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From the Moderator
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Presbyterian Research Centre
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services
I’ve just spent the last 10 days in Vanuatu helping two other men from my parish with a small project for the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu (PCV). It was a fascinating visit in many ways.
I was in Vanuatu last year and within that short period of time the stock of vehicles in Villa has been turned over and almost completely renewed. The Australians have changed their policy on aid and are now only backing big projects, which means major roading initiatives around Villa and new footpaths everywhere.
Repairs from cyclone Pam have continued apace and many of the buildings are looking much better now. We contributed significantly to this through our Moderator’s Relief Fund. This made a huge difference to what the PCV could achieve – so much so, that the government handed three state schools back into Church care because governance is expected to be superior to what the state could offer. Imagine that happening in New Zealand!
Perhaps what impressed me the most is the vigour of the PCV and its people. While it’s not a perfect Church, PCV’s welfare involvement would be the envy of most Kiwi Presbyterians. Not only do they have a comprehensive health department with significant staff and funding, but they also have a fully functioning dental clinic which, when qualified staff are available, can provide state-of-the-art dental care to people who can’t otherwise afford it.
They also have mission teams visiting the islands providing on-the-spot health and dental care. Finally, they actually have a national evangelist whose task it is, obviously, to direct evangelism work around the country. PCV is creating more presbyteries because of the increase in parish numbers. Oh, what a great problem to have!
I came simply to serve for a week or so. I came with a few of my own parish’s men to offer what we could to bless this Church. I come away with a new appreciation of what they could offer us. A breadth of vision that is not inspired by the resources they have, but by faith and a willingness to step into the unknown in trust of God’s faithfulness. How we need this today.
Dear Colleagues and friends
I want to start by acknowledging and thanking Rev Sharon Ross Ensor for fulfilling the role as Acting Assembly Executive Secretary while I was on leave. Sharon did this with care, attention and wisdom; Sharon we are indebted to you.
While overseas, I attended the Council of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC), held in Leipzig, Germany. There were two highlights for me: firstly, at Wittenberg we witnessed a milestone in ecumenical relations, as the WCRC signed the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. From the shared affirmation of basic truths of that doctrine, Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists and Reformed are signalling a commitment to continue to work together in the deepening this understanding in areas like theological study, teaching and preaching.
The second highlight was a moving presentation from churches in both North and South Korea where they discussed their work and prayer toward peaceful reconciliation of the Korean peninsula. This served as a reminder that we are part of a much wider ecumenical family.
The Moderator Commission continues its work to bring to our next Assembly the name of a nominee for Moderator of the Assembly 2018-20. The Commission will shortly be writing to church councils advising the voting process and providing names and biographies of those who have accepted nomination. Your discernment and participation in this is vital and I encourage church councils to set time in their agendas for this. Voting is open for a fixed period. Please ensure voting papers are returned before the due date.
Beneficiary Fund update
Read the latest Church Property Trustees' newsletter about the wind-up of the defined benefits section of the Beneficiary Fund, and take any action required. Read or download the newsletter
Resources for congregations for the upcoming election
As you reflect on issues for the upcoming general election, a reminder of the “We say Yes” statement, which is available on our website. Download or view the “We Say Yes” statement
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.
Assembly minutes and matters for consideration by presbyteries and church councils
Assembly minutes have been posted online. Read or download Assembly minutes. Other matters for consideration have been sent out to church councils and presbyteries for consideration, including proposed changes to our Book of Order.
Calling a newly trained minister
This year five people will complete their training as interns. They represent a range of backgrounds and experiences. All are eager to commit themselves to ministry within the life of a congregation. Profiles for each of them will shortly be available from the Rev Allister Lane who coordinates introductions and discussions between final-year interns and ministry settlement boards. For more information, please contact Allister.
Thank you for your engagement in God’s mission.
Kevin Ward will be at Te Maungarongo Marae (7-9 Sept) teaching on “Being Presbyterian” with PYM interns. Kevin will then be in Auckland (10 -11 Sept) meeting with Asian ministers and leaders and giving a talk on “The Presbyterian Church and Chinese Immigrants in Otago and Southland”.
Rosemary Dewerse has now interviewed 55 ministers as part of the Thornton Blair Research into needs in continuing education. This rich data is currently being analysed. The intent is to bring it to presbyteries for further input.
Malcolm Gordon continues to work on the “Mark: Illustrated Gospel Project” which is gathering momentum with contributions coming in from around the country.
I will be in South Asia for the first couple of weeks of September (1-16 Sep) as part of Langham Preaching training for pastors, students and preachers. This work also equips local trainers as they continue to deliver the training in their own contexts. At the end of the month I will be in Auckland engaging with Local Ordained Minister probationers concerning their training progress and needs.
Dean of Studies
Last month I welcomed our intern, Sashika Hendry, and briefly outlined her potential project topic. Here is an update from Sashika:
“I was placed here [at the PRC] through a new programme connecting young people with local institutions. My main task, alongside learning about the archive, is to create an online resource on how the Indian mission impacted the lives of local women. Not yet half way through the internship, I have already discovered so much in the archives.
“The amazing thing about studying history is seeing how even the smallest things could leave the most important mark. So far, the bulk of my research has been focused on the first key theme I discovered: the impact of the mission on healthcare.
“In some cases, Indian women had never been properly tended to by doctors, as culture prevented them from certain interactions with men outside of family circles. Though there were local women who stepped into medical roles, worldly experience guided them and no official training was provided.
“The simple presence of female missionaries well read in medical concepts instantly improved diagnosis and treatment. They also passed on teachings about basic healthcare to the locals. As word spread, healing women learned simple tactics like removing their jewellery to minimise the spread of germs before interacting with their patients. Even this seemingly insignificant gesture drastically lowered cases of infection, especially for pregnant women and children.
“In such an environment, female missionaries seemed uniquely called upon to take up a vital place, their presence changing lives in tangible ways as well as spiritual. Over the years, the tie between the two communities solidified despite any surface-level differences. Their bond of growing familiarity and support defined the positive sides of the Indian mission.”
We are looking forward to the final result of Sashika’s research!
Going Further discipleship camp
Registration has now opened for our annual young adults’ national discipleship camp, which will be held 6-12 Feb 2018. The camp is open to those aged 17-30 and this year we will be based on the stunning Ponui Island, which is situated just south of Waiheke Island.
Going Further is an amazing week of growing relationally and spiritually with young adults and leaders in a beautiful, secluded corner of Aoteoroa New Zealand. This camp experience has helped loads of young people to see where they fit in God’s story and to forge lasting relationships and habits that will set them up for a lifetime of pursuing the Lord Jesus and working to see his kingdom come.
An invitation from their parish minister is the number one reason past participants have given for attending Going Further. We want to thank you, and ask for your help again. If you can think of young adults who would benefit from taking a week out from life, career or study to explore where God fits into their life, please invite them.
Full information can be found at http://goingfurther.org.nz/
Key leader retreat (27-29 Nov)
As a new initiative, PYM is inviting one key youth leader per church, who attended Connect 2017 (or agrees to attend Connect 2018) to join us at the Key Leaders Retreat in Queenstown. It is free for these people to attend. Key youth leaders who have not attended Connect 2017 can still join us at the retreat for $149.
National Youth Manager
Over the past couple of months it has been good working with a team from St John’s in the City in Wellington, who went to Indonesia on a cross-cultural encounter in July. They travelled with Indonesian nationals who worship at St John’s and were hosted by members of local churches in northern Sumatra. This is a good example of how a church can foster stronger cross-cultural understanding and mission opportunities, and support members of their congregation who have emigrated. I am available to help with training and support for congregations who might want to explore similar opportunities.
Our work in Vanuatu
Our Moderator, the Rt Rev Richard Dawson and Knox principal Rev Dr Steve Taylor have recently been in Vanuatu working on two separate projects. Richard was with a small team from Leith Valley Church helping with a building project in Port Vila, while also taking time to meet with the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu Church leaders. Steve is delivering a week-long series of lectures at Talua Ministry Training Centre on the island of Espiritu Santo. This is a reciprocal visit following the visit of two staff from Talua to KCML earlier this year. Our Global Mission personnel in Vanuatu, Neville and Gloria Jones, and Martyn and Annette Vincent, continue to do great work. The Jones’ are currently back in New Zealand for a few weeks having a well-earned break and sharing in some family celebrations.
Our work in Myanmar
The Going Global Myanmar plans are well in hand with a team of young adults from two Auckland churches – St Columba at Botany and Forrest Hill Presbyterian – preparing for their programme, which will take place in Myanmar from late November to mid-December this year. The latest version of the Ricebowl Mission newsletter – Mingalaba – with news about our Myanmar partnership, is available on our website. Read Mingalaba
Global Mission newsletter in Spanz
A full Global Mission Update magazine has been produced and will be delivered to Presbyterian and Uniting congregations with the spring edition of Spanz. Read this and view our website at www.globalmission.org.nz to keep up-to-date with Global Mission news.
Interest in our Global Mission partnerships remains high – contact me if you would like me to speak to your church or mission group, or to subscribe to any of our newsletters.
Global Mission Co-ordinator
The Presbyterian Church is proud to be a member of the NZCCSS because its members serve thousands of people every day in more than 650 locations.
Hopeful quote of the month: “The point is each one of us makes a difference every single day. We make some kind of impact, we have a choice, we address local problems – the things we can do something about. Small choices can compound into something significant. When they're multiplied by a thousand, then a million and finally a billion people all making ethical choices each day, then you begin to see real change”. - Dame Jane Goodall
The election is four weeks away. It’s hard to choose when so many of the big issues we care deeply about need cross-party cooperation, long-term strategies and political accords. So that’s one thing we can push for! Relative to other countries, many New Zealanders are doing well, but our hearts and minds are sorely needed is for the 682,500 people and 220,000 children living in poverty (once their housing costs are paid). And somewhere amongst all this complexity, we also need to care for the planet. No mean feat, but as the legendary Dame Jan Goodall reminds us, small ethical choices that consider more than our own individual needs are a great starting point.
Three things to make an immediate difference
Recently the Equality Network, including NZ Council of Christian Social Services, outlined three key ideas for a fairer country that should be enacted immediately:
- Income for all that provides the necessities of life through a Living Wage and fairer income support.
- A Government-funded house-building programme to help address the housing crisis and provide everyone with healthy, affordable homes with long-term tenure, and
- A tax on very high levels of wealth and higher top tax rates on the highest incomes to ensure that everyone contributes their fair share and enables our families and whānau to thrive.
If you’re looking for congregational resources, you can share this video where Wellington GP Pauline Horrill talks about what it is like for one of her patients, a teenager growing up in poverty. View or download video
Have a play with this interactive online resource and pick a path for Liz and Sam. It will give you a good idea of the challenges families like theirs face in terms of work and debt (and food and health). Then consider the benefits to everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand of just doing what works.
Check out the NZCCSS election dairy 2017 for key events happening around the country, and be informed.
What a delight it was at the recent gathering of Presbytery Central in Wellington to witness 20 “junior Presbyterians” (as Malcolm Gordon described them) joining in the inclusive, interactive, inter-generational worship led by Malcolm. They were then treated to a day of activities in the Kidstream programme offered by BGI.
Thanks to Central leaders for initiating and planning this Kids Friendly gathering. We love that your planning has considered all of God’s children.
Another uplifting and inspiring event of the last month has been our “Love Reaches Out” art and writing competition. The level of engagement and quality of creations goes from strength to strength each year. This is the seventh time we have run this competition, which is aimed at encouraging children to engage with the key message of our gospel. This year the art and writing was judged in Dunedin and Knox Church blessed us by inviting us to exhibit the entries in their church sanctuary. The exhibition will be displayed for a month, so if you’re in the region please pop in to admire the work.
Says one of the judges, Malcolm Gordon: “The range, quantity and quality of the children’s art and writing entries is quite overwhelming and presents us [the judges] with a real challenge. So many of the entries captured the theme of ‘doing small things with great love’ beautifully”.
Minister of Knox Dunedin, Kerry Enright, says: “The artwork has added vibrancy to our sanctuary and it was fitting to have children’s creations on display last week for the funeral of Phyllis Varcoe, a faithful church member who pioneered early childhood teacher training in Dunedin. Her family and friends commented on how perfectly it complimented her life and work with children.”
Thanks to Family Works (Presbyterian Support) for partnering with Kids Friendly in this venture. And a big thanks to Presbyterian Savings and Development Society for its ongoing sponsorship of the competition prizes.
Kids Friendly Coach
The need for capacity building
Community capacity building is defined in Wikipedia as “the process of developing and strengthening the skills, instincts, abilities, processes and resources that the organisations and communities need to survive, adapt, and thrive in the fast-changing world”.
Presbyterian Women has been around for more than fifty years and is now known as Presbyterian Women Aotearoa New Zealand (PWANZ). Our mission is to serve God locally and globally with love. The current status PWANZ is a credit to those who have served, and continue to serve, our organisation.
However, like any other organisation there is a need for new leaders to move us forward. One way of achieving this is to encourage young women to participate in PWANZ, which will develop their capacity to become leaders within Church, PWANZ and society at large.
Attracting the young generation to be part of an organisation, or even church as a whole is not easy in this day and age. It is a challenge, in my opinion, that can be achieved through our local parishes where young participation is encouraged, valued and listened to.
PWANZ Human Rights Convenor
Rev Marcell Mey, stated supply minister Knox Lower Hutt, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu was received 20 June 2017.
Ordination and inductions
Rev Ieriko Afamasaga, licentiate, Pacific Island Synod, to stated supply minister St John’s Union parish, Opotiki, Kaimai Presbytery, 28 May 2017.
Changes in status
Rev Wayne Te Kaawa, Synod Moderator, Te Aka Puaho, to member Southern Presbytery, 2 August 2017.
Rev Jill McDonald, minister Waitaki Presbyterian, Southern Presbytery to minister St Andrew’s Hastings, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, 27 July 2017.
Rev Donald Hall, minister emeritus, Northern Presbytery, to minister emeritus, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, 20 May 2017.
Very Rev Pamela Tankersley, minister emeritus, to stated supply minister (six months) St Marks and St Andrews, Palmerston North, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, 1 August 2017.
Rev Timote Turu, minister Tokoroa St Luke’s Pacific Islanders, Kaimai Presbytery, retired, 31 July 2017.
Rev Leiite Setefano, QSM minister emeritus, Pacific Island Synod, died 29 June 2017.
Brooklyn - St Matthew's Co-operating Parish, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, closed 9 July 2017.
Thinking about Dad. Thinking about gifts. Try fishing so families have food or deal with his carbon footprint by planting mangroves. You can buy a card or e-card for Father’s Day on 3 September and know that your present will do double duty for Dad and for someone wanting a path out of poverty.
Supporters’ council gathering in Christchurch
Christian World Service invites supporters to its annual council on Friday, 6 October at Christchurch North Methodist Church from 6-8 pm. CWS will report on the year’s work and invite feedback. Jo Spratt a researcher on aid and foreign policy and Professor David Fielding from Otago University will discuss the New Zealand government aid programme. Supporters are welcome to observe the AGM of the Board the following morning. RSVP to Pam for catering purposes.
South Sudan appeal
This week CWS was advised of a $160,000 matching government grant for South Sudan. We are grateful to Global Mission for a $5,000 grant to assist with the application. South Sudanese churches are working hard to make peace and help displaced people. If you can, please consider holding a special fundraising event or offering for the South Sudan Appeal so that people can survive and start new livelihoods. Images and information are available from CWS.
Back the Plan
CWS is backing the plan for a Zero Carbon Act in the next parliament. Along with 13 other agencies, we are asking you to join the campaign for real change. Please sign the petition to back the plan now.
Thank you to Presbyterian Women Aotearoa and Methodist Women’s Fellowship for supporting the Centre for Community Solidarity assisting families of HIV and AIDS orphans with water in Uganda. Read the Backgrounder or download the talk and slide show here. Resources can be ordered from Pam.
Church Property Trustees AGM
The 2017 Annual General Meeting of the Presbyterian Church Property Trustees will be held at 4pm Thursday, 28 September 2017, in the Presbyterian Church boardroom, Level 1, 275 Cuba Street, Wellington. Friends and associates are invited to attend. Presbyteries are welcome to send representatives. Afternoon tea is available from 3.40pm. For catering purposes, please RSVP to Pat Griffin or phone (04) 381 8290.
Enrol to vote resources (multiple languages)
To support people to vote in the upcoming general election, the Electoral Commission has prepared a range of helpful multilingual resources – posters, info about how to enrol and vote. Download or use these resources in your parish to spread the word about getting enrolled and voting. View resources
Empowerment and success conference
This conference, jointly hosted by the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services and Community Networks Aotearoa, supports NGOs and community organisations to be better informed and more able to promote their own value, to better understand the wide range of changes occurring in the operating environment and to better plan the way forward. More info about the conference including costs, speakers and how to register are available here
Vaughan Park retreats
In the later half of 2017, Vaughan Park Anglican Retreat Centre (Auckland) is offering a variety of retreats, lectures and other activities that may be of interest. Check out the programme here
World week of peace in Palestine and Israel
The World Council of Churches is inviting members, including the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand to unite in in peaceful actions to create a common international public witness for just peace in Palestine and Israel. Peace Week is to be observed 17-24 September. Read more
500th anniversary of Reformation
Kids Friendly has prepared intergenerational worship resources to support parishes to engage with the younger people in their congregations about the Reformation. Download the intergenerational Reformation worship resource. View other Reformation resources
Presbyterian Investment Fund
The Church Property Trustees advise that the interest rate paid on Presbyterian Investment Fund deposits remains at 3.00% percent per annum. This rate became effective on 1 January 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