May 2008


From the Moderator

Dear Friends

We have all followed with great concern the growing unrest in Zimbabwe that is the result of President Mugabe’s actions to discredit the March 29 election results. The Church has received correspondence, through Christian World Service, from all the ecumenical bodies representing churches in Zimbabwe and I have replied with other NZ church leaders to convey our support and prayers. View the CWS Zimbabwe churches letter, and the Churches Zimbabwe Situation Message

We are getting reports that suggest horrendous intimidation and violence against those who do not support the current Zimbabwe government.

It was only last year that I visited the Zimbabwean Synod of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa, and saw first hand in Bulawayo the desperate state of the local people. Their resources have dried up and their community is affected by the epidemic of HIV/Aids.

Many of our congregations have given a warm welcome to people compelled to leave Zimbabwe and we are aware of the anxiety and hopes they have for their country.

Please pray for Zimbabwe, that there may be a peaceful resolution to the political crisis there, an end to violence, and that humanitarian work to deal with poverty and illness be made possible.

Last year the Alan Brash Memorial Appeal was launched as the New Zealand churches contribution to the Endowment Fund of the Christian Conference of Asia. View the Alan Brash fund letter.

Thank you for your generous support. The contributions amounted to over $16,000, an excellent affirmation of the place Alan holds in our affection and of our admiration for him and his contribution to ecumenical work in Asia.

My recent visit to the Uniting Church in Australia was interesting and helpful. I met with folk from the national office and Synod offices in New South Wales and Queensland, and then joined the President and Synod Moderators in a retreat. We have much in common with the UCA, especially with the Synods (which operate at State level). However, a major difference is in the size of their central administration and its resources. For instance, the New South Wales Synod office in Sydney has over 170 employees including those managing Uniting Care, (the social service agency equivalent to our Presbyterian Support.) It seemed to me our emphasis on having an administration at national level that is sufficient and competent to empower healthy congregations is a very different approach.

However I was impressed with the work of expat Duncan McLeod, one time Director for Youth Ministry in our church. Duncan heads a project called Vision for Mission for the Queensland Synod. The Synod has invested heavily in resourcing local congregations and faith groups to empower them to engage with community projects. You can read about it on his web site.

This month I am visiting my home presbytery, Manawatu/Wanganui. One of my best community-facing stories comes from near me, from St Luke’s, Rongotea. A parishioner, a local farmer, was frustrated that the city’s recycling plan did not extend to the rural area, so he organised the Church to do a fortnightly pick up. At Easter they not only pick up the recyclables, they leave in their place a packet of hot cross buns and an accompanying Easter message!

Later in the month I will visit the Presbytery of South Canterbury.

Have you heard that if you have a great community-facing project that requires up to $500 to get it off the ground you can write to me with your story? I will distribute Moderator’s Grants that PSDS have given to me, the grant criteria is available here but you must write to me by June 20 2008. View the grant letter.

This month we will celebrate Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit among Jesus’ followers, birthing the new church. May the winds and flames of the Spirit send us out too, into the streets of our local community to bring the good news of God’s love and grace to all.

Many blessings,
Yours in Christ

Flame dancing Spirit, come
Sweep us off our feet and
Dance us through our days.
Surprise us with your rhythms;
Dare us to try new steps, explore
New patterns and new partnerships;
Release us from old routines
To swing in abandoned joy and
Fearful adventure.
And in the intervals
Rest us
In your still centre

From Women Included: the St Hilda Community

Assembly Office update

Dear Colleagues and Friends

I recently had the privilege of delivering an ANZAC address to the senior boys at Scots College. During the wars, I wonder how ministers and congregations coped with the loss of so many of their young people?  

As we recoil from the news of the young people killed in the recent canyoning tragedy, I am reminded again of how profoundly our faith can inform our hope. I think people long to hear words that provide some meaning in the midst of such meaninglessness. The great story of God, creating out of the chaos with its echoes in resurrection faith, is the foundation of the Good News that we, even in our inadequacies, can bring to our communities on such occasions. I think we can be very thankful that our church tradition continues to emphasise the importance of training and educating ministers and church leaders in such a way that they have the resourcefulness to speak the right words at such times.

Commissioners to the General Assembly

Presbyteries/UDCs are responsible for ensuring that each congregation is represented by either an elder or minister, and ensuring that as near as is practical the number of ministers equals the number of elders appointed. Thank you to all the presbytery clerks and UDC secretaries who have indicated the numbers of elders and ministers attending Assembly 08. Congregations should now be in the process of returning commission forms to their clerk of secretary.

Nominations for Moderator-designate

We have entered the second stage in the process for nominations for the Moderator designate. Every presbytery/UDC should now have received from the nominating committee a list of people nominated by presbyteries/UDCs for Moderator designate. The new process allows approximately five weeks to respond.

Presbyteries/UDCs need to each vote for one person on the list. The name of the nominee must be posted by 20 May 2008 to the Co-convenor of the Nominating Committee, the Rev Doug Lendrum, 70 Khyber Pass Rd, Grafton, Auckland. Once the committee has received all nominations a list of the top four polling nominees with their biographical information will be sent to every parish. Each parish will list the candidates in order of preference and send their list to assembly office for counting.

Presbytery Task Group

The Presbytery Task Group have requested that all responses to their paper be made by Friday 16 May, 2008. Send to the Convenor of the Presbyteries Task Group, the Very Rev Garry Marquand, or post to 9 Insoll Ave, Enderley, Hamilton 3214.

Bringing issues before the General Assembly

The Assembly Office has recently sent information to presbytery clerks and UDC secretaries outlining the format and process of submitting proposals and references to the General Assembly. If you are planning to bring any matter before the General Assembly please contact Heather, The processes outlined in this chapter have replaced the practise of bringing memorials, petitions and overtures. All proposals and references to the General Assembly must reach me by 1 August 2008.

Council of Assembly

The council met early in April. The report from the meeting can be found in the council news section of the website.

Nominating Committee

The Nominating Committee has begun its work leading up to the 2008 General Assembly. Presbyteries/Union District Councils are asked to nominate two people,

preferably one lay/one ordained to participate on this committee the main focus of which will be to nominate people as members of the Church’s key committees. Nominations from each presbytery/UDC need to be with the Co-convenor of the Nominating Committee, the Rev Doug Lendrum, 70 Khyber Pass Rd, Grafton, Auckland by 31 May 2008. Please note a minor change; as well as the requirements mentioned on the notification sent to presbyteries and UDCs, members of this committee need to be available for a one-day meeting in early September.


Many of you will have heard the sad news of the death of the Rev Dr Frank Nichol. In his almost twenty-five years as Professor of Systematic Theology, and later Principal of the Theological Hall, he played a central role in the education of many ministers as well as many others who studied theology at Otago.

Thank you for your generous support of the work we do together as a Church.


Finance update

1.         Discontinuation of Tax Rebate on Donations

The discontinuation of the cap on the tax rebate on donations, announced in last years budget, took effect from 1 April. The maximum rebate, formerly $630 (33.33% of $1,890 in donations paid) per annum, has been replaced by a flat 33.33% tax rebate for donations, up to a maximum claim equal to the donor’s annual taxable income. For example, if a donor donates $3,000 per annum, their tax rebate will increase from $630 to $1,000 ($3000 * 33.33%). Please advise parish donors of this change. They will have to fill out a Rebate claim form, IR526, in order to claim the rebate.

Treasurers will soon be issuing receipts for donations to enable donors to claim their tax rebate. These receipts can remain in the same form as issued in previous years. The registration of presbyteries under the Charities Act is in progress and will be completed shortly. On completion you will be instructed on changes that will be necessary when receipts are issued next year. 

2.         Parish Kiwisaver Contributions for Ministers

The requirement for employers to make compulsory contributions to employees Kiwisaver’s schemes came into effect from 1 April. In terms of the Kiwisaver Act, compulsory employee membership is only required where an employee commences new employment. That employee then has the option of withdrawing from the scheme. This includes new ministers or ministers moving between parishes.

Please be aware the Act specifically exempts compulsory employer contributions in the case of employees who are already members of a registered complying superannuation fund. The Beneficiary Fund qualifies and as such parishes do not have to contribute to ministers Kiwisaver schemes in addition to existing contributions to the Beneficiary Fund. This should be explained to ministers who are members of the Beneficiary Fund and who have joined a Kiwisaver scheme either by choice or by automatic enrolment when commencing employment.

However, in order to provide Kiwisaver benefits to ministers, the Council of Assembly has endorsed a recommendation from the Church Property Trustees and the Beneficiary Fund Committee that a Kiwisaver compliant component be incorporated into the Beneficiary Fund. The proposal has the following benefits:

  • No change to the benefits of existing members.
  • No additional cost to parishes.
  • Tax rebates associated with Kiwisaver membership will be available to ministers and parishes.

Details of the changes are being developed and a consultation process with presbyteries is to be undertaken. The Beneficiary Fund has informed me that they will communicate details to members within the next two weeks. In the meantime, if ministers have any queries, they may be directed to Doug Langford, Secretary of the Beneficiary Fund at or Ashley Goss from AON at

Charities Act Update

All applications to register the national Church, all presbyteries and synods, Presbyterian parishes and entities requiring separate registration have been formally lodged with the Commission. The total is in excess of 400 entities.

Applications now undergo processing by the Charities Commission, which is expected to take some time but will not affect the tax status of entities while processing is underway. In terms of the Charities Act, our obligation to file applications prior to 30 June 2008 has been met.

The registered entity for parishes is their presbytery. Confirmation and detail of registration will be sent to parishes as soon as the registration process is complete.

4.         Solar Panel Trial

A representative from a company called Right House, which is a subsidiary of Meridian Energy, has contacted me. They are responsible for the supply and installation of photovoltaic products, which are essentially solar powered electricity generators that are installed on buildings.

Apparently the parish network of buildings and the angle of Church roofs make the Church attractive from their perspective and they would like to inform parishes of the benefits of purchasing the panels:

  • Self-sufficiency in parish electricity generation, eliminating power costs.
  • The potential for Meridian to ‘buy-back’ units of unused power from the parish.
  • Useful life of the unit of up to 20 years. 

If you would like further information, please use the following links.

Righthouse would like to trial the product at sample parishes. Please contact Brendan Sweeney if you wish to set up a meeting with the supplier.

5.        2007 Parish Statistics 

Parish statistics to 30 June 2007 are available on the Presbyterian website here.

6.        Data Projectors

A supplier who has a range of data projectors available for sale at discount prices has contacted us. Please Brendan Sweeney, Finance Manager, if you require further information.

Local Ordained Ministry (LOM)

Assessment Times

At a recent meeting of the National Assessment Workgroup (NAW) it was decided that LOM applications will be processed during two weeks every year:
The last week in February
The first week in August

Presbyteries together with members of the NAW conduct LOM assessments. Normally two members of NAW join the presbytery members conducting the assessment.

NAW needs to be advised of pending LOM applications at least eight weeks prior to the week in which a presbytery would like the assessment to take place.

The reason for designating the weeks in February and August for LOM assessments is due to the volume of requests that NAW receives for LOM assessments.

The steps that presbyteries ought to follow to prepare for the LOM process can be found on the Church website. Just follow the link for Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership.

For further enquiries, please contact Rev Geoff New (co-convenor NAW)

National Mission update

A couple of weekends ago the Synod of Otago & Southland held its AGM, John Daniel spoke about increasing the Church’s vision for mission. For many it is a risk, he said, rather like being at the top of a ladder at the circus, taking hold of a trapeze and swinging out into space without a safety net; at some point you have to let go of the trapeze and let yourself be caught by the person swinging towards you. Being between trapezes is always scary but the joy of swinging around in mid-air a risk worth taking explained John.

The recent tragedy of the Elim Christian College has shown New Zealand how Christians can love and keep faith even in times of great pain and difficulty. Mark Chapman, one of those connected to people involved in the tragedy made the following comment, “We hold because we are held.” This is a wonderfully simple way of stating why we do mission and how we can support one another in doing it.

East Taieri Church will be hosting the South Island Pastors’ Conference from 20 to 22 May. National Mission will have a big input into this conference; the two South Island PYM leaders Stephanie Redhead and Robyn Burnett will be speaking, as will Kids Friendly Coach Jill Kayser, National Mission Enabler John Daniel and Regional Mission Advisor Bruce Fraser. It will be a great place to have your vision expanded.

Presbyterian Archives

Presbyterian Archives Research Centre
connecting past present & future


There has been a steady flow of acquisitions this year. Several significant collection additions are the personal papers of Rev Dr Albert Moore and the Rev Rymal Roxburgh.

Dr Albert Moore and his wife recently moved to smaller accommodation and as a result donated his very extensive collection to the Presbyterian Church. Dr. Moore began his ministry in Tapanui, then during the 1960s decided to extend his theological training going overseas to undertake study. On his return he was appointed the first lecturer for the Religious Studies at the University of Otago. Over the years he built up a successful department and retired in 1992. Albie’s papers are very diverse covering his ministry, writings, lectures and extensive photographic collection.

Rymal Roxburgh and his wife and family lived in India from 1945 to 1967. On his return to New Zealand he served at St. Alban’s, Palmerston North, and St. Paul’s Trinity, Christchurch. On his retirement to Geraldine he continued his ministry in the Presbytery of South Canterbury and in the parish of Geraldine. He died in aged 91 in 2006.. He left a comprehensive collection of papers including some from his time in India. We are grateful to the family in recognising the significance of his collection in the story of the Presbyterian Church.

The Doctrine Committee Papers: Very often there are gaps in the Church’s official collection due to papers not always being passed onto the incoming Convener. This is what occurred to the papers of the Doctrine Committee for the years of 1949 to1962. It was with considerable delight that we discovered amongst the Moore collection many folders relating to these years. Thank you Albie for never throwing anything out!

Marriage Dissolution Certificates:

It is very important that the dissolution certificates forwarded by Births Deaths and Marriages are dealt with as soon as possible. It is the responsibility of the minister or someone delegated by the minister to complete this task. There are a few simple rules to follow:

The certificate must be placed on the relative marriage. Do not place certificate on the back of the certificate that faces the dissolved marriage.

Use PVA, glue it is archives friendly. Other glues are acidic and will

generally dry out over time causing the dissolution to loose stick leaving a discolouration mark and the certificate becomes dislodged and is at risk of being lost or misplaced.

Do not deface the certificate with diagonal lines or write across the certificate, especially in ink.

With a pencil note on the bottom right hand side of the marriage certificate the dissolution court reference number and marriage registration number, for example:

DISSOLVED 26/2/2002
Ct/Ref: 02/7861
M/R 1986/F86

Glue and attach along the edge of the marriage certificate and avoid placing over any marriage details. Fold up if necessary to protect the dissolution certificate from damage. See the Archives Research Centre web site for further information

Unsure where to deposit your presbytery or parish archives?

All presbytery records are retained in Dunedin. Some years ago it was agreed that presbytery records to the last fifteen years of business are to be deposited in the Archives Research Centre at Knox College, Dunedin. As these records contain material that is not for general viewing and as they deal mainly with administrative activity it is considered the Presbyterian Archives is the most appropriate place for storage of these valuable documents.

Parish archives. As early as 1980 official agreements were reached with a number of regional repositories for the depositing of parish collections. (as listed in the Year Book).

Some points to remember:

Only deposit parish records where there is an authorised official agreement between the Presbyterian Church and the Repository. (check with the Director of Archives if uncertain, )

Our parish records are to be placed on long term loan only, never donate them, they belong to the Presbyterian Church.

Do not place them with local historical societies, in bank vaults, legal or accounting firms, or in a parishioner’s safe. Over the years many, many records have been lost because the location of storage was forgotten.

It is important to recognise that our records must be accessible to anyone who wishes to discover the faith journeys and witness of: family, members of the congregation from throughout Church history and Church leaders. We retain our records to tell of our Presbyterian heritage and culture.

To retain the National Register of Presbyterian Records efficiently it is important a list of your parish records is forwarded to the Archives Research Centre in Dunedin.

Please note corrections of Regional Repositories for Parish Records listed in the 2008 Year Book:

Northland Churches Together: Archives Research Centre, Knox College, Arden Street Dunedin,
South Auckland: Archives Research Centre, Knox College, Dunedin
Te Aka Puaho: Te Aka Puaho, PO Box 72 Whakatane
Wanganui: Wanganui Regional Museum, PO Box 352 Wanganui
Manawatu: Palmerston North City Library, PO Box 1948, Palmerston North
Wairarapa District Council: Alexander Turnbull Library, Manuscripts & Archives,

P.O. Box 12349 Wellington
Dunedin: Presbyterian Archives Research Centre, Knox College Arden Street, Dunedin.


Church bell needed

Three army soldiers from Vanuatu are worshipping with Hornby Presbyterian Community Church this year and they have told of the lack of a church bell back home. Fortuna Church in Vanuatu is need of a church bell, so if any church is selling or is prepared to gift a bell, Fortuna and the soldiers would be very grateful.

Auckland Regional Day, 2008, ‘I am the Bread of Life.’

30 August 2008, 9.30 a.m. to 4 p.m at St John’s Presbyterian Church, Mt Roskill.
An invitation to all women of the Church to share in a day of learning and fellowship.
Come and respond with us to this ‘I AM’ statement of Jesus.

Ministry as white water rafting: Rethinking ministry and leadership when the only constant is change

A ministry intensive for those over 50

Lead by Kevin Ward, Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership.

A minister in this age category commented recently that he and most of his peers were ill-equipped for the kind of ministry required today, “In many ways ministers of my ilk were taught to map read on well marked roads, not navigate on stormy seas. Changes are significant and irreversible, while tomorrow continues to arrive ahead of schedule, yesterday can never be revisited.”

Kevin is in this age group himself and often finds this is a theme among his peers. As one person put it bluntly, “The way I have done ministry successfully for the last 25 years no longer works.”

 The objective is to provide material that will open up new ways of thinking about church, ministry and society today. It is an opportunity for experienced ministry practitioners to reflect on their ministry in conversation with others who are grappling with similar issues.

 The Seminar will be held in Wellington, from midday Monday 11 August to midday Friday 15 August.

If you would like further information email Kevin at

CWS notices

Zimbabwe Appeal

Christian World Service has launched an appeal to provide food and other assistance to communities in Zimbabwe as they struggle with economic collapse, food shortages and political instability. At this time the outcome of the elections remains unclear with political violence escalating. Whatever unfolds, millions of Zimbabweans remain in a desperate socio-economic situation and in dire need of food. Inflation has reached 165,000%; the unemployment rate is over 80, life expectancy is now the lowest in the world, thirty-seven for men and only thirty-four for women. The UN estimates that 4.1 million Zimbabweans will face serious food shortages this year. For the eighth year running the farms have failed to feed the people through a combination of drought, poor land policy, economic collapse and lack of governance.

Zimbabwean church based organisations are amongst the very few groups, which have managed to provide support for those most in need during these troubled times. We have been asked by Action by Churches Together International to support a programme in the country that includes: food distribution to vulnerable households; HIV and AIDS mitigation initiatives including home based care; distribution of crop inputs and farmer training on conservation farming; establishment of nutritional gardens and training; livestock distribution and training and community development.

The appeal is an opportunity for churches and supporters to show their solidarity for Zimbabweans at this time and provide assistance in the difficult months ahead. CWS is committed to helping communities withstand the latest crises and will support the massive rebuilding task that lies ahead. Please donate now:, 0800 74 73 72

International Human Rights Film Festival

CWS is one of the sponsors of this year’s festival. The films will be shown in Wellington (8-16 May), Auckland (15-23 May), Christchurch (22-30 May) and Dunedin (29 May- 6 June). The film, Now We are

Global Youth Encounter for Peace

What does violence mean to you? What ways of overcoming violence work? CWS is giving young people a chance to discuss these challenging issues with youth representatives from other communities also affected by violence. Young people from Sri Lanka, Timor Leste, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Fiji and New Zealand will attend hui where they will share the effects of living with violence in their own country, ideas on how to prevent violence and ways to build a peaceful community. The live-in youth conferences will be held at Te Maungarongo Marae, Ohope (18-20 July), Camp Wainui, Wellington (25-27 July) and Cracroft Guide Centre, Christchurch (1-3 August). Young people aged 15 to 25 years are invited to attend but places are limited and interest is strong. Other events are being planned around the hui including school visits. Contact /phone 0800 74 73 72 ext 108 for more information or to register your interest in attending. Registration form can be downloaded from

Fair trade fortnight

Don’t forget to take part in this year’s Fair Trade Fortnight. Churches can take part by having a Fair Cuppa during the fortnight - focusing on the difference fairly traded tea, coffee and chocolate can make - or sign up to become a Fair Trade Church. Worship materials are also available. Special events are being held around the country, including a campaign to find the best fair trade supermarket in New Zealand. See for details or phone 0800 74 73 72 ext 112, email

CWS Speakers

CWS staff can talk and preach on a range of topics and CWS partners. If you are holding a special service for a CWS partner or on a global justice issue, please contact Mary to see if someone is available. 03 366 92 74 ext 111 or email

 Spiritual Growth Ministeries Trust

Spiritual Directors’ Formation Programme
                       2009 - 2010
This comprehensive and established two year part-time courseis open to mature Christians of any denomination. Details of exciting developments currently being explored are available on application. The course offers:

  • Systematic study of spiritual direction Regular workshops conducted by an ecumenical team of qualified leaders
  • Supervised practical experience

For details contact the co-coordinator:
Rev. Sue Pickering,
83 Vivian St, New Plymouth.
Ph/fax 06 759 2331 Email
visit our website 

Applications due by 20th AUGUST 2008

Early applications are appreciated. Late applications may be accepted.


Hewitson Library latest acquisitions

Click here to see the new acquisitions list for February 2008.

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 18 April 2008 Please amend the roll in your yearbook accordingly.Licensing:

Ordinations & Inductions:

Rev Robert Te Whaiti, Minister Emeritus, Bay of Plenty Presbytery, to Minister St David’s Owhata, Bay of Plenty Presbytery for two years from 21 March 2008.

Ministerial vacancies

Click here to see the full table of vacancies

Highlighted vacancies

Reception/Office Assistant - Wellington Boys + Girls Institute (BGI)

Dynamic Christian Youth Organisation has a unique opportunity for people interested in Youth. We require an engaging person to assist us with our administration functions for our youth projects.  This full time entry level role, is challenging and requires computer literacy, some work experience, excellent attitude and behaviours.  Those who demonstrate ‘can do will do’ attitudes and achievement of goals, will love this role.  We are committed to our team and encourage ongoing learning and training. We provide a city location, bright open work space, dedicated and fun co-workers, skills in youth work, and a chance to assist with Funding applications, report backs and youth projects.

Sound like you?  Please send your application, including a 2 page brief CV that lists your background, education, skills and experience


Margaret Hegan
Box 6584
Fax: 3859548

or drop in to BGI L4 Troup House, 3 Macdonald Crescent, Wellington City 

Minister Vacancy (Bay of Plenty)

St Stephen's Church Reporoa/Rerewhakaaitu is a co-operating Presbyterian / Anglican parish situated in Reporoa Village, BOP. We are a group from many different walks of life, who live in the same community and want to worship God believing that the bible is the inspired Word of God and the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose again and is now seated at God's right hand in heaven.

We are currently without a minister and are loosely following a locally shared ministry format. From within our congregation we have provided over half the weekly services as well as having ministers / pastors from other churches providing some sermons and communion. Whilst this format has been more than adequate for us as a congregation we feel that we are not catering well enough for the pastoral needs of our community, hence this vacancy.

Hours are flexible up to 3 days per week and would mainly involve pastoral work within our rural community. We would be happy to help make up a full time position with another church. Formal training would be an advantage.

Bruce Vermeulen Chairperson St Stephens Church
PO Box 156 Guthrie Rd
Reporoa 3060
Ph: 07 333 8338  fx: 07 333 8330