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From the Moderator
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services
Welcome the Stranger…
“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” (Hebs 13:2)
Perhaps one of the greatest signs of hope we can offer to this desperate world is to welcome those who are strangers into our midst. This is an element of the missional task which is appears extremely difficult in our Church today.
Throughout the Bible, from the Old Testament to the New Testament, the welcoming of unfamiliar people is a primary duty of the people of faith. Paul says: “Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers”. (Roms 12:13) Jesus says it was the Samaritan who knew how to obey God’s injunction to love our neighbour, when the Samaritan welcomed a stranger into his midst.
We do this for two main reasons: the first is as an act of identification. Peter says: "Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul”. (1 Peter 2:11) We are effectively aliens and strangers in this world once we become citizens of heaven through faith in Christ, and it is only right that we identify with those who are the world’s strangers. In this way we should know what that feels like, and we should identify with their need of friends and family.
The second is as an act of obedient faith. It is a part of the mission heart of God to reach out to those who are far from home. This is what God has done in Christ for all humankind and it is expected of we, who have experienced the wonderful welcome of God, to welcome those who are strangers.
However, a welcoming congregation isn’t one that simply says it is open to people visiting. A welcoming congregation is one which practices sharing its life week after week by making sure strangers are greeted before church, spoken to after church and, more often than not, fed as well. Welcome isn’t simply permission to come in the door. It’s leaving people feeling treasured and at home.
Let’s make our churches a place of welcome this Christmas.
Richard Dawson (Moderator)
Dear colleagues and friends
I suspect we have all heard the Maori proverb:
He aha te mea nui o te ao
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
I have been reminded of this proverb as I think about the wonderful contribution our out-going Kids Friendly Coach Jill Kayser has made. Jill is a people person. She is a relator who values people and builds long-term relationships and friendships. Jill is also an achiever – she gets things done! Jill announced that she believed it was time to finish her role as Kid’s Friendly Coach and move to be Chaplain at Large in the Auckland CBD (a St James Presbyterian and Aotea Methodist initiative) from January (although she finishes up her role with us in November).
Jill has lived the values of Kids Friendly; she has mentored and trained; taught and supported people to catch what Kids Friendly is all about and helped facilitate a culture change within the Church. Jill loves telling stories – and does so with a passion. On behalf of the wider Church I want to honour Jill and thank her for responding to God’s call to serve as our Kid’s Friendly Coach. I want to join my prayers with many others and give thanks for all she has done and pray a rich blessing as she sets out on this new adventure.
The Commission has reported back and is pleased to inform the Church that it will be bringing the name of the Rev Taimoanaifakaofo (Fakaofo) Kaio to the General Assembly in October 2018 for election as Moderator of the Assembly. Fakaofo would be Moderator for a period of two years from the 2018 General Assembly through to the 2020 General Assembly.
You can read a copy of the full statement here.
Again, on behalf of the wider Church family – I congratulate Fakaofo and I encourage us all to join our prayers for him and his wife Ruth as Fakaofo prepares to be elected as Moderator at the 2018 Assembly.
General Assembly 2018
The 2018 General Assembly will be held from 3-7 October at St Andrew's College in Christchurch.
Deadline for reports, proposals and recommendations to be considered by General Assembly 2018
Following consultation with the assembly business work group convener, a deadline has been set for receiving all reports and proposals that will be considered by General Assembly. All material must be received by 8 June 2018. This timeframe will enable us to facilitate a consultative process with presbyteries prior to Assembly. In this way, we will be able to fulfil the 2012 Assembly’s decision supporting presbyteries’ participation in the setting of the Assembly agenda.
Spanz wins religious press association awards
Church magazine, Spanz, won a couple of awards at the recent Australasian Religious Press Association Awards. "The end of a franchised God" article written for the Moderator's Musings column received a silver award in the Best Column section (authored by the Very Rev Andrew Norton), and a feature article "Young Presbyterians advocating for our Earth" - picked up a bronze in the Best Social Justice Article category (author: Jade Reidy). There was some stiff competition – the awards are open to more than 80 Christian publications and media agencies across Australia and New Zealand. Congratulations to our small Church communications team.
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. 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.
We will be holding the Spring block course for interns in Christchurch (21–29 Nov). Our time will culminate in the graduation of five interns on Wednesday, 29 November, 7:30pm at St Mark’s Presbyterian Church, Avonhead. This is the first time we have held a graduation in Christchurch. Rev Cate Williams (St Peter’s Presbyterian Church, Tauranga) will be speaking. We would love to see as many there as can make it.
The Illustrated Gospel Project update
"Mark: The Illustrated Gospel Project" led by Rev Malcolm Gordon is almost complete. This creative resource is the work of more than 40 artists from around New Zealand and features a complete paraphrase of Mark's gospel, accompanied with artwork, poetry, music along with liturgical resources and suggestions. The resource will initially be available online in time for the start of Advent at www.onevoice.org.nz. Printed copies will be available in the new year. Each congregation is entitled to a free copy. Orders can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dean of Studies
My sincere thanks to everyone who has supported our work at the UN Commissions on the Status of Women in New York for the last four years, and for your encouragement as I served the women of our church as Presbyterian Women Aotearoa New Zealand (PWANZ) UN Convenor. I am so proud that 36 very talented women and girls who have accompanied me as members of our NGO delegations to the United Nations. Our voices have made a difference around the world and rippled out across the wider community.
I am delighted that two former members of PWANZ delegations will be taking over my UN role in November. Dr Annemarie Tangney (CSW59) and Dr Mavis Duncanson (CSW60) are not only active Presbyterian women of faith in their local parishes in Dunedin, but both will bring a wealth of experience from their fields of expertise, knowledge of the wider Church, as well as their passion and enthusiasm for the empowerment of women and girls here and around the world. They are assured of my support as they step into the future and share this role as our new UN Convenors.
The priority theme for CSW62 in March 2018 will be “Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls” and the review theme is “Participation in and access of women to the media, and information and communications technologies and their impact on and use as an instrument for the advancement and empowerment of women”. Expressions of interest will be called for soon.
PWANZ contributed to a final statement with other ecumenical women at the UN on the CSW62 priority theme submitted to the UN on 13 October 2017. Along with the NZ Human Rights Commission and Rural Women NZ, we also made a submission. It was heaps of work, but voices combined make a much stronger impact when decisions are made that affect women and girls around the world.
Rev Carol L Grant
United Nations Convenor
Making the most of youth commissioners - GA2018
We were greatly encouraged by the way young adult commissioners engaged in General Assembly last year. We noted how valuable their voice was in deliberating items and want to suggest some practical ways that our Church can get the most out of the perspective of young adult commissioners for GA2018.
- Recommend any suitable potential youth commissioners to your regional youth coordinator. Each presbytery has six positions available for youth commissioners for next year’s GA. The PYM team has a comprehensive youth commissioner training and engagement process which ideally starts nine months out from GA, so now is the time to invite young adults in your church to consider participating in GA2018.
- Include youth and youth commissioners in the pre-submission phase of any proposal you are considering putting forward at GA2018. This could be as simple as inviting younger people from your church or presbytery to explore and discern the issue with you and inviting them to give their perspectives. You may find that you discover some new insights and strong youth advocates for the proposal you're putting forward.
- Assist youth and young adults to write proposals for GA2018. General Assembly is an unknown entity to most young people in our Church, however it is an important court that helps shape the future direction of our Church. Encourage younger people in your parishes to dream about what the future of our Church could look like and help them to draft proposals that could make some of those dreams a reality.
Please don't hesitate to contact PYM or your regional youth coordinator for further support, or to suggest a youth rep.
Going Further Discipleship Camp – 6-12 Feb
The camp is open to young adults aged between 17 and 30. The 2018 camp will be based on stunning Ponui Island, which is situated just south of Waiheke Island. The main speaker this year is the awesome Darryl Tempero from Kiwi Church Christchurch.
Full information can be found at www.goingfurther.org.nz
National Youth Manager
The Presbyterian Church sits alongside Presbyterian Support on the NZCCSS working for justice and compassion in government policy, and serving thousands of people every day. Council efforts give priority to the poor and the vulnerable, services for older people and reducing inequality.
Did you know that by 2030, just 13 years from now, the world's population will increase by more than half – there will be more people aged over 60 than young people 15-24. Social and economic policy needs to be designed to ensure older people can participate fully in the life of our country. Ageist attitudes need to change. The NZCCSS is committed to increasing opportunities for older people to contribute to the wellbeing of their communities through employment and education and better housing and health policy.
In what ways will a new government support these goals?
Certainly, some of NZ First’s election policies on aged care, health and superannuation will find a way into the coalition agreement with Labour.
NZ First was opposed to National’s policy of raising the age of entitlement to NZ Super to 67 starting from 2037. Labour and the Greens aged care policy is largely driven by the report of their joint inquiry into aged care undertaken this year together with Grey Power. The recommendations of that report focus on establishing an Aged Care Commissioner, reviewing the sector standards and assessment processes, improving housing options for older people and conducting a review of aged care funding.
NZ First vowed to remove income and asset testing for long-stay hospital aged care and to inflation adjust aged care subsidies. Labour and the Greens are committed to significant increases in health spending. And it looks like visits to the GP will definitely be cheaper for older people – Labour promising to reduce them to $8 and NZ First promising three GP visits a year for all SuperGold Card holders. Watch this space!
Your Presbyterian representative on the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services is the Rev Diane Gilliam-Weeks.
Last month I mentioned the evacuation of Ambae Island in Vanuatu, due to volcanic activity. This has now subsided and the evacuees are grateful to be returning home. They were cared for by communities on several other islands during the weeks of their displacement. The Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu contributed some funds to help with the costs of supporting the evacuees. At this stage they have not sent a specific request to us for financial support, but we will advise accordingly if a request is made.
Opportunities to serve in Vanuatu
I have received an expression of interest from someone keen to teach English at Talua Theological Training Institute next year. I hope this will proceed, but please feel free to contact me if you are interested in serving in Vanuatu in another capacity.
Training in Mission
A reminder about Training in Mission – this a seven-month long Council for World Mission programme for young adults – with the bonus of being fully funded. This is a good gap year option and will take place from May to November next year. Young adults between the ages of 18-30 who are interested can find out more here.
Council for World Mission are also advertising their Face-to-Face programme for theological students. This will take place in February and March of next year – information can be found here
CCA mission conference
Our Moderator, Rt Rev Richard Dawson, and Asian Ministries Coordinator Rev Kyoung Gun Han attended the Christian Conference of Asia’s Mission Conference in Myanmar in October. Following this Richard was hosted by the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar where he met some of their key leaders. This was a great opportunity for Richard to learn more about our Global Mission partnership with the PCM. Our young adult Going Global programme begins in Myanmar at the end of this month. If anyone is interested in spending two weeks visiting our partners in Myanmar in February next year, please contact me.
Global Mission Co-ordinator
“So long farewell auf wiedersehn goodbye”
I first saw the Sound of Music film as a 5-year-old and dreamed of being Gretl. My desire to be on stage persisted through my teens as I “starred” in many plays and musicals, but my talent was insufficient to make it in the big wide world.
I often joked as I shared the Kids Friendly vision or led training workshops that the Church had provided me with a stage to fulfil not just my early dream, but a new dream of cultivating churches with a heart for loving and serving children and families.
I have been blessed in my 14-year role as Kids Friendly coach to be both encouraged to dream and given permission to realise those dreams.
At the end of the two-year Kids Friendly pilot in Auckland in 2005, I discussed with my mentor Andrew Norton, my dream to share Kids Friendly with all our churches across New Zealand, and lamented the lack of funds to do this.
Andrew told me that there is no such thing as no money, only such a thing as no vision. He affirmed my vision and told me to get on with it. I started to share my vision for a Kids Friendly Presbyterian Church and organisations like Presbyterian Savings and Development Society, the Presbyterian Foundation and Dunedin and Wellington presbyteries came on board and helped my dream come true.
I have seen many changes over the 14 years I have served the Church in this role, and I’ve been encouraged by the number of congregations who have caught the Kids Friendly vision and committed to dream a vision for the children and families of their communities.
Thank you to all the amazing people who have supported me, loved me, encouraged me and inspired me. I will miss you. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE continue to “let the children come”.
Kids Friendly Coach
An update on the Church Register will be provided in the December edition of Bush Telegraph.
CWS invites congregations to support the 2017 Christmas Appeal. With the theme “Make Hope My Story”, it focuses on stories from five partners. In Uganda, hope comes with water tanks for HIV and AIDS affected families, while in the Philippines it is community planting drives.
CWS has mailed resource kits, but if you missed out please contact Pam. You can order posters in ten languages, envelopes and service sheets.
Please place your order soon, so we can post resources in good time for Advent Sunday.
The Christmas Appeal was first launched by New Zealand churches in 1945 as a ministry of diakonia or loving service. Please join us in prayer for a safer and fairer world this Christmas.
Give Gifts of Hope
CWS is offering Gifted for those wanting simple presents this Christmas. CWS sends a printed or ecard of the chosen gift, which becomes a donation to the programme. There are 25 gifts to choose from including fruit trees for Filipinos and coastal scientists supporting fisherfolk monitoring the South Indian coastline. Orders can be made online or through the brochure. If your church or group would like copies of the brochure or poster, please contact Pam or phone us 0800 74 73 72.
CWS is appealing for funds to help some of the 604,000 Rohingya refugees with relief like food, water, tarpaulins, hygiene kits, sanitation, psycho-social and medical care through ACT Alliance Bangladesh. ACT Alliance is also working in Myanmar. While there is no access to the north, they have approval to work in camps for displaced people in Central Rakhine. They are seeking funding for food, non-food items, livelihood restoration, shelter, and to organise peace gatherings for all communities.
If you can, please support the Rohingya Appeal and pray for those who need shelter and protection.
Mark: The Illustrated Gospel Project lectionary resource available soon
This creative resource is the work of more than 40 artists from around New Zealand and features a complete paraphrase of Mark's Gospel, accompanied with artwork, poetry, music along with liturgical resources and suggestions. The resource will initially be available online in time for the start of Advent at www.onevoice.org.nz. Printed copies will be available in the New Year. Each congregation of the Church is entitled to a free copy. Orders can be sent to email@example.com
Bioethics and Christian Theology course
The Department of Theology and Religion and the Bioethics Centre at Otago are jointly offering a summer school paper on bioethics and Christian theology. Summer school runs from 8 Jan-16 Feb 2018 and the paper is available both on campus and via distance. More information is available here
2017/18 lectionary and calendar available
The new lectionary (Year B - Mark) will commence 3 December 2017. Download lectionary and calendar for 2017-2018
Read about the religious and social history of New Zealand
Historian Peter Lineham’s latest book - Sunday Best: How Religion Shaped New Zealand and How New Zealand Shaped Religion – is now available. The book examines Christianity in New Zealand through the lens of cultural development. Copies are available from all good bookstores or www.masseypress.ac.nz
Wanting to study theology and religion?
The University of Otago offers many opportunities for the study of Christian theology, both on-campus and through its successful distance study programme. Enrolments for Semester 1, 2018 are now open. For details of papers go to www.otago.ac.nz/theology/study.
Presbyterian Investment Fund
The Church Property Trustees advise that the interest rate paid on Presbyterian Investment Fund remains at 3.50% percent per annum. This rate became effective on 1 September 2017. The Fund is open to parishes, but not to individuals. For further information, email the Trustees’ 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