Please note that there is no livestream for GA23 as this Assembly is in-person and not online, however, there will be recorded video of daily business shared here as it becomes available. Unlike former years, there will not be a series of GA news emails but instead a daily summary of key decisions as noted by the Business Assembly Work Group during business - this will be uploaded as soon as information to include is available so check back for updates.
New Moderator in the news
Today our new Moderator Right Rev Rose Luxford was in the Otago Daily Times - see the story here and read the Church's media release here. Read and watch more on the installation of our new Moderator on the GA23 Wed 27 Sept Daily Summary website page.
Watch video of Worship led by Rev Sharon Ross Ensor on the first day of GA business.
The summary of today's business is provided by the Assembly Business Work Group, with some additional reporting. For context, see the recorded video of daily GA business below.
Council of Assembly
Council of Assembly Convenor Rev Dr Jaco Reyneke spoke to the Council’s report. Leave was granted to include an additional recommendation (Rec 057).
Dr Reyneke moved en bloc, it was seconded and agreed
[23.015] That the Church affirms its commitment to show love and respect to all people and be an environment where people can accept salvation in Jesus Christ, grow their faith, find healing, discern how they are part of God’s mission and serve God.
[23.016] That the Church expresses its sadness and deepest empathy with survivors of abuse and in particular where the abuse took place within a church context.
[23.017] That congregations and presbyteries are be urged to ensure that the Child Protection Policy and the Code of Ethics are well known, understood and applied diligently.
[23.018] That congregations and presbyteries continue to ensure that those under their care are safe and are aware of how grievances and complaints can be lodged, with appropriate support.
[23.019] That congregations be encouraged to prayerfully identify, encourage and enable individuals within the Church who God might be calling to consider ordained ministry.
[23.020] That congregations be encouraged to prayerfully identify, empower and enable people to serve the wider Church at both presbytery and General Assembly level.
[23.021] That congregations and presbyteries be encouraged to be aware of and open to opportunities to serve God’s mission by sharing financial and human resources with others.
[23.023] That the amendments to the following supplementary provisions, as approved by the Council of Assembly, be ratified:
Conditions of Service Manual, Nominating Committee, pursuant to Book of Order chapter 9.23 to 9.32.
[23.057] That Rev Alan Judge (2023-25) be appointed Convenor of the Nominating Committee and Rev Phyllis Harris (2023-27) be appointed Deputy Convenor of the Nominating Committee.
Dialogue on Sexuality, Biblical Morality and Leadership Talks
The Very Rev Hamish Galloway spoke to the report on the Dialogue. Hamish said that people from “both sides and in the middle” had shown genuine respect and that people felt listened to and that their views and ideas were respected. He responded to questions of clarification and there was brief debate. Questions from the floor included who would be invited to participate in future and Hamish replied that they want to hear a variety of voices going forward. Other questions focused on the need for education, the language of the recommendation, and asked if the talks were chipping away at a GA decision, to which another person noted that the nature of decision making means you can make different decisions which does not invalidate previous ones. Feeling tired of an issue that has been debated for many years was expressed by one person who also feared that if we do not have these conversations we will return to the ugly debates of the past.
Hamish moved, it was seconded and carried:
[23.047] That the Moderator and Immediate Past Moderator work with participants in the dialogue on sexuality, biblical morality and leadership to offer the opportunity for the people in various regions of the Presbyterian Church to have conversations about the issues, using the same model as that for the dialogue set up by the 2022 Special Assembly.
Hamish moved, it was seconded and carried:
[23.048] That the Dialogue leaders report to the next General Assembly.
Te Haere Tonu Work Group
Te Haere Tonu (Keep Going) Work Group member Rev Martin Stewart spoke to the report of the Council work group. He explained that feedback and discernment were sought from Commissioners for a new strategic direction for the Church. Martin said that for the next season of our life together, resurrection is needed not resuscitation!
Assembly moved from plenary session into dialogue groups to consider questions from the Te Haere Tonu Work Group.
Leadership Sub`-committee convenor Rev Ryhan Prasad spoke to the sub-committee’s report and responded to questions. Ryhan moved, it was seconded and agreed
[23.024] That the Local Shared Ministry Handbook be approved as a supplementary provision.
Book of Order Advisory Committee
Book of Order Advisory Committee convenor Ms Marilyn Wallace spoke to the Committee’s report and a raft of amendments were moved, seconded and agreed. These gave Book of Order effect to decisions already made by the Assembly.
InterChurch Bioethics Council
The Assembly Business Work Group Convenor moved pro forma, it was seconded and agreed
[23.038] That, as a response for the best care for creation and ethical use of the Earth's resources, churches be urged to continue to take all practical steps to reduce their carbon footprints and share resources to encourage members of the Church to respond positively to the climate crisis.
[23.039] That the Council of Assembly be asked to consider an annual contribution to recognise its partnership and membership of the InterChurch Bioethics Council and its work.
Doctrine Core Group
Rev Dr Fei Taulealeaausumai spoke to the Group’s report and responded to questions.
Dr Taulealeaausumai moved, it was seconded and agreed
[23.037] That the statement titled ‘A Theology of Ordination’ be sent to presbyteries and church councils for study and discussion and brought to the next Assembly for adoption.
Presbyterian Women Aotearoa New Zealand
Dr Mavis Duncanson and Ms Mary Gibbs reported on the decision of Presbyterian Women Aotearoa New Zealand to wind up as an organisation.
Dr Duncanson moved, it was seconded and agreed
[23.046] That the General Assembly note the winding up of Presbyterian Women Aotearoa New Zealand as of 30 June 2023.
The Moderator led prayer for the work of Presbyterian Women, in all its forms over the years, and for the people who have been involved in it.
Mr Mark Connelly, Chair of Saint Kentigern Board, addressed the Assembly and spoke about the college and its links with the Church; Te Aka Puaho’s Rev Mahaki Albert spoke to the report of Te Aka Puaho on behalf of the Moderator Rev Tamiana Thrupp; overseas guest Rev Dr Jooseop Keum, General Secretary, Council for World Mission was welcomed and addressed the Assembly; Rev Dr Tokerau Joseph gave a presentation on Northern Presbytery which included the launching of The Candidacy for Ministry Handbook; and Rev Pennie Otto presented the report of Pacific Presbytery. Watch these and more in the daily business videos.
Video: GA23 business sessions
Watch video of GA23 Thursday business below:
- Morning session 1 video, watch here - includes Council of Assembly report presented by CoA Convenor Rev Dr Jaco Reyneke; Dialogue on sexuality, biblical morality and leadership talks presented by Very Rev Hamish Galloway; and Dialogue Group 1 Presentation of Te Haere Tonu presented by Rev Martin Stewart.
- Afternoon session 2 video, watch here - includes Book of Order Advisory Committee; Rev Dr Tokerau Joseph's presentation on Northern Presbytery; Doctrine Core Group with Rev Dr Fei Taulealeaausumai.
- Afternoon session 3 video, watch here - includes Rev Pennie Otto presenting the report of Pacific Presbytery.
- Afternoon session 4 video, watch here - includes Presbyterian Women Aotearoa New Zealand, Dr Mavis Duncanson and Ms Mary Gibbs on the decision of PWANZ to wind up as an organisation.
Video: Keynote address: Rev Dr Andrew Callander
Today Rev Dr Andrew Callander gave his first keynote address which speaks to Rose's Moderator theme, “Authentic and Hopeful in Christ – beginning with what is wrong." Watch the video or download it here. Andrew says he attended a workshop with Rose and was especially struck by a reading by Rob Voyle, “An Appreciative Inquiry Paradigm for Transitional Ministry”. Appreciative Inquiry is a strengths-based idea—that focusing on what is working for people empowers them to imagine and incarnate life-giving ways of being and doing, whereas focusing on what is wrong locks them into unproductive cycles of failure and shame.... Download full text of Andrew's keynote addresses from the GA2023 website.
Video: Retiring Moderator's address to Assembly
Very Rev Hamish Galloway gave an impassioned address to the Assembly reflecting on his time as Moderator. He spoke of the hope he found in Presbyterians as he travelled throughout the country visiting our parishes and presbyteries and of the challenges we have faced and face going forward. He also shared insights and encouragement from visits with our partner churches overseas. Download the address by Hamish here and watch or download the video of the address here
PCANZ ministry videos
Two ministry videos were played at Assembly today giving a brief overview of the ministries' work and people: Knox Centre of Ministry and Leadership, watch the KCML video here, and Global Mission - watch the video below.
Evening Event: Celebrating Presbyterian Women
An opportunity for the Assembly to acknowledge the PWANZ and celebrate its long journey. Moderator Right Rev Rose Luxford prepared a closure devotion for PWANZ. It includes a reading, prayers and hymn suggestions, as well as a personal reflection on PWANZ in her life. Download the PWANZ Closure Devotion.
Tables at GA23: PCANZ White Ribbon
There are a number of tables at GA23 in the Common Room for Commissioners to engage with, one is PCANZ White Ribbon NZ. The PCANZ White Ribbon Ambassador Rev Hana Popea has resources for parishes and presbyteries. She will be present during meal breaks to talk about working with our churches and presbyteries to help stop or prevent domestic and family violence towards women and children. A PCANZ White Ribbon video has been prepared for GA23, watch it here. Visit Hana for resources to help your church participate in PCANZ White Ribbon Sunday 26 November, including a song. Listen here to “No More Smalling Up Of Me” a song for PCANZ White Ribbon 2023 - original poem by Jean Wilson [of Jamaica] published 2003, and original music and additional words by David Raymond Dell [of New Zealand] 2023 for PCANZ White Ribbon.