Bush Telegraph July 2009

This month, Moderator the Right Rev Dr Graham Redding talks of the fine example set by the Very Rev Michael Thawley, whose funeral he attended in June; and of his visit to Presbyterian school Turakina Maori Girls' College.

Assembly Executive Secretary the Rev Martin Baker talks of the upcoming Connect youth conference, the imminent relaunch of the website, and of work underway on Press Go.

Other highlights include the upcoming Calvin Conference and multimedia show in Dunedin, a farewell from Global Mission Office Advisor the Rev Andrew Bell, and a large number of notices.

[quick_links tags=h3]

From the Moderator

A few weeks ago several hundred people gathered at Knox Church in Christchurch to honour Michael Thawley and to give thanks for his life. What a fine worship service it was, and what a joy it was to celebrate the life and ministry of such an outstanding servant of the Church and a steadfast disciple of Christ. Michael could always be counted on for his wisdom, compassion, humility, humour and passion for justice. As a parish minister he proved to be a faithful pastor; as Assembly Executive Secretary he proved to be a wise administrator; as Moderator of the General Assembly he proved to be a fine leader. A few years ago our Church coined the phrase “servant mission leader” to describe the kind of leadership required for today. Michael was a servant mission leader.
A few days after Michael’s funeral service I visited the Manawatu-Wanganui Presbytery. While I was there I was privileged to visit Turakina Maori Girls College. Founded in 1905, the College holds a special place in the history of the Presbyterian Church. It has a proud record of educating young Maori women and encouraging them on the path of ongoing learning and personal development. There is fine spirit in the school, and the dedication of the staff is truly sacrificial. But there are also some challenges, including growing the student roll, upgrading the hostel and educational facilities, and filling the position of principal.

The Presbyterian Church of Aoteaora New Zealand has been supporting the school as it works to meet these challenges and strengthen itself for the future. A special appeal has been launched by APW to raise funds for boarding scholarships - a key strategy for increasing the student roll. Twenty boarding scholarships, $5,000 each for two years, will cost $200,000. The Turakina Appeal will run in August and September 2009, and every church will receive an information pack towards the end of July. I commend this appeal to you and your parishes.
Graham Redding

Assembly Office update

Connect 09

In a few days I will be off to Auckland to attend our national Connect conference (3 to 5 July). Emily Wotton and her team have organised what promises to be a fantastic event that will focus on the encouragement and support of those involved in youth leadership positions throughout our Church. Enrolments to date number around 160, with a further 30 people or so involved in providing music, workshops and other activities. Last minute attendees are welcome at Connect but they must contact PYM first, telephone 021 161 4794 or email ycfministry@xtra.co.nz .

A critical challenge for us is to develop not only great programmes for young people, but to affirm the value we place on the role of young people in the life of our congregations. There is a conceptual shift required from seeing youth work as one of those things we “should do” to really exploring what it means to make our congregations places of real empowerment, welcome and hospitality to younger people. Making our congregations truly inter-generational does not mean that we have to necessarily like and value each others music, or worship styles, but it does mean that we have to like and value one another. The unique Biblical multi-culturalism characterising the first days of the Church involved both faithful speaking and listening. Today, that means being ready to listen to one another to hear what each of us is actually trying to say about our current experiences and understandings of our faith and life.

Later this year Carlton Johnstone, our national youth ministry development leader, will be speaking at venues around the country about the challenges, and the resources available, to each congregation to respond faithfully and effectively with youth. Contact Carlton.

The Very Reverend Michael Thawley

We were shocked and saddened to hear of Michael’s death earlier in June. The funeral at Knox in Christchurch provided a very fitting time of thanksgiving for Michael’s life of service to our Church, and an opportunity to share our sense of loss. Michael’s work in our Church included parish ministry, and the roles of AES and Moderator. There will be a service of thanksgiving for Michael at St Ninian’s Uniting Church, Karori, on Saturday 18 July at 11.00 am.

Presbytery Reform

The General Assembly agreed that Presbytery Reform Teams be established by the beginning of 2009, and that presbyteries are to begin operating within the new presbytery structure as soon as practicable, and that the new presbytery boundaries be formalised by the General Assembly. The Very Rev Garry Marquand is the Convenor of the Presbyteries Task Group and you can contact him for more details.

Website redesign

You're looking at a revamped version of our website. This work has been done because some technological and support issues mean we must shift the website to a new software platform, so we have taken the opportunity to also update the site’s design and reorganise some of the content. We hope that you’ll find it much easier to locate the content that you need. If you have any queries about this, or would like to offer any feedback on the new site, please email amanda@presbyterian.org.nz. You can also read some tips and tricks on navigating the new site.

Special legislative procedure

There are two matters needing to be dealt with by presbyteries, UDC’s and Te Aka Puaho before August 2009 under our special legislative procedure (formerly the Barrier Act). Please click here to retrieve a memo regarding these decisions.

Class of ’84

Ministers who graduated from “The Hall” in 1985, please contact the Rev Laurie Ennor. Laurie is coordinating a 25 year reunion to be held later this year in Christchurch. Have you thought about organising a reunion for your year?

Press Go

Ideally we would not have chosen the middle of a recession to initiate an innovation focused growth strategy for our Church. But great things can happen during challenging times and the Press Go Board is convinced that every congregation has within it the people and means to develop new and innovative expressions of Christian outreach and mission. Over time our dream is to unite the Church in the support, celebration and telling of the stories of how the spirit is moving in new ways in the life of our congregations. Find out how you can be part of the first wave of supporters.

We will soon launch a bequest brochure inviting all Church members to consider supporting the mission of the Presbyterian Church in their wills. Copies of this brochure will be distributed in Spanz, and in the forthcoming social issues booklet Giving and Getting, and can be requested directly from this office, phone Sandra 04 801 6000.

National Assessment

It is a good time to think about identifying those in your congregations who you discern may have the calling and leadership skills we need for our Church, now and in the future. Check out the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership website for more details.

The Rev Andrew Bell - Global Mission Advisor.

Andrew Bell, who has led the development of the Global Mission Office (GMO), is stepping back from this role to concentrate his energies within his Otahuhu congregation of St Andrew’s. Whilst Andrew was not an employee of the Assembly office,  the Assembly was a signatory to a memorandum of understanding which allowed for the release of Andrew to serve in this role while also maintaining his ministry within the congregation. The memorandum also allowed the Rev Stuart Simpson, who works full time for the GMO, to provide for some ministry in the parish while Andrew worked in the GMO.

Andrew will work with us in helping with a transition and review process. I know that many in the Church have greatly valued Andrew’s work over this time and I am sure that Andrew’s skills will be used to support new leadership opportunities in the future. 

If you have any particular insights or views on the role of the Global Mission Office, or, more generally on how our Church may best fulfill its overseas mission commitments, then please contact me

Thank you again for your prayers and your generous support of our Church.


Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership update

Please note two upcoming events. The first is a gathering on 6 July for members of Auckland, South Auckland and North Shore Presbyteries called “Auckland Matters”. Come and enjoy a free meal 6.30 pm at Grafton Hall (Seafield View Road, opposite Auckland Hospital), meet Knox Centre staff and students, and hear the Rev Jacky Sewell speak on the engaging topic of, “Spiritual Pilgrims: Youth, Church and the Quest for God in Aotearoa New Zealand”. If you would like to attend please contact our Auckland coordinator, Mark Johnston, telephone 09 276 4313, or email our registrar, Catherine Van Dorp registrar@knoxcentre.ac.nz .

The second event is the Calvin Conference at Knox College, 24 and 25 of August. Visit the conference website to find out more and to register: http://calvinrediscovered.wordpress.com/.

Preceding this event, there will be a church service at First Church on the evening of Sunday 23 August. And from 20 to 23 August there will be a daily son et lumiere (sound and light) performance at First Church. This multi-media show aims to let a multitude of voices be heard, ‘the anger and the frustrations and the hope’, to recreate the ‘emotion around the kitchen table, and the reverence around the communion table’. The show attempts to project images of a possible Eden - First Church as a green oasis in the heart of the city - to illustrate how central the Psalms (and Burns’ songs) were to ordinary people, ‘practical dreamers’.

First Church’s neo-Gothic towers underline the loftiness of the intentions. The social, the educational, and the religious, are envisaged as a seamless whole; life with a rhythm to it, rotating around the Sabbath; anti-privilege, anti-hierarchical; Bible in the hand, Burns in the hip-pocket. It will be a new take on the theme of the settler, revisiting the myth of origins. Neither nostalgic nor deconstructionist but (hopefully) imaginative, humorous and critical. Implicit will be the questions: What makes a city healthy? What are our networks today? What vision drives us?

The scriptwriter and director is Richard Huber, one of New Zealand’s best known theatre people. Martyn Roberts will apply his genius to the sound and lighting dimension. It will be an occasion not to be missed.

Hope to see you there.

Graham Redding

Global Mission update

After over 60 Bush Telegraph articles (and numerous Spanz articles and about 32 Global Mission Gazettes) this is my last contribution as Global Mission Advisor. Over the last seven years it has been a wonderful experience to be a voice for Global Mission in our Church. I have loved every minute of it. Thank you to all of you for the privilege of being able to serve in this way. Thank you to all who have listened to my presentations, debated with me over the phone, had me in your homes, and most of all supported the work we have endeavoured to do. I still believe that mission beyond ourselves is the main thing that we are called to do as a Church, and that is what Global Mission is all about.

A special word of gratitude to the people of St Andrew’s, Otahuhu, who for the last four years have allowed their minister to be very distracted by Global Mission; they have made an immense contribution but now the task must fall to others. I have every confidence that Stuart, Kerry and Liz are well set to continue the work. I have felt very privileged to work with outstanding colleagues such as these, and I must also include Lori Hill who was so prominent in the early years. I thank them for having put up with me and ask that you continue to support and grow the work of the Global Mission Office.

In the words of the Zulu chorus that I taught to many congregations:

Singabahamba yo thina kulomhlaba siy’ekhaya ezulweni (Even though we are travellers in this world, our real home is in Glory).

Hamba Gashle (Go carefully and peacefully),

Youth Ministry update

I attended a Parliamentary breakfast a couple of weeks ago where Maureen Sedonaen, an internationally recognised leader in youth leadership and development, spoke on the benefits of young people being involved in tackling alcohol and drug problems in their communities.

Maureen emphasised that when young people are empowered to tackle issues that impact upon their lives and the communities they live in, then change is made, and made in ways that are relevant to their lives, and there is ownership of decisions made. This is an example of youth participation, something we can use a lot more of in the life of our Church - on a national, regional and local level.

In what ways are young people represented, and participating, at presbytery and within the life of your local church? I have in mind a lot more than a young person playing the guitar or drums in the worship band. Youth are not a “problem” to be solved, but are rather a vital core of the solution to many of the challenges we face, and therefore need to be engaged with. For example, how many of you have asked a young person why there are not many, if any, young people in your church? Or have you asked them what they would like to see change within your church to make it a more welcoming place for them, and then worked with them in bringing about those changes? Young people can, and will stimulate us to think and work in ways that we have probably never considered, as well as inform us of issues that are pertinent to them in matters of life and faith. We just need to begin the conversation.

As Bush Telegraph hits the cyber network many of our youth leaders from around the country will be making their way to Connect for a time of networking, refreshing and training. We would appreciate your prayers over this time together.

Carlton Johnstone

National Mission update

Two Transitional Ministry Training (TMT) Courses are planned for this year (a transitional minister is one whose skills bridge periods when a parish is between ministries, identifying ministry gaps and opportunities for new mission to take place).

TMT courses have three training phases: the first and third consist of full week block courses; the second phase is fieldwork in your own ministry setting.

1 First phase of the non-residential Christchurch course runs 31 August to 4 September at the Methodist Connexional Office, 25 Latimer Square, Christchurch. The third phase will be held in March 2010.
2. First phase of the residential Auckland runs 5 to 9 October, at the Anglican Retreat/Conference Centre at Long Bay, Auckland. The third phase will be in April next year.
Training will be co-ordinated by the Rev Marilyn Welch.
For application forms and further information please contact National Mission Office, email jckd@maxnet.co.nz . Applications close for both courses on the 31 July 2009.

Please pray for Connect 3 to 5 July. Youth leaders are key people in the present and future mission of our Church.

The Synod of Otago & Southland recently hosted David and Linda Webber’s ministry tour to rural towns in New Zealand. After the Rural Conference in Balclutha they visited Northland, Whakatane, Westport and Invercargill. It was a significant time in terms of mission for those in smaller towns and isolated places. Please pray that the “fruit” of this conference will continue to be felt for many years to come.
For information on new books, leadership, wellness issues, resources and other relevant material, request to receive the monthly National Mission ezine by sending an email to: missionadmin@maxnet.co.nz .

Kids Friendly update

I was recently challenged by renowned children’s minister Sue Miller.  I was at a leaders’ mentoring retreat run by Willow Creek.  Sue was sharing some of her immense experience in developing a strategy for children’s ministry.  She suggested that if a parent interviewed the principal of a prospective school for her child about what she would learn over the next 12 years, she would be given a detailed curriculum and expected outcomes.  “How many children’s ministers would be able to detail the Christian education plans for the child of an enquiring a parent?” she asked.  This got me reflecting on my own church, but also on the many churches I work with.  I am not aware of any church that has sat down and worked out what children will learn over a 15 year period.  It’s an interesting concept and one I would like to explore.  It’s been great brainstorming our respective strategies with Carlton Johnstone, our new youth development leader and this will form the topic of our next session together in July.  We would love to hear from you on this one.  Do any of you have a long term strategy or plan for Christian education for children and youth?  What do you think children should learn at different stages of their lives if they are to grow into faithful adults?  What rituals, rites of passage and other expressions of faith are important?  And most importantly, how will we partner with parents to facilitate this process?  I look forward to input from the coalface.
Blessings, Jill


The Introduction Work Group

The Introduction Work Group would like to hear from any North Island parishes that would consider an exiting Intern from the Knox Centre of Ministry and Leadership.
Please forward the profiles to: The Convener - Amanda Guy, 4 Mount Street, Wakari, Dunedin or email: children@kaikoraichurch.co.nz  For more information phone (03) 476 6559 or (03) 476 2967.

Responding to swine flu

Please keep an eye out for regular updates from the Government on Swine Flu, and take note of any warnings that are put in place. It is important that parishes comply with any public health notices as to ignore them can put people’s lives at risk. Please comply with the ways to reduce the possibility of infection, such as good hygiene practices and staying home when sick. If you require more information contact Margaret Fawcett margaret@presbyterian.org.nz.

The Ministry of Health has information to assist community groups to deal with pandemics here www.moh.govt.nz/moh.nsf/indexmh/nz-influenza-pandemic-action-plan-2006. You will find a link here to download posters and brochures in the resources section.

Service of Thanksgiving for Michael Thawley, 18 July in Wellington

A service of thanksgiving for the life and ministry of Michael Thawley will be held at St Ninian’s Uniting Church, Karori, Wellington, on Saturday 18 July at 11 am.

It is expected that Dorothy and members of the family will be present, and that there will be an opportunity after the service to meet friends in the hall and enjoy some refreshments.

World March for Peace fundraising concert

A World March for Peace benefit concert will be held on 4 July 2009 at St-Matthew-in-the-City, Auckland, from 7.30pm to 10pm. Tickets cost $30/$25 from Ticketek. Visit www.worldmarch.co.nz for more information.

Presbyterian Support Central centenary book

As part of its centenary celebrations Presbyterian Support Central is releasing a book: Revaluing Life: The quest to live well and die happy by Allan Baddock.

The book looks at the evolution of our attitudes towards social service and aged care through the lens of Presbyterian Support Central (PSC), one of New Zealand’s oldest non-profit organisations. If you would like to order a copy of the book, phone 0508 864357.

United Nations “Our World, Our Climate, Our Food” competition for youth

“Our World, Our Climate, Our Food” is a project of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation. One facet of the project is a competition for young people aged six to 25 years, to draw, photograph, produce a video clip or describe ways to fight climate change. Prizes will be awarded and the best entries will be used throughout the world.
Competition closes 12 September 2009.
For more information visit: http://www.fao.org/climatechange/54402/en/

WCC Ecumenical Coalition on Tourism photo competition

Tourist photos – we are all used to seeing holiday snaps of pristine beaches, breathtaking landscapes, and portraits of local people. The WCC Ecumenical Coalition on Tourism (ECOT) is looking for more ‘unusual’ photographs on tourism that may question current tourism practices. Selected photographs will feature on their soon to be redesigned website.
For more information email: tourismscan@gmail.com.

Signatures required for Pacific Conference of Churches climate change petition

The Pacific Conference of Churches is seeking signatures for its climate change petition. The PCC asks you to print the petition, fill it with as many signatures as possible, and then mail it to them by September 1, 2009.

The petition will be sent to the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders to impress upon the international community the urgent need to set an ambitious limit to the release of greenhouse gases to protect our fenua and moana (terrestrial and marine ecosystems), and to safeguard the health and welfare of the Pacific peoples.

Please mail full petitions to: Pacific Conference of Churches Secretariat, GPO Box 208, Suva, Fiji.

For more information, and to download the petition, click here

Spiritual Growth Ministries Trust offers Spiritual Directors’ Formation Programme 2010 - 2011

This comprehensive two year part-time course is open to mature Christians of any denomination.

The course offers : systematic study of spiritual direction, regular workshops conducted by an ecumenical team of qualified leaders, supervised practical experience and a ‘spiritual companion’ option in year two.

For details contact: sgmtp@xtra.co.nz, phone (04) 234 1992 or visit our website www.sgm.org.nz

Applications are due by 20 August 2009. Late applications may be accepted. 

Presbyterian Foundation Grants

Applications are now open for this year’s Presbyterian Foundation grants. Information on the Presbyterian Foundation, grant guidelines and applications forms are available here.

The deadline for presbyteries to endorse and forward applications is 15 September 2009.

CANZ Conference

Ceremony - Creating The Experience conference
24 to 26 July 2009

Ministers and other interested people are warmly invited to attend the Celebrants Association of New Zealand (CANZ) conference at the Waipuna Hotel and Conference Centre, Auckland.

The Conference offers a wonderful opportunity to join with celebrants and others who are interested in ceremony and ritual in contemporary society. Keynote speakers include Joy Cowley and Cyril Schafer. A wide range of workshops will be available.

Please visit our website to view the programme and to download a registration form:


For further information, please contact the conference secretary Jan McCallum on 021 303 342 or the conference convenor Kerry-Ann Stanton on 027 474 5003.

Calvin Rediscovered conference website

To mark the 500th anniversary of John Calvin’s birth Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership, and the Theology and Religious Studies Department of the University of Otago, are organising a two-day conference (24 - 25 August 2009). Visit the new conference website: http://calvinrediscovered.wordpress.com

The Lombard Essay Competition 2009

The World Alliance of Reformed Churches is pleased to announce that entries can now be submitted for the best theological essay (in English) on: “John Calvin: Creation, Christ and the Stewardship of Life. What Would Calvin Say? Responsible Stewardship in the Face of Today’s Ecological and Financial Crises.”

Prize is open to all theology students or pastors 35 years of age or younger. Please submit no later than 1 September 2009.
1st prize US$1,000
2nd prize US$600
3rd prize US$400
For further information visit www.warc.ch or email: warc@warc.ch

CWS notices

Climate change action

CWS is inviting churches to take action on climate change. A postcard petition calls on the New Zealand Government to take a strong position on cutting carbon emissions at the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen in December. CWS is also collecting signatures on the Pacific Conferences Churches petition to present to the Pacific Islands Leaders Forum in September. This focuses on protecting the Pacific environment and the health and wellbeing of its peoples. It also asks for just resettlement for climate change refugees.

Background information, worship materials and petitions will be sent to churches soon. Further information is at www.cws.org.nz

Contact CWS if you would like additional supplies of the postcard and PCC petitions, or to request a speaker in climate change: cws@cws.org.nz or phone 0800 74 73 72 ext 114.

Peace Sunday

Peace Sunday is celebrated on the nearest Sunday to Hiroshima Day. This year it falls on 9 August Nagasaki Day. CWS worship materials focusing on the legacy of nuclear testing in Moruroa, and the struggle of former workers and their families to get compensation for their ailing health, will be available 10 July. See www.cws.org.nz. You can also access previous years’ resources focusing on Darfur and people creating peace in the resources/churches section.

Emergency Appeals

Media coverage of the humanitarian crises in Pakistan and Sri Lanka has faded but hundreds of thousands of people remain in need of urgent assistance. CWS asks you continue to pray for the people displaced by conflict and support the appeals for relief efforts.

Hunger grows

The UN reports there are now 1 billion people going hungry in the world. This is the highest figure in human history. Please continue your support of CWS partners who help their communities have enough to eat.

Church register changes

Short-Term Appointments:

Rev Linda Hope, Other Recognised Minister, Auckland Presbytery, to Stated Supply, St James Church and Community, Auckland Presbytery, 8 February 2008 until 8 February 2009.
Rev Cherry Thompson, member, Wellington Presbytery, to Stated Supply, Central Southland Presbyterian Parish Winton, Southland Presbytery, for six months from 26 April 2009.


Rev Sherri Weinberg, Minister, St Paul’s Devonport, North Shore Presbytery, to Minister Emerita, North Shore Presbytery, 20 February 2009.


Rev Peter Oliver, Other Recognised Minister, Dunedin & North Otago Presbytery, resigned from the ministry of Presbyterian Church Aotearoa New Zealand, 5 May 2009.

Parish Amalgamation

The Chinese Church of Christ the King amalgamated with the Auckland Chinese Presbyterian Church, Auckland Presbytery, 26 April 2009, (Auckland Chinese Presbyterian Church was formerly known as Auckland Chinese Christian Church).