Assembly Office update
A big hooray for the 150-ish youth leaders who gathered at Connect this weekend just gone. This is the national gathering for youth leaders in the Presbyterian Church. It’s a time for inspiration, networking and support and is one of the most positive gatherings in the Church. Watch out for next year’s gathering.
Te Wananga a Rangi – re-opening advance notice
Initially based in Whakatane, the training centre for Te Aka Puaho has been part of the Theological Hall then the School of Ministry in Dunedin for many years. The centre is returning to Whakatane and is re-opening there on Friday, 25 August. Watch out for the details.
Annual Accounts and Audit
As we come to the end of the financial year, the Finance team has been busy preparing for the upcoming audit. It is planned that Assembly’s audited financial results for the year ending 30 June 2006 will be available to the wider church before General Assembly. They will be circulated as soon as possible after the audit is completed.
Much effort on behalf of the Resource Sub-committee and Finance team has also gone into preparations for the new financial year, including finalising the General Assembly budget and Assembly Assessment levels for 2006/07. This information was posted to presbyteries, union district councils and parishes last week, and is also available at http://www.presbyterian.org.nz/?id=4085.
We’re gearing up for General Assembly 2006. Over the last couple of weeks, registration details have been firmed up. The registration cost has been confirmed (see www.presbyterian.org.nz/ga06 for details of what makes up the fee) and registration packs have been sent to commissioners. Reports are arriving, for distribution and posting on the website in August.
Council of Assembly Meeting
The next Council of Assembly meeting is in Wellington on 14-16 July 2006. The agenda includes consideration of the feedback received from the wider church about the various papers that have been circulated – the stipend review; review of the Assembly Assessment framework; School of Ministry review, networks and presbyteries paper.
Subordinate Standard – Church legislation
The Focal Identity Statement Task Group will be reporting to GA06. The Church’s lawyer has drafted the recommendation which will need to be considered by the Assembly to enable the Statement to become the Church’s subordinate standard. The proposed church legislation will be posted on the website late this week.
New Book of Order
The Book of Order Rewrite Task Group has produced its final version for Assembly. We plan to post this on the website in the next month. Copies will be made available to commissioners for Assembly on compact disc (CD), otherwise by hard copy to commissioners who request one.
As indicated previously, please hold off registration until the Church has reached agreement with the Commission about how that is best done. Discussions with the Commission have been constructive and helpful. The Commission is faced with the challenge of the great number of charities. The date for registration has been postponed. Charities cannot apply to register until 1 February 2007 and will need to have registered by 1 July 2008 .
Assembly Office - Terralink House
Some people have found us hard to find. Please note the entrance is half way down the southern side of the building.
We are quickly approaching the end of the financial year and the year to May 31 reports show a reasonably strong operating surplus, driven by recorded income $1m over that budgeted. Overall operating expenses for the year is approximately to budget. Items driving unbudgeted income include:
- $378k gain on sale of Laughton House
- 300k overstatement of Investment income due to the budget not including interest income from trusts and deposits that is not accessible by the Church.
- Income from gifts and donations, to be used for mission work, 300k over budget.
Cash flow remains an issue with the reduction of creditors and non-payment of assessments contributing to a rise in Church borrowings of 200k this financial year
2006/07 General Assembly Operating Budget
The budget has been signed off by the Resource Subcommittee and the Council of Assembly. It forecasts a modest operating surplus next year, which is a continuation of current year results. The budget will be uploaded into the general ledger system and distributed to cost centre managers shortly.
Status of Parishes for Donations
There continue to be Enquiries from Parishes regarding the apparently inconsistent treatment by the Inland Revenue department with regard to the status of parish donations. Instances of refusal by the IRD to accept receipts issued by the Parish should be referred to this office.
The commission has advised that applications for registration as a charity will now be accepted after 1 February 2007 and that the register will be open for 17 months to 30 June 2008. Discussions are continuing with the commission as to the appropriate registering units for the Church. As soon as agreement is reached, we will be in a position to advise Parishes.
Changes to the way Presbyterian Investment Fund funds transfers and other requests are processed
The Church Property Trustees are implementing a project that will change the administration of depositor’s accounts in the Presbyterian Investment Fund. At the outset of the change, this is simply a change in the information technology platform. Depositors will not notice any difference to the service and will continue to communicate with FSD. Communication from the CPT to depositors will be made when the statements to the end of June are communicated
Increase in Basic Stipend
The Basic Stipend will increase by 3.3 percent from 1 July in line with CPI change over the past year. Details of the change and the effect in allowances has been sent to parishes and presbyteries. Please contact this office if you have not received this communication.
School of Ministry udpate
The School of Ministry has completed an excellent first semester in the midst of considerable changes, 40 percent reduction in staffing and the uncertainties of the review outcome. There are 15 fulltime residential ordinands, nine of whom will complete the programme this year, plus three distance ordinands. The semester finished with an excellent one day seminar on developing a mission-shaped church by George Lings from England, coming out a Church of England intiative.
Staffwise Kevin Ward has returned from a very stimulating, refreshing and productive study leave in Hartford, New England to take up the reins as Acting Principal again. Lydia Johnson has been welcomed to the staff, and we look forward to her fuller involvement in the second semester now that she has completed her university teaching. Lydia is funded by the Foreign Missions Board of the Disciples of Christ, USA, for which we are very grateful in this period of staff reductions and change. Susan Jones has made a worthwhile contribution as an associate lecturer, which was highly valued by the students. John Roxborogh, who did an excellent job as interim principal, heads off for study leave at Cambridge, England, at the start of August.
We look forward to a good second semester and await with interest the outcome of the review as to the future shape of training for the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, and how that impacts on our present shape.
Global Mission Office update
Greetings from the team at the GMO. Wow, it has been busy. The growth in responses from congregations and individuals has been almost impossible to manage of late - but we are certainly not complaining!!! Thank you for all the encouraging notes accompanying cheques!! On top of this, we have been making progress on looking for synergies with other organisations beyond the church family. This will greatly increase our capacity and help us to achieve bigger objectives - but it is all very time consuming.
The best way to stay in touch with the work we are doing is to read the Global Mission Gazette on-line at http://www.presbyterian.org.nz/?id=21 or to ask us to add you to our mailing list. Our latest edition was mailed out a couple of weeks ago and we were really encouraged by the volume of responses we received the moment it hit the letterboxes.
The other work that is very encouraging is what is being achieved through the appointment of Global Mission Enthusiasts around the country. These are people who have agreed to take responsibility to either beat the drum amongst the congregations in their region or to represent us in a particular forum or organisation. If you would like to join the team, or have a particular passion for a part of our work, please give us a call.
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.
Insurance claims re snow damage
The standard excess for any claims made against our material damage insurance policy is $1,500 for any one event causing damage.
However, when a storm hits an area and causes damage to more than one parish or insured asset, the excess is shared between the parishes making the claims. This is because the insurers accept the loss to several entities as one event. This means that parishes who have suffered minor damage may be able to make claims in this instance.
Parishes should contact AON Risk Services to make a claim on 0800 50 20 20 and advise them that they are part of the Presbyterian Insurance Group. They will need to give them specific information such as the date of the storm that caused the damage.
For any more details about the details of the Church's insurance arrangements, contact Margaret Fawcett at Assembly Office on margaret(at)presbyterian.org.nz or 04 381 8291.
Media Prayer Day
On 30 July, all NZ Christians have a unique opportunity to join together in prayer for their fellow-Christians in television, radio, film, electronic media and print.
Media Prayer Day is organised by CBA (Christian Broadcasting Association) with the support of every Christian denomination in NZ.
Churches of every denomination are invited to take a few minutes of their Sunday service on 30 July to pray for the Christian message to be communicated through New Zealand’s mass media.
Check out www.mediaprayerday.org.nz which has loads of creative ideas for adding a ‘media focus’ to your Sunday service on Media Prayer Day.
To order resources, or if you have any questions, please contact the Churches Broadcast Association at info(at)mediaprayerday.org.nz or phone 0800 PRAYER
Contact details for Kids Friendly project
Kids Friendly is an initiative of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa that recognises the vital contribution children and families make to healthy congregations. It aims to assist and resource churches to intentionally minister to children and families.
For more information about the programme or how your parish can become involved, please contact Jill Kayser or check out the Kids Friendly website.
Kids Friendly Consultant
Ph: 09-5850959, 09-5759836, 027-2103784
Mail: 100 St Heliers Bay Road, Auckland
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.
Introduction work group
At the time of preparing this update Tekura Wilding and Stephanie Wells are in conversation with Boards of Nomination. Chris Purdie is exploring military chaplaincy as a possible first ministry.
The second round of Introductions for 2006 was held on Wednesday 28 June. We had one Parish Profile to consider for placement with one the following ordinands:
- Dennis Flett
- Chris Konings
- Mary-Jane Konings
- Alofa Lale
- Nimarota Lale
We are seeking further Parish Profiles. Please contact me if you want to talk about placing a Profile with the Workgroup.
03 453 3053
Christian World Service
Emergency Appeals for Indonesia and Timor
CWS is receiving donations to assist with reconstruction efforts in the Yogyakarta region of Indonesia and for relief and rebuilding in East Timor.
May 27’s earthquake in Central Java killed over 6000 people, injured 20,000 and left more than 200,000 homeless. CWS is supporting an ACT International appeal for US$2.9 million to assist survivors. Initial relief included food, water, blankets, shelter, medicine and evacuating injured children. With the crisis phase now over, the focus is moving to longer-term reconstruction. CWS partners are working on the repair of wells and sanitation facilities, provision of new housing, education, trauma counselling, small grants to restart livelihoods, ongoing health support and organising survivors so their rights and views are included in reconstruction planning.
Meanwhile in Timor Leste, one of the world’s poorest countries, recent outbreaks of violence have displaced families and destroyed homes and livelihoods. CWS is appealing for donations to assist our partners in Timor Leste with food, bedding, mosquito nets and other emergency relief as they shelter over 1000 people fleeing from the fighting and destruction. A youth training facility supported by CWS has been damaged. More funds are urgently needed for clothing, household utensils, water containers, food and housing repairs.
To donate ph 0800 74 73 72 or go to www.cws.org.nz
Wipe Out Poverty Week 2006
It’s time to “Wipe out Poverty!” Start planning your youth group’s activities for this year’s Wipe Out Poverty Week, 4-10 September. Wipe Out Poverty Week, CWS’s annual fundraising event for young people, is an opportunity to combine fun and service through fundraising art auctions, car washes, cake stalls, chocolate sales, mufti days, and much more. This year, funds raised will support people taking action against poverty in Nicaragua, where 80% of families earn less than $3.50 a day. Contact Liz Whitehead (youth(at)cws.org.nz or 0800 74 73 72) to register and receive a free kit to help plan your event.
New Archives photo gallery
Check out the latest featured photos on the Presbyterian Archives website at: http://www.archives.presbyterian.org.nz/photogallery4/page1a.htm
Churches Agency on Social Issues
“The Government’s goal for immigration is to facilitate the entry of people with the skills we need, and assist them to settle into a new life in a new country – while maintaining the security of our borders.”  This year the government has initiated a major review of the Immigration Act, and the policies that go with it. The first part is a recognition that in the 21 Century people are increasingly mobile on a global scale. New Zealand is desperate for skilled workers in many areas, whether it is radiologists and GPs, or fruit pickers in the Hawkes Bay . We have to attract and keep these people and so we need immigration systems that are “simpler, fairer and faster”. We are also aware of the risks of international crime and of terrorism, and the need for security. The department has issued a discussion document inviting discussion on these issues. The Minister of Immigration, Hon David Cunliffe, says that it will be “the most comprehensive review of immigration legislation in 20 years.
That far it all seems very straight forward, above the board and necessary. The issues come in the details of what is proposed. Already there are accusations that the proposals give immigration officials “draconian powers to assess and decide about the worthiness or otherwise of would-be refugees or asylum-seekers”, and that the emphasis is on firm and fast, without adequate attention to fairness. Classified information will be able to be used by officials, without the applicant being told what the information is (have they not learned anything from the Ahmed Zaoui case?). The appeals process will be consolidated to a single immigration and refugee appeals tribunal. The detention and expulsion powers of immigration officials will be strengthened.
Is it a coincidence that this comes at the same time as a surge of controversy over a review of immigration in the United States , and continued rumblings from Australia about refugees and how they ought to be treated? Security issues in both those situations have taken priority over humanitarian or justice concerns. The ‘war on terror’ itself builds terror as ‘security’ takes priority over everything else.
The linking of settlement issues with the immigration process could be a concern. We don’t want a return to the racist ‘white New Zealand ’ policies of the early part of last century. Settlement issues are important. Doctors and engineers have been forced into driving taxis because their qualifications are not recognised. The answer is not to exclude people, but to improve the processes for assessing and recognising their qualifications, and providing the means for these to be upgraded where necessary.
For further information about the review see www.dol.govt.nz/actreview/
Thinking Through Immigration is a CASI publication designed for group discussion. It looks at the facts of immigration, biblical background and ways to develop a Christian approach. It was done in 2004, but is still relevant in the current situation. Contact us for copies (contact details on the back page).
We will keep up to date information on this issue on our website www.casi.org.nz
Send us any information or feedback that you have on this issue.
 Hon David Cunliffe, Minister of Immigration, in his foreword to the Immigration Act Review discussion documents.
What age for criminal prosecution?
How old is old enough for a child to understand they are doing wrong and/or for them to be charged with serious offences? In New Zealand, criminal liability begins at ten years of age, however 10-13 year olds (“Child Offenders”) can only be charged in the criminal courts with murder and manslaughter. Otherwise, their offending can be dealt with in the Family Court. "Youth offenders" are 14-16 year olds.
The Young Offenders (Serious Crimes) Bill has passed a first reading in Parliament and is currently before the law and order select committee. Submissions have not yet been called for and the committee is not due to report until 28 September 2006. The Bill proposes lowering the age of criminal responsibility from age 14 to age 12, for offences that would be punishable by more than three months' prison or a $2,000 fine.
Alternative data sources, changes in collection method over time, changes in charging practices and other complications mean that gaining an accurate statistical view of child and youth offending is not straightforward. However, data CASI has seen so far suggests youth offending has stabilised over the period 1997-2004. More strikingly, the apprehension rate for 10-13 year olds has remained relatively static, being 46.5 in 1992, and 46.2 in 2001, 44.7 in 2002, and 45.1 in 2003 (the lowest since 1999). (Source: NZ Police and Ministry of Justice). Apprehensions for 10-13 year olds for violent offending have fluctuated around an average of 42 per 10,000 of the population in each year from 1994 to 2003 (45 in 2000; 42 in 2002; and 40 in 2003). (Source: NZ Police). The Principal Youth Court Judge, Andrew Becroft, has concluded that “an analysis of the available statistics shows that the popular belief that youth offending is rapidly increasing and out of control is not actually accurate, and does not accord with the experience of those working with young people.”
The principle behind the Bill according to its sponsor Ron Mark is, "adult punishment" for "adult crimes”. While the ability to appreciate wrongdoing will vary from one individual to another, at what point can the cognitive development of children generally be compared to that of adults? Punishment is not simply about retribution and punitive practices that fail to address motivation fail to address offending. To what extent does the imprisoning of ever-younger children address the motivation, hurt and broken relationships involved in criminal activity? Do appropriate ways of dealing with child and youth offending, such as the Youth Court, Family Group Conferences and other diversionary approaches used by the Police already exist? Are more resources required in this area so that offenders are held accountable and make amends to the victim wherever possible, rather than simply being ‘warehoused’ in prison?
While offending by young people should always be taken seriously and should concern any community; if this Bill is the answer, perhaps more thought should be given as to what the questions are?
Interfaith relations paper
The Doctrine Core Group has developed a paper on interfaith relations, with special reference to Islam. You can read it at: http://www.presbyterian.org.nz/4087.0.html
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 June 2006.
Ordinations & Inductions:
- Robin Palmer, of UPCSA, was commissioned as full-time Chaplain Scots College on 7 April 2006 , and on 20 June 2006 was received into ministry of PCANZ and inducted as chaplain on Scots College.
Changes in Status:
- Rev Ross Scott has transferred from Minister within the Bounds, Christchurch Presbytery, to Minister within the Bounds, Wellington Presbytery on 20 June 2006.
- Rev Leanne Munro has changed her status from Other Full Member to Minister within the Bounds, Wellington Presbytery, on 20 April 2006.
Rev Niki Francis was granted approval of membership with Wellington Presbytery as Lodged Certificate on 20 April 2006.
Rev Russell Rofe, Minister Trinity Presbyterian Church Timaru, has transferred to Ministers Emeriti on 31 March 2006.
Rev Alison Gray, Ministers Emerita, Waikato Presbytery, died on 2 June 2006.
Click here to see the full table of vacancies