From the Moderator
There’s been a lot of public comment lately about Destiny Church, and in particular their policy on tithing and the lavish lifestyle of their leader, Brian Tamaki. I have recently been asked by several journalists what the Presbyterian Church’s policy is on tithing. I said that while tithing may be an accepted practice in some Presbyterian churches, there is no denominational requirement or expectation in this regard. The concept of tithing is found in the book of Deuteronomy. There is no consensus about how the concept should be applied today. Our context is markedly different from Biblical times. For most Christians the tithing concept is a guideline, a reminder to be both disciplined and generous in financial support for the life and mission of the church. How much that amounts to will be a matter of personal and prayerful discernment. Being disciplined and generous in our giving does not mean being irresponsible. It is a form of spiritual abuse for church leaders to pressure people to give beyond their means.
It is very important that the financial affairs of a church are underpinned by two principles: accountability and transparency. Jesus was very strong on the corruptive influences of money. It is vitally important, therefore, that congregations and their ministers and leaders be above reproach in their handling of money. Few things erode confidence in church leadership more than a lack of disclosure about a church’s income and expenditure. One of the advantages of being part of a national denomination is that certain rules and regulations exist to ensure proper levels of accountability and transparency. If you want to find out more about what these are see the Church website, or contact the finance team at the Assembly Office. Brendan Sweeney and his team are very happy to advise church treasurers on what they should be doing.
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
I am conscious that you will be receiving this Bush Telegraph in the week when many of you and your congregations will be spending time reflecting on the Passion and Easter stories.
Nothing else has the power to undermine life's meaningfulness than the experiences of suffering and loss. I was reading a report last week that said that rather than seeing grief as a process with its various marked stages, the emotional state of grief was closer to that of yearning. Visiting our congregations over these days there will be new people, and those who have not come to church for a long time, all yearning to hear words of reality and hope. What a challenge for those who lead our worship and seek to proclaim the Good News at this time.
Last week, for the second year running, Assembly Office assisted a local church to hold an Easter event for schools. PIPC Newtown visited and gifted Easter buns and chocolate milk to three schools - Miramar Central, Miramar South and Strathmore Community. This morning tea shout was supported by Delmaine Fine Foods (they generously donated 480 Rosedale Easter buns), and was timed to coincide with our Church’s Easter media release in which our Moderator said, “that it is good that Easter is a time of celebration for many children, but the Church would like them to know what they are celebrating”.
If your church would like to work with Assembly Office next year to hold an Easter event for local schools please email Angela.
General Assembly 2010
The General Assembly will be held from 11 am on Thursday 30 September 30to no later than 5 pm on Sunday 3 October in Christchurch.
A memo recently sent to all presbytery clerks regarding the presbytery reform decisions made at the 2008 Assembly, as well as a reminder of the process whereby proposals may be brought to the Assembly, can be viewed here.
All parishes need to be represented by either a minister or an elder. Presbyteries, UDCs and Te Aka Puaho need to work to ensure that as far as possible an equal number of both elders and ministers come to the General Assembly from each presbytery. Presbyteries may also send youth representatives. At this stage, each presbytery needs to determine which parish is sending an elder to represent them. Each presbytery clerk needs to contact me as soon as possible to let me know the number of elders who will most likely be coming from their presbytery (I do not need to know the names yet). Please also take special account of ministers who are not serving in parishes (eg school and hospital chaplains who are ordained ministers) and if one of these ministers has not attended the General Assembly for some time, please see if there is an opportunity for him or her to represent a ‘vacant’ parish.
Moderator elections for the 2012 General Assembly
This month presbyteries, UDCs and Te Aka Puaho will receive a list containing nominations for the 2012 Moderator-Designate. You need to choose one of these names as your nomination and post it by 30 May 2010 to: The Convenor of the Nominating Committee, Ann Owen, 12 Aongatete Road, RD2, Katikati 3178. Please use your own processes to ensure that every presbytery that existed following the last General Assembly gets a vote.
Presbyteries, UDCs, Te Aka Puaho, APW, the Pacific Island Synod and the Asian Advisory Group need to identify suitable people with the skills and ability to represent the breadth of our Church, to be selected for the Nominations Committee which will meet prior to General Assembly.
Presbytery representation will be based on the presbytery structure present in October 2008. The Nominating Committee needs at least two names from each presbytery to choose from, to go Ann Owen by 15 April on the application form circulated last month. Nominating Committee membership will be confirmed by Council of Assembly in May.
Those selected for the Nominations Committee will be required to attend a one day meeting in Wellington in early September.
Please send completed application forms to: Ann Owen, Convenor Nominations Committee, 12 Aongatete Rd, RD 2, Katikati 3178. Email email@example.com or phone Anne at home 07 5520302.
The Nominating Committee Task Group has sent out a draft paper to all presbyteries for comments and feed back. The final date for making submissions on their proposals contained in the paper is 1 May.
Council of Assembly
The Council met at the Ohope Marae from 18 to 20 March. News from this meeting can be read here.
Parishes to receive Parenting Today study guide
The latest Church social issues study guide, “Parenting Today”, will be mailed out to all parishes after Easter and also available on our website. The booklet aims to encourage churches to run parenting courses for their communities, and support parents to be the best they can be. As our Moderator said to the media on Children’s Day, “The Church hopes the parenting booklet will be a catalyst for rethinking what it means to be a “better parent” and a “good parent” and will be welcomed, because parents themselves are increasingly demonstrating a growing appetite for discussion, information and advice”.
Focal Identity Statement – Kupu Whakapono
Please take the opportunity to engage with the completion of this important faith statement. Use the website for responding if at all possible but the FIS Workgroup are quite happy to accept email responses to: firstname.lastname@example.org
They will accept responses based on hard copy and posted to:
C/- Leith Valley Presbyterian Church
267 Malvern St
Thank you again for your prayers and your generous support of our Church.
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Senatus will soon meet to discuss applications for ministers’ study grants and theological study grants. The latter is a new initiative to encourage non-ordinands to study theology.
We are delighted to announce that the Rev Jason Goroncy, one of our lecturers here at the Knox Centre, successfully defended his doctoral thesis and will shortly be awarded his PhD through St Andrew’s University in Scotland.
We are currently revising the workshop menu offered by the Knox Centre to the wider Church. Over the past two years that the workshops have run, we have received about 20 requests for workshops covering a range of topics, from music in worship to leadership, from preaching to becoming more geared up for mission. If you have any suggestions about the kinds of things you would like to see offered in the next workshop menu please let me know as soon as possible.
The National Mission Enabler, John Daniel, and his team had a busy month in March. John in particular travelled a good deal, spending several days encouraging people around the country that mission is possible; helping them to think missionally; and helping them ask questions about what God is doing in their particular place and how they can be part of it.
Included in John’s meetings was an ecumenical seminar on Growing Healthy Churches. John was one of the two key note speakers alongside Murray Robertson of Spreydon Baptist. The seminar was specifically aimed at mission consultants from various denominations.
John is walking alongside those working towards the formation of the new Northern Presbytery, with a particular focus on helping this forum engage in the bigger missional picture.
On the 25March, John and his team hosted a Mission Possible Gathering in Katikati, Bay of Plenty. This was the first Mission Possible meeting of the year, and included a mini-symposium/consultation on mission theology and practice; time for reflecting on options and opportunities for developing church; the sharing of good and encouraging stories; and the need for prayer and Christian disciplines in the mission context. John then travelled to Wairoa, to participate in the Amorangi Training Weekend.
The Studentsoul National Board (of which John is a member) met in Dunedin, and via Skype, to discuss the progress of Studentsoul in Auckland; the good opportunities becoming available elsewhere in the country; and the various conversations that are developing nationwide regarding Studentsoul.
We are looking for someone to play a key coordination role in our global mission relationships over the next two years, as a long-term strategy is developed.
At the moment, the Rev Chris Nichol is working in a part-time, transition role, maintaining key connections, ensuring our overseas commitments are met and developing the framework for our ongoing work.
Below are some updates on our three key mission partner countries.
St Columba at Botany in Auckland has offered to coordinate our engagement with Myanmar. The Rev Andrew Norton and his daughter Angela have both recently lead trips to the country (see the December Spanz for a preview) and are keen to develop real relationships that change lives in both countries. If you are interested in finding out more about Myanmar or sense a call to involvement, please get in touch with them. You can also sign up to receive a regular email about the work in Myanmar.
We’re hoping to be able to announce soon other parishes who have agreed to be the channel of contact with other mission partners overseas. Watch this space!
Ken and Jenny Williams are in their second and final year of service at Talua Ministry Training Centre. You can read more about their role in the forthcoming June issue of Spanz; they are looking for someone to continue their work next year.
Talua also needs support to employ an assistant librarian. Is your church or presbytery interested in funding this key educational work? Get in touch with Ken at email@example.com.
We celebrated this historic relationship in 2008 and the Friends of Jagadhri continue to maintain their connections and make a valued contribution to this work. More on this work next month.
Donations for global mission
Donations for our overseas projects and partners can be sent to Global Mission at Assembly Office, PO Box 9049, Wellington 6141 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information on other ways to give. Part of Chris’ transition coordination role is to ensure your gift reaches the right people in the right place as per your instructions.
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
One of the many privileges of my role is that I get to travel around New Zealand meeting great people, hearing their inspiring stories of ministering to young people, and helping to build up and strengthen our Church.
At the beginning of the month I visited Waipukurau. Let’s be honest, how many of you can place this town on the map? I couldn’t prior to my visit. In fact, I even booked accommodation 30 to 40 minutes away from where I thought it was. It is in Central Hawke’s Bay (some of you still might need a map). It is easy for smaller rural/provincial places to be over-looked, tucked away in some remote part of New Zealand. But in this area Epic Ministries, a youth trust led by Tama Bucknell and part of St Andrew’s Presbyterian, is ministering to hundreds of young people. They partner with Police youth projects, CYFs, and other churches, making it an ecumenically driven and supported ministry.
The support of the minister, the Rev Ian Pimm, and the congregation, is an essential reason why Epic is so successful and wide reaching. With an ecumenical dimension, St Andrew’s, through Epic, are committed to serving and building relationships with young people regardless of whether they ever attend church. A strong and healthy youth ministry needs the support of the minister and the wider congregation.
Another person I recently met and was inspired by is Trevor Esera, a volunteer youth worker at Glenfield PIC on Auckland’s North Shore. The church started a holiday programme for young people in their area who were hanging out on the streets and in the mall with nothing better to do. Trevor has also begun some discipleship groups for the young people in his church. Trevor has found support in his region through youth workers such as Fiona Sherwin at Forest Hill, and Kids Friendly’s Jill Kayser has provided Trevor with resources for their children’s ministry. All this is by way of saying that regional connections and networking can be valuable and provide encouragement and support. I believe that presbyteries have the collective potential to support youth ministry with a regional strategy and focus. This is certainly evidenced by the four presbyteries that employ a regional youth coordinator, but more on that in the next Bush Telegraph.
Mary McIntyre recently returned from the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) session at the UN in New York. We look forward to Mary's report on progress since the Beijing Conference in 1995, and her work with Ecumenical Women.
The latest newsletter from the NZ Ministry of Women's Affairs, titled Panui, notes the valuable role NGOs play alongside the CSW Government delegation by providing an independent voice. Mary's role as a NGO representative for APW (Presbyterian Women NZ) is featured in this month’s newsletter. Congratulations Mary, we acknowledge God's calling to this role and value your hard work and commitment. Read the article.
From various accounts we receive from around the world we know that much more needs to be done to improve the status of women. We read reports on the denial of education to women and girls; the plight of the girl child worldwide; of widespread "trafficking" rackets in Asia and also the United States; and of the worrying gender imbalance in China caused by the "one child” policy. We urge your prayers for those working in the global mission fields as they advocate for the betterment of families and children.
The 2009/2010 APW/MWF Special Mission Project
This is a reminder that women are leading their churches in fund raising for two youth projects; one is directed for overseas use and the other is for our own Church youth. Your continuing support is valued.
- A CEPAD (Council for Protestant Churches) programme in Nicaragua: To build a better future for the children and young people; to improve health through better living conditions; and to increase family incomes to provide better food and education and youth training opportunities.
- Connect 11: To provide funds to encourage more youth and leaders to attend Connect, the Presbyterian youth conference, in 2011. Similarly for the Methodist youth conference.
I recently met with Lucy Moore, creator of Messy Church, an all-age fellowship and interactive worship event.
Lucy began Messy Church in 2004 at the parish where her husband Paul is minister - St Wilfred’s, Cowplain (near Portsmouth in England), because, “We were frustrated, as a church, that we were hardly reaching any children with God's story. We had great facilities and great people to share with the people of our community. We sensed there was some sympathy towards the church, but we weren't offering anything that really gripped the imagination of local families. We decided to try to do something for all-ages together, because we believe that we grow best as a church when we walk the journey with as many different people as possible, and we desire to help families grow together in their walk of faith, not see Christianity as something you grow out of when you're 11”.
Lucy’s idea has grown into an international brand with advocates and advisors available worldwide, including New Zealand. Lucy and I had lots of animated discussion, over a delicious salad at her kitchen table, about releasing ideas and resources to enhance God’s mission versus protecting the brand. This was timely as it is something I have been grappling with as we receive more and more requests from other denominations and other countries for the Kids Friendly resources and processes.
When I spoke with Lucy I was in the UK for a meeting with CWM as they had invited me to share Kids Friendly with partner churches around the world. I was also taking time to research ways churches are effectively engaging children in worship and making worship accessible to children and families. Unfortunately my trip was cut short by my son Blake needing to have emergency brain surgery back in New Zealand. However, even the few meetings I did have with like-minded people in the UK inspired my thinking. I hope to return to continue the conversations in the future.
Thank you for your prayers and support during the last challenging week.
[Blake is back home recovering from surgery].
Kids Friendly coach
I Love Taiwan programme
I Love Taiwan is a really worthwhile Christian education programme, we encourage people to visit the website and find out more. The Asian Advisory Group want to stress the importance of the development of current, emerging and future younger leadership this year - this includes all people, not just Asians.
The I Love Taiwan programme is important because:
a) We have attended this programme in the past and have received young Taiwanese here – a relationship is building with the PCT (The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan).
b) The Presbyterian Church was one of the three or four key partner churches of our Church.
c) The Presbytery of Auckland has established a presbytery to presbytery relationship with Taichung Presbytery in Taiwan and the programme is a way of nurturing both the national and presbytery relationships.
d) The programme is a very well run programme and relatively inexpensive for us to take part in.
e) We have a congregation in New Zealand (The Auckland Taiwanese) who are prepared to facilitate and help organise the return trip.
Calling all Presbyterian Women - Can You Help?
It is a great pleasure to have Mary McIntyre of Bannockburn, Central Otago, as the next National Convenor for Presbyterian Women (APW), commencing her role on 29 May 2010. Mary requires a team of secretary and treasurer plus a Deputy Convenor for administration and organsiation. Any one with computer and /or accounting skills who may be interested and wishes to know more please contact Mary, email email@example.com or phone 03 445 4709.
All Presbyterian women are eligible to apply; you and may have had suitable experience in business or in your work place, presbytery or parish. Those living in the Otago/Southland regions would be especially welcome. If God is calling you to this role please contact Mary or myself.
Heather Tate, National Convenor, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 06 3549 267.
Presbyterian Investment Fund
The Church Property Trustees advise that the interest rate paid to Presbyterian Investment Fund depositors will increase from 4.75% to 5.00%, from 1 April. The Fund accepts deposits from parishes, but it is not open to individuals. For further information email the Secretary to the Trustees, Heather McKenzie.
2010 Prison Fellowship Volunteer Conferences - Napier and Christchurch
The Oasis Community Christian Centre, Napier
16 and 17 April 2010
Horticultural Society Hall, South Hagley Park, Christchurch
7 and 8 May 2010
Conference begins with a Public Meeting and discussion at 7pm on the Friday evening led by the National Directors of Prison Fellowship, NZ Prisoners Aid and Rehabilitation Society and the Prison Chaplaincy service. It continues on Saturday from around 8.30 am until 5.30 pm. You can opt to attend Saturday only.
Open to anyone who wants to know more about NZ prisons and the opportunities for community involvement in prisons and in inmate re-entry and reintegration.
There will be sessions for various interest groups, workshops to improve volunteer skills and a chance to share what you have found to work well in the prisons near you.
Cost per person $30 (incl GST).
Bookings and more information here.
Ecumenical rural ministry newsletter
The latest New Zealand ecumenical rural ministry newsletter is now available on the Church website.
Applications are now open for the 2011 Aspire Scholarships
The Aspire Scholarship is for students from low-medium income families who would like to attend a New Zealand private secondary school. The scholarship contributes up to $15,000 per year for private secondary school tuition fees and up to $1,500 per year for course related costs. The scholarship does not cover boarding fees and cannot be used at state or state-integrated schools.
For more information email email@example.com
Looking for funding?
Read the latest Funding Information Service newsletter.
A Funding Expo will be held at the Hotel Ashburton on 12 April 2010, from 11 am to 2 pm.
NZCCSS Conference 2010: Together We Can
Waipuna Conference Centre, Auckland
22 and 23 April 2010
The conference theme “Together We Can…” is a call for us to build cooperation in the sector and a vision of working together with older people to make a difference in their lives and the lives of those around them. We invite you to join us for these two days to support the theme “Together We Can…”
For hard copies of conference registration brochure and form, contact conference organiser Pat Johnston, phone 03 477 1377 or email firstname.lastname@example.org www.dcms.co.nz or Paul Barber NZCCSS Secretariat phone 04 473 2627, email email@example.com
Fair Trade Fortnight: Convert your place of worship
1 – 16 May 2010
Fair Trade Fortnight is New Zealand's biggest annual celebration of all things fair trade!
As part of Fair Trade Fortnight 2010, Kiwis are being urged to make The Big Swap! Whether it’s your daily caffeine, afternoon cuppa, chocolate treat or even when buying a gift – make the swap to Fair Trade and help create a better and brighter future for farmers and their families around the globe.
See Convert your Place of Worship for more information.
SW of Kaimai Presbytery & Taranaki Bishopric present These Hills Workshops
Te Kuiti - St Andrew’s Church
12 June, 10 am - 4 pm.
Bell Block Co-op Parish
14 June, 4.30 pm - 9.30 pm.
With Colin Gibson, “NZ Imagery in Worship and Lay Leadership” and the Rev Val Riches, “Listening for the Stories” (Te Kuiti only).
Songbooks and CDs for sale - see songlists.
Anglicans and Community Development Hui
21 and 22 April 2010
Tutua Marae, Te Araroa
The first in a series of wananga throughout 2010, this hui will provide a sharing and learning environment to hear stories from Anglicans involved with community development including neighbourhood revitalisation, environmental sustainability and local economic development. Marcus Akuhata-Brown and Pane Kawhia will be the keynote speakers, every participant will be expected to share some of their own experience.
For more information contact Manu Caddie, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0274 202 957.
Fair Trade Fortnight 1-16 May
This year’s theme is The Big Swap to fair trade goods. The fair trade mark guarantees a fair price to producers and provides for community chosen projects like health clinics and education. Churches are invited to sign up for A Fair Cuppa after a Sunday service during the fortnight. CWS will provide a resource kit. Contact email@example.com for further information. You can also become a Fair Trade Church, see http://www.cws.org.nz/what-can-i-do/your-church .
ACT Alliance is launched
A fun, energising music video has been released to celebrate the launch of the ACT Alliance on 24 March. ACT (Action by Churches Together) is a global alliance of 100 churches and church-related organisations working on humanitarian assistance and development. CWS is a founding member. The video features tribes in Brazil and India, refugees, human rights activists, people who struggle to survive, and people working for a just world. Check it out here.
Please keep the people in Haiti in your prayers. Conditions are still desperate as this poor nation struggles to cope with the aftermath of January’s devastating earthquake. The CWS Appeal remains open and much more support is needed to fund long term rebuilding as well as temporary shelter and trauma counselling. Donate on line www.cws.org.nz or download an appeal leaflet for your church from the resources section. A PowerPoint of moving images is available, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 0800 74 73 72.
Delight your Mum this Mother’s Day with a gift that keeps on giving. CWS has a range of gifts supporting partner organisations. Choose from water, chickens, goats, seeds and much more. Each gift comes with a paper magnet. See our Gifted section www.cws.org.nz or phone 0800 74 73 72.
Ordination and Inductions
Rev Christopher Bedford, Transition Minister, Dargaville Methodist Church, Churches Together in Northland, to Transition Minister, St Andrew’s/St Philip’s Presbyterian Church, Birkenhead/Birkdale, North Shore Presbytery, 18 February 2010.
Rev Stuart Simpson, Minister, Global Mission Enabler, Assembly Service Team, to Minister, St John’s in the City, Wellington Presbytery, 21 January 2010.
Rev Robert Pendreigh, Minister, Kaitaia Union Parish, Churches Together in Northland, to Minister, Cromwell Presbyterian Church, Central Otago Presbytery, 4 March 2010.
Rev Richard McLean, Minister Stated Supply, St John’s Presbyterian Hastings, Gisborne Hawke’s Bay Presbytery, to Minister, Plimmerton Presbyterian Church, Wellington Presbytery, 28 January 2010.
Changes in Status
Rev David Chang Jik Jung, Minister, Full Love Presbyterian Church, North Shore Presbytery, to Other Recognised Minister, North Shore Presbytery, 23 February 2010.
Rev Dr James Cunningham, Minister Emeritus, Wellington Presbytery, reappointed to Minister Stated Supply (part-time), St Andrew’s on The Terrace, Wellington, Wellington Presbytery, 28 February 2010 until 31 January 2011.
Mr Roland van Noppen, Lay Appointee, Owaka Presbyterian Church, Clutha Presbytery, 8 February 2010, for a two year term.
Rev Ejbert Schoneveld, Minister, Mackenzie Co-operating Parish, South Canterbury Presbytery, to Minister Emeritus, South Canterbury Presbytery, 1 March 2010.
Rev Dr Allan Davidson ONZM, Member, Lecturer St John’s College, Auckland Presbytery, to Minister Emeritus, Auckland Presbytery, 30 June 2009.
Rev Alexander Sutherland, Other Recognised Minister, Wellington Presbytery, to Minister Emeritus, Auckland Presbytery, 16 February 2010.
Rev Roger Wiig, Other Recognised Minister, Wellington Presbytery, to Minister Emeritus, Wellington Presbytery, 16 February 2010.
Rev Mark Farmer, Minister Emeritus, North Shore Presbytery, died 23 January 2010.
The Very Rev Thomas Corkill, Minister Emeritus, Wellington Presbytery, died 5 February 2010.
Rev Dr Nancy Burgess, Minister Emeritus, Wellington Presbytery, died 18 February 2010.
Welcome Bay Presbyterian Church changed its name to Light House – Church on the Hill, Kaimai Presbytery, 16 December 2009.