From the Moderator
Can we survive?
I think the Church is in a better place than it has been for decades, with more focus on our mission, interfacing with our communities, meeting real needs, and, I hope, a commitment to evangelism and disciple-making.
On the other hand, we know the story the numbers tell. We have suffered severe decline and many of our members are elderly, suggesting further significant decline in the next decade or two.
Can we rescue our Church or have we gone beyond the point of no return?
Firstly, it is not necessarily about rescuing the Church. It is about the growth of the Kingdom of God. Secondly, if the Church is to thrive again, we won’t do it. Paul said, “I planted; Apollos watered, but God gives the growth.”
We should put huge effort into developing leaders and strategic plans and relationships. We are responsible for how we plant and how we water, but we could end up with only a wet seed unless God gives growth.
The tenuous state of our Church ought to send us to our knees. Growth will not be achieved by hard work only. We need the blessing of God on our efforts. There is a network of intercessors and I am very grateful to Heather Simpson and Margie Rea for coordinating it. However, I would love to see much more prayer. Imagine the Church being known as a Church in prayer; a Church that knows it desperately needs God and is crying out to God?
Maybe each church could gather together those willing to pray regularly and passionately. Maybe more people could become part of the existing network - contact Heather Simpson email@example.com Maybe someone will feel called to give some national leadership in prayer. You? Should we humbly ask other denominations to pray for us?
Alongside the planting and watering, let’s prioritise praying. It might be our only hope.
If you have other ideas regarding how we can foster more prayer within our denomination, please email me Peter@followers.org.nz
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
I have just returned from Kaimai Presbytery’s two day event in Matamata. The first day was committed to strengthening the development of collegiality and support among the ministers of the region, and the second day looked at critical strategic questions for the presbytery. It was a very well organised and supportive event, with terrific food and hospitality from the people at St Andrew’s Presbyterian in Matamata.
These events are really strengthening for our whole Church. If you would like to find out more about how they do things in Kaimai, or how to structure an event like this, then please Garry Marquand who is leading our presbytery reform process.
Earthquake appeal update
Once again I would like to convey profound thanks from all those in Christchurch who have benefited from the wonderful generosity of individuals, congregations and presbyteries around New Zealand and overseas that contributed so generously to the appeal. We have received over $300 000. Wonderful! A significant portion of this money has been distributed to congregations in the Christchurch Presbytery to support them and their ministers and their ongoing engagement with their communities, as well as helping meet immediate costs associated with dealing with the damage caused by the earthquakes. The remainder of the donated money will be used for medium to longer term challenges supporting redevelopment and rebuilding of the Church’s presence and mission in Christchurch.
Congregations and individuals can make an offering by direct bank credit to the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, account number 02 0500 0086963 00. Please include the reference: CHQUAKE
Or, please post to, Financial Services, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, PO Box 9049, Wellington 6141.
We will conclude the appeal at the end of June.
Many of you will be undertaking your annual budget setting processes. The PressGo team, led by Ray Coster, has been able to support some wonderfully positive, innovative and church-growth focused mission initiatives around the country. This work can only continue if your congregation agrees to free some of your resources to assist these new initiatives. One day the PressGo team might be able to help you, but in the meantime please consider releasing some of your resources to support this critical work in the life of our Church. Contact Ray for more details and visit the PressGo web page.
Special legislative procedure
The General Assembly decided that now all parish councils as well as presbyteries, UDC’s and Te Aka Puaho should be given the opportunity to discuss and decide on proposed changes in our Book of Order. There were a number of proposed changes and significant background information given to Commissioners explaining why some of these changes were important. All parish councils and presbyteries have now been sent this documentation and will need to set aside time to discuss and vote on the proposals. To download a copy of these documents please click here. If you are a presbytery clerk, UDC secretary, or parish council convenor and have not received these documents please contact me. The deadline for replies is 31 August 2011. This material can be downloaded here.
Please note that a fresh copy of the Kupu Whakapono and the Commentary that been corrected of typos and laid out in a clearer format and is now available here. You might find it easier to use this copy in your considerations under the relevant Special legislative procedure.
General Assembly 2012
The dates for next year’s General Assembly will be on or about Thursday 11 to Sunday 14 October at Rotorua Boy’s High School. General Assembly will be hosted jointly by Te Aka Puaho and the Kaimai Presbytery.
Council of Assembly
If there is any matter which you would like to raise with the Council please write to me by July 8. The Council meet in Wellington on 22-23 July.
We have on file an electronic copy of CWM’s “Sharing our Common Resources”. It is a large file and contains a summary of all the resources provided by CWM. If you would like a copy of this document please contact me.
I am pleased to announce that Angela Singer has been appointed as communications manager and will lead the work of our communications team. Angela has been working for us for over three years as the senior communications advisor. We are still looking for a person to fill the role of communications advisor to support Angela and our communications work. If you are interested in the role, or know of anyone who might be, please see the ad on our website. Applications to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may have noticed a few recent additions to the Church website. We have added to the front page easy-to-find picture “buttons” to click on for our national ministries and archives. We also now have a Te Aka Puaho webpage where you will find the first of Te Aka Puaho’s new regular newsletters, Te Waka Karaitiana.
Ministry Development Programme
In order for ministers to retain their certificate of good standing, it is essential that they participate in the Ministry Development Programme and complete their first ministry review by October 2013. I will be sending out a reminder, but please get onto this as the number of reviewers are limited and the process can take some time. Many have already benefited from the review process. The consequences of not being a minister in good standing in our Church are quite significant. This does not apply to retired ministers, unless they are in, or plan to return to, some active recognised ministry role. Full details available here.
Thank you to everyone who entered the draw for tickets to attend the Fathers Breakfast in Wellington. Two lucky fathers have been drawn; they are Mark Tulia (St Paul's Trinity Pacific Presbyterian Church, Christchurch) and Ryhan Prassad (Wadestown Presbyterian Church, Wellington). Congratulations, we hope you will find this event provides further encouragement for your work mentoring to children and young people.
Once again, I would like to express by great thanks for your generous support and especially for the overwhelming commitment of prayers, money, time and goods which have been such a blessing for those in Christchurch.
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Over the past year the Rev Dr Simon Rae has been writing a history of the former Theological Hall and School of Ministry. The resultant book, “Challenge and Change”, makes for a most interesting read and will be launched at Knox College on Tuesday 14 June at 5 pm. If you would like to attend the book launch, please let the Registrar know by Friday 10 June, email email@example.com.
The deadline for our annual music scholarships has been extended to 15 June. Do encourage church musicians aged between 18 and 30 years to apply. Details about the scholarships can be found on our website.
A new Handbook for Elders is available from the Knox Centre, and the Principal and staff are available to lead presbytery workshops on this and other aspects of ministry upon request.
Opportunities to serve in mission - partnership with the Uniting Church in Australia
This month we have negotiated an exciting extension to a long-standing partnership with the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA). Global Mission will partner with Uniting World, the international mission department of the UCA (Uniting World’s current national director is the Rev Kerry Enright, our former Assembly Executive Secretary).
Uniting World has 35 international partnerships throughout the Pacific and in Asia, mostly with churches our Church is in partnership with.
We have agreed to open our opportunities for service and experience to each other’s members and church communities and in the next year we will explore ways of grounding the agreement in practical ways.
Uniting World has four programs:
- Church Solidarity – working with partner churches in areas such as advocacy, ministry, evangelism, theological education and welfare
- Experience - enabling people and groups to serve with partner churches
- Relief and development - accredited with AusAid, so it is well funded by the Australian Government
- Young Ambassadors for Peace – opportunities for young people to engage in peace making in conflicted communities in Asia and the Pacific
We will begin this valuable cooperation by working with their Experience Program.
- At any one time they have about 100 positions for supported volunteers, and in June we will publicise a new list and receive applications. Find information here. For more information contact them directly or Global Mission at firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications for New Zealanders will be made through Global Mission.
- Uniting World Experience has produced some excellent on-line training resources for those wishing to participate in mission, for use by individuals and groups. They have graciously given us access to these resources. Contact email@example.com to participate and enrol in a course.
Uniting World aims “to connect communities for life”. Like us, they aim to engage in God’s mission and establish transformative relationships between local church communities and overseas churches, working with justice, compassion and in faith. It will be great to join together.
Global Mission Coordinator
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
Connect is sold out! We have over 210 participants descending on Living Springs in July for Connect this year and a growing waiting list of people hoping to get a place if someone pulls out. For those interested in what’s on offer workshop-wise, click here.
In June, Andrew Root is taking three one day training sessions in Auckland, Saturday 25June; Wellington, Monday 27June; and Christchurch, Tuesday 28June. He will be exploring the impact of divorce on children and young people. In addition to this Andrew will be exploring what the Church can offer to those struggling with death and despair in their forms, from broken relationships to lost jobs to the seeming lack of meaning in our contemporary society. This day is not just for youth leaders. It will be immensely beneficial for ministers, church leaders, and those involved in areas of pastoral care or who simply have friends going through a difficult time. For further information and to register click here.
I recently attended the South Island Pastors Conference where Murray Talbot was sharing his story and journey at Hornby. It was encouraging hearing what a number of older ‘non-stereotypical’ youth leaders are up to in their ministry to and with young people.
Gordon and I took some workshops at the Children, Youth, and Family Pressy expo day in Auckland. Gordon stayed on for Faithfest, a youth service that draws from Kaimai and Auckland. There was a regional youth service on the Sunday. There are an increasing number of events that connect our youth workers together: youth worker breakfasts in Dunedin; the youth leaders collective in Christchurch; joint youth ministry committee in Wellington, to name a few. Encourage your youth workers to link into a network near you. We are stronger together than isolated and apart.
Youth Ministry Development Leader
During my travels of the South Island to visit family, I had the pleasure of attending services at Knox Church, Christchurch, and St Andrew's at Rangi Ruru Presbyterian Church. Everyone in these churches was very welcoming and it was wonderful to hear members of each congregation being drawn closer together and adapting well to their new changed circumstances.
The Rev Dr Geoff King, in the Knox Church hall, called all to worship. Kia ora tatou! Kia ora! We gather as different people; we look different, we sound different; we think different thoughts and feel different emotions. We are not one and the same, and yet, we are called to be together. In this time of worship we gather around a common story, reflect on a common history, and ponder together what our next steps should be in our ongoing journey of faith. We gather around the simple symbol of a candle: May its flame in our midst remind us of the light of God's love, the peace of God's presence, and the warmth of God's welcome in Christ embracing us all (this was adapted from “Seasons of the Spirit”).
We all shared our names and why these names were chosen for us.
Rodney Routledge at St Andrew’s welcomed all, "Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love" Psalm 31:16. Rodney had attended the funeral of a close religious leader and friend, he was saddened that the church did not know his friend as he and others knew him. He referred to Robin Meyers book “Saving Jesus from the Church” and quoted, "Jesus as teacher not saviour, Christianity as compassion not condemnation, prosperity as dangerous not divine, discipleship as obedience not control and religion as relationship not righteousness".
There is much sadness in Christchurch but within these two church congregations there can also be found much evidence of hope. It was inspiring to see everyone busy helping one another in caring and practical ways.
To educate the child or nurture the spirit?
I recently met with a colleague who has just completed her Masters on the spirituality of preschoolers. She found that despite our national early childhood curriculum te Whaariki advocating the nurture of the child’s spirit, there was little understanding of what spirituality is or how to nurture it.
I think ignorance of what children’s spirituality is exists in many of our churches too. Often our primary focus in children’s programmes is to educate (how many children’s leaders are still guided by “Christian Education Committees”?) rather than to nurture the spirit. While the early Sunday School goal of educating disadvantaged children was noble, providing religious knowledge is unlikely to encourage a spiritual life. “Knowing can detract from loving God and others” suggests Dr Rebecca Nye in her book, “Children’s Spirituality” (available from Hewitson Library).
Too often our efforts to evangelise children involve first teaching children certain truths and then allowing them to belong to our community of faith. However, I think Jesus role modelled something different. He called his disciples to belong before they believed. In belonging they grew to believe and then adopt new ways of behaving.
“Belonging is the breeding ground for belief and action” (“Evangelisation of Children”, Lausanne Occasional Paper).
How do we encourage belonging in the children who worship in our church? I was deeply touched by the way the Rev Pauline Stewart did this in a recent service to commission Lucy Davey who recently joined the Kids Friendly team. After explaining to the congregation and the children (seated up front so they could more easily be engaged in the proceedings) what was happening, Pauline invited all the children to lay hands on Lucy and I while one of our elders prayed for us and our work. She then invited 12 of the children to serve communion with 12 elders. The children were key to this important event and I have no doubt they felt valued and had a sense of belonging.
“When evaluating your work with children ask not what they learned from you, but what you learned from being with them,” suggests Dr Nye.
Those 60 little hands touching every part of my body as I kneeled before them is something I certainly will never forget.
Kids Friendly Coach
Services for Matariki, 4 June
The Maori New Year begins on 4 June. Matariki may be translated as tiny eyes, (or eyes of God) and refers to a star cluster, the Pleiades, that appears in the sky in June. The eyes are thought to watch over the land and its people.
Matariki services are available on the Church website.
Myanmar January 2012: A pilgrimage of pain and hope
See firsthand the difference we are making in the lives of our friends in Myanmar; feel God's love working in this nation.
Hear some amazing stories and be privileged to share and serve with them.
Experience a friendship that is transforming lives and communities both in Myanmar and New Zealand.
Be blessed, encouraged, challenged and inspired by these amazing people.
To express an interest in being a part of the January team, please contact Myanmar Partnership Coordinator, Angela, phone 021 357 708 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Opportunities to volunteer in South Korea
Volunteers (a minister and Sunday School teachers) are required to take Bible study for primary school students (holiday programme) in Deagu City in South Korea.
18 July - 1 August 2011
USD$1000 provided for air travel. Home stay accommodation.
Church Property Trustees
What Presbyterian Investment Fund (PIF) interest rate to use when preparing a parish budget?
Around this time of year the Church Property Trustees are often asked what interest rate should be used to forecast parish earnings. Unfortunately, forecasting interest rates is like forecasting next week's weather - very easy to do, but very hard to get right!! In the hope of being helpful, the Trustees are indicating how we see things, but also that we could easily be wrong.
Since we set the current PIF interest rate of 5.25 percent last September, interest rates have drifted lower. Over time, this puts pressure on us to also drop the PIF interest rate because every time an investment matures, we are forced to reinvest at a lower rate. This means that while the PIF rate is unlikely to change in the next few months, there is a risk that it will go down a little either later this year or early next year. So, with this in mind, parishes might want to consider using something a little lower than the current rate - say 5 percent - when preparing their budgets.
Knox Centre Music Scholarships 2011 –deadline for applications extended until 15 June 2011
Each year, the Knox Centre offers six music scholarships. The deadline for applications is usually 30 April, but because of a shortage of applications this deadline has been extended to 15 June.
The purpose of the music scholarships is to encourage and equip young musicians in the conduct of public worship. Each scholarship consists of an expenses-paid two-day workshop on music and worship at the Knox Centre, plus a $250 cash grant.
Applicants must be under 30 years of age. The next music and worship workshop will be held in December 2011, to coincide with the Samstock music festival.
Applications for the above scholarships will close on the 15th June 2011. Enquiries can be directed to the Principal of the Knox Centre. To apply for the scholarships, write a letter of application to the Principal detailing the nature of your involvement in music and worship, and include with your letter a reference from your Minister.
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership, Arden Street, Opoho, Dunedin 9010.
Ignite Sport “Chalk Talk” with Principal Youth Court Judge, Andrew Becroft, 9 June, Lower Hutt
An evening in support of the mission work of Ignite Sport. Through sport we have a tremendous opportunity to make a difference and positively influence young people and our wider sports community. Come and hear stories of challenge and change.
9 June, 7.30-9 pm
Crossroads Salvation Army, Lower Hutt
Complimentary coffee and cheesecake
RSVP by 3 June to email@example.com or phone (04) 920 2204
New book by Lynne Baab
Lynne Baab has written a new book, “Real Relationships in a Virtual World” (2011), exploring friendship as a spiritual practice in the Facebook age. You can read the first chapter.
Spiritual Growth Ministries 2011 programme
Copies of the 2011 Spiritual Growth Ministries programme of quiet days, retreats and resources for the spiritual journey, and the latest Refresh-Lite, with news of the new editor, are available from Carole Hunt, 55 Navigation Drive, Whitby, Porirua 5024 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
New Zealand Christian Network (Vision Network) newsletter
Read or sign up for the New Zealand Christian Network (Vision Network) newsletter
Alcohol Action 2nd Annual Conference: The Politics of Alcohol, 6 July 2011
Imagine NZ without alcohol damage!
Register for Alcohol Action’s conference at Te Papa, Wellington on 6 July (previously postponed due to the Christchurch earthquake).
Live below the Line
CWS invites young people to Live below the Line. The Global Poverty Project has chosen CWS as a partner for their national fundraising effort 22-26 August. Money raised will help young people in Maridi, South Sudan, with education, sports programmes and to build hope in difficult times. The Global Poverty Project is an international movement of young people taking concerted action to end extreme poverty. The challenge is to live on $2.25 or less per day and raise sponsorship support. Contact email@example.com if your group is interested in joining the challenge.
Information on the challenges facing CWS and its partners are outlined in the latest edition of @world. Changes in government funding, and the disruption of two earthquakes, have contributed to a shortfall in funding for long-term partners doing critical work in poor communities. We are asking New Zealand churches to help us keep doing a world of good, from South Sudan to Haiti. Contact CWS on 0800 74 73 72 or firstname.lastname@example.org for resources.
World Week for Peace in Israel Palestine
CWS invites churches and individuals to join in prayer and action for peace in Israel Palestine from 29 May – 4 June. Further information is available: www.cws.org.nz
World Refugee Day
Worship resources for World Refugee Day (20 June) will be available 2 June with the theme ‘One refugee without hope is too many’. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the UN Convention relating to refugees.
Appeals for assistance in Japan and other emergencies remain open. They can be made at www.cws.org.nz or sent to PO Box 22652, Christchurch 8142, email email@example.com or phone 03 366 9274 or 0800 74 73 72.
Ordination and Inductions
Rev Matthew Chapman, Licentiate, Northern Presbytery, to Associate Minister, St Columba at Botany, Manakau City, Northern Presbytery, 12 May 2011.
Rev Martin Fey, Licentiate, Northern Presbytery, to Minister, St David’s-in-the-Fields, Hillsborough, Auckland, Northern Presbytery, 4 May 2011.
Rev Tom Waight, Minister, St Andrew’s Presbyterian, Wanganui Presbytery, to Minister (Methodist appointment), Wellsford Co-operating, Northern Presbytery, 3 April 2011.
Rev Colin Hay, Minister Emeritus, Southern Presbytery, to Minister Emeritus, South Canterbury Presbytery, 9 March 2011.
Mrs Jeanette Vink, Lay Appointee (Congregational Union appointment - part-time), Raglan District Union, 1 May 2011.
Mrs Brenda Marshall, Lay Appointee (Presbyterian appointment), St James Union, Woodville and St Paul’s Union Pahiatua, Wanganui Presbytery, 1 May 2011 (part-time).
Rev Harry Morgan, Minister, St Andrew’s First Church, Symonds St, Auckland, to Minister Emeritus, 30 April 2011.
Rev Shirley Fergusson, Minister Emeritus, Kaimai Presbytery, died 5 May 2011.
Rev Alan Quigley, Minister Emeritus, Northern Presbytery, died 27 April 2011.
Check out our listing of national and regional events.