August 2020

From the Moderator
Assembly Executive Secretary
Presbyterian Youth Ministry
Presbyterian Children and Families
Global Mission
Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership
Presbyterian Research Centre
Presbyterian Schools Resource Office
Christian World Service
Church Register

From the Moderator

New Zealand General Election 2020

“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities for there is no authority except that which God has established”  Romans 13:1.

There are many who argue, and who believe strongly, that State and Church affairs should not be intertwined and merged together. That they should be far apart from each other. New Zealand has a history of Church and State working together for the betterment of the nation.  Though, in later years the two seem to be significantly apart. Whatever your view, and stance, please in this year’s General Election, make your vote.

Saturday 19 September 2020 is the General Election date for all New Zealanders. It is your duty and mine to vote.  I urge you, and encourage you, to vote.  Between now and election day, you must firstly fill in and send in your Electoral Registration forms.  This is a serious responsibility - all in your household who can vote, must do so.

Men and women who offer themselves to be politicians take on an honourable and a demanding life commitment. We, each individual New Zealander, and our vote, choose those who will govern our nation for the next three years. It is like a partnership, a liaison, a collaboration, a sharing of trust and responsibilities from the people, upon individuals. These brave and courageous folk in their political parties will form the government for the next term.

The processes and structures are orderly and well accepted. In my mind and perspective, it is a very democratic procedure of this nation that we love and are proud to call home.

It is our Christian response.  In our churches, our communities, villages and families, we must remind each other to vote on Saturday 19 September. Please also make your response to the two referendums that will also be voted on, the End of Life Choice and Cannabis Legalisation and Control bills.

Moderator, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand

From the Assembly Executive

As I write this, news from around the world tells a story of increased COVID-19 cases; actions and/or inactions by authorities or governments or decision makers. While here, life continues with very limited restrictions. I note statements about preparedness, government funds for future COVID waves, news of redundancies or job loses or changes to working hours, the full financial impact still to be felt. As I wrote last month: We are not going back to normal.

And in this space, we continue to learn and reflect on new ways of undertaking key tasks and actions and sharing those with others. I continue to be encouraged how folk are discovering resources; ideas etc, and then making these known. And this is happening right across the life of the Church – from ministry with children, youth, adults, small groups, mission, church services, music, prayer – the list goes on. It is wonderful!

Yet I have noticed something else. With so much training and resourcing available – literally at our fingertips – people speak of being tired, being weary, being exhausted, being overwhelmed. People are speaking this way far more than those pre-COVID days. I sense a greater degree of honesty.

Maybe one thing we have learnt is the need to take time, to reflect, to be still, to spend time with God, to spend time with people who are important to us. If not going back to normal means these things that would be great - for all of us.

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

As some of you may be aware, Matt Chamberlin, National Youth Director, is recovering from a concussion he received during an accident. While he is recovering from this injury, he will be working only five hours per week. If you need general or urgent youth ministry support, please contact me in the first instance. If you have been dealing with Matt on a particular project, please be aware that there will be a delay in getting a response.  

Please join me in praying for Matt and his family as he works his way back to full health.

PYM Recommended Pay Scale

The PYM recommended pay scale for staff you are employing was recently updated due to the recent increase in the Living Wage.  As of 1 September 2020, the living wage is set at $22.20.

International Youth Day – 12 August

The World Council of Churches has put together an International Youth Day Toolkit to help youth workers prepare our churches to engage in youth issues.

Gordon Fitch
National Youth Manager

Presbyterian Children and Families

The Praying for Children initiative is right around the corner! This year, Praying for Children week is 2 – 8 August. We are glad to be partnering with Presbyterian Support New Zealand once again to encourage praying for children as well as providing Praying for Children resources to share with our Church congregations.

The theme for this year is, “Sowing Seeds of Love” and being inclusive of all children.  You will find that the resources we are providing encourage a specific focus for prayer each day of the week. We invite you and your communities of faith to think and pray about the inclusion and nurture of all children in our churches, our communities, and our homes.   

For the Praying for Children week there is a kete of resources. We encourage you to distribute them, as well as include them in your Sunday service on 2 August. You can find all of these resources at this link on our new website

We are pleased to share that the development of our new website is underway and can be visited at:
It is still a ‘work in progress’ but we look forward to connecting and communicating and continuing to resource those in ministry to children and families.

Grace and peace

Robin Humphreys & Julie Penno
Co-Directors, Presbyterian Children and Families

Presbyterian Church Schools Resource Office

Columba College in Dunedin was opened in 1915 mainly due to the vision of Rev Alexander Whyte, who, while convenor of Dunedin Presbytery, persuaded others of the value of a Church school education for girls.

Columba is a special character, state-integrated composite school which means they have a co-educational junior school for Years 0-6 and a girls’ day and boarding school for Years 7-13.

The school is named after the 6th century St Columba who set up an abbey on the island of Iona off the west coast of Scotland. He was known for his missionary zeal, political acumen, dedication to scholarship and deep spiritual life (a set of attributes well-worth emulating, don’t you think?).

Columba College is proud that the tradition of church involvement continues with special services held regularly at First Church and Knox in Dunedin. And, until the recent appointment of a dedicated school chaplain, chaplaincy came from the minister of Highgate Presbyterian. Now weekly chapels and religious study lessons to all levels are provided by Jennifer McLeod and her assistants. In addition, the school’s motto ‘Grace and Good Discipline’, is based on Proverbs 3:4, which has further informed the school’s values of good discipline, respect, aroha, citizenship, and excellence (grace).

Pauline Duthie, Principal of Columba College, speaks of the importance of the Presbyterian values of education and serving the community in her video of welcome on the school’s website.  With over 100 years of educating girls, and lately also young boys, Columba College has many great stories to share. See the website for more information, or drive past their beautiful campus at 399 Highgate if you are ever in Dunedin.

Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership

At the beginning of lockdown, KCML ran three Bubble Courses on a variety of topics: Building Community and Increasing Participation Online, Leading in Change, and Preaching in a Pandemic. The 90 participants were invited to respond to a feedback exercise – and a number have generously responded with their thoughts and experiences to help us plan future events. We are very encouraged. You can read the feedback on the KCML website.

We completed our Winter Block Course online (23 June to 2 July). We taught courses with a mix of online engagement and offline exercises. Faculty will be working through the comprehensive and affirming feedback received. Like the Bubble courses, this has proven to be a valuable experience and experiment to help us develop our future teaching strategies.

On a personal note – I am celebrating the publication a few weeks ago of my book, “Echoes – the Lord’s Prayer in the Preacher’s Life”. This has been the fruit of years of reflection and study, and years of collegiality and warm encouragement from the PCANZ whānau.

Geoff New
Dean of Studies

Global Mission

Peace Sunday

The 6 August marks the 75th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, with Peace Sunday observed on 9 August, the closest Sunday. This significant milestone, and the current situation the world is facing, lend weight to the importance of observing Peace Sunday this year.  CWS worship resources for Peace Sunday, and specific prayers to acknowledge Hiroshima Day, can be downloaded here.

Season of Creation

The Season of Creation is a time of year when Christians are invited to pray and care for creation. This year’s guide, “Jubilee for the Earth” is a resource for congregations to plan worship and events celebrating our environment. Download the guide and summary of suggestions here.


Cyclone recovery progress for the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu is moving ahead gradually, with a significant rebuild currently underway at Talua Theological Training Institute.  Many other projects are spread over several islands. I am communicating with PCV presbytery clerks who are managing the projects. They are grateful for our financial support.

Myanmar and India

Churches and educational institutions are still locked down in Myanmar and India, so it’s tough going for our partner churches. Pray for them as they respond to the challenging situations they find themselves in. St Thomas school in Jagadhri (India) produced a video welcoming students to their online classes. They have shared this with us as an example of how they have responded in their context.

Council for World Mission

The Council for World Mission produces Insight, a monthly magazine I recommend featuring stories from member churches and commentary on relevant world issues. An excellent publication and worth sharing. The February and June editions feature articles from Wayne and Helen Harray about their service in Myanmar. They remain in New Zealand as they wait for conditions to improve for a return to Myanmar.

The effect of the Covid-19 pandemic globally cannot be overstated, and it remains to be seen what the longer-term impacts will be. Stay informed and keep our global partners in your prayers as we continue to support them in this uncertainty.

Phil King
Global Mission Coordinator

Presbyterian Research Centre

Since we have been back at the Research Centre we have had an influx of material sent to Archives, which is wonderful.

People have obviously taken the time to have a spring-clean of church records as well as personal stuff. We have had several enquiries about what sort of things should be sent to us, so we have been directing people to our new Archives website where we have three articles which may be helpful: A Guide for archives management in the parish; What happens when parish collections come to the Archives, and What to do with church records.

Just a reminder that if you still have any Hewitson Library books that you borrowed before lockdown, we would welcome their return (we can also arrange for them to be renewed if you want to keep them a bit longer).

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

Jane Thomsen


Greetings from Matthew Hague, the Church’s new Compliance Director.

I joined the Assembly Office team at the end of the COVID-19 lockdown. What a time to start a new job! Over the past weeks, I have enjoyed meeting and speaking with Presbyterians from around the country.

For the last 17 years, I have worked in the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and New Zealand Police, with the last four years as a lawyer for the NZDF. I live in Miramar, Wellington with my wife Kathy and our five-year-old twins, Emily and Robert.

I took the position of Compliance Director because I want to broaden my professional experience and the Presbyterian Church is a great organisation to work for.

As a practising lawyer, my job is to help you get things done. I am an enabler. If you are working with any legal or compliance matters and want support, let me know. Things I can help with include:  employment matters, contracts, intellectual property law, legislative compliance, child protection requirements, discipline and complaints, privacy and information law, legislative and regulatory compliance, and workplace health and safety.

I can be contacted by phone 021 374426, or email I’m looking forward to working with you.

Matthew Hague
Compliance Director

CWS Notices

Peace Sunday

CWS invites New Zealand churches to mark Peace Sunday on August 9, 75 years since the dropping of the second nuclear bomb on Nagasaki, Japan. In our resource, “And no one shall be afraid”, Rev Dr Peter Matheson reflects on how sharing the peace in worship connects us to each other, God and our world. There are ideas for worship and for action that can be adapted for your place. If you use the resource, please let us know what you do.

Billion Dollars Needed

Big Hearts Connected World believes New Zealand needs to increase its aid budget so people and countries can respond to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, and the economic downturn. CWS, Oxfam and World Vision with ten other international agencies launched the new campaign calling for an extra billion dollars to meet the aid goal of 0.7 percent of Gross National Income. Please sign the petition.

Just for You

Lakshmi has always had to work hard, but now at 86 years old, she is dependent on the kindness of others. India’s Tamil Nadu government has denied emergency food to people like her living alone. So, when young women from CWS partner, EKTA, arrived at her door she could not believe her good fortune. Read the Winter Story, Just for you. Please contact Jordyn if you would like copies to share.

Operation Refugee

Syrian refugees are facing Covid-19, lower levels of humanitarian assistance and collapsing local economies. They need food or cash vouchers, medical care, and funding for education for all ages. Please join Operation Refugee to raise funds for the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees supporting refugees from Syria. Operation Refugee runs until 30 November. Find out more in the Kete, or contact organiser Eric Park, 022 377 6606.


Resources for end of life choice referendum

In July 2020, the Interchurch Bioethics Council, of which the Presbyterian Church is a member, prepared two articles on the upcoming referendum for the End of Life Choice Act 2019 - one is a FAQs list and the other is an opinion piece by Rev Dr Graham O’Brien, Co-Chair InterChurch Bioethics Council. Download or view the resources

Apply for a Presbyterian Foundation grant

PressGo is inviting applications for mission initiatives under the Presbyterian Foundation criteria. Grants of up to $10,000 are available, and must be matched by parish or presbytery contributions. This year this is only one application round, and applications close 1 August. Learn more

CWM resumes search for General Secretary

The role - ideally based in Singapore - is responsible for providing overall strategic and operational leadership, advising on and implementing policies and practices, giving missiological direction and engaging member churches, ecumenical partners and staff in achieving the aims and objectives of Council for World Mission. Learn more

Glen Innis holiday home for ministers

Bookings for August and September are now open, see available dates here.  Please note that the spring school holidays are fully booked, however, both houses have vacancies for the school summer holidays 25 – 31 January. For more info contact Stephanie.

Presbyterian Investment Fund

Deposits and withdrawals can be processed as normal during alert level 1, observing the requirement to provide advance notice for major (>$100,000) withdrawals. The interest rate paid on the PIF On-Call Fund is currently 1.75% pa and the interest rate on the new PIF Long-Term Fund is 3.0% plus inflation. The PIF is open to parishes, but not to individuals. For further information, email the Trustees’ Executive Officer, Russell Garrett.

Extension of consultation period to 31 October 2020: burials and cremations

The Ministry of Health has extended the consultation period regarding proposed options to modernise the legislation relating to death, burial, cremation and funerals in New Zealand. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the period for accepting submissions has now been extended until 5.00 p.m. on Saturday 31 October 2020. The consultation documents are available here

St Andrews Hastings to participate in World Council of Churches webinar 18 August

The WCC is hosting a webinar series, “Churches on the Road to an Economy of Life and Ecological Justice”. It will feature examples of churches and faith communities engaged in efforts for transforming their local context. The live-streaming times of some of these webinars aren’t great for NZ, but this one is: St Andrew’s Presbyterian, Hastings, 7pm-8.30pm 18 August. Chris Lambourne will present on the Flaxmere Te Ra Power project. There will be four webinars over the next few weeks, see more.

Church Register

Changes in Status

Rev Stuart Simpson, from minister at St John’s in the City, Wellington, Presbytery Central - Nukuhau Tapu, to Mission Catalyst, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, 1 July 2020.

Rev Wayne Te Kaawa, from minister at Pine Hill, Dunedin, Southern Presbytery, to Other Recognised Minister, Southern Presbytery, 12 July 2020.

Rev Robert Robati-Mani, from Other Recognised Minister, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, to Other Recognised Minister and presbytery member, Southern Presbytery, 1 July 2020.

Rev Scott Wishart, from minister at Te Aroha Cooperating Church, Kaimai Presbytery, to Minister Emeritus, Kaimai Presbytery, 1 June 2019.


Check out details about upcoming events including training workshops, opportunities to serve and more. Learn more


Check out our job vacancies page and the ministerial vacancies table.