May 2007

From the Moderator

Greetings from a very wet Dunedin! I am writing this half way through my visit to the Dunedin Presbytery. This has been a time full of reminiscences on the days our family spent here, when I was a student at the Theological Hall, Knox College, and my husband Roy and our three children were highly involved in the music at Knox Church.

But most of my time here has been in listening to and encouraging parishes and people. The Presbytery of Dunedin is courageously tackling some hard issues around being the church in its context, focussing this year on the issue of buildings and how best to use them in their life and mission. Sometimes, sadly, we need to recognise that it is time to sell up and move on. Hopefully we can release resources for mission in the process.

In Christ-centred, community-facing ministry, establishing partnerships in the community must be a high priority. I was delighted to find an innovative example of this in Dunedin: an initiative arising from a “partnership” between local churches, Presbyterian Support Otago,and WINZ to create an employment and training scheme in the form of a nursery and garden centre called Youthgrow.

It has also been salutary to remember the emphasis our Scottish forbears put on education and to see the fruit of their hopes and dreams - in our connections with Otago University, at Knox and Salmond Colleges and in our Presbyterian schools, Columba and John McGlashan Colleges. Let us all remember that our schools are some of our best opportunities for mission among youth. And then there is the exciting venture called Student.soul (see this story from sPanz for more information).

How did you mark Anzac Day in your place? With other Otago community leaders, I laid a wreath on your behalf at the Anderson’s Bay soldiers’ cemetery. There is no doubt that this day is sacred to New Zealand memory and our celebrations are a vibrant expression of New Zealand spirituality. Here are unique opportunities for our churches to engage in community events. Another example; on Mothers’ Day this year (13 May), the NZ Plunket Society is celebrating 100 years of caring for children and families: can your parish be involved somehow? Their president is asking us to include Plunket Nurses, Plunket Kaiawhina, Community Karitane and Volunteers in our prayers and blessings.

Now I am off to North Otago Presbytery to see what is happening there. Early in May I go to Blenheim and Nelson Presbytery and later in the month to the deep south: Southland, Mataura and Clutha Presbyteries.

On Saturday May 19, representatives of the APW groups around the country will meet in Wellington to elect a new National Coordinating Group and make plans for their life in the next year or so. We give thanks for the leadership of Natalie Watkin and Mary North and their team for carrying the APW over the past two years, in a new structure. Well done all!

May you all have a month filled with the grace and peace of God.

Warm regards,


Assembly Office update

I have just returned from walking the Routeburn and Caples tracks. There is beauty there that can bring you to tears. It is a kind of perfection beyond what seems to be real and it makes me think of God. I am no great tramper but I do find huge spiritual nourishment in these ventures and all that is involved. And even the dehydrated honey chicken soy dinners weren’t too bad either.

New Staff Member

Last week we welcomed Yoshie O’Neil as our new Office Manger and PA. Yoshie has been involved with the administration and teaching at a Wellington language school. She replaces Trina Lake, who is now working with Doug Langford and the Church Property Trustees. If you are ringing the office, please offer some words of encouragement to Yoshie as she learns about her new role.

Presbyterian Parishes – life-giving places of safety and welcome

We are working to put in place support that will help us further ensure that our churches comply with health and safety legislation. For us though, it has to go well beyond that as we seek ways to more fully embody the qualities of Christian community.

Our parishes and congregations need to be beacons of hope, hospitality welcome and safety.

These are not contentious matters and provide the basis of our unity together.

Our Scriptures are clear that these matters are well beyond any ability we have to legislate. However, within our diversity, we as parishes and congregations associated and identified with the Presbyterian Church need to organise and function in ways that are consistent with our Gospel ideals.

Put negatively, there is enormous damage done to the entire body of the Presbyterian Church when members or leaders behave in ways which are inconsistent with these qualities.

We want to maximise the opportunities for the Presbyterian Church to be representative of the work of God’s Spirit and minimise the chances for members and especially leaders to behave in ways that are damaging for themselves, others and the witness of our church to the community.

There are three facets to how we want to achieve this at a corporate level:

  1. Ensure that all parishes comply with the legal health and safety    requirements. There is legalisation in place that insists that all public organisations fulfil certain responsibilities. We need to check to see that all parishes know what their responsibilities are under this legislation.
  2. Ensure that all parishes have in place polices and practises to ensure safe environments for their members, ministers, and other user groups.
  3. Ensure that ministers and other leaders are educated on an ongoing basis in terms of their relationships and responsibilities in pastoral and leadership roles.

Several of our Assembly Staff are working on a new initiative that we hope will help us achieve these things. Please remember to ensure that your church does comply with health and safety requirements and that you do actively maintain safety and accountability polices, especially in relation to those who work with children and teenagers.

The withdrawal of the Presbyterian Church from the Churches Agency on Social Issues (CASI)

Towards the end of last year, the Council of Assembly was made aware of issues relating to CASI’s ongoing planning and organisation. These issues included: the difficulty in long-term planning when funding for CASI was determined on a year to year basis by the Presbyterian Church; (which funds around $35,000 of CASI activity, representing about three quarters of CASI’s budget) the difficulty of recruiting Presbyterian members to the CASI executive, and communications and functional difficulties associated with a shift of the Presbyterian Church Assembly Office into smaller offices which could not accommodate CASI staff.

The review process that followed led the Council to conclude that there were more effective ways for the Presbyterian Church to engage with the social issues impacting on the lives of church members and the people of the communities they serve.

The Presbyterian Church has now notified CASI member churches (Methodists, Associated Churches of Christ and the Society of Friends (Quakers)) of their intention to withdrawal from CASI at the end of the current financial year.

The change represents a recommitment by the Presbyterian Church to actively engage with the Biblical mandate for justice and peace by:

  • Enhancing communication with ecumenical and church social service agencies and with others who are active in providing an ethical, social and economic critique on social trends from a Christian perspective.
  • Working with parishes to develop skills that will allow them to better communicate their work and life to their communities.
  • Developing Biblically and theologically based resources from a breadth of theological perspectives that will enable parishes to reflect, pray and act in response to social issues. These will be resources that we hope will have a mission focus - supporting an engagement with people who may be seeking to know more about the particular ways faith leads us to engage with issues of social concern.

Working to support the Moderator’s response on behalf of the Church to matters of general social concern.

Some of this initiative will centre upon the church’s communication team – but already we are working to establish a network of people with the skills and interest who may be willing to help contribute to these processes.

The Council has not taken this action lightly nor without a significant acknowledgement of the great contribution made by people from both the Presbyterian Church and other member Churches to this work of social engagement on our behalf. We will continue to look for ways to enhance our ecumenical relationships and, of course, with well over 100 parishes working as Uniting congregations, an ecumenical commitment is an everyday reality for many with a Presbyterian heritage.

If you have questions or concerns about this decision to withdraw from CASI, or have suggestions or offers of help in relation to the Presbyterian Church’s engagement with social issues, then please contact me.

Other Matters

Connect 2007. It is important for your Youth Leaders to attend the national Connect Conference being held just out of Wellington from June 29 to 1 July. This is the single most significant event of the year for youth leaders (and in many ways for the Presbyterian Church). Please get your congregation to provide the practical and spiritual support that will enable your youth leaders to attend. I, along with members of our Service Team and other church leaders, will be attending to offer encouragement and support for our young people. Contact Stephanie Redhead for details.

The excellent South Island Pastors Conference is taking place on 8-10 May, hosted by East Taieri Church (ph (03) 489-6308). Those who have attended this event in the past have gained a great deal from the workshops, discussion, worship and mutual support provided.

The Churches Education Commission - which supports the coordination of what many of us know as Bible in Schools teaching programmes is, with its 5000 volunteer teachers – and now school chaplains, a significant voluntary agency. The Presbyterian Church is the second largest contributor of volunteers to this cutting-edge, community-focused mission. Please give generous consideration to the practical and financial support of their work when they contact you over the coming months. 


Please pray for:

Those needing refreshment and support in their ministry work.

Yoshie as she begins her work in the Church office.

For those working to ensure that their parishes are welcoming and safe places – especially for those who are most vulnerable

For those involved in the world of CASI and especially those most affected by the Council’s decision

For those preparing for the South Island conference and the Connect Youth leadership Conference.

For the work of the Churches Education Commission.



Youth Ministry update

Hi my name is Robyn Burnett and, as of February 2007, I am the Assistant South Island National Youth Coordinator and the Regional Youth Coordinator for Christchurch, as well as being the Youth director for St Margaret’s Bishopdale. I am excited about these new roles and look forward to working with Stephanie Redhead in her role and the wider PYM team.

A little about myself…I live in Christchurch and have lived here for 13 years. I grew up in Southland and still consider myself a Southland girl through and through. I moved to Christchurch to study at Lincoln University and made Hornby Presbyterian Community Church my home. I have been working there for the past five years, focussing mainly on leadership/discipleship training, youth mentoring and exploring the “emergent church”. I really enjoyed my time there and I believe it set me up well for my new roles.

I am passionate about seeing people (especially young people) grow in God and experiencing God in their lives. I am committed to serving the youth and leaders of the Christchurch Presbytery and to assist Stephanie in her role for the South Island. What I really want to focus on initially is creating a network within Christchurch where we support each other in our various youth ministries. This will help in seeing our young people grow in God by encouraging the leaders.

So far I have really enjoyed meeting people and am excited to meet more. It is so encouraging to see how many good, Godly people there are in our church. If there is anything I can do for you, especially (but not exclusively) if you’re in Christchurch, then please don’t hesitate to contact me, details are below.


Robyn Burnett
94 Farrington Ave
e-mail: robyn(at)
Ph: (03) 359-0149
Mob: 027 367-1168

2007 Yearbook corrections

To download a page of correction to the 2007 Yearbook, in pdf format, click here.


Christian World Service

Fair-Trade Fortnight 28 April – 13 May

CWS is joining with other members of the fair trade movement in promoting fair trade fortnight. CWS will send a kit to churches interested in holding A Fair Cuppa after morning worship, on or around 6 May.
Fair Trade Churches - CWS and Trade Aid have jointly organised a new scheme for parishes and groups wanting to promote fair trade. The two requirements of participation are that groups and parishes agree to serve fair trade tea and coffee after services and meetings and take part in Fair Trade Fortnight each year.
What else is happening in Fair Trade Fortnight? - To hear first-hand what a difference fair trade is making in developing countries, hear Will Padilla, the international operations manager of Costa Rica's Coope Agri. He will be visiting Auckland, New Plymouth, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin during the fortnight. For more information about Will check out: and for his schedule:

For a listing of local events in your area refer to:
For more information and resource materials refer to the CWS website

World Watch

The latest issue of “World Watch”, the CWS magazine for young people with a Leaders’ Kit is available now. Entitled “Dry as a bone”, it deals with water issues, particularly looking at Sri Lanka and the lives of children there.

Youth topics

The next edition is on climate change and will be out in late May.

The Human Rights Film Festival

CWS is one sponsor of this year’s festival. Screenings – Auckland 2-9 May, Wellington 9-16 May and Christchurch 16-20 May. For information refer to:

Darfur Emergency Relief Appeal

Please give generously to this appeal and support the work of CWS partners ACT International and Caritas Internationalis, providing shelter, health services, education, drilling boreholes for water, sanitation and hygiene and much more.
To download a copy of the appeal flyer or to donate online refer to the CWS website Donations can also be made by ringing 0800 74 73 72 or by post to PO Box 22652, Christchurch

Water who owns it?

The documentary looks at the case of Sri Lanka where CWS partner Monlar and its associated network of grass-roots organisations are struggling to ensure that the supply of water to small farmers is maintained, in the face of strong pressure on the government from the World Bank to privatize the supply. The centuries-old tradition of rice growing is particularly at risk from such policies, which would drive millions of people off the land. A documentary for reflection on water as it affects us all.To borrow a copy contact CWS, stating your preference, video or DVD and when you would like to borrow it, with an alternate date, by email: cws(at) or through PO Box 22652, Christchurch

Introduction Work Group

The Introduction Work Group is seeking viable parish profiles for the 2007 Ordination Studies Ordinands.  Our Ordinands are of high calibre experienced in many areas of the national Church and are ready to serve you at the completion of their studies this year.  Please email profiles to the Convenor Amanda Guy or phone for further information on (03) 476-6559.

The Presbyterian Foundation

Applications to the Presbyterian Foundation may be made from 1 June. Application forms, and guidelines for both parishes and presbyteries, are available on the Church website. Parishes should submit applications to their presbyteries well before September, to allow time for presbyteries to evaluate and forward the applications to the Foundation by 15 September.

Spiritual Growth Ministries

Silent Seven Day Wilderness Retreat

Sunday 26 August - Sunday September 2 2007

Set in the deep quiet of unique bush behind Muriwai Beach and near Lake Okaihau. Rugged coastline, sweeping beaches, forestry, streams, gannet and seal colonies make this a varied countryside ideal for a retreat.

This is a self catering retreat. SGM provide the programme of worship, daily communion and reflection on them, and daily spiritual direction with your own spiritual companion for the retreat.

Cost: $25 registration plus $310.00 GST Inc.

Contact Carole Hunt for a brochure with more details at 1A OgilvyTce, Plimmerton, Wellington 5026

Tel: 04 233 0714. Email:

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 April January 2007 Please amend the roll in your yearbook accordingly.

Ordinations & Inductions:

Rev John Thrupp, Licentiate, Te Aka Puaho, ordained and inducted as Amorangi Minister, Whakatane Maori Pastorate, Te Aka Puaho on 31 March 2007.

Rev Mitcheil Jaram, Licentiate, Te Aka Puaho, ordained and inducted as Amorangi Minister, Whakatane Maori Pastorate, Te Aka Puaho on 31 March 2007.

Rev Chris Konings, Licentiate, Wellington Presbytery, ordained and inducted as Minister Stated Supply Mosgiel-North Taieri Presbyterian Parish, Dunedin Presbytery on 29 March 2007.

Rev Mary-Jane Konings, Licentiate, Wellington Presbytery, ordained and inducted as Minister Stated Supply Mosgiel-North Taieri Presbyterian Parish, Dunedin Presbytery on 29 March 2007.

Rev Dr Michael Schwass, Minister East Taieri Parish, Dunedin Presbytery, to Associate Minister Hornby Parish, Christchurch Presbytery on 29 June 2007.

Rev Helen Martin, Minister St John’s in the City, Wellington Presbytery, to Minister Trinity Temuka, South Canterbury Presbytery on 26 April 2007.

Changes in Status:

Rev Helen Wallis, Minister within the Bounds, Central Otago Presbytery, to Minister within the Bounds, Dunedin Presbytery on 29 March 2007.


Rev Fred Bradley, Lodged Certificate, Auckland Presbytery, to Minister Emeritus, Auckland Presbytery on 28 February 2007.

Rev Mervyn Aitken, Minister St James’ Auckland Central, Auckland Presbytery, to Minister Emeritus, North Shore Presbytery on 8 April 2007.


Rev Tom C Wilson, Minister Emeritus, Auckland Presbytery, died on 23 February 2007.

Ministerial vacancies

Click here to see the full table of vacancies

Highlighted vacancies