, General Secretary and Mr Jonathan, Secretary of the Church’s Education Authority; Uniting Church of Australia, Craig Mitchell, National Director - Formation, Education and Discipleship, National Assembly; Presbyterian Church of Korea, Moderator designate, Rev Dr Sung Hee Lee; Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea, Rev Dr Cheon Min Heui, Executive Secretary, Ecumenical Relations Department.

Today two guests addressed the Assembly, Craig Mitchell of the Uniting Church of Australia and the Rev Dr Sung Hee Lee of the Presbyterian Church of Korea.

Craig Mitchell spoke on our churches shared passion for the Gospel and how our learning from one another in ministry is also an expression of our unity in Christ, read his full address.

Rev Dr Sung Hee Lee spoke of strengthening the relationship with the Presbyterian Church of Korea. He said that while there is “a vast ocean called the Pacific in-between our churches yet we are very close, thanks to the Koreans living in the land of long white clouds,” read his full address.

Dr Rod Wilson: first keynote address on theme of Hope

In his first address to Assembly, GA keynote speaker Dr Rod Wilson posed the question of whether hope is a utopian concept, an irrational simplicity or a stable foundation. Quoting extensively from Scripture, Rod told delegates that the basis of all hope and peace is faith in God’s love, but to resist the idea that any given moment in time or human experience will last.

“The way things are is precarious and in jeopardy. Hope reminds us not to take (the present) too seriously,” he quoted from the world’s leading interpreter of the Old Testament, Walter Brueggemann. 

Rod has been President and Professor of counselling and psychology at Regent College in Vancouver for the past 15 years. Through this work, he has observed churches losing hope, being robbed of vision and clarity by internal struggles and bureaucratic tensions. The answer, Rod says, is to understand that hope is deeply rooted in God’s character, and the truth of it needs to be expressed incarnationally, not just preached.

Celebration as interns graduate

Last night GA Commissioners gathered at Knox Church, Dunedin, for a graduation service of worship of six Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership (KCML) interns and four Presbyterian Youth Ministry (PYM) interns. KCML graduates are leriko Afamasaga, Marty Redhead, Mo Morgan, So’o Fa’atui, Solomon Premkumar Rajan and Tengaru Paniora. The PYM graduates are Jasmin Vanderwerff, Lizzie Menlove, Josh Dunne and Conrad Demmocks.

Right Rev Richard Dawson says it was a wonderful occasion for the Church to gather and acknowledge and celebrate the work of two training organisations, KCML and PYM, who have produced graduates who will bless the Church for many years to come.