October 2006

Assembly Office update

General Assembly has consumed huge amounts of staff time and energy during the past month.

You can see the communication team’s coverage of GA06 here. It includes news stories covering the key issues of each day’s business, as well as the full text of all keynote speeches. Some images and a take-home powerpoint are also available for download.

There will be a fuller Assembly Office update in the November issue of Bush Telegraph.

General Assembly 2006

The following are highlights of key decisions made at General Assembly 2006. For more detailed information on outcomes of Assembly, visit the the GA06 section of the website. You can also download a Powerpoint presentation or Word document summarising key decisions, along with other useful GA06 resources and information.

New Moderator installed in opening service

Presbyterians from all over Aotearoa New Zealand and beyond gathered in Auckland this afternoon for the opening session of the biennial Presbyterian General Assembly. A powhiri at St Kentigern College began the Assembly. During the Opening Service incoming Moderator the Right Rev Pamela Tankersley was formally installed in office for the next two years - more...

Te Aka Puaho - A year of celebration

A powhiri led by Te Aka Puaho, supported by members of the Auckland and South Auckland presbyteries, opened the 2006 General Assembly. Called to the Assembly venue by the Rev Hariata Haumate, about 500 people were treated to welcome speeches in Maori, Samoan and English. Presenting the Te Aka Puaho report, Rev Wayne Te Kaawa expanded on events surrounding the 50th anniversary of Te Aka Puaho - more...

National tasks

First debate and voting at Assembly took place during the evening's presentation on the National Tasks Review. Helen Beaumont, convenor of The Focus on the Future Task Group, reported on the "urgent focused discussion" requested by GA 2004 with parishes, presbyteries and other church bodies to develop a national budget acceptable and owned by congregations. After brief debate, the recommendations of the paper were carried - more...

Assembly office money matters

Two overtures from Auckland presbytery proposing the imposition of caps on funding collected through national levies were not passed, though a motion asking that the Council of Assembly investigate a 10 percent cap was successful - more...

GA06 confirms rule on sexuality and leadership

General Assembly today confirmed its 2004 rule that those involved in a sexual relationship outside of faithful marriage cannot be trained, licensed, ordained or inducted for leadership within the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand. This ruling does not apply to homosexual people licensed, ordained or inducted prior to the 2004 Assembly - more...

Binding decision continues status quo of the past two years

Today's decision by General Assembly to accept as binding the 2004 rule that the Church may not accept for training, license, ordain or induct anyone involved in a sexual relationship outside of faithful marriage between a man and a woman is a culmination of many years of debate within the Church - more...

Martin Baker - New AES

The new Assembly Executive Secretary, the Rev Martin Baker, brings 22 years' ministry experience to the role. He has extensive parish experience as well as in management in both mission and community development - more...

Compulsory retirement age for ministers abolished

The compulsory retirement age for ministers has been abolished forthwith, following a motion passed at this afternoon's Assembly. This means that all references relating to a set retirement age will be removed from the Book of Order - more...

Make-up of Council of Assembly to change

Several motions recommending changes to the number, type and mix of the makeup of the Council of Assembly were considered and passed unanimously this afternoon, following presentation by Kerry Stotter (seconded by Helen Beaumont)- more...

Revised Book of Order adopted

After almost 10 years' revision, the rewritten Book of Order has been approved by Assembly and adopted ad interim. It now goes presbyteries and union district councils for consideration under the Barrier Act before returning to General Assembly 2008 for final approval - more...

Review of the General Assembly meeting

Winne Laban encourages Church to engage on margins

New Zealand of the 21st century is a heterogeneous, multilingual, multicultural, vivid and colourful society, proclaimed the Honourable Winnie Laban in her keynote address to the General Assembly this morning - more...

Moderator Designate confirmed

General Assembly confirmed today that the Rev Dr Graham Redding will be the Moderator Designate to serve from Assembly 2008 to Assembly 2010 - more...

Licensing for ministry agreed

Speakers were all in favour of the proposal referred to the Leadership Subcommittee that it explore and further develop a new system of licensing for ordained ministers of the Word and Sacrament. They felt it recognised the importance of professional development, supervision and further education. Licensing would apply to all levels of ordination of ministers - local, national and Amorangi. The Leadership Subcommittee was also asked to look at extending the requirements to those holding lay pastor positions.

Nominations Committee decisions questioned

In an unusual move, the motion from Nominations Committee proposing the members of the Council of Assembly was split from that listing the various task and workgroups and subcommittees. After debate about the gender balance, North-South split, theological stance and specific individuals, the Council of Assembly nominee list as proposed was carried by a 72 percent majority.

Centre for Christian Leadership gets go-ahead

A bold move to transform the School of Ministry into the Centre for Christian Leadership has been accepted at today's General Assembly at St Kentigern College. In response to the changing shape of the Church in the contemporary world, a review of the School of Ministry was presented yesterday by Rev Dr Murray Rae on behalf of the School of Ministry Task Group. It recognised that the Church faces the challenge of evolving its leadership training to meet the need for much greater diversity of leadership models and ministry opportunities now and in future - more...

CASI proposals to General Assembly

The Churches Agency on Social Issues presented four proposals to GA06, three of which were passed - more...

Focal Identity Statement: A work in progress

Efforts by the Focal Identity Statement Task Group to take their work to the wider Church for approval were hampered by their decision to offer Assembly a last-minute re-draft of the two critical Appendices the draft Expression of Faith and the Explanatory Notes - more...

Overseas guests inspire Assembly

Global Mission Enabler Andrew Bell introduced visitors from Vanuatu, Myanmar and Australia to General Assembly, and included his own call for parishes to embrace the concept of overseas mission - more...

"We are here for those who are absent"

Incoming Assembly Executive Secretary the Rev Martin Baker told Assembly stories from his ministry that powerfully illustrated different ways of approaching situations. He posed a number of questions to the house: "what needs to happen for us to see things differently; to see each other and the possibilities of our relationship with God? What does it take to see our mission differently?" - more...

Outgoing Moderator urges 'more courage and less caution'

The Very Rev Garry Marquand describes his two years in office as energising. "Everywhere we have been, we have received such a wonderful welcome from the people of our Church." - more...

Supporting the servants

Assembly decided to bring target ministerial remuneration for a minister with 11 or more years' experience to around $42,700 from 2007 and $48,000 from 2008 - more...

Assembly Assessment

Significant debate was generated by the the Review's proposals - more...

Motions related to Assembly Assessment

Seniority allowances, which under the new rates set by Assembly will rise significantly over the next two years, will be paid by the parish direct to the minister.

There was an extensive debate about the status of money specifically received for charitable appeals beyond the parish. Debate focused on the clarity and flexibility (or lack of it) of present policy and its consistency of application. Assembly decided that money specifically received for charitable appeals beyond the parish will not be counted in setting the level of a parish's national assessment. After some debate, it was confirmed funds raised for specific presbytery-approved building projects are exempt from national assessment.

National nominations process under the spotlight

Assembly agreed that there should be a deadline of four weeks' prior to General Assembly for nominations to national bodies and workgroups. The nominating committee would meet in the following week to draft the list of appointments, rather than leaving it to the day before Assembly - more...

Overture four lost

Overture four, which was lost, was an attempt to change radically the method of appointing Council of Assembly. Put forward by Taranaki Presbytery, the process would bypass completely the Nominating Committee and enable each Session or Parish Council to vote for up to eight members directly - more...

Finance update

2005/06 year end accounts

Financial Reports for the year ending 30 June 2006 were audited by Ernst and Young and signed off by the Convener and Secretary of the Council of Assembly in time for the General Assembly. The report is posted on the church website.

Insurance renewals

Thank you to parishes for the prompt payment of the insurance. The insurance company has confirmed that cover is in place from 1 August to 31 July 2007.

Our insurers are working on a website to detail the types of cover they offer, including how to make claims. More information on this will be sent late October early November. In the meantime if you need to make a claim, telephone 0800 502 020 and advise that you are part of the Presbyterian Insurance Group.

If you require further information or assistance, please contact Margaret Fawcett in the Financial Services Department on (04) 381-8291.

Cost centre reporting

FSD is implementing a project to improve the quality of monthly reporting to cost centre managers in order to give better information of costs and revenues associated with activities under their control. Improvements to formatting, cost breakdown and correction of omission and errors will assist managers in controlling their budgets and ideally contribute to the continued improvement in the Church's financial performance.

Financial Services Department staff change

It is with regret that I accepted the resignation of Belinda Tomlinson, the Church accountant, who has been a capable and important member of the FSD team over the past year. We have employed a temporary accountant until Christmas, when a permanent replacement is expected to be appointed.

Brendan Sweeney
Finance Manager

School of Ministry udpate

Introduction Workgroup

As the year draws to a close at the School of Ministry the need for parish profiles for student consideration continues. The present status of ordinands in the process of obtaining a call is:

  • Two awaiting licensing so that their call may be transmitted
  • One is exploring a recognised ministry i.e., non-parish
  • Three including one couple are waiting for initial Board responses
  • One couple are seeking provincial/city parish profiles with future opportunity for mission to tertiary students.

Thank you for your work and prayers, as together, we discern the presence or absence of call to National Ordained Ministry for these men and women.


Boys' Brigade

The Boys' Brigade (BB) has recently announced the formation of its 21st unit of ICONZ, a rebranded programme for BB targeted at boys in the 6 - 12 year age group. There are now over 300 youngsters and 100 leaders involved in this new ministry. This represents a fantastic growth rate for BB, which has experienced declining membership over more than three decades. Leading the changes is the ICONZ Promotions Director, Stu Thompson, a member of St Peters Church in Tauranga where the initiative started in 2003.

The Brigade/ICONZ invites those who have benefited in the past from their membership in the Brigade - or the involvement of family members - to support the BB/ICONZ financially as it faces the financial challenges associated with its new fast-growing mission. A Ten Dollar Club has been formed, and more information can be obtained from the National Office at PO Box 302-408 North Harbour, or at http://www.bb.org.nz/support.html

We ask that parishes please include this information in Parish bulletins or newsletters.

Christian World Service

Emergency appeal for the people of Darfur, Sudan

Darfur urgently needs aid. CWS urges New Zealanders to support its emergency appeal for the people of Darfur. CWS continues to receive reports of the desperate situation facing them on a daily basis. “The Day for Darfur highlighted the dire situation facing the millions of people uprooted by the fighting,” says CWS director Jonathon Fletcher. “Millions are dependant on food aid. The total insecurity of their situation means they are reliant on our help.” For more news on Darfur and CWS media release for this emergency appeal refer to the CWS website. www.cws.org.nz

Dates for your diary

Run/walk for water - 2.00pm Saturday 14 October, North Hagley Park, Christchurch. This event is to raise funds for a rainwater-harvesting programme in Zimbabwe and is supported by the Methodist and Anglican Harrier clubs. For more details refer to the CWS website www.cws.org.nz or contact Mary Cavanagh mary.cavanagh(at)cws.org.nz

World Food Day -  16 October and Global Day of Action against Poverty - 17 October. Worship resources will be available from 3 October. CWS has launched a postcard campaign for the global day of action against poverty – calling on the New Zealand Government for more and better aid and action on debt. Postcards are available now from CWS.

Christmas appeal launch - 5.00 - 7.00pm 3 December, Porrit Park, Christchurch. An international festival of Christmas music.

CWS Christmas appeal

Parishes will have received the appeal resource kit “Water, the gift of life”. If you have not yet received a kit or need extra copies, please order direct from CWS. A five minute promotional video/DVD about this year’s Christmas appeal will be available from mid November. Contact the CWS office to order a copy.

CWS calendar for 2007

Available for sale. $10 each. Orders can be received by post or online at www.cws.org.nz

Videos and study series

Available from CWS. Study topics include:

  • 'Listen, Learn and Live' - 25 mins, 2006 (Video & DVD) - The Church of Uganda 's response to HIV and AIDS.
  • 'A Refugee Life' - 26 mins, 2005 (Video & DVD) - The story of Palestinian refugee Ahmed Mahmoud Abdullah and the work in Gaza of CWS partner, the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees (DSPR) of the Middle East Council of Churches.

For a full listing of these refer to the CWS website www.cws.org.nz/Files/Video-cat.pdf.


The CWS magazine that reports back on the work of our partners, campaign news, what New Zealand support is helping to achieve in emergency situations and how our supporters in Aotearoa New Zealand are joining in the global struggle against poverty and injustice. Free copies available now.

CWS update

A monthly newsletter with up-to-date information from CWS partners around the world and international news affecting aid and development. Stories in this months issue include: Darfur – CWS appeal for more aid for the people of Darfur; World Council of Churches meets with WTO director to call for radical changes to trade rules; West Papua - stop the killing; Visit from directors of CWS partner CEPAD in Nicaragua; and Lebanon: Muslims and Christian find bonds. Free copies available now.

For further information about any of the above notices contact the CWS office on (03) 366-9274 or visit our website www.cws.org.nz


Hewitson Library latest acquisitions

Click here to see the new acquisitions list for July 2006.

Ministerial vacancies

Click here to see the full table of vacancies

Highlighted vacancies