Use these links to navigate to the any section of the magazine. Happy reading!
From the Moderator
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Presbyterian Research Centre
I'm on the home straight! A very big thanks for the amazing support and encouragement you have given me during my term as Moderator. I've enjoyed almost every minute! I'll have more to say about this at the upcoming Assembly in November.
If you haven't already seen the series of short "white space conversations", be sure to download the set of six, which are available on my Moderator's Blog. These are designed for sessions and parish councils to ask some questions that have not thought to ask or are avoiding.
- 15 Oct - St Columba Botany men's breakfast - "The poet"
- 17-18 Oct - Alpine Presbytery retreat - "Seasons"
- 21 Oct - Hope Hornby - "The leadership challenge: friends and enemies"
- 24 Oct - St Andrew's College chapel opening - "Lost in wonder"
- 29 Oct - Northern Presbytery gathering - "The present future Church"
- 30 Oct - Whangaparaoa - "God was in this place and I, i did not realise it."
Dear friends and colleagues
Much of our work is clearly focused on our upcoming Assembly. In the light of deadlines, time frames, meetings, requests and demands it is easy to lose focus. As reports come in; as all the work required is in danger of becoming all-consuming – it is good to pause to reflect and to give thanks – for all those people that stand behind each of the reports.
A huge number of volunteer hours have been gifted; a wide range of skills, gifts and abilities have been shared; the talented and thoughtful considerations that have kept people up late at night discerning a way forward – all offered and undertaken not for personal gain – but so that we together may be about following the call of God, and to be all that God is both asking and inviting us to be at this time. I, for one, am immensely grateful…
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 updates from GA16.
Assembly White Book
The White Book is expected to be available in early October.
Notices of motion for the Assembly due by 5pm Tuesday, 15 November
Following a recent meeting of the Assembly Business Work Group, the deadline for notices of motion has been set as 5pm on Tuesday, 15 November. After this date only motions arising from dialogue or debate will be accepted.
Visit by the General Secretary of World Council of Churches
I would also like to draw your attention to the upcoming visit of the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches - Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit.
He arrives on Thursday, 6 October and will be welcomed with a powhiri in Auckland. On the next day he will be in Dunedin, including a public lecture and engaging with students. On the weekend of 8-9 October, he will be in Christchurch – including a Saturday lunch with church and community leaders. On Sunday he will be preaching at an ecumenical service at Knox Presbyterian at 10am. Late the same day he travels to Auckland and will preach at an ecumenical service at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Parnell at 7pm.
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.
Risk management and ministry ethics workshops
Once every three years, ministers must attend one of these workshops to maintain their Certificates of Good Standing. I will be working with all presbyteries to schedule these half-day workshops in times and places to enable wide participation. Please note that these workshops are also open for church staff, elders and others who exercise pastoral care. These workshops are funded from the national budget, and so are free for all to attend.
Discount card is available
Some time ago the Church secured a discount card for our members, through All Churches Services. The card offers discounts from retailers like Noel Leeming, Office Max, Repco, Thrifty rental cars and others. These cards are free and are available to all folk who are part of the life of the Church. If you would like some for your congregation – please contact me.
Copiers and printers
A special deal for churches has been offered by Fuji Xerox for copiers. The deal includes the copier, consumables and service/support with no fixed monthly fee or lease. Fuji Xerox will also help with ending legacy contracts which your parish may have entered into. For more information, please contact Gemma Edgar, strategic customer account manager.
Thanks again for your prayers and support of the people and the work of Assembly office.
I’ve just re-read Hamish Galloway’s 2013 sabbatical report “Empowering the next generation – young adults and the church”. It’s a worthwhile local perspective to my “kite” of research on inter-generational church. I want to find every possible tool (and voice) to motivate and resource our church leaders and congregations to grasp the importance of fostering inter-generational community. Scriptures command it, Jesus role models it, post-moderns desire it, research confirms the importance of it, but as is often the case, the church is the last to get it, even though we were the first to have it.
“Inter-generationality is our Christian faith’s past and future” says John Roberto, author of Generations Together and founder of Lifelong Faith Associates.
Our denomination’s commitment to become “Kids Friendly” over the past 13 years has laid a solid foundation for us to build on. Churches who have committed to work to become “Kids Friendly” report a marked shift not only in attitudes to and practices with children, but in the culture of their faith community.
An inter-generational community values and promotes all ages worshiping, learning, praying, celebrating, serving and playing together. And “inter-generationality”, like “Kids Friendly” is not a programme, but a practise, a way of being that requires intent and commitment from the whole congregation.
Hamish uses Deuteronomy as a framework for his thesis. “It’s a book that delves deeply into passing faith down through the generations and has timeless lessons for us today.”
While the motivation for Hamish’s report was to explore how Hope Presbyterian Church can best connect with young adults in today’s post-modern world, I believe his findings and suggestions, inspired by Deuteronomy and his exploration of “distinctive generations”, can and should be applied to all ages and as early as possible in any context.
The command of Moses is to embed the principles of the law in the hearts and lives of a new generation. “Talk about it with your children...” and we know that most people come to faith before the age of 14 (Barna Research).
The young adults from Hope whom Hamish interviewed, expressed a desire to have more opportunities for inter-generational conversations and fellowship.
When we encourage friendships across the ages in our churches, we facilitate the passing on of faith from old to young. Before we know it, our young people become the older friends and faith mentors to the emerging generations.
Read more, including tips for embedding an inter-generational ethos in your church on our Kids Friendly blog.
Kids Friendly Coach
Stepping Stones of Formation
Introducing our new Stepping Stones of Formation website, which has been developed to help youth leaders create a long-term youth ministry curriculum plan for discipling the young people - aged from 10-30 years old - entrusted to them. We have hand-picked a few resources that have excellent content and are easy-to-use. One of the goals of the website is to help youth leaders think about discipling young people in a well-rounded, holistic way. Visit the Stepping Stones of Formation website
Youth Commissioners at GA16
The PYM team is very keen to support youth commissioners at General Assembly.
For official youth commissioners at General Assembly, we are running a youth orientation day commencing at 1:30pm on Tuesday, 15 November. This will be a valuable time for youth commissioners to get their heads around the workings of General Assembly and give some thought to the upcoming debates.
Throughout the week there will be a number of opportunities for youth commissioners to meet together: a dinner with the moderator, a social evening and, of course, just hanging out.
Youth commissioners who are sleeping onsite will all be located on the same floor.
Please personally invite young adults (17-30) in your congregation to Going Further, PYM’s national discipleship camp. This coming year – on 7-12 February – we will be located in a youth hostel in the heart of Christchurch’s central business district.
Our speakers this year are Andrew and Kara Root. Andrew is the associate professor of youth and family ministry at Luther Seminary, and Kara is the minister at Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church and trained spiritual director.
National Youth Manager
Presbyterians sit at the table with other churches to lobby government in relation to child poverty, housing and refugees. NZCCSS policy advisor Paul Barber leads the CloserTogether Whakatata Mai - reducing inequalities work programme. He writes "high poverty and inequality is the not-so-new normal. That is the conclusion to take from the latest poverty and inequality data released on 8th September in the Ministry of Social Development’s Household Incomes in New Zealand 2015 report. It echoes the experience of NZCCSS agencies reported on in the Vulnerability Report in June. A small downward trend in child poverty is, as Minister Anne Tolley said, “going in the right direction” but, as CPAG points out, this is far too slow, with 230,000 children still living in poverty. At 22 percent, the child poverty rate remains at nearly double the 12 percent of the mid-1980s before the huge increase in inequality and poverty began. If New Zealand had that rate now we would have 100,000 fewer children in poverty.
The thirty-year story of inequality means an entire generation is growing up in a lop-sided society where a small group of wealthy people enjoy high incomes and increasing wealth at the expense of the rest of New Zealand.
Three key measures of inequality are up on the previous year and show inequality remains at record levels in New Zealand. Inequality measured by the so-called Gini co-efficient, has gone back almost to the record high from 2011. The alternative measure, the so-called P90:10 ratio, is also up. A newer measure that New Zealand will have to report on as part of its international commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, is the inequality goal that requires countries to increase the share on income that goes to the lowest 40 percent of incomes. In New Zealand this share has actually fallen below 20 percent over the past three years, which means inequality is rising. Taken together the message is clear – inequality is sitting around the record levels reached in 2011 and is not showing any sign of decreasing, and indeed seems likely to further increase.
Housing costs, low welfare benefits and low wages drive poverty.
Housing costs are among the leading influences on the high level of poverty, as the Child Poverty Monitor, UNICEF and Every Child Counts have all pointed out. For people on low incomes it is said that rent costs have the most effect on their poverty levels. Half of the 230,000 children in poverty live in private rental housing, another fifth in Housing NZ housing – that means seven out of ten children in poverty live in rental housing.
The number of those children in most hardship is not decreasing and the main reason for this is that benefit rates are not increasing. The benefit increases from April 2016 are not included in this 2015 survey but even those small increases will not lift families out of the deepest poverty and no further poverty reduction policies have been announced since then. Added to that is the problem of low wages, which mean four out of every ten children in poverty are in households with at least one person in full employment.
Rev Diane Gilliam-Weeks
Presbyterian representative on NZCCSS
Building God’s community
In Romans 12: 4-5, we read: “For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another”.
As we move through our life stages, we are frequently challenged to redefine who we are. In considering who we are, it may lead us to reflect on what it means to be a member of a community. To paraphrase Wikipedia – a community is a social unit (a group of three or more people) who share something in common, such as values, and a sense of place in a given geographical area like a neighbourhood.
This sense of belonging extends beyond our immediate family/whakapapa ties, and defines our sense of community.
At a recent Presbytery Central workshop led by Dr Mike Duncan, participants were asked how many neighbourhoods had they lived in. People recognise social ties as important to their identity, and their roles in social institutions like family, home and work. Communities relate to our personal social ties including large group affiliations, such as Presbyterian Women Aotearoa New Zealand at a national level, United Nations at an international level and now in 2016, virtual communities. The word "community" derives from the Latin “communitas” (held in common). We share belief, preferences, needs and risks in common, affecting our identity and our degree of faithfulness.
We do care for each other and support the broken and indifferent, and even our selfish moments may be pierced by compassion and help build friendships. We don’t forget the marginalised in our society, but make an effort to work through our mistrust and misunderstanding. In building our community in love we recognise that we are all God’s people.
The time is approaching for our Spring block course for ministry interns in November. This coincides with General Assembly and we will be holding our graduation service during one of the evenings at General Assembly. In the lead-up to that, there is a lot of preparation to attend to including work around facilitating the Ministers’ Resourcing Day.
Steve Taylor will be preaching at Flagstaff Community Church (Dunedin) on 2 October. He will be with Te Aka Puaho teaching mission and theological reflection to Amorangi ministers on 7-8 October. And at the end of the month (28-30 October) he will be in Auckland with the PI Synod executive and Northern Presbytery talking about the KCML strategic plan. On Sunday, 30 October, Steve will be preaching at the Auckland Chinese Presbyterian Church and then the Taiwanese Presbyterian Church.
Malcolm Gordon is doing the ground work in preparation for recording a new album. He is finalising a video and recording for the Presbyterian Schools’ centenary song. In conjunction with Kids Friendly, he is also developing inter-generational material for Advent and is preparing worship for General Assembly. In the midst of that he is moving house!
I am assisting the Rev Mary Peterson to run a training day for local ministry teams in Southland on 15 October. I am also conducting a morning’s training for a local eldership and preaching workshop at St Philips Presbyterian Church on 30 October. I will be in Christchurch on 26 October as part of the national workgroup looking at the review of the local ordained minister regulations. And on a different note, I am finalising the final edit of my next book (Living, Listening, Telling: the art of preaching) and a chapter for an edited book on preaching. The chapter is entitled “Lost for Words” and is an engagement with preaching in a smartphone world.
We are also working to finalise the ministry placements for the incoming 2017 class.
Dean of Studies
Myanmar mission projects
The Myanmar Support Group which manages our Ricebowl mission partnership with the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar recently received a raft of applications for new projects. Some of these would be suitable for a congregation to support. Please contact me if you would like to find out more, and check out information about the Ricebowl partnership here.
International mission training opportunities
Are you a young person planning a gap year, or looking for something different in 2017? There are exciting opportunities available for young adults who are interested in mission and international engagement. You can read the information below and follow up with me to discuss further:
- Training in Mission is a seven-month mission formation programme
- Year-long internships are currently being advertised by two partner organisations. Learn more by clicking on these links: The Christian Conference of Asia internship and the World Communion of Reformed Churches internship
- The Council for World Mission run various short-term exposure programmes
Connecting with local congregations
I have been getting around the country a bit connecting with members of our Church in different regions. I recently attended a weekend event hosted by St Albans in Palmerston North. “Vocation” was aimed at encouraging young adults to explore a call to serve in mission. A good number attended this event where they received input from speakers who have had significant experience in a wide range of global mission ministries. In October I will be part of a team of invited guests participating in a Southern Presbytery event in Queenstown, where the focus is on global mission. It’s good to see that the level of interest remains high – I firmly believe that when a congregation engages with global mission, it will enhance their local mission as well. It is also encouraging to be fielding ongoing enquiries from congregations and members who are actively seeking ways to share in our partnerships.
Our Church’s global mission workers continue to do a great job in Vanuatu. The Jones’ and Antons’ will return to New Zealand to attend the Hope Conference at the General Assembly in Dunedin in November and Helen Wells will return a little after this.
As always, please contact me to follow up anything mentioned here, and check our website for further information, www.globalmission.org.nz.
Global mission Coordinator
Our long-awaited IT upgrade is currently underway. This will provide WiFi access for staff and visitors, and improved server space. The first step has been a change of email address for staff – we are no longer @knoxcollege.ac.nz, but instead @prcknox.org.nz. Now that the Hewitson Library and Presbyterian Archives have merged into the Presbyterian Research Centre, this helps to identify us as a separate organisation to Knox College.
We are also investigating a new software system for the Archives which will serve as an updated website. The software will also give us the capacity to make our collections and indexes available online. Once this is up and running we will be able to begin linking particular collections or topics with related collections or titles in the Hewitson Library, making it easier for researchers to explore our rich resources.
Regular visitors to the Hewitson Library may notice that we are continuing to move our collections around. We are slowly bringing the older “Bliss” collection down to the main level to make space for the Rita Mayne England collection upstairs and also re-classifying books into the more recent “LC” collection as they get used. If you regularly use a particular book and can’t find it in the usual spot, it may have been relocated. Once this process is complete we will update our signage, but in the meantime please feel free to ask library staff who will be happy to help you find what you need.
Government grant for Syria
Thank you for donations to the Syria Appeal made before 1 August, including $5,000 from Global Mission. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has informed us that your donations will be matched with $99,700. The Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees Jordan (DSPR) was anxious to get the funds as soon as possible to help some of the 656,400 refugees. The money will provide 1,280 infants with winter clothes and pay for 640 children to attend forums where they play, sing and make crafts. By the end of December, DSPR will run 32 workshops for 1,280 women on psycho-social help and sexual violence as well as 24 training workshops on the importance of education for girls, parents and teachers. The donated funds will also enable 550 refugees to be referred for follow-up medical attention after attending free medical days.
Please continue to pray for peace in Syria. Gifts to the Syria Appeal will give DSPR the means to give practical help to many more refugees who are finding it harder to survive in Jordan and Lebanon.
Three years after Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, CWS is asking for more help to replace lost crops and income. Read the Spring Story to find out how Filipinos have been working hard to get back on their feet. In the Aklan province 3,061 homes with corrugated iron roofs are the visible sign of your help. Printed copies are available from Emma.
CWS has mailed the 2016 Christmas Appeal Kits, Give Us Hope. Your support will help people surviving conflict and disaster and help them to escape poverty. Posters are available in 10 languages. Please order resources now.
Ordination and Inductions
Rev Thomas Kauie, local ordained minister, Knox Parnell, Pacific Islands Synod, 25 November 2015.
Rev Fania Talagi, local ordained minister, Knox Parnell, Pacific Islands Synod, 11 June 2015.
Rev Martin Fey, minister St David’s Hillsborough to minister Forrest Hill Presbyterian Church, Northern Presbytery, 9 June 2016.
Changes in Status
Rev Stephanie Wells, transition minister Malvern Co-operating Parish to other recognised ministry, Alpine Presbytery, 1 March 2016.
Rev Helen Harray, special ministry, Southern Presbytery to other recognised ministry, 30 April 2016.
Rev Adrian Skelton, minister Hastings St Andrews, to executive officer United Congregations of Aotearoa NZ, Presbytery Central Nukuhau Tapu, 1 October 2016.
Rev Neil Lambie, minister emeritus, Presbytery Central Nukuhau Tapu to Alpine Presbytery, 28 February 2016.
Rev Eric Mattock, minister Maniototo, Southern presbytery to minister emeritus, Alpine Presbytery, 24 April 2016.
Rev Allan Morgan, minister emeritus, Alpine presbytery died 5 September 2016.
St James Spreydon, Alpine Presbytery closed 11 September 2016.
The Justice Conference – lead by TearFund and supported by a range of other partners – is being held in Auckland Fri, 28 – Sat, 29 October. Noted guest speakers and artists ensure that the conference has something for everyone. For more information on speakers, costs and how to register, click here
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
International mission internship opportunities
If you are a young person interested in expanding your mission horizons, check out these two internships currently available with partner organisations. Applications close in late October or early November. Read more on the Global Mission page of our website.
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