August 2006

Council of Assembly update

The Council of Assembly met in Wellington on 14-16 July 2006. Read the full text of the Council newsletter.

Assembly Office update

Kia ora

Presbyterian Foundation Grants

Applications for this year's round of Presbyterian Foundation grants are now open. More information about how to apply is available here.

Applications close on 15 September 2006, and between $140,000 and $170,000 is available for distribution each year to projects that further the aims of the Church.

Staff changes

We will welcome Tracey Patterson to the Assembly Service team on 7 August. Tracey will be joining us for one year as communications adviser for cover during the period of Jose Reader’s parental leave.

We’ll be farewelling Jose later this month (11 August), as she goes on leave in preparation for the birth of her and husband Les’ first child.

As I’ve advised previously, Amanda Wells will be stepping into the communications manager role for the period of Jose’s parental leave.


Information was posted out to presbyteries, union district councils and parishes at the end of July about the General Assembly budget for 2006/07. If you haven’t received a copy, and are interested, please check out the website at or contact us at Assembly Office for a copy.


We are now less than two months out from GA06, and preparations are full-steam ahead. Check out the General Assembly section of the website,, for an update about the Assembly Reports, how to sign-up for the assembly e-newsletter and other useful information.

Compliance with legislation

Several presbyteries are in the process of testing the system that has been developed to help parishes and presbyteries identify and manage their legal responsibilities.

Many laws apply to churches, including those related to employment, health and safety, property, the environment, taxation and intellectual property, among others. The compliance programme gives parishes and presbyteries an easy way to ensure that they are complying with these laws.

The system being tested by presbyteries (and their respective parishes) is designed to remove the worry that they may be inadvertently left open to legal action because it is breaching a law or regulation of which it is not aware.

We are thankful for the assistance of the presbyteries who are helping us with the trial, so that we can use their feedback to fine-tune the programme before it is launched to the wider church. We’ll keep you up-to-date with our progress on this.

Te Wananga a Rangi – re-opening advance notice

A reminder that the training centre for Te Aka Puaho , which has been part of the Theological Hall and then the School of Ministry in Dunedin for many years, is re-opening on Friday 25 August. More information about the gathering will be available on the website following the gathering.


The next edition of our national magazine sPanz will be sent out in mid-August. Parishes are reminded that if you have any stories to share with the rest of the country to send your suggestions to the magazine’s editor, Amanda Wells, at commsmanager(at)

Ka kite,

Human Resources update

Who to contact for what

On the Human Resource (HR) front it has been very much business as usual over the last month. In order to respond more effectively and quickly to your enquiries, we’ve developed a list of who to contact for various matters. Please note it’s not a definitive list of the HR support and services we provide to parishes and ministers, but it’s a good starting point: check out this page


Many of you may already be aware of the very good (and in most cases free) resources that are available from a number of sources. The NZ Federation of Voluntary Welfare Organisation currently has available a useful resource kit called “Keeping it Legal – legal responsibilities of voluntary organisations in NZ”. The kit contains a wide range of information in relation to volunteers and our legal obligations. Their website is and you can place an order for the kit online with them.

Volunteering New Zealand produces a monthly newsletter that contains a combination of practical information, news stories and training opportunities. Their website is and, if you wish to sign up for the email newsletter, you may do so by contacting ed(at)

Another useful source of information is the Office for the Community and Voluntary Sector,

Marilla Hood
HR manager

General Assembly 2006 update

We are now less than two months away from General Assembly 2006, and preparations are full-steam ahead. There have been two major areas of focus for us in August: processing registrations, and the collation and preparation of the General Assembly Reports.

Email update

For those who are keen to be kept up-to-date about what’s going in the lead-up to and during General Assembly, you can sign up to an email newsletter here. 

These newsletters will be sent out on a daily basis during Assembly and will update readers about the business of the day. To sign-up for the newsletter visit this page.

General Assembly Reports

We’re expecting that the General Assembly reports will be posted to commissioners and available on the website no later than mid-August.

Youth assembly

More information about Youth Assembly, which starts two days before GA06, is available here.

Kids assembly

Find out more about Kids at GA06 here.

Consensus decision making

More information about this method of making decisions, which will be trialled at GA06, is available here.


The closing date for registrations (31 July) has now passed, and we are processing all of the commissioner, associate and other registrations.

Those who have sent their registrations in by the due date can expect to receive a letter before the end of August confirming their registration and commissioner status, as well as a receipt (or invoice if the full amount hasn’t been paid).

Facilities at St Kentigern College

The local arrangements committee has advised that those with the appropriate technology on their laptops will be able to access the wireless network that exists at the college.

Booking your travel

You are asked to ensure that your flight and other travel bookings allow you sufficient time to meet and greet your billets before the start of Assembly, as this will be more difficult to do at the end of business on day one.

Working to bring Assembly to you

A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to ensure that the General Assembly runs smoothly – these volunteers and Assembly staff members look after everything from making sure that the venue isn’t cold in the morning when you arrive to organising the business agenda and co-ordinating registrations.

Take a look at this page to get a better sense for those who will be helping General Assembly 2006 to run as smoothly as possible…

Nomination of Assembly Executive Secretary

At its recent meeting, the Council of Assembly has endorsed the AES selection panel's recommendation to appoint the Rev Martin Baker to the position of Assembly Executive Secretary. More information on the nomination is available here.

Appointment of the Assembly Executive Secretary is a General Assembly function and this year’s Assembly will make the decision regarding appointment.

A full report, including more information about Mr Baker, is included in the Assembly reports that will be circulated later this month.

Global Mission Office update

My family and I watched the 6 o’clock news tonight (26 July 2006). We watched our Prime Minister support the call made by the UN Secretary General for restraint in the Middle East. This call only came after four UN international observers were blown up. In response, my 13-year-old daughter questioned why our government was so swift to respond when UN observers are killed, but is silent when, day after day, children are blown up. I don’t know the answer to that question. The indescribable destruction in Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and in Israel is beyond belief or understanding. Regardless of your opinion on right or wrong in this bloody Middle East conflict, images of children badly disfigured and burnt after the ambulance in which they were travelling took a direct hit have got to repulse anyone and everyone.

The churches of New Zealand have also - by and large - been silent on the issue. What is it that we can say and/or do?

The ENI news service reports that the South African Council of Churches (SACC) has called on their government in Pretoria to help broker peace in the Middle East crisis by inviting representatives of warring groups - including the Israeli, Palestine and Lebanon leadership - to meet in South Africa to negotiate an end to hostilities in the region. The SACC represents all of the country's major Christian denominations and it said the process, which would be facilitated by the South African government, could be modelled on the country's post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I think this is a wonderfully creative suggestion that puts the onus squarely on the shoulders of the warring parties to stop fighting and talk. The intent, it seems, is to find a way to fulfil Micah 4:3

“He will judge between many peoples
and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore’.

So what can we do? One valid response is to support Christian World Service’s emergency appeal for relief efforts in Israel, Palestine and Lebanon as well as their call for an end to the escalating violence in the region. The wide-spread destruction of homes, roads, infrastructure and community services will take years to rebuild. The number of civilian casualties and injuries grows by the hour and more than 600,000 people have already been displaced in Lebanon alone. At the same time, the Gaza Strip’s 1.4 million people continue to be under attack in an offensive that has destroyed homes and services, and left the region stricken with chronic fuel and water shortages. Of course, retaliatory missile attacks are bringing further destruction and civilian deaths in Israel itself.

Christian World Service has added its voice to the growing international call for an immediate end to the use of violence by all sides and a return to the honouring of the sanctity of innocent civilian life, in accordance with international law.

The sad reality is that as yet another call goes out for humanitarian assistance, the plights of the people of Iraq , Sudan , Zimbabwe and many other areas do not even get onto the 6 o’clock news.

Donations sent to CWS will be channelled to support the relief efforts of the Middle East Council of Churches, which CWS has supported for over 20 years.

But the question remains unanswered. Why is the New Zealand government only supporting a UN call? Why do we seemingly not have an opinion of our own about this bloody conflict? Why are we who hold the Holy Land so dear so silent?

Andrew Bell
Global mission enabler
Contact the GMO


Execution of documentation by Church Property Trustees

Recently, there have been situations where the Trustees have received documents for execution, such as transfers, where the settlement date is the next day.

This process involves obtaining certification from our solicitor that the documents are correct for execution, and then submitting the same to the Trustees, who are not always available at short notice.

Parishes are asked to send documents to the Trustees a minimum of four to five working days prior to the settlement date. This will help the Trustees to execute the documents in a timely way.

Please contact the Secretary of the Church Property Trustees, Doug Langford on 04 381 8290 or doug(at) if you have any questions.

Introduction work group

A brief reminder to Boards of Nomination that we are still looking for Parish Profiles to offer to graduating Ordinands. When forwarding a Profile to me, either enclose a Word version on CD or email me a copy minus photographs. To date, three of the eight graduating Ordinands are in conversations that might lead to a first Call.

Geoffrey Skilton
03 453 3053

Christian World Service

Emergency Appeal for Lebanon, Israel and Palestine

The escalation of violence over the last few weeks has killed hundreds of civilians, destroyed houses and infrastructure, and forced over 600,000 people from their homes. CWS partner the Middle East Council of Churches is providing emergency relief including: food rations, milk for infants, mattresses and bedding, water, first aid kits and medicines, sanitation supplies, and kitchen supplies. The World Council of Churches (WCC) is urging people to support the appeal. WCC General Secretary the Rev Dr Samuel Kobia has said, "the killing of civilians, the destruction of housing and infrastructure and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Lebanese and other nationals is an affront to humanity." He called on people to help those "uprooted by the attacks on Lebanon ", and those living "under collective punishment, incursions and siege" in Gaza .

To donate: , phone 0800 74 73 72 or post cheques to PO Box 22652, Christchurch .

West Java Tsunami

On 17 July, 2006, an earthquake of magnitude 7.2 triggered a two-metre tsunami that crashed into the southern coast of Java (Indonesia). Over 600 people were killed, with hundreds more injured and homeless. The fishing town of Pangandaran has been the hardest hit. Many of the mostly wooden houses along Pangandaran beach were destroyed, and over 450 fishing boats have been reported missing. CWS partners through ACT International are assessing the situation. They are currently providing mineral water and food to survivors and a medical team is being sent. Help will be needed to reestablish livelihoods. CWS is accepting donations for this work. See, phone 0800 74 73 72 or post cheques to PO Box 22652, Christchurch.

Peace Sunday

CWS will have worship resources available for Peace Sunday, featuring prayers and background on the current Middle East Crisis as well as remembering others around the world living with conflict. Available from from 31 July.

Wipe Out Poverty Reminder

Don’t forget Wipe Out Poverty Week, 4-10 September. This is CWS’s annual youth fundraiser, an opportunity to combine fun and service through fundraising art auctions, car washes, cake stalls, chocolate sales, mufti days, and much more. It’s not too late to sign up your youth group. Contact Liz Whitehead (youth(at) or 0800 74 73 72) to register and receive a free kit to help plan your event.


CWS is pleased to be hosting the visit of Damaris Albuquerque and Gilberto Aguirre from CWS’s Nicaraguan partner group, CEPAD. CEPAD was a feature partner in last year’s Christmas Appeal. This is an opportunity to hear more about the situation in Nicaragua, especially the damaging impact of debt and free trade on poor people, CEPAD’s work in assisting communities overcome poverty, and the beneficial impact of NZ aid funding.

Damaris and Gilberto arrive in New Zealand on August 30. There will be public and church events in Christchurch (1 September), Hamilton (2-3 September), Wellington (8-9 September) and Dunedin (10-12 September). Contact CWS for further information. cws(at) or phone 0800 74 73 72

CWS Vacancy: Projects Coordinator

As one of three project coordinators the appointee will be responsible for developing and maintaining Christian World Service’s relationships with its partners around the world. Key responsibilities include: maintaining regular communication with the partners, managing budgets, meeting reporting requirements, and monitoring and evaluating the achievements of the programmes. Some travel will be required. A job description and conditions of employment can be obtained from Christian World Service P O Box 22 652, Christchurch. Telephone 03 366 9274 or e-mail mandla-akhe(at)

Applications close on 4 September 2006.

West Papuan Visit

CWS is supporting the visit of Socratez Sofyan Yoman, the leader of the Baptist church in West Papua. He will be speaking at a seminar in Auckland, 18-19 August 2006 and visiting Whangarei, Mt Maunganui, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Further information on or from Gillian (ph 0800 74 73 72).

Presbyterian Foundation applications

Applications for Presbyterian Foundation grants opened on 1 June.

An overview of the process can be found on this page, with Application forms, Guidelines for Applicants, Guidelines for Presbyteries, and Evaluation forms, also available for download.

Registration of charities will begin next year

The Charities Commission has recently announced that the registration of charities under the Charities Act will begin on 1 February 2007 (not in July 2006 as previously anticipated).

The initial registration period will be 1 February 2007 - 1 July 2008 .

This decision follows the Commission’s announcement last month that the Charities Register would not open in July 2006 as originally anticipated. The new start date for registration will allow charities more time to consider applying for registration and prepare for it by gathering the information and materials needed. There is now a 17-month window for registration to take place before the tax laws change.

While registration with the Charities Commission is voluntary, new or existing charitable organisations will need to register during this period if they wish to gain or maintain income tax and gift duty exemptions.

We’ll keep you up-to-date with further developments as more information comes to hand.

Piano accompanist wanted

St.Kentigern School in Auckland has a new Community Choir, “Kentissimo”, which is at present without a piano accompanist.

If you have a keyboard person, or know of a person, who may be interested in filling this important role could you please direct them to:

Mr Stuart Weightman
St. Kentigern School
Ph 520 7682
Email: stuartw(at)


Hewitson Library latest acquisitions

Click the links below to see the new acquisitions lists:

  • Aquisitions May 2006
  • Aquisitions April 2006

Church Register

The Church Register lists additions to, deletions from, and changes in status on the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand Ministerial Roll as advised by Presbytery Clerks as at 25 July 2006.


Rev Shirley Barker-Kirby, Presbyterian Church of Canada, was received and inducted into the position of Minister, Gisborne Presbyterian Parish, on 30 May 2006.

Ordinations & Inductions:

Rev Fogatia Levi, Minister within the Bounds, Auckland Presbytery, was inducted to the parishes of Kihikihi, Otorohanga and Te Kuiti, Waikato Presbytery, on 13 July 2006.

Changes in Status:

Rev Barbara Curteis, First Presbyterian Church, Martinborough, to Minister within the Bounds, Auckland Presbytery on 28 June 2006.

Changes in Co-Operative Venture Ministries:

Mr Graham Millar, Lay Appointee, Ngaio Union Church, has finished his term on 30 June 2006. [Rev Peter MacKenzie continues in the role of Interim Moderator]


Rev Gaye Churchill, Chaplain, St Cuthberts College, Auckland, Minister E E merita, Auckland Presbytery, on 30 June 2006.


Rev George Tuwairua, Minister Heretaunga Maori Pastorate, died on 3 July 2006.

Ministerial vacancies

Click here to see the full table of vacancies

Highlighted vacancies