April 2020

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

From the Moderator
From the Assembly Executive Secretary
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
Kids Friendly: a ministry of Children and Families
Global Mission
Presbyterian Research Centre
Presbyterian Women
Christian World Service
Church Register

From the Moderator

God Our Protector
Psalm 91:3 - “He will keep you safe from all hidden dangers and from all deadly diseases”.

This Psalm reminds and challenges us to trust and to remain firm in our God. The gracious Lord will keep you safe. You are protected and in His loving care. Call on the Lord and believe that the Most High is your defender and protector.

These are very assuring words at this time with the rampant spread of COVID-19 in our land and in the world. We do not know how much more devastation this virus, which is bringing the world to a near standstill, will cause. The Coronavirus is described as a catastrophe like nothing seen before on our shores.

The Depression of the early 1900s and the first and second World Wars are mentioned in comparison. This is a very serious pandemic in our time. God’s word reminds us to come before our Maker, for the Almighty is our defender and protector.

On 24 March, our church at Onehunga laid to rest an elder member of our community. It was strange and surreal: we would usually have an attendance of four to five hundred folks, but there were only about sixty immediate family members gathered. The grief and mourning was not soothed with the usual hugs and kisses, just with words.

The matriarch of the family in her loss, tears falling down her cheeks, eyes piercing, broken, was held up by two granddaughters. Our eyes met. All I could say to her was “I love you”. She replied, “I love you”. The benediction was a chorus of wailing and tear drops. We are doing church in dire constraint and safety restrictions.

The situation in our country is at its highest security level. We are in lockdown for four weeks. The funeral director said: “Rev, this funeral is the last one. The next funeral will only be buried by the funeral directors. Family will not be permitted to be present.” It was strange, eerie, and an experience of immense proportions of anxiety and helplessness.

We pause. We cry. We stand apart. And we pray and call out to our God: “Help us, save us, cover us with your peace and assurance. O Lord Jesus, we need you every minute. O Holy Spirit please surround us with your protection and power. Help us all to stand strong. To care for each other”.

We do church according to our context, situation and predicament. We trust always in God our protector.

Moderator, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand

Editor's note: Every Sunday morning at 9am, Fakaofo is leading the Church in online devotions. View the devotions on the Moderator's Facebook page, or on the Church's video channel

From the Assembly Executive Secretary

I have started this several times – and this rewrite comes on the day that it was announced that our General Assembly would be postponed until September/October 2021 due to the impact of COVID-19. Please see the full communication here

As stated there will be updates as all the implications of this decision are worked through.

Many of our churches have found creative ways to say connected during these days. Our website has a page dedicated to resources – have a look www.presbyterian.org.nz/for-parishes/coronavirus-information. Our Moderator has created a weekly devotion, which is available every Sunday at 9am, on his Moderator Facebook page www.facebook.com/modpcanz/ It is also available on the Church's video channel, and via the Church website and Facebook.

I write this a couple of weeks before Easter. This is a time when we often use words like grief; loss and hope. These are linked. Maybe there is no greater grief than the crucifixion of the Son of God by those he came to save. The loudest lament is that of Good Friday. There is the silence of Saturday. There is the empty tomb and the no greater hope than the risen Christ. Those are words and realities that I – and maybe you – are experiencing.

Let’s draw close to God and recognise afresh our dependency on God in these and indeed – all our days.

Staff news
We welcomed Grace Webster to our office in March as our office administrator. Welcome Grace – great to have you as part of the team.

All staff – no matter where in the country they are – are currently working from home. Please contact them via email in the first instance. Find staff contact details on our website

Assembly Office closed over Easter
During Easter, Assembly Office is closed from 5pm Thursday, 9 April and re-opens on Wednesday, 15 April. If you need to contact a staff member for an urgent matter during this time, please see our website for contact details.

Calling a newly trained minister
This year another group will complete their training as interns. Profiles for each person are 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.

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 Grace so that we can ensure we are communicating with the appropriate office bearers.
Thank you for your prayers and support. Take care.

Wayne Matheson

Presbyterian Youth Ministry

Our plans have been turned upside down in the last couple of weeks, and we know it’s the same for you as well. Please know we are praying for you, as we all figure out how to best minister in this time.  Here are some of the things going on at PYM that you can engage with.

Connect Lockdown Series: pastoral care edition
Tuesday, 31 March 7:30-9:00pm

Feeling anxious about doing youth ministry in lockdown? Join the club! Join us for an online Connect Lockdown Series with special guest Richard Black.

Richard Black is the founder and managing director of Strength to Strength. He is sought after as a counsellor and communicator. Richard has worked in pastoral leadership for many years and understands the everyday struggles that people face and the demands on church leaders.

You must register to attend: Register Now After you register, you will be emailed a link with instructions how to join the gathering. Learn more about the Connect Lockdown Series

Lockdown youth ministry
Check out our Lockdown Youth Ministry YouTube show, it is a light entertainment show by youth leaders for youth leaders, as we try to figure out how to be youth leaders in this lockdown world. If you enjoy the show, make sure you subscribe.

Youth ministry advice for Covid-19
Since 25 March 2020, we, as a nation, have been at alert level 4. Isolation can be a very challenging experience for any of us and this is especially true for young people. Check out our youth ministry advice for church leaders  

Lockdown lightbulbs
We know this lockdown is going to be hard for everyone. We also know that we will encounter God during this time, and we will have epiphanies and "a ha" moments. When you do, let's share these light bulb moments by creating videos and using the hashtag #lockdownlightbulbs, so we all might see.

Gordon Fitch
National Youth Manager

Kids Friendly: a ministry of Children and Families

Psalm 46:10 has become a life-line for us this week! We have been reminded that God is ever-present and that it is life-giving to pause and remember that God is God. We offer this way of reading the verse as a simple, life-giving practice for these difficult and uncertain times we are facing. As each line is read, a word is taken away which creates new layers of meaning and centres us on God. We can’t do much to change our situation, but we can “Be” with God and “be” with others as we care for one another.

Be still and know that I am God
Be still and know that I am
Be still and know that I
Be still and know that
Be still and know
Be still and
Be still
Be still

We care about you! We encourage you to remember God’s ever-present nature through the friendship of Jesus Christ and in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. We pray you are being kind to yourself as we all seek to find new and creative ways to continue in our service as followers of Jesus Christ, particularly in our ministry to children and families at this time.

May we continue to uphold the importance of being with God and with our families, particularly during these days of lockdown, and may we point families in our care to that aim. Maybe lighting a candle and reading this verse everyday as a family could be one simple practice to take on?

We have been collating some resources that may be of help to you and your teams in this time. Download resources to use during lockdown

And now: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13

Robin and Julie


Like all Assembly staff, I will be working from home and unable to travel and visit parishes and presbyteries as usual. I’m still available by email (lisaw@presbyterian.org.nz) or phone (027 4455 723) and can answer your queries, direct you to resources and other people who can assist.

Where to find our resources
This is a time when we are being tested on our ability to be flexible, agile, responsive and creative in our ministries. Please join PressGo’s Facebook community for helpful tips and think-pieces for the church (that’s you and me) in unexpected times: www.facebook.com/PressGo2016. The national resourcing team have been contributing to a new Facebook page, COVID-19 PCANZ – Ideas for resourcing ministry: www.facebook.com/groups/2302897206669617. Both of these groups are open to the public and we aim to provide stories, ideas, training in new technologies and resources. They also provide many links to other useful sites.

Funding applications
PressGo will continue to receive and process applications for funding assistance for new initiatives. Current guidelines and application forms are now up on the Church website – download them here - so please make sure you are referring to the up-to-date guidelines and forms, which have April 2020 in the footer.

The deadline for small grants applications from the Presbyterian Foundation will be 1 August 2020. There is one funding round this year.

Mission Enterprise Fund applications for large projects and Aroha Fund applications have three rounds with closing dates of 1 May, 1 August and 1 November.

Please contact me for more details, or guidance on an application. Email on lisaw@presbyterian.org.nz or phone 027 4455 723.

Lisa Wells
PressGo Catalyst

Global Mission

How quickly things can change. Two months ago I wrote that Global Mission was already up to full speed for 2020 and that there was a lot of great activity happening in our partnerships. In the past month, along with everyone else, Global Mission has been significantly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, with sudden interruptions to our work and plans for 2020.

Brian and Ally Mackay have returned home for teaching at Talua Theological Training Institute in Vanuatu. They hope to return, but in the meantime it is safer for them to be back in New Zealand. Wayne and Helen Harray had already scheduled a furlough from their work at Tahan Theological College in Myanmar, but are obviously unable to follow through on their plans to visit churches and supporters while they are in New Zealand; and their original return date in May is now uncertain.

The cancellation of Council for World Mission events has affected some of our members including Joel White from Balclutha Presbyterian Church who had been selected as a participant on this year’s Training in Mission programme, which is now postponed until 2021. Four of our members were selected to attend CWM’s General Assembly in South Africa in June, and this has also been postponed until 2021.

The pandemic has also delayed planned youth events in Taiwan, and our congregational and church school projects in Vanuatu have been cancelled or postponed. It is most likely that things will be delayed until 2021, although some may be able to take place later in the year depending on how soon the situation improves.

Fortunately, technological improvements have meant that it is much easier to maintain contact with our partners until full activity can be resumed. In the meantime, stay informed by visiting the Global Mission website and Facebook page, look out for an online newsletter soon, and pray for all those whose plans and livelihoods have been affected by the impact of Covid-19.

Phil King
Global Mission Coordinator

Presbyterian Research Centre

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we have closed physical access to the Presbyterian Research Centre, including Hewitson Library and Archives, to all visitors until further notice.

Staff have been advised to work from home, so we will not be able to send out either books or archival documents. You are welcome to send requests, which we will respond to once collections are available again. Email us at either hewitson@prcknox.org.nz or pcanzarchives@prcknox.org.nz.

We will have strictly no access to physical files and photographs during the Level 4 shutdown period, but urgent requests will be dealt with as a first priority once we can return to our premises.

We will continue to develop our online presence, making more resources available on our new Recollect website and arranging more access to electronic books and other digital resources through the Hewitson Library catalogue and the Living Library. Further updates will be sent out regularly, so please sign up for our newsletters or check our Facebook page.

Please take care of yourselves, your loved ones and anyone else you are in contact with.

Jane Thomsen

Presbyterian Women

I am writing this contribution for Bush Telegraph feeling great disappointment because this year’s United Nation’s 64th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW64) in New York was unfortunately cancelled.

All registered delegates were sent an email in early March that read: In light of the current concerns regarding Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), CSW64 will suspend after one procedural meeting on 9 March.

This was going to be my 2nd time (and last time) leading the PWANZ delegation to the Commission (a role that I share with Dr Mavis Duncanson) and I had assembled a group of 10 wonderful women who were all keen to attend and also disappointed with the news about the cancellation. Most cancelled their travel plans, but a small number chose to travel to New York to have a holiday. They have all returned safely (and are self-isolating).

CSW64’s theme was meant to review of the progress of certain goals and aspirations set 25 years ago in Beijing, and I am not sure when this review will take place, as historically such reviews have been taking place every five years.

CSW remains a powerful instrument documenting the lives of women throughout the world and aiming to shape global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women. So if this is an area that interests you, then do consider becoming part of the self-funded delegation to CSW65 in March 2021. If interested, email: mavisj.duncanson@gmail.com for details.

Lastly, if you are not already aware we have a Presbyterian Women Facebook page, which is great to check for updates from the PWANZ executive.

AnneMarie Tangney
UN co-convenor

CWS Notices

Christian World Service is continuing its work to end poverty. We are in contact with our international partners, and all are worried about what happens if COVID-19 is not contained.

We are working from home, and all phone calls will be answered by Jordyn. We are happy to respond to any questions or concerns you have by email.

Donations were processed before lockdown, but we are unable to collect mail now, so the best way to donate to our appeals is by direct banking or online. The details are available here. We will send receipts for postal donations as soon as we can. End-of-year receipts will be sent after 31 March (when it is possible for us to do so). Please contact Jordyn or 03 366 9274 for more information if necessary.

Messages of care and concern have been flowing around our network. Everyone is reaching out – Radio CEPAD and MaridiFM are sharing vital health advisories in Nicaragua and South Sudan. 

Working together with a global outlook, we can limit the harm this virus can do. If necessary, we will launch a specific appeal for those affected. 

Please watch our website for further updates, Facebook for posts – or follow us on Twitter. We will share news from our partners and other matters of interest.

More than ever we need to focus on what we can do for each other by following government regulations and health advisories, taking care of one another and remembering those who are vulnerable and in difficult situations.

We can learn from the work you supported in Sierra Leone that limited the spread of the deadly Ebola virus - simple things like not touching and the importance of good health advice.

We are praying for all those affected by the virus and for you.


Copyright - does your church require a streaming licence to post your worship online?
Whilst social distancing measures are being taken to slow the spread of Covid-19 in our communities, many churches are choosing to stream online their worship and devotions. This is a great way to reach your church family and let them know that even apart we are joined together in worship. However, it is important at this time that churches do not breach copyright law by streaming online content that requires a separate Streaming Licence.

Please check to see if your church requires a separate or additional streaming licence. See more about streaming online on the Church website, and read more about the CCLI streaming licence here and the One License streaming licence here.

The PCANZ is not able to purchase a streaming license to cover all its churches.

Covid-19 guidance for parishes
The Church has collated and issued a range of useful resources to help parishes through these challenging times. The Coronavirus Information section on our website gathers information from the Church’s Moderator, Presbyterian Youth Ministry and other entities like Charities Services.

Glen Innis closed until further notice
In light COVID-19, Glen Innis Station is closed from 20 March 2020. Current bookings have been cancelled, and no new bookings will be accepted. Glen Innis station managers advise that they are happy to take tentative enquiries for future months, and that those with cancelled bookings will have priority once the facilities re-open for guests.

Have your say: law changes for death & funerals
The Ministry of Health is seeking feedback on modernising the legislation relating to death, burial, cremation and funerals in New Zealand. Anyone interested is welcome to fill in the consultation survey. The closing date for submissions is Friday, 10 April 2019. Learn more

Presbyterian Investment Fund
The Presbyterian Investment Fund (PIF) remains operational during Alert Level 4. Deposits and withdrawals can be processed as normal, observing the requirement to provide advance notice for major (>$100,000) withdrawals. The interest rate paid on the PIF On-Call Fund remains at 2.5% p.a. until 1 May 2020, when the rate will reduce to 1.75% p.a. The interest rate on the new PIF Long-Term Fund option remains at 3.5% plus inflation for the time-being. The PIF is open to parishes, but not to individuals. For further information, email the Trustees’ Executive Officer, Russell Garrett.

The Church Property Trustees also continue to operate under Alert Level 4, with staff working from home. Please email trustees@presbyterian.org.nz for any queries.

Church Register

An update to the Church register will be provided in the next edition of Bush Telegraph.


COVID-19 has forced the cancellation or postponement of many events. As we receive information about future events, we will update our website.


There are currently no advertised jobs, but check out the ministerial vacancies table for available ministerial positions around New Zealand.