June 2018

Use these links to navigate to any section of Bush Telegraph. Happy reading!

From the Moderator
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Presbyterian Research Centre
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
Global Mission
Kids Friendly
Presbyterian Women
New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Church Register
CWS Notices

From the Moderator

When love is the way
On Saturday 19 May, Bishop Michael Curry preached to approximately 1.2 billion people around the planet. He preached a sermon on the power of love and how it is the essence of the gospel of Christ. In a passion-filled tribute to both God’s love in Jesus and the promise of that love as it is reflected in our love for one another, Bishop Curry captivated his audience and delivered a sermon that struck at the very heart of unbelief.

In 10 minutes and 21 seconds Curry addressed a largely non-Christian crowd in a manner that was both riveting and memorable. Oh, that we could mirror this Sunday by Sunday. But, how? Here are some pointers I’ve gathered from my own observation and from a piece Carey Nieuwhof posted the day after. 

Firstly, he stuck to one major theme – love is the way. He returned to this time and again in those 10 minutes. This made it easy for his listener to engage and to follow because they always knew where he was going.

Secondly, he demonstrated his commitment to the message by both his passion and approach. He never looked like he was reading anything – it was a message from his heart – this man believed what was he was saying.

Thirdly, he engaged his audience. This was a true conversation as much as a sermon can be in that he worked to make eye contact with as many people who would look at him. He used personal testimony once or twice to inject a note of vulnerability into his address and he worked hard to engage the emotion of his listeners as well as their minds – not an easy ask in this very reserved and largely English congregation!

Finally, Bishop Curry avoided the “message-from-on-high” impression so often conveyed by those who wish to speak on God’s behalf. There was no sense of being told off or, for that matter, being told on! We were not berated for our mistakes or our humanity. Rather he appealed to us as a fellow human who desired the very best for everyone. He preached not as one over us, but as one of us!

Go back to your message for this week if you are preaching and ask yourself – is this really going to help my listeners to go forward in faith? If not, take something for Bishop Currie’s address – it was excellent.

God bless you all.
Richard Dawson

From the Assembly Executive Secretary

Dear Friends and Colleagues

By the time you read this, I will be travelling to India to attend the Council for World Mission annual members meeting. I am reminded that mission is "from anywhere to everywhere". The invitation is to join God in mission. I wonder how we are living that out - individually, in our household or whanau, or congregation? Being a bearer of good news is both a responsibility and an honour.

Assembly 2018
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.

The Local Arrangements Committee will commence taking registrations in mid June, and more information about how to register, fees, accommodation, the ministers' training day on Wed, 3 October and other details, will be available on the dedicated Assembly website. More details will be out about this in June.

Commissioners to Assembly
Pursuant to the 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. Presbytery clerks and administrators are working to determine the process for appointing commissioners based on published guidelines.

Voting for the Moderator-Elect 2020
This month church councils will receive a pack with the profiles of nominees and a voting paper and are invited to prayerfully discern who God is calling to this position, and to vote accordingly. Please look out for this information and participate in this important process.

Deadline for reports, proposals and recommendations to be considered by General Assembly
Following consultation with the Assembly business work group, a deadline of 8 June 2018 has been set for receiving all reports and proposals that will be considered by Assembly. This timeframe will enable us to facilitate a consultative process with presbyteries prior to Assembly. In this way, we will be able to fulfill the 2012 Assembly's decision supporting presbyteries' participation in the setting of the Assembly agenda.

Calling a newly training minister
This year seven people will complete their training. They represent a broad range of experiences and backgrounds. All are eager to commit themselves to ministry within the life of a congregation. Profiles for each of them will shortly be available from Rev Brendon McRae who coordinates introductions and discussions between final-year interns and ministry settlement boards. For more information, please contact Brendon.

Thank you for your encouragement and support.


Presbyterian Research Centre

It is very busy in the Archives with staff approximately halfway through processing the 61 boxes of material from Turakina Māori Girls' College. We have also just received 25 boxes of material from Alpine Presbytery and a lovely collection of Bible class photos from the estate of Leslie Quartermain (one of the founders of the New Zealand Antarctic Society). 

As a result, the Archives office and reading room look a bit like a box storage facility, so apologies to visitors trying to navigate around it all! We are, however, delighted that it has been entrusted to us so that we can continue to care for and share the memory of the Church and New Zealand society.

There are still gaps in our collections, including the voices of women. Our collections are rich with information about women and their church-related activities, but as Yvonne Wilkie states in her recent blog post No documents - no History: listening to discover women’s voice in our Church story: “… the voices that tell of the callings, faith journeys, beliefs, recollections and memoirs from this vast and diverse multitude of women rarely are heard within the Archives and are therefore omitted from our church and religious histories.” 

Women - even women who have held significant leadership roles - have told us that they don’t think their story is important enough to be sent to the Archives. When researchers are trying to make sense of the past, the ordinary voice is of immense value and helps to give insights into the day-to-day realities of the world. If you are trying to work out what to do with your papers, or know somebody else in this situation, please consider sending them to us. They are important.

Jane Thomsen

Presbyterian Youth Ministry

Join your team at Connect
This year, Connect is being held 20-22 July at El Rancho, Waikanae. Connect is a superb opportunity for leaders of young people, including ministers, to upskill, be inspired and network with other youth practitioners around the country. If you have a youth ministry team, we encourage you to join them at Connect. This year we have several youth ministry related workshops specifically for ministers. You can explore all the offerings at Connect including the wide range of quality workshops on our website. Our next price cut off date is 20 June.

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 workers. Over the years PYM and the regional youth coordinators 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 us early in the proceedings. We would be delighted to help you in the employment process.

Safety WOF
Together with Kids Friendly, we are committed to running training in each geographical presbytery at least once a year. We strongly recommend that every church puts their children and young people leaders through the Safety WOF once every three years. Upcoming training days are noted below:

  • 9 June – Winton 
  • 9 June (Presbytery Central – Levin)
  • 8 Sept – Auckland
  • 27 Oct -Whangarei
  • Christchurch – tbc
  • Kaimai – tbc

For full information check out the PYM website

Naku, Na

Gordon Fitch
National Youth Manager

Global Mission

Youth programmes 
There has been good uptake for the I Love Taiwan youth programme hosted by the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan. A youth team from East Taieri Church is also taking part in a Going Global programme to Vanuatu in July. Each year there are many opportunities like these to engage in global experiences - check out the Global Mission and PYM websites for more info about what is available.

Harrays ready to serve in Myanmar
As mentioned last month, Wayne and Helen Harray are getting ready to begin serving with our partner church in Myanmar. They are in the final stages of their preparation and plan to be there in early July. There has been a good response to financial support for the agricultural project that Wayne will be leading; if you would like to support this, or Wayne and Helen’s personal expenses, you can make a donation through Global Mission. Contact me for bank account details. Please also email Katrina to confirm your contact details for receipting purposes.  

Ministry opportunities
I have had a request from a pastor with the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu for someone to visit and offer ministry support. He is in a remote location in the Banks Islands. This would be an amazing short-term experience, but would need careful preparation. Please get in touch for more info. 

Consider supporting a children’s ministry in South Africa. Historically funded by a trust in New Zealand, they can no longer fund this work. The ministry feeds and cares for many children who suffer from a lack of basic care. If you would like to know more, please email me. 

There are teaching opportunities available through our partner churches for people with teaching experience, who would like to travel and teach in some diverse contexts (usually in a volunteer capacity, but payment could be negotiated). We are currently working on an opportunity for a teacher to serve in the Chin State in Myanmar. Once again, please make contact if you are a teacher with an interest in mission service and a hunger for the intrepid.

Phil King
Global Mission Coordinator

Kids Friendly

An invitation to childlike discovery: finding the extraordinary in the ordinary  
Wind! Breath! Fire! Flames! The powerful, extraordinary experience of Pentecost is always memorable. Our Pentecost celebrations may have finished, however taking notice of God’s spirit among us must surely continue after Pentecost Sunday?

In our church year, we have moved from Pentecost into the season of ordinary time. What a dramatic gear change! And yet, maybe this is exactly what we need in order to be reminded to keep our eyes open for God’s Spirit at work among us?

The ability to see the extraordinary in the ordinary is certainly a spiritual practice. And who better to teach us than children? Children have an innate ability to experience joy and amazement in the ordinary things of life. Just walk through a field of dandelion weeds and you’ll soon have a bouquet of little yellow flowers in your hand. Or fill up a sink with dish soap for doing your daily dishes and discover - through the eyes of a child - the playful world of bubbles. May we be invited into this childlike discovery! 

Not only do children have that innate ability to experience amazement in the ordinary things of life, they are often a noticeable conduit of God’s spirit. Remember John’s gospel story about the feeding of the five thousand? The little boy offered his ordinary bread and fish into the hands of Jesus and look what happened! May we do the same! 

Just a reminder that our annual Love Reaches Out art and writing competition for preschool to year eight children has begun. This year, the theme is “Caring for our World”. Entries close 27 July. 

Rev Robin Humphreys
Kids Friendly Coach

Presbyterian Women

Presbyterian women are proud to give to good causes – we give our time, effort, prayers and money. This year - alongside the Methodist Women’s Fellowship - Presbyterian Women are focusing on two organisations this year:

  • Our New Zealand project works with PILLARS, Ka Pou Whakahou, which exists to create positive futures for the children of prisoners in Aotearoa, supporting them to cope with parental imprisonment. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern stated, as she announced New Zealand’s wedding gift to the royal couple: “Pillars is a charity I have known for some time. It does amazing work with the children of prisoners and their family and whanau to achieve generational change, to support those children for better outcomes for them and their family." 
  • Our international project works with Christian World Service and its partner the Centre for Community Solidarity in Uganda. They assist people and communities caring for orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV and AIDS, through the building of rainwater tanks; education about HIV/AIDS prevention; testing and treatment; running hygiene, sanitation, agricultural and financial training; and supporting the running of local credit schemes for small businesses.

The Dominion Post headline on 22 May was “Meghan and Harry make giving to charity cool again” and the article argued that everyone only needs a limited amount of glasses and toasters and that “these young royals are taking it [supporting good causes] to a new level and it's working for them and raising the profile of charity-giving worldwide”.  

Presbyterian Women are proud to be working towards the vision of a just and equitable society for all people in all parts of the world. For more information about PWANZ check out the PWANZ website. To donate, please email Sandra Waldrom

Sally Russell
Mission Convenor 

New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services

“This Budget hasn’t recognised the extremely dire situation community social services are experiencing”, says Trevor McGlinchey, Executive Officer NZCCSS. “While we’re pleased to see initiatives which begin to address the needs of those in our communities living in poverty, social services organisations that support families and whanau to make the most of new opportunities continue to be starved of resources. 
“The 2018 Budget has responded to the many signals regarding the needs in community: lack of housing, inability to meet their health needs, improved schools, more teachers, and improved funding for ECE and special education. These, along with increases in income and accommodation support – delivered through the Families Package – will see positive improvements in the wellbeing of some who live in poverty. 
"In the social services sector, we do see a much-needed boost in funding for community-based Family Violence services, which is fantastic. Increased funding community based transitional housing and Housing First initiatives is just what is needed to support those who are homeless to be ‘homed’ for the long-term. Equally the NZCCSS hopes some of the resources earmarked for reducing the prison population will be channeled to community organisations which support the reintegration of those released from prisons. The ever-growing Oranga Tamariki – Ministry for Children has also received a significant funding boost ($269.9 million over 4 years) to 'expand its services'.
“Amidst all this, the core community-based social services sector received no additional funding in this budget. This sector has seen no increase for 10 years – not even for the cost of living. Yet they provide essential services for hundreds of thousands of New Zealand’s most vulnerable citizens.
“The New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services is working with other social services umbrella organisations to alert ministers to the situation of community providers and the impacts of this sustained lack of funding.”
The Presbyterian Church sits alongside Presbyterian Support and five other church organizations on the NZCCSS. Further details about NZCCSS can be found on their website www.nzccss.org.nz

Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership

We will be holding our winter block course for ministry interns 19-29 June. This time we will be having the block course at a retreat centre in Island Bay, Wellington. One advantage of being in Wellington is that we can engage with the Assembly Office team and have interns begin to nurture important connections there.

Geoff New
Dean of Studies

CWS Notices

Operation Refugee
Syrian refugees are finding it harder to keep going and there is little hope of peace at present. CWS invites you to share your concern by taking part in Operation Refugee 2018. It is a five-day challenge to live on the same food as is found in a refugee emergency food parcel. This year’s challenge runs from 16-20 June. Operation Refugee Lite is a two-day version for students.

You can sign up to take part or sponsor Rev Sharon Ross Ensor or someone else taking part. Once you raise $87—enough to pay for a good quality food parcel in Jordan for a family of six, we send you the Food Box. The box contains your food for five days minus rice. Earn extra food by meeting fundraising goals.

If you would like to talk it over, contact David Lawson or 021 671 430.

Refugee Sunday Worship Resources
Download Refugee Sunday worship resources around lectionary readings for Refugee Sunday (24 June).

Gaza appeal
In response to a request from our partner the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees in Gaza, CWS is receiving donations to help provide medical and other emergency assistance to people injured or traumatised by recent events. CWS issued a statement recently expressing concern for Gaza’s two million residents.

Mentoring programme
There is one opportunity with CWS’s new mentoring programme to learn more about governance, social justice and strategic thinking. Applications for the one-year programme are open until 30 June. Learn more about the mentoring programme

Help for South Sudan
Our partner, the Maridi Service Agency asks for your continued prayers and support as negotiations continue to broker a lasting peace. Donations are needed to meet urgent food requirements in a country where more than seven million people risk starvation.

Church Register

An update to the Church Register will be published in the July edition of Bush Telegraph.


Studying theology at the University of Otago in semester two
There are many opportunities for the study of church history, ministry, theology and pastoral and practical theology, both on-campus and through the university’s distance study programme. Enrolments are due by 25 June. For information about papers click here

Apply for Tindall Foundation funding
Presbyterian and Union parishes are invited to apply to Presbyterian Support for a Tindall Foundation Grant. Presbyterian Support is a Faith Fund Manager and makes donations to projects under the Supporting Families and Communities category. Donations of between $500 and $15,000 are allocated for each successful project. Applications close Friday, 22 June. Download funding criteria and application forms

Christian World Service action against poverty mentor programme
At CWS we value diversity of ideas and input into our action against poverty. We are looking for people of varying age groups and backgrounds to join our decision-makers mentor programme and help inform us in our decision-making. Whatever your age or background, we invite you to join our 12-month programme. Applications close 30 June. For more info or to apply, click here

Celtic art retreat
St John’s Church, Nelson, is hosting a weekend retreat on 15-16 June, where participants will learn about Celtic artwork and how to create Celtic designs. All materials are provided and no drawing or artistic experience is required. Read more or register

Faith nursing 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.

Glen Innis vacancies
A few slots for the 2018/2019 summer remain. 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


Check out these and other job vacancies as well as ministerial vacancies within Presbyterian and Uniting congregations.