May 2020

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

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

From the Moderator

Life in Christ
Jesus said: “By standing firm you will gain life.” (Luke 21:19)

Life today is so different and so strange. We were never prepared for the situation upon us. The whole world has been shaken and has just about been brought to a stand-still. Covid-19 is like an opposing powerful force, like an unknown army that has invaded our spaces. It has been appropriately called “the invisible enemy”. This virus will take many, many lives. It will disrupt many millions of lives. Nations will be rattled and their economies and infrastructure will suffer.

What do we do as Christians? The words of our Lord guide us: “Stand firm”, and we will endure and survive. The future is very unpredictable. We do not know how it will all end up. In our response as Christians, follow the instructions of our government. Look after your bubble. Create new ways of being at church. Keep in constant contact with family, neighbours and church, under the guidance of the lockdown level. Be safe and we will save lives.  

As Christians, there is an added call on our lives. In the teaching of our Lord Jesus, “If you love me, feed my sheep.” (John 21:17) We must include the “least, the needy, the poor, the hungry” in our plans and in our management of our families, our churches and our lives.

It is not a duty or a responsibility, but rather our natural, normal behaviour and demeanour.  It is love in action, exemplified by our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross.

In “standing firm”, keep everything in prayer. Be studious in study and mediation of the Word. May the peace of Christ be your daily companion. Use this constraint, lockdown time to prepare, plan, tidy up and clean up life, home and church. Dream dreams for your church, your family and for yourself.

The Apostle Paul’s message to the church in Corinthians sums up our life’s situation today: “Be on your guard, stand firm, in the faith, be people of courage, be strong.  Do everything in love”.  (1 Corinthians 16: 13-14)

Your life is in Christ.

Moderator, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand

From the Assembly Executive

Dear friends and colleagues

The last six weeks have brought a lot of new words into our vocabulary... words and phrases like social distancing, community spread, flattening the curve, and personal protective equipment. Also new are some phrases to describe our current situation... things like “new normal”, and “we're all in this together”.

A colleague wrote saying they had come to realise “how important steady and solid leadership from designated leaders is at times like this”. If anxious leadership produces anxious people, then steady and solid leadership can have the opposite impact. Maybe, like me, you have seen various people exercising steady leadership? I am spending time daily praying for our designated leaders; praying for their wisdom, discernment, courage, sensitivity, and for safety of those in their bubble as well.

I have added a new aspect to my weekdays: connecting with a minister from each presbytery to encourage them and pray for them.

We need – especially in this season – to ensure we are a praying people.

A reminder that at level 3 alert, all our churches are expected to fully comply with the official directives.

I am very encouraged that many of our churches have found creative ways to say connected during these days. 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.

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

Staff news
On 4 May, we will welcome Matthew Hauge as our Compliance Officer and Kate Wilson as our Compliance Support Officer. (These positions arose from the Council of Assembly review of national staffing undertaken last year.) While advertising, short listing, interviewing and appointments were made in February – due to requirements to give notice, they are now available to commence their roles. Welcome Matthew and Kate – it is 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

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

Youth ministry advice for alert level 3
From 28 April 2020, as a nation we have moved to alert level 3.  
At alert level 3, nothing much will change for us as youth leaders. Our churches will not gather. We can’t gather as youth groups or as small groups, and we are not allowed face-to-face interactions. Primarily, we are still asked to stay home. 
Check out our alert level 3 youth ministry advice for church leaders

Spiritual disciplines film series
“All great ministry requires ministry leaders overflowing with joy and hope. As such, our authentic connection with Jesus is always important. But in a ministry season that can so quickly beat you down and leave you discouraged, you and I simply must prioritize staying intimately close with our source.” - Mark Oestreicher

With this in mind, check out our new spiritual disciplines film 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.   

Gordon Fitch
National Youth Manager

Kids Friendly: a ministry of Children and Families

Eastertide greetings! During this season we are offering a weekly family devotion, reflecting on the lectionary text from the week prior. This is an opportunity for families in your churches to extend the focus on these texts through each week.  

Download this “Family Faith Moment” or see below:

  • Living the Resurrection: Family devotion for Eastertide
  • Scripture reading: John 20: 19-31
  • Reflection questions:
  1. In our reading, Thomas missed Jesus’ first visit. In these Covid-19 days, where are you experiencing loss individually and as a family? What or who are you missing? Take time to listen and share these feelings. Lift them up to God.
  2. Jesus came and stood among his disciples, offering them peace, breathing on them and asking them to “receive the Holy Spirit”. Where are you experiencing life individually and as a family? Make a list of things you are thankful for and things that bring you joy. Give thanks to God!  

Lord prepare me, to be a sanctuary
Pure and holy, tried and true
With thanksgiving I’ll be a living sanctuary for you

  • Practice: “Breath Prayer”

A breath prayer is a short prayer that can be said or thought in a single breath. In Hebrew, the word for breath/spirit is “ruach”. In Greek, the word for breath/spirit is “pneuma”. Today we recall how Jesus said “peace be with you,” breathed on his disciples and said “receive the Holy Spirit”. Try saying the breath prayer listed below as a family:
“Lord of life, bring your peace”
(breathing in, breathing out)

  • Blessing:

God of Resurrection Life,
Remind us of the surprising joy that is found at the empty tomb.
In these days at home with one another, surprise us over and over again with joy
and fill our homes and our hearts with the life we have because of your Son, our risen Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen!

Robin Humphreys and Julie Penno

Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership

Lockdown resources
Along with developing and exploring online educational opportunities for NOM interns, we have been working on resources for the wider church. You can access these on our website. Click here for #ministryinisolation

The most recent resource is an interview with Rev Jill McDonald about what she has learnt about sacred space online. There is also an interview with Rev Spanky Moore on “Contemplation and Isolation”. Other resources include a Good Friday Reflective Walk created by Rev Nikki Watkin. This resource is an engaging way to connect with your neighbourhood even outside the Easter season. There is also a resource prepared by me, drawing on the Letter to Philippians as a way of providing pastoral care from isolation.

Bubble courses
During alert level 3, we are also offering online Bubble courses as input for leaders, elders, ministers and whole people of God. They are timely, conversational, engaging and thought-provoking discussions on a range of topics relevant to our current context. Learn more about topics or register to attend

Apply for a Ministers' Study Grant
Senatus will be meeting in June to consider applications for study grants. Applications close on Friday, 29 May. You can find guidelines and the application forms here.

Geoff New
Dean of Studies

Global Mission

As I wrote last month, how quickly things can change. That has never more true, as things changed once again soon after I wrote that, when Cyclone Harold hit Vanuatu on 6 April.

Moderator launches appeal for those in Vanuatu affected by Cyclone Harold
Due to the impact of the lockdown in New Zealand and Covid-19 dominating the news, very little has been seen nor heard about this, but the cyclone wreaked havoc across several islands in Vanuatu, as well as Tonga and Fiji.

Significant damage was sustained at the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu’s Talua Theological College, where Global Mission personnel Brian and Ally Mackay had been teaching until just a few weeks before. Staff and student housing has been rendered uninhabitable and the College is currently closed. The Church has launched a Moderator’s Appeal to support the PCV’s cyclone recovery programme at Talua and throughout several islands. Read about the impact of the cyclone, and how to donate to the Moderator’s Appeal

With Vanuatu’s borders closed due to Covid-19, it is not possible to send any personnel to help with the recovery at this time. However, we will remain in close contact with the PCV and as soon as the situation allows, we can respond to any requests to send personnel.

Read the latest Global Mission newsletter
Just prior to everything changing due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and Cyclone Harold, Global Mission produced a newsletter summarising the good news of the past few months. You can read it here, knowing that our mission partners and the Global Mission personnel highlighted in the newsletter are now in very different situations.

Global Mission in lockdown
It’s not easy doing Global Mission in lockdown! But it’s difficult everywhere, and all the more so for our mission partners in countries that lack the infrastructure and resources we enjoy in New Zealand. Please uphold them in prayer, and remember our personnel who are facing significant disruption to their plans; Brian and Ally Mackay who returned home early from Vanuatu, and Wayne and Helen Harray whose return to mission work in Myanmar is on hold until at least the end of July.  

Phil King
Global Mission Coordinator

Presbyterian Research Centre

The Archives team is focusing on collecting stories and resources about how Presbyterian churches around New Zealand are responding during the Covid-19 pandemic. This response might include things like online worship resources or sermons, personal reflections, videos, interviews, photos or diary entries.

If you have something to share, you can upload your files here. (In order to help us with our documentation, rename your file so that it's descriptive of you, your congregation or worship community. Instead of "CovidApril2020.docx" make it something like “ThoughtsRevJohnSmith.docx”.) Please contact us if you need any help with this.

We are living in a historically significant period – help us document this for the future.

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

CWS Notices

We continue to pray for you and for all those in danger from Covid-19, and now from hunger.  Our partners are doing all they can to protect people from infection and provide practical help.  

CWS is appealing for funds to provide additional support to keep programmes running. In Gaza, the three primary healthcare centres run by the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees are in urgent need of funding for personal protective equipment and for psychosocial support as well as emergency food and hygiene kits for family. Each kit costs $100 and is enough for a family for a month. Simply click here or call 0800 74 73 72 to donate now. The appeal will be expanded to assist other partners respond to their communities. Please share news of this appeal with the people in your community.  

Operation Refugee
CWS invites you to show your support for refugees from Syria by joining Operation Refugee. The focus of activities will be 16 -20 June, ending with World Refugee Day.  

Participants can choose a food focus, living from a Food Box for refugees or cash transfer, or walk the talk, a walking challenge, which can be done at home. Fundraising is online, making it easy at any level.

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

Refugee Sunday is 21 June on the Methodist Presbyterian church calendar. CWS expects to prepare worship resources.

Cyclone Harold
In April Cyclone Harold caused widespread destruction in the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga. Covid-19 means locals are managing the response. CWS will support the recovery of local livelihoods. Donations can be made here


Week of prayer for Christian unity resources
Resources are now available for the Week of Prayer for Christian unity. This year it is marked from 25-31 May (Ascension to Pentecost). The resources are an adaptation for Aotearoa of those prepared by the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity. Download resources

Covid-19 guidance for parishes
The Church has collated and issued a range of useful resources to help parishes through these challenging times. Visit the Coronavirus Information section on our website  for more information.

Tindall Foundation applications open 4 May
Presbyterian Support New Zealand is seeking applications that fit within the “family” category focus for funding. More information about the requirements for this category can be found here. For funding criteria and an application form, visit the Presbyterian Support NZ website. Please contact Presbyterian Support New Zealand if you would like to discuss your initiative: email Applications open on Monday, 4 May and close on Monday, 22 June 2020.  

Asia Sunday 24 May 2020

In light of the novel COVID-19, the pandemic that has infected almost all continents in the world,  the theme of Asia Sunday-2020 is ‘God, Heal Us as We are Vulnerable’. Download resources.

Submissions wanted for a “Spiritual Anthology of Writing”
Pleasant Point writer, Karalyn Reid, is calling for submissions for a new nationwide spiritual anthology of writing on Covid-19. She is looking for spirit-filled poetry or testimonies of hope and inspiration for people who are lost and looking for peace and love in this time of uncertainty and fear. Contact Karalyn for more information

Presbyterian Investment Fund

The Presbyterian Investment Fund (PIF) remains operational during alert level 3. Deposits and withdrawals can be processed as normal, observing the requirement to provide advance notice for major (>$100,000) withdrawals. Effective from 1 May, the interest rate paid on the PIF On-Call Fund is 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.

The Church Property Trustees also continue to operate under alert level 3, with staff working from home. Please email for any queries.

Church Register

Ordination and inductions
Rev Hayden Luke, graduate Northern Presbytery, to minister, Highgate Presbyterian, Southern Presbytery, 13 February 2020.
Rev Gabe Hawker, licentiate KCML ordained minister to stated supply Mornington Presbyterian, Southern Presbytery, 23 February 2020.
Rev Annie-Kate Williams, licentiate KCML ordained minister to stated supply Mornington Presbyterian, Southern Presbytery, 23 February 2020.  
Rev Kalele Chris Moresi, licentiate, to stated supply minister St David’s in the Fields, Northern Presbytery 8 March 2020.
Rev Ivan Martinez, other recognised minister, to minister Somervell Memorial Presbyterian Church, Northern Presbytery, 29 January 2020.
Rev Jim Pearson, local ordained minister St Margaret’s Belmont, Northern Presbytery, 1 December 2019.

Changes in status
Rev Werner Schroeder, stated supply minister, Te Atatu Union Parish, to Hibiscus Coast Presbyterian Church, Northern Presbytery 9 February 2020.
Rev Jin Sook Kim, minister Waikouaiti Karitane Parish to minister Gisborne Presbyterian Parish, Presbytery Central - Nukuhau Tapu, 1 March 2020.
Rev Blair Stirling, minister Hope Presbyterian, to other recognised minister, Alpine Presbytery, 27 March 2020.

Rev Clare Lind, minister Tawa Union, Presbytery Central - Nukuhau Tapu, to member of presbytery, Southern Presbytery, 1 January 2019.
Rev Susan Jones, minister emeritus, Presbytery Central - Nukuhau Tapu transferred to Southern Presbytery, 25 December 2019.
Rev Dennis Flett, member Presbytery Central - Nukuhau Tapu, transferred to senior minister, Hope Presbyterian, Alpine Presbytery 15 March 2020.

Rev Susan Jones, minister St Andrews on the Terrace, Presbytery Central - Nukuhau Tapu, retired 20 December 2019.
Rev Robyn McPhail, minister Kaeo Kerikeri Union, Northern Presbytery, retired 30 November 2019.
Rev Dugald Wilson, minister St Martin’s Presbyterian, Christchurch, Alpine Presbytery retired 28 February 2020.

Rev Kent Potter, minister Drury Presbyterian Church, Northern Presbytery resigned from his parish and from the PCANZ roll, 26 January 2020.

Rev Glenn Duncan, minister emeritus, Presbytery Central – Nukuhau Tapu, died 29 February 2020.
Rev Maurice Chapman, minister emeritus, Kaimai Presbytery, died 30 March.

Parish changes   
Otautau/Waiono Church, Southern Presbytery closed 31 March 2020.


Check out details about upcoming events. Learn more


Check out the ministerial vacancies table for the latest parish vacancies around Aotearoa New Zealand.