March 2020

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

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

From the Moderator

A time for everything
“Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses.” (Ecc 3:1)

This chapter of Ecclesiastes highlights all the extremes of life. It puts in perspective that God is the creator of heaven and earth. That “time” is part of creation. There is a beginning and there is an ending, a time for birth and a time for death.
And in life, all that we will experience – in our infancy, our youth, our adolescence, middle age and in our senior years – we understand and we accept it. It is in God’s time.

We are reminded of our mortality. We cannot control or determine many things in life. We are but part of creation. Here today, gone tomorrow. The challenge is to live in the moment, seize the day, and make the most of life. Certainly, we must plan and prepare for the future with things like insurance, retirement plans, Kiwisaver – because preparing for tomorrow is also an important part of our existence.

But the emphasis should be on today. Take the moment as the most important part of life’s journey. Tomorrow may never come.

It is also about faith. As a keen gardener, I plant now. It is crucial to me to do all I can now - in the moment - with a view to the harvest, the future. This is life in progress.

In life, “be happy, do the best you can” (Ecc 3:12). “It is God’s gift” (Ecc 3:13). John Wesley sums it up “do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, to whoever you can, while you can”. It is a great statement for life.

Finally, life is fleeting. In the span of creation, we are like a plant: alive and tall in the morning and drooped, burnt up by day’s end. Make the most of life now.  Be blessed and be a blessing.

Moderator, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand

From the Assembly Executive

23 February marked 180 years since Rev John Macfarlane - who belonged to the established Church of Scotland - preached the first Presbyterian service. An Iona Cross marks the place on the Petone foreshore. Presbyterianism was not a missionary movement, but reached the shores of Aotearoa New Zealand as a settler faith.

It was seen as the ‘the scotch kirk’ – a transplantation of Scottish religion and culture – from the other side of the world. It is interesting reading reports and articles from these times. Macfarlane noted the majority of people were “indifferent to religion”; words that some might use to describe our current environment.

Yet, all that said, Macfarlane was critical of the impact of British colonisation on Maori – and singled out the New Zealand Company in particular. Macfarlane voiced his concern for the “just rights” of Maori – reflecting as one historian notes – a strong evangelical and pastoral concern. As we reflect on these events – we might ask ourselves what we have we learnt and what are we continuing to learn?

Staff news
Margaret Fawcett, who has worked in our office for over 20 years will retire on 27 March. Margaret has served in a variety of roles over the years and many will have interacted with her. We acknowledge Margaret’s contribution and service and wish her a happy retirement.

First round of voting for Moderator-designate
All parishes have been sent information concerning the first round of voting for Moderator-designate. There are changes to this process as a result of decisions made at Assembly 2018. It is important parish councils read the background information paper as they prayerfully consider the matter. Names have to be submitted to presbytery clerks by Friday, 6 April. To assist those who are being asked to prayerfully consider offering themselves for this role, a background paper was part of this information.

General Assembly 2020
The 2020 General Assembly will be held from 30 September - 4 October at Lindisfarne College in Hastings.

Commissioners to Assembly
Pursuant to Book of Order 8.16 (1) A presbytery is responsible for the organisation of appointments of commissioners to attend the General Assembly (2) The selection of commissioners is to be based on the total number of full members of congregations within a presbytery, on a fair and reasonable basis. For every 100 members, a presbytery will commission one elder or minister and will allocate the commissions across the congregations within the presbytery.

We will be using the statistics provided as at June 2019 to determine the number of commissioners. The slow, and in some cases, non-return of these forms will impact on the determination.

Presbytery clerks and administrators will be working to determine this process for appointing commissioners.

Deadline for reports, proposals and recommendations to be considered by General Assembly 2020
Following consultation with the assembly business work group convener, a deadline has been set for receiving all reports and proposals that will be considered by this year's General Assembly. All material must be received by 5pm Friday, 19 June 2020. This timeframe will enable us to facilitate a consultative process with presbyteries prior to Assembly. In this way, we will be able to fulfil the 2012 Assembly’s decision supporting presbyteries’ participation in the setting of the Assembly agenda.

Calling a newly trained minister
This year another group will complete their training as interns. They represent a range of backgrounds and experiences. All are eager to commit themselves to ministry within the life of a congregation. Profiles for each person will shortly be 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 so that we can ensure we are communicating with the appropriate office bearers.

Thank you for your partnership.
Wayne Matheson

Presbyterian Youth Ministry

Child protection policy
In December 2018, Council of Assembly published a Child Protection Policy for the Presbyterian Church. This is a stand-alone Supplementary Provision to the Book of Order.

Now that is 2020, the provisions of the policy must be applied. Full information on how to do this can be found on the child safety section of our website.

It has been awesome to witness Presbyterian congregations up and down the country prioritise child safety by running training days and police vetting their leaders. Since January, there has been on average 50 police vetting applications per week up to the date of publication.
Easter camps 2020
Easter camp information can be found here.
Connect 20
“This is who we are” is the theme at our flagship training event. At Connect we will celebrate and develop the shared DNA and values we all hold as Christian youth leaders.

We are really excited that Bill Maston has agreed to come to New Zealand to be our primary keynote speaker. With over 40 years of leadership and ministry experience, Bill has his finger on the pulse of youth ministry around the world. He is the founder of Nexus International, an organisation that works to support and develop youth ministry leaders in 60 different countries.

This year Connect is being held from 26-28 June at El Rancho, just outside Wellington. Learn more about Connect 20

Young adult commissioners wanted for GA20
Each presbytery has six positions available for young adult commissioners (18-30) for GA20, which this year is being held at Lindisfarne College in Hastings 30 Sept- 4 Oct.

Please recommend any suitable potential young adults commissioners to your presbytery. PYM is there to support young adults with training videos, live training, proposal writing and an orientation afternoon on the first day of GA.

Gordon Fitch
National Youth Manager

Kids Friendly: a ministry of Children and Families

The passage of time seems to be one of those things that we are either lamenting is going too fast or too slow! For some, the summer holiday has gone quickly and for others, getting back into a routine couldn’t have happened soon enough!

We are now in the season of Lent, a season of active waiting. We are in prayer for you as you journey with your communities of faith in this meaningful season. We offer these resources below as you journey together.

Our Lent wreath resource
An excerpt from our Lent Wreath Liturgy (in the resources section of the Kids Friendly website:

Adult to read: … As we journey through Lent, may we believe without a doubt that God has provided for all our needs. No matter how desolate the landscape of our lives may look, God has made a way through Jesus Christ – through his death on the cross and resurrection.

Looking to a child, the adult will ask: “What does this mean?”

Child answers: “Since God loves us with a never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love – heaven has broken through!”

40 acts of stewardship
Over the past few years we have been following the 40 Acts from the Christian charity Stewardship, in the UK. It is a generosity challenge! Over the last ten years the 40 Acts team have asked the question: “What if Lent could be about more than just giving stuff up? What if it could be a time of radical generosity as well as spiritual discipline?” Learn more about 40 acts of stewardship

They have resource challenges for groups and individuals, as well as families, and the key is “small acts of generosity… have the power to make a big difference”. For example, day four of the family wall chart suggests “Smile at 10 people today”. This challenge is easily do-able by the whole family and can provide good discussion as you all share how you got on and the responses you received.

Alongside our day-to-day work, we continue to dream and vision for the bigger picture of children and families ministry including Kids Friendly, and we look forward to updating you all on this in coming months.

Peace as you walk the Lenten path.

Robin Humphreys & Julie Penno

Global Mission

Throughout February, Global Mission has been involved in hosting a team of students from the Presbyterian Church of Korea’s (PCK) University and Theological Seminary (PUTS). These visits have been a regular feature of our ecumenical relations partnership with the PCK. Thanks to all of those who have hosted the students in their homes, offered hospitality, shared in theological conversations and given the students a rich experience of our mission context. The students all agreed that they have learnt a lot and will return to Korea with many highlights and a strong sense of connection with our Church. I extend my gratitude to all concerned for your contribution to this partnership.

Vanuatu update
The year has started well for Brian and Ally Mackay, our new teachers at Talua Theological Training Institute in Vanuatu. If you would like to keep up with their news, you can follow their blog. Next week I will be hosting a meeting with representatives from two church schools and several congregations from around Aotearoa that support our partnership, and are highly invested in the mission and development of the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu. If you would like to learn how you can be involved, please contact me.

Myanmar update
Wayne and Helen Harray will return on furlough from Tahan Theological College in Myanmar in mid-March for two months. They will be visiting churches and support networks during their time back in New Zealand. Let me know if you would like to hear from them while they are here. Contact me

Jagadhri update
Rev Colin Gordon and his wife Kim will be paying a visit to St Thomas School in Jagadhri, India in March. Our relationship with St Thomas has strengthened again after two visits last year, and the Gordons will build on this as they offer support to the staff and students during their brief visit. Contact me for further details if this interests you.   

Phil King
Global Mission Coordinator

Presbyterian Research Centre

Welcome to Jenny
We welcome Jennifer Jeffery to the team. Jenny will be working with us from the beginning of March until late December in the role of digital content curator and will be responsible for content on the new Archives Recollect website. This will include sorting through the thousands of records and images we hold and highlighting aspects of them through use of albums and stories.

New Archives website to be launched in March
The Presbyterian Research Centre Recollect site will be launched in early March with at least 6,000 photographs and several decades-worth of digitised Presbyterian newspapers. A great deal more content will be made available over the next few months, but there is some work needed to re-format records so that they make sense to the public. Although photographs and the newspapers will be able to be viewed online, document records will only be described rather than digitised. Searchers will now be able to identify documents of interest and contact the Archives team to arrange copies or further information.

We are immensely excited at this opportunity to make our collections visible and hope to engage with many groups as we continue to develop this resource.

Hewitson update
The Hewitson Library has seen an increasing interest in research reports and theses relating to the Church. These are held as part of the Presbyterian Collection, but most have not yet been put onto the online catalogue. We will prioritise documents with themes of current research interest and begin by cataloguing these. We would also welcome further suggestions from the wider Church community.

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

Jane Thomsen


The PressGo Board met on 20 April in Auckland for a full day of strategic discussions. In light of the COA review of PressGo, we are planning a round of meetings and other engagement with presbytery executive officers and leaders to look at how we can implement the recommendations made to provide greater resourcing and support of presbyteries.

Planning is underway for this year’s presbytery mission catalyst network meeting, which is likely to be in April. PressGo sees this as an important network to foster as we share resources, ideas and support for each other across presbyteries.

The Board received a paper on a presbytery-led initiative to develop “pioneering” ministry training and support within a pilot presbytery, with the hope that learnings will have wider applicability across our Church. This is progressing and PressGo’s role is in facilitating progress, in line with the role COA sees the PressGo Board and Catalyst playing in the future.

Meeting dates for the year were set, so we can now advise the deadlines for grant applications in 2020.

Mission Enterprise Fund applications
Deadlines:  1 May, 1 August, 1 November.
Applicants can usually expect to hear back by the beginning of the following month.

Presbyterian Foundation applications
Deadline:  there will be ONE funding round this year and closing date will be 1 August.

These dates will be advertised during the year and the application forms and guidelines will be updated shortly. Please make sure you refer to and download forms and guidelines dated 2020 in the page footer.

It is always helpful to discuss your application at an early stage with the PressGo Catalyst as I can provide guidance around your particular project. Contact me

Lisa Wells
PressGo Catalyst

Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership

We have just completed an engaging and successful summer block course for national ordained ministry interns. One highlight was Rev Nikki Watkin commencing as Ministry Formation Co-ordinator and lecturing the “Leadership in Community” modules.

Life-long learning grants (formerly ministers’ study grants)
For those ministers undertaking further study, applications for funds have usually been considered at the February meeting of Senatus. However, the schedule of Senatus meetings has been altered and Senatus now meet in June and October. Apply or learn more here

Presbytery workshops on preaching the parables
Throughout this year, a one-day workshop on “Preaching the Parables” will be held in each presbytery. This workshop is suitable for emerging and experienced preachers. These workshops have been funded by the generosity of the Glenfield-Bethel Trust. Learn more

Changes to KCML team
We are happy to announce that Rev Dr Fei Taule’ale’ausumai Davis has been appointed to the part-time ministry formation co-ordinator role. Fei takes up the position, which she shares with Rev Nikki Watkin who began in February, later in March. Read more

On a different note, we have also announced the news that Rev Dr Mark Johnston is leaving his role at KCML to take up a teaching role overseas. Read more

Geoff New
Dean of Studies

CWS Notices

Christmas appeal
Thanks for your gifts to the Christmas Appeal for water. Our partner, the Centre for Community Solidarity (CCS), made a Thank you video – please show it if you can. Some donors have been asking for receipts, but we cannot send them without details. Treasurers, please send donations for receipt before 31 March. 

With help from the community, CCS has begun building rainwater tanks for HIV and AIDS affected families. Earlier this week, we received a message from them - everyone is excited by the change they know will take place:

“We love it when kids are busy playing games or doing productive work geared to improve their lifestyle, not fetching water. We love knowing all kids will get and continue to have access to safe water for years to come to enable them be healthy, attend schools, be hopeful, and open to many opportunities for a bright future. And most of all, we love you all for your care and generosity.”

World Day of Prayer
Friday, 6 March is the World Day of Prayer. Women from Zimbabwe prepared this year’s service and Bible study, “Rise! Take your Mat and Walk”.  In this story, the women find hope for their nation. Parishes are encouraged to use the World Day of Prayer resources in other services. For more information contact Zella, or your local World Day of Prayer organising group.

Global prayer for peace on the Korean peninsula
Please join the global prayer campaign for peace on the Korean Peninsula from 1 March – 15 August, lasting 70 days, “We Pray, Peace Now, End the War!”. The World Council of Churches (WCC), the Korean Christian Federation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the National Council of Churches in the Republic of Korea invite you to join these prayers. Resource material is available.


World Day of Prayer is 6 March
Expect to hear the warm sounds of music from Zimbabwe on Friday, 6 March for the World Day of Prayer services. Local women’s groups will host these services using material written by women from Zimbabwe. The World Day of Prayer Committee encourages people to use the resources in other services. Get worship resources

Invitation to contribute resources to 2021 WCC Assembly
The World Council of Churches (WCC) is seeking prayer and music resources for the 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe, Germany in September 2021. The theme is - Christ’s Love Moves the World to Reconciliation and Unity. Submissions close 31 March 2020. Learn more

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

Special collection for Presbyterian Women on International Women’s Day
Presbyterian and Uniting parishes are invited to support the Presbyterian Women Aotearoa Special Collection on Sunday, 8 March 2020. Presbyterian Women Aotearoa reminds us that the General Assembly 2016 recommended that a PWANZ Special Collection be taken on the Sunday nearest to International Women’s Day each March to support the ongoing advocacy role of Presbyterian Women Aotearoa New Zealand locally, regionally, internationally, as well as at the United Nations. Learn more

Vaughan Park retreats
“An Interplay of Light: Discovering the spiritual in everyday creative expression” with Ana Lisa de Jong and Shelley Cruikshank, is the March retreat at Vaughan Park. Held on Sat, 28 March from 10am – 4pm,the cost is $95.00 per person (including retreat and catering). Learn more about this and other upcoming retreats on the Vaughan Park website.

2020 International Rural Churches Association Conference
From 23-28 August 2020, parish leaders from Oceania will be gathering for the rural churches conference. New Zealand church leaders are invited to attend the event, which is being held in Longreach, Queensland, Australia. Further information about the conference including cost and programme details are available here

Presbyterian Investment Fund
The Church Property Trustees wish to advise that the interest rate paid on the On-Call Fund in the Presbyterian Investment Fund (PIF) remains at 2.5%. The interest rate on the new PIF Long-Term Fund remains at 3.5% plus inflation. The Fund is open to parishes, but not to individuals. For further information, email the Trustees’ Executive Officer, Russell Garrett.

Spanz publication dates
There has been a change to the 2019/20 Spanz publication dates. The magazine willl be published once in 2020 (May). Read more

Church Register

Ordination and inductions
Donald Gordon, licentiate, ordained Wadestown Presbyterian Parish, Presbytery Central - Nukuhau Tapu, 20 January 2019.

Changes in status
Rev Brendan O’Hagan, other recognised minister Alpine Presbytery, to hospital chaplain Palmerston North Hospital, Presbytery Central - Nukuhau Tapu, 20 January 2020.

Rev Margaret Garland, minister Opoho Presbyterian, to minister emeritus, Southern Presbytery, 7 February 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 including several hospital chaplaincy roles.