Moderator the Right Rev Dr Graham Redding and Assembly Executive Secretary the Rev Martin Baker offer prayers for those affected by the tsunami in Samoa and talk about relief efforts. Graham discusses the amalgamation of the former Waikato and Bay of Plenty Presbyteries to form the new Kaimai Presbytery. Graham also updates us on the preparations for a meeting with the Prime Minister at the six-monthly national church leaders meeting.
Other highlights include John Daniel’s report on the many mission initiatives underway in Northland, PYM appeals to presbyteries to hold regional training days for their youth workers and questions why parents do not want their Christian kids to mix with kids in their communities, the GMO share good news stories on Church support for overseas mission, and APW and the Methodist Women’s Fellowship announce a special project to support Nicaraguan, Presbyterian and Methodist youth.
From the Moderator
The news of the Tsunami in Samoa has shocked us all. We are shocked because of the scale of the disaster and the tragic loss of life. We are shocked because of the close affinity that New Zealand has with Samoa, especially through family connections and friendships. This tragedy is very close to home. It is compounded by the difficulties in communication. Many people still don’t know how their loved ones have fared. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the tsuanami. Please pray for those who are in grief. Pray for those who have been injured and for those who will tend their wounds. Pray for the villages and communities that have been destroyed and for the various churches, charities and organisations that will help them rebuild. Pray for the Government of Samoa as it exercises leadership in this time of national crisis. Pray for our Samoan brothers and sisters in Christ in New Zealand as they rally to support their families and villages back in Samoa. Pray that, in the midst of this disaster, people will experience the comfort and peace of the Holy Spirit.
In addition to your prayers, please look for opportunities to support emergency relief initiatives through the likes of the Council for World Mission, Christian World Service and our own Global Mission Office.
I was privileged recently to take part in the inauguration of the new Kaimai Presbytery, which is an amalgamation of the former Waikato and Bay of Plenty Presbyteries. Much of the detail about how the new larger Kaimai Presbytery will function still has to be worked out, but there is a good deal of goodwill and enthusiasm for this new venture. A lot will depend on the leadership offered by the newly formed council and the three newly appointed leaders/Moderators – Lance Thomas, Garry Marquand and Alistair McBride. Please uphold them in your prayers. The Kaimai Presbytery is blessed to have Te Aka Puaho in its midst. This will be an important relationship. It was therefore appropriate to have the Moderator of Te Aka Puaho, Millie Te Kaawa, involved in the inauguration service. She is a blessing to our Church.
In early September I attended a cluster of meetings in Wellington with the leaders of other national churches. The first meeting, convened by Peter McKenzie of the Uniting Congregations of Aotearoa New Zealand (UCANZ), focused on clarifying and strengthening the relationships between cooperative ventures, Union Churches and their parent denominations. A lot of thinking is being done on what is involved in oversight of these parishes. Peter is doing a great job facilitating discussion and establishing networks of communication.
The second meeting continued a discussion on the future of ecumenism. The ecclesiastical landscape has changed significantly from what it was forty years ago when the ecumenical movement was strongest. While some churches still believe that ecumenism has a future, others feel that the word has a lot of negative baggage and that we need to frame the discussion in different terms. The main focus of our current discussions is on what we understand by the notion of Christian unity: In the midst of all our diversity, how might we express the unity that we share in Jesus Christ? A paper has been written to advance this discussion. Up until recently, participation in this discussion has been by invitation only and has tended to involve the historic mainline churches. A key decision was made at this meeting to open up the discussion to any national church that has an interest in the subject.
The third meeting focused on the relationship that churches have with Vision Network New Zealand. In recent years, Vision Network has emerged as an important contributor to discussions on public issues, offering a carefully researched “biblically orthodox and evangelical” perspective. Vision Network is seeking to strengthen its relationship with churches.
The fourth meeting was a six-monthly meeting of national church leaders. We updated one another on what’s happening in our respective denominations and discussed matters of common interest. A lot of planning is currently being done for an upcoming meeting with the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. As well as discussing this meeting, we received a presentation from the Christian Sports Network, it is seeking support from churches to get involved with the 2011 Rugby World Cup. I’ll pass on this request to the Council of Assembly in November.
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
We have contacted the leaders of the Congregational Church of Samoa and the Congregational Church of American Samoa to express on behalf of our Church our profound concern and sadness with the news of the devastating tsunami that has caused such loss of life and property.
Many of our own Church members in New Zealand will have had family or friends killed or injured and some will have come from villages that have been destroyed.
Let us offer our prayers for all those affected and for ministers and church leaders working to provide care and pastoral support for those who are anxious and grieving.
We are looking now at what resources we have available that we can release immediately to help, and we encourage all churches to participate in supporting the recovery and relief programmes run by a number of agencies. We will communicate directly with ministers any specific details on how congregations can provide support, once we have more information from our partner churches in Samoa and American Samoa.
Recently I had the opportunity to preach at the Wellington Korean Church. What an encouraging Christian community, with lively worship led by a youth band. Sandy and I found the church very hospitable and welcoming; later we were even treated to homemade kim chee. The church is warmly receptive to developing a deeper engagement with Wellington Presbytery and with our wider Church.
The mostly young, urban and bilingual congregation represent the direction our Church is quickly moving in. I hear people speak about finding common ground in our theological diversity; however the most pressing challenge right now, in terms of dealing with our diversity, is in finding our unity in Christ across our increasingly culturally diverse Church.
It may not be easy at first, but in my experience it is enormously enriching to find ways to come together, whatever the diversity of our backgrounds, to worship, celebrate and share our stories. We need to work at this quite intentionally, I believe that this is the way to bear testimony to the kind of community God calls us to be.
Congratulations to our newest Presbytery of Kaimai. The old presbyteries of Waikato and Bay of Plenty have followed through on the General Assembly decision supporting the reform of presbyteries. The Very Rev Garry Marquand is the convenor of the Presbyteries Task Group and you can contact him for more details. This reform is seen as being critical if we are to provide the structures most able to support and resource congregations to grow and develop. With General Assembly just a year away, we do need to move on with this.
The Press Go Board was very encouraged by some excellent mission and ministry proposals focused on supporting church growth and discipleship. Members of the Board, led by the Rev Ray Coster, have now visited most of the groups bringing the proposals. The Board will publicise the proposals it can support with available resources. This process is almost fully dependent on individuals and congregations making significant commitments to support these developments, and the mission commitments that stand behind them.
We have launched a brochure inviting all Church members to consider supporting the mission of the Presbyterian Church in their Wills. Copies of this brochure are being distributed in Spanz, the forthcoming social issues resource Giving and Getting (to be distributed this month or can be ordered directly from this office.
Campaign to reform liquor laws
The Presbyterian Church is lending its support to a campaign advocating for tighter controls on alcohol. We have been involved with this concern since our Church’s earliest days in New Zealand. The campaign coincides with the Law Commission’s review, which is now out for public consultation on this website. Alcohol Action is a lobby group involving people from a range of health and medical services, social services, Police, councils, churches, iwi, schools and other groups concerned about the social and medical costs of the current alcohol consumption environment. Doug Sellman, Professor of Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch, is conducting a series of public meetings around the country titled “Ten things the liquor industry won’t tell you about alcohol” and we encourage you to check out the resource-intensive website and get involved. Read more about this issue in the latest Spanz.
2010 General Assembly
A reminder that the Assembly will be held in Christchurch from Thursday 30 September to either Sunday 3 or Monday 4 October. I am very grateful to the Business Committee, and especially the small team in Christchurch, who have agreed to provide much of the administrative and organisational support for the event.
The preliminary process for electing the moderator for the 2012 General Assembly will begin later this year with parishes being invited to submit names of suitable nominees to their presbytery/UDC. Each presbytery/UDC will be asked to discuss nominations at their first meeting in 2010 and each nominate one person whose name shall be sent to the Nominating Committee. Full details of the process will be sent out later, but please start giving some consideration to who could provide this critical leadership role for our Church.
New Principal for Turakina Maori Girls' College
Mrs Terehia Channings of Tuhoe has been appointed as principal of Turakina Maori Girls' College. Terehia is a former pupil and teacher at Turakina and is from Ngati Kuri of Ruatahuna and from Waikirikiri marae in Ruatoki. Terehia’s mother, the Rev Hariata Haumate, is a minister in Te Aka Puaho.
Church leaders meeting on social concerns
Last month the leaders of the Presbyterian, Methodist, Anglican, Catholic, Baptist and Salvation Army Churches met to discuss a range of social concerns they will take to a meeting with the Prime Minister later this month. The Church leaders will present papers on: the environment and climate change, protecting superannuation, and strategies for strengthening families. The timely environment paper was prepared by our Church, well done to Dr Kevin Tate, Angela from our communications team, and thanks also to Professor Jonathan Boston and Dr Lynton Baird for their input.
Church goers to attend national volunteering conference
Last month we offered church goers free places at the biennial New Zealand National Volunteering Conference in Wellington, 28-29 October. Thank you to everyone who expressed interest in attending, the draw was held yesterday, congratulations to our lucky nine who come from churches in Keri Keri, Auckland, Masterton, Wellington, Dunedin and Invercargill.
Congratulations to our small communications team that has just been highly commended in the best website category of the Australasian Religious Press Association Awards. Amanda and Jason (who works one day a week) put a lot of effort into the redesign of the website that launched in July.
Thank you again for your prayers and your generous support of our Church.
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
The recent Calvin celebrations were a great success. About 800 people attended three son et lumière (sound and light) performances at First Church of Otago, and 75 people attended the two-day conference at Knox College.
A recent highlight for the Knox Centre was the signing of a covenant with Te Wānanga-a-Rangi, trainer of Amorangi ministers within the Church. The covenant formalizes the relationship between the two institutions, and also strengthens collegial support for the director of Te Wānanga-a-Rangi, the Rev Wayne Te Kaawa.
Please note that applications for the current round of Ministers’ Study Grants closed at the end of September. Check out the website for details.
John Daniel has recently been to Northland where he encouraged, and was encouraged by, the range of mission initiatives in the area. These included: Mainly Music (in some cases run by older people); a Get-Out-of-Debt Fund; BACH (Breakfast at Church Sunday); Dinners of 8; assisting in the repairing of flood damage; community patrols to keep tourists safe; caring for the dying in hospital and for abused and battered women; prayer and intercession; meetings in the local coffee shop and a reconciliation service between Maori and Pakeha relating to the 19th century burning of the ship called the Boyd.
Two seminars are to be held at Laidlaw College. On Tuesday 13 October at 7.30pm hear Brian McLaren on, “Where Faith meets the World” (presented by World Vision and Laidlaw College). Brian McLaren will talk about Jesus’ message for the global crisis in our prosperity, equity, security and spirituality systems. These systems have become misaligned and destructive, and this is the problem Jesus came to address. Brian says, “the spiritually crisis is the lynchpin through which we can reverse issues with the first three”. For more info on Brian visit this website, or email.
On 30 and 31 October a mission mini-symposium will be presented by the Aotearoa New Zealand Association for Mission Studies (ANZAMS) on the theme of "From Edinburgh 1910 World Mission Conference to Edinburgh 2010: Witnessing to Christ Today: Perspectives from Aotearoa New Zealand". A selection of papers will be presented discussing some of the themes of next year's Edinburgh 2010 centenary celebration. Speakers include Ross Langmead (AAMS Australia), John Roxborogh, Steve Graham, Rosemary Dewerse, John Hitchen, George Wieland, Hugh Kemp and Peter Lineham. The symposium will run from 1.30pm Friday to 3.30pm Saturday. The cost including meals is $50 if prepaid or $60 at the door.
Global Mission Office
Do you get tired of the bad news that’s shown on television? Go through the latest TV Guide and you might read the words murder and violence a dozen times, and words such as adultery, lust and abuse on every second or third page. Not too long ago news reporting used to include some positive stories.
Often when we talk about mission we are bombarded with bad news stories, such as children dying because of poverty and disease, thousands affected by human trafficking, and rat plagues that destroy crops. This is happening and the Church can’t ignore these awful things. However, I believe we also need to hear some good news stories. Below are good news stories about our Church, through the Global Mission Office, being the “feet and mouth of Christ around the world”.
Christian Hospital, North India
I received an email concerning Christian Hospital in Jagadhri, it said because of the support of many in New Zealand four private rooms have been renovated.
Akany Avoko, Madagascar
Generous donations have allowed a number of students at this refuge for young girls to continue their study at school and University. Furthermore, because of this support a new preschool director will shortly be hired.
Rat Plague, Myanmar
Monetary gifts have brought relief too many in Myanmar suffering from the rodent infestation. We have a strong partnership with the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar and they brought this plague to our attention.
Trinity Fellowship, Kenya
Thanks to generous donors a borehole will be drilled and piping provided to supply fresh clean water for farming.
Onesua Presbyterian College, Vanuatu
Another New Zealand Presbyterian school is visiting Vanuatu. This is the fifth school to spend time at Onesua College during 2009.
If you would like to know more good news stories, then please contact the Global Mission Office.
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
At the beginning of September Steph Redhead organised the first regional Otago-Southland Connect training day for youth leaders. With over 50 people gathered from far flung corners of the region, the benefits of and enthusiasm for such an event were soon realised. I would encourage other presbyteries to explore doing something similar. Regional training days for youth workers build collegiality, skills and knowledge, and remind us that we are part of something bigger than ourselves; we are members of the “Pressie Tribe”.
I want to encourage ministers to take an active role in your church’s youth ministry (if you have one). Time and time again I hear stories of youth ministries that have a significant ministry to community-based young people and yet struggle to get the support they need, particularly from church parents. The parents do not want their “good Christian kids” to mix with and be influenced by community young people. A wonderful missional opportunity is being lost. No wonder so few come to know God or become contributing members of our faith communities.
If church parents don’t get it, then often their kids don’t get it either. And so we end up with segregated models of youth ministry between community and church young people. I know there are various issues and challenges, but ministers need to lead the way and help encourage parents to get involved and help youth leaders to do the hard thinking in regards to mission and ministry. A number of youth leaders have simply placed it in the “too hard basket”. It cannot stay here if we want our youth ministry to have a longer-lasting impact.
I am writing from Samoa where I am sharing the Kids Friendly vision and resources with 41 delegates from 17 countries at a Council for World Mission conference exploring opportunities for mission with children.
It was Council for World Mission that enabled the piloting of the Kids Friendly initiative in our churches. In later years, it was the Presbyterian Savings and Development Society and the Presbyterian Foundation that enabled me to share the Kids Friendly vision, processes and resources with our churches. While I believe the more recent funding of Kids Friendly from the Assembly budget has contributed to it becoming embedded in our Church’s culture, I sense that the Kids Friendly vision has now been embraced by our Church’s hearts. And heart is what it’s all about.
I am not in Samoa to prescribe or even promote something developed in response to our context, but rather to share a vision that can be caught by anyone who is called to minister to children.
The Kids Friendly vision, “to cultivate churches that intentionally welcome, celebrate and serve children and families of their communities” is inspired by many scriptures regarding children. The heart of Kids Friendly is synonymous with the theme of this CWM conference, “Welcome Children, Welcome Jesus”. No matter what our culture or context, each of is challenged to put aside our attachments to doing church one way and grapple with how we can truly respond to God’s call to let the children come.
Kids Friendly Coach
Association of Presbyterian Women
Youth to benefit from APW Special Mission project 2009/2010
APW and the Methodist Women’s Fellowship (MWF) Mission Committees announce that their next annual special project will support Nicaraguan young people. CWS has recommended a CEPAD (Council of Protestant Churches in Nicaragua) programme focusing on building a better future for the children and young people of Nicaragua. 70 percent of the money raised will help increase family incomes, improve access to nutritious food, pay for schooling, and improve living conditions. CEPAD trains young people by providing different skills, and by giving some opportunities for secondary schooling.
Everyone will be delighted to learn that the other 30 percent of raised funds will go towards supporting the youth conferences of our own Presbyterian and Methodist Churches.
See the APW webpage for details.
Turakina Maori Girls’ College
Donations to the Turakina Appeal for Boarding Scholarships continue to be received by the APW national treasurer. Please keep them coming, mail to: APW, PO Box 489, Feilding 4740.
On Thursday 24 September many arrived at Turakina, in very wintry conditions, to warmly welcome Terehia Channings as the new principal. Terehia arrived at the school (Terehia is a former pupil) loyally supported by whanau and friends and following her mother, a Presbyterian minister and grandmother, in.
Gathered with the students and staff to welcome the new principal with a rousing powhiri were many from local iwi, Martin Baker, members of Manawatu -Wanganui Presbytery, and national APW office holders. APW looks forward to continuing its support of Turakina Maori Girls’ College.
Presbyterian Investment Fund
The Church Property Trustees advise that the interest rate paid to Presbyterian Investment Fund depositors for October will be 4.50%. This is the same rate as was paid for June, July and August. The fund accepts deposits from parishes, but is not open to individuals. For further information email Secretary to the Trustees, Heather McKenzie.
Mercy Ministries Walk 2009
Saturday 17 October 10am
Frank Kitts Park, Wellington
Mercy Ministries New Zealand is holding its annual fundraising 5km walk. We would love to have you involved by encouraging your congregation to walk with us and gather sponsors. This year we are focused on doubling the amount of money we raised in 2008, so we’re encouraging people to team up with a friend. Our goal is to have 800 walkers around New Zealand targeting at least $100 in sponsorship.
24 October is “350 Day”: One day to stop the climate crisis
24 October is the international day for action on climate change. So far more than 100 nations are taking part in what could be the biggest day of grassroots action on global warming ever. October 24 comes six weeks before crucial UN meetings in Copenhagen, so it’s a great chance to take a stand. For more information visit the website.
White Ribbon campaign 2009
Open Lecture: Mind the Gap: Inequality, Theology and the Quest for an Inclusive Society
Professor Andrew Bradstock
Howard Paterson Professor, Director of the Centre for Theology and Public Issues
University of Otago, St David Seminar Room 2
Tuesday 6 October, 5.10pm
New Zealand is one of the most unequal societies in the developed world. Should the issue be back on the political agenda – not least since new research in public health suggests that narrowing the gap between rich and poor makes for more stable societies? How can theology contribute to these debates and give them a new dynamic?
A conversation with Jeanette Fitzsimons MP, Green Party MP and former Party co-leader
The University of Otago Centre for Theology and Public Issues
Friday 9 October 2009
4.30pm - 5.30pm
Hutton Theatre, Otago Museum, Dunedin
Jeanette’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act, passed in May 2000, forms the framework for current policy on sustainable energy. From 1980 until 1992 Jeanette taught in the Department of Planning at Auckland University, tutoring and lecturing in Environmental Studies and Energy Planning.
Discussion will be hosted by Associate Professor Michelle Thompson-Fawcett
Caring for creation: The Reel Earth Environmental Film Festival
1 to 15th October
Paramount Cinema, Courtenay Place, Wellington.
Reel Earth is an environmental film festival. Over two weeks, 62 stunningly beautiful environmental documentary films and animations from 13 countries will be screened. View the website for full details.
More choice for fair trade churches
Cadbury New Zealand has announced plans for Cadbury Dairy Milk to achieve Fairtrade Certification by Easter 2010. Cadbury intends for its Fairtrade chocolate products to be available in supermarkets from Easter 2010.
CWS Christmas Appeal 2009
The resource kit for this year’s appeal, “Give us a chance”, has been sent to all churches. Please email us if you have not received yours. The kit has been streamlined to assist you with Advent planning and worship. All resources are now available on CD Rom plus a two minute photo montage of CWS partners set to music designed for worship. This shows how donations to the CWS Christmas Appeal help poorer communities get the chance for water, food, improved livelihoods, better health and to be able to look after themselves. Orders for additional resources are due 9 October. Email to request a CWS speaker.
Gifted: The joy of giving
CWS has launched its new virtual gifts programme that lets you give hope and change. Choose from goats, ducks, water, medical care, seeds and more. “Gifted” helps poorer communities build a better future. As part of the new programme you will receive a paper magnet to send to the recipient, featuring a description of the gift and the difference it makes to poor communities. Contact CWS ph 0800 74 73 72 or email for catalogues for your church, or order online.
Food for life!
CWS is supporting the international Churches' Week of Action on Food in October. Worship resources on “Food for Life” have been prepared for Sunday 18 October or use on another appropriate occasion. CWS is also backing a new fair trade campaign inviting you to spend $2 a day on fair trade goods for two weeks from October 17 (the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty). For more information on this international church advocacy on How to Feed the World to 2050 and other food resources, please email or visit the website.
Reception to the Roll:
- Rev Chris Barnard, received from United Congregational Church of Southern Africa, 8 May 2009.
- Rev Dal Gyoun (James) Lee, received from Presbyterian Church of Korea on 10 September 2009.
Ordination and Inductions:
- Rev Tony Dawson, Local Ordained Ministry Probationer, Richmond Grove Presbyterian Church, Invercargill, Southland Presbytery, to Local Ordained Minister, Richmond Grove Presbyterian Church, Invercargill, Southland Presbytery, 17 September 2009.
- Rev Chris Barnard, Other Recognised Minister, Bay of Plenty Presbytery, to Minister, Whakatane Presbyterian Church, Bay of Plenty Presbytery, 1 September 2009.
- Rev Tony Spandow, Minister, Afrikaans Christian Church of New Zealand, to Stated Supply Minister, St Paul’s Presbyterian Church Manuwera, 6 August 2009.
Changes in Status:
- Rev Wayne Te Kaawa, Minister in Charge of the Putauaki Maori Pastorate, Te Aka Puaho, to Member, Te Aka Puaho, 28 August, 2009.
- Rev Graham Te Rire, Amorangi Minister, Putauaki Maori Pastorate, Te Aka Puaho, to Minister in Charge, Putauaki Maori Pastorate, Te Aka Puaho, 11 September, 2009.
- Rev Brian Crane, Amorangi Minister, Opotiki Maori Pastorate, Te Aka Puaho, to Minister in Charge, Opotiki Maori Pastorate, Te Aka Puaho, 27 August 2009.
- Rev Marilyn Wanden, Minister Emerita, Wellington Presbytery, to Minister Emerita, Manawatu Wanganui, 9 July 2009.
- Rev Setu Masina, Minister Emeritus, Wellington Presbytery, to Minister Emeritus, Auckland Presbytery, 1 July 2009.
- Rev John Hodgson, Other Recognised Minister, Manawatu Wanganui Presbytery, to Other Recognised Minister, Auckland Presbytery, 15 September 2009.
- Rev Neil Johnston, Minister Emeritus Waikato Presbytery, to Minister Emeritus, Wellington Presbytery, 30 April 2009.
Changes in Co-Operative Venture Ministries:
- Rev Anna Gilkison, Supply Minister (Methodist Church), Johnsonville Uniting Church, Wellington Presbytery, to Minister, Johnsonville Uniting Church (Methodist Church), 1 February 2009.
- Rev Silvia Purdie, Licentiate, Manawatu Wanganui Presbytery, to Stated Supply, Foxton – Shannon Co-operating Parish, Manawatu Wanganui Presbytery, 1 August 2009.
- Rev Mark Farmer, Minister St Columba’s Presbyterian Church Mahurangi, North Shore Presbytery, to Minister Emeritus, North Shore Presbytery, 30 July 2009.
- Rev Russell Denne, Minster Whakatane Presbyterian Church, Bay of Plenty Presbytery, to Minister Emeritus, Bay of Plenty Presbytery, 17 August, 2009.
- Rev Leao Si’itia, Minister Emeritus, Auckland Presbytery, died 18 September 2009.
- St John’s Presbyterian Church Hawera has changed its name to Hawera Presbyterian Parish.
- Rev Fraser Paterson, Minister, Khandallah Presbyterian Church, Wellington Presbytery, to Minister Emeritus, Wellington Presbytery, 31 December 2008 (incorrectly stated as Other Recognised Minister in Feb 09).