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From the Moderator
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Presbyterian Research Centre
New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services
That's all from me ...
Proud to be Presbyterian
A very BIG thank you for the honour and privilege of serving as Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand. A big thanks to Garry, Matt and the team at St Columba for keeping the home fires burning. Here's why I'm proud to be Presbyterian (my list is not exhaustive - I could not do every thing and be everywhere. I'm sorry I did not get to visit more ethnic congregations and rural ministries)...
- St Columba at Botany: support, prayer and encouragement
- General Assembly 14: a turning point of inspiration
- Malcolm Gordon: Beneath the Southern Cross
- Vanuatu visit and appeal post cyclone: an amazing response!
- 200th centennial of the gospel: representing our Church
- Opening of the refurbished Te Maungarongo marae Ohope: our place of reconciliation and peace
- Waitangi Day celebrations at Te Maungarongo marae: new beginnings
- Church schools’ conferences: relationships and mission
- Working with Presbyterian Support (national and regional): making a difference in NZ society
- Justice and Action: a resource for our Church to take action on issues of social justice
- Inspiring mission events throughout the country
- Ministers' and presbytery retreats: spiritual nourishment
- Fostering international relationships: Korea, Taiwan, Australia and Vanuatu
- Heads of churches chairperson and meetings with Prime Minister: rediscovery of voice
- Facilitation of PIC leaders conversation: a beginning
- Opening of St Andrew's Centennial Chapel, Christchurch: WOW
- Hui on diversity: courage to speak and listen
- White paper and green papers: engagement and the birth of green volunteers
- The breath and depth of our Church through my numerous pastoral visits: amazing people of life and faith
Signs of hope
- Regional towns with vibrant ministries: for example Waitara, Queenstown, Warkworth, Waipukerau, Whakatane, Clevedon…
- KCML: innovations and interns
- Kids Friendly: Transformers - Raising Up Young Leaders
- PYM: Connect and Going Further
- Hope Christchurch and Rotorua District Presbyterian Church: team ministries
- Alpine Presbytery: strategic direction, relational connectedness and mission enabling
- Courage to change: Whakatu Presbyterian Church (Nelson and districts)
Not so proud
- Our difficulty to be in conversation about our division and woundedness as a Church
- Institutional lack of imagination and courage and to address the challenges we face as a denomination
- More talk about money and property than about spiritual vitality
- Church politics
- Debates that divide
Nga mihi nui
Dear friends and colleagues
The words go: “you in your small corner, and I in mine”. It is easy to become so focused on our own little world that we fail to see the wider picture. While it is now only a couple of weeks out from our General Assembly, I have recently shared in two gatherings that have reminded me there is life and a world beyond the preparation for Assembly!
First, the visit to Aotearoa New Zealand by the general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), the Rev Dr Olav Fykse-Tveit. A powhiri to welcome him, his wife and Katalina Tahaafe-Williams (also from the World Council of Churches) at Te Karaiti te Pou Herenga Waka marae (Auckland) served as a reminder ofthe wider family to which our Church belongs. Like all organisations, the WCC is seeking to find new ways forward. Tveit said, “We learn from the past, from the strength and the weaknesses of what has been, as we look forward to the only space where we can do something: the future.”
Second, my Methodist counterpart the Rev David Bush and I shared four days of meeting with the Assembly General Secretary of the Uniting Church of Australia as well as of the general secretaries of each state. There are many common issues which we face; listening and learning from others in this part of the world is a very important aspect of this. We gather together about every 18 months. Our Moderator together with the moderators from each Australian state and the Assembly Moderator of the Uniting Church of Australia also join together each year.
Our Assembly should be both an effective forum for our Church’s business, and also an opportunity for us to celebrate, learn and grow together. I am very conscious of the enormous amount of extra work that has been undertaken by so many around this event.
With the theme of Hope, we are invited to gather together and take the opportunity for thanksgiving and mutual encouragement, but also a time of discernment for how God may be calling us to mission at this time and place.
Our incoming Moderator, the Rev Richard Dawson has asked that we might direct as much prayer as possible toward the themes on the Five Smooth Stones prayer card, which are available through your parish, presbytery or synod. Richard writes:
“Can I ask that as much prayer as possible be directed toward the themes on the prayer card both before and during Assembly? Our General Assembly is unique and potentially extremely effective because it is not merely a gathering of local churches, nor an executive branch of the Church. Rather, we in the Reform tradition see this as the whole Church in prayer before the one, holy and gracious God who will answer our prayers, which we will pray in unity and faith together. Make no mistake about it; the key task of Assembly is to seek God in prayer for the whole Church. If we are to achieve this, we need to start praying now for this meeting. If we are to avoid the mistakes of the past, and offer our hard working presbyteries and parishes some real hope, we must pray for this meeting.”
So as we prepare – let us be a prayerful people; not only for our time together, but also for God’s mission in the world.
The Assembly will commence with a powhiri and opening service at Knox Church, George Street, Dunedin at 7pm on Tuesday, 15 November. Assembly will meet at the University of Otago from Wednesday morning until its conclusion at lunch time on Saturday, 19 November. If you are not going to be at Assembly, then sign-up to receive daily email updates from GA16.
Notices of motion for the Assembly due by 5pm Tuesday, 15 November
The deadline for notices of motion has been set as 5pm Tuesday, 15 November. After this date only motions arising from dialogue or debate will be accepted.
Calling a newly trained minister
This year six people will complete their training as interns. They are a great group of people and represent a range of backgrounds and experience. All are eager to commit themselves to ministry within the life of a congregation or in other ministry roles. Profiles for each person are available from the Rev Allister Lane who coordinates introductions and discussions between final year interns and ministry settlement boards. Profiles for the interns are also in the Spring edition of Spanz. For more information, please contact Allister.
Update your office bearer contacts
We use electronic communication to share information, update on important matters and pass on other news. Our office’s ability to do this is dependent on church councils advising updates to key contact people, changes in email etc. As many of these changes are often linked to AGMs, please pass on any changes to Lynne from our office, so that we can ensure we are communicating with the appropriate office bearers.
Thank you for your support and encouragement.
Youth commissioners at GA16
The PYM team has been really enjoying supporting this year's youth commissioners. We have produced a number of orientation videos, taken youth commissioners through this year's proposals both on Skype and in person, and commissioners have been engaging in discussion via a Facebook group.
Youth commissioners will meet each other for the first time in the flesh at 1:30pm on 15 Nov for our onsite orientation.
Going Further (7-12 Feb 2017)
It’s good to see people starting to sign up for Going Further, our young adults discipleship camp in the Christchurch CBD. We will be located in a youth hostel in the heart of Christchurch, and live out a monastic daily pilgrimage with teaching by Andrew and Kara Root in Knox Presbyterian Church, mid-day prayers in the Cardboard Cathedral and spiritual practices in the Botanic Gardens and CBD streets.
Each year we get fantastic feedback from participants, and interestingly they say that they attended because they were personally invited by a minister or past participant. Please prayerfully invite young adults (17-30) in your congregation.
With over 200 children and youth leaders trained in our Safety WOF this year, the last opportunity to grab training in 2016 is in Auckland on Saturday, 5 November at Somervell Presbyterian Church. This free training day includes:
- Code of ethics
- Risk management
- Health and safety
- Police vetting checks
National Youth Manager
At our recent AGM, the Rev Johanna Warren led us in devotions with a reading from Mark 4: “He also said, ‘The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how...”
We reflected on our theme “Sowing Seeds for the Future” and asked “Whose seeds?” God’s: filled with God’s DNA from long or short experience of living with and observing God. Celebrate these seeds and every shoot, every sign of growth.
“Loving God, we are Presbyterian Women of Aotearoa New Zealand, immigrants and tangata whenua, newcomers to Presbyterian Women, and old hands who have served in many capacities locally and nationally… We are moving through a time of transition, of change, of hope and worry, of care and struggle.
Some of us come from small congregations. Some from congregations with very few women under 60 years of age, but we all live and work among younger women and girls, and our dream is to serve them in a way that releases them to be Presbyterian women, loving and serving you in their own way…
We are so glad of all that PWANZ stands for: the tradition and history - PWMU, APW, and our local groups, whatever we call them - are all led by you, fed by you, shaped by your love. We have a rich heritage, and there is a depth in our lives and in our activities in the groups of neighbours back home, as well as our national body, which will nurture seedlings for your forests of the future. So may we be seeds of life, for every season in our future, and in the future of our communities, sharing your grace with your people.
We are preparing for the Spring block course which runs the week before and the week of General Assembly. The block course will culminate in the graduation service for six wonderful interns from four different cultures who are eager to find a place to serve in our Church. We are also preparing for the Ministers’ Training Day (14th Nov) and are excited by the fact that over 100 ministers have enrolled for that. We continue to secure internships for the incoming group of ordinands for 2017.
Steve Taylor addressed Northern Presbytery late last month and preached at Auckland Chinese Presbyterian Church twice. As part of the Hope Conference at General Assembly, he will also be leading a stream (three sessions over three days) with Lisa Wells and Jill Kayser. Steve will be presenting one of the plenary sessions at the Ministers’ Resourcing Day with Lynne Taylor. They will be presenting research on how churches pray after tragedy. Mark Johnston is presenting the afternoon plenary session – “Christ Plays in 10000 Places”.
Malcolm Gordon is continuing his work on a new album and the video for the Presbyterian schools’ centenary song. He is also continuing to develop inter-generational material for Advent with Kids Friendly. Two other major events in November for Malcolm are leading worship for General Assembly and the graduation and moving house!
Dean of Studies
Initial planning is currently underway for our new website. As part of this we are planning to create some themed photo galleries that can be linked to other archival material (as appropriate) and library resources.
We have thousands of wonderful photos spanning many years illustrating church history, official events, people and buildings, but we don’t have many of “everyday” church events. We would love to collect some photos celebrating church seasons and events like harvest, Easter, Palm Sunday, Christmas, animal blessings, light parties, picnics or fairs etc. If your parish has a collection of photos like this, we would love to get copies (either digital or print) of some photographs. Please include as much information as possible about who (or what) is in the photo and approximately which year was the photo was taken. We can also scan print photos or albums and return them to you once they have been digitised.
Our galleries need to include recent photos as well as “through the ages” so as you plan future celebrations, please consider sending us one or two that you would like to share. We know that these are often made available on Facebook, but for archival purposes we need higher resolution photos. Please share this on your parish Facebook pages or newsletters, and we look forward to a new influx of treasures!
The Presbyterian Church is part of the New Zealand Council for Christian Social Services (NZCCSS) alongside Presbyterian Support. The Council works for a just and compassionate society as a continuation of the mission of Jesus Christ. The Council meets regularly with senior government officials to influence social policy.
“Currently we’re trusted in the community because of our independence,” says NZCCSS executive officer, Trevor McGlinchey, “but a quiet revolution is occurring that could have profound impact on that”.
From this month, when Christian social services contract to provide a new government budget assistance programme, service providers will be required hand over individual client data. (Read more about the government's Community Investment Strategy which identifies the social investment approach to contracting for programmes and services.)
"The NZCCSS is concerned because vulnerable families trust us as safe, honest and independent, and therefore fully committed to their wellbeing. These are families impacted by violence, drug and alcohol addictions; their eligibility for benefits may be uncertain; they may have outstanding warrants for arrest or fines. Christian social services know children in these families are extremely vulnerable, and our support is often the critical factor in keeping them safe.
“Once service provision is contingent on the collection and supply of individualised data to government, our independence is compromised and we become a de facto arm of government. As a result, people may not seek the help they need – resulting in negative impacts on families and vulnerable children.”
“We don’t object to the sharing anonymous data to allow analysis of service effectiveness, but handing over individualised data could lead to the rationing of services in a ‘social investment’ environment. Government may decide to limit support – or investment – to an individual or family – because the return on investment isn’t sufficient to warrant further cost.
“Our members know we’re all created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and don’t measure human worth in dollars. Rather we see the potential for hope and transformation in everyone.”
The Presbyterian Church's representative on NZCCSS, Diane Gilliam-Weeks, says congregations can help by writing to their member of parliament to safeguard the independence of Christian social service providers.
Peace in the Pacific
CWS invites you to hear the Rev Francois Pihaatae from the Pacific Conference of Churches. From Maohi Nui (Tahiti), he will speak at 7:30pm on 10 November 2016 at Grey Lynn Presbyterian Church, 487 Great North Road, Grey Lynn, Auckland. Read more
Haiti Hurricane Appeal
CWS is asking for prayers and donations after Hurricane Matthew swept through Haiti. The UN says that 1.4 million people need assistance. CWS partner, the Institut Culturel Karl Lévêque, reports many of the poor and often isolated communities with whom it works have been badly affected. A trusted organisation, they will make sure that people get the help they need. CWS has launched an appeal to assist 10,000 families with food, shelter materials, seeds, goats, water purification tablets, rehydrating salts and information on cholera protection. Please pray for those who are hungry or in danger from the spread of cholera.
Pray for Iraq
ACT Alliance is providing help to people displaced by the attack on Mosul, Iraq. Please pray for them.
Pauline McKay and David Lawson will be at General Assembly. Please introduce yourself.
CWS is mailing out orders for this year’s Christmas Appeal, Give Us Hope. It is not too late to order extra resources. Posters are available in 10 languages. Resources for Advent including candle lighting, prayers and reflections are being added to the website. Please contact Emma if there is anything you need to promote the Appeal with your congregation.
Please share this notice in your bulletin: Here’s your chance to send soccer balls to South Sudan or a chicken to Palestine. Buy Gifted and multiply your giving – a card for friends and family and a life-giving gift for someone in need. Copies of the catalogue can be ordered from Emma.
Amendments to the church register will be published in the December edition of Bush Telegraph.
Activism, despair and the practice of hope
A lecture led by the Rev Dr Rebecca Dudley about how we can engage and respond to global realities like economic poverty, social inequality, geopolitical insecurity, environmental vulnerability is being held at St John’s in the City, Monday, 7 November. Read more
Christchurch ecumenism course
A course that introduces students to the study of ecumenism is available in Christchurch in late February 2017. The course is jointly organised by the National Dialogue for Christian Unity Aotearoa New Zealand, and Centre for Ecumenical Studies, Charles Sturt University, Australia. Read more
Pipe organ available for sale
The Anglican Parish of Avondside in Christchurch wishes to sell its undamaged 1883 pipe organ. It was rescued from the church just before the big earthquake of 2012. It is valued at $700,000. Offers? For further information, contact Rev Jill Keir on 021 212 3210 or the parish on 03 389 6948.
Rev Dr Margaret Boles, a pastor for a Presbyterian USA multi-cultural congregation with 175 members in the Silicon Valley (about 40 minutes south of San Francisco) would like to explore the possibility of a pulpit exchange. Ideally the exchange would be for a month to six weeks in August or September of 2017. Contact Margaret at her church for further details if you are interested: ph 650-494-1760
Clinical pastoral care course
The Rotorua Centre for Clinical Pastoral Education will be running an 18-week extended clinical pastoral education course in Rotorua. The course runs from 14 February to 29 June 2017 and will be led by Rev Ray Bloomfield. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
WCC calls for ban on nuclear weapons at UN
Governments should capitalise on years of growing concern and negotiate a ban on nuclear weapons next year, the World Council of Churches (WCC) said in an inter-religious call at the United Nations in October. Read more
Gerontology nursing conference
Internationally acclaimed US professor and nurse theorist, Dr Jean Watson, will be keynote speaker at the Selwyn Foundation’s Gerontology Nursing Conference on 7 December 2016 in Auckland. For more information on costs and how to register, click here
Pastoral care of ageing people
The Selwyn Foundation is running a course on the pastoral care of ageing people. The course will be held in both Auckland on 4, 5, 18 and 19 November. Read more
Presbyterian Investment Fund
The Church Property Trustees advise that the interest rate paid on Presbyterian Investment Fund deposits remains at 3.25% percent per annum. This rate became effective on 1 May 2016. The Fund is open to parishes, but not to individuals. For further information, please contact executive officer, Kos van Lier.
Glen Innis vacancies
Ministers are entitled to one week’s free accommodation at Glen Innis every year. Check out vacancies over the next couple of months here
Check out the latest events from around our Church and from Christian organisations and partners. Read more on the listing of international, national and regional events.
Check out our job vacancies page and the ministerial vacancies table.