July 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
Presbyterian Women
Christian World Service
Church Register

From the Moderator

The Great Commission

Jesus said: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 18-20)

The reminder that we are a “called and send” people of faith is never lost on Jesus’ followers. Whatever the circumstances, we will always find ways to witness and serve as disciples of the Good News of our Lord.

As we continue to navigate the changed world in the wake of Covid-19, there remains uncertainty, but also many positives…

We led worship online, with some reflecting that this is a channel worth maintaining after lockdown because it reached so many people.

Lockdown proved to be a great time to update the church parish roll, and my colleague called every person on their list. What a good pastoral activity! Rapport was built during this time, and I am trying something similar with those on our ministerial roll.

In my bubble, we enjoyed wonderful family time. I attended to many jobs that had been put aside due to my busy schedule, and I read a lot. There was deeper time spent on the Word, Scripture and prayer life. For me, these are the most essential pillars of my faith.

And food - mama mia, yum yum - such a delicious variety of home-cooked meals every day. My favourite… but, I just had to watch my waistline.

The Great Commission consumes all of our lives. We live to serve and witness. Lockdown forced us to do life differently, but, ultimately, we live for Jesus Christ.

Remember the Lord’s parting words: “I am with you always to the end of the age”.

Moderator, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand

From the Assembly Executive

We are not going back to normal…

I have read those words in different settings and heard them spoken by all sorts of people; some they have not wanted the words to be true; others have viewed them with optimism. Some want the world to go back to the way things were, with our carefully worked out plans and uninterrupted lives.

I am sure coronavirus is not something to “get through” for a few weeks or months. Instead, Covid-19 has, and will continue to, change us. It is likely to affect our lives, our communities, our Church and our world for years. We have seen how our world is so interconnected and are discovering some of the underlying assumptions that sustained us are not true. And it is not all negative!

The priority must be to set aside our own confidence in what we know, and through prayer and discernment, respond to God’s call to first seek God and God’s kingdom; to engage in God’s mission. We place it all on the table…
I have seen and heard of folk daring to engage in such steps. I hear, sense and experience in that space hope and vision – yet also grief and lament.

My trust, confidence and hope in God’s gracious providence, working miraculously through human beings, remains.

We are not going back to normal…

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 just six hours per week.

If you need general or urgent youth ministry support, please contact me, Gordon Fitch, 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.

First year in youth ministry coaching programme

In support of the Church’s belief that ministry to young people is a high priority, a coaching programme has been developed for new key youth leaders (paid or volunteer) in their first year of ministry.

The programme recognises that while youth ministry can be challenging, if a new youth minister is coached by an experienced youth minister, they are more likely to lead a healthy and effective ministry.

The programme aims to:

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

If you have a new key youth leader at your church, this may be of benefit to you. Learn more

Gordon Fitch
National Youth Manager

Presbyterian Children and Families

What? So What? Now What?

This progressive series of questions can be used to invite reflection that can work across many settings. These questions are a tool for the Church in these times as they can help glean the “learnings from lockdown”. How might these questions invite deep reflection for the families in our church communities? How might the reflections heard from families - both in our church and in the wider community - help inform and shape our way forward as a Church?

The home was the main locale of faith formation during lockdown. We’re encouraged to ask: “What was hard and what was easy about practicing faith together as a family over lockdown? So what does that say about your experience of faith and community? Now what will you do differently in life together as a family? Now what are your hopes for the wider community of faith?

Reflecting on the experience of families during lockdown, Cheryl Harray put together a resource encouraging reading. She writes:

During lockdown many of us read more books (and ate more chocolate!) It was great to hear from families where story time took on an even more important part in the rhythm of each day: parents reading picture books to young children on their laps, tucked up on the couch, in bed or at the table, everyone expectantly listening to the next chapter of longer stories, older siblings reading to younger or on their own for hours at a time. All this is music to my ears as an ex-teacher so please don’t stop! Encourage your families to make it a lifetime habit and joy.

Find her resource on page 7 in the most recent Southern Presbyterians newsletter.

Growing together in Christ

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

Presbyterian Church Schools Resource Office

Have you seen any of the school open days being held around the country? The open days give students and caregivers the opportunity to consider their schooling options for 2021.

Our twelve Church schools span the country and all but one has boarding facilities. They offer a variety of educational experiences, but all with a Presbyterian flavour. Some range from preschool to year 13, others are less broad. Some are solely for boys or girls, while others are co-educational. Some are city-based and some are rural. Some are integrated (ie. working under Ministry of Education guidelines) and others are independent.

However, all the schools have chaplains as well as the usual range of teachers and support staff. This, along with regular chapel services, religious education and pastoral support, reflects these schools’ special character.

Due to Covid-19, many schools are doing tours and other promotional activity online to provide a more convenient way of visiting. So, if you want to find out more about Saint Kentigern and St Cuthbert in Auckland, Iona and Lindisfarne in the Hawkes Bay, Solway in Masterton and St Orans in Lower Hutt, Queen Margaret and Scots in Wellington, St Andrews and Rangi Ruru in Christchurch, and the Dunedin schools of John McGlashan and Columba, go to the Church website for contact details for each school.

Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership

Our winter block course for national ordained ministry interns has been running over the last few days and finishes later this week. Originally planned for Wellington, arrangements needed to be finalised during alert level 4, and because we were unsure if travel would be possible in June, we made the decision to teach the course online.

This change has challenged our lecturers to rethink how best to teach material and ensure the learning experience is as effective as possible. This included peer reviewing each other’s work. We will hold a mini-block course later this year in Wellington to teach course material that is best delivered face-to-face.

Last week, we held a church-wide Zoom farewell for Rev Dr Mark Johnston. This was an opportunity to thank and honour Mark for 12 years of outstanding ministry at Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership.

Geoff New
Dean of Studies

Global Mission

Moderator’s Vanuatu appeal update

The amount raised for the Cyclone Harold appeal for the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu (PCV) has reached over $50,000, with some donations still coming in. This is a fantastic effort. So far we have sent $8,000 to support families, staff, villages and the rebuilding of facilities in the Santo Bush Mission outreach, which sustained significant damage. We will be working with the PCV leaders to arrange the distribution of the remaining funds for recovery projects identified in order of priority.

Latest news from Myanmar

In the past month, we made a grant allocation to the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar for several projects. Read about these and the latest news from the Ricebowl Mission partnership in the Mingalaba newsletter.

Global mission + Covid-19

While we manage the challenges of the economic recession, our partner churches are also facing significant issues within their respective nations, which is obviously impacting on global mission activity. It would be nice to think we can make plans to resume normal activity in 2021, but it’s too hard to say. 

However, our friends around the world have been grateful for messages of support during this time and in the case of the Presbyterian Church of Korea, they were helped by our Covid-19 resources. PCK General Secretary Rev Chang-Bae Byun wrote this: “I read the PCANZ’s guidance for churches on coronavirus on the website, and this was very useful for me in helping to develop our PCK manuals. I would like to express sincere thanks to leaders of your Church."

It's encouraging to know that we were able to support a partner church in this important way.

Now that churches are able to meet for worship again, I invite you to make plans for an update on our global mission work. Although we are in a different season, it is important for us to also keep our focus outwards to the worldwide body of Christ.

Phil King
Global Mission Coordinator

Presbyterian Research Centre

The Hewitson Library and Presbyterian Archives are now open to the public. We encourage people wishing to visit Archives to make an appointment, but this isn’t essential. No appointment is necessary to visit the Library. We will be continuing to develop our online collections and encourage people outside Dunedin to explore these resources.

We are also still interested in documenting the response of New Zealand Presbyterians during the Covid-19 pandemic so if you have anything to contribute, please email us, or you can upload photos or documents onto Google Drive. This can be personal reflections, photos of working from home, artwork, worship resources or anything else that relates to experiences or response during the pandemic.

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

Presbyterian Women

Over the last few months I listened to the daily Covid-19 updates at 1:00 pm. I appreciated getting clear information and facts as New Zealand’s response evolved to keep us safe and well.

Many people I work with were suddenly taking up the challenge of working from home at the same time as they took up a teaching role with their school-aged children. For some this meant getting more data, or even an internet connection, or waiting to get a suitable device for their children. Many agencies worked hard to provide resources to their clients, as soon as possible.

I was heartened by what we as a society provided so quickly to families and children who were suddenly in need of more resources to be able to participate in everyday schooling.

Another decision our government made was to double the winter energy payment. Families I work with were able to relax a bit about the cost of keeping warm while their children were home instead of at school during the day.

These are two examples of New Zealand caring for our families at a national level during these extraordinary times. I have also heard of local initiatives: congregations caring for their parishioners by getting and delivering groceries, getting prescriptions, obtaining food parcels for those who lost work and most important to me, non-churchgoers being referred to churches as a place where they could get help and assistance. Our faith that sustains us was visible to others and able to provide comfort as well as practical assistance to those in need.

Ruth Steven
PWANZ Administrator

CWS Notices

Refugees matter

Ahead of last month’s World Refugee Day, the United Nations announced the number of refugees and displaced people had risen to 79.5 million or the equivalent of 16 times our population. Please keep people displaced by conflict and persecution in your prayers.

Winter is an ideal time to organise a pop-up banquet and raise funds for this year’s Operation Refugee – or plan a community walk for the spring. Refugees are in urgent need of food, medical care and education. Operation Refugee runs until 30 November. Organiser Eric Park is keen to talk to people who want to take part – email Eric or phone him on 022 377 6606.

Coronavirus emergency appeal

Covid-19 has shown us how closely our lives are connected. The virus has spread rapidly and so can our care and concern for each other.  Our partners are distributing emergency food, hygiene kits and information about Covid-19. In places like South Sudan where there are few medical services, the Maridi Service Agency is going from home to home, letting people know how to protect themselves. CWS has sent $19,000 to CEPAD, the Council of Protestant Churches in Nicaragua, so they can distribute seeds and hygiene kits to anxious families who have returned from working in neighbouring Costa Rica.  

Please support and share information about the Coronavirus Emergency Appeal if you can.

Peace Sunday Resources

More than ever, we need to work and pray for peace. We are grateful to Rev Dr Peter Matheson who is working with us to produce materials for this year’s Peace Sunday on 9 August. These materials will be available in mid-July.


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

Theological Education and Leadership review report is now available

In May 2020, the Council of Assembly wrote to presbyteries and shared the Theological Education and Leadership Training Task Group report. Read the report and related resources

Council of Assembly news

Read the latest update from Council of Assembly on their work. Read June update

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.

Church Register

Changes in Status

Rev Glenn Livingston, Other Recognised Minister to Stated Supply Minister at St Kentigern’s Burwood United Parish, Alpine Presbytery, 11 February 2020.

Rev Charissa Nicol, Minister Prestons New Seedling Ministry to Chaplain Rangi Ruru School, Alpine Presbytery, 17 February 2020.

Rev Sylvia Purdie, Minister, Cashmere Presbyterian Church, to Other Recognised Minister, Alpine Presbytery, 9 February 2020.

Rev Cameron Sinclair, from Minister at Blue Lagoon Parish Dunedin and Otago Hospital Chaplaincy, to continuing Otago Hospital Chaplaincy, Southern Presbytery, 14 June 2020.

Rev Robert Robati-Mani, from Cook Island Presbyterian Church, Wellington Region, to Other Recognised Minister, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, 1 June 2020.

Rev Martin Stewart, from Minister at The Village Presbyterian Church, Christchurch, Alpine Presbytery, to Executive Officer, Alpine Presbytery, 16 June 2020.

Parish changes  

St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Te Kuiti, Kaimai Presbytery, dissolved 30 June 2020.


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.