June 2020

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

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

From the Moderator

Our present helper
“I will not leave you orphans, I will come to you.” (John 14:18)

The journey goes on. Life is to be lived moving forward, no matter what we are experiencing today. The future is not promised to anyone. No one knows what lies ahead. When 2020 dawned, we were not aware of the coronavirus, the lockdown or the impact it would have on the whole world. Now, we pause and in union, utter “Wow”. But still, life goes on.

Our Lord Jesus’ words: “that we will not be orphans. And that He will come to us”. The Holy Spirit is ever present with you and I, and with all the world. We are never alone and desolate. We will never be orphans, parentless, or be apart from God. Call out to your Abba, our Parent, our Father/Mother, our God. We will always know and experience the love of God - yesterday, today and tomorrow. And, we all cry out together: “Halleluia”, “Amen”, “Praise the Lord”.

Well done everyone in our Presbyterian family. The Government, our Prime Minister and medical experts have guided us well. As a nation, our future is bright compared to so many others around the world.

Please keep the faith, be steady and sure of the course for the Church. We yearn to be together for fellowship, for worship, and yearn to be kanohi ki te kanohi (face-to-face). Many had the chance this weekend as some churches re-opened their doors. Please do not take the lives of our people lightly. Everything normal is so fragile and vulnerable right now.

The worship of God does not stop, or slow down, nor is it only in Church buildings. Remember Jesus’ words for us, which offer promise. That promise is true and real. We testify of its reality.


From the Assembly Executive

Dear friends and colleagues

During lockdown, I re-read a couple of books: Shackleton’s Way by Margot Morrell and Stephanie Capparell and Leading at the Edge by Dennis Perkins. Both focus on Shackleton’s 1914-16 Antarctic expedition, and focus on the remarkable journey from the ‘Endurance’.

The books tell of being trapped in the ice 45 days after setting off; how the crew tried to free the ship, but in the end had to remain on board – trapped; how the ice crushes the ship on day 327; the journey of pulling lifeboats on sleds across the ice for a further 176 days until the ice opened and they could set a course for Elephant Island where they landed six days later; how a small party set sail for South Georgia – in a life boat – some 600 miles away and 16 days later landed – but on the wrong side, and had to trek over glaciers to reach the whaling station on the other side of the island. Having rested, these folk boarded another ship and set sail to rescue those left on Elephant Island.

It took four different attempts and 128 days before they were able to reach and rescue them. And all who started out were safely returned! A remarkable story. Each book looks at leadership in those unprecedented times.

Re-reading these and reflecting on leadership I have seen over the past couple of months, three things - qualities or attributes - struck me: I have seen among us leaders who are compassionate; who are calm; who are prepared.

In times to come, I wonder if we will see the lasting legacy of those qualities as reflecting underlying values that guided decisions and actions we have taken.

A reminder that at alert level 2, all our churches are expected to fully comply with official directives. Check our website for the latest information and advice including the 29 May update, which answers commonly asked questions about what the changes to gathering size and recognition of faith-based activities in the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Alert Level 2) Order 2020 mean for parishes.

Our website has a page dedicated to resources to support leaders during this time – have a look at the lockdown ministry resources. Each week, our Moderator gives a devotion, which is available every Sunday at 9am, on his Moderator Facebook page. It is also available on the Church's video channel, and via the Church’s Facebook page.

Staff news
With the appointment of Matthew Hague as the Church's compliance Officer, our long-serving complaints officer, Heather McKenzie, has announced her retirement. Council of Assembly paid tribute to her faithful and dedicated service in this role since 2006. Council appointed Matthew as our replacement complaints officer. In addition, Heather has also retired as Book of Order advisory. Matthew will also pick up this role.  Find contact details for all members of the Assembly service team on our website

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

Pastoral care of young people
As we come out of lockdown, we encourage church leaders to offer pastoral care to young people in their faith community. We have put together a resource that highlights a simple framework for pastoral care, how to deal with specific issues, and how to deal with suicidal thoughts and ideation. Check out the pastoral care resource
Faithful parenting video series

Matt and I sat down with our colleagues Julie and Robin from the Children and Families team to create a series of short, practical videos on faithful parenting. Watch the videos

•    Episode 1: Daily routines
•    Episode 2: Faith formation at dinner time
•    Episode 3: Faith formation at bedtime
•    Episode 4: Parenting in times of uncertainty

Gordon Fitch
National Youth Manager

Children and Families

Pentecost greetings! The Spirit had a surprising entrance on that day as the disciples were huddled together in that little room. Jesus had promised the Spirit was coming, but the disciples had no idea how it would happen. The Jesus Storybook Bible describes it well: “Suddenly, a strong wind filled the little room, whistling through the walls, rustling the straw on the floor. And there – on everyone’s heads, shining in the gloom – were flickering flames… How it happened they didn’t know, but they knew God’s power had struck their hearts ablaze – and Jesus himself was coming to live inside them". (JSB, pg 329)

It seems the Spirit of God has also been surprising us as the church, as families and individuals during these Covid-19 days. God has filled our homes in surprising ways, with meaningful faith moments.

We’ve enjoyed offering our “Family Faith Moments”, throughout lockdown and beyond, as a way of encouraging faith formation in the home, and as a resource for you to pass along to the families in your care. The most recent is our Pentecost devotion. Find all of our “Family Faith Moments” here

How are you encouraging the families you minister with to “make meaning” of this unique season we’re in? We are encouraging families to build a stone cairn in their garden, to share times they have encountered God during this season, and to say a blessing together. Each time they see the stacked stones they will remember how God has been present through it all. You can find the practice/ritual here

We invite all who build a stone cairn to take a picture and either email it to us or use the hashtag #familyfaithmoments in your Facebook or Instagram post.

In the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
Robin Humphreys & Julie Penno – Co-directors

Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership

Earlier this month we held three online Bubble Courses covering preaching, leading in change, and creating community online. The response was very heartening with 30-45 participants present for each night of the courses. You can read more about this initiative and its impact here.

Due to Covid-19 Alert Level restrictions, we made the decision to teach next month’s Winter Block Course for ministry interns online. We were due to hold the block course in Wellington. While most of the modules can be taught online, we have a few that require face-to-face engagement and we hope to attend to those later in the year.

And best of all, we are thrilled to be enjoying the fresh and insightful contributions and ministry of our two new team members Rev Nikki Watkins and Rev Dr Fei Taule’ale’ausumai.

Geoff New
Dean of Studies

Global Mission

Moderator’s appeal
It’s been very encouraging seeing the response to the Moderator’s Appeal in support of the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu as they rebuild after Cyclone Harold. At a time when there are concerns about our own economy as a result of the Covid pandemic, it is very heartening to see such a strong response in support of our partner church.

The nation of Vanuatu is currently battling three major issues: recovery after the cyclone, volcanic ashfall on Tanna Island, and serious economic impact due to the closure of their borders. Our support for the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu will help to ease some of the impact of these concerns and sends a message that our partnership remains strong despite our own domestic circumstances.

A lot of Church personnel have served in Vanuatu in recent years, so we have a sizeable group of members with considerable experience and commitment to Vanuatu. Since Cyclone Harold hit, this group has been meeting regularly via Zoom to help coordinate our response. At some of these meetings we have been joined by members of the PCV executive, and it has been good to see and hear from them personally to help maintain a sense of connection despite the current restrictions on travel.

Myanmar update
The Myanmar Support Group meet via Zoom recently and agreed on funding for a number of projects supporting mission with the Presbyterian Church of Myanmar. Projects include support for education at Tahan Theological College, vocational training and income generating projects. We have also sent some emergency funds to support villages caught up in fighting between the Myanmar military and a separatist group. This has caused considerable suffering in the southern Chin State. These grants are funded by generous donations from congregations, a loyal group of supporters who give regularly to the Ricebowl Mission and a grant from Global Mission.

The challenge for doing Global Mission remains high at this time; but despite this, we can be encouraged by the support we have been able to give to our partner churches, who are deeply grateful for this commitment. On behalf of our Church, I extend my deep appreciation to all those who support our Global Mission partnerships.

Phil King
Global Mission Coordinator

Presbyterian Research Centre

Staff now have access to the Hewitson Library and archives although we are still mainly working from home during Level 2.

If you would like to borrow a book or access any of our archival records, please contact us at either hewitson@prcknox.org.nz or pcanzarchives@prcknox.org.nz. We can either post out library books or arrange collection from the Archives foyer until the Library is accessible to the public again. We can arrange in-person visits by appointment only, so please don’t visit without contacting us first.

We are also interested in documenting the response of New Zealand Presbyterians during the Covid-19 pandemic, so if you have anything to contribute please let us know, or you can save it onto Google Drive.

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

Jane Thomsen

CWS Notices

I was hungry...
We invite you to pray for refugees in their search for food, safety and hope. Join us for Operation Refugee, which runs until November 30, with a special focus in Refugee Week, 16-20 June.

It is a chance to share your concern for people like 15-year-old Nour who fled Syria after fighters killed her father. She is one of many young people who have found a warm welcome, education and new dreams with DSPR Lebanon.

You can choose Food for Life and spend two or five days living on rations, organise a Pop-up Banquet or get involved with Walk the Talk, taking on an individual walking challenge or organise a walking event.

Organiser Eric Park is keen to talk to people who want to take part. Contact Eric by email or phone him on 022 377 6606.

Refugee Sunday is on 21 June on the Methodist Presbyterian church calendar. Worship resources will be available by 1 June.

CWS seeks new Board member
CWS is looking for someone interested in joining the CWS Board. As well as experience in governance and strategic thinking, we are looking for a new member with fundraising, media or public relations experience. Expressions of interest can be sent to Pauline McKay, National Director by 19 June 2019. Learn more

An Autumn story
When the lockdown started in India, Mrs Velankanni had little food. She and her husband were unable to work as day labourers or gather in the nearby forest and were afraid their family would soon starve. They asked for help and the Women Development Resource Centre is doing what it can. Read "We Are There For You" to find out how CWS partners are responding to Covid-19 in their communities. Please share this story and support our Autumn Appeal.


Feedback on belonging in NZ is invited
Inclusive Aotearoa Collective is holding conversations across Aotearoa New Zealand to understand what belonging feels like, what hinders this, and what needs to change. Kiwis from all walks of life are invited to join one of several online events to offer insights and ideas on belonging and inclusion. Learn more

National Dialogue for Christian Unity update
Read the Pentecost edition of the newsletter from the National Dialogue for Christian Unity Aotearoa New Zealand, of which the Presbyterian Church is a member. Read more

Check our website for the latest information and advice about the Church's response to Covid-19 as well as a variety of resources to equip leaders during this time. Learn more

Church Register

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


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.