September 2018

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

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

From the Moderator

Mission in the Real World
I’m in Vanuatu. It’s probably my last major meeting before I pass on this mantle to the next worthy recipient. Vanuatu is a place that can summon visions of soft white beaches and dreamy azure blue seas and, indeed, these places exist aplenty. It is a place of extreme beauty until you see what’s happening here. 

Almost every nation on earth, and especially the big Asian countries, want a piece of this place and they’re playing politics for keeps to get it. The cargo cult tactic works as well in politics as it does in religion and the results are pretty much the same – a compliant and needy population. From houses for politicians to roads for the people, countries are throwing things at the nations of the Pacific in order to get a foothold here. 

As concerning as this is I’d have to admit that mission has tended to run along similar lines for quite some time here. Not that we are looking for a slice of the pie, as is the case with the big brother politics, but there is a tendency to impose a western mindset on how Church is done here. This comes from the imposition of denominational identities to the demand that island faith keep pace with western liberalising tendencies, including what women should wear and what counts as worship.

I’ve been here three times now. I watched the Presbyterian Church here with great interest, because it is something of a visitor in a strange land in terms of its mores and structures. But the people have changed it according to their needs and, indeed, their faith. Thank God for that because those changes have enabled it to remain strong and vital in a rapidly changing world. 

They’ve insisted that it deal with the real world – their world. Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t God’s perfect Church by any means. But it is a Church that still believes in the pre-eminence of a relationship with Jesus Christ and the need to bring that message to the local population. That’s why they still employ a full-time evangelist. That’s probably why they are still growing despite all that is happening here. I wonder if we might have thing or two to learn from them?

Richard Dawson

From the Assembly Executive Secretary

Dear friends and colleagues

In early August, I attended the Presbyterian Church Schools Conference. Yes, the keynote speakers were great, but that is not the lasting impression I came away with: I remain impressed with those I met that serve on school boards, serve as principals and as chaplains. 

Their passion, enthusiasm, commitment and dedication was palatable. As I listened, I heard stories that warmed my heart. I also heard stories that spoke of frustration and moments lost. I heard about the work of schools seeking to live out their special character and discern what that could look like; and stories of chaplains who modelled Jesus and lived out their faith – making a difference – one life at a time. There were also stories of lament and sorrow for the once strong and vital relationship between schools and the Church, which was now met with words that showed the Church was either not interested or just too busy.

I was reminded mission is not some project or programme. Rather, Missio Dei can be messy and unpredictable. Also let’s remember – and maybe rediscover – that the priesthood of all believers is worked out in secular vocations and occupations (not only in serving on church committees and duty rosters). Secondly, may we be challenged to move from running congregations to building faith communities – faith is not so much about security, as it is to risk all for the sake of the Gospel.

General Assembly
Our General Assembly takes place in Christchurch next month and I am conscious of the extra work that is being undertaken to make this event not only an effective forum for our Church’s business, but also an opportunity to celebrate, learn and grow together.

Can I ask you join with me, and many others, in praying for Assembly? For our incoming moderator, Rev Fakaofo Kaio; for the Assembly Business Work Group; the Local Arrangements team - the people working behind the scenes to ensure the smooth running of each day; volunteers and staff and all commissioners. 

Assembly is an opportunity for us to gather, and provides the opportunity for thanksgiving and mutual encouragement. It is also a time of discernment for how God may be calling us to mission at this time and in this place. In all that, may we be found as people who say, “Speak Lord, your servants are listening”.

For more information and details about how to register for GA18, please see the General Assembly website.

Thank you for your worship and witness to Christ – the head of the Church.


Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership

Apply for a Life-Long Learning Grant
Are you a Presbyterian minister planning on further study? Do you know that you can apply for a study grant from the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership?

The Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership is inviting applications for the next round of Ministers’ Life-Long Learning Grants (previously known as Ministers’ Study Grants).

Your programme of study will need to be approved by your presbytery and you will need to be a minister – local, national or Amorangi – in good standing of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Download the application form and guidelines at Applications close on 30 October 2018.

Ministers’ Resourcing Day
We are holding a Ministers’ Resourcing Day on Wednesday, 3 October, at The Village Church in Bryndwyr prior to the start of General Assembly. The theme will be “Resourcing the Spirituality of Lifelong Learning” and the day will run from 10.30am – 3.30pm.

We invite you to join us as we connect with fellow learners in the life of ministry and locate in scripture a spirituality of study leave. Learn more about the programme, and register online here: 

The cost for the day is $65 and will include lunch and coffee and tea.

Geoff New
Dean of Studies

New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services

Our Church sits alongside Presbyterian Support and six other churches on the NZCCSS. Have a sneak peek at the 2018-19 strategic plan.

The NZCCSS works for a more just and compassionate society in Aotearoa/New Zealand. We see this as a continuation of the mission of Jesus Christ.

NZCCSS carries a message of hope. We promote a hope-filled society which values human dignity and the common good by:

  • Holding hope and transformation as central to our work and by promoting hope-filled, community built, and strength-based responses to supporting those we and our members serve 
  • Proactively working with iwi/Maori to support the transformation of our societal structures so that te Tiriti is central to how New Zealand operates as a society
  • Supporting our members to role-model ‘iwi/Maori – Christian social services’ relationships and sharing good practice in this space
  • Reflecting the NZCCSS te Tiriti commitment in the way Council works and in the operations of the Secretariat
  • Actively engaging with the current government’s focus on wellbeing as a transformative force for the betterment of our society.

NZCCSS is a strong and respected voice for member Christian social services. We are an essential ecumenical meeting point for Christian social services and an invaluable resource to inform our members, stakeholders and the people they serve by being valued for:

  • Our strong Christion voice
  • The quality of the analysis we provide to our members to support their thinking, advocacy and service delivery
  • The influence we have on government social policy, and approaches to supporting social services 
  • Our knowledge of issues of importance to our members, their clients and their communities
  • The strength of our relationship with our member agencies and the degree of attachment and ownership they feel for NZCCSS
  • Our effective communications and public voice for NZCCSS vision and value.

The Presbyterian Church is represented on the Council by the Rev Diane Gilliam-Weeks. To find out more go to

Diane Gilliam-Weeks
Presbyterian Church representative on NZCCSS

Presbyterian Youth Ministry

Safety Warrant of Fitness (WOF)
PYM and Kids Friendly are committed to running training in each geographical presbytery at least once a year. We strongly recommend that every church puts their leaders who work with children and young people through the Safety WOF once every three years. For full information check out the PYM website

Training is coming up at the following locations:

  • 8 Sept – Auckland
  • 27 Oct – Whangarei
  • 16 Nov – Rotorua
  • 16 Mar 2019 – Christchurch

First Year in Youth Ministry Coaching Program
After introducing our First Year in Youth Ministry Coaching Program, we have had a good number of people signing up throughout the country. I believe this program could have a huge impact if churches get new key youth workers signed up.

So, if you missed the article last month, the Program is for new key youth leaders (paid or volunteer) in their first year of ministry. The Program is designed to:

  1. Help new youth leaders think through some of the basics of youth ministry leadership.
  2. Support new youth leaders in the challenges they are facing in the first year of ministry.

Your regional youth enabler has been trained in coaching and is now available to coach new youth workers.

Naku, Na
Gordon Fitch
National Youth Manager

Global Mission

At the time of writing I am attending the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu (PCV) General Assembly with our Moderator the Rt Rev Richard Dawson, and most of the Global Mission personnel serving in Vanuatu this year. 

A highlight will be the opening of the William Gray Memorial Church in Waisisi villasge on Tanna Island, which was funded by members of our Church. Cyclone Pam destroyed the original building, so the opening of the new church is a great celebration for the community and a sign of their recovery. Grateful thanks to the Rev Jaco Reyneke and many others who have helped to make this project possible. 

The season is ending for some of our long-term personnel in Vanuatu. Neville and Gloria Jones and Martyn and Annette Vincent will be returning home in September. It is impossible to adequately state in the space of a few short words what they have achieved during their time in Vanuatu. Their commitment to the people of Vanuatu and their contribution to the mission and ministry of the PCV, and their support for our Church’s personnel working on projects has been immense. More will be said at a later date. In the meantime, please pray for them as they bring their time of service in Vanuatu to an end, make their farewells and prepare to return home.  

Wayne and Helen Harray and Petra Malcolm continue to make good progress in their respective new roles serving in Myanmar. As mentioned previously, you can follow the Harrays in their blog, If you would like to financially support the Harrays you can do this through Global Mission - please contact Katrina Graham, for details.

Interest remains high in the work of Global Mission – please contact me if you would like to know how you can be involved, or if you would like to arrange a speaking engagement at your church.

Phil King
Global Mission Coordinator 

Kids Friendly

“Caring for our World,” Inspired by Our Children 
Each year Kids Friendly and Presbyterian Support Family Works invite and encourage our church communities and schools to consider how we are to reach out with God’s love. This year, we have been inspired by children from across the country who have artistically responded to the theme “Caring for our World”. 

A message from Cheryl Harray, Kids Friendly Advisor, Southern Presbyterians:

Kids Friendly and Presbyterian Support Family Works would like to thank all the children who entered the ‘Love Reaches Out – Caring for our World’ art and writing competition 2018.

"There were 151 entries across five categories and on Wednesday, 15 August the judges spent three enjoyable hours viewing, discussing and choosing winners and runners up. It was NOT an easy task! 

"The three judges were Rev Dr Selwyn Yeoman, (Presbyterian minister and Dunedin Arocha group leader) and Grace Ryder and Maia Abraham, director and artist from the Blue Oyster Art Project Space. Selwyn said it was ‘a pleasure and fun’ to be a judge and also greatly enjoyed collaborating with the other two judges. Grace and Maia found it refreshing to view children’s art for a change and all the freshness and honesty that they bring. All judges appreciated reading the descriptions seeing how children expressed their ideas in a wonderful and colourful variety of ways.

"The exhibition (all visual and the prize-winning writing entries) is now on display at Knox Church Dunedin until Tuesday, 11 September. So if you or any family and friends are in the area, please DO come along and be inspired by the children’s expressions of ‘Caring for our World’.

"Some of the entries will also travel up and be on display at General Assembly in Christchurch, 3-7 Oct. 

"Let children’s creativity and voice continue to be encouraged in our church!

Rev Robin Humphreys
Kids Friendly coach

Presbyterian Research Centre

Rachel Tombs, the University of Otago history intern we hosted during the first half of 2018, has written an article about the four women who have been Moderator of the General Assembly. Read their story in The Treasures of the Presbyterian Research Centre blog: “We don’t look at the women”.

We would also like to acknowledge the death of one of these women, Very Rev Margaret Reid Martin, on 19 August 2018.

If you are not on our mailing list and would like to receive emails when new articles are published in the future, or would like to see new book lists or event alerts, please sign up here.

Jane Thomsen

CWS Notices

Rohingya appeal
More than 700,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar over the last year. The vast majority are women and children. Speaking to the United Nations Security Council, actress Cate Blanchett says funding for relief assistance is falling short – amounting to only US 33 cents per person per day. Please pray for the refugees and for change in Myanmar so they can return home. If you want to help, please donate to the Rohingya Appeal.  

South Sudan moving to peace
Peace negotiations continue in an effort to resolve political differences that have sparked prolonged conflict in the world’s newest country. The churches ask for your prayers and support for their peacemaking efforts. A donation to the South Sudan Appeal will help families in need of food.

Mangrove Report
Our Filipino partners have been planting mangroves to protect their coast and provide habitat for bird and sea life. Thanks to St Margaret’s Presbyterian in Silverstream who kick started the replanting drive. Buying mangroves is one way to offset your carbon footprint while helping a community badly damaged by super typhoon Haiyan.

World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel
Please plan to join the global movement of prayer for a just peace in Israel and Palestine from 16-23 September. This year’s theme is “Youth and Children: Raising Hope and Making Change”. You might like to support the work of the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees in East Jerusalem, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and the West Bank. DSPR is providing education programmes for all ages, psychosocial support, income generation and emergency assistance as well as primary medical care for families in Gaza.

General Assembly
National director Pauline McKay and relationships coordinator David Lawson will be at this year’s Assembly. Please introduce yourself to them.

Church Register

Changes in status
Rev Brett Johnstone, minister Somervell Presbyterian Church, to chaplain Mt Eden Corrections Facility, Northern Presbytery, 9 April 2018.
Rev Michelle Shin, minister stated supply, St Aiden’s Northcote, Auckland to other recognised minister, Northern Presbytery, 30 June 2018.
Rev Robert Andrew Scott, minister Brockville Community Church, to other recognised minister, Southern Presbytery, 21 July 2018.
Rev Rachel Judge, minister Mornington Presbyterian Church, to minister Mosgiel North Taieri, Southern Presbytery, 1 October 2018.

Rev Sharon Ensor, director Presbyterian Schools Resource Office, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu to Kaimai Presbytery, 18 June 2018.

Rev James Milne, minister emeritus, Northern Presbytery died 1 August 2018.
Rev (Sister) Iris Eva Woods, minister emeritus, Southern Presbytery died 6 August  2018.
Rev Jack Foster, minister emeritus, Kaimai presbytery died 16 August 2018.
Very Rev Helen Margaret Reid Martin, minister emeritus, Northern Presbytery, died 19 August 2018.


Sign-up for GA News - daily updates during GA18
Receive daily news during General Assembly via email. Sign up to receive GA News: on the right-hand side of this website page is a sign-up form - "Subscribe to GA News". Just enter your name and email and every day of the 2018 Assembly, we will send you the latest news.

Spiritual directors formation programme
Spiritual Growth Ministries is inviting applications for its 2019 programme. The two-year, part-time programme combines practice and theory, residential intensives and hands-on learning. Applications close 20 September 2018. Learn more

Register now for the faith nursing conference 
The NZCFNA conference is being 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

Church Property Trustees AGM
The 2018 Annual General Meeting of the Presbyterian Church Property Trustees will be held at 4pm Thursday, 27 September 2018, at 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 will be available from 3.40pm. For catering purposes, please RSVP to Pat Griffin or phone (04) 381 8290.

Glen Innis vacancies
A few vacancies at both Maud Hooper House and James McNutt House still exist for the busy summer 2019 period - check out dates available over summer. Vacancies for Sep–Dec can be found here


Check out our listing of national and regional events.


Check out the jobs vacancies page and the ministerial vacancies table for more details.