Coverage of GA21 Moderator installation is on the GANews Wed 29 Sept website page.
PCANZ Moderator designate - Rev Rose Luxford
The Rev Rose Luxford of Oamaru will be the next leader of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand. Rose has been elected Moderator designate and will take up the role of Moderator in 2023. The result of the election was announced today at the Church’s online General Assembly 30 Sept. She will be the fifth woman leader of the Presbyterian Church in 120 years.
Nominating Committee recommend Moderator designate
Rev Anne Thomson Southern Presbytery spoke to the recommendation that Rev Rose Luxford be Moderator Designate.
“Rose is a wise person… with a passion for the Gospel, who cares deeply about the Church,” said Anne. “She gives wise counsel… With great delight and confidence, I second the motion to elect Rose Luxford.”
Rose’s election was carried.
Filling vacancies on the Church’s national bodies
Nominating Committee Convenor Rev Robert Robati-Mani and Deputy Convenor Anne Thomson presented the Committee’s report this afternoon at GA2021 online.
Appointments to national Church committees, work groups and other nationally appointed bodies were not finalised until late August 2021 and hence were included in Late Papers.
Assembly carried the recommendations that (1) Rev Dr Kerry Enright be granted a two-year extension to his term of membership on the Book of Order Advisory Committee until GA2023 and (2) Rev Aram the Asian Congregations representative on the National Assessment Work Group also be granted the same two-year extension.
Questions were raised by Mavis Duncanson (Southern Presbytery) and Rev Steve Jourdain (Presbytery Central) about the number of vacancies still existing on national bodies and how to increase the diversity of those who fill the vacancies.
Robert replied that ongoing nominations from presbyteries will be appreciated and be brought to Special Assembly in 2022, and that diversity is the responsibility of presbyteries who deliver the names to the Nominating Committee. “We can only work with what you give us.”
New disciplinary rules adopted by Assembly
Sweeping changes to the Book of Order’s disciplinary chapter attracted a lot of debate at today’s General Assembly.
More than 15 Commissioners asked questions during an hour-long debate to tease out their understanding of various aspects of the proposed changes to Chapter 15. The changes were eventually adopted ad interim and come into effect immediately.
Church councils and presbyteries will have the opportunity to consider the changes further under special legislative procedure provisions, before they come back to the next General Assembly for ratification.
A key change is the replacement of the existing Complaints Officer role with a Complaints and Disputes Manager. This person will have responsibility for implementing the process including appointing Complaints Assessment Committees, Disciplinary Commissions and Appeal Commissions.
The Complaints and Disputes Manager’s responsibilities will include the timely running of the complaints process, arranging pastoral care for both the complainant and respondent, arranging mediation where appropriate, and monitoring compliance with any orders made.
Assessors will also be replaced by a Complaints Assessment Committee which will have a wider discretion to investigate a complaint before making a decision explained Marilyn Wallace in the BOAC’s report to Assembly.
”This change will offer better insight into whether a particular dispute might be best dealt with by some other process such as a Pastoral Resolution Committee or mediation. It will also be fairer to a respondent that a complaint is investigated more fully before a charge is laid.”
Once a charge has been proven, the Commission hearing the case must first consider whether restorative justice should be ordered (except in cases involving sexual misconduct).
It is also now mandatory for church council members who become aware of sexual misconduct or any complaint relating to a child or young person, to report it, says Marilyn.
“We need to demonstrate robust disciplinary processes. The Royal Commission inquiry into abuse in care has shown us that.”
Mavis Duncanson, speaking on behalf of Presbyterian Women, highlighted that women are over represented as complainants, and commended the committee for its efforts to strengthen the Church’s protective processes.
In changes unrelated to Chapter 15, Assembly gave leave to amend one recommendation to exclude proposed changes to Chapter 5 relating to the dissolution of a congregation following feedback from several Commissioners. Amended provisions will be bought to the Assembly planned for April 2022.
Recent events have highlighted the need for flexibility about how meetings are held explained Marilyn. While the Book of Order already expressly allows a presbytery to meet electronically, under changes adopted today by Assembly, congregational and church council meetings may now also be conducted electronically.
“We have been extremely busy as a committee providing advice on many issues – child protection policy, theological education and leadership training, certificates of good standing – and our work programme continues to look busy.”
Ms Wallace gave thanks to the expertise, skill and dedication of retiring Book of Order Advisory Committee members including the Very Rev Pamela Tankersley, Heather McKenzie and Alastair Sherriff.
Keynote speaker shares intergenerational journey
Rev Dr Theresa Cho is pastor of St John’s Church in San Francisco, a church that walks its talk when it comes to intergenerational ministry.
Theresa was invited by Rt Rev Hamish Galloway to be keynote speaker at today’s GA21 online, to give Assembly some broad brushstrokes on how she defines ‘intergenerational’ and how her church’s commitment to this spiritual discipline and daily practice manifests.
Intergenerational ministry, says Theresa, is less about what is done and more about how a church behaves. It is about having a fundamental willingness to invite your community to “come as they are”.
Theresa had first-hand experience of difference and acceptance. She has taught children with autism, and when she was hired as a pastor she was pregnant with her first child.
St John’s is located in a privileged part of the city, but San Francisco is the renowned home of progressive activists and neighbourhoods. The LGBTQ+ community influence ministry in the city and provide an example of a second element of intergenerational ministry: emotional space, how to offer genuine hospitality to others who are different.
“This space should be like a laboratory,” explains Theresa, “where we can change old habits and practice forgiveness… To change emotional space, start by making a covenant that creates boundaries that allow people to risk change yet find security in the promise.”
Intergenerational ministry also requires a complex faith, she adds, one that embraces both/and thinking and the whole wellbeing of the person. Simplified thinking, she says, has led the Church as a whole to “promote a false narrative on who God deems to be good, worthy of value”.
Interior shifts may generate changes to the physical space. In St John’s they first repositioned the solid old redwood pews and eventually replaced them with lightweight, stackable pews, offering more space for strollers and walkers. These pews were moved aside entirely to start a food pantry during lockdown when so many people were experiencing food insecurity.
Theresa finished by giving more examples of how St John’s journey has enabled it to serve its neighbourhood during the pandemic. “We transformed our Church in creative ways that allowed people to find solace here during a crazy time,” she affirms. Visit St John’s website.
Watch Rev Dr Theresa Cho’s keynote address here or below.
Task group asks for more work on Church Strategic Direction
The Mahi Tahi I te Roopu Mahi – Working Together Task Group offered Commissioners many things to reflect on in its discussion paper about the strategic direction of the Church.
The task group was charged with recommending a possible framework that informs and promotes discernment about a strategic direction for the Presbyterian Church.
Task group conveners, Revs Sharon Ross Ensor and Martin Stewart described their report as “more of a primer for the kind of ongoing reflection that we believe the Church could wrestle with, rather than a definitive ‘this is what we should do’.”
Originally, the group planned to tease out the points in their report during dialogue groups, but that wasn’t possible with an online Assembly they said.
Sharon told Commissioners that during a one-day workshop, the task group found the story of Paul’s shipwreck (Acts 27:39-44) inspiring. They thought that it offered some helpful metaphors – disruption, fear of the unknown, God’s steady presence - with which to explore the challenging season the Church finds itself in.
“It could be said that God’s plan is for us to make it to shore, but not in the way we once thought it ought to be done. We are being pushed into the unknown, and we need to find the courage to cut the anchors and ropes, and trust ourselves to the mercy of the wind and the sea,” said Sharon.
Martin told Assembly that Church’s existing Strategic Directions document was written years ago, and that many things in church, society and the world have changed in that time – presbytery reform, Covid pandemic, increased prevalence of social media, lower levels of denominational affiliation and more.
Among the possible frameworks presented by the task group was a collaborative “team of teams” style of strategic direction setting, which they said may better serve the Church in this new world than the traditional top-down style.
Whatever the outcome, it is evident that change is needed, said Sharon.
“It is not enough to simply courageously name our challenges, we must also courageously do something about them to bring us safely to our new shore.”
Assembly agreed to the establishment of two work groups – one to continue the discussion on the issues raised by by the task group and to report back to the next General Assembly. Assembly asked that the group works closely and collaboratively with presbyteries on recommendations, and also asked the group to reflect on the nature and role of the Church’s national structures in resourcing and empowering presbyteries.
While affirming the direction identified by the task group, Rev Dr Jordan Redding noted during debate that presbyteries vary in their capability and capacity to deliver, and asked that the task group take this into consideration in its work.
The second workgroup will, in consultation with the Doctrine Core Group, work on the Five Faces of Mission, including a review and update and bring recommendations to the next General Assembly.
Congregational Union leaves UCANZ
Today, Assembly ratified the withdrawal of the Congregational Union as a Partner Church of UCANZ.
The Congregational Union is now only participating in a single cooperative venture, St Anselm’s Union Church, Wellington, alongside Christian Churches New Zealand and the Presbyterian Church.
Moderator Rt Rev Hamish Galloway gave thanks for the 50 years of partnership and said he looked forward to an ongoing positive and collegial relationship between the two churches.
Corrections to UCANZ Procedures for Cooperative Ventures were also agreed by Assembly.
One change reflects the move away from UCANZ congregations supporting the work of the Partner Churches through the now obsolete the Partner Support Fund. Cooperative Ventures will instead support the work of the Partner Churches through a common assessment mechanism overseen by the Resource Allocation Group.
Assembly also agreed to corrections that recognise the fact that levies are no longer charged directly to Cooperative Ventures by regional courts.
The correction recognises the change that now the national Convening Partner will collect the assessment as determined by the Resource Allocation Group. In the case of a Presbyterian Convening Partner, a portion will be passed on to the local presbytery according to the determined by General Assembly.
Commission Membership confirmed
New members were appointed to the Commission of Assembly that deals with some property matters.
The Commission acts in place of Assembly to approve property and financial transactions involving presbytery or General Assembly owned property/properties. It also acts under part 1 of the Presbyterian Church Property Amendment Act 1996 to consider Trustee applications for the conditions of the Church trusts to be varied where their original conditions have become obsolete or unworkable.
The Assembly Executive Secretary’s report to Assembly noted that the Commission had not met since Assembly 2018.
Commissioners asked a few questions of clarification, and the Commission’s membership was then agreed.
Commission members are: Rt Rev Hamish Galloway, Very Rev Fakaofo Kaio; Revs Jim Veitch, Bobby Kusilifu and Susan Jones; Messrs Rob Ewan, Simon Shaw, Andrew Irwin; Mrs Fiona Coughlan, Assembly Executive Secretary, and associate member of the Commission is the executive officer of the Church Property Trustees.
Assembly supports Book of Order rule changes
General Assembly today adopted changes to Book of Order provisions regarding disciplinary matters, emergency Assemblies and how Te Aka Puaho commissioners are appointed to Assembly.
The changes had been adopted ad interim – meaning they came into effect immediately – at the 2018 General Assembly, and required ratification by this Assembly.
The changes received a high degree of support from the church councils and presbyteries that provided feedback, and this was reflected in the fact that the proposals attracted no debate from the 217 commissioners who were online for that part of the business session.
Changes adopted by Assembly today mean that it is now possible to achieve a quorum for an Emergency Assembly.
In his report, Assembly Executive Secretary, Rev Wayne Matheson noted that the original provisions were drafted at a time when there was a greater number of presbyteries, and achieving a quorum was impossible under the previous regulations.
Assembly agreed to appoint to General Assembly one minister or elder commissioner per Maori pastorate. The change was needed to address unintended consequence of a 2014 Assembly decision which changed the representation model for General Assemblies.
Changes to provisions in the chapter of the Book of Order that deals with disciplinary matters were also adopted. The report to Assembly confirmed that the changes address issues identified during actual proceedings.
Under special legislative procedure provisions church councils and presbyteries had the opportunity to consider rules adopted ad interim in the lead-up to General Assembly, and their votes were recorded in the report to Assembly.
Projected financial deficit is not sustainable
Balancing a pleasing surplus of $608,000 this year to June, the Council of Assembly has approved a budget deficit of $509,046 to June 2022.
Craig Donaldson of Southern Presbytery, Convenor of the Resource Subcommittee, presented this financial picture as part of his report of the Sub-committee this morning at GA2021.
The deficit will be met from reserves and Craig outlined the two issues that are placing a strain on the Church’s finances.
The first is that costs of financial consolidation under the new Financial Reporting Standards are significant but a necessary ongoing cost of compliance. Consolidation combines the financial results of each parish and the national Church and any other body the Church has control over.
“There are 454 churches requiring consolidation, and we are down now to 30. To those I would say, please cooperate,” pleads Craig. “We have a duty and it’s good governance practice to have an unqualified audited opinion… We are also on borrowed time with the Charities Commission and working through that.”
The second issue is ongoing legal costs relating to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into treatment of children in state care.
“We can’t empower future generations with resources when we keep making deficits,” warns Craig. “Some hard decisions may need to be made if we can’t reduce costs or increase income.”
Cunningham Atchison of Northern Presbytery asked three questions about investment returns and the increased cost item of consultants. Craig did not have an answer about consultants’ fees but said reductions in the other items were the result of conservative accounting. “Investment returns generated last year are not likely to be sustainable. The dividend from Christian Savings is not expected again.”
Two recommendations relating to the accounts were agreed – that GA2021 receive the audited accounts to June 2021, and that the Convenor and Deputy Convenor of the Council of Assembly be authorised to sign the 2020/21 audited accounts on behalf of Assembly.
Address by the outgoing Moderator Very Rev Fakaofo Kaio
Before the break for lunch, outgoing Moderator Very Rev Fakaofo Kaio delivered his final address to Assembly from his home in Onehunga, Auckland. His wife Ruth was by his side.
Fakaofo has had to serve as Moderator for three years, because of Covid. During his second year, he collaborated with his children to produce online devotions, each morning at 9am, before Church services.
“My children masterminded the production, and I just prepared the messages,” says Fakaofo. “My kids then told me when to stop… It was an empowering time for them to do ministry together.”
When able to, Fakaofo travelled extensively around the country with Ruth. “All these events were very special for relationship building,” he says. “Thank you for the privileges and opportunities given. The many lives, churches, colleagues, communities, opportunities to talk/talanoa. It has been an honour and pleasure representing you, being welcomed by all.”
Fakaofo particularly acknowledged Assembly Executive Secretary Rev Wayne Matheson, and the PCANZ office staff. “They made the role so fulfilling, and they were the best.”
He was, in turn, thanked by Rt Rev Hamish Galloway. “I have experienced your love and pastoral care. Our Church is richer for your theme of relationships,” he said. “The way we look after and love one another is central to our Church. You also carried out your role with dignity and poise and brought your culture into this role.”
Fakaofo invited anyone who celebrated a special occasion in the Church, an induction, ordination or Queens Service Medal which was not formally recognised by a letter from PCANZ, to get in touch with him and he will rectify it.
Other than that, you will find the Very Rev Fakaofo Kaio in his avocado orchard, out catching some fish or above all being with his family.
Download text of the address by Very Rev Fakaofo Kaio.
Watch the video of outgoing Moderator Very Rev Fakaofo Kaio's address to the online GA.
Council of Assembly reports back on challenging times
Rev Richard McLean, the Convenor of the Council of Assembly, presented the Council’s report to General Assembly 2021 this morning.
He said that the pandemic had required the Council to adapt the way it conducts business. “We used to meet three times a year in person with the occasional teleconference but this past year we’ve met seven times in person and 15 times via Zoom.”
The Council report outlines areas of work over the past three years. Several reviews have been undertaken and compliance areas addressed, including participation in the Royal Commission of Inquiry into treatment of children in state care.
“We are committed as a Church to being “reformed and reforming,’ and to promoting ongoing growth,” said Richard.
Questions from Jordan Redding and Mavis Duncanson, on the long-term financial plan and ecumenical policy respectively, were addressed before a set of recommendations were put to Assembly. These were agreed and carried. Key among them was a decision to transfer the balance of funds from the winding up of the Turakina Nga Hara Trust to Te Aka Puaho.
Richard and Deputy Convenor Anne Edgar were thanked for their work.
- The Assembly ratified the recommendation that a Special Assembly be held in 2022 to attend to business submitted to but not dealt with at the 2021 General Assembly online. Parallel planning processes will enable either an online or physical Assembly to be held, most likely in April 2022. A location will be determined at the close of GA2021 Online.
- Assembly adopted a new provision relating to the date, time and place of General Assembly meetings, which says that in exceptional circumstances, where it is impractical to hold a General Assembly which participants can attend in person, the Council of Assembly may determine that a General Assembly can be held by electronic means.
Procedural motions enable GA2021 business to proceed
A set of procedural motions were put to General Assembly 2021 online this morning and agreed without debate.
Standing Orders were adopted and the Assembly Reports and Extra Reports were received as the working documents of the Assembly.
Key positions that enable Assembly to proceed, including timekeepers, scrutineer and Deputy Clerk, were ratified.
The following associates were recognised: Rev Alistair McBride, Ms Marina Robati-Mani (Assembly Business Work Group), Ms Marilyn Wallace (Book of Order Advisory Committee), Rev Richard McLean, Ms Anne Edgar (Council of Assembly), and Very Rev Fakaofo Kaio.
Memorial minutes for a list of ministers were placed in the records of the Assembly.
Procedural motions also acknowledged upcoming anniversaries of ordination and confirmed changes to the ministerial roll since the last Assembly. They confirmed presbytery and Asian representatives on the Nominating Committee.
Cambridge Union Parish Council was given permission to meet during General Assembly.
Staff and ministry videos from the online GA today giving an overview of their work
Presented at the online PCANZ online General Assembly 29-30 September 2021, the PCANZ's Southern Presbyterians talk to some of their 69 parishes about how Covid-19 lockdown has impacted them.
Presented at the online PCANZ online General Assembly 29-30 September 2021, the Northern Presbytery's Pacific Islanders' Presbyterian Church Newton talks to youth affected by Covid-19.
Presented at the PCANZ online General Assembly 29-30 September 2021, the Pacific Presbytery share about retreats their members and leaders have participated in, and how they are engaging with Empowering Generations - the Moderator theme of Right Rev Hamish Galloway.
Prepared for the online PCANZ online General Assembly 30 September 2021, the Church's Presbyterian Youth Ministry gives an overview of its work.
Presented at the online PCANZ General Assembly 30 September 2021, the Church's Presbyterian Research Centre including Archives and Hewitson library, give an overview of their work.
Presented at the online PCANZ online General Assembly 30 September 2021, the Church's Finance team and HR compliance, give an overview of their work.
Presented at the online PCANZ online General Assembly 30 September 2021, the Church's PressGo ministry gives an overview of its work.
GA21 video from Global Mission and overseas guests
The online GA watched today three videos from the Church's Global Mission ministry: an overview of the work of Global Mission and greetings from overseas guests. Watch them below.
Presented at the online PCANZ online General Assembly 30 September 2021, the Church's Global Mission gives an overview of its work.
PCANZ partner church, the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar, sent video greetings for the PCANZ online Assembly, 30 Sept 2021.
Watch the Global Mission interview with Chandana Lall of church partner St. Thomas School, Jagadhri, North India, for the online GA21, 30 Sept. Includes, interview, introduction and one question.
New Moderator in the media
See coverage of news of the appointment of PCANZ Moderator Right Rev Hamish Galloway in: The Press newspaper, Christchurch and Stuff online and Coast FM radio.
Church invited to view GA21 livestream Thurs 30 Sept
Non-Commissioners can share in the General Assembly online on Thursday 30 September via the YouTube livestream of GA21 business from 8.30am to approximately 5pm (devotion will begin at 8.30am). Please view by clicking this link.
New Moderator installed: GA21 opening service 29 Sept
See images and video from the installation of Moderator Right Rev Hamish Galloway from 29 September 2021 here.