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From the Moderator
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Presbyterian Research Centre
New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
The Presbyterian Youth Ministries website has a page devoted to Easter camps throughout the country.
There are 10 of them – not all Presbyterian, but most are. The biggest is the Southern Easter Camp at Spencerville Park, Christchurch. They get somewhere between three and 4,000 young people at this camp, and they make a great job of speaking the gospel message into youth culture.
I’ve been involved in Easter camps in some shape or form since 1974 when I attended my first one at Tirohanga Campsite just west of Dunedin. The Easter Camps I attended through my late teen years did more to cement my faith than just about anything else. Furthermore, they introduced me to leadership which has now become a way of life for me.
The key to Easter camps isn’t just the fact that they occur during the high point of the Christian calendar. Rather, it is that year after year camp committees have worked tirelessly to work out how to speak the Gospel to a new generation – how to engage people “of a foreign tongue” as it were.
It is the constant first challenge of the Church – how to engage the next generation with the transforming power of God so that they too will live their life in its light. And this is our challenge too. We cannot expect young people to believe just because we do. Rather they must be addressed – as we were – by the living Christ who knows them and who loves them as they are with their music, their concerns, their language and, of course, their blind spots.
They must not be rebuked because of these accidental features of their generation, but rather the gospel must be addressed through them, with them and by them.
I hope you are encouraging your young people to attend an Easter camp this year or that you have done so. I hope they come home changed and challenged by the gospel they heard in their language.
Dear Friends and Colleagues
I write this as I am about to leave and spend a few days in Niue with the Ekalesia Kerisiano Niue. We will be discussing an agreement we have – together with the Congregational Union – to discover if and where it needs updating. These partnerships need to be living relationships as we work together in the mission of Jesus Christ.
I also write knowing this edition of Bush Telegraph will be received just before Easter. I have been pondering the first eighteen verses in John and in particular this week: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
On Easter Sunday we will declare afresh: “Christ is risen; he is risen indeed”. Let us continue to be people of the risen Christ and join Christ in the mission we are called to as bearers of good news and light shiners in the darkness.
As advised last month, we have appointed Sandra Kennerley as our new Finance Manager. We'll welcome Sandra to the team and introduce her more fully when she starts on 4 April.
The 2018 General Assembly will be held from 3-7 October at St Andrew's College in Christchurch. Assembly is a time for us to learn, grow and celebrate our Church’s life and mission.
Commissioners to Assembly
Pursuant to Book of Order 8.16 (1) A presbytery is responsible for the organisation of appointments of commissioners to attend the General Assembly (2) The selection of commissioners is to be based on the total number of full members of congregations within a presbytery, on a fair and reasonable basis. For every 100 members, a presbytery will commission one elder or minister and will allocate the commissions across the congregations within the presbytery.
We will be using the statistics provided as at June 2017 to determine the number of commissioners. The very slow and in some cases non-return of these forms will impact on the determination.
Over the next month, presbytery clerks and administrators will be working to determine this process for appointing commissioners (based on published guidelines).
Voting for the Moderator-Elect, 2020: stage 1 deadline is 30 April
As the first stage in the election process, all presbyteries, the Pacific Islands Synod and Te Aka Puaho are asked to nominate one person each to enter the voting process coordinated by the nominating committee. This person will become the Moderator at the 2020 General Assembly. The outcome of this voting process will be announced at Assembly 2018. Church councils may suggest names for consideration by a meeting of their presbytery, Synod or Te Aka Puaho. Each presbytery, synod and Te Aka Puaho should send one name to the convenor of the nominating committee, Rev Anne Thomson. Nominations need to be with Anne no later than Monday, 30 April 2018.
Deadline for reports, proposals and recommendations to be considered by General Assembly
Following consultation with the assembly business work group, 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.
Appointments to the nominating committee
Presbyteries, Te Aka Puaho, and the Pacific Island Synod need to identify suitable people with the skills and ability to represent the breadth of our Church, to be selected for the nominations committee which will meet prior to General Assembly.
Please look out for information which will be sent out this month. Nominating committee membership will be confirmed by Council of Assembly. Those selected for the nominations committee will be required to attend a one-day meeting in Wellington.
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.
Calling a newly trained minister
This year seven 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 Brendon McRae who coordinates introductions and discussions between final-year interns and ministry settlement boards. For more information, please contact Brendon.
Thanks for your engagement in God’s mission.
Sharon Ross Ensor, director of the Presbyterian Church Schools Resource Office, commends this recently published work: Pursuing Peace in Godzone: Christianity and the Peace Tradition in New Zealand (Victoria University Press). The book is edited by Drs Geoff Troughton and Philip Fountain. This publication is a collection of stories of New Zealand Christians working for peace since World War II.
The Presbyterian and Anglican Schools’ Offices have developed resources in support of the book and in collaboration with the book’s editors. Visit pursuingpeace.nz for a link to purchase the book, to view short videos of some of the authors (including Rev Dr Peter Matheson talking about the peace movement of the 1980s) and for additional resources for further study.
Dean of Studies
The Presbyterian Archives team often receive requests for photographs of New Zealand Presbyterian churches and associated buildings, especially if they have recently closed or are closing.
Although we hold many thousands of photos, it has become apparent that we don’t have a visual record of every church, past or present. We are therefore planning to create a database of church photographs to ensure that our visual record is complete.
As a first step we are asking people and parishes from throughout New Zealand to send both historical and/or current photos of their churches (and manses and church halls).
These can be either print or digital, include images from both inside and outside, or capture particular details like windows or an architectural feature. Ideally, where possible, we would also like to add architectural plans to this database (for both the original build and any additions or renovations that have been made).
If you can help please contact the Archives team.
The PressGo Board met for the first time this year on 27 February in Wellington. We regretfully accepted the resignations of Chairperson, the Very Rev Andrew Norton, who has been on leave for the past year, and Dr Simon Bilton who had been Acting Chair over that time. Rev Sharon Ross Ensor was unanimously supported to take on the Acting Chairperson role until an appointment is made by the Council of Assembly.
There are now four vacancies on the Board, so we have extended the call for Expressions of Interest until Friday, 4 May. We will be in touch with some of those who have previously expressed their interest in serving the Church in this way, to confirm their continuing interest. If you would like to discuss this further, please contact Rev Sharon Ross Ensor or telephone 027 8104358.
We considered three applications under the Mission Enterprise Fund (MEF) criteria, but did not make any new grants at the meeting. Conversations are continuing with some applicants.
The Board is aware that there are a number of large mission initiatives in the planning stages and acknowledged that the funding requirements of these projects far outstrip the total MEF balance. This will mean some difficult prioritising decisions ahead and a greater emphasis on funding partnerships with presbyteries.
The remainder of the Board’s meeting was spent in discussion of the broader strategic issues and formulating a report to Council of Assembly.
Application forms and guidelines have been revised for 2018 and are now on the Church website. Please ensure you download the current guidelines and application forms which will have “March 2018” on the page footers.
For further information or to discuss a possible new mission initiative, please contact PressGo Catalyst, Lisa Wells at email@example.com or phone 027 4455 723.
I Love Taiwan Mission Programme
The “I Love Taiwan” youth programme is now open for applications from young adults aged 18-35 (yes, apparently 35 is still young!). This is an annual mission programme run by the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan. Each year they invite young adults from all over the world to participate in this multicultural faith-based event. Participants learn about the life and culture of Taiwan, and share in the mission of the Church, while meeting like-minded young adult Christians from all over the world. Members of the PCANZ are invited to apply for this popular programme, which takes place 4-21 July. A $500 travel subsidy is available (up to a maximum of four people from our Church). Find out more
I recently returned from a visit to Myanmar with Andrew and Karen Murch from Hawera Presbyterian. As well as attending the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar (PCM) General Assembly, we reviewed and updated all aspects of our Ricebowl Mission partnership with the PCM. New projects were approved and funds for these will be sent now. Thank you to the regular donors who continue to support this partnership, and also to those congregations and individuals who occasionally give generous one-off donations to support the mission of the PCM. You can catch up with the latest news from Myanmar and find out how to financially support the Ricebowl Mission by reading the latest Mingalaba newsletter.
Momentum is picking up in Vanuatu with all the members of our Global Mission team back and well under way in their respective areas of service. Numerous congregational teams and youth and school groups have projects planned with the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu this year, including the hosting of a team from Malekula Island in Dunedin in August. If you would like to consider financially supporting one of our projects, you can read about them here. Read the latest edition of the Nambawan newsletter which shares news of our work in Vanuatu.
As always, please contact me if you would like me to visit and share with your congregation about our Church’s Global Mission work.
Global Mission Coordinator
At the beginning of Lent, our family decided to make a cardboard “Lenten spiral” which is a simple way to mark each day of Lent.
Throughout Lent we have moved a small figure of Jesus carrying his cross, step-by-step along the spiral. The spiral moves in and slightly up as it winds its way to the top, representing Calvary.
At the beginning of our Lenten journey, I wondered if this practice would translate any meaning of Lent and Easter to our two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. To my surprise, there has been meaning in the movement.
After about a week or so of moving Jesus and his cross along the spiral, our daughter said: “Jesus is moving up and up!” Yes, Jesus is moving up and up – Jesus walked all the way up to Calvary and beyond for us!
May we – women, men, girls, and boys, young, old and all in-between – get “caught up” in the drama of these unfolding days. As we remember the steps that Jesus took, may we be formed into people ready to share and show the love of God in Christ Jesus, our risen Lord!
Rev Robin Humphreys
Kids Friendly coach
This month the Council is making submissions on the Prime Minister’s Child Poverty Reduction Bill which outlines Government strategy for improving children’s wellbeing and sets out an action plan for the reorganisation of Oranga Tamariki.
At the heart of the Bill is the question: “What constitutes a baseline for an adequate household income?” The Council insists that living standards must be at a level which supports every child and their family/whānau to access the basic necessities of life from which they can grow, develop and flourish and participate in their communities.
While the NZCCSS applauds the Bill’s inclusive and non-stigmatising approach and supports the overall policy intent, the Council notes some glaring omissions and strongly recommends the Bill include reference to:
- the principles of Te Tiriti O Waitangi
- the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, specifically “halving poverty rates for all ages by 2030, based on national measures”
- the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
- specific targets to measure poverty reduction among Māori and Pacifika children and young people with disabilities
- providing support for parents to address underlying issues as a preventive and protective factor against child harm
- a child impact assessment on all social policy.
NZCCSS is concerned by the impact of inequality which has emerged over the past three decades. In our social service work, NZCCSS members see the negative impact on children and their families/whānau, which is even more evident where multiple stressors co-exist.
The NZCCSS acknowledges the long-term sustained political effort required by government and the community to fully implement the vision of this Bill. Non-governmental social services will play an integral part, yet are not mentioned in the Bill. There needs to be consultation with NGO representatives on measures, targets and strategies. As well, structural changes like a living wage, lifting benefits, changing work and income organisational culture will be critical to ensure people receive their correct entitlements.
Your Presbyterian representative on the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services is the Rev Diane Gilliam-Weeks.
International Women’s Day parliamentary breakfast 2018
I extend a handshake of faatalofa (greeting) to you – special women – beautiful women – young and old – in celebration of the International Women’s Day 2018.
It was a humble privilege to be invited to represent the Presbyterian Church at the International Women’s Day breakfast alongside 130 women and men from different organisations, businesses, churches and schools. The special celebration was at Parliament, hosted by the Minister for Women, the Hon Julie Anne Genter. Keynote speakers were Governor General, the Rt Hon Her Excellency Dame Patsy Reddy, and the Rt Hon Helen Clark.
The UN Women 2018 International Women’s Day theme was: “Achieve Gender Equality and Empower Rural Women and Girls”. They said: “Together we can empower rural women in the Pacific, reflect on how to accelerate the 2030 agenda, building momentum for the effective implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals. Equally focus on new commitments under UN Women’s Step It Up initiative and other existing commitments on gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s human rights.”
125th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in Aotearoa
Suffrage 125 was launched at Government House to coincide with International Women’s Day. Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy said: “As New Zealand prepares to mark 125 years of women’s suffrage, there is plenty to celebrate – but there is still much to be done”.
Reflecting back on the events of the day, the Ministry for Women (in partnership with Te Papa) convened a panel of amazing and inspirational women who have made significant contributions to furthering the rights of women and girls. It was a significant commemoration recognising New Zealanders from many cultural backgrounds who have contributed to improving women’s lives. The Whakatū Wāhine (Forging our future, heralding our history) was central in the ceremony, and reflected a kaupapa of women standing up, and people standing up for women.
I give thanks for the ongoing work of the Presbyterian Women in Aotearoa New Zealand for the empowering of women.
Kia kaha, kia manawanui.
Rev Hana Popea-Dell
St Ninians Uniting Church, Karori
Connect will be held at El Rancho Waikanae on 20-22 July. It is a superb opportunity for youth leaders to up skill, be inspired and network with other youth practitioners around the country. We know how quickly the calendar fills, so please encourage your youth leadership team to make Connect 2018 a priority. We ask you to consult with your finance teams to see how your church can assist your youth leaders in getting there.
Making the most of youth commissioners at GA2018
We 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. The PYM team has a comprehensive youth commissioner training and engagement process which ideally starts 9 months out from GA, so now is the time to invite young adults 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 a simple as inviting younger people from your church or presbytery to explore and discern the issue with you and invite them to give their perspectives.
- Assist youth and young adults to write proposals for GA2018. General Assembly is an unknown entity to most young people in our Church. Encourage younger people 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.
Looking to employ a youth worker? Talk to us!
We are really excited about the growing number of churches looking to employ youth pastors and youth workers. Over the years we have gained a lot of insight into the best approaches for employing youth workers, so we ask that if you are considering employing someone that you consult with one of our team early in the proceedings. We would be delighted to help you in the employment process.
Cyclone Gita Appeal
Thank you to the many generous donors who are assisting some of the 78,000 people affected by February’s tropical cyclone. Our partner, the Tonga Community Development Trust, has sent us a proposal to restore gardens, repair rainwater harvesting systems and supply chickens or ducks to 140 households on Tongatapu and ‘Eua. CWS was delighted to learn that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will help fund this programme. “Koe pale ‘oe ngaue lelei koe toe ngaue ‘oku lahi ange” which translates as “the reward for good work is more work”. Donations can be made to the Gita Appeal.
PNG Earthquake Appeal
CWS is exploring the best way to assist the people of Hela and Southern Highlands provinces after a magnitude 7.5 earthquake hit Papua New Guinea on 26 February. The needs assessment has been hampered by the rugged terrain and extensive infrastructure damage. An estimated 465,000 people have been affected. Buildings including churches have collapsed. Please pray for the people and support the PNG Earthquake Appeal to help with shelter, medicine and other needs.
South Sudan Appeal
One year on from last year’s famine in South Sudan, a record 7.1 million people are in danger of going hungry. Despite efforts by church leaders, the conflict that is the leading cause of hunger continues. CWS asks churches to pray for peace and to increase their support for the people of South Sudan. Funds raised by the South Sudan Appeal are matched by the New Zealand Government.
Presbyterian Women Special Project
We commend the Special Project of Presbyterian Women Aotearoa and the Methodist Women’s Fellowship: Children are our Future: Let the Children Live. Funds raised will help families of HIV and AIDS orphans in Uganda avoid the dangerous and time-consuming effort to collect water so that they can instead attend school.
Registration is open for South Island ministry conference
Register for the South Island Ministry Conference 15-16 May 2018 at East Taieri Church, Mosgiel. This year’s speakers are Chris Clarke (former CEO of World Vision NZ) and his wife Karen Spoelstra (Anglican Youth Ministries). The focus will be on experienced people in ministry sharing from their journey. Learn more or register online
Faith Community Nurses Association annual conference
Save the date for the NZCFNA conference, which will be held in Tauranga on 7-8 September. The focus will be on providing a “toolbox of resources toward development of positive mental health in the wold today”. More info
Presbyterian Investment Fund
The Church Property Trustees advise that the interest rate paid on Presbyterian Investment Fund deposits remains at 3.50 per cent 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.
Discerning the Celtic seasons of the heart
Join the Rev Dr Hilary Oxford Smith and harpist, Julie Saraswati, at Vaughan Park Anglican Retreat Centre, Auckland, for a weekend retreat accompanied by the insights and wisdom of Celtic Christian spirituality, music, poetry, art, film, quiet times and blessings. The event starts Friday, 13 April at 6pm and finishes Sunday, 15 April at 4pm. More info
Mark: The Illustrated Gospel Project
Mark: The Illustrated Gospel is the work of more than 40 artists from around New Zealand and features a complete paraphrase of Mark's Gospel. The resource is accompanied with artwork, poetry, music and liturgical resources and suggestions. Each Presbyterian and Uniting congregation is entitled to a free copy. Further copies are available for a cost. Orders your congregation’s free copy (or additional copies) by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Free copies of With One Voice
Free! The Upper Clutha Parish has 100 copies of the word edition of With One Voice. The only cost will be to freight, courier or pick up the books. Contact Tammy Clegg via e mail at email@example.com
Glen Innis vacancies
Thanks to the generosity of the late James McNutt, ordained ministers of the Presbyterian Church are entitled to a week's free holiday accommodation each year at Glen Innis Station, south east of Waipukurau in Hawkes Bay. Some vacancies still exist for ministers with school age children during the Dec 2017/Jan 2018 summer holiday period. Meanwhile, check out vacancies over the next couple of months here
Preaching workshop – Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin
Carey Baptist College’s “School of Preaching” and “Kiwimade Preaching” are holding three one-day preaching workshops in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin (24–26 May) with Rev Dr Paul Windsor. Cost includes morning tea, afternoon tea, and lunch. Further details are available here.
An update on the Church Register will be provided in the next edition of Bush Telegraph.
Check out the latest events from around our Church and from Christian organisations and partners. Read more