Our 419 churches are spread throughout New Zealand, from Bluff to Kaitara, in both rural and metropolitan locations. A group of elders from the congregation forms the church council, also known as the session or parish council, which runs the church in accordance with the rules laid down in our Book of Order. The church may call a full- or part-time minister, or a ministry team, or make use of lay leaders or Local Ordained Ministers. It may also employ other staff, such as a children or families worker, and youth worker.
The Handbook for Congregations is a quick-reference guide to Presbyterian church regulations and procedures, but it does not replace the Book of Order.
The Conditions of Service Manual guides congregations and presbyteries/Union District Councils as they work with ministers and lay employees. It is a supplementary provision to the Book of Order and its contents have the status of regulations. There are also a number of other supplementary provisions.
Resources for Elders
The Knox Centre has written a Handbook for Elders for use in parishes, presbyteries and UDCs. It covers both session and parish council contexts. Download it here In 2013, the Synod of Otago and Southland produced a training resource for elders, By Word and By Spirit featuring a DVD presented by former Mission Advisor, Bruce Fraser, and a CD of written chapters that can be used as a one-day seminar, and can also be used alongside the KCML Handbook for Elders. If you would like to access a copy of the resource, please contact Presbyterian Archives.
Resources for Parish Treasurers
Privacy is an important issue for any organisation that collects, uses, or discloses personal information. “Personal information” means information relating to an identifiable individual. It could be someone’s name, a photograph of a person, contact details, or a record of someone’s actions. For churches, this could include a church directory, pastoral information, or employment information. All agencies are required to have a privacy officer under the Privacy Act 2020, which came into effect on 1 December 2020. The purpose of this position is to prevent or respond to any privacy issues. A position description for a privacy officer is available here.
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