February 2019

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
Presbyterian Women 
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
Global Mission
Presbyterian Research Centre
Church Register
CWS Notices

From the Moderator

Happy New Year, everyone.

This greeting is almost always obliged with the Christmas greetings “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year”.

I have long marvelled and been highly impressed with this greeting. For me it is a joining of the old year and the new year. They are words of hope and a prayer for the future. This greeting is a message of love, endearment, sent in a card usually, or spoken simultaneously. It is, for me, befitting of the goodness of God.

What this greeting also highlights for people of faith is that life is continuous, moving – a journey. It keeps on keeping on. One day follows another. And year after year it goes on. The days of our lives. The Psalmist said: “A thousand-years is but a day to you O Lord”. This is the perspective with our God.

But, for us mere mortals, the constant, ongoing days, are the years of one’s existence. This is our lot. And I think this greeting “Happy New Year”, just about sums up what it is all about. Be happy in all of life. Be happy with yourself, be happy with your family, be happy with your work, study, hobby… be happy with life.

This year, my prayers for you, the Church, are constant, daily. Please keep one another in prayer in this year’s journey. There is so much we desire for each other. Prayer is something we can commit to for each other. “Pray at all times,” said Paul. Prayer is uplifting, refreshing - it is food for our souls. Be happy in your prayer life. 

Finally, however the year is so far for you, keep strong in the Lord as you encounter, often and unexpectedly, the “valleys” and “mountains”. Keep the faith in Jesus our Lord and Saviour. The hope for 2019 is that we give thanks and praise to God. We trust in the Holy Spirit to be our helper and our guide, each day. 

Happy New Year, beloved in Christ

From the Assembly Executive Secretary

As I write this, I note that it is the third week I have been back at work.

During the two weeks our office was closed, it was good to relax and read a few good books. I enjoyed Mauri Ora – wisdom from the Maori world by Peter Alsop and Te Rau Kuponga; Arnhem by Anthony Beevor and Hamilton by Ron Chernow. 

The noise outside my office tells me things are changing. Others are also back at work. It has been going on for a couple of weeks now. In a space next to our building, the times are a changing… The noise first spoke of deconstruction – removing what was there; taking that away; clearing the site. As folk looked out at what was taking place – some wondered, some lamented, some shared stories.

Then came a different set of noises: pre-construction – noise of concrete cutters and drills and of concrete being poured. 

Then a third set of noises: construction – skill saws and nail guns, or talking and laughing and yelling and shouting; hammering and quiet voices. And to come, will be different sounds – laughter and conversation and earnest discussions and light-hearted humour. 

At the beginning of this New Year, I am reminded of the fact that at various parts of life’s journey – we face change. And that in that change – God – the same yesterday, today and forever – calls us to the next stage or chapter of the journey, and to trust. The words of 1 Sam 3 come to mind: “Speak, for your servant is listening”.

I have a series of books from Dallas Willard, which I re-read periodically. In Search of Guidance, (later released as Hearing God) Willard reminds us that God has created us for intimate friendship — now and forever. God’s invitation to us is to reorganise our lives in such a way that we walk so closely with God so that it becomes easy to know God’s mind and hear God’s voice. A helpful reminder at the beginning of the year.


Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership

Summer Block Course – NOM & LOM
We begin our year with the summer block course in Dunedin. We welcome three new interns into the NOM internship: Rob Williams and Matt Cave who are both placed in Kaimai Presbytery, and Sian Scannell who is placed in Presbytery Central.

With this block course we are trying a one-off experiment. We have invited LOM probationers to join us on 4th – 5th February to engage in the introductory material of the subjects we teach. Eight LOMs have taken us up on the invitation. 

Snapshots in Mission
We have published a second Snapshots in Mission, with 1000-word easily readable summaries of the Church’s recent research in mission. During Lent 2019, KCML is offering a weekly Lent-inar, a free online gathering, in which contributors to Snapshots in Mission will share about what sparked their writing. It is a great way to connect as Presbyterians in reflecting on church, ministry and mission. For enquiries, contact Steve Taylor.

Changes in LOM application/assessment timing 
In response to a marked increase in LOM applications, and the need to co-ordinate the timing of processing applications and assessments alongside the NOM process; a new timeline has been created. This was worked out with National Assessment Workgroup and Presbytery Candidate Convenors. For LOM application/assessment – the key dates to be aware of are:

  • April: deadline for LOM applications to be submitted to presbytery
  • Late September/early October: Presbytery assessment of LOM applicants conducted 

For more detailed information, see https://knoxcentre.ac.nz/ordained-ministry/local-ordained-ministry

Geoff New
Dean of Studies

Presbyterian Women

Tena koutou and warm Pasifika greetings. We usually joke about our New Year’s resolutions, some which can be meaningful, and some which are, at times, a bit random. In reality, our spirit and mind say it louder, and this is what we should be aiming for. 

Actioning our sense of call was on my mind over the holidays, so I meditated about it. I came to realise that a sense of call for us as PWANZ members, is not only to become leaders, but also to lead – and our actions should be louder than our words.  

Actioning our prayers, love, heart of giving, forgivenessand donations can at least be life giving to the needy, to our neighbours; mothers, daughters and children around us; our family, church and community. Share your love and actions – as Paul states: “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” (1 Cor 13:1).

Driving through the Kaikoura ranges and South Island on our short holiday (two days after New Year), tears were streaming from my eyes, as I admired the constructive patterns of the new road sites. I felt the love that actions the faith of this community in re-building their roads and town for their loved ones and the victims of the 2011 earthquake. If they can build it with support and help politically, financially, constructively and culturally, we too can re-build our PWANZ spiritually.  

We will integrate a new model to gear new action of calling – by providing path to the young ones; we’ll dwell in a new model, with new fashion, remaining in the faith and sight of the our founding and honorary members.

Ola Leasi

Kids Friendly & Presbyterian Youth Ministry

Child Protection Policy
Late last year, the Council Assembly published a Child Protection Policy for the Presbyterian Church. This is a stand-alone Supplementary Provision to the Book of Order.

This Policy must be applied when people in the Church have responsibility for children and young people. Congregations must comply with this policy by the end of 2019.

In short, congregations are required to appoint a Congregation Child Protection Safety Officer whose responsibilities include:

  1. Ensuring safe recruitment of leaders (including police vetting once every 3 years) 
  2. Ensuring leaders are trained
  3. Ensuring leaders are following safe working practices 
  4. Ensuring any suspected child abuse is reported appropriately.

Congregations must appoint a Child Protection Safety Officer by 1 August 2019, and the Church will run Congregation Child Protection Safety Officer Training between 1 Sep – 30 Nov. Your presbytery will liaise with you regarding this.

To support congregations, the Church provides a free police vetting service. Also, in conjunction with presbyteries, a Safety WOF training day is available for children and youth leaders, which to date, over 500 leaders across the nation have attended.

In 2019, the Safety WOF will be run at least twice in every presbytery. A full list of 2019 training dates will be on published by 7 Feb.

The team from PYM and Kids Friendly will continue to support children, youth and family ministry leaders as they complete these important steps in working toward the continued safety of the children and young people in their care.  

Gordon Fitch
Director Resourcing and National Youth Manager

Global Mission

Happy New Year! That didn’t take long – 2019 is now upon us.

2018 concluded with good momentum on our Ricebowl Mission partnership with the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar (PCM) with the November visit to New Zealand by three PCM members. In addition, Wayne and Helen Harray are also now well-established in their roles at the PCM’s Tahan Theological College, and there is plenty of scope to continue to develop this partnership. Read their blog to find out more about the work the Harrays are doing: https://helenharray.com. Contributions to the Ricebowl Mission and to the Harrays’ project work at Tahan Theological College are welcome. 

Our Global Mission personnel in Vanuatu returned home at the end of last year, so there is a changing of the guard in this area of our work. This year we will be supporting two new volunteers in different roles. Janet Hewson from Dunedin will be working at the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu’s (PCV) Korvan Community Health Centre, helping with curriculum development. The English teacher we will be supporting at Talua Theological Training Institute this year is the Rev Cassandra Nixon from Australia. Through contacts with the Church Missionary Society in Australia, it was made known that Cassandra was both qualified and available, so arrangements were put in place over the New Year period. Janet and Cassandra both begin in early February. 

New and ongoing project work with the PCV will be a bit more challenging this year without our personnel in Port Vila, but there are still several congregations involved in different ways. We are also planning to host some youth leaders from Vanuatu at Connect this year, as a way of strengthening our partnership at youth ministry level. We will be praying for successful visa applications for this. 

I begin the year with preaching and speaking engagements in Southland and Wellington, so it’s good to have interest and support from around the country. Please contact me if you would like me to visit and share the news of the Church's Global Mission work with your congregtion.

Phil King
Global Mission Coordinator

Presbyterian Research Centre

This year, in collaboration with Knox Centre for Ministry and Learning (KCML), the Presbyterian Research Centre (PRC) Archives team is finding resources for the February block course. Every year, each new KCML intern is linked with a historical figure with a similar background from the Presbyterian Church highlighting the value of the history of ministry. We will also be running a session with all the interns on how archival material can be of use within parish ministry and how to access these resources.

Late last year we received funding to digitise the Alexander Don diaries, the Outlook (1879-1934) and other New Zealand Presbyterian periodicals published during the time he was a contributor. These have now been sent to New Zealand Micrographics Services for digitisation. Having digitised copies available for study will protect the delicate originals and make these resources more readily available for researchers unable to come to Dunedin. We will make the published material accessible via our website, but the diaries will only be made available upon application by researchers.

If you are not on any of our mailing lists and would like to receive emails from the PRC about new books, events or blog articles, please sign up here.

Jane Thomsen

CWS Notices

Be the Lifeline
Thank you for joining the lifeline this Christmas. Your donations are an investment in hardworking families who want a safer future. Treasurers, please send all donations in promptly so we can issue receipts by 31 March. Throughout the year, CWS will offer more opportunities to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals at the core of this appeal. 

Operation Refugee
Operation Refugee is a personal challenge and an opportunity to give practical help to people forced from their homes. The challenge can be undertaken between April and September, with a special focus on 16-20 June. Participants can live on the Food Box for five days (two days for students), based on what a refugee family would eat, or try the new walking option. Please plan to join us.

Indonesia Appeal
CWS is grateful for donations to the Indonesia Appeal supporting earthquake and tsunami survivors. They have been matched by a $60,000 grant from the New Zealand Government. Local ACT Alliance members continue to supply water daily to affected communities and are prioritising transitional housing. The Appeal remains open.

Syria Winter Appeal
Most Syrian refugees are reluctant to return home as the conflict heads into its eighth year. Donations to the Syria Appeal will assist with emergency food, education and medical care during the bitter winter. Please pray for peace.

See what you have done
CWS released the Annual Review 2017-8 after the Board AGM on 1 December. 

World Day of Prayer
Women from Slovenia have prepared worship material “Come – Everything is Ready” for the World Day of Prayer on Friday, 1 March. Services are organised by local groups. The national committee encourages people to use these resources widely. For more information, contact Zella

Church Register

Cumulative Register from 1 October 2018

Ordination and Inductions
Rev Ieriko Afamasaga, minister Ranui Pacific island Church, Pacific Presbytery, 30 September 2018.
Rev Grant Ridout, licentiate to minister Ponsonby St Stephens, Northern Presbytery, 13 December 2018.    

Changes in Status
Rev Mario Weyers, minister St Andrew’s Te Puke, to other recognised minister, Kaimai Presbytery, 1 October 2018.

Rev Nancy Jean Whitehead, minister Waikari and Kowai Cheviot Presbyterian Church, to  minister emeritus, Alpine Presbytery, 2 December 2018.

Rev Norman Knipe, minister emeritus, Presbytery Central - Nukuhau Tapu, died 3 December 2018.
Rev John Gullick, minister Riversdale Waikaia Parish, Southern Presbytery, died 15 December 2018.
Rev Colin Arthur Mitchell, minister emeritus, Alpine Presbytery, died 20 December 2018.

Parish Register
Lansdowne Presbyterian Church, Presbytery Central - Nukuhau Tapu, dissolved 31 December 2018.


2018/19 lectionary and calendar available
A reminder that the latest lectionary (Year C - Luke), which commenced on 3 December 2018, is available for download from the Church’s website. Download lectionary and calendar for 2018/19.

Celtic pilgrimage retreat – Vaughan Park
Held on 9-10 March, and facilitated by the Rev Dr Hilary Oxford Smith and Celtic harpist, Julie Saraswati, the retreat will be at Vaughan Park Anglican Retreat Centre in Long Bay, Auckland. More details about the retreat, costs and how to register can be found here

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.

Residential scholarships
Vaughan Park Anglican Retreat Centre invites applications for the annual Vaughan Park Residential Scholarship 2020.

The scholarship provides the successful applicant with a supportive environment, including accommodation and meals, for a period of two consecutive month’s full time study at the Centre. Applications close 4 Sep 2019. Details about the application criteria and how to apply are available here: https://vaughanpark.nz/scholarship2/residentialscholarships 

Glen Innis vacancies
Ministers are entitled to one week’s free accommodation at Glen Innis’ Maud Hooper or James McNutt House. Information about how to book, current vacancies and images of the properties can be found on our website. Learn more


Check out our listing of national and regional events.


The World Council of Churches is looking for a General Secretary. Check out this and other vacancies on our jobs vacancies page. Ministerial positions within Presbyterian and Uniting churches can be seen on the ministerial vacancies table.