From the Moderator
Many people have been deeply concerned about the situation in Gaza. Some have asked what the Church has said on the matter. A few weeks ago, when the Israeli bombing of Gaza peaked, I joined with leaders of other churches to issue a statement. View the statement.
Recently, I was asked by a journalist of a Christian newspaper to comment on what I thought would be the main issues for Christians in New Zealand in 2009. The question really made me think. If you were asked the same question, what would you reply?
As I thought about it, it seemed to me that the main issues confronting Christians in New Zealand are likely to arise from situations in the international arena. These may well include the following: As Christians, how do we make sense of the current conflict in Gaza, and to what extent should the Church support Palestinian aspirations? How might churches offer practical support to people most affected by the global recession, and at the same time help people to reflect more deeply on the theological and worldview issues posed by an economic system in crisis? How should Christians interpret, and respond to, the reality of climate change?
I was also asked what we, as Christians, should work for in 2009. My thoughts went immediately to 2 Corinthians 5:19, which refers to the ministry of reconciliation that has been entrusted to the Church. Given all the signs of fragmentation and alienation around us, including the above mentioned issues, can there be any greater need than for Christians to faithfully exhibit and fulfil this high calling?
I wonder what this would entail. I wonder what the Church would look like if we really grappled with the significance of Paul’s staggering claim that in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them. And his remarkable exhortation to no longer regard anyone from a human point of view. What might this actually mean in terms of how we respond to real situations? And are our actions truly consistent with Paul’s conviction that if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation, and that everything old has passed away (2 Corinthians 5:17)?
When I think about reconciliation in the way that Paul describes it, I find myself daunted, but also challenged and inspired to think in new categories, to imagine new possibilities. And that gives me hope – for the Church and for our world.
Grace and peace to you all
Assembly Office update
I hope that you have been able to enjoy some of the glorious weather we have been having over the last few weeks. I have just come back from climbing Mt Arthur in the Kahurangi National Park. We should never underrate mountain top experiences; Mt Arthur is a stunner.
A couple of weeks before, I engaged in another well described Biblical activity - fishing. The total catch for one day was: a few snapper, two tarakihi, one kahawai and an orange wrasse (and we fed the multitudes with a couple of loaves of bread and a few sausages, but now I skite).
In contrast, we return this year to news of a deepening and widening financial crisis. There is no doubt that many of our retired Church members are going to see their investment incomes decline, and congregations that have been depending on high returns from their investments are going to face a difficult period. There are also the pastoral challenges of ministering to people who have lost their jobs, lost their equity in their homes, farms or businesses, or are fearful about their, and their family’s, economic future. Whilst many in secure employment may experience an increase in the value and amount of their disposable income, there is, never the less, a culture of anxiety associated with such times. How important it is for us now to seek meaningful ways to proclaim the Good News, and to be generous and gracious in our care for those who suffer.
Get the very latest edition of the Book of Order
The 2008 edition of the Book of Order is now available online. It incorporates changes approved by the 2008 General Assembly. Printed copies are available on request to the Assembly Office
Every presbytery should now have established a presbytery reform team, with the intention of putting in place the new presbytery structure by October of this year. The function of these teams is outlined in the Presbytery Task Group Report (D8-1 onwards) in the White Book. Among the functions of the team is the need to consult with other presbyteries to establish a reconfiguration of presbytery boundaries. The Very Rev Garry Marquand is the Convenor of the Presbyteries Task Group and you can contact him for more details at email@example.com
The team who are going to lead the Press Go initiative will be holding their first meeting in Auckland on February 11. Our bold commitment is to unite our Church behind innovative mission and outreach which will support the growth of worshipping communities. The initiative is premised on the hope that congregations will be generous, sacrificial and open to God’s creative Spirit. Press GO Details are available.
New Youth Cultural Change Role
We are currently advertising for the role of Youth Ministry Development Leader.
Those who have held national roles in youth leadership have worked extremely hard to ensure that the needs and challenges of nurturing and reaching out to younger people has been a focus of our Church’s national work. We have had some success in developing a national network of people involved in youth work and ministry. After a great deal of discussion by the Council of Assembly, and consultation with those involved in youth leadership, we believe that special focus needs to be given to the challenge of addressing the changes that need to take place in the life of congregations, and other Church bodies, to enable them to be welcoming and supportive places for younger people.
In part, the person who fills this position will build on the successful Kids Friendly model that is supporting many of our congregations to be far more inclusive of children and their families. While we recognise that the needs of young people are quite different, the Kids Friendly model has been effective in allowing congregations to reflect on their practices, the assumptions they make about the place and role of children, and the way they present themselves to their wider community.
This is not an easy job, but it will be a very satisfying role for a highly motivated, practical visionary who can both challenge and equip congregations, and other Church bodies, to be welcoming and outreaching to younger people.
The person appointed to this role will work alongside the position filled by Stephanie Redhead. Stephanie’s focus will be on maintaining and building current support and training networks for present and future youth leaders.
If you are the highly motivated, skilled and committed person who is being called to this role, or you know a person who could be, then please read the job advertisement or get in touch with me firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications close on 20 February 2009.
Thank you again for your prayers, and your generous support of those who work for the General Assembly. Martin
Press Go Update
Churches are being asked to consider how they can best support Press Go, with donation packs to be distributed later this month.
General Assembly 2008 actively encouraged all congregations and presbyteries to voluntarily provide a 1 percent return on all investment assets to the Press Go board for supporting growth projects that meet the agreed criteria. GA08 also encouraged all congregations, presbyteries and UDCs to contribute in whatever way they can.
Press Go application packs will also be available from late February.
Presbyteries provided feedback at the end of last year on the criteria for funding projects, with the criteria subsequently finalised as follows:
- The likelihood of the proposed project contributing to the number of those participating in the worshiping life of a congregation.
- The relationship between the cost of the project and the likely benefit.
- The project’s sustainability or likelihood of being self-funding in the long term
- The strength of endorsement by and commitment to the project from a congregation, presbytery, Te Aka Puaho, Pacific Island Synod or the Council of Asian Congregations
- The ability of the project to be replicated or provide learning and resourcing for the wider Church.
- The level of funding required from Press Go.
- Payment of Assembly Assessment or endorsement by the Resource sub-committee
The application must be directed toward the achievement of elements of the following;
- A commitment to making Jesus Christ known
- A commitment to outreach and mission beyond those who are already involved
- A commitment to finding and restoring the lost
- A structure that supports and releases those with skills and gifts for mission.
- A commitment to welcoming and hospitality
- A commitment to providing worship which expresses those matters fundamental to a Reformed faith.
An expanded version of the criteria is available on the Press Go webpage
The Council of Assembly has also confirmed the membership of the Press Go board, after receiving nominations from presbyteries. The Board is holding its first meeting in early February.
Convenor: Rev Ray Coster - minister of St Andrew’s in Mt Maunganui.
Members: Neville Guy – session clerk of Clevedon Presbyterian, fleet sales manager northern region of Mitsubishi Motors
Dr John Kernohan – member of Somervell Memorial in Remuera, chairman of the Church Property Trustees, former chief executive of Auckland UniServices Ltd, director of BioCatalyst Ltd
Rev Andrew Norton – minister of St Columba at Botany Downs
Lisa Wells – member of East Taieri Presbyterian, communications and fundraising director of Presbyterian Support Otago, director of Lisa Wells Fundraising
Kids Friendly update
Visit the Kids Friendly website
Are we losing the next generation?
I read today that more than 50 percent of the US population is under 25 years of age. I wonder how this compares with New Zealand. What percentage of your effort and budget will be invested in ministering to this group this year? How successful would we be in attracting young people to our churches if we dedicated 50 percent of our budgets to those under 25?
A powerful Australian Children’s Ministry Network DVD, “Next Generation”, has children reminding us that in 10 years they will be adults and lost to the church. I urge you to share this DVD with your leaders as you plan your ministry to young people this year. It can be accessed at www.cmn.org.au (click on “Next Generation Project” at the top of the left column to open the page that has options for downloading).
Since Kids Friendly was launched three years ago, over 100 churches have joined the network and have reviewed, or are reviewing, the way they minister to children and families. Many have uplifting stories to share about the ways children are returning to their churches.
Some of our presbyteries that have caught the Kids Friendly vision have contracted me to work with their churches and train local advocates in their regions. In March this year I will be running a second “Kids Friendly Coaching Clinic” in Taranaki. If your presbytery would like to encourage more churches to become Kids Friendly, I encourage you to nominate a passionate children’s minister to attend the two day clinic. She or he will learn more about the Kids Friendly process, and resources, and how to be a Kids Friendly facilitator their area. For more details email me at: email@example.com
Kids Friendly Coach
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership update
Towards the end of last year we were pleased to announce that, as from 2009, the Knox Centre will offer annual music scholarships, project grants and a worship songwriting award to up-and-coming musicians in Presbyterian churches and cooperative ventures. Details about how to apply are here www.knoxcentre.ac.nz
If you have gifted and enthusiastic young musicians in your church, encourage them to check out what the Knox Centre is offering. Applications close on the 30th of April.
At long last we have a full complement of staff! Jason Goroncy and Mark Johnston have started in their respective roles as lecturer and Auckland coordinator. The appointment of an Auckland coordinator is an exciting new development in the life of the Knox Centre. A key aspect of Mark’s role will be to work alongside Te Aka Puaho, the Pacific Island Synod and the Council of Asian Congregations. His office is located at St Andrew’s Church in Otahuhu, where he will work alongside the Global Mission Office.
In March, Professor Robert Jenson will be in Dunedin as the University of Otago’s Burns Lecturer. He is described by Wolfhart Pannenberg as, “one of the most original and knowledgeable theologians of our time”. Professor Jenson is a theologian of immense stature, he is also a gifted communicator. While he is here, he has kindly agreed to lead a half-day seminar at the Knox Centre on the subject of the Eucharistic Church being a Missional Church. It will be held on Friday 13 March, 9.30 am to 12pm. Because the seminar will be interactive we have set a limit of 30 people. The cost per person will be $25, this includes morning tea. To register please contact our registrar, Catherine van Dorp, at: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 03 4730783.
The Hewitson Library office has been temporarily shifted to the entrance foyer of the Library while construction work takes place (as part of the Hewitson Wing development project).
The Library is still open, with all services operational, and will remain open throughout the entire development programme.
Please note the new telephone number and email address for the Library:
Telephone 03 473 0771 or Email email@example.com
Helping RSE workers
Can your parish nominate a helper, a facilitator for RSE workers in your area? Please contact John Craig to find out more on the kinds of advice and help you can give. Phone 04 478 5213.
Pro ecclesia journal wanted
Does anyone subscribe to, or have copies of, the journal Pro ecclesia that is published by the Centre for Catholic and Evangelical Theology? If so, would you be prepared to lend, or donate the journal to the Hewitson Library for a research student to use?
If you can help please contact the Library at firstname.lastname@example.org
Urgent Appeal for Gaza
After weeks of Israeli bombardment, the situation in Gaza is desperate. Over 1,300 people have been killed, another 5,500 injured, vital infrastructure ruined and 4,100 homes have been destroyed. Even before the latest escalation, 80 percent of Gazan families depended on international aid. Now most of the 1.5 million inhabitants are struggling to survive. CWS partners through ACT International are providing food, water and health care and will give ongoing support for trauma counselling and recovery. Appeal leaflets and information are on the CWS website. Please donate now: phone 0800 74 73 72 or online www.cws.org.nz
New Youth Topics out now
Youth Topics 15 is now available and looks at how people survive and keep hope alive in times of conflict. It examines what peacemakers do at the grassroots level and in a fun and interesting way offers activities on listening, dialogue, and methods used by Christian World Service partners as they journey towards a just society. Available now on the website www.cws.org.nz or contact email@example.com to receive your free A3 copy.
Thank you for your support of the 2008 CWS Christmas Appeal. Please send your parish donations for processing. If you would like to help improve the Christmas Appeal, please see http://www.cws.org.nz/what-can-i-do/cws-christmas-appeal/online-survey and complete the short online survey. CWS would appreciate your feedback on how better to promote this key fundraiser for the churches’ development, justice and aid agency.
New CWS Director
Pauline McKay, CWS’s new national director, begins work on 2 February. She has spent the last nine years working for the World Health Organisation in Geneva, with previous experience with the WCC and International YWCA and church and justice issues in New Zealand. Pauline is looking forward to meeting with CWS supporters.
CWS is monitoring the situation and asks for continued prayer as Fijians begin recovery efforts.
Church Register Changes for Bush Telegraph as at 23 January 2009
- Ms Phyllis Harris, Student Ordinand, Nelson/Marlborough Presbytery, licensed 7 December 2008.
- Mr Allister Lane, Student Ordinand, Wellington Presbytery, licensed 27 November 2008.
Ordination and Inductions:
- Rev Martin Dickson, Licentiate, Auckland Presbytery, to Minister, Community of St Luke’s Remuera, Auckland Presbytery, 7 December 2008.
- Rev Caleb Hardie, Chaplain St Kentigern School to Minister, Epsom Community Church, Auckland Presbytery, 22 January 2009.
- Rev Minnie Wilson, Licentiate, Te Aka Puaho, to Amorangi Minister Ruatahuna Maori Pastorate, 13 December 2008.
- Rev Malcolm Gordon, Licientiate, Dunedin and North Otago Presbytery, to Minister, St Paul’s Katikati, Bay of Plenty Presbytery, 11 December 2008.
- Rev Allister Lane, Licentiate, Wellington Presbytery, ordained and inducted Minister, St John’s in the City, Wellington, 27 November 2008.
- Rev Chris Konings, Stated Supply Timaru – St Stephen’s Presbyterian Church, South Canterbury Presbytery to Minister Timaru – St Stephen’s Presbyterian Church and Minister Timaru – Trinity Presbyterian Parish, South Canterbury Presbytery, 26 January 2009.
- Rev Mary-Jane Konings, Member, Dunedin Presbytery to Minister Timaru – St Stephen’s Presbyterian Church and Minister Timaru – Trinity Presbyterian Parish, South Canterbury Presbytery, 26 January 2009.
Changes in Status:
- Rev Henry Yau, Minister Taiwanese Auckland Presbyterian Church, to Other Recognised Minister, Auckland Presbytery, 30 November 2008.
- Rev Fraser Paterson, Minister, Khandallah Presbyterian Church, to Other Recognised Minister, Wellington Presbytery, 31 December 2008.
- Rev Arthur Barnfather, Minister Emeritus, Nelson/Marlborough Presbytery, to Minister Emeritus, Taranaki Presbytery, 19 November 2008.
- Rev Alastair Smales, Minister Emeritus, Wellington Presbytery, to Dunedin Presbytery, 31 December 2008.
- Rev Mervyn Aitken, Minister Emeritus North Shore Presbytery, to Minister Emeritus Auckland Presbytery, 9 January 2009.
Changes in Co-Operative Venture Ministries:
- Rev Bob Sidal, Minister of the Methodist Church of New Zealand, to Minister Halswell Union Parish, Christchurch Presbytery, 1 July 2008.
- Rev Bryan Gilmour, Minister Uniting Church in Australia, appointed as Transition Minister, Timaru – St Paul’s Presbyterian Church, South Canterbury Presbytery, 1 June 2008. This appointment is for 18 months.
- Rev Ken Smith, Minister Presbyterian Church (USA), appointed as Transition Minister, Timaru –Chalmers Presbyterian Church, South Canterbury Presbytery, 1 October 2008. This appointment is for four months.
- Rev John Rush, Minister Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches, United States of America, appointed as Transition Minister, Rotorua – St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Bay of Plenty Presbytery, 1 January 2009.
- Rev Norman Wilkins, Minister, Kapiti Uniting Church, Wellington Presbytery, to Minister Emeritus, 25 December 2008.
- Rev Alastair Smales, Minister, Knox St Columba Lower Hutt, Wellington Presbytery, to Minster Emeritus, 31 December 2008.
- Rev Alison Molineux, Other Recognised Minister, Nelson/Marlborough Presbytery, resigned from the ministerial roll, 14 October 2008.
- Rev Robert Clow, Minister Wyndham Parish, Mataura Presbytery, resigned from the ministerial roll, 6 January 2009.
- Rev Alastair McKenzie, Minister Emeritus, Christchurch Presbytery, died 1 July 2008.
- Sr Rona Collins, Deaconess (Methodist), Christchurch Presbytery, died 9 September 2008.
- Rev Aubrey Stevenson, Minister Emeritus, Christchurch Presbytery, died 6 September 2008.
- St Andrew’s Co-operating Church Geraldine ceased to exist as a co-operative venture on 31 December 2008. From 1 January 2009 it is a Presbyterian Church named St Andrew’s Church, Geraldine, South Canterbury Presbytery.
Visit the Ministerial Vacancies page for a complete list of the latest regional vacancies in New Zealand.
The vacancies featured in Bush Telegraph are those that have been received within the previous month for listing on the Church’s website, General Vacancies. http://www.presbyterian.org.nz/4588.0.html
If you would like to list your vacancy please email the Website Administrator.
- Regional Youth Co-ordinator - Canterbury
- Youth Ministry Development Leader - North Island
- Ecumenical Animator - Fuji
- Massey - part-time pastoral position
- Manurewa - Full-time Minister
- Charles Sturt university - Lecturer in worship and practical theology
Visit the Events page for upcoming events near you
- National Triennial Business Study Conference
- Hokitika St Andrews United Parish - Celebrating 25 years